ACTS 5:17-18

Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, ( which is the sect os the Sadducees, ) and were filled with indignation. ( 18 ) And laid their hands on the Apostles, and put them in the common prison.

THE GROWTH AND POWER CONTINUES

As we continue our study in Acts, starting with these two verses, notice here that the high priest and, all that were with him ( being the sect of the Sadducees ) rose up in ( indignation ). This word means ( anger or annoyance provoked by what is perceived as unfair treatment ). As we look at this verse, we see that the high priest was surrounding himself with the sect of the Sadducees. The best I can understand the Sadducees were involved in the politics, social events and religious part of Israel. Most of them were also business owners and fairly wealthy.

Would you mind explaining to me why the high priest would surround himself with these people? What was the responsibility of the High priest under to Old Testament economy? One of the first things I noticed about the Sadducees was that they did not believe or, they were not looking for a Messiah. I would say that the high priest, being the spiritual leader of the Old Testament and, knowing that the coming of the Messiah was anounced in the Old Testament could be considered an oxcymoron. How can those two things go together?

At this time in Biblical history and now, in our time in Biblical history much of the higharchy in our religious world has more to do with money, influence and politics than it has to do with the leadership of the Holy Spirit. When I say politics, I referring to the politics within the religious realm and not so much the politics of the world. However, many times and, in different ways they do clash just as they did in the days of Jesus Christ and the beginning of the Church.

When I write and teach I often try to relate the events of those days to what we see today. We see in the gospels a man called ( John the Baptist ). He was a forerunner of Jesus Christ. He preached ( prepared ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight ). He was the voice, only voice speaking of the coming Messiah. My point being, the religious people were concermed about the legal aspects of how people lived. They were interested in carrying out judgement on any that didn’t abide by their interpretation of the law, they never talked about the coming of the messiah. A lot of the people in Israel knew about his coming because they had studied and, were even expecting him. But, the religious leaders didn’t push that well known event in their religious ceremonies.

Do we not see somewhat the same thing today? If you are a member of a conventional Church, main stream denomination, when is the last time you heard a message devoted expressly to the rapture of the Church, instructing people to prepare for that day? Are we, in general more concerned about the social, political aspects of our Churches? Can you see how things, such as Sunday School quarterlys and religious teaching material, even for pastors set the agenda for the average Church and what they teach?

What was happening outside the control of the high priest and, those that followed him was, they had no control of what was being taught. The Messiah was being exhalted and, the message of his return was being spread abroad. Their desire was to stop that message and regain control of the people.

Let’s consider something here. What Adam lost in the Garden of Eden, Jesus Christ won back on the Cross of Calvary. In the Garden of Eden, God’s desire was to come down in the cool of the day and to commune with Adam. His desire was to have fellowship with man. If we take that a step farther; not only did he desire to fellowship with man but, he also desired for man to have the desire to fellowship with him simply because he desired to, not because he had to.

Therefore, God gave Adam ( a Law ) as in one law. He also gave him a help meet. Her name was Eve. Just to keep it short, they being one failed to keep the law. When we speak of having fellowship with God, it always has to be on his terms, In other words, the law had to be obeyed, if not God could not fellowship with man. In the terms of being born again, it’s not the believer that keeps that law but, our faith is in the ( Righteousness of Jesus Christ ).

From the time Adam fell in Eden until Jesus Christ God spoke to man through prophets. Or, he spoke to individuals and those individuals conveyed God’s message to his people. The problem with that system was then and, is now,men are frail and people won’t listen to man. That is even if what the man says is what God relays to him. In that system, it still has to be the desire of a person to surrender his will to God the Father. However, in that system men have to believe that another man is saying; is what God told him to say. This was what the high priest and sadducees were clinging to. Their desire was for the people to listen to and obey them. They wanted the people to believe that they were saying what God told them to say.

What has transpired is that on the day of Pentecost, every born again believer now has the Spirit of God within them. This means that the high priest and Sadducees have lost their power. The whole religious world has lost its power.

Now, even today we don’t have to take any man’s word for what God the Father says, he now lives within us and can direct our path without the aid of man. When men or people are willing to be used of God’s Spirit then we all might grow thereby but, we also have the ability to seek truth, to discern for ourselves what is right and wrong in a spiritual sense. It’s not left to a physical high priest, pastor or teacher to guide us.

