DISCIPLES OF JESUS MINISTRY

Where He leads us we will follow

Acts1:1-11

Act 1:1 IN THE former account [which I prepared], O Theophilus, I made [a continuous report] dealing with all the things which Jesus began to do and to teach.
Act 1:2 Until the day when He ascended, after He through the Holy Spirit had instructed and commanded the apostles (special messengers) whom He had chosen.
Act 1:3 To them also He showed Himself alive after His passion (His suffering in the garden and on the cross) by [a series of] many convincing demonstrations [unquestionable evidences and infallible proofs], appearing to them during forty days and talking [to them] about the things of the kingdom of God.
Act 1:4 And while being in their company and eating with them, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem but to wait for what the Father had promised, Of which [He said] you have heard Me speak.
Act 1:5 For John baptized with water, but not many days from now you shall be baptized with placed in, introduced into) the Holy Spirit.
Act 1:6 So when they were assembled, they asked Him, Lord, is this the time when You will reestablish the kingdom and restore it to Israel?
Act 1:7 He said to them, It is not for you to become acquainted with and know what time brings [the things and events of time and their definite periods] or fixed years and seasons (their critical niche in time), which the Father has appointed (fixed and reserved) by His own choice and authority and personal power.
Act 1:8 But you shall receive power (ability, efficiency, and might) when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be My witnesses in Jerusalem and all Judea and Samaria and to the ends (the very bounds) of the earth.
Act 1:9 And when He had said this, even as they were looking [at Him], He was caught up, and a cloud received and carried Him away out of their sight.
Act 1:10 And while they were gazing intently into heaven as He went, behold, two men [dressed] in white robes suddenly stood beside them, Act 1:11 Who said, Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing into heaven? This same Jesus, Who was caught away and lifted up from among you into heaven, will return in [just] the same way in which you saw Him go into heaven. (AMP)
The Acts of the Apostles written by Luke is about the Acts of the Apostles after the Lord's ascension into heaven. The first few verses though are about the words of Jesus prior to his ascension. See, how Luke refers to his former account, here he is referring to the Gospel of Luke.

There is some uncertainty as to just who Theophilus is. Barnes states in his commentary on Luke1:3.The word Theophilus means “a friend of God,” or a pious man; and it has been suggested by some that Luke did not refer to any particular “individual,” but to any man that loved God; but there is no reason for this opinion. Significant names were very common, and there is no good reason to doubt that this was some individual known to Luke. The application of the title “most excellent “proves it further.This could have been a man thought to be worthy or of some official rank.

The treatise here addresses this book to Theophilus and he would remember the ascension from Luke's Gospel So in v.2 we find Luke mentions the Lord being taken up.

In the last verses of Luke’s Gospel, he had told Theophilus that immediately prior to His Ascension, the Lord Jesus had promised His disciples that they would be baptized with the Holy Spirit (Luke 24:48–53). So in verse 2 Luke takes the reader back to the starting point of the promise of the Holy Spirit

Luk 24:49 And behold, I will send forth upon you what My Father has promised; but remain in the city [Jerusalem] until you are clothed with power from on high. (AMP)

The power from on high was none other than the Holy Spirit himself.
In Acts Luke carries on recording what Jesus did, by recording the things that Jesus continued to do and teach through the Holy Spirit after His Ascension.

V3. Passion: πάσχω, πάθω, πένθω
paschō pathō penthō
pas'-kho, path'-o, pen'-tho
Apparently a primary verb (the third form used only in certain tenses for it); to experience a sensation or impression (usually painful): - feel, passion, suffer, vex. (Strongs)

The Passion is the suffering our Lord endured for us when He died for us.

The confirmation that Jesus is alive could be seen . . . by many convincing demonstrations: The resurrection of Christ is foundational to Christianity. The kingdom of God, the divine rule in human hearts, lives, and situations, was a prominent theme in Jesus’ teaching. Jesus began to do and teach the kingdom through the Spirit’s power (Luke 4:18, 19), and here there is that sense of anticipation for He is about to transfer that power and responsibility to His disciples by baptizing them in the same Spirit that had authorized His ministry. Wow, can you imagine the excitement the disciples must have had as they tarried in Jerusalem. In the last 50 days or so, their Lord had died and risen again from the grave. They had met then with their risen Lord, who had promised them power from the Holy Spirit, then the Lord had ascended but remember He was not leaving them alone for the Spirit was to come.. Imagine too what it must have been like for the disciples at the time of the resurrection when they first set eyes on Jesus. This makes me think of a day when we shall see Him face to face.


The disciples are still seeing the messianic kingdom in terms of political power. The disciples had just asked a question about when Jesus would restore the kingdom to Israel (v. 6). As can be seen in the actions of many people in the gospels, most people did not have the concept of a second coming of Jesus to establish the physical kingdom of God on earth. They believed the first advent of the Messiah and the establishment of the kingdom would happen at the same time.
Jesus didn't directly answer their question but rather stated that the time that would take place was in the Father's control. Jesus had said that not even Himself or the angels knew the day and the hour of this event (Mk. 13:32). So here Jesus' answers his disciples, speaking of knowing the time of His second coming as being something only the Father knew.
With the Holy Spirit certain things have been put under the disciples' power and He proceeds to speak of them as being His witnesses. The power to witness of the gospel to others has been given to us, the disciples of Jesus, and is not under God's direct control. We should not plead with God to save someone and sit back doing nothing. God has done His part and now we must do ours. God will not preach the gospel for us. Not even angels are allowed to preach the gospel for us (Acts 10:3-5). The Holy Spirit empowers us to be witnesses. It is not by God's choosing that some have still not heard the gospel. It is because you and I have not been the faithful witnesses we should be.
The Greek word used for "power" is "dunamis" and means miraculous power. This dunamis power speaks of the presence and anointing of the Holy Spirit as being the power source in a believer's life.
It was this ‘dunamis’ anointing power of the Holy Spirit that worked miracles in the life of Jesus. This is the same anointing power that comes upon believers and we can expect to see it accomplish the same miraculous works , indeed even greater miracles than Jesus did (Jn. 14:12) if we will only believe. Folks we are called to be witnesses and to reach the people throughout this World for Christ, wherever God places us or sends us, we can’t do that in our strength, it just doesn’t work. We need to come thirsty and constantly drink of the living waters the Holy Spirit provides, and gather strength and power from the Holy Spirit.

Zec 4:6 b : Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' Says the LORD of hosts.(NKJV)

Quote:
1:8 Christ’s Final Charter and Promise, WORLD EVANGELISM. In five NT references, Jesus directly charges His disciples to go and preach the gospel to all the world (Matt. 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-18; Luke 24:45-48; John 20:21-23; Acts 1:8). Here His Great Commission is preceded by His promise of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Empowerment for world evangelism is tied inseparably to this promise. There is obvious need for power if people are to fully perceive the gospel. But prior to that, another issue awaits resolution. The Spirit has come to convince us to go. We need power to serve effectively, to heal the sick, and to deliver those possessed of unclean spirits. But let us first receive the Holy Spirit’s first anointing—power to act—to go. Then, He will give 1) power to find the lost; 2) authority to boldly declare Jesus as the Son of God; and 3) power to establish His church—locally and worldwide. The intended borders of expansion are clear: Jerusalem (local), Judea (national), Samaria (cross-cultural) and “the end of the earth” (international). Jesus’ last earthly command points to His power and His pathways for global evangelism.
Spirit Filled Bible.





V9. refers to Jesus being taken up ascending into heaven in the clouds, let's just think again what it must have been like for the disciples who watched the ascension, it would be a spectacular event to watch yet it is described here “He was caught up, and a cloud received and carried Him away out of their sight.”

v10 Look and see in this verse we don’t find an expression of shocked surprise, Luke tells us of appearance of two men ... in white apparel. These were obviously angelic beings who were enabled to appear on earth in the form of men. Some commentators say it is possible they were were the same angels who appeared at the tomb following the resurrection (Luke 24:4)

Quote:
1:11 The angels first addressed the disciples as men of Galilee. As far as we know, all the disciples except Judas Iscariot came from the region west of the Sea of Galilee.
Then the angels awoke them from their reverie, as they looked into heav en. Why were they gazing up into heaven? Was it sorrow, or worship, or wonder? Doubtless it was a mixture of all three, though primarily sorrow. So a word of comfort was given. The ascended Christ would come again.
Here we have a clear promise of the Lord’s Second Advent to set up His kingdom on the earth. It is not the Rapture, but the coming to reign that is in view.

1. He ascended from the Mount of Olives (v. 12).
1. He will return to the Mount of Olives (Zech. 14:4).
2. He ascended personally.
2. He will return personally (Mal. 3:1).
3. He ascended visibly.
3. He will return visibly (Matt. 24:30).
4. He was received up in a cloud (v. 9).
4. He will come on the clouds of heaven (Matt. 24:30).
5. He ascended gloriously.
5. He will return with great power and great glory (Mt. . 24:30).


MacDonald, W., & Farstad, A. 1997, c1995. Believer's Bible Commentary

Quote:

Act 1:11 - Which also said, ye men of Galilee,.... And which was said by them, not to reproach them with their country, but partly to let them know that they knew them, who they were, and from whence they came; and partly to observe the rich and distinguishing grace of God in choosing such mean and contemptible persons to be the apostles of Christ, and eyewitnesses of his majesty: why stand ye gazing up into heaven? reproving them for their curiosity in looking after Christ with their bodily eyes, who was no more in common to be seen this way, but with an eye of faith; and for their desire after his corporeal presence, which they were not to look for; and as if they expected he would return again immediately, whereas his return will not be till the end of the world: and besides, they were not to remain on that spot, or stand gazing there; they were to go to Jerusalem, and abide there, as Christ had ordered, till they should receive the Holy Spirit in an extraordinary way; and then they were to preach a crucified Christ, and declare that he was risen from the dead, and was gone to heaven, and was ordained to be the Judge of quick and dead,

This same Jesus; and not another; the same in person, in body and soul:
which is taken up from you into heaven; who was taken up in a cloud out of their sight, and received into heaven, where he will be till the times of the restitution of all things; and which might be matter of grief to them, because of the loss of his bodily presence; though it should have been rather joyful to them, since he was gone to the Father, and as their forerunner, to prepare a place, and make intercession for them:
shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven; he shall come in the same flesh, in the same human nature; he shall come in the clouds of heaven, and shall be attended with his mighty angels, as he now was; he shall descend himself in person, as he now ascended in person; and as he went up with a shout, and with the sound of a trumpet, see Psa_47:5 so he shall descend with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and the trump of God; and, it may be, he shall descend upon the very spot from whence he ascended; see Zec_14:4 and it is a notion of the Jews, that the resurrection of the Israelites will be there: they say that "when the dead shall live, the Mount of Olives shall be cleaved asunder, and all the dead of Israel shall come out from under it; yea, even the righteous which die in captivity shall pass through a subterranean cavern, and come out from under the Mount of Olives. Gill's Commentary



The event mentioned in verse 11 is clearly referring to the second coming rather than the rapture for He would return in like manner as He did at the time of the ascension.

Acts1:12-17

Act 1:12 Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day's journey.
Act 1:13 And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James.
Act 1:14 These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.
Act 1:15 And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,)
Act 1:16 Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus.
Act 1:17 For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry. (KJV)


1:12 In Luke 24:52 the disciples returned to Jerusalem with great joy. “Light from the love of God kindled these men’s hearts and made their faces shine in spite of the sea of troubles that surrounded them.”
It was a short trip of about three quarters of a mile from the mount called Olivet, down through the Kidron Valley, and up to the city. This was the greatest distance a Jew might travel on the Sabbath in NT times.
( Believer's Bible Commentary)

Act 1:12-14 -
God can find hiding-places for his people. They made supplication. All God's people are praying people. It was now a time of trouble and danger with the disciples of Christ; but if any is afflicted, let him pray; that will silence cares and fears. They had now a great work to do, and before they entered upon it, they were earnest in prayer to God for his presence. They were waiting for the descent of the Spirit, and abounded in prayer. Those are in the best frame to receive spiritual blessings, who are in a praying frame. Christ had promised shortly to send the Holy Ghost; that promise was not to do away prayer, but to quicken and encourage it. A little company united in love, exemplary in their conduct, fervent in prayer, and wisely zealous to promote the cause of Christ, are likely to increase rapidly.
(Mathhew Henry's concise commentary.)

1:13 Once inside the city, they went up into the upper room where they were staying.
The names of the disciples are listed for the fourth and last time (Matt. 10:2–4; Mark 3:16–19; Luke 6:14–16). But now thereno mention of Judas Iscariot for the traitor ha gone to his doom.

Note also the mention of the women and Mary the mother of Jesus being with the brethern. the disciples were not alone in the upper room, they all came together in prayer and supplication. They were all i one accord.

prayer
proseuchē
pros-yoo-khay'
prayer (worship); by implication an oratory (chapel): - X pray earnestly, prayer.


supplication
deēsis
deh'-ay-sis
a petition: - prayer, request, supplication.

(Strongs)

This is a fine example for us that the disciples and the others show here they come together in prayer at a time when they were surrounded by enemies and they pray with expectation of the coming of the Holy Spirit, they prayed earnestly, though they were trioubled they prayed believing in expectation of the coming of the Holy Spirit., because the Lord had promised them the comforter.(the Holy Spirit)

Joh 16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.


It cannot be emphasized too strongly that unity and prayer were the prelude to Pentecost.

V16 mentions Judas and here we find the prophecy.

Psa 41:9 Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me

The necessity does not at all excuse the sin of Judas, who acted freely from the wickedness of his own heart, and not from any force that this laid upon him: and the apostle might observe this also, to make the minds of the disciples easy, under this awful providence, since it was no other than what was predicted:(Gill's)

Judas had freedom of choice he chose to do this act of his own free will. The thing about Judas is he only knew Jesus as Master, but never as Lord. That is an important distinction, I am glad He is Lord of my life.

The disciples were like sheep among wolves, they were surrounded by enemies yet they spent much time in prayer and supplication. they also had a spirit of expectation that God was going to do great things and they knew the Holy Spirit was coming as promised and were praying in anticipation of that. They knew that they had a work to do for the Lord. We have the Holy Spirit indwelling us, the disciples came together regularly united in prayer, then the Holy spirit came at Pentecost. What happens when revivals occur prayer first, repentant prayer, a yearning for the Lord's Presence and then revival.

Mat 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

Dear Lord and Loving Heavenly Father,
We want to thank you for the Holy Spirit, who draws us closer to Jesus when we give Him Hisbrightful place as lord of our lives, we want to thank you that you have promised to draw near to us as we seek your face, and You fulfil that promise by bringing your very presence right into the midst of those who gather together in prayer. Fill us up till our cups are overflowing with your Holy Spirit Lord, take us right into the river of life and immerse us in Your living waters, make us a powerful force which the enemy can't touch, give us a spirit of unity for we are your church, we are the body and we pray that there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. We thank you Lord for Your wonderful grace and mercy bestowed on us, thank you for the wonderful gift of salvation. May the fruits of the Spirit abound from us and may we move in the gifts of the Spirit and see signs, wonders, and miracles happening in the world around us.. Show us more of Your will for our lives lord, teach us to pray aright and to listen to Your voice, make us a mighty force to be reckoned with empowered for you. Lord, we pray for Revival and may it start right here.

