Life in the Early Church

Scripture: Acts 2:46-47, Acts 3:1-26, Acts 4:1-18
Date: 07/21/2018 
Lesson: 3
Five main points characterized early Christian preaching: Jesus was the suffering Messiah; God resurrected Him; Jesus was exalted in heaven; He will come again; and repentance is necessary for the forgiveness of sins.'
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Good morning, friends, and welcome again to Sabbath School Study Hour coming to you here from the Granite Bay Seventh-day Adventist Church. We'd like to welcome our online members and those joining us across the country and around the world on the various television networks. I also like to welcome our members and our visitors right here in Granite Bay. One of the reasons that we mention where we're located in Sacramento, California, we've had people contact us who've been watching the program for years and they had no idea that we are right in their neighborhood, they wanted to find out where the address is, so that they could come and join us for Sabbath School Study Hour. Well, again, we're glad to see you this morning.

We've been studying through a new lesson quarterly on the book of acts. It's been a great study, a good start. We're actually on lesson number three today. Lesson number three is entitled, "life in the early church". And we're beginning to that in just a few moments.

Before we do though, we'd like to let our friends who are joining us online and also watching on the various networks, we do have a free offer. A book entitled, "life in the Spirit." And we'll be happy to provide this to anybody who calls and asks. If you'd like to receive the book, the number to call is 866-788-3966 and you can ask for offer number 155. If you'd like to download this free offer for free, and you can read it on your phone or some other electronic device that you have, all you'll have to do is text the number 40544 and you want to put in the code "s-h-0-4-7". You'll then get a link and you'll be able to download a copy of the book, life in the Spirit.

You can read that. It's connected somewhat with our lesson today, talking about life in the early Christian church. It's a very important study. Well, before we get to our lesson, let's begin by lifting our voices in song. I'd like to invite our song leaders to come join me on stage.

Dear Father in Heaven, once again we are grateful for the opportunity to gather together and open up Your Word and study this very important lesson dealing with the early Christian church, recorded for us in the book of acts. Father, there are so many important lessons that we can learn from those first century Christians, who were just fully devoted to you and committed to the mission of taking the Gospel to the world. So bless our time today, for we ask this in Jesus' Name. Amen. Our lesson this morning is going to be brought to us by Pastor Doug.

Thank you Pastor Ross, and our singers, and musicians, and... Welcome friends. We're getting into the book of acts, and I'll just tell you our mission today. We're going to try and study from acts 2 roughly 46 on through acts 5. In our lesson today, we have a memory verse.

Lesson title is life in the early church. Lesson number three. We have a memory verse, it's acts 2:46-47. You ready? "So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.

" Now this is a rare moment. Notice what's happening. Gladness, praising, favor, growth, one accord, Lord sent those days again. Can you say amen? Amen. Look what's happen into the church.

They're together, they're praising God, gladness, not complicated, simplicity, and evangelism is working. People are being added to the church. I wonder if there's a connection. God had just poured out the Spirit. The devil really hadn't regrouped and figured out what he was going to do to fight it, and the church was just growing, and prospering, and so much of what the Lord had planned was happening during his time.

So it says, "they continued weekly." Is that what it says? Daily. How often should we get together? Not too many are ready to say, "we ought to have church every day, Pastor Doug." But I think we ought to do better than once a week because if we want to have the experience that the early church had, you'll find that they were getting together on a regular basis for Bible study, for prayer, for fellowship, it says breaking of bread that doesn't always mean just eating, neither does it always mean they were participating in the Lord's supper. The same phrase is used for just eating. You ever heard someone say, "we'll get together and break bread." I mean, it just talks about a meal, but sometimes it meant that they were having the Lord's supper. So they were doing all of these things, and there was great harmony in the church at that time.

So you read here in verse 44, I'm just backing up in acts 2. "Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need." So continuing daily with one accord. Now I've not heard too many pastors preach on that. It sounds like communism. Now I know that's a kind of a dirty word if you're a red blooded American, but having communal living.

.. Do you know what the first government was in North America? So it was, it was communism that the pilgrims had a common garden, and they had common houses and things, and they thought, let's practice the new testament church, and we'll just share everything. Well, you need the baptism of the Holy Spirit to have that attitude, and nobody likes working in everybody's garden. I like working in my garden. Are you that way too? And so they found out that when they tried to practice that, it lasted for about a year and a half, and about 30% of them starved to death.

They didn't do very well. You know, one reason that communism failed in europe is because nobody wants to work in everybody's garden. There were the government farms, and then everybody had their own farm. And they put all their energy into their own little gardens that they got. When Karen and I went to russia, they still had the government farms, and then people had their own little private farms out in the country.