Without being judgemental, as we look in ( verse 18 ) evidently the high priest, and they that were with him didn’t understand this. They thought they could lock the apostles up in prison and that would end the problem. However, not only was God’s Spirit upon them but, upon every believer.

The point is that when it comes to God’s will and how we find it, deception is real and, for a multitude of reasons. Most of which has to do with power and greed. There are many people that are caught up in that deception today just as it was in those days. I want you to look at this verse just to make a point. ( Acts 19:2 ) And he said uno them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, we have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.

( I believe ) this is a part of what is being taught today. It’s not axactly the same and, I’ll try to explain why. If you will study ( Acts 19 ) at least what is being said here, you will see that these disciples were ( disciples of John ). John was the forerunner of Jesus Christ. He preached, prepare ye the way of the Lord. Therefore, all the people that believed his message believed that Jesus Christ was the coming Messiah. However, each of them still needed to be filled with God’s Spirit. That act began on the day of Pentecost. We see in this chapter that they gladly received the Holy Ghost.

In essence, when the people began to believe the message of John the Baptist, the high priest and those that followed him were beginning to lose control. The straw that broke the camel’s back was the dispensation of the Holy Ghost. But if they can keep the people from having that Spirit then, they still have a certain amount of control.

We see that same mindset today. I’ll even go out on a limb and say that there are many pastors and teachers that are caught up in it and don’t even know it. That’s because of an upper religious class of leaders that are pushing a false religion for fame and money. They have a worldly influence that is hard to detect.

Satan is a great imitator. He seeks to be exactly like Jesus Christ simply to deceive people. 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.

I realize that what I’m about to say is not popular. However, it needs to be considered. There is a ( Christian religion ). It teaches about Jesus Christ and, even reads God’s word. The problem is; it is void of the power and convicting power of the Holy Spirit. It basically does everything that a true Church does and, it’s so close to the real thing that many get caught up in it, believing they are saved but, with great doubt.

For instance; a person goes down to an alter, they say they believe in Jesus Christ, they get baptized and join Church. If you ask them if they are saved? They’ll say yes but, if you push that issue with; are you going to heaven when you die? All they have, no matter how many years they’ve been saves is ( I hope so ). I realize that we always will have people that are saved and might have doubt about it. But, I’m also convinced that there is a false teaching within a lot of Churches that never teach the aspect of the true power of God unto salvation. This teaching draws me to my knees and drives me to write about this deception.

The greatest problem with this is the fact that, if we are deceived, we still stand before God alone. It is the responsibility of each person to ( make their calling and election sure. ( 2 Peter 1:10 ). Once we die and, being deceived about salvation, if we go to hell, it doesn’t matter where your pastor is, it won’t help you one way or the other.

The religious people of that day sought to stop the movement of the Holy Ghost. Why? Because they wanted power and all the control. They didn’t want to lose that. If you think those people are not here now then, my friend, you are deceived!

Again, I desire that you put thought into what I’m about to say. The teaching that ( believing in ) Jesus Christ is salvation is only part true. That’s not all it is to salvation. I’ll try to explain that in a little while. In Israel, the religious leaders wanted the Jews to think that ( keeping their law ) was ( being right with God ). That also was not true then and, is not true now.

If Satan can devise a system where people believe that simply ( believing in ) Jesus Christ is salvation then, he’s got those people. Look at this verse: Acts 5:18 ) And laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison. Compare that verse to this one: ( Revelation 3:20 ) Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

In ( Acts 5 ) they sought to stop it by locking the apostles up in prison. It didn’t stop it. Now, in our day, they simply lock Jesus out of the Church. That being the Holy Spirit. In other words, Jesus is there in name only, not in power, the power to save to the uttermost is not present.

In ( Acts 5 ) the phrase was used ( the high priest and those that were with him ). Today we can change that to ( the religious Jesus and, those that push him ). In either case, they don’t mind what is taught or said, even using the name of Jesus; as long as their is no transforming power present. All of these people can say they believe in Jesus Christ. Judas Ascariot believed in Jesus Christ, where is he today?

Now, we can show a lot there concerning Jesus Christ and what he teaches about salvation. We can see it here in Acts and, we can also go back to ( John ) as see what Jesus is teaching about true salvation.

We must have the transforming power of the Holy Spirit along with our belief in the finished work of Jesus Christ to experience true salvation. Jesus could see this and, even taught it in ( John 6:53 ) Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you. Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.