AMEN

Acts1:18-26

Act 1:18 (With the reward he got for his wickedness, Judas bought a field; there he fell headlong, his body burst open and all his intestines spilled out.
Act 1:19 Everyone in Jerusalem heard about this, so they called that field in their language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.)
Act 1:20 "For," said Peter, "it is written in the book of Psalms,
" 'May his place be deserted;
let there be no one to dwell in it, and,
" 'May another take his place of leadership.
Act 1:21 Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus went in and out among us,
Act 1:22 beginning from John's baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection."
Act 1:23 So they proposed two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias.
Act 1:24 Then they prayed, "Lord, you know everyone's heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen
Act 1:25 to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs."
Act 1:26 Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles. NIV.

Those two verses 18 and 19 give us the historical facts concerning Judas.

There isn’t a contradiction between the mode of Judas’ death as given here, and the account found in Matthew 27:3–10. Matthew states that after he had given the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, he went out and hanged himself. The chief priests then took the money and bought a burial ground.
Here in Acts, Luke says that Judas purchased a field with the money, that he fell headlong ... and all his entrails gushed out.
Putting the two accounts together, it would appear that the actual purchase transaction concerning the field was probably arranged by the chief priests. However, Judas bought the field in the sense that it was his money and they merely acted as his agents. He hanged himself on a tree in the cemetery, but the rope probably broke, pitching his body forward and causing it to burst open.

As this incident became known in Jerusalem, the potter’s field came to be called Akel Dama, that is, Field of Blood or “bloody field” in Aramaic.

Luke the Physician's explained Judas's death , then we find that Peter's message continues in verse 20 with reference to Psa 69:25 "Let their dwelling be wasted; let none dwell in their tents". Then he comes to the particular prophecy which must now be fulfilled: “Let another take his office” (Ps. 109:8).

bishoprick
ἐπισκοπή
episkopē
ep-is-kop-ay'
From G1980; inspection (for relief); by implication superintendence; specifically the Christian “episcopate”: - the office of a “bishop”, bishoprick, visitation.


Quote:
Verses 21 and 22 Whoever was to be chosen had to be able to fulfill two requirements:

a) He had to be one who had accompanied the disciples during the three years of Christ’s public ministry from His baptism to His Ascension.

b) He had to be able to testify as a reliable witness to the resurrection of the Lord. (Believer's Bible Commentary)


Two men met those requirements. The apostles prayed for direction in appointing the right man.The apostles committed the matter to the Lord, asking for a revelation of His choice. Then they cast lots and Matthias was indicated as the proper successor to Judas,


lot
κλῆρος
klēros
klay'-ros
Probably from G2806 (through the idea of using bits of wood, etc., for the purpose); a die (for drawing chances); by implication a portion (as if so secured); by extension an acquisition (especially a patrimony, figuratively): - heritage, inheritance, lot, part.

Quote:
Casting of lots was a common practice in the Old Testament. The priests used lots to chose the scapegoat (Lev. 16:8) and to divide the promised land among the twelve tribes of Israel (Num. 26:55; Josh. 14:2).
Solomon wrote in Proverbs that, "The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD" (16:33) and, "The lot causeth contentions to cease, and parteth between the mighty" (18:18).
However, this is the last mention of casting of lots in the scripture. After the coming of the Holy Ghost, direction comes directly from God to the believer through the ministry of the Holy Spirit (Jn. 14:26; Jas. 1:5). (Andrew Womack’s Commentary)


Notice that the disciples prayed before they cast lots to choose the twelvtth disciple, they didn’t just cast lots, they asked God for help. There are some commentators who believe that the disciples should have waited until the Holy Spirit came because we never hear of Mathias again and Paul should have been numbered among the twelve.

Joh 16:13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. NKJV

Acts 2:1-11 PENTECOST

Act 2:1 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
Act 2:2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.
Act 2:3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them.
Act 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
Act 2:5 And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven.
Act 2:6 And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language.
Act 2:7 Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, "Look, are not all these who speak Galileans?
Act 2:8 And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born?
Act 2:9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,
Act 2:10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes,
Act 2:11 Cretans and Arabs--we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God."

This is the biggie; we are going to look at the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Notice that the 120 believers were all together and of one accord, of one mind seeking the outpouring of the Spirit. They had been gathered together in prayerful anticipation that the promised Holy Spirit was to come. It was into this state of expectancy, when the believers were longing after God that the Spirit came on the day of Pentecost. If we want to see a mighty outpouring of the Spirit today we need to see Christians being of one accord and gathering together in prayer. The Holy Spirit gave the disciples new found power and the ability to leave the security of their upper room and head on down into the market place to share the Gospel message of Jesus.

Without the Holy Spirit they dared not move, in fact Jesus told them not to move, they were to be still and wait until the Holy Spirit came. But when the Spirit did come, then they were able to act not in their own strength, but in the power of God. The tasks which were set before them could not be achieved by human beings without empowerment from on High.

Only if God was inside them and around them, supporting them and equipping them, encouraging them and binding them together - as a loving church could they possibly fulfil the command of Jesus to go out and make disciples of all nations.

Acts 2:2-3
Pneuma can mean both wind and spirit; and wind is a symbol of the Spirit's power and also of his invisibility

SO, THE HOLY SPIRIT CAME WITH POWER.

The abundance of power of the Holy Spirit as it was seen at Pentecost is available to us today. Why do we not see the power of the Spirit in action today like they did at Pentecost? Are we really living in the power of the Holy Spirit?
If we really were just think what would be happening today, an abundance of souls being saved, an abundance of miracles happening, revival throughout our Churches, our towns, our cities, throughout our lands.

The tongues as of fire was both a visible and audible supernatural manifestation of the Holy Ghost in addition to the gift of speaking in tongues that accompanied this baptism. This must have been a startling and amazing event to witness. Imagine, what it must have been like to participate in this event or even be a witness to it. This event showed the amazing power of the Spirit. People all around had the ability to speak in foreign languages and share the gospel with listeners.
The Holy Spirit lives, indwells all Believers. So what power is available to us?
What does this convey to us?
"a rushing mighty wind" and
"fire".

The wind of the Spirit is a powerfully strong wind. Both images here suggest vitality, power and elements outside complete human control. We can harness wind power; but not a "driving wind." It can move heavy things around or even tear them down. We can build a fire in the hearth; but that control is illusionary. Don't let a spark escape lest it burn the place down! God is control of the ”Wind” and the “Fire”. The Holy Spirit breathes the wind.

Zech. 4:6, "... not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, says the Lord of hosts."
Mat 3:11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. (NKJV)

Jesus is the baptizer with the Holy Spirit and fire.

This filling of the Holy Ghost was subsequent to their born-again experience. Paul later revealed in Rom. 10:9 that a person had to confess with their mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in their heart that Jesus was raised from the dead before they could be saved. It is possible to be saved and yet not have the baptism of the Holy Spirit that Jesus spoke of.
Joh 7:37 On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.
Joh 7:38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water."
Joh 7:39 But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

Act 1:4 And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, "which," He said, "you have heard from Me;
Act 1:5 for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now."


Since the Holy Spirit is now given and we do not have to tarry for His coming, we can receive salvation and the baptism of the Holy Spirit at the same time, but this is not automatic.
Mat 7:7 "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

Luk 11:13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!"

We must ask and believe for the baptism or to be filled with the Holy Ghost just as we believed for salvation. Speaking in tongues is unique to the Church Age. This is because when a person speaks in tongues, his new born-again spirit is speaking not his mind.

1Co 14:14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful.

Before salvation, our spirit was the part of us that was, "dead in trespasses and sins." Therefore, until we received a new spirit, the Holy Ghost could not give us this supernatural communication with the Father.

2Co 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

This experience was prophesied in Joel.

Joe 2:28 "And it shall come to pass afterward
That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh;
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
Your old men shall dream dreams,
Your young men shall see visions.
Joe 2:29 And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.

The tongues here on the Day of Pentecost were an enabling of believers to speak in known languages, but not those which they themselves knew, this here was so the gospel would spread to the 3,000 present. In 1 Corinthians 13:1. They are called "the tongues of men and of angels." The tongues of men are the known languages which the disciples spoke in here at Pentecost and the tongues of angels, or heavenly languages, are the tongues which all Spirit-filled believers can speak in that Paul was speaking about in 1 Corinthians 12-14.
Quote:
This is the only example of believers speaking in known languages recorded in the Bible. The other instances of speaking in tongues (Acts 8:18 [implied]; Acts 10:45-46; Acts 19:16), were evidently the heavenly languages unknown to men. his speaking in tongues was not as many have envisioned it.
The gift of speaking in tongues is no different than the ministry gifts listed in Ephesians 4:11. A true minister of God is also operating in a supernatural gift when he preaches or teaches. Peter was being used of the Holy Spirit just as much when he preached to this crowd as when he spoke to them in tongues. Yet no one expects him to simply open his mouth and have God supernaturally control it.
The Holy Spirit inspires and anoints a preacher, but the minister's will is still intact and the degree to which the Holy Spirit uses the message is largely dependent on how much the individual yields to His control. This is how it is with speaking in tongues. The Holy Spirit gives the individual the utterance but the individual must exercise his faith to speak (Mk. 16:17) and believe that the result is inspired by God (Lk. 11:9-13).
Failure to understand this one truth has caused many people to ask the Lord for the gift of tongues and then wait for the Lord to supernaturally move their mouth. If nothing happens, they say that the Lord must not want them to speak in tongues or it would have happened.
This is no more true than to say that every person the Lord has called to preach is preaching or every person He has given a prophecy has prophesied. We have to step out in faith. (Andrew Womack’s Commentary.)




ABILITY TO WITNESS WITH POWER. They testified to their risen Lord and the activities of those early Gospel days are summarised in Acts chapter 4 verse 33: "with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all." The first Christian martyr, Stephen, was irresistible because he spoke with this power. Whether it was Peter, John, Stephen, Philip, Barnabus, Paul or Silas, the preaching was "in demonstration of the Spirit and of power"

JESUS PROMISED THE DISCIPLES THAT THEY WOULD BE ABLE TO DO EVEN GREATER WORKS.
Joh 14:12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.


POWER FOR ALL CHRISTIANS.
Eph 1:13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

POWER TO WORSHIP.
Phi 3:3 For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.

POWER TO LIVE.

2Pe 1:3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
Gal 5:16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

POWER TO GROW.

Eph 3:20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
Eph 3:21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

POWER TO GROW IN KNOWLEDGE. 1Jo 2:20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things.

POWER TO HOPE.
Rom 15:13 Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.

POWER TO OVERCOME.
2Co 12:10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

Joh 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

We can be overcomers if we do not quench or grieve the Holy Spirit.

Eph 4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

WE AS BELIEVERS HAVE THE SAME HOLY SPIRIT THAT THE FIRST CENTURY CHRISTIANS HAD AFTER PENTECOST. THE HOLY SPIRIT IS STILL AS POWERFUL TODAY AS HE WAS THEN.

To realise that power we have to first be right with the Lord, confess any unconfessed sins.and pray and open up to the Holy Spirit. Seek more of Jesus and to serve Him, seek to be filled with the Spirit in all it’s fullness, be prepared to die to self..


PRAY
Spirit of the Living God.
Fall afresh on me,
Spirit of the Living God.
Fall afresh on me,
Break me, melt me, mould me, fill me.
Spirit of the Living God.
Fall afresh on me,

AMEN
(NKJV used throughout)

Acts2::12-46 Peter's sermon on the day of Pentecost

Acts2:12They stood there amazed and perplexed. “What can this mean?” they asked each other. 13 But others in the crowd were mocking. “They’re drunk, that’s all!” they said.

Many in the crowds were amazed, they heard the apostles speaking in their own languages. Here were people from three continents. They spoke in diverse languages and dialects. They each heard these Galileans speak in an understandable dialect. The tongues here were known tongues, but this is not the only type of tongues as I will go into detail later in the Acts studies.
Some though were convinced the disciples were drunk with wine. Why do you think they thought the disciples were intoxicated? Do you think the disciples were full of the joy of the Lord and maybe appeared a little drunk to the onlookers?

Peter Preaches to a Crowd
14 Then Peter stepped forward with the eleven other apostles and shouted to the crowd, “Listen carefully, all of you, fellow Jews and residents of Jerusalem! Make no mistake about this. 15 Some of you are saying these people are drunk. It isn’t true! It’s much too early for that. People don’t get drunk by nine o’clock in the morning. 16 No, what you see this morning was predicted centuries ago by the prophet Joel:


Joe 2:28 And it shall be afterward, I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh. And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy; your old men shall dream dreams; your young men shall see visions.

(This was the beginning of the church age, the beginning of the Holy Spirit being poured out on all flesh, all nations. Now in those last days He is raising up men and women in the Church throughout the World to Herald in His Kingdom, I believe God is going to do new and great things in the age in which we live. God is pouring out His Spirit on all flesh. )

Acts2: 17 ‘In the last days, God said,
I will pour out my Spirit upon all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
and your old men will dream dreams.

This scripture clearly states that prophesying, seeing visions, and dreaming God-inspired dreams are associated with the filling of the Holy Spirit. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is the doorway into the miraculous realm of God. This baptism of the Holy Spirit came firstly on the day of Pentecost but it was not only for these few individuals. Peter said in verse 39, "For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call." This same power is available to all believers today.

Luk 11:13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!"

Mar 16:17 And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues;

Acts2:18 In those days I will pour out my Spirit
upon all my servants, men and women alike,
and they will prophesy.
19 And I will cause wonders in the heavens above
and signs on the earth below—
blood and fire and clouds of smoke.
20 The sun will be turned into darkness,
and the moon will turn bloodred,
before that great and glorious day of the Lord arrives.
21 And anyone who calls on the name of the Lord
will be saved.’*

Now, Peter the disciple who had denied Jesus three times steps forward to preach in front of the crowds. What made the difference? One word EMPOWERMENT. This power could only come from the Holy Spirit. Peter was now baptized with the Holy Spirit. Do you see what a difference it makes when someone is really full of the Holy Spirit? Peter now speaks with authority, God given authority. We see that Peter preaches from the prophesies of Joel. Joel had prophesied the coming of the Holy Spirit. He also prophesied that the Holy Spirit would not be for the Jews alone but for people everywhere, in other words the gentiles.

2:20 The signs in the heavens are to herald in the Day of the Lord

2:21 Peter closes the quotation from Joel with the promise that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. This is the good news for all ages, that salvation is offered to all people on the principle of faith in the Lord.

Rom 5:2 Through Him we also have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice on the hope of the glory of God.

Acts 2:22 “People of Israel, listen! God publicly endorsed Jesus of Nazareth by doing wonderful miracles, wonders, and signs through him, as you well know. 23 But you followed God’s prearranged plan. With the help of lawless Gentiles, you nailed him to the cross and murdered him. 24 However, God released him from the horrors of death and raised him back to life again, for death could not keep him in its grip. 25 King David said this about him:
‘I know the Lord is always with me.
I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.
26 No wonder my heart is filled with joy,
and my mouth shouts his praises!
My body rests in hope.
27 For you will not leave my soul among the dead*
or allow your Holy One to rot in the grave.
28 You have shown me the way of life,
and you will give me wonderful joy in your presence.’*

Peter is saying that God bore witness to who Jesus was by the miracles which He performed through Him. If Jesus needed the miraculous power of God to bear witness to His words, then how much more do we. Miracles and wonders are important to true evangelism. Now Peter goes on to tell them how the Lord Jesus is the one they nailed to the cross, who died and rose again. Death could not keep it's grip on the Lord.


