As we head toward ( Chapter 4 ) let’s look first at the last verses in ( Chapter 3 ) ( Verse 25 & 26 ). Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. ( 26 ) Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.
As I seek to teach through Acts; It’s my desire that the Spirit of God speak to you, teach you in all things. Looking at these verses, we see that the people that we are going to be speaking of in ( Acts 4 ) are Jews. They are the people of the prophets. Abraham had taught them that , ( in them ) all the kindreds of the earth shall be blessed. Now, let’s compare these verses to what he is saying here. ( Matthew 28:18-20 ) And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. ( 19 ) Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, Baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: ( 20 ) Teaching them to abserve all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.
Jesus was speaking to his eleven disciples here and, we see in: ( Verse 20 ) in ( Acts 3 ) it was the them first that he sent Jesus to bless, turning every one of them from their iniquities. I only make this point to show that, even at this time the Apostle Peter is speaking to Jews only and, the message that Jesus gave in Matthew was to the Jews. To them gave he the responsibility to take the gospel to the world.
On the day of Pentecost there were people there from ( every nation under heaven ). Each one of those people had the responsibility to carry that message being, filled with the Holy Spirit to the nation that they were from. Now the Apostle Peter has preached a second message and, it’s still the responsibility for these people to carry this message to every person possible.
Let’s consider a few things here. Actually, what did these people know? Basically, they knew Jesus Christ and him crucified. They now knew the resurrection story and the valve of that resurrection. They, each of them had a lot to learn but, it was their respnsibility to learn those things as the word of God ( the new economy ) became available. Therefore, it is actually no difference in those people and, the very first day you, or any person is born again. On that day, we know the salvation story. It’s up to us to seek the knowledge of God and to carry that message to the world.
Now, let’s see what happened in ( Acts 4:1-2 ) And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducces, came upon them, ( 2 ) Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection of the dead.
I wonder here, what ever happened to the man that was healed. that was lame from his birth. I guess that the religious people would not have cared if every person was healed of something as long as they didn’t preach Jesus and his resurrection from the dead. We see that it wasn’t the average people that sought to stop the gospel but, the religious people of the day. I still contend that it’s no difference in Jesus saying: ( unless you eat my flesh and, drink my blood ye cannot be my disciple ). The Apostle Peter was facing the same battle and, we still face it today. We’ll sit in our Churches and ask for prayer for ever sickness known to man, every problem in families known to man but, never hear one prayer for the lost and undone without Christ, never seek to be a witness for the resurrection of Christ.
As we look on down in ( chapter four ) we will see this man mentioned again however, Jesus Christ is still the main reason for speaking of him and, it is still preached that they are the reason for his crucifixion. As we look at ( verses 3-4 ): And they laid hands on them, and put them in hold unto the next day, for it is now eventide, ( 4 ) Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed: and the number of men was about five thousand.
Let’s recap now what has transpired. The Apostle Peter has now preached two messages. At the end of the first message; the people said, What shall we do? The Bible tells us that three thousand people believed. Now he’s preached a second time, because of this message the religious leaders have locked them up but, after this message; five thousand men believed.
He said there ( the number of men was about five thousand ). Why would you suppose he would use that terminology here? In my mind; it’s leadership. What happens when leaders do what they are supposed to do? We see the same terminology in ( Matthew 14: 21 ) And they that had eaten were about five thosand men, beside the women and children.
Jesus had just blessed five loaves of bread and, two fishes with which he fed all these people. Notice here that the men are numbered differently than the women and children, making the same point as in ( Acts 4 ). When you can get the leaders of a family, a Church or anything else to do what God has ordained them to do, things, great spiritual things will begin to happen. Hypothetically, let’s say that Jesus blessed the food that day. He gave it to his disciples and, they gave to each man. It then became the responsibility of that man to take the food to each member of his family. Spiritually speaking, it the very same picture, it’s the man’s responsibility to spiritually feed his familt
If we will ever learn that the true power of any believer is never in what we think it is then and, only then will the power of God be seen in us. When men stand and allow the power of God to lead them then, the women and children will have something to follow. That is the picture we see here. While the Apostle Peter and the Apostle John are locked up in the next few verses, to whom is given the leadership role of those outside? Why of course, the Holy Spirit of God. That Spirit is following the chain of command beginning with the men.
