( Verses 19-20 ) But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth, and said, ( 20 ) Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life.
It’s been a while since I done any teaching in the ( Book of Acts ). I’m happy that I now have time to teach a little more about the beginning of what we call the Church. If you read the last lesson, you seen that the Apostles were thrown into prison because of their teaching about Jesus Christ and, the fact that he was crucified, then raised from the dead. They also announced to this world that he was the savoir, for the forgiveness of their sin.
We’ll attempt to look at the rest of this chapter in this lesson and, point out some differences that ( I believe ) occurred even by the end of the ( Book of Acts ). I truly believe that understanding the spiritual groweth of ( the Church ) from its infancy and, why God the Father, by the Holy Spirit allowed things to happened is paramount in our ability to grow to spiritual maturity even today.
As we look at ( verse 19 ) we see that the angel of the Lord went into the prison where the Apostles were being held and, the Bible says ( he opened the prison doors, and brought them forth ). He also told them to go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of life.
When we look at these two verses, we see what God can do, what he has the power and ability to do. When men believe that they have power, they are badly mistaken, even in the religious world. Notice, the Apostles had nothing to do with this. In this, event we see no mention of anyone praying for their release or even expecting it. However, if we look ahead a few chapters what do we see? ( Acts 12:5 ) Peter therefore was kept in prison; but prayer was made without ceasing of the Church unto God for him.
We won’t speak to much about this until later but, we see here that a little more responsibility is slowly being given to the Church. In ( chapter 12 ) the responsibilities of Apostle Peter are slowly changing and, we will began to see more of the Apostle Paul as the leader of the Church. As we watch the Apostle Paul, we will also see him in prison but the angel of The Lord never helps him to escape.
Also, if we look at ( Hebrews 11:32-40 ) taking special notice of ( verse 38 ) ( Of whom the world was not worthy: ) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and cave of the earth. Also,, if we read in the next two chapters of Acts we see a man named Stephen that was stoned to death for his stand for Christ. notice, the angel of the Lord didn’t save him from death, why?
In the process of time, according to secular history; all the Apostles would suffer, even die for their stand for Christ, even ( John the Revelator ) was exiled on an island. What we need to understand as we go through this is that ( the Apostles ) are laying a foundation for the Church. The Church, even today is built upon that foundation. ( 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 being the chief corner stone; ( 21 ) In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto a holy temple in the Lord: ( 22 ) In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
If we go back to the gospels and follow the life of Jesus Christ; we can see that he was protected against those that sought to kill him until the time; when God ordained for him to die on the cross. That foundation was an important part of the construction of ( the Church ). The Apostles, their lives, even their freedom, their ability to share the gospel as they knew it to the people was an important part of the foudation of the Church. In other words, the religious people or, even the enemies of the cross could not stop God’s plan. These men were not going to be killed or, inprisoned until God was finished with them.
You might asked; then why did Stephen have to die? God used his death to draw conviction on a man called ( Saul ). In the sense of ( worthiness ) although Stephen was not one of ( the Twelve ); his life and, death, his stand for Christ was a very important part of the unfolding and growing of the Church. The question might be. just how much are we, today willing to pay for the salvation of souls? Do we value our worldly bodies too much to offer it to be used for God’s glory?
Just how far can we take this? As we go through the rest of this chapter we’ll see that God didn’t send them out to an obscure place to preach. He sent them right back to the temple. They didn’t hide from the religious people of that day. God wanted it to be known that he was the one that set them free, he was the one that told them where to go and, he was going to protect them against any enemy. In other words, God stuck himself right in front of their face, He let them know; this is my Church and I’m going to lay the foundation for it whether you like it or not.
You can read the rest of this chapter and study it out but, I’d like to make a couple of comments before we answer the question; ( how far can we take this )? We see that once the council knew that the Apostle Peter was speaking in that temple again and, that no one knew how they got out of prison; they were, once again brought back before the council. The Apostle Peter is still preaching the same message. Within that message he is saying that it’s not them he is suppose to yield but, his responsibility is to God the Father.
In the last part of this chapter we see a man called ( Gamaliel ). He is a ( doctor of the law ) and he had a reputation among all the people. This man, speaking to the council makes the point that there have been other people that; evidently stood against the council and both of these perished and the people were scattered, their work came to nought. He says to just leave them alone. He also says a profound statement. If we fight against them, we will be seen as fighting against God, if this is of man, it will come to nought but, if it’s of God, we can’t overthrow it anyway.