QUOTE
Here then is the flow of the apostle’s argument: Jesus of Nazareth was demonstrated to be a Man from God by the many miracles He performed in the power of God (v. 22). In His determined purpose and foreknowledge, God delivered Him into the hands of the Jewish people. They, in turn, turned Him over to the Gentiles (men without the law) to be crucified and put to death (v. 23). However, God raised Him up from among the dead, having loosed the pains 6 of death. It was not possible for death to hold Him a prisoner because:
1. The character of God demanded His resurrection. He had died, the Sinless for the sinful. God must raise Him as proof of His complete satisfaction with the redemptive work of Christ.
2. The prophecies of the OT demanded His resurrection. Believer's Bible Commentary


Peter goes on to look at more Old Testament Scriptures he then preaches on Psalm 16.In Psalm 16 David had written prophetically concerning the Lord’s life, death, resurrection, and glorification. Hades could not hold the Lord, He once again after his resurrection would be glorified, He would have joy in the presence of the Father.

The present glorification of the Savior was predicted by David in the words, You will make me full of joy in Your presence, or as Psalm 16:11 puts it, “In Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

Acts2:29 “Dear brothers, think about this! David wasn’t referring to himself when he spoke these words I have quoted, for he died and was buried, and his tomb is still here among us. 30 But he was a prophet, and he knew God had promised with an oath that one of David’s own descendants would sit on David’s throne as the Messiah. 31 David was looking into the future and predicting the Messiah’s resurrection. He was saying that the Messiah would not be left among the dead and that his body would not rot in the grave.
32 “This prophecy was speaking of Jesus, whom God raised from the dead, and we all are witnesses of this. 33 Now he sits on the throne of highest honor in heaven, at God’s right hand. And the Father, as he had promised, gave him the Holy Spirit to pour out upon us, just as you see and hear today. 34 For David himself never ascended into heaven, yet he said,
‘The Lord said to my Lord,
Sit in honor at my right hand
35 until I humble your enemies,
making them a footstool under your feet.’* David knew he was prophesying the coming of the Messiah and His death and resurrection and His glorification. he was not referring to himself. Peter is at pains to assure the crowds that David's tomb was still there.
2:32, 33 Now Peter repeats an announcement that must have shocked his Jewish audience. The Messiah of whom David prophesied was Jesus of Nazareth. God had raised Him from among the dead, as the apostles could all testify because they were eyewitnesses to His resurrection. Following His resurrection, the Lord Jesus was exalted to God's right hand and now the Holy Spirit had been sent as promised by the Father. Here Peter was giving the explanation of what had happened in Jerusalem earlier in the day.

Psa 110:1 The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.

David had prophesied that Jesus would sit at God's right hand, notice the word until, indicating a time lapse between the glorification and Jesus return.

Acts2:36 So let it be clearly known by everyone in Israel that God has made this Jesus whom you crucified to be both Lord and Messiah!”
37 Peter’s words convicted them deeply, and they said to him and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?”
38 Peter replied, “Each of you must turn from your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 This promise is to you and to your children, and even to the Gentiles*—all who have been called by the Lord our God.” 40 Then Peter continued preaching for a long time, strongly urging all his listeners, “Save yourselves from this generation that has gone astray!”
41 Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church—about three thousand in all. 42 They joined with the other believers and devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, sharing in the Lord’s Supper and in prayer.

Peter reitterates "This Jesus whom you crucified is both Lord and Messiah."Imagine being among the crowds on that day and many were deeply convicted because of those words. The power of the Holy Spirit was well in evidence on that day About 3, 000 people came to know the Lord on that day.
They believed and were baptized. These people were convicted in their hearts, not just their minds. We cannot argue people into salvation. We can present the arguments but the Holy Spirit has to do a work in their hearts. It is with the heart that man believes

Joh 6:44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.

Rom 10:10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation

QUOTE
Rhyme states :This does not mean in order that sins might be remitted, for everywhere in the New Testament sins are forgiven as a result of faith in Christ, not as a result of baptism. It means be baptized because of the remission of sins. The Greek preposition eis, for, has this meaning “because of” not only here but also in such a passage as Matthew 12:41 where the meaning can only be “they repented because of [not in order to] the preaching of Jonah.” Repentance brought the remission of sins for this Pentecostal crowd, and because of the remission of sins they were asked to be baptized.



The Believers Meet Together
43 A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. 44 And all the believers met together constantly and shared everything they had. 45 They sold their possessions and shared the proceeds with those in need. 46 They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity—47 all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their group those who were being saved.

Acts 2:44, 45 The believers continually assembled together and held all things in common trust. So mightily was the love of God shed abroad in their hearts that they did not look upon their material possessions as their own. Who gives us material possessions. all that we have comes from God.

Act 4:32 And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.

Whenever there was a genuine case of need in the fellowship, they sold personal property and distributed the proceeds. So there was an equality.They worshipped at the Temple daily.They met in homes to partake of the Lord's Supper and to share meals

Act 2:46 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,

Sig
Quote:
ns and wonders were present which resulted in attracting large crowds (Mk. 16:17-20). There was anointed preaching and teaching which produced the conversion of many people (1 Cor. 1:21). Those who believed were obedient to the commands of the Lord (Jn. 14:15). There was great love among the brethren (Jn. 13:35) that manifested in action (Jas. 2:15-17).
There was daily communion with the Lord and other believers (1 Jn. 4:20). There was great joy in the hearts of the saints and they had a singleness of heart (Mt. 6:22-24). As mentioned in verse 47, they were praising God which always happens when someone has really been touched by the Lord, and there was continual growth as the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved (those who were being saved-NIV). (Andrew Wommack’s Commentary)




Acts 2: 47 all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their group those who were being saved.

These early Christians were so full of the Holy Spirit and joy of the Lord, they praised God constantly and every day new believers were added to their number. This is an example to us. We must though be filled with the Spirit as preparation for witnessing and ministering because we cannot do any in our own strength. I am weak, but he is strong. I for one know that when I try to do things in my own strength they are far more likely to fail. We have a wonderful gift, as believers we have the indwelling Holy Spirit, but are we living in the power of the Holy Spirit? Signs, wonders and miracles should constantly follow those that believe. A week ago come tomorrow one of my friends involved in the Salt and Light ministry came struggling on to the bus, her back was out. We prayed for her, God worked a healing, she was dancing, unbelievers witnessed this and two gave their hearts to the Lord that morning. Signs and wonders should be part of the church today.

All readings in Acts taken from New Living Translation.

Others mainly AV

Acts 3:1-10

Acts 3:1-10
3:1 Now Peter and John went up together to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. 2 And a certain man lame from his mother's womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms from those who entered the temple; 3 who, seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, asked for alms. 4 And fixing his eyes on him, with John, Peter said, "Look at us." 5 So he gave them his attention, expecting to receive something from them. 6 Then Peter said, "Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk." 7 And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. 8 So he, leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them--walking, leaping, and praising God. 9 And all the people saw him walking and praising God. 10 Then they knew that it was he who sat begging alms at the Beautiful Gate of the temple; and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.
NKJV

The ninth hour was about 3pm and many people would be gathered in the temple to pray at that time. This Acts 3:1-10

Acts 3:1
Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour. This was a time of prayer accompanying the evening sacrifice. This was a time of transition in the early Church where the disciples still worshiped in the temple.

Acts 3:2-7

which is called beautiful; which some think was the gate Shushan, which was the eastern gate of the mountain of the house, or the outmost wall, and was so called, because Shushan, the metropolis of Persia, was pourtrayed upon it which made it look very beautiful. The reason commonly given by the Jewish commentators why this was done, is this; when the Jews returned from captivity, the king of Persia commanded that they should make a figure of the palace of Shushan upon one of the gates of the temple, that they might fear the king, and not rebel against him; and accordingly they drew one upon the eastern gate: but some say that the children of the captivity did this (upon their return) that they might remember the wonder of Purim, (their deliverance from Haman,) which was done in Shushan; moreover, it might be so called from the word Shushan, which signifies joy and gladness: but this does not bid so fair to be the gate here meant, since it was lower than all the rest; for as the eastern wall was lower than the rest of the walls, that when the high priest burnt the red heifer on the top of Mount Olivet, he might see the gate of the temple at the time of the sprinkling of the blood; so the gate itself was four cubits lower than the others and therefore could not look so grand and beautiful as the rest. Indeed, concerning this eastern gate of the mountain of the house, it is said that "in the time when the sanctuary stood, when they prayed on the mountain of the house, they went in by the way of the eastern gate.''

And as this was now the hour of prayer, and the people were going to the temple to pray, whose entrance was at the east gate; here it might be thought, in all probability, was laid the lame man: though it seems rather to be the eastern gate of the court of the women, which was made of Corinthian brass, and looked brighter than gold itself; of which Josephus thus speaks:

"nine of the gates were covered all over with gold and silver, likewise the side posts and lintels; but there was one, without the temple, of Corinthian brass, which in dignity greatly exceeded the silver and golden ones.''

And since at this gate was the greatest frequency of persons, both men and women entering here; it is most likely, that here lay the lame man a begging: this is thought, by some, to be the higher gate of the house of the Lord; said to be built by Jotham, the son of Uzziah, king of Judah, 2Ki_15:35 upon which text, a Jewish commentator of great note has this remark, "observe it is said of Jotham, that he built it, because he made a building on it, נכבד וגדול "more glorious and great" than it had been:'' and this is also called the new gate of the house of the Lord, Jer_26:10 and which both the Targum and Kimchi on the place say is the eastern gate.

To ask alms of them that entered into the temple; who going to religious exercises, might be thought to be more disposed to acts of liberality and charity: and besides, these were known to be Jews, of whom only alms were to be asked and taken; for so run their canons

"it is forbidden to take alms of Gentiles publicly, except a man cannot live by the alms of Israelites; and if a king, or a prince of the Gentiles, should send money to an Israelite for alms, he must not return it, because of the peace of the kingdom, but must take it of him, and give it to the poor of the Gentiles secretly, that the king may not hear.''( Gill's Commentary)

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Here we see a crippled man carried daily by other men, as was their daily custom so that he might ask for alms. Peter empowered by the Holy Spirit gave him something much better. He tells this man, "Silver and gold have I none, but such as I have given thee. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk." The man instantly rises, according to the power of God, and is found with them, "walking, and leaping, and praising God; and all the people saw him." By whose authority was the lame man healed, by that of Jesus of Nazareth. Peter healed this man through the power of God, through the person of the Holy Spirit working through Peter did.

Isn't that marvellous how instantaneous this was.The miracle of healing was immediate, not gradual. Notice how the Spirit of God multiplies words of action and movement: leaping up, stood ... walked and entered ... walking, leaping. When we consider the slow process an infant goes through in learning to walk, we realize how wonderful it was for this man to walk and leap right away, for the first time in his life.
This miracle, performed in the Name of Jesus, was a further testimony to the people of Israel that the One they had crucified was alive and was willing to be their Healer and Savior.
The man who was healed now praises God and enters the temple praising God.

The onlookers would be familiar with this man. They had seen him lying at the Temple gates every day and they were all filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened to him; that he should be cured so suddenly, and in such an extraordinary manner; many would wonder at the power of God, which was seen in this.

We who are Christians have the same Holy Spirit indwelling us today as Peter had then, but are we even Spirit- filled Christians living in the full power of the Holy Spirit, if we truly were what signs and wonders would be seen, people being healed, souls being saved, revival in our lands.


Mar 16:15 He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.
Mar 16:16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
Mar 16:17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues;
Mar 16:18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well." (NIV)

I believe that the miraculous should be something we see on a daily basis, folks we are those who believe. God hasn’t changed, the trouble is many of us have been told at some point or other that this was for the early church, but things have changed and because we have the completed canon signs and wonders are not for today, but the commission above is for us too. The full power of Kingdom authority comes with signs and wonders , lets pray that in these last days we will see a greater release of the miraculous in our churches, bearing witness to Jesus Christ, and the healing power of calvary. “For it is by his stripes that we are healed.” Shouldn't we be seeing the demonstration of the Kingdom come in power after all we have prayed " Thy Kingdom come" throughout the generations.

Peter’s Second Sermon


Acts 3: 11 While he was clinging to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them at the so-called portico of Solomon, full of amazement. 12But when Peter saw this, he replied to the people, “Men of Israel, why are you amazed at this, or why do you gaze at us, as if by our own power or piety we had made him walk? 13“The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified His servant Jesus, the one whom you delivered and disowned in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release Him. 14“But you disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, 15but put to death the Prince of life, the one whom God raised from the dead, a fact to which we are witnesses. 16“And on the basis of faith in His name, it is the name of Jesus which has strengthened this man whom you see and know; and the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect health in the presence of you all.
17“And now, brethren, I know that you acted in ignorance, just as your rulers did also. 18“But the things which God announced beforehand by the mouth of all the prophets, that His Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled. 19“Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; 20and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you, 21whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time. 22“Moses said, ‘THE LORD GOD WILL RAISE UP FOR YOU A PROPHET LIKE ME FROM YOUR BRETHREN; TO HIM YOU SHALL GIVE HEED to everything He says to you. 23‘And it will be that every soul that does not heed that prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.’ 24“And likewise, all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and his successors onward, also announced these days. 25“It is you who are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant which God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘AND IN YOUR SEED ALL THE FAMILIES OF THE EARTH SHALL BE BLESSED.’ 26“For you first, God raised up His Servant and sent Him to bless you by turning every one of you from your wicked ways.” (NASB)


Believers should not live independent of God and His miraculous power. Signs and wonders should be in evidence in our lives, we should lay hands on the sick and see them healed. When a person comes into a relationship with the Lord at salvation, he or she should expect to see the supernatural power of God manifest regularly in a daily basis to such a degree that we should be saying with Peter, "why are you amazed at this?" This miracle was used by Peter as an opportunity to point men to God, and Peter here takes the opportunity to convict these men of their guilt in the crucifixion of Jesus. Nobody can come to Jesus until he is convicted of sin. Jesus came to save sinners and to wipe away their sins when they repent of their sins He wipes away those sins. For a person to be born again he has to see his sinfulness and his total inability to save himself. Peter is careful to point out in this passage that it was not any special power or holiness on his part that produced the healing. It was the name of Jesus and believing by faith in that name that wrought the miracle. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever faith in the name of Jesus and His healing power works the same today. The lame man himself exercised faith and he was healed.

Peter saw that the purpose of God regarding the coming of the fullness of the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick clearly expressed in the crucifixion. Those crucifying Jesus acted in ignorance. They did not recognize they were killing God’s Messiah, nor did they know they helped to bring to pass the sacrificial death needed to provide forgiveness for the sins of the world. The resurrection and Pentecost provided the missing knowledge. Many who allowed the crucifixion to take place or who were silent bystanders at the cross faced rejection. They should have reflected on Christ’s death in light of Scripture and repented. Helping crucify Christ was not unforgivable. Pentecost represented God’s faithfulness to His promise to Israel’s patriarchs. We as Christians are the elect for the elect are people of repentance, not a people of the same race. We are drafted in as Abraham’s seed and we are not replacing Israel, for God still has His plan and purpose for the Jewish people.