But now, let’s follow the scripture and watch the Apostle Peter speak again. Still, he is the one speaking. This chapter will take a while to teach because the tide is turning, the rule of law, so to speak is changing and the power of God id beginning to take over. The rulers have power in word only. Watch this; The two Apostles are locked up, that would be Peter and John. Now look at all the men that are there to question them. (5 )And it came to pass on the morrow, that their rulers, and elders, and scribes, ( 6 ) And Annas the high priest, and Caiphas, and John, and Alexander, ans as many as were kindred of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem.
As I write this my mind goes to a trip we took to Florida once. We seen a man handle a little Alligator, very small, small enough to hold in his lap. He showed us that he could take his fore finger and thumb and keep his mouth shut. He said the greatest strength an alligator has is when he closes his mouth not when opening. He also said; however if you are holding an alligator’s mouth shut that weighs 400 pounds with your two fingers then whose going to be holding the tail and body he is going to start swinging?
Isn’t it the same picture here? These religious leaders have two men on hold but, who is stopping the more than five thousand outside as they are talking inside? They failed to realize the power of God when it lives within the heart of every believer.
This is also the power of the true Church. A preacher might be placed in prison but if the people that are born of that same spirit will do their job then, the power of God cannot be contained by any man or group of men. Look at this verse: ( Acts 4:7 ) And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, By what power or, by what name, have ye done this? Would you agree with me; that this very question might bring into question what power they were working under. Also, look at the next verse: ( Acts 4:8 ) Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel.
Can you see there; where the Holy Ghost is and also, where he is not? What good are religious leaders or, elders if they do not possess the power of God? I’d like to add here; if you think that ( the religious ruling class ) has gone away today, you are badly mistakened and deceived. My dad, in his latter years once told me that neither Satan, nor those that follow him will ever give up. He was correct about that. What happens is that ( he is transformed into an angel of light ). ( 2 Corinthians 11:14 ) And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
What I’m about to say here is something we never hear. However, we must understand this battle for the souls of men. Starting here, we must be willing to hear the Spirit of God. That, above every man or person that might speak, write, preach, call himself and apostle and, by the way, that includes me. Every word I write, teach or say must be weighed under the inspiritation of the Holy Ghost of God. I’m just a man, Peter was just a man, John was just a man, your pastor is just a man. Any one of us can be swayed by Satan and, we can be wrong in what we say.
Jesus Christ in ( John 16:13 ) didn’t say that I or, your pastor, your Sunday School teacher, or any other spiritual or religious leader would guide you into all truth did he? He said that ( THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH ) would do that. He said that: ( HE WOULD NOT SPEAK OF HIMSELF ) but ( WHATSOEVER HE SHALL HEAR ) ( THAT SHALL HE SPEAK ): and ( HE ) ( WILL SHEW YOU THINGS TO COME ).
As you look at the conversation that is about to happen between the Apostle Peter and the religious leaders, what do you think the real problem is? The real problem is: ( TO WHOM HAS THE AUTHORITY ). Now, listen to this: ( Acts 4:8 ) Then Peter, ( FILLED WITH THE HOLY GHOST ). Do you see there that Peter has no authority, neither does he desire any. It’s the Holy Ghost of God that is in authority. Just who is that Spirit in authority of? Peter. Peter’s desire is to completely yield himself to the Spirit that is within him.
Now, once the Spirit has a body and, is given a voice then what other people do with what that Spirit says is a choice. We know from reading thus far in Acts that over eight thousand people have heard that message and, recieved it.
We see the transformation of people here, we also see the way that the Spirit works. That Spirit now can be upon any person that is willing to allow it to be upon them. I want to show you a verse here: ( Romans 12:1-3 ) I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. ( 2 ) And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. ( 3 ) FOR I SAY, THROUGH THE GRACE GIVEN UNTO ME, TO EVERY MAN THAT IS AMONG YOU, NOT TO THINK OF HIMSELF MORE HIGHLY THAN HE OUGHT TO THINK; BUT TO THINK SOBERLY, ACCORDING AS GOD HATH DEALT TO EVERY MAN THE MEASURE OF FAITH.
I high-lighted that last verse because we often hear the first two verses but, we seldom hear the third verse. I like to say it this way. If I am transformed by the renewing of my mind and, I am not conformed to this world then, that is a good thing unless, I began to think I am better than someone else. If I think I’m special because I am the teacher, pastor, preacher, deacon, Apostle, elder or simply just because I’m born again then the spirit that is within me is a mute point. I am no better than the least of all, I am the least of all. The only thing about me that is worth your time is the Spirit that speaks from within my sinful body.