They put all their energy into their own. So what was going on here, when it says that, "all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and their goods, and divided them among anyone." They were just so spirit filled. They were just so filled with love for each other. They said, "look, we're looking to store our treasures in heaven." And they were really seeking to put into practice everything that Jesus had said. Christ sent them out, said, "don't even take two tunics.

Don't even take two pair of sandals. I just want you to hit the road, trust in me and preach the Gospel." And so they lived a very spartan life. Now I'm not saying that should happen now, but it's going to happen again before Jesus comes. I believe when God pours out his spirit on the church, you're going to see the same spirit of self-sacrifice, of love, benevolence, of urgency that you see in the early church. Amen? Amen.

I didn't write this, you take it up with the Lord, that's what they were doing back then when the Holy Spirit was poured out. And then I want you to notice, it not only says there in verse 46 continuing daily. Go to acts 5. I'm just jumping to another chapter now just to make this point. Acts 5:42, "and daily in the temple…" again, daily Bible study in prayer meeting.

But they weren't just doing that at home, they were getting together daily. They were on fire. They couldn't imagine going a day without Bible study. You know, one of the earmarks is of a congregation growing. Frequency and gathering together for prayer and Bible study, whether it's in a home or church doesn't seem to matter, but the studies that have been done by groups like barna, when they say, "why is that church growing and that one isn't growing?" One of the things they.

.. When they melted it all down, one of the things they noticed is there were frequency of meetings and fellowship where the people were getting together for meals, for prayer, for Bible study, and as they did that, people all wanted to belong. Others would join, there was a passion, someone say, "hey, we're having a study at our house tonight, would you like to come, we're having some friends, would you like to come in?" And it just seemed like they were making more and more connections and it grew. Was the early church growing? How many were baptized after pentecost? Three thousand. Now was that the biggest baptism? What was the biggest number mentioned for baptisms in their early book, in early chapter? Five thousand.

I think that was after the miracle of the beautiful gate, which we're going to get to later. People saw the power of God, everybody was interested, the disciples could not keep up with all the studies that they were giving. And ultimately, when you get to acts 7, they said, "look, we can't be spending our time giving up the food, we need some deacons to help us do that because there's so many new people coming in that need discipleship. They need to be taught." And so they spent so much time in teaching. What did Jesus do when he rose from the dead? He appeared for 40 days among the disciples.

What was the main thing Jesus did for that 40 days when he continued to appear after the resurrection? Bible study. He opened to them the Scriptures. Every time he met with them, John 21, when they were fishing, in the upper room, on the road to the emmaus. Every time he met with them, it says, he opened to them the Scriptures. He had to instruct them and help them to understand, so they could then, in turn, teach others.

And so, that's one of the greatest needs. I think that's what real discipleship is. Jesus said, "go into all the world and" do what? Not just baptize, "make disciples." And he says, "teaching them to do all things whatsoever I've commanded you." Teaching, teaching the Word of God. Preaching and teaching the Word of God is what brings evangelism, that's what bring conversions, and what I'm saying here is, the more the church gets together to do that, the healthier the church will be. Now here we have our Sabbath school, we're glad you're here.

We have our church service. Sometimes we have various and sundry afternoon and vesper programs. We have our midweek Bible study. I think as the day of the Lord approaches, we need to get together more. I think that we need to have different elders and leaders who can open their homes and bring people in for Bible study.

And the more we study together, the closer we get, the better we pray for each other. You know, in some churches, people just stop coming, no one ever checks on them. We don't know they're having all kinds of problems. When they connect in homes on a weekly basis, you become aware of what the needs are, and you can minister them before they sort of disappear out the back door. And so there's a need for daily fellowship.

I'm making a big deal of it because it's a big deal. This need for daily fellowship, I think is really important. Now, in a moment someone's going to read acts 17:11. Well, kadian, you'll have that. I want to read acts 4:34.

Oh, I did that already. Acts 16:5. "So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and increased in number daily." Go ahead and read please acts 17:11. These were more fair-minded than those in thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so." You've heard the expression of the berean Christians who were more fair minded than those of thessalonica because they said, "well, let's find out if it's true." Instead of just getting mad, said, "that's not what we've always believed." They said, "let's study it." And they studied, they were noble. And how often did they study? Daily.

You notice that there again. That church ended up being a place that grew spiritually. We need to get together. I hope you have a personal daily Bible study, but I think something we ought to press for. Wouldn't it be great if Granite Bay and other churches that are watching right now, if people in your church, in your community knew they were somewhere they could go almost every night of the week for a home Bible study.

Whatever night was convenient, there would be a home open for Bible study. There might be two or three, there might be a dozen. You don't want too big, you know, unless you're coming together for, in the church itself, but… wouldn't that be great if you just kind of had a Bible study dossier? That you could put in your bulletin and say, "where is the Bible? Where are the Bible studies this week?" What would happen to a church that did that? Maybe we ought to try it. We need volunteers open their homes that can help disciple. All right, acts 19.