It says that they beat the Apostles after they agreed with Gamaliel. They also, once again told them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. The apostles left the council rejoicing becauce the were counted worthy to suffer for the name of Christ. Now, look at this. It says they were daily in the temple and, in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.
I’d like to focus on ( the Temple ) and what happened within that Temple. Who was the owner of the temple? Common sense would say that the high priest and his people were part of the temple. However, we see that the council did not stop the Apostles from coming into the Temple and preaching what ( they believed ) to be truth. This went on daily.
So, to whom did the Temple belong? And, who controlled what was said within that temple? My point is this; how does that compare to ( what we call ) our Churches today? Is your local Church seen as a place that is open to various spiritual points of view or, is diverse spiritual points held back? We often speak harshly about the religious leaders of that day and, maybe we should but, they, under wise council at least allowed a completely different point of view to be heard within the Temple.
Personally, I believe that the high priest completely recognized to whom the Temple belonged. If you will notice; Gamaliel said, we will be found to work against God. Our Churches today ( indirectly ) without even knowing it, are not seen as owned by God. The are seen as owned by the people or, a religiuos organization or, sometimes; even the pastor.
Consider! If we trust the leadership of God as granted us by his Holy Spirit that lives within each born again believer then, what would there be to fear if a person was allowed to speak, even false doctrine in a local Church? Do we trust the Holy Spirit or not? Gamaliel understood that, whether he liked what was being said or not, they should not fight against God.
As time has moved foward from those days, the very power of God has been shut out of our Churches. Most of the members of our Churches would be afraid if he actually were allowed in. God, in his wisdom seen this coming. ( 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 most cases, this simply goes without being recognized. Look at these verses ( Revelation 3:17 ) Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; AND KNOWEST NOT THAT THOU ART WRETCHED, AND MISERABLE, AND POOR, AND BLIND, AND NAKED: ( 18 ) I councel thee to by of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich, and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
( 2Peter 1:9-10 ) But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. ( 10 ) Wherefore the rather, brethren, GIVE DILIGENCE TO MAKE YOUR CALLING AND ELECTION SURE: FOR IF YE DO THESE THINGS, YE SHALL NEVER FALL: ( 11 ) For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
In both of these books ( Revelation ) and ( 2 Peter ) the verses are leaving doubt whether their salvation is real or not. Although neither one of these authors brings judgment upon the Church members, it is a question that needs to be answered by those that allow the very Spirit of God to be kept out of the house of God.
I hope I can make myself clear here. You see, when I say that Gamaliel understood the ownership of the Temple; I mean he knew that basically, any person that desires to share God’s word within that Temple had the right to do so. It’s all about hearing from God and not from men. Way back in the 1500’s I understand that often three or four men with different spiritual mindsets would speak each week on different days in the same Church. When we fast foward that until today, our religious mindsets have become so mainstream that any person that seeks to stray, even toward to word of God or, the Holy Spirit of God cannot even speak in our local Churches.
Therefore, the religious mindset of our Church leaders today is far worse that they were right after the ( Day Of Pentecost ). I’ve often made this statement: if you put five people on a T.V. program for an half hour, all with different religious mindsets. Give each three minutes to say whatever they choose to say. The person that is filled with God’s Spirit will always overpower the rest. The people that are listening will feel the convicting power as ( The Spirit of God speaks ) not the man.
Without many people ( Church members ) understanding it, that is what is being ( held back ) in our Churches. The people they pick to speak will always have the very same religious mindset. That protects all that ( they think ) they have.
I’m going to share this story and I’ll close out ( chapter five ). They tell me that any camel can drink enough water to cross any dessert. I can’t prove that but, this is the story. The problem is; the man riding that camel can’t. He needs water. The man has control of the camel because of the bridle he has on his head. That camel has a big ugly nose. If the man riding that camel will simply drop the reins and allow the camel to go where he chooses then, that camel will stick that big ugly nose up in the air and he’ll find water for that man.
The leaders of our Churches has control of the reins. The point of the story is that they need to drop the reins and allow the Spirit of God to take conrol. The water of the Spirit of God will begin to flow and salvation will be real once again.
The next segment ( Acts 6 ) The problems start!
2 Timothy !:7