AND BY THE HANDS OF THE APOSTLES WERE MANY SIGNS AND WONDERS WROUGHT AMONG THE PEOPLE; ( AND THEY WERE ALL WITH ONE ACCORD IN SOLOMON’S PORCH.
As we begin this, speaking of the very ( power of God ), notice something here in scripture. Do you see the parenthesis behind the word people in that verse? If you will notice the next parenthesis is behind the word women at the end of verse 14. So, let’s write this whole phrase. ( and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch. ( 13 ) And of the rest durst no man join himself to them: but the people magnified them. ( 14 ) And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both men and women. )
It appears that Solomon’s porch is adjacent to or connected to the temple. All these things that are transpiring is happening just outside the temple. If you will notice; it makes the point in ( verse 13 ) And of the rest durst no man join himself to them. I take that to mean that no one inside the temple or, of the religious sect joined them in what they were doing.
The power of God is where? It is within each believer and, within those that are willing to allow the Holy Ghost of God to be seen or, revealed through their flesh. The power of God is not seen anywhere else. If the power of God is seen inside of a Church then, it’s because there are people inside that building allowing him to be seen. Once those people are gone then, that building has no power at all. I suppose that we could debate that if a building is filled with people that are willing to allow the Holy Ghost of God to be seen then; if a person that is lost sees that power at a Church service. The next day that person rides by that building, it’s very possible that the very building might speak to him when he sees it or, thinks about that Church. But, even at that the power still rest within those that are willing to allow him to work through their flesh.
I’ve often pointed out that any building that is called ( a Church ) needs to speak. I mean by that; people that see that building should be reminded of their need to know Jesus Christ. If that kind of power is felt from a building then it reflects the people that are members of that building. That is the responsibility of the local Church, to draw people to Christ. If a building we call ( a Church ) doesn’t do that then it needs to be torn down or at least change its name to something else.
However,we can see here the significance of the people over a building, or a religious group of people. There is a building being built there. At this time the foundation is being laid. Look at these verses: ( Ephesians 2: 18-22 ) For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. ( 19 ) Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; ( 20 ) And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; ( 21 ) In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto and holy temple in the Lord: ( 22 ) In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through his Spirit.
The first point I’d like to make here is that the people and the apostles in ( Acts 5 ) could not have understood all of this. If you will notice; it says that the ( apostles and prophets ). That is the foundation. It also says that ( Jesus Christ ) is the chief corn stone. The architect of this building is God the Father. He alone has the plans. I say this because; as we move through time we can see more and more of the Church that is being built. The prophets and apostles had a glimpse of what it would look like and, each person as time move foward can see more and more of that building.
It takes power to build a building, even in the natural sense. Often the people digging the foundation, that is ; actually doing the work have no idea what the building will look like, they are simple doing the work. Even in the Old Testament, the Church was being built. It’s been in the mind and heart of God from the foundation of the world. ( Revelation 13:8 ) All that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
In that verse; the person being worshipped is Satan however,we see that ( the Lamb’s book of life ) is mentioned here and, it was there from the foundation of the world. It’s like, when God spoke this world into existance; the Church building was a part of that establishment.
We can take this as deep as you desire to go but, I’ll make this point and we will move on. Do you realize that in ( Acts 5 ) only eleven apostles are present? Remember, Judas is dead, gone to his own place. We also see that the eleven Apostles made an attempt to pick another Apostle. We looked into that back in ( Chapter one ). However, I can see, as far as teaching is concerned the need to mention it here. The reason being, the fact that these eleven Apostles are only working on ( what we could call ) the foundation of the Church. It begins with the Nation of Israel. All the prophets and the Apostles were men from the nation of Israel. Now, the very first members of the Church are also members of the Nation of Israel.
I love metaphorical pictures in scripture. I’m always looking for those hidden pictures. It’s not that the picture might be a perfect picture but, it is a way that God chose to reveal the Church in the Old Testament. I’ll also say this; just because I say, I see a picture doesn’t mean you have to agree with me. Each of us, as members of God’s family needs to allow God’s Spirit to reveal truth unto us as we study. It’s his Spirit that we follow and not any man in the flesh. With that being said, I’ll show you what I believe is a picture of what we see unfolding here in the first days of the new born Church.
Before we get into this. Do you remember who the twelfth Apostle was? Or, at this time in scripture, who he will be? At this time he hasn’t been revealed yet. If you will study ( Genesis 37 ) and chapters beyond we can see a picture of this. I’ll just give you some things to think about and you can study it out, see what the Spirit shows you.
As you read ( Genesis 37 ) you will see that the eleventh son of Jacob being, Joseph dreamed a dream. Basically the dream revealed that all his older brothers would bow to him, he; being the youngest. You will also notice that ( Jacob’s ) name has changed to ( Israel ). When Joseph revealed his dream to his older brothers it infuriated them. The very thought of having to bow to their younger brother was not something they were willing to do.
Joseph is a type of the saving grace of Jesus Christ. His brothers left him for dead, even told his father he had died. In reality he was taken by the Egyptians and he became the savoir of those Gentiles and, in the end, the savoir of his brethren as well. When his brothers came to Egypt for food, they didn’t even recognize him. However, Joseph learned that there was another born to his father after he was seen as dead. The very youngest son’s name was Benjamin. You can read about how he ended up revealing himself to his brethren and becoming their savior in the flesh.
However, the Apostle Paul, the man that was not seen at this time in ( Acts ) was a man out of the ( Tribe of Benjamin ). ( Philippians 3:5 ) Circumcised on the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrews of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;
He was also, just like Benjamin, born out of due season. ( 1 Corinthians 15:8 ) And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due season.
In the picture, as we watch it unfold in ( Genesis ) you will notice that the Gentiles are actually saved first. It’s because of Joseph’s insight and wisdom that they have, even enough to feed Israel.