Acts 19:9, "but when some were hardened and did not believe, they spoke evil of the way before the multitude, he departed from them and withdrew the disciples, reasoning daily in the school of tyrannus." Hebrews 3:13, "but exhort one another daily." Jesus said, "whoever would come after me, lead him daily." Lord, give us this day our daily bread. The Christian life is a moment by moment, day by day experience. We need to be feeding together daily and as often as possible gather together. All right, enough on that. Let's go now to acts 3, and this is one of the great stories.

You may turn in your Bibles because I'm probably going to do a little spot reading along the way. It's hard to just fly over this story in acts 3 in a quick manner. "Now Peter and John went up together to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour." There were typically three hours of prayer in the temple, and it's good to go that when the doors were opened for prayer, they went there. "And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, who they daily laid at the gate of the temple which is called beautiful, to ask alms of the people who entered the temple." This man is… he's so bad off, it's not that he took crutches, they had to carry him. Now, there's a lot of people that would never find the Lord except somebody brought them to the temple, they brought them to church.

You remember in Mark 2, there's a man who is paralyzed, and his friends bring him to the house where Jesus was. You may not be a preacher, you may not be an evangelist, you may not be a teacher, Lord willing, you got a church where the word is spoken. If you can at least get them there. And so they said, "let's bring him to the temple." And they just didn't bring him to any temple, they brought him to the beautiful gate. Now, let me read something to you from Josephus, the Jewish historian, flavius Josephus.

He wrote about this. And he said, "the temple had nine gates, on every side covered with gold and silver." This is one of the most beautiful buildings in the world at the time. "But there was one gate outside the holy house made of corinthian brass and greatly excelled those that were only covered with gold and silver. The corinthian gate which opened on the east was over against the gate of the holy house itself was much larger." This is what we believe, this is the gate, you know, when Jesus made the triumphal entry. There is a gate facing east towards the mount of olives.

He came down the mount of olives, went up the hill into Jerusalem. That gate is now walled in as Ezekiel prophesied it would be. Just on the other side of that gate was also an entrance to the temple. And when you go to Jerusalem and you see the platform and you see all that, it all makes sense. Listen what he said, "corinthian gate which opened towards the east, over against the gate of the holy house itself was much larger.

Its height was 75 feet, its doors were 55 feet, and he said, this was made of bronze and covered with gold." Engineers today don't even know how you can make hinges to open a gate like that, I mean for the technology they had back then, that was massive. "And it was adorned after in most costly manner, having much richer and thicker plates of silver and gold upon them than the others." So can you understand why they called it the beautiful gate? Now, what does that beautiful gate represent? What beautiful gates are you and I hoping to go through someday? Pearly gates, that'll be the most beautiful gates. This man is on the outside, he can't get on the inside except somebody introduces him to Jesus. So think about that. And you read here, when the man, he's there begging.

You read the back story in the book Desire of Ages. This man had come down from the northern areas of Israel. He had heard about the miracles that Jesus performed, and when he gets to Jerusalem, you realize now that this all takes place in acts 3, it's not been long since the ascension of Jesus. Acts 1, Jesus ascends to heaven. Here we're at acts 3.

This man had hoped to come. And when he came to Jerusalem, he found out that Jesus had been executed, he was devastated, he was hoping to be healed. So he was a special case. So he said, "well, best I can do is since I've come all this way, I'll just beg at the gate." And so, his hopes had been dashed because Jesus now had been crucified. He had heard rumors that the followers say he was alive, so all that's going on in his mind.

"Seeing Peter and John about to go in the temple, he asked for alms. And fixing his eyes on them with John, Peter said, 'look at us.'" Now what do you think he thought was going to happen when he said, I used to panhandle. And if you're asking for spare change and someone says, look at me, one of two things is going to happen, they're going to bawl you out and tell you to get a job or they're going to give you something. It's usually nothing else unless, of course, you're religious. And then they want to share the Gospel with you.

"Peter said, 'look on us!' So he gave them his attention." You've heard me say before the Gospel begins with looking. First step in salvation, "the year the King Isaiah died, I saw the Lord." Paul saw Jesus. Thief on the cross saw Jesus lifted up. Zacchaeus was too short to climb the tree 'cause he wanted to see Jesus. And you've got a lot of stories in the Bible that explain that salvation begins with looking.