You can read this whole account here but, what’s he saying? These Jews, just like their fathers before them were very happy to be fed with physical food but, basically none of them could see any need to change anything about themselves, they were very content just to have God look after them. If God, grants you your every wish from the day you are born until you die then, what happens once you are dead? Life actually begins at your transformation from what and, who you are into what Jesus Christ causes you to be once salvation is real. Without you, being willing to give up who you are and, become trnsformed into what God desires you to be the, ( you have no life in you ).

As we look in ( Acts 5 ) we see the transformation that Jesus talked about in ( John 6 ) slowly being understood, possibly by some of the same people that couldn’t see it then. In ( Acts 6 ) we still see some physical things taking place however, these people now have the Spirit of God within them. Spiritual growth is taking place. Although the apostles are locked in prison the people that are not locked up are doing things that pertain to the power of God.

Now, let’s look at what happened to the apostles and try and find a spiritual connection to what we see physically. ( Verse 18 ) And laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison.

When we consider what Jesus said and sought to teach in ( John 6 ) and what is now happening in ( Acts 5 ); I’m reminded of this verse: ( John 6:45 ) It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.

The need of spiritual teachers is real. When you consider any person receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and, understanding all about it without it coming with a teacher to help in the growing process, it’s almost unheard of. For anyone to simply pick up a Bible, begin reading, understand their need to be saved and, within their personal study, understand the teaching of the Holy Spirit is a tough call.

Therefore, although God’s true desire is for each of us to grow to the place we don’t need to be taught by man, the cradle of spiritual growth begins with spirit filled men, such as the apostles. Although each person had God’s spirit in them, God placed the apostles there for a reason.

When the high priest and ( the people with him ) locked the apostles in the common prison, it handicapped the growth of those babes in Christ. How many pastors and teachers today are ( locked in a common prison ) just in a different way? In any Church setting, if that happens, it will hinder the spiritual growth of the people, maybe even deceive them into thinking they are saved when they are not.

As we tie this verse to our lives today, this is what we see? The high priest and, ( those that were with him ). Let’s stop here for a minute. This must be understood. People do not have a will of their own, although we like to think we do. There is no middle ground, You are either led by God’s Spirit or the spirit of antichrist. Therefore, when we use the term ( high priest ) but he is led by the wrong spirit, it’s the same as saying ( the spirit of antichrist ). ( All that are with him are led by that same spirit ).

like I’ve stated before. The high priest desired for the people just to listen to and, be led by him. Is it not the same picture when we allow literature to be sent to every Church from the same place? When the pastor and all the teachers are using and saying basically the same thing? When this happens, the pastors and the teachers are locked in a common prison. The people suffer because of this fact.

I also think of the man with one talent we I say these things. We read this account in ( Matthew 25:14-30 ). In this scripture we see where men are given talents. The man with one talent went and hid it, never using it. Therefore when his lord returned he had not gained anything.

I see that mindset in our mainstream denominations today. It’s like we are afraid to be seen as wrong and, we would rather take someone elses word, calling that truth rather than to take the chance of being wrong. We preach, pre- prepared messages and use Sunday School books to teach what others believe to be true or, at least what they say.

What’s so bad about being spiritually wrong if, when we learn truth we are willing to correct what we said? Isn’t that education? The learning process? God the father would much rather me teach error but, have a mindset to know truth than, to never search for truth at all. God desire is to speak to each of us, create controversy in the persuit of truth. ( Isaiah 1:18 ) Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

The true power of God is within his ability to teach, commune with each believer, to reason with me and you about ourselves. We see this plainly in ( Acts 5 ). These people were turning their backs on what they had been taught and were now willing only to allow God to speak to them.

Consider this; a lot of these people, having possessions sold them and gave their money to the apostles. Wonder why they didn’t do that to the high priest? The reason is, what they believed to be true leadership. Were they correct when they made that move? No they weren’t and, they will soon find it out. Growing spiritually in power is a growing process, it takes time and, we learn often though our mistakes. The apostles were not right to take the money and, the people were not right in the offering of it. However, they all grew spiritually because of their actions which was a great benefit to them all.

As I close this segment out, consider this; whether they were right or wrong, whether they act in ignorance or with complete understanding, they willingly done all they did to carry the gospel of Jesus Christ foward to the next generation. The question would be now, what are you, as a believer willing to sacrifice that it might move foward?

The next segment will be ( Acts 5: 19 ) and beyond. I love taking simple verses and building spiritual metaphors with what is being said. As I teach, you see what you think.

Marshall Clayton

2 Timothy 1:7

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