Now, let’s get back to the Church. Although the gospel was preached to the Jew first. When those Jews become saved they are members of the Church. As this whole picture unfolds, even to the coming of Christ to receive his bride in the rapture, it’s the Gentiles that are saved first, as being ( the Church ). Once that takes place, Jesus Christ also become the savoir of Israel, destroying their enemies with the word of his mouth. ( Revelation 19:21 ). At that time Jesus Christ set up his Kingdom, with his people, Israel.
I like this verse of Scripture and, I always think about it when I’m speaking of this. ( Zechariah 13:6 ) And one shall say unto him, what are these wounds in thine hands? Then shall he answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.
Jesus Christ told his disciples this ( John 10:16 ) And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one sheperd.
Those other sheep are the Gentiles. The Church which has just begun will also have that fold within it. The Jews, at that time could not see that fold. Just as Joseph didn’t know he had a younger brother ( Benjamin ), thet didn’t know the Gentiles would be brought into their fold. The Apostle Paul is the ( Apostle to the Gentiles ) ( Ephesians 3:1-7 ). You can read those verses and see what I’m saying.
THe power of God is just beginning to be seen. Although it has its beginning in the Nation of Israel, on the ( Day of Pentecost ) it will reach to every man upon the face of this earth. ( Whosoever will ) shall be saved and, the power of the Holy Spirit will live within the heart of every believer.
Within that power, I’d like to make a point here or, expound on one that has already been made. Do you remember these believers making this statement? ( Acts 4:20 ) ( For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard. )
Within that statement lies the power of the Holy Spirit. Look at this verse: ( John 9:25 ) He answered and said, whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, wheresas I was blind, now I see.If you will read this whole account you will see that Jesus had made clay and anointed this man’s eyes. This man gained his sight. He was in the village shouting it from the housetops with joy. The religious people were trying to belittle what had been done saying that Jesus was evil or things of that sort. This man had limited knowledge of Jesus Christ. However, he proclaimed, ( I was blind but, now I see ).
When a person allows the Spirit of God to move into his being. When the Holy Spirit begins to speak through a body of flesh; it’s not the knowledge or, how much we know that matters; it’s the willingness to share the few things we do know. Therein is the power of God revealed. When a person is born again, he or shes knows that there is something different within them. As they begin to share that change to others they might well be questioned about how much they know. They can say exactly the same thing the blind man said, ( this one thing I know, I was lost but, now I’m saved. That might be limited in knowledge but it’s very powerful words when led by God’s Spirit in power. Consider this: today the average Church member will tell you ( they hope they go to heaven ). They never say to sinners: ( this one thing I know ) ( I was lost but now I’m saved ). Can you see where the power of God is? No doubt, no hesitation. I”m saved, born again, great confidence in Jesus Christ and his finished work.
There’s power in knowing. I know what I seen, I know what I heard. I know I am saved. I know what I was and, what I am now. What can we glean from all of this? The true power of God is in the faith that what he says he will do. Can you see how what I said about Joseph, his brethren and Benjamin? How it might have been hard to see at that time but it can be seen now by those that seek to know? What the Old Testament concealed, the New Testament reveals. By faith, the children of Israel look for the coming Messiah. By sight they could see these things now. And, by the power of God, they hadn’t seen it all yet. They haven’t even met the Apostle Paul yet.
As you look at what is happening to the new believers here, can you see a picture of new birth? That as to a new born babe? The the new born Church, God is feeding them with what it takes to make them strong. What it takes to bring them to the point that they can walk by faith and not by sight. As far as the Church is concerned, at some point in the future it will have to be by faith, all together faith.
The Apostle Paul made this point to the Corinthians. ( 1 Corinthians 3:1-2 ) And, I , brethren could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. ( 2 ) I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.
The power of God rests in our ability to grow spiritually. The new born Church has to be able to do so. The point I’m trying to make is that, what we see in the first; basically eight chapters of ( the book of Acts ) is the new Church being given things that helps them to become strong in faith. However, as we move foward the menu will change, so to speak and, they will be required to live by faith and not by sight. When we refuse to grow up, either physically or spiritually we can be seen as carnal. We live in our flesh, satisfy our flesh and not our spirt man.
If you will look at the picture I tried to paint in the Old Testament ( Genesis ). The very youngest son ( Benjamin ) is where the power is. He was born right after Joseph, a type of Jesus Christ. We, as members of the Church, the body of Christ are born after Christ. He being the first born of the resurrection. Just as the powerof God was never seen in Israel, without God’s spirit; it can never be seen in our flesh either. It is within the second birth that the power of God is revealed. Although all these people were of Israel, they are now being led by God’s spirit to which the power of God is revealed. They, these people, believers in Israel are the very first members of thr newly born Church.
The power of God lives within each person that is willing to allow him to speak. Unless individuals allow the Holy Spirit to speak through their flesh, God’s power is not revealed. It’s not in a nation, not in a Church; that is unless individuals willingly allow God to be seen in them. Did you notice that these individuals went ( from house to house ). They didn’t go ( from house to Church ) or a building. The Church is not a building. It’s an living organism that many have placed in a storage unit we call a Church building.
The power of God is within each born again believer and, we must allow him to be seen above all. As we go through the next few ( verses ) ( chapters ) just remember; God, by his Spirit is feeding his Church baby food and that body is gaining strength to evangelize the world. Remember, they don’t have the written New Testament yet. As we go foward we must forget about our phyical needs and allow the Spirit of God to feed the spiritual needs of each of us and, we can spiritually feed the lost sinners of this world.
The next segment will be: ( Acts 5:17-18 ) THE GROWTH AND POWER CONTINUES )