And so he says, "look on us." Wanted to make sure he had their attention, a lot of people are coming and going. "Fixing his eyes on him, with John, Peter said, 'look at us.' So he gave them his attention expecting to receive something from them." What was he expecting? A handout. You've heard the expression, "is it better to give a man a fish or to teach him to fish?" Would it been better for Peter to give him spare change or teach him to walk so he could help himself? So often our prayers are for the little things. We are praying that God will make us comfortable in our crippledness and our slavery. It's like you've heard me say it before, "a man who's in prison, and he says, 'Lord, can you please give me a softer bed in my prison, and can you give me better food in my prison, and can I have better light and better ventilation.

'" And then he's praying for everything so he can be more comfortable in this prison, and God is saying, why didn't you pray I get you out of jail? I mean, that's really what you ought to be praying. So this man, he's there begging, he's not thinking big enough, is he? Hoping to get something from them, he's hoping to get the silver and gold. Peter said in verse 6, "silver and gold I don't have, just so you don't misunderstand." What do you think happened in his heart when he said that, "silver and gold, I don't have"? But he didn't let him wait very long to find out. "What I do have I give you in the name of Jesus Christ..." He had heard that name before, "of nazareth, rise up and walk." Unless he had any doubts, Peter reached out and took him by the right hand and lifted him up. And he had faith evidently in that name, and immediately, his feet and his ankle bones received strength, his legs and limbs that had been crippled came to life, and he felt his coordination and he stood up, and he not only was able to stand and walk, after he took a few steps, everything came back to him at once, so it says, "he leaping up.

Stood and walked." You ever seen somebody get out of a hospital bed and leap? No. You got to take real careful steps or you're going to go down. This is a dramatic healing. "He leaping up, he stood and he walked." See, he coming into the temple before because they had a rule that cripples were not allowed into the temple. I know you and I think that that's pretty awful.

It was mostly the levites and you'll read about this, for instance, in Leviticus 21:17, "speak to aaron and say, 'no man of your descendants in succeeding generations who has any defect may approach to offer bread to his God. A man blind or lame who has a marred face or a limb too long, a man who has a broken foot or a broken hand." Now it used to be just that, but you may remember when David was taking the city of Jerusalem from the jebusites, the jebusites were mocking David and saying, "the lame and the cripple in our city could repel your army." And there was a law made, he said, from that time on, the lame and the crippled were not allowed into the precincts of the sanctuary. And something happens, some custom developed, but God didn't have a rule that Christians that are crippled or handicapped should stay out of church. It started with the levites who were supposed to represent Jesus who is perfect. The lamb, the passover lamb needed to be a lamb without blemish.

Anyway, here they had them on the outside at the gates. You know the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, right? Where did Lazarus, the beggar, where was he lained? At the gates. And so they're separated from God. They're on the outside. You and I are crippled like mephibosheth, right? We all limp.

But Jesus heals us so we can walk in his steps. And so this is a wonderful, one of the wonderful points in the story. But everybody, there are very few crippled people left in Jerusalem 'cause so many had been healed by Jesus at this point. Everyone knew this man who was sitting at the gate. So he goes in, he's walking and leaping, and people see him and they say, "that can't be the same guy.

" And they said, "that's him." Verse10, "they knew that it was he who sat at the alms of the beautiful gate of the temple, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him." That's an amazing fact. "And all the people saw him walking and praising God." What kind of walk should we have? We need to walk where we're praising God too. Amen. Now Peter and John said, "we don't have silver and gold, but what we do have, we'll share with you." And so they shared Jesus with him. How long was Peter's sermon to this crippled man? "In the name of Jesus of nazareth, stand up and walk.

" Pretty short. How many of us are afraid sometimes to share because we say, we don't have enough? Whether it's the Gospel or resources, we say we don't have enough. Don't ever think you don't have enough. When the boy came to Jesus with his five loaves and two fish, what did Jesus do? He took the little he had. When the woman came to Elisha with her little vessel of oil, what did God do? He multiplied it.

When you see people in need, you know, how many needed the Gospel, don't think, "I'm not qualified, I don't know enough, I can't give a Bible study." Share what you do have. Can God speak through a donkey? Then what is your excuse. Do any of us have an excuse for not doing something? You got, you know, there's a statement in the Spirit of prophecy, and this is a paraphrase, I don't even know the reference, but she basically says, "you're better off trying and doing something wrong than doing nothing very well." You're better off trying to share the Gospel and muddling through it than doing nothing perfectly, 'cause so often we're afraid we'll do it wrong instead we do nothing right. So they said, "we may not have silver and gold, but we will share what we do have. We've got something more important than that.

" Now did that man, after his legs were healed that he saved me, and you cheapskates, you didn't give me any silver and gold? Or was he happy? But this caused quite a ruckus. And they knew it was that man. They were filled with amazement. I'm in verse 11, "now as the lame man who was healed held on to Peter and John." He wasn't going to let them go. These are the two witnesses like the Word of God, he wasn't going to let go.