See how the apostle Peter states clearly in verse 12 that it was not any special power or holiness on Peter’s part that produced the healing here. It was the name of Jesus and faith in that name that wrought the miracle.
We still can use the name of Jesus today with it's authority and power, for without it we cannot be saved .


Act 4:12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."

And we still have faith, for without it we cannot be saved either (Eph. 2:8). So can you see that the name of Jesus and faith in that name were responsible for producing this miracle, and that the same miraculous results can be obtained today.

Did you notice also how in verse 19 times of refreshing come from the presence of the Lord and  His presence comes with repentance ?


Isa 40:31 But those who wait on the LORD
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.

Are you weary, do you need more strength? Come into the presence of Jesus He wants to apply that healing balm and refresh you.

 

Act 4:1 Now as they spoke to the people, the priests, the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees came upon them,

Act 4:2 being greatly disturbed that they taught the people and preached in Jesus the resurrection from the dead.

Act 4:3 And they laid hands on them, and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening.

Act 4:4 However, many of those who heard the word believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand.

 

     The first persecution of the church was about to start. It arose from the religious leaders. The priests, the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees rose up against the apostles

    The Sadducees resented the fact that the apostles were teaching people; they felt this was their job, and they were annoyed by the proclamation in Jesus of the resurrection from the dead. The resurrection would discredit them, so they wanted to discredit it. Here we see that the religious people didn’t have great problems with the lame man being healed; it was the resurrection of the dead they had problems with. Whereas today even in the church of Christ the reverse is true, there are so many Christians who will not accept that the miraculous is for today. Take note hear one miracle plus preaching of the gospel and 5,000 men were saved and that doesn’t necessarily include the women and children. The gospel and the miraculous are meant to go together. We should have expectancy for the miraculous. God hasn’t changed.

         

 

Addressing the Sanhedrin

 

Act 4:5 And it came to pass, on the next day, that their rulers, elders, and scribes,

Act 4:6 as well as Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the family of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem.

Act 4:7 And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, "By what power or by what name have you done this?"

Act 4:8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, "Rulers of the people and elders of Israel:

Act 4:9 If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man, by what means he has been made well,

Act 4:10 let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole.

Act 4:11 This is the "stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.'

Act 4:12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."

 

     Peter and John has been held captive overnight to appear before the council the next day. Annas and Caiaphas are in the background here; these are the two men who condemned Jesus to die. Peter and John were brought before the Sanhedrin.

    Peter had denied Jesus in front of a servant girl just a few weeks earlier. Now, he boldly proclaims the Lord Jesus in front of the council and the High Priest. But now Peter was filled with the Holy Ghost which Jesus had said would empower them to witness. (Acts 1:8). Peter and John were supposed to be on trial, but Peter uses this as a  means  to openly talk about how they were guilty of crucifying the Messiah. V12. We cannot save ourselves and neither can anyone else, but Jesus can.

 

The Name of Jesus Forbidden

 

Act 4:13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marvelled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.

Act 4:14 And seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it.

Act 4:15 But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves,

Act 4:16 saying, "What shall we do to these men? For, indeed, that a notable miracle has been done through them is evident to all who dwell in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it.

Act 4:17 But so that it spreads no further among the people, let us severely threaten them, that from now on they speak to no man in this name."

Act 4:18 So they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.

Act 4:19 But Peter and John answered and said to them, "Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge.

Act 4:20 For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard."

Act 4:21 So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way of punishing them, because of the people, since they all glorified God for what had been done.

Act 4:22 For the man was over forty years old on whom this miracle of healing had been performed.

 

The Sanhedrin were perplexed, those uneducated men were gathering the crowds. How could Peter and John do this? They assumed it was a rub off effect from the years they had spent in the company of Jesus, that made the apostles bold, but what they did not reckon with is the empowerment that Peter and John had since the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Those men were full of the Holy Spirit and because of this they could go forth boldly with confidence. Boldness in the face of persecution is a testimony to the power of God at work in our lives. Did their threats stop Peter and John? Not a bit of it, they knew that Jesus had given them a commission, they had a work to do, the good news had to go forth, they stated that they were going to boldly proclaim God's word. They must obey God rather than the council here. Imagine being in this situation, here was Peter and John boldly and fearlessly defying the Council and I’m sure the common man was not in the habit of defying them, but those men boldly proclaimed their Lord and because they had the support of the crowds the Sanhedrin could not touch them, for that would have been punishing them for good works, the man who they had healed was present, the grandness of the miracle is emphasised in the mention that the man was over forty years old and had been lame for a long time. The Sanhedrin set free and Peter and John and they went on their way to report the happenings to their friends, probably either the other ten apostles or the one hundred who had met together previously.

Acts 4 : 23 - 37

Act 4:23 And being let go, they went to their own companions and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them.

Act 4:24 So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: "Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them,

NKJV

 

Notice how Peter and John sought out their fellow believers after being set free from the court of the Sanhedrin. It is so good to have fellowship with like minded people and I think here this was a fairly natural reaction after leaving the hostility of the Sanhedrin. They had been threatened by the highest authority of the nation, and commanded not to preach again in the name of Jesus. They had a choice whether they should obey them and be silent, or whether they should leave Jerusalem and preach elsewhere, could not but be an interesting subject of inquiry, and they very properly sought the counsel of their brethren, and looked to God for direction, an example which all should follow who are exposed to persecution, or who are seeking direction as to the path to take.

In verse 24 we see the saints cried to the Lord in prayer. They addressed God with a word meaning “Absolute Master,” a word seldom used in the NT They praised Him first as the Creator of all things and therefore vastly superior to the creatures who were now opposing His truth.

δεσπότης
despotēs
des-pot'-ace
an absolute ruler (“despot”): - Lord, master.

In verses 25-26 we see how the saints adopted the words of Psalm 2.

Act 4:25 who through the mouth of our father David, your servant, said by the Holy Spirit, "'Why did the Gentiles rage, and the peoples plot in vain?
Act
4:26 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers were gathered together, against the Lord and against his Anointed'—NKJV

 

Act 4:26  The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ.   KJV

 

Jesus is referred to as the anointed, (Ps. 2:2), says, "against his anointed" while this passage says, "and against his Christ." KJV. So, even without looking at Greek we can  see that "Christ" means "anointed" since these terms were used interchangeably.

                                                                                                                                  Matheson states “The idea is that their effort of opposition to the divine will proved to be a stroke of alliance with it. ... They met together in a council of war against Christ; unconsciously to themselves they signed a treaty for the promotion of Christ’s glory. ... Our God does not beat down the storms that rise against Him; He rides upon them; He works through them”

Psa 2:1 Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain?
Psa 2:2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against his anointed,

Actually, the Psalmist here  points forward to the coming of  the Kingdom  of God coming to invade earth, and kings and rulers seeking  to thwart that purpose.

 

Act 4:27 "For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together

Act 4:28 to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done.

Act 4:29 Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word,

Act 4:30 by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus."

Act 4:31 And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness

              The early Christians realized that things would come against the Kingdom so they applied the words to their own circumstances. The disciples asked the Lord to speak the Word through them. It was through performing miracles. The working of miracles is part of preaching the Word.
 
Now let’s look at verse 31 when the saints prayed, the place was shaken—a physical expression of the Holy Spirit being present. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, showing their obedience to the Lord, their walking in the Spirit, their giving of themselves fully and completely to their Lord. Then they continued to speak the word of God with boldness,  but with an ever increasing boldness for this was an answer to their prayer in verses 29 and 30. We will see in chapter 5 and following how this was the beginning of a new season where it was no longer just the one or two being healed but we see all were healed, it was also a time were the early church totally  surrendered themselves to Jesus Christ. 

Act 4:32 Now the company of believers was of one heart and soul, and not one of them claimed that anything which he possessed was [exclusively] his own, but everything they had was in common and for the use of all. (Amplified Bible)

 

Act 4:33 And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all.

Act 4:34 Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold,

Act 4:35 and laid them at the apostles' feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need.

Act 4:36 And Joses who was also named Barnabas by the apostles (which is translated Son of Encouragement), a Levite of the country of Cyprus,

Act 4:37 having land, sold it, and brought the money and laid it at the apostles' feet.  NKJV



In verse 32 what do we see? I want you all to look closely here. They are all of one heart and one soul and none claimed to be a superior Christian, none claimed they had more than their brother. Why is it that when today’s Christians experience the power of the Holy Spirit, so often pride gets in? And yes they fall flat, and instead of being on the mountain tops they land deep in the valleys. Pride often gets in the way.

4:32–35 When hearts are aflame with love for Christ, they are also kindled with love for one another. This love manifests itself in giving. Thus the early believers expressed the reality of their common life in Christ by practicing a community of goods. Instead of selfishly holding on to personal possessions, they looked upon their property as belonging to all the fellowship. Whenever there was a need, they would sell lands or houses and bring the proceeds to the apostles for distribution. It is important to see that they distributed whenever a need arose; it was not an arbitrary equal division at one particular time.

When lives that are utterly dedicated to the Lord we witness the power of God at work. In powerful preaching and demonstration of the Kingdom the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all. It seems that when God finds people who are willing to turn their possessions over to Him, He gives their testimony a remarkable attractiveness and force.

4:36, 37 These verses are a link with chapter 5. The generosity of Barnabas is mentioned here in striking contrast to the hypocrisy of Ananias in chapter 5. As a Levite, Joses ... named Barnabas by the apostles would not ordinarily have owned land. The Lord was to be the portion of the Levites., We do not know how or why he obtained the land. But we do know that out of love he sold the land and laid the money at the apostles’ feet.

Now let’s ask ourselves some questions. Where is the Church of today in relation to the early church? Where do we as individuals stand in our walk with the Lord? We talk about being full of the Spirit, but really it should be for others to say or to notice, it is not for us to boast. What fruits of the Holy Spirit are in evidence in our lives? Do strangers meet us and know in a very short time we are different? If not, why not? The gifts of the Spirit are given for a reason. Signs and wonders should be in demonstration in our lives.

 

     FOR HIS SERVICE, FOR THE FURTHERANCE OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD, LET’S USE THOSE THINGS WISELY. MAY THE HOLY SPIRIT AND THE POWER OF PENTECOST GIVE US ALL, THAT WAKE UP CALL.

Acts 5:1-10

Act 5:1 But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession.
Act 5:2 And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles' feet.
Act 5:3 But Peter said, "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?
Act 5:4 While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God."
Act 5:5 Then Ananias, hearing these words, fell down and breathed his last. So great fear came upon all those who heard these things.
Act 5:6 And the young men arose and wrapped him up, carried him out, and buried him.
Act 5:7 Now it was about three hours later when his wife came in, not knowing what had happened.
Act 5:8 And Peter answered her, "Tell me whether you sold the land for so much?"
She said, "Yes, for so much."
Act 5:9 Then Peter said to her, "How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out."
Act 5:10 Then immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. And the young men came in and found her dead, and carrying her out, buried her by her husband.
Act 5:11 So great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things.


Before considering this part of chapter 5 let us remember those verses in chapter 4


Act 4:29 Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word,
Act 4:30 by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus."
Act 4:31 And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.


When they prayed that prayer the building they were in was even shaken and they were all once again filled with the Spirit, this time it would seem taking them to a new level of anointing, a new season with more boldness, more signs and wonders and more holiness.
At the moment the Spirit filled church would seem to be operating under the anointing of Pentecost but after Acts chapter 4 it seems more was required of believers, hence Annanias and Sapphira who were most definetly believers, be they wayward believers dropped dead when they tried to lie to the Holy Spirit. Benny Hinn has made some interesting comments here that this type of holiness that was required of the church in that day is rapidly approaching us , the church of today. We will be totally ineffective for Kingdom purposes if we harbor sin in our hearts. We have to be holy for He is Holy.
The time is just around the corner when we will here of preachers and leaders dropping dead because they have not dealt with sin in their lives, because we need to move into Acts chapter 5 and beyond where all were healed, where Philip was translated and Saul of Tarsus became Paul.
I have heard a few preaching on this new level of holiness, Pastor Benny is not alone in that, surely folks we need to all examine our hearts and ask the Lord to cleanse us from every bit of unrighteousness, and that unrighteousness can just be disobedience to the Spirit's prompting, I am not talking about blatant sin. I'm talking death to flesh life completely and living for Him alone.
Persecution is coming to the church in a big way, will we stand strong for Him?

Acts 5:12-16

Continuing Power in the Church

Act 5:12 And through the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were done among the people. And they were all with one accord in Solomon's Porch.
Act 5:13 Yet none of the rest dared join them, but the people esteemed them highly.
Act 5:14 And believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women,
Act 5:15 so that they brought the sick out into the streets and laid them on beds and couches, that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might fall on some of them.
Act 5:16 Also a multitude gathered from the surrounding cities to Jerusalem, bringing sick people and those who were tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all healed.


We see in this passage the Lord is answering the apostle's prayer recorded in Acts 4:30. Many signs and wonders took place but we see also the apostles were of one mind and one spirit, they were in unity. Look at verse 13 do you think that many s were afraid because of Annanias and Sapphira. The Jewish nation was divided into many different sects, who entertained widely different opinions and ideas. This verse could be applying to the different sects for; neither Pharisees, Sadducees, nor Herodians, as such, were found in the Church. The people felt the force and power of the apostles’ doctrine, and magnified them, no longer heeding the teaching of the Jewish leaders, for the apostles taught them as men having authority, and not as the scribes and Pharisees. This irritated the high priest and his Sadducean council, and led them to adopt the measures mentioned later in the chapter verses 17- 21.
It was not just the teachings of the early church that caused multitudes of people to come to Jesus. They were walking in unity and showed actively the power of the Holy Spirit at work in their lives through signs and wonders.. This should bring a sense of anticipation to us for when we walk in the power of the Holy Spirit demonstrating Kingdom power multitudes of people will be saved..
There must have been such great numbers of people flocking to the Apostles in search for this Jesus they talked about and physical healing that some came believing that if the sick were laid in couches and beds in the streets Peter’s shadow might heal them. Can you imagine what this would look like? Crowds were everywhere, a great number of people, and as Peter passed by they would get up from their beds healed for their faith had healed them. It was the presence of the Lord in Peter that brought forth this healing, it was not that there was something special about Peter alone- the glory lived within Peter- he was a carrier of the presence of God- just like you and I are.


Col 1:27 To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.


In verse 16 we see not some who sought healing were healed, but all were healed Just like Jesus healed all here we see in the book of Acts that all were healed. Signs and Wonders should follow those who believe as we preach the Gospel and demonstrate the Kingdom with power. I believe that as we the church come to that place of unity and get ourselves totally in tune with the Holy Spirit, really heeding the great commission we will see the Kingdom come in power. We will see signs and wonders like never before.

Acts 5:17-21


Act 5:17 Then the high priest rose up, and all those who were with him (which is the sect of the Sadducees), and they were filled with indignation,
Act 5:18 and laid their hands on the apostles and put them in the common prison.
Act 5:19 But at night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out, and said,
Act 5:20 "Go, stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this life."
Act 5:21 And when they heard that, they entered the temple early in the morning and taught. But the high priest and those with him came and called the council together, with all the elders of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought.