Therefore, if we put the next few verses in perspective, this is what I would say. The Apostle Peter is speaking and telling them that the man was healed by Jesus Christ, the man that they crucified and God raised from the dead. He, being Jesus Christ. He is the one that was set at nought by ( you builders ) but he is now the the head of the corner. There is no other name under heaven, given among men, whereby we must be saved.
All that I have to say is exactly the same way. It’s never me I desire for you to see or hear, it’s only Jesus Christ and, that power comes from the Holy Ghost within me. At least twice now God has given the Apostle Peter a platform. Both times he lifted up Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Ghost within him. That is exactly what every born again believer is supposed to do. It’s not about an office or position. Actually we have no power. God gives us gifts and, we should use those gifts for his Glory but only he can do the transforming necessary to save souls, we must recognize that fact and keep ourselves humble before him.
As we move on down, let’s comepare two phrases that have been said by men. The first was in ( chapter 2, verse 37 ) Men and brethren, what shall we do? Now the Apostle Peter has preached his second message. Look at the change in what is said. ( chapter 4, verse 16 ) saying, what shall we do with these men?
My question would would be, what difference does the men make? Even if you kill them, it doesn’t change the Holy Ghost. There is not now, nor has it ever been but one voice to hear. That’s the voice of the Holy Spirit. Because of an unwillingness to hear him, people remain lost and, also denominations are born. Can you see here that, at this time in scripture a denomination is going to come into being?
Denominations will be born right here in the book of Acts. However, the only reason that it happens is because of men misunderstanding the Spirit of God or, simply not being willing to submit to him or, the leadership of another person.
I stand firm on the concept that it’s not but one truth. The word of God is not left to private interpretation. ( 2 Peter 1:20 ). Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. Now, notice the verse before this one: ( verse 19 ) We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day star arise in your hearts:
The same man that held the ( Keys to the Kingdom ) also wrote this, The Apostle Peter. The dark place that the light had to shine was his heart, my heart and, your heart. That day star can arise in your heart but it’s not easy, it takes study and a willingness to seek out truth far beyond any denomination or person. My desire is to teach that truth but, it still takes the Holy Ghost of God to shine it in the heart of any believer. Just as the Apostle Peter didn’t have all the answers on the day he was preaching, I don’t have all the answers today either, I’m still seeking to find them and, each person that reads anything I say should seek beyond what I teach to know truth. Why? Because it is of no private interpretation.
The word ( interpretation is speaking of people like me, you, preachers and even the Apostles. Why do I say that? Because the word of God is a letter written from God the Father to each of us. God the Father has no reason to interpt the letter he has written, he knows what he means and, he sent his Spirit to teach us what he says in truth, not in the way we interpt what he says. Each denomination has its interpretation of truth but, that doesn’t make it truth does it? The truth has ( no interpretation ) it is truth. Each of us shouds seek that truth and, then stand on the truth we know. However, If you show me that I’m wrong and, that inspiried by God’s spirit then I should be perfetly willing to see that truth as revealed through you by God’s spirit.
When we tie ourselves to a denomination then, we are not willing to do that. We simply settle for less than truth and, live a defeated spiritual life because of a denomination. As you look at the two messages that the Apostle Peter has preached, can’t you see his willingness to change, to hear God’s Spirit? If you will notice, the religious people were not willing to hear were they? They were not willing to change. meaning, they were not willing to yield to God’s Spirit.
The whole point in looking at this is to show how denominations started in the beginning of the Church age. The Apostle Peter was filled with the spirit of God just as other people were on that day. As the days pass, he is willingly changing as he gets a better understanding of the Spirit that now guides him. That’s the very same thing that happens to a new born believer. We know little about God’s Spirit when we are first saved but as days go by, we learn and yield to that spirit. If we are like the religious rulers of that day and refuse to yield then we become a religion within our own ranks. Once that happens, it doesn’t matter whether you confess to be saved or not. If you are willing to be led by the wrong spirit then you are controlled by that spirit.
God is Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth; ( John 4:24 ) Denominations are also spirits and, far too aften we get caught up in following those spirits. In the next segment we are going to get into some of this but, we must try the spirits to see whether they are of God. ( 1 John 4:1 ) Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
We’ve already looked at some of these verses but I want to make note of a few things. Look at ( Acts 4:13 ). Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. That name he is speaking to these religious men about is Jesus Christ. The Apostle Peter pointed out this, described exactly, in detail what they had done to him and, gives Jesus Christ all the credit for the impotent man being made whole. He also makes this point. ( verse 11 ) This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.