"All the people ran together to them in the porch which is called sol, word began to spread, 'have you seen this, have you heard it, here he is, come look.'" Great crowds of people are coming. Peter saw it. What does an apostle do when he sees a crowd? When Paul saw a crowd they wanted to kill him, what did he want? He told the soldiers, he said, "let me preach to him." "Peters sees a crowd. He responds to the people, 'men of Israel, why do you marvel at this, why do you look intently on us as though we by our own power and goodness, we made this man walk." Now some evangelist today, if they had performed that miracle, they would have taken up an offering to get a new jet. But he said, "don't give us credit, we didn't do it.

" He said, "it wasn't through our power or goodness," that's one of the signs of a prophet of God is humility. "The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers glorified his servant Jesus, who you delivered up and denied in the presence of pilate, when he was determined to let him go." Remember, some of the mob said, "crucify him and give us barabbas. "But you denied the holy one and the just, and you ask for a murderer to be granted you, and you killed the prince of life, who God raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses. And his name, through faith in his name, has made this man strong, who you see and know." Now has Jesus' Name changed? Has faith in his name changed? Can God still do miracles through faith in his name? Yes. "Yes, the faith that comes through him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.

Yet now, brethren, I know that you did it in ignorance," he's now trying to soften the conviction a little bit, "as did also your rulers. But those things which God foretold by the mouth of his prophets, that Christ would suffer, he has thus fulfilled." Remember, all the prophets foretold this. Then he says what he says in acts 2, "repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out." What were the first words that John the baptist spoke? Repent. Repent. When Jesus began preaching, what was the first thing he said? Repent for the Kingdom of heaven.

.. Same thing as John. And now what is Peter saying, "repent." What is repentance? A sorrow for sin, and he said be converted, turned around, a reformation, "that your sins may be blotted out, so the times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and he may send Jesus Christ, who has preached to you before." He says Christ is going to return, why this is a great salvation adventist sermon all in one. "Whom heaven must receive until the times of the restoration of all things." Jesus is there, waiting for the restoration of all things, he's going to restore his people to his image, "which God had spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophet since the world began." Anyway, so he then goes, he preaches as a great revival and now we're going to go on to the next section, you could see. By the way, someone was going to read to me psalm 100:4.

You got it, go ahead, katrina, if they're ready for you. I want you to go ahead and read that. "Into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise. Be thankful to him, and bless his name." After that lame man was healed, how did he enter the temple? With thanksgiving and praise. Why do we enter God's house with thanksgiving and praise? Does God heal our walk? Yes.

Yeah, we were all like those cripples and he heals us. And so be thankful to him and bless his name. So we should come together when we worship God to thank him. You know, in acts 1, the Holy Spirit is promised, in acts 2, the Holy Spirit is poured out, and now we just see in acts 3, the Holy Spirit is practiced. You see the miracles are beginning to happen.

All right, now in acts 4, there is a rise of opposition because when God begins the work, the devil doesn't stand still. The Bible says, "all that live Godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution." All right, let's go to acts 4:1. I'll read verse 1 through 4. "Now as they spoke to the people in the temple, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the sadducees came upon them, being greatly disturbed that they taught the people and they preached in Jesus the resurrection and the dead." Now why are the sadducees especially upset about this? How are the sadducees different from pharisees? Sadducees don't believe in the resurrection. Now the high priest caiaphas, was he a pharisee or a sadducee? He's a sadducee.

And that's why they were sad, you see? And the pharisees were legalistic, and they weren't very fair, you see. I know. Connie, but it helps you remember. Anyway, and so they came... They came upon them, and they're especially upset because they're in the temple preaching the very thing they don't believe.

That's like, if you were to go to a kingdom hall jehovah witness church, and you stand up and you start preaching about the benefit of blood transfusions. That wouldn't be well received. You know what I'm saying? And so Peter's right there, not only saying that the high priest killed Jesus but that he rose from the dead. So it's like a double whammy for them. And so they are.

.. To say greatly disturbed is not an overstatement. That they taught the people and they preach the resurrection from the dead. You know what's really sad? Here you get the religious leaders greatly disturbed that spiritual people are preaching the truth in the church. Could that still happen? Happened before, they were God's people, it happened back then.

"And so they laid hands on them, and they put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening," too late to call an assembly, that didn't stop them with Jesus though did, they call the special evening meeting for Christ. "However, many of those who heard the word and believed, and the number of the men came to about 5,000." And so there are a lot. And you later read, many of the priests believed as well. So they get them together the next day, and they set them in the midst. I'm in verse 7.