The Lord was working mightily through the Apostles the people were brining the sick and all were being healed, the High Priest and the Sadducees did not like this so they cast the Apostles into prison. It is interesting that the angel of the Lord freed the apostles at night. This could have been done in broad daylight for everyone to see, but it wasn't. This is consistent with so many miraculous occurrences in the Bible and surely even today He wants us to come by faith believing that He is still the God of miracles. They were freed and then they entered into the temple early in the morning because they were anxious to once again share the gospel of Jesus Christ. They were not intimidated by the chief priests' threats at all. This is what it means to be a true disciple of Jesus, when Jesus is truly Lord of our lives we will love not our lives even unto death.

(Rev 12:11 NKJV) And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.

. Yet here we are today often intimidated and worried about what man thinks of us and how often have we stayed silent? That's not the way it should be so let us start to overcome now by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony, and let our flesh lives disappear.

Acts 5:22-42

Act 5:22 When the high priest and his associates arrived, they called together the Sanhedrin--the full assembly of the elders of Israel--and sent to the jail for the apostles. But on arriving at the jail, the officers did not find them there. So they went back and reported,
Act 5:23 "We found the jail securely locked, with the guards standing at the doors; but when we opened them, we found no one inside."
Act 5:24 On hearing this report, the captain of the temple guard and the chief priests were puzzled, wondering what would come of this.
Act 5:25 Then someone came and said, "Look! The men you put in jail are standing in the temple courts teaching the people."
Act 5:26 At that, the captain went with his officers and brought the apostles. They did not use force, because they feared that the people would stone them.
Act 5:27 Having brought the apostles, they made them appear before the Sanhedrin to be questioned by the high priest.
Act 5:28 "We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name," he said. "Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man's blood."
Act 5:29 Peter and the other apostles replied: "We must obey God rather than men!
Act 5:30 The God of our fathers raised Jesus from the dead--whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree.
Act 5:31 God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might give repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel.
Act 5:32 We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him."
Act 5:33 When they heard this, they were furious and wanted to put them to death.
Act 5:34 But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, who was honored by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin and ordered that the men be put outside for a little while.
Act 5:35 Then he addressed them: "Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men.
Act 5:36 Some time ago Theudas appeared, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men rallied to him. He was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing.
Act 5:37 After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt. He too was killed, and all his followers were scattered.
Act 5:38 Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail.
Act 5:39 But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God."
Act 5:40 His speech persuaded them. They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.
Act 5:41 The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.
Act 5:42 Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ. NIV


Imagine how shocked and perplexed the high priests and their associates must have been when they arrived at the jail and found this. I believe the guards would be asked some hard questions, but the doors were so obviously locked. So now they became afraid that the news of the apostles' escape would be proclaimed by the people as a miracle and so it would be furthering the cause of Christ instead of deterring from it as they had intended to do by imprisoning the apostles.
I imagine there would have been an element of fury when they saw the apostles preaching and teaching the people in the temple courts. There would also be a great amount of frustration on their parts and recognizing that they had indeed witnessed another miracle should have brought them to their knees and realized that this Jesus whom the Apostles preached was indeed the Messiah, but even if they did recognise that fact they were not ready to repent and acknowledge that He whom they had crucified was the Messiah and bow the knee before Him.
So the High Priest challenged the apostles once again "We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name," he said. "Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man's blood.
He did not realize fully that this was a guilty man speaking, he felt guilty of the blood of Jesus but did not want to fully acknowledge it, so he was angry. Also he was paying them a compliment, saying they had filled the whole of Jerusalem with their teaching. The High Priest deep down inside acknowledged that the apostles teaching severely challenged what they had done in crucifying the Lord, and they did not want to lose face before the people, they were the religious leaders.
Boldly though Peter proclaims along with the other apostles that they must obey God rather than men. The effectiveness of the church in this world today would be so much stronger if we were of this mind set, being prepared to stand up and be counted for the cause of Christ. God never wants us to obey any law or rule of man that would contradict His laws, but He does not want us to be rebellious about it. We should act as Peter and the other apostles acted. They didn't obey the rulers' command because it contradicted God's command, but they submitted to their authority. They were beaten as punishment (v.40), yet they didn't plan a revolt or criticize the rulers who beat them. They were submissive to those in authority even though they obeyed the higher law of God.
Gamaliel was a very respected teacher of the law in Jerusalem and his counsel to the Jewish leaders here was that they should not oppose the Christians. He gave some very wise counsel “Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God."
His speech persuaded the Sanhedrin to flog the disciples and let them go.
The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. What a great attitude to have! The disciples were so completely lost in the Lord Jesus Christ that they didn't think about personal suffering. Instead, they were rejoicing that they had been effective enough in their witness to suffer the same shame that Jesus had encountered at these men's hands. We too should count it a great honour to suffer shame for being associated with Jesus! Jesus died for us. The least we can do is live for Him regardless of the costs.

Acs 6 :1-7

Act 6:1 In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Grecian Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food.
Act 6:2 So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, "It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables.
Act 6:3 Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them
Act 6:4 and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word."
Act 6:5 This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism.
Act 6:6 They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.
Act 6:7 So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith. NKJV


Here we have election of the first deacons- and we see here it was men who were filled with the Holy Spirit and they were ready to serve.Here we can see how the church pooled the resources of the believers and used them to supply food to the widows. The deacons were to take charge of this business. Probably their duties included all aspects of ministry to physical needs.The apostles prayed over the new deacons and laid hands on them, but the people selected them. There were three qualifications those deacons had to meet. Firstly , they had highly regarded by others. Secondly, they had be full of the Holy Spirit, and thirdly full of wisdom. See also 1Tim 3:7.
The apostles as we can see here chose to separate themselves to prayer and the ministry of the Word. Hence the Word went forth, teamwork is needed, there are those who are called to minister the Word and those who are called to a more practical Ministry and weall need each other for the building and edification of the church.
They moved in the power of the Holy Spirit and there was a rapid increase in disciples in Jerusalem.

Acs 6:8-15

Act 6:8 Now Stephen, a man full of God's grace and power, did great wonders and miraculous signs among the people.
Act 6:9 Opposition arose, however, from members of the Synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called)--Jews of Cyrene and Alexandria as well as the provinces of Cilicia and Asia. These men began to argue with Stephen,
Act 6:10 but they could not stand up against his wisdom or the Spirit by whom he spoke.
Act 6:11 Then they secretly persuaded some men to say, "We have heard Stephen speak words of blasphemy against Moses and against God."
Act 6:12 So they stirred up the people and the elders and the teachers of the law. They seized Stephen and brought him before the Sanhedrin.
Act 6:13 They produced false witnesses, who testified, "This fellow never stops speaking against this holy place and against the law.
Act 6:14 For we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs Moses handed down to us."
Act 6:15 All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel. (NIV)


We first encounter Stephen in this chapter and what an introduction we have been given here to the first martyr of the Christian church. Stephen is described as a man full of grace and power who did great wonders and miraculous signs among the people. I would love to be described like that wouldn’t you?
So what does it mean to be full of grace and power? The Greek word for full used here is plērēs and it means covered over, complete, so we see from this that Stephen was completely full of grace and power. The word translated grace here has also been translated faith. This surely means that this man who incidentally was not counted among the apostles was so full of the Holy Spirit, had great faith and carried the presence of God with him in such a fashion that he moved in great signs and wonders.
The Synagogue of Freedmen or Libertines according to Andrew Wommack were either Jews who had been slaves but were set free by the Roman government or they were possibly from a town in northern Africa called Libertina. At any rate, they were a group of Jews who because of their common bond had separated themselves from the rest of Judaism by having their own synagogue.
Cyrene was an important city in North Africa located just a few miles inland from the Mediterranean Sea in what is today called Tripoli.. The city of Alexandria was founded by Alexander the Great in 332 B.C. on the north coast of Egypt just west of the Nile Delta During the time of this event in Acts, Alexandria had between 600,000 and 700,000 residents, a large part of which were Jewish.. Cilicia was a southeastern province of Asia Minor of which Tarsus, the home of Saul, was a principal city. Asia here refers to a western province in Asia Minor with Ephesus as its capital..
Stephen did not speak with his own wisdom but rather spoke with great Godly Wisdom as empowered by the Holy Spirit and his accusers the so called wise men, with their worldly wisdom could no stand up against this Godly Wisdom. Yet here we have a whole group of accusers against this one Spirit filled man.
Paul prayed for the Ephesians that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to them the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, Ephesians 1:17
Jesus said Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer; for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist. Luke 21:14 - 15

Stephen spoke the truth to them but it fell on deaf ears, in fact they in their own self- righteousness considered it to be blasphemy against Moses and God. They seized Stephen and took him before the Sanhedrin. They produced false witnesses, who testified against Stephen saying, "This man never stops speaking against this holy place and against the law for we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs Moses handed down to us.” The holy place mentioned here was the temple. The temple ofcourse was destroyed by the Romans in AD 70.

Act 6:15 All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel.

What do you think Stephen had about his appearance that he is here described as having the face of an angel?

Surely onlookers saw the beauty of Jesus in him? He reflected his Lord. The glory of the presence of the Lord must have shone like a beacon of light through Stephen at this time. That is my desire to reflect Jesus in such a fashion that people see Jesus shining through me – to have the face of an angel wouldn’t that be tremendous? Even that angelic appearance in this man who was clearly reflecting Jesus within him was not enough to convince the hardened hearts of his accusers and the Sanhedrin. Isn’t that sad?

We need to pray against men and women in high places in our nations hardening their hearts against the Lord and pray for softening of hearts of men and women everywhere, and that we as the people of God might reflect Jesus clearly in all that we do and say, moving in faith, Godly wisdom and Holy Spirit power during his hour of grace.

Acts chapter 7

Act 7:1 The high priest asked Stephen, "Are they telling the truth about you?"

Act 7:2 Stephen answered: Friends, listen to me. Our glorious God appeared to our ancestor Abraham while he was still in Mesopotamia, before he had moved to Haran.

Stephen begins to assert his identity as a true Jew by tracing Jewish history as his defense here . He concludes his statements by saying that just as the Jewish nation as a whole had resisted God throughout history, so they were resisting God now by rejecting the Messiah, Jesus Christ, whom God had sent (see verses 52-53)

Act 7:3 God told him, "Leave your country and your relatives and go to a land that I will show you."

Act 7:4 Then Abraham left the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. After his father died, Abraham came and settled in this land where you now live.

Act 7:5 God didn't give him any part of it, not even a square foot. But God did promise to give it to him and his family forever, even though Abraham didn't have any children.

Act 7:6 God said that Abraham's descendants would live for a while in a foreign land. There they would be slaves and would be mistreated four hundred years.

And God took His people out of Egypt some 430 years after they arrived there, but they were not slaves all the time At the time when God made this promise to Abraham he was a man of mature years without any children. Yet Abraham believed God's promises, he may like lot's of us today have gone ahead of God and His plan, but He believed God's report.

Act 7:7 But he also said, "I will punish the nation that makes them slaves. Then later they will come and worship me in this place."

Act 7:8 God said to Abraham, "Every son in each family must be circumcised to show that you have kept your agreement with me." So when Isaac was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him. Later, Isaac circumcised his son Jacob, and Jacob circumcised his twelve sons.

God did punish Egypt we all know the story of the Red sea, and e see in verse 8 how Abraham and His descendants obeyed God's instructions regarding circumcision.

Act 7:9 These men were our ancestors. Joseph was also one of our famous ancestors. His brothers were jealous of him and sold him as a slave to be taken to Egypt. But God was with him

Act 7:10 and rescued him from all his troubles. God made him so wise that the Egyptian king Pharaoh thought highly of him. The king even made Joseph governor over Egypt and put him in charge of everything he owned.

Act 7:11 Everywhere in Egypt and Canaan the grain crops failed. There was terrible suffering, and our ancestors could not find enough to eat.

Act 7:12 But when Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent our ancestors there for the first time.

Act 7:13 It was on their second trip that Joseph told his brothers who he was, and Pharaoh learned about Joseph's family.

Act 7:14 Joseph sent for his father and his relatives. In all, there were seventy-five of them.

Yet even in Egypt God had mightily used the Jewish people. Once again let us realize that the wisdom which Joseph had was not worldly wisdom but wisdom that came straight from God, from walking in fellowship with God Himself.

In Genesis 46:26, it is stated that there were 66 males that came with Jacob into Egypt. This number is excluding Jacob himself and Joseph and his two sons who were already in Egypt. Therefore, adding these four, Genesis 46:27 brings the total male Israelites who came into Egypt to 70 (Dt. 10:22). That makes Stephen's count five more than the count of Genesis 46:27.

It is probable that Stephen was quoting from the Septuagint (a Greek translation of the Hebrew scriptures) which adds the four sons of Manasseh and Ephraim and one grandson of Manasseh (Num. 26:29, 35) to the list of Genesis 46:20. Therefore, there were 70 male Israelites, excluding Ephraim's sons, and Manasseh's son and grandson, and 75 including them. (ANDREW WOMMACK'S COMMENTARY)

@

Act 7:15 His father went to Egypt and died there, just as our ancestors did.

Act 7:16 Later their bodies were taken back to Shechem and placed in the tomb that Abraham had bought from the sons of Hamor.

Act 7:17 Finally, the time came for God to do what he had promised Abraham. By then the number of our people in Egypt had greatly increased.

Act 7:18 Another king was ruling Egypt, and he didn't know anything about Joseph.

Act 7:19 He tricked our ancestors and was cruel to them. He even made them leave their babies outside, so they would die.

Act 7:20 During this time Moses was born. He was a very beautiful child, and for three months his parents took care of him in their home.

Act 7:21 Then when they were forced to leave him outside, the king's daughter found him and raised him as her own son.

Act 7:22 Moses was given the best education in Egypt. He was a strong man and a powerful speaker.

Moses had the best education of the known world of that time, and Stephen here inspired by the Holy Spirit tells is audience and us that Moses was a powerful speaker. For Moses to be, "learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians" meant that he was certainly no "dummy," as he claimed to be when trying to dodge God's call so it would seem his claims to be a poor speaker may be part of this too. (Ex. 4:10-16). Josephus, who wrote a history of the Jewish people in the first century, said that Moses was general of the Egyptian army and defeated the invading Ethiopian army. It would seem that Moses simply lied to God in an attempt to excuse himself from service. I don't know about you, but I can see elements of Moses behaviour regarding His call in me, I am very happy to sit here and write this, but put me anywhere near a platform and I am shouting at God, that it's not me, I can't preach. This study has God talking to me on this, I must totally submit my tongue to Him before it is too late. I have been happy to sit and write but have allowed fear to inhibit me greatly regarding public speaking, although I have done so on occasion.

Act 7:23 When Moses was forty years old, he wanted to help the Israelites because they were his own people.

Act 7:24 One day he saw an Egyptian mistreating one of them. So he rescued the man and killed the Egyptian.

Exo 2:12 He looked this way and that, and seeing no one, he struck down the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.

I believe this is the only place in the Scriptures where we are informed of the age Moses was when he struck down the Egyptian.

Act 7:25 Moses thought the rest of his people would realize that God was going to use him to set them free. But they didn't understand.

We do not have an explanation as to why Moses supposed the Jews would have readily accepted him as the one who God would use to set them free from their Egyptian slavery, but there is a reason which would seem to be obvious. Moses was supernaturally spared death as an infant and became part of the royal family of the Egyptians. After Moses knew God's will for his life it was logical to think that God would use his position and prestige to accomplish His will.