This is a very important verse and, one we still need to consider today. When the Apostle Peter made this statement to these religious leaders. These religious men thought they had something that, in reality was torn down by the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ and, they are the people that destroyed it. Jesus looked at his disciples one day and made this statement. ( Matthew 24:1-2 ) And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for the shew him the buildings of the temple. ( 2 ) And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
I realize what he is saying here and, it will all come to pass but, I can also see a metaphor here as well. The day of Pentecost was the beginning of something that they could not see clearly as of yet. The building; metaphorically speaking, that was just beginning had Jesus Christ as the ( head of the corner ). The religious leaders were leaving themselves out of that building and could not see it because of their religious blindness.
Every born again believer is a building block in and on that building. As I make that statement, I also realize that what kind of block each believer becomes is his or her choice. ( 1 Corinthians 3:10 ) According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
I confess, as a believer that over the years I have witnessed to people and said things I shouldn’t said in my ignorance but as I grew and matured as a believer I altered my message. That’s not to say the the need to know Jesus Christ as savior was not to be preached but the understanding of him and how to deliver the message needed to be altered. We can see that in the Apostle Peter as well as we go through this book.
The Apostle Peter has a very important responsibility in laying the foundation of the Church. If you will notice he is speaking to the leaders; religious leaders here and, his last message was to people that were going to take the gospel around the world. That message has to be stedfast, unwavering. In the next few verses we see that the religious leaders noted that a miracle had taken place. So, let’s look at a coulple of things here. ( Acts 4:13 ) Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.
Let’s stop here and rest awhile. People that know and follow me are very aware that I study and teach only the ( King James ) Bible. At the same time; I do not force that on anyone else. I stand and proclaim my stand. As far as I’m concerned, It’s not my responsibility to force my belief on any person. It’s my responsibility to teach and proclaim Jesus Christ and him Crucified, to proclaim truth.. How you, as an individual, makes a decision to stand before God, is your choice. My desire is to help you see truth to the best of my knowledge.
( I believe ) the different english translations of God’s word is or, can be confusing. It’s just like denominations and what men teach. It all can be confusing and, God says he is not the author of confusion. ( 1 Corinthians 14:33 ) For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all the Churches of the saints. Would you agree that, the very fact I have to bring that up, even denominations; can be confusing?
Looking at this verse, I want you to see what it says in the ( New international Version ) compared to ( King Jame Version ).When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and took note that these men had been with Jesus.
I want you to notice these two words here. ( realized ) and ( perceived ). What is the difference in those two words? If I perceive something about you, it doesn’t make it true. But, if I realize something about you that make it a fact.
Again ( I believe ) that this verse and how it’s changed in scripture has played out to the mindset of our religiuos world today. The educated mindset in our Churches has weakened the power of God in in the average Church because of the perception that; if one is not educated then they are ignorant and unlearned. Those types of people in the religious world need not be heard, therefore Peter and John needed to be shut up. When a man simply listens to what the Spirit of God has to say and, seeks to relay that message to his people then, that man needs to be shut up.
Think! Basically speaking, in every Church, every denomination today it is a reguirement that the pastor have at least an associate degree; Why is that? In virtually every Sunday School room the teachers teach out of a Sunday School quarterly written bt another person; Why is that?
The reason for that is because a man that simply studies God’s word and seeks to preach or teach what the Holy Spirit tells him to speak is ( realized ) as being ignorant and unlearned. That ( perception ) is wrong but, the religious world cannot see that. If you have been with Jesus, without verbally saying it; they want to shut you up. That ( perception ) is wrong but, the religious world cannot see that.
To try and tie this together, let’s compare something we see in the gospels. ( Luke 2:46- ) And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. ( 47 ) And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers. ( 48 ) And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing, ( 49 ) And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?
I show you that and ask, what college or university did Jesus attend? I say often, I am not Jesus Christ however, is it not true that the very same spirit that lived within Jesus Christ also live in every born again believer? If not, I beg you to show me the difference.
I completely understand that ( God’s Spirit was born in Jesus from his birth, he didn’t have to learn it, we do but, once we are born again the desire to know that truth is there within each of us.
We will continue to go through ( Acts 4 ) in the next segment. It will begin in ( verse 17 ) We’ll call it ( THE DESIRES OF THE RELIGIOUS WORLD. )