"And they asked, 'by what power or what name have you done this?'" In the name of who? What authority? "Peter filled with the Holy Spirit, pulled out his notes." Did Peter have any notes? Did Jesus say, "you don't need to worry about what to say, the Holy Spirit will tell you what to say in that hour"? Yes. "But Peter filled with the Holy Spirit, he said to them, "the rulers of the people and the elders of Israel. If this day we are judged for the good deed done to the helpless man, and by what means he's been made well." At first Peter says, "did you arrest us because we healed a man? You arrest us because we helped a crippled man walk? And we did a good thing so you put us in jail." He said, "is this why we're here? I just want to make it clear." He's started feeling, "well, sorry, we arrested you for healing without a license." "Let it be known to you all, and to all the people in Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of nazareth, who you crucified," he's telling caiaphas and the high priest in the sanhedrin. "Who God raise from the dead," oh, that hurts them, "by him this man stands here before you whole. He's right here in your presence, don't argue with the facts.

All of Jerusalem knows he was at the gate begging that he's been miraculously healed. It was done in the middle of the day in the ninth hour. And then he goes on and says, "this is the stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone." The job of the priest was supposed to help build up the temple of God. And they rejected the cornerstone, the foundation stone for the temple. And he goes on to say, "nor is there salvation in any other," this is a famous verse, "for there is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.

" I remember hearing a story about a man who had been raised a Christian and lived in New York city, and he got involved, he went to school, and studied business, and started, you know, as young people often do they go to college, they become preoccupied with their career, and their new friends, and he drifted from the church, he became a successful businessman, but he just knew his life was empty. He knew he could die any time, and he was lost. And what profit is it if you gain everything and you lose your soul. So while he's thinking about these things, he's walking home from work one day and on a busy intersection, there was a blind man standing on a soap box, he was a street preacher. And he was reading from a braille Bible.

So this blind street preacher, he's standing on a soap box, and he's reading from a braille Bible. And he's reading this verse that says, "neither is there any other name under heaven..." And he lost his place on his braille Bible, and so he's feeling around on the Bible to see if he could re-find the place, but he didn't want to lose his crowd, so he said, "there is no other name, there is no other name, there is no other name under heaven whereby you must be saved." And because he said it several times, the man was waiting for the light to change, he heard the preacher, and he couldn't get it out of his mind. There is no other name, there is no other name, there is no other name. He went home and opened up his Bible started reading, he was converted, he came back to Lord, he told that story. How that verse just hearing.

.. He went back to thank the blind street preacher, he never saw him again. 'Cause but, so sometimes we think, "oh, nobody's listening, nothing is happening." You don't know in the power of Your Words. All right, now you can read your verse. "Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled.

And they realized that they had been with Jesus." You know, you think about the audacity, Peter before when a girl asked him, "aren't you one of Jesus' followers?" He denied Jesus three times and these were servants that were asking him. And he was scared, and he denied Jesus. But after he repented for his denial, and God gave him another chance, he said, "okay, now are you going to get scared? Here you are in front of the supreme court," the highest ruling body, all of the most prestigious people in the land of Israel, in all their pomp and splendor, and Peter is there, and he now is fearless. He is spirit filled, and he has boldness, he has courage, he has audacity, and he points to them, he said, "you did it." And what did they say, when they saw the boldness of Peter? Whose boldness did it remind them of? They saw his eloquence, and the power of His Words, they said, "he's a fisherman by his dress, but we can tell by the way his acting, he's been with Jesus." How many of you would like to be accused of that? That you spend time every day with Jesus, and you start acting like Jesus. That's what happened.

And so as a result of that, they said, "what do we do?" They said, "we can see indeed a notable miracle has been done through them, it's evident to all who are in Jerusalem, we can't deny it. But we don't want to spread anymore, so let's just severely threaten them, that from now on they speak no more to any man in this name." They won't even say Jesus Name. "Don't speak about this name any more." Because it bothered their conscience, they crucified him. "So they called them back in," they said, "do not speak nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said to them, "whether it's right in the sight of God to listen to you more than God, you judge.

" He said, "for we cannot speak but the things that we have seen and heard." They're not going to hide their experience. "So when they further threatened them," they said, "didn't you hear us?" "We got to let them go, finding no way of punishing them because of the people, since they all glorified God for what had been done. For the man was over 40 years old over on who this miracle of healing had been performed. And being let go, they went to their own companions and reported that all the chief priests and elders had said to them. When they heard this, they raise their voice to God with one accord said, 'Lord, you are God, who made heaven, and earth, and sea, and all that is in it by the mouth of your servant.

' Why did the nations rage, and the people plot vain thing." Now they are quoting, they know their Bibles are quoting back from psalm 2. And I want you to notice, go to verse 29. "Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to your servants that with all boldness, we might speak Your Word." So did they stop going to the temple? No. It says the Holy Spirit was poured out. And you look in verse 31, "they were filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the Word of God with boldness.

" And they continued to go to the temple and teach and to preach. All right, and then we get into a... So you see opposition began to increase. Now you go to a little sad story, but it's a warning ananias and sapphira. Go to chapter 5.

"But a certain man named ananias, with sapphira his wife, sold a possession. And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being privy or aware of it, and they brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles' feet." Now you notice that it says in the prior verse. We go to verse 34, acts 4:34. "Nor was there among them anyone who lacked for all who were possessors of lands and houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold and laid them at the apostles' feet, and they distributed to everyone as any had need." They were liquidating, they were investing not only in taking care of the poor in their group but in subsidizing the spreading of the Gospel. Will we see that spirit again in the last days? Yes.

How many of you are hoping that you'll be willing to do something like that when the time comes? How are you going to know when the time comes? Maybe the time has come. Do you know that there will be a day when our money will be worthless? And we're going to wish that, "oh, Lord, we're going to cast our money to the rats, and the bats, and the moles and think it's too late now, my money is worthless now." Someone said, "what's the best day to repent?" And the rabbi said, "the last day of your life." He said, "but what if I don't know what the last day is?" He said, "exactly." All right, back to our story. So what ananias and sapphira do is, they said, "let's sell a piece of property and let's donate but let's not donate it at all, but we'll say we're donating it all." Now if they had gone to the apostles and say, "we sold and we're giving 50%, we're keeping 50%." They would have said, "fine." But what they did is they made pretend, "we are putting it all on the altar." But they said, "let's not put it all and let's keep something back." So it's hypocritical, it's exactly what it is. They're pretending to make a complete sacrifice when it is not complete, that was what was especially offensive to God. Is they're trying to fame themselves to be more spiritual.

God's Spirit had been poured out, there was an authenticity in the church, there was a sincerity, there was an honestness. Now the first ugly head of hypocrisy begins to raise itself in the Spirit-filled church, God had to deal with it in a very dramatic way. So that's what's happening. So they come, and they laid at the disciples feet, and Peter says, the Holy Spirit told Peter what was going on. Ananias, why has satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? While it reMained, was it not your own? We didn't tell you to do it.

And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? You didn't have to claim to give a 100%, just give, have whatever you want. Why do you conceive this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God." Now who did he say he lied to? The Holy Spirit. And then he said, "you lied to God." Is the Holy Spirit God? Yes. God the Spirit. Yes.

"Then ananias, hearing these words, fell down and breathed his last." He dropped dead. "So great fear came upon all those who heard these things." Does God sometimes allow us severe judgment that others may fear? Doesn't Peter, I'm sorry, doesn't Paul tell Timothy to rebuke people who are sinning openly that others may fear? I think there's a good time for people to be disciplined that others may fear, right? What happens in a society where you protect the criminals and you prosecute the victims? Criminals are emboldened. Therefore, they become fearless. But if you want the criminals to be afraid, you've got to punish them. Isn't that right? Cultures don't do well when all the rights go to the criminals, and the victims have no rights.

All right. And so ananias hearing these things, he drops dead. "The young man wrapped him up, took him out, and buried him." "Now about three hours later when his wife came, not knowing." He had not texted her because they hadn't invented that yet. She didn't know what had happened. And Peter, she comes, and she's kind of looking around wondering where ananias is.

And Peter answered her and said that, "tell me whether you sold the land for so much?" And she perpetuates the lie, she said, "yeah, that's what we sold it for." "Peter said to her, 'how is it that you've agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look, the feet of those who have buried your husband are outside the door, they will now carry you out.' And immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. And the young man came in and found her dead," now if you were those young deacons, would you ever forget that? Would you ever lie about your tithe and offerings after that? Do we? Are we honest? Do we blow the trumpet like the pharisees when we make an offering and want everybody to know? Or do we not let our left hand know what our right hand is doing? She died, and they took her out and buried her, so great fear came upon the church after these things. Now how many of you would agree that was a severe judgment? Is it a time when God needs to be severe? Does God have a high... When God's Spirit is moving in a dramatic way, and God's people see the evidence of God's power right in front of them, to sin in the face of the power of God is especially more wicked. Why did God strike with fire from heaven The Sons of aaron, nadab and abihu? They right there could see the fire of God.

They could see the power of God on the mountain, they were in the presence of God, they were being fed with manna that fell from heaven every day, the coil would come in, they had just saw the evidence of God's power, and in spite of that God said, "do not drink when you come to the temple of Lord and only use holy fire." They got drunk, and they took fire from their camp fire instead of the fire from the altar, and God said, "they are not respecting sacred things." So God needed to do something severe to make an example. And it is now, you know, been an example for history. So sometimes God is especially serious at times like that. All right, last section here, I just got a few minutes. It tells us that, there is a second arrest.

So you go to acts 5:12. And it tells us that, again, persecution began. Verse 17, "then the high priest rose up, and those who were with him," because they continued to preach from the sect of the sadducees, "and they were filled with indignation, and they laid hands on the apostles, and they put them in the common prison. But at night the angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out, and the angel said, 'run for the hills.'" Is that what he said? He said, "go back to the temple and speak to the people." Hadn't they just been arrested for preaching in the temple? And they went back to the temple, then they were arrested again. And he said, "don't be intimidated, go and speak to the people the words of this life.

" So the angel got them out of prison. Now can you understand why herod had 16 soldiers guarding Peter? That's acts 12 because the apostles had already broken out of prison. And so he said, "look, these guys are slippery, so you put them in an inner most cell and 16 soldiers, he's not going anywhere, and handcuff him. See, if he can get out of that. Would he, he couldn't do that.

" And so they send the... They all get together early in the morning, they said, okay, let's have an early case. They said, "go, bring him from the jail, let's talk to him." "And the officer came, they didn't find them in the prison, they returned and they reported saying, 'indeed we found the prison shut securely, and the guard standing outside before the door but when we opened, we found no one inside!' Now when the high priest, and the captain of the temple, and the chief priests heard these things, they wondered what the outcome would be. So one came and said, 'look, the men who you put into prison they're standing in the temple.'" Oh, no, me, oh my, not again. And they're teaching the people, they just keep going back.

"And the captain went with the officers and brought them without violence." These guys just broke out of jail. "For they feared the people, lest they should be stoned. And when they brought them in, they set them before the council. And the high priest asked them, saying, 'did we not strictly command you not to teach in this name? And look, you filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and you intend to bring this man's blood on us!'" No, that's not actually true when Jesus was being crucified pilate washed his hands and said, "I don't want the blood of this innocent man, and the people cried, let his blood be upon us and our children." Isn't that right? So it wasn't the apostles doing it, the leaders had said that themselves. "You intend to bring this man's blood on us! And Peter and the other apostles answered and said, 'we ought to obey God rather than men.

The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree. Him as God exalted to his right hand to be a prince and a Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those that speak in tongues. God has given to those that obey him.'" So who did he give the Holy Spirit to? It's a power, he doesn't give to those that aren't going to surrender. "When they heard these things, they were furious, and they plotted to kill them.

Then one of the council, a pharisee named gamaliel, a teacher of the law held in respect," he had actually taught Paul when he was a young man. "And all the people..." Some of gamaliel's writings survived to this day. "He commanded them to put the apostles outside for a little while. He said, "let excuse them for just a moment and watch them, keep them outside." And he said, "men of Israel, take heed to yourself on what you intend to do regarding these men." Now gamaliel was old enough to know. These men had been doing miracles, God could be behind this, they better be very careful.

But he was enough of a politician to know he shouldn't anger the sadducees because they had power, gamaliel was a pharisee. And he said, "keep in mind there was a man named theudas," I'm in acts 5:36, "he rose up, once claiming to be somebody. A number of about 400 joined him. He was slain, and all who obeyed him were scattered, it came to nothing. After this man, it was Judas of Galilee in the days of the census," that's back when Jesus was born.

Remember they, I guess was how to tax that was a census. "He drew away many people after him. He also perished, and all who followed him were dispersed. And now I say to you, keep away from these men, let them alone for if this plan is the work of men, it will come to nothing, but if it's of God, you cannot overthrow it, lest you even be found to fight against God." Now you can kind of tell gamaliel was thinking, this could be the work of God. He saw the Spirit shining.

He had spent years studying the word, he knew some of the prophecies Peter was talking about. I wonder sometimes if gamaliel will be in the Kingdom. "And they agreed with him, and when they called the apostles." In spite of gamaliel's advice, they said, "let's at least beat them." "They beat them, and they commanded them they should speak no more in the name of Jesus, and they let them go. So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for Jesus' Name." And here you have it again, "daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching..." Did they stop going to the temple? Daily in the temple. Did they obey the command to stop preaching? They just went right on back their wounds weren't even healed.

What did Jesus say we should do if we're persecuted for righteousness? Great is your reward in heaven, rejoice and be exceedingly glad. And if you want an example in the Bible of someone who rejoiced in persecution, here's a time when the apostles rejoiced like Paul and silas in jail, rejoiced that they were persecuted for Christ sake. How many of you like to pray you could be persecuted? No, we don't look forward to that. But that was the Spirit-filled church. Amen.

All right, I want to just tell our friends, we're out of time for, and we did get through the lesson. We're giving away, this book, life in the Spirit, it will encourage you and you just call the number on your screen. Actually, text sh047 at 40544, and you'll get offer number 155. And also you can download this for free then at that location. God bless you.

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