We should not forget that God often uses nobodies for His Kingdom purpose.

1Co 1:26 For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth.

1Co 1:27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong;

1Co 1:28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are,

1Co 1:29 so that no human being might boaast in the presence of God

1Co 1:30 He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, whom God made our wisdom and our righteousness and sanctification and redemption.

Moses knew something of the call of God on his life when he killed the Egyptian, we can see that from this passage. Killing this Egyptian was not the way God had planned to bring about the Jews' freedom nor was it God's timing. We donft just need to know Godfs will for our lives but His timing in our lives. The trouble is we often think we can go ahead of Him but we canft. I know speaking for myself I wish I had started to learn that lesson when I was in my teens or twenties, but the Lord has had so many lessons to teach me along the way, some of them have been very hard, for His way and His timing is surely best.

Act 7:26 The next day Moses saw two of his own people fighting, and he tried to make them stop. He said, "Men, you are both Israelites. Why are you so cruel to each other?"

Act 7:27 But the man who had started the fight pushed Moses aside and asked, "Who made you our ruler and judge?

Moses, as a Prince of the Egyptian Royal household was in a position of leadership over any Jew in Egypt. This man was possibly referring to the position that Moses was seeking to occupy as the man whom God had appointed over the Israelites to lead them to independence. This means that Moses' motives for killing the Egyptian the previous day were known and rejected by the Jews. They probably knew him as a Jew by birth but did fully at this time accept him as one of them.

Act 7:28 Are you going to kill me, just as you killed that Egyptian yesterday?"

Act 7:29 When Moses heard this, he ran away to live in the country of Midian. His two sons were born there.

Act 7:30 Forty years later, an angel appeared to Moses from a burning bush in the desert near Mount Sinai.

Ah now we see it is Moses time, the years in Midian were years to allow him to mature and be ready for the task God had for him. This process took forty years.

Act 7:31 Moses was surprised by what he saw. He went closer to get a better look, and the Lord said,

Act 7:32 "I am the God who was worshiped by your ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob." Moses started shaking all over and didn't dare to look at the bush.

Act 7:33 The Lord said to him, "Take off your sandals. The place where you are standing is holy.

Act 7:34 With my own eyes I have seen the suffering of my people in Egypt. I have heard their groans and have come down to rescue them. Now I am sending you back to Egypt."

Act 7:35 This was the same Moses that the people rejected by saying, "Who made you our leader and judge?" God's angel had spoken to Moses from the bush. And God had even sent the angel to help Moses rescue the people and be their leader.

It is without doubt one of the reasons Stephen was emphasizing Moses' rejection was to draw a comparison between Moses and Jesus.

Act 7:36 In Egypt and at the Red Sea and in the desert, Moses rescued the people by working miracles and wonders for forty years.

Act 7:37 Moses is the one who told the people of Israel, "God will choose one of your people to be a prophet, just as he chose me."

In verse 37 Stephen quotes Moses from Deuteronomy 18:15, where Moses prophesied that the Messiah would be chosen to be a prophet likening Him to himself. The Jews rejected Moses, and yet God exalted him to become their leader, ruler and judge. Likewise, Jesus was rejected by the Jews, but God exalted him to be both Lord and Christ.

@

Act 7:38 Moses brought our people together in the desert, and the angel spoke to him on Mount Sinai. There he was given these life-giving words to pass on to us.

Act 7:39 But our ancestors refused to obey Moses. They rejected him and wanted to go back to Egypt.

Act 7:40 The people said to Aaron, "Make some gods to lead us! Moses led us out of Egypt, but we don't know what's happened to him now."

Act 7:41 Then they made an idol in the shape of a calf. They offered sacrifices to the idol and were pleased with what they had done.

Act 7:42 God turned his back on his people and left them. Then they worshiped the stars in the sky, just as it says in the Book of the Prophets, "People of Israel, you didn't offer sacrifices and offerings to me during those forty years in the desert.

Act 7:43 Instead, you carried the tent where the god Molech is worshiped, and you took along the star of your god Rephan. You made those idols and worshiped them. So now I will have you carried off beyond Babylonia."

1Ki 11:7 Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, and for Molech the abomination of the Ammonites, on the mountain east of Jerusalem.

How foolish could any man to whom God had given great knowledge and wisdom be as to build false gods because they had lost sight of that which should have been their first love, the one and only true God. Both Aaron and Solomon done this but we can see it reflects the condition of the nation, both done those things to please people rather than God. There is more to it than that though.

Jer 32:35 They built the high places of Baal in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, to offer up their sons and daughters to Molech, though I did not command them, nor did it enter into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin.

The worship of Moloch was also a part of the worship of Baal. In the worship of Moloch, children were burnt as sacrifices.

The Lord forbade His people to do this (Lev. 18:21; Dt. 18:10) and prescribed the death penalty for anyone who disobeyed this commandment (Lev. 20:2).

Act 7:44 The tent where our ancestors worshiped God was with them in the desert. This was the same tent that God had commanded Moses to make. And it was made like the model that Moses had seen.

Act 7:45 Later it was given to our ancestors, and they took it with them when they went with Joshua. They carried the tent along as they took over the land from those people that God had chased out for them. Our ancestors used this tent until the time of King David.

Those verses are referring to the tent of the tabernacle which God instructed Moses to build and take with them during their wilderness years.

@

Act 7:46 He pleased God and asked him if he could build a house of worship for the people of Israel.

Act 7:47 And it was finally King Solomon who built a house for God.

God used Solomon to build His Temple. Amazingly this was the same King who built the Molech god. We as Godfs people must keep our eyes focused on our first love, lest we stumble.

Act 7:48 But the Most High God doesn't live in houses made by humans. It is just as the prophet said, when he spoke for the Lord,

Act 7:49 "Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me? In what place will I rest?

Act 7:50 I have made everything."

Act 7:51 You stubborn and hardheaded people! You are always fighting against the Holy Spirit, just as your ancestors did.

Act 7:52 Is there one prophet that your ancestors didn't mistreat? They killed the prophets who told about the coming of the One Who Obeys God. And now you have turned against him and killed him.

Act 7:53 Angels gave you God's Law, but you still don't obey it.

Act 7:54 When the council members heard Stephen's speech, they were angry and furious.

Act 7:55 But Stephen was filled with the Holy Spirit. He looked toward heaven, where he saw our glorious God and Jesus standing at his right side.

 

Act 7:55 But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, KJV

Stephen had demonstrated to them how they were no better than their ancestors, they had rejected the greatest prophet of all, the one who was God and man, their Messiah, although they did not recognize Him. The Greek word used in verse 55 in the for "steadfastly" is "atenizo," which means "to gaze intently, look earnestly, steadfastly, set eyes." Stephen didnft just glance up. He purposely focused his full attention on Jesus. He was rewarded with a glimpse of the risen Christ standing at the right hand of God, which enabled him to endure the agony of being stoned to death.

The key to us being able to endure any of the afflictions the devil sends our way is to look beyond the problem unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.

Heb 12:2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Act 7:56 Then Stephen said, "I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right side of God!"

Stephen saw the heavens open and the Son of Man, Jesus Christ, His Lord at the Fatherfs right hand.

Act 7:57 The council members shouted and covered their ears. At once they all attacked Stephen

People are often offended at other people's claims regarding their spiritual experiences. In this case though, these Jews were mostly offended by Stephen's reference to Jesus, who they had condemned as being a blasphemer, being exalted to the right hand of God.

Act 7:58 and dragged him out of the city. Then they started throwing stones at him. The men who had brought charges against him put their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul.

This same young man Saul, went on to persecute the believers-in-Jesus until the time of his own miraculous conversion.

Act 7:59 As Stephen was being stoned to death, he called out, "Lord Jesus, please welcome me!"

Act 7:60 He knelt down and shouted, "Lord, don't blame them for what they have done." Then he died.

Luk 23:34a Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."

Can you see the similarity in the attitude Stephen had at the time of his murder as the Lord Jesus Himself had as he hung on that cross. Stephen showed real evidence of how Christ had transformed his life. He knew what it was to have the compassion and mercy upon those who were murdering Him as Jesus did. He wants us to have compassion like He has, and be able to forgive like he forgives. This surely is the Lordfs desire for all of us, to be able to love like He loves, to show mercy as He shows mercy.

Acts 8:1-8

Act 8:1 And Saul was there, giving approval to his death.

 

  This is the same man who later encountered Jesus on the Damascus Road and his life as radically and totally changed forever.

 

The Church Persecuted and Scattered

Act 8:2 On that day a great persecution broke out against the church at Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him.

Act 8:3 But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off men and women and put them in prison.

 

               The apostles were not scattered with the other believers. Very possibly Saul was under conviction while performing those actions against believers. God was just about to step in though and reveal Himself in the person of Jesus to Saul. This is surely a reminder to us that God can transform the lives of even the worst of sinners.

 

1Ti 1:15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners--of whom I am the worst.

1Ti 1:16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.

1Ti 1:17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen

 

Philip in Samaria

Act 8:4 Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.

 

  The believers being scattered was necessary for the cause of the gospel. The believers took the gospel of Jesus everywhere and people were saved, healed and delivered.

 

Act 8:5 Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Christ there.

Act 8:6 When the crowds heard Philip and saw the miraculous signs he did, they all paid close attention to what he said.

Act 8:7 With shrieks, evil spirits came out of many, and many paralytics and cripples were healed.

Act 8:8 So there was great joy in that city.

 

             They preached and proclaimed the gospel of Christ. Philip proclaimed Christ in Samaria and signs wonders and miracles happened. The message of who Christ is and what He has done for us is central to the gospel message, it should never be about what we can do for Christ. When we truly move ourselves out of the picture, die to selves then we should start to see those things happening in our cities.   It was not just the message which Philip had to deliver that attracted the people but seeing miracles in the Name of Jesus. They recognised the force behind the man was God Himself, for Philip was a man driven and empowered by the Spirit of God.

               My prayer is to see this type of deliverance and joy throughout this city, throughout this nation, and indeed all the nations of the world. It can only be found in the person of Jesus Christ. 

Acts 8:1-8

Act 8:1 And Saul was there, giving approval to his death.

Amazing isn't it? This is the same man who later encountered Jesus on the Damascus Road and his life as radically and totally changed forever. It shows us what a genuine encounter with the living Christ can do in a person.

Act 8:2 On that day a great persecution broke out against the church at Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him.
Act 8:3 But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off men and women and put them in prison.


The apostles were not scattered with the other believers. Very possibly Saul was under conviction while performing those actions against believers. God was just about to step in though and reveal Himself in the person of Jesus to Saul. This is surely a reminder to us that God can transform the lives of even the worst of sinners.

1Ti 1:15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners--of whom I am the worst.
1Ti 1:16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.
1Ti 1:17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen


Act 8:4 Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.

The believers being scattered was necessary for the cause of the gospel. The believers took the gospel of Jesus everywhere and people were saved, healed and delivered.

Act 8:5 Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Christ there.
Act 8:6 When the crowds heard Philip and saw the miraculous signs he did, they all paid close attention to what he said.
Act 8:7 With shrieks, evil spirits came out of many, and many paralytics and cripples were healed.
Act 8:8 So there was great joy in that city.


They preached and proclaimed the gospel of Christ. Philip proclaimed Christ in Samaria and signs wonders and miracles happened. The message of who Christ is and what He has done for us is central to the gospel message, it should never be about what we can do for Christ. When we truly move ourselves out of the picture, die to selves then we should start to see those things happening in our cities. It was not just the message which Philip had to deliver that attracted the people but seeing miracles in the Name of Jesus. They recognised the force behind the man was God Himself, for Philip was a man driven and empowered by the Spirit of God.
My prayer is to see this type of healing, deliverance and joy throughout this city, throughout this nation, and indeed all the nations of the world. It can only be found in the person of Jesus Christ.

Acts 8: 9-25

NIV used thoughout

Act 8:9 Now for some time a man named Simon had practiced sorcery in the city and amazed all the people of Samaria. He boasted that he was someone great,
Act 8:10 and all the people, both high and low, gave him their attention and exclaimed, "This man is the divine power known as the Great Power."
Act 8:11 They followed him because he had amazed them for a long time with his magic.
Act 8:12 But when they believed Philip as he preached the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.


Simon the sorcerer was obviously a man full of his own importance, he through his sorcery and magic prowess had many of the Samaritans believing that he had divine ;powers, but it was the god of this world who empowered him. We see here that when Philip came and preached the good news of the kingdom and there was a demonstration of the kingdom in power, the people who had been so impressed by what was mere magic turned away and instead placed their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and were baptized.

Act 8:13 Simon himself believed and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw.

Simon himself believed at this time and requested baptism, then he followed Philip everywhere amazed and astonished as he observed the kingdom at work in signs and wonders.

Act 8:14 When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them.
Act 8:15 When they arrived, they prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit,
Act 8:16 because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them; they had simply been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus.
Act 8:17 Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.


This was the first time in the experience of the church that anyone except a proper Jew became believers in Jesus. The Samaritans were Jews who had corrupted their bloodline, and the true worship of God, and were looked upon by strict Jews as not being Abraham's seed and heirs to the promises The church at Jerusalem had sent Peter and John to Samaria to check out what was happening there and see if they approved, and if this indeed was a reality.
This is one of the clearest examples in the book of Acts that the born-again experience and the receiving of the Holy Spirit are two separate experiences. These people were already believers. Philip would not have baptized them otherwise (see verses. 36-37), and yet they had not yet been filled with the full power of the Holy Spirit.

Act 8:18 When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles' hands, he offered them money
Act 8:19 and said, "Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit."


We have already read that Simon had believed and was baptized and yet here we have him believing he could buy the anointing of God with money. He wanted to lay hands on people that they might receive the Holy Spirit. Obviously he had seen the evidence of something amazing happening as the believers received the Holy Spirit. He wanted that power of impartation too that he might impart to others that power also. He did not understand the Holy Spirit, for he was still obsessed with having a power and authority himself.

Act 8:20 Peter answered: "May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money!

We cannot buy blessings from God. There has been an inference in the church today that goes beyond that which the scriptures teach us, and many have the misconception that if they sow finances etc into a ministry seeking nothing but the increase they will see tenfold or hundredfold return. That is not scriptural. If God lays it on our hearts to sow into the glory of his kingdom we should give, for our giving is as unto the Lord as is our tithes. This man Simon was so, so wrong in believing he could buy the power of the Holy Spirit that he might impress others. Yet there are surely those in the church today who are guilty even in part of this wrong way of thinking.

Act 8:21 You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God.
Act 8:22 Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps he will forgive you for having such a thought in your heart.
Act 8:23 For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin."


Peters said this about Simon showing us that Simon's heart wasn't right with God, but it is not too clear as to whether Simon was truly converted. In verse 20 Peter mentioned Simon perishing with his money, however, believers can also get caught up in bitterness and iniquity. This shows us, that Simon was bitter in spirit, probably because the people's attention and praise had turned away from him unto the true and living God .This bitterness had brought him into a place of bondage to satan and he was needing to repent.

Act 8:24 Then Simon answered, "Pray to the Lord for me so that nothing you have said may happen to me."

Simon asked Peter and John to pray for him but he did not at that moment fall to his knees in humble repentance himself, confessing his sin. Peter had asked him to pray to the Lord but instead we see here that Simon asked others to intercede on his behalf. I have seen it many a time when someone is caught up in sin they want others to pray for them to be set free, but they have not yet reached that stage of true repentance where they are ready to come before God and cry out to him as the Psalmist did. .

Psa 40:1 I waited patiently for the LORD;
And He inclined to me,
And heard my cry.
Psa 40:2 He also brought me up out of a horrible pit,
Out of the miry clay,
And set my feet upon a rock,
And established my steps.


God rescues those who call out to him, he will set them free bringing them out of the miry clay setting their feet upon the rock


Act 8:25 When they had testified and proclaimed the word of the Lord, Peter and John returned to Jerusalem, preaching the gospel in many Samaritan villages.

Peter and John having seen now how the Lord was pouring out His Spirit upon the Samaritans proclaimed the glorious truth of the gospel throughout other Samaritan villages prior to their return to Jerusalem. They were al;ways faithful in doing that which the Lord had asked them to do in reaching the people with the message of the gospel of the kingdom, proclaiming the message we all should bear witness to of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Christ Is Preached to an Ethiopian

 

Earlier in this chapter we saw that Philip preached the gospel with demonstration of the Kingdom and power.

 

Act 8:26  Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, “Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is desert.

Act 8:27  So he arose and went.

 

Philip was faithful in all things, we see here he was immediately obedient to the voice of the angel of the Lord speaking to him telling him to go to the desert without having full revelation as to why he was going there prior to going

 

 And behold, a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge of all her treasury, and had come to Jerusalem to worship,

Act 8:28  was returning. And sitting in his chariot, he was reading Isaiah the prophet.

 

But the Lord knew exactly who Philip would meet hence he was encountered by the angel who  directed him towards the place where he would chat with the Ethiopian eunuch.

 

Act 8:29  Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go near and overtake this chariot.”

 

The Holy Spirit led Philip to overtake the chariot the Ethiopian eunuch was travelling in and when Philip heard him reading from Isaiah the Spirit directed Philip to ask him a question.

 

Act 8:30  So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?”

 

Philip asked the eunuch “Do you understand what you are reading?”

 

Act 8:31  And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him.

 

The eunuch was obviously seeking understanding and God knew his heart so he sent Philip into what we would describe today as a divinely orchestrated appointment.

 

Act 8:32  The place in the Scripture which he read was this:

 

 

            “ He was led as a sheep to the slaughter;

            And as a lamb before its shearer is silent,

            So He opened not His mouth.

           

Act 8:33  In His humiliation His justice was taken away,

            And who will declare His generation?

            For His life is taken from the earth.”

 

 

The passage above which the eunuch was reading is taken from Isaiah 53 7-8. This was a great situation for witnessing about Jesus. It is wonderful when the Holy Spirit leads us into situations like this, where His guidance is so obvious.

Sometimes though the Lord will lead us to speak to those who are not this receptive, because He loves them too. We may not always be led to people like this eunuch, but that does not mean that the Lord has not directed us to speak to them. We must seek the Spirit’s guidance in what we do, we should pray daily for Divine appointments.

Act 8:34  So the eunuch answered Philip and said, “I ask you, of whom does the prophet say this, of himself or of some other man?”

Act 8:35  Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him.

 So Philip had the chance to witness to the fact of how Jesus Christ, God’s only Son was the lamb who was slain. He then led the eunuch to a saving faith.

 

Act 8:36  Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?”

 

It is possible that Philip included instruction about water baptism in his preaching regarding the cross and Jesus, possibly after he led him to Christ.

 

Act 8:37  Then Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.”

 

Philip we see wanted the eunuch to be fully affirmative of his faith prior to being baptized.

 

And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”

 

The eunuch had no hesitation in affirming this, infact, as I read I can feel the excitement bubbling up inside Philip according to Andrew Wommack’s commentary was translated about 20 miles. He just appeared suddenly in the city of Azotus and he continued to preach the gospel there as he passed through and in every other city  until he came to Caesarea.

this new convert, he was ready to commit the whole of his life to this Jesus- the one he had searched for, for so long.

 

Act 8:38  So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him.

 

    So Philip at the eunuch’s request and on confession of his faith baptized him in water.

 

Act 8:39  Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing.

 

Philip was translated , he was caught up and moved elsewhere. Imagine the wow factor that the Ethiopian eunuch would have when this happened, not only him but those who accompanied him. When people see demonstration of the kingdom and power they cannot do anything else but believe.

 

Act 8:40  But Philip was found at Azotus. And passing through, he preached in all the cities till he came to Caesarea.

 

 

Philip was translated about 20 miles to Azotus and he went on preaching in all the cities  till he came to Caesarea.

Saul's conversion

Act 9:1  Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord's disciples. He went to the high priest

Act 9:2  and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem.

 

          We know that Saul had been present at the stoning of Stephen then in Acts 8.3 we learned that he was actively persecuting Christians. What we can see of Saul in those two verses here is zeal, but so wrongly directed. He was religious and zealous for what he thought was the  cause of God without knowing God in a personal manner. If he had known God he would have recognized  Jesus as the Christ. So he was still making murderous threats against Christians and was in fact now part of instigating action against them.  An encounter with Jesus Christ was about to change his life forever.

 

Act 9:3  As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him.

Act 9:4  He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?"

 

 

       This strong powerful light, the glory of our God shone brightly from the heavens, so startling was this and so weighty was the presence of God that Saul fell to the ground. Now when I think of how Saul must have felt when the Lord asked him why he was persecuting Him, but he did not straight away know who was talking to him.

 

Act 9:5  "Who are you, Lord?" Saul asked. "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting," he replied.

 

Saul asked a question recognising that the one who spoke to him was Lord, was deity but he did not yet know that this was Jesus the Christ, but Jesus answered him and this one moment in time, this encounter with Jesus Christ was enough to turn his life totally around- Saul the persecuter would become the Apostle Paul.

 

Act 9:6  "Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do."

Act 9:7  The men travelling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone.

Act 9:8  Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus.

Act 9:9  For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.

    Notice how immediately Saul’s life was being turned around instead of persecuting Jesus and his followers he was ready to obey what the Lord told him to do. Saul was blinded for three days, he had probably witnessed the light of the glory more powerfully than any man or woman had previously seen it. We know that the men with him saw something of the light, but did they see what Saul saw. I am not so sure because just as in Acts 22:9 we see they had no understanding of the voice, of what they heard I personally question whether they saw what Saul was perceiving of the light of the glory. The men who were with him took him into Damascus.  

  Saul did not eat and drink for 3 days, he was waiting on God for direction. As a religious man in the past he would know what it was to fast but now he has heard the voice of Jesus speaking to him, he will recognise that voice again, he has left behind religious piety, and hatred and found relationship and it was time to make up on lost time  and get to know this Jesus he had so falsely persecuted.

His scales fell off

Act 9:10  In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, "Ananias!" "Yes, Lord," he answered.

 

      Notice that when God spoke to Ananias his immediate response was “Yes Lord.” He did not hesitate.

 

Act 9:11  The Lord told him, "Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying.

 

      The instructions the lord gave Ananias were detailed and specific.

 

Act 9:12  In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight."

 

    The Lord even explains the vision which Saul has had re Ananias laying hands on him for his site to be restored.  Now remember Saul was a baby Christian and yet he had clarity in his vision, How many of us have been Christians for years but seldom and maybe even never have experienced that kind of clarity in visions and dreams?

 

Act 9:13  "Lord," Ananias answered, "I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your saints in Jerusalem.

Act 9:14  And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name."

 

      I used to think we should ask no questions of God as to why’s and wherefore’s, but that is hardly Biblical. We do find here though that Ananias may have asked the Lord a question but in having that answered He had faith to believe God at His word and act in obedience.

 

Act 9:15  But the Lord said to Ananias, "Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel.

Act 9:16  I will show him how much he must suffer for my name."

Act 9:17  Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, "Brother Saul, the Lord--Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here--has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit."

 

         Ananias acted on what the Lord told him instead of what he had heard from others. This is real faith, especially considering all he had previously heard of this man Saul was that he had persecuted, tortured and killed believers. Saul not only received his sight but when Ananias lay hands on Him he received the Holy Spirit- was baptized in the Holy Spirit. Notice also how straight away having heard and understood God's report regarding Saul, Ananias calls him "brother."

 

       In  Acts 22:12-16, we can see that Ananias also spoke to Saul about the call that God placed on his life, presumably from the information the Lord gave Ananias when He spoke to him in Acts 9:15.

 

Act 9:18  Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul's eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized,

 

     A Holy Spirit encounter and the scales came right off Saul’s eyes not just in a physical sense did he receive his sight but in a spiritual sense, then he got up and was baptized.

 

Act 9:19  and after taking some food, he regained his strength. Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus.

 

    I imagine that Saul not only receive food to eat at this time but that Ananias played a part in explaining more to him of the things of God, explaining the Word, giving Saul spiritual food and he would be strengthened in body and spirit. Then Saul spent several days being disciple by the Damascan disciples and I am sure Ananias was still among them.

 

Act 9:20  At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God.

 

Immediately Saul preached in the synagogues, he just had to share the good news of Jesus Christ, that this is indeed the Son of God.  

Lives changed when the Lord encounters them

Act 9:21  All those who heard him were astonished and asked, "Isn't he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn't he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?"

    

   What a change. Here we have the man who came to persecute Christians now speaking to others about Jesus Christ.

 

Act 9:22  Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Christ.

 

  Yet Saul grew in strength with God’s help  and he totally baffled the Jews in Damascus because his testimony was powerful, his life was turned around, changed entirely and he was convincing others that Jesus was the Christ, the Messiah!

 

Act 9:23  After many days had gone by, the Jews conspired to kill him,

Act 9:24  but Saul learned of their plan. Day and night they kept close watch on the city gates in order to kill him.

 

 

  So now we have the persecutor who has become the persecuted, the Jews planned to kill him.

 

Act 9:25  But his followers took him by night and lowered him in a basket through an opening in the wall.

 

God’s protection was over Saul and other believers helped him escape.

 

Act 9:26  When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple.

 

     Put yourself in the disciples shoes, they had heard so many stories, maybe even witnessed Saul persecuting  Christians, we cannot blame them for being unsure of him and questioning whether he was maybe only wanting to infiltrate them to do them harm in the long run.

 

Act 9:27  But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus.

 

     Barnabas though took him and explained something of his Damascus Road experience. They then accepted Saul amongst themselves by faith.

 

Act 9:28  So Saul stayed with them and moved about freely in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord.

 

  Saul spoke freely and boldly in the name of the Lord in Jerusalem  where he had once persecuted the saints.

 

Act 9:29  He talked and debated with the Grecian Jews, but they tried to kill him.

 

Grecians Jews refers to Jews whose first language was Greek, as opposed to the Jews who spoke Hebrew.

http://www.awmi.net/extras/spacer.gif

Act 9:30  When the brothers learned of this, they took him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus.

Act 9:31  Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace. It was strengthened; and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it grew in numbers, living in the fear of the Lord.

 

  This was a time when God was building up and strengthening the church, encouraging them and they were learning more about how to walk in the Spirit and be led by the Spirit, they lived in awe of the Lord, yes they found intimacy but they did not lose that sense of awe and reverence and respect, they increased in numbers as they walked in obedience.

 

Act 9:32  As Peter traveled about the country, he went to visit the saints in Lydda.

Act 9:33  There he found a man named Aeneas, a paralytic who had been bedridden for eight years.

Act 9:34  "Aeneas," Peter said to him, "Jesus Christ heals you. Get up and take care of your mat." Immediately Aeneas got up.

Act 9:35  All those who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord.

 

  Here we see a demonstration of the kingdom and power many came to Jesus when they witnessed how God had healed the paralysed man.

 

Act 9:36  In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which, when translated, is Dorcas ), who was always doing good and helping the poor.

Act 9:37  About that time she became sick and died, and her body was washed and placed in an upstairs room.

Act 9:38  Lydda was near Joppa; so when the disciples heard that Peter was in Lydda, they sent two men to him and urged him, "Please come at once!"

Act 9:39  Peter went with them, and when he arrived he was taken upstairs to the room. All the widows stood around him, crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was still with them.

Act 9:40  Peter sent them all out of the room; then he got down on his knees and prayed. Turning toward the dead woman, he said, "Tabitha, get up." She opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up.

 

Why do you think the disciples didn't raise Dorcas from the dead? Why did they have to send for Peter? It wasn't because only apostles had the power to raise someone from the dead. Jesus said in John 14:12 that those who believed on Him would do the same works that He did, and that included raising people from the dead. He also said in Mr 9:23, "All things are possible to him that believeth." Peter himself had explained that the miracles which he performed were not because of who he was but because of faith in the name of Jesus. Peter was a man who walked in faith. There are many possible reasons why these disciples didn't see Dorcas raised from the dead without Peter's assistance. It is probable that they were hindered by unbelief, as Peter and the other apostles had been in Mt 17:20. Jesus had to help them when their unbelief had prevailed, and now that he had become strong, it was Peter's turn to help others.

We too should be seeing this outworking of the Kingdom and of faith, we are those who believe. Lord help our unbelief.

 

Act 9:41  He took her by the hand and helped her to her feet. Then he called the believers and the widows and presented her to them alive.

 

  Imagine being amongst that group of believers who had seen their friend and sister in Christ lying lifeless, dead before their very eyes and here Peter presents Tabitha before them as very much alive, walking towards them.

 

Act 9:42  This became known all over Joppa, and many people believed in the Lord.

 

   Once again this demonstration of the Kingdom and power had many come to a believing faith in Jesus Christ.

 

 

Act 9:43  Peter stayed in Joppa for some time with a tanner named Simon.

 

This Simon is only mentioned in Scripture in connection with Peter staying in his house (Ac 9:43; 10:6, 17, and 32). Tanners were considered unclean people by the Jews because they handled dead bodies. (Andrew Wommack’s Commentary)

Acts 10

 

 

Act 10:1 there was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius,a centurion of what was called the Italian Regiment,

 

Act 10:2  a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms

generously to the people, and prayed to God always.

 

 

This is the second recorded account of a Gentile being converted to Christianity, the first having been the Ethiopian Eunuch. We are introduced to Cornelius  as a man who feared God along with all his household, he was  a praying man, but at this time he did not yet know Jesus.

 Cornelius was a very godly man, but that was not enough. He had to believe the truth of the Gospel, and that's why the angel instructed him to send for Peter. His godly character had the Lord respond and send someone to share with him the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. However, if he had refused to believe on Jesus for the forgiveness of his sins, trusting instead in his good character to make him accepted by God, he would have been destined for hell.

 

Act 10:3  About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God coming in and saying to him, "Cornelius!"

 

  The ninth hour was the hour of prayer at the temple in Jerusalem.

 

Act 10:4  And when he observed him, he was afraid, and said, "What is it, lord?" So he said to him, "Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God.

Act 10:5  Now send men to Joppa, and send for Simon whose surname is Peter.

 

            The angel knew that Cornelius needed to hear the gospel message, but he was not there to preach the Gospel that was assigned to Christian believers. If we don’t witness, angels are not going to do it for us. Angelic encounters, visions and dreams may draw the seeker towards a relationship with Jesus but it is the message of the Gospel spoken or read that will set them free. They need to know about the Jesus who died for them.

 

Act 10:6  He is lodging with Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the sea. He will tell you what you must do."

Act 10:7  And when the angel who spoke to him had departed, Cornelius called two of his household servants and a devout soldier from among those who waited on him continually.

 

      Notice how Cornelius had an urgency about him, he acted on this as soon as the angel departed. He called on his servants and a Godly soldier who also waited on him and started to explain the angelic visitation, then sent the three of them to Joppa which was about 35 miles from Caesarea.

 

Act 10:8  So when he had explained all these things to them, he sent them to Joppa.

Act 10:9  The next day, as they went on their journey and drew near the city, Peter went up on the housetop to pray, about the sixth hour.

Act 10:10  Then he became very hungry and wanted to eat; but while they made ready, he fell into a trance

 

       The trance referred to here is being so dominated by the Spirit of God that his mind was not functioning in it’s normal state but he was seeing, hearing, and thinking only on the divine images and messages being given to them by God. It is very clear, from this verse and Ac 10:19, that trances and visions are the same things.

 

Act 10:11  and saw heaven opened and an object like a great sheet bound at the four corners, descending to him and let down to the earth.

Act 10:12  In it were all kinds of four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air.

Act 10:13  And a voice came to him, "Rise, Peter; kill and eat."

 

          This vision was to illustrate to Peter that the Gentiles were no longer to be considered unclean but fellow heirs (Ephesians 3:6), along with the Jews, of God's mercy and salvation through Jesus

     (Acts 10:28). This was accomplished by offering Peter all types of animals to eat, animals that were unclean according to Leviticus 11:1-23 and Deuteronomy 14:3-21. Peter refused to eat, as any good Jew would, but the voice of the Lord was insistent that God had cleansed them and that Peter should eat. This was done three times, to establish the fact that the Lord was making a change in what was considered clean and unclean. The Lord followed up this vision with a word of knowledge that three men were at the door seeking Peter and that he was supposed to go with them. When he found out that these men were Gentiles, the meaning of the vision became obvious.

 

Act 10:14  But Peter said, "Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean."

Act 10:15  And a voice spoke to him again the second time, "What God has cleansed you must not call common."

Act 10:16  This was done three times. And the object was taken up into heaven again.

 

      Peter questioned the Lord on this and the Lord was assuring him that he must change his way of thinking not only as regards food but in regard to his attitude towards Gentiles for Christ had come to save the Gentiles too. We see here how we must seek to see people the way God sees them.

 

Act 10:17  Now while Peter wondered within himself what this vision which he had seen meant, behold, the men who had been sent from Cornelius had made inquiry for Simon's house, and stood before the gate.

Act 10:18  And they called and asked whether Simon, whose surname was Peter, was lodging there.

Act 10:19  While Peter thought about the vision, the Spirit said to him, "Behold, three men are seeking you.

Act 10:20  Arise therefore, go down and go with them, doubting nothing; for I have sent them."

 

      God prepared Peter for this encounter, otherwise doubts may have come into Peter’s mind as to the wisdom of going with total strangers. There were three of them and they could have been falsely representing themselves and plotting against him. Having heard the voice of God on the matter though we will see how Peter obeys.

 

Act 10:21  Then Peter went down to the men who had been sent to him from Cornelius, and said, "Yes, I am he whom you seek. For what reason have you come?"

Act 10:22  And they said, "Cornelius the centurion, a just man, one who fears God and has a good reputation among all the nation of the Jews, was divinely instructed by a holy angel to summon you to his house, and to hear words from you."

Act 10:23  Then he invited them in and lodged them. On the next day Peter went away with them, and some brethren from Joppa accompanied him.

Act 10:24  And the following day they entered Caesarea. Now Cornelius was waiting for them, and had called together his relatives and close friends.

 

  The angel had not told Cornelius to gather his family and friends but we see that right from point go Cornelius was a witness.

 

Act 10:25  As Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him.

Act 10:26  But Peter lifted him up, saying, "Stand up; I myself am also a man."

 

      Peter refused Cornelius' worship, knowing that worship is reserved for God alone He was setting a precedent that all ministers should adhere to. It is easy for people to think too highly of the one who brings God's Word to them, but a minister who is truly preaching Jesus will make it very clear, as Peter did, that Jesus is the only one to be worshiped.

 

Act 10:27  And as he talked with him, he went in and found many who had come together.

Act 10:28  Then he said to them, "You know how unlawful it is for a Jewish man to keep company with or go to one of another nation. But God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean.

 

      This should be our reaction to people of every tribe and every nation, God loves them all and we should not shun people who are different from us, such as those who come from a different socio economic background. The dirty looking alcoholic or drug addict begging on the street is loved by God.  God can impact and change their lives. God wants us to see them through His eyes.

 

Act 10:29  Therefore I came without objection as soon as I was sent for. I ask, then, for what reason have you sent for me?"

Act 10:30  So Cornelius said, "Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing,

Act 10:31  and said, 'Cornelius, your prayer has been heard, and your alms are remembered in the sight of God.

Act 10:32  Send therefore to Joppa and call Simon here, whose surname is Peter. He is lodging in the house of Simon, a tanner, by the sea. When he comes, he will speak to you.'

Act 10:33  So I sent to you immediately, and you have done well to come. Now therefore, we are all present before God, to hear all the things commanded you by God."

Act 10:34  Then Peter opened his mouth and said: "In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality.

Act 10:35  But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.

 

      Peter now understood that the Gentiles were completely accepted by God into His family through belief in Jesus and not by becoming a proselyte to Judaism. Since God had accepted them, Peter accepted Cornelius and his kinsmen and even ate with them. But when men were sent from James at the Jerusalem church to obtain a firsthand report Peter and the six men who were with him (Acts 11:12) withdrew from Cornelius and separated themselves for fear of what the Jews might think. Peter could not claim ignorance when Paul rebuked him in Galatians 2:11-14. Peter was the first apostle to receive the revelation that the Gentiles could be saved.

 

Act 10:36  The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ—He is Lord of all—

Act 10:37  that word you know, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, and began from Galilee after the baptism which John preached:

 

       From this we can see that Cornelius and the others gathered here had already heard something of Jesus.

 

Act 10:38  how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.

 

     Peter was giving a short ,but very descriptive, summary of the life and ministry of Jesus. Jesus was anointed with power and with the Holy Spirit. He used this power to do good, not evil. He healed the sick and set people free from the devil’s bondage. Jesus showed us the perfect will of the Father by healing all who came to Him for healing.  Sickness and disease is sent from the  devil, he is the oppressor, it does not come from God whose nature is that of a healer.

 

Act 10:39  And we are witnesses of all things which He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem, whom they killed by hanging on a tree.

Act 10:40  Him God raised up on the third day, and showed Him openly,

Act 10:41  not to all the people, but to witnesses chosen before by God, even to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead.  

 

       After his resurrection Jesus appeared to believers not unbelievers, there is no record of Him appearing to any unbelievers.

 

Act 10:42  And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead.

Act 10:43  To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins."

 

The Greek word for remission was "APHESIS." Which means "freedom; (figuratively) pardon" (Strong's Concordance) and was translated "deliverance," "forgiveness," and "liberty."

 

Act 10:44  While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word.

 

         The Gentiles here received the baptism of the Holy Spirit simultaneously with the new birth. In other cases, the Spirit baptism came later. The Pentecost experience was not limited to the jews it was for people of every tongue and of every nation.

 

Act 10:45  And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also.

 

Some scholars speculate that this took place as many as ten years after the Day of Pentecost. Certainly, Peter, and possibly some of these other Jews, had been born again and walking with the Lord for a long time in such close relationship that his shadow had healed people (Ac 5:15) and others had been raised from the dead (Ac 9:41). Yet they were totally surprised to see God's acceptance of the Gentiles, even though it was clearly prophesied in Old Testament scriptures (Isa 11:10, 42:6, 49:6, 22, 60:3-16, 62:2, 66:19; Jer 16:19-21; and Mal 1:11) and Jesus Himself spoke of it (Mt 8:11-12, 21:42-43; Lu 4:25-27, 13:29; and Joh 10:16).

This illustrates that the Lord doesn't bring us into all truth instantly; there is a growth process (Isa 28:10). All believers have enough "blind spots" that we have no right to adopt a know-it-all attitude. "If any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know" (1Co 8:2). (Andrew Wommack’s Bible Commentary)

 

Act 10:46  For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. Then Peter answered,

 

     Speaking in tongues was a proof here that Cornelius and these other Gentiles had received the Holy Ghost.

 

Act 10:47  "Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?"

Act 10:48  And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days.

 Peter now saw no reason why the new believers should not be baptized in water.  Here we see that water baptism came not only after their conversion but after a Spirit baptism. So he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord.

 

    

Acts chapter 11

Act 11:1  Now the apostles and the brothers who were throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God.

Act 11:2  So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcision party criticized him, saying,

Act 11:3  "You went to uncircumcised men and ate with them."

 

    There was a degree of contention here; surely God meant this salvation for the Jews only they thought.

 

Act 11:4  But Peter began and explained it to them in order:

Act 11:5  "I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision, something like a great sheet descending, being let down from heaven by its four corners, and it came down to me.

Act 11:6  Looking at it closely, I observed animals and beasts of prey and reptiles and birds of the air.

Act 11:7  And I heard a voice saying to me, 'Rise, Peter; kill and eat.'

Act 11:8  But I said, 'By no means, Lord; for nothing common or unclean has ever entered my mouth.'

Act 11:9  But the voice answered a second time from heaven, 'What God has made clean, do not call common.'

Act 11:10  This happened three times, and all was drawn up again into heaven.

Act 11:11  And behold, at that very moment three men arrived at the house in which we were, sent to me from Caesarea.

Act 11:12  And the Spirit told me to go with them, making no distinction. These six brothers also accompanied me, and we entered the man's house.

Act 11:13  And he told us how he had seen the angel stand in his house and say, 'Send to Joppa and bring Simon who is called Peter;

Act 11:14  he will declare to you a message by which you will be saved, you and all your household.'

Act 11:15  As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them just as on us at the beginning.

Act 11:16  And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, 'John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.'

Act 11:17  If then God gave the same gift to them as he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God's way?"

Act 11:18  When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, "Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life."

       

 

      What a tremendous moment in time, here we have Gentile believers receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and just in a similar fashion to that which the apostles had done in Acts 2. Until that moment Peter like the others had had closed prejudiced minds -  God was the God of the Jews.  God took Peter to Cornelius not because He needed Peter to do something to help him, but for Peter to watch God in action, and for what he witnessed to overcome the prejudice in Peter's heart, as well as the hearts of the other Jewish Christians. "The Holy Spirit fell upon them" (Acts 11:15) as Peter was only beginning to speak. Peter’s testimony was backed by the "six brothers" (Acts 11:12) - Jewish Christians - who had accompanied Peter "from Joppa" (Acts 10:23) to Cornelius' house. God spent days preparing with Peter, having him lodge with someone who works with unclean, dead animals, showing him visions, and talking to him. God let the six Jewish Christians at least witness the Holy Spirit falling upon Cornelius' household. But God turned the hearts of the Jewish Christians in Jerusalem so fast that they went from "contending" with Peter for dealing with Gentiles one moment to glorifying God for it the next. Prejudices deeply-ingrained over many centuries had been neutralized during a single conversation about the love of God being poured out on the lost.

 

Act 11:19  Now those who were scattered because of the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except Jews.

 

Phonecia is roughly modern Lebanon. Cyprus is an island off the coast of Lebanon in the Mediterranean Sea

,

Act 11:20  But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who on coming to Antioch spoke to the Hellenists also, preaching the Lord Jesus.

 

    Antioch was a fairly common name for a city in the ancient world, which had over a dozen cities named Antioch. The Antioch referred to above was located north of Phoenicia on the Orontes River about 15 miles inland from the Mediterranean Sea. Antioch had a large Jewish population where the Jewish Christians, including those born in "Cyprus and Cyrene" (Acts 11:20), a city in North Africa, who had left Jerusalem could both resettle among and target fellow Jews, albeit those who grew up in the Greek world -"Hellenist" (Acts 11:20) - to evangelize. Antioch had by this time grown to be a particularly wicked city. It was third largest in the Roman world after only Rome itself and Alexandria in North Africa, this port had a population of half-million, including the Syrian (Roman) legion, and was known to be mired in temple prostitution and other pagan abominations related to various Roman, Greek and other idols. Christians were invading Satan's stronghold as Jesus had commanded, and as Christians should continue to do today.

 

Act 11:21  And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord.

Act 11:22  The report of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch.

 

      Antioch was about 300 miles north of Jerusalem.  Wonderful the effect of effectual evangelism , a great number believed.

 

Act 11:23  When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose,

Act 11:24  for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord.

Act 11:25  So Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul,

Act 11:26  and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people. And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians.

 

Why did the church in Jerusalem this time send Barnabas instead of Peter to check up on things?

Firstly, the cultural wall between Jews and gentiles had already been breached, so Barnabas wasn't being sent on a controversial mission that required apostolic leadership credibility.

 

Secondly, Barnabas was a Greek Jew from "Cyprus" (Acts 4:36) so he would interact easily with fellow Greek Jews, including the "men from Cyprus" (Acts 11:20) who were "preaching" (Acts 11:19).

 

 Thirdly, Barnabas, the "Son of Encouragement" (Acts 4:36) will have put his gifts to good use in having "encouraged them" (Acts 11:23)

.

 Fourthly and most importantly, the leaders in Jerusalem knew Barnabas "was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith". (Acts 11:24)

 

      Saul told the apostles and Barnabas in Jerusalem "how he had seen the Lord on the road, and that He had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus"(Acts 9:27), he most likely included the Lord's declaration to Ananias, who baptized Saul that he was, "a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles" (Acts 9:15). It was time for the chosen vessel of the Lord to be put to full use, starting with a "whole year" (Acts 11:26) of teaching "a great many" (Acts 11:26) new Gentile believers in Antioch.

 

Act 11:27  Now in these days prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch.

Act 11:28  And one of them named Agabus stood up and foretold by the Spirit that there would be a great famine over all the world (this took place in the days of Claudius).

Act 11:29  So the disciples determined, every one according to his ability, to send relief to the brothers living in Judea.

Act 11:30  And they did so, sending it to the elders by the hand of Barnabas and Saul.

 

At this time, the persecution of the church was done mainly by the Jewish authorities against those within their reach in Judea, who most likely lost their fields, property and homes before being imprisoned. The Roman persecution of Christians didn't start until 66 AD, so the church in Antioch at this time had more resources to share with their suffering brothers and sisters in Christ in Judea.

 

So we can learn from this chapter not to be prejudiced, to go where God sends us to share the Gospel message, and to offer help, support and encouragement where and when we can. We also can see how we should be so thankful that the Gospel message was for us Gentiles too and for the wonderful gift of the Holy Spirit.   The disciples were prepared to give as they were able to, so many Christians today are worried about having money for a rainy day, I wonder what would happen if we just gave as God asks us to give. Our brothers and sisters are struggling with serious poverty in many places in this world. Imagine wondering where your next meal is going to come from, because there is absolutely no food there and you have 52 orphans in your care to feed too- some are crying with starvation- yet in the midst of it all you are still praising God – this has been the position on many occasions in Ugandan Street Kids Ministry the ministry I am involved with as a UK Co-ordinator, I feel so helpless at times, but try to help as able. But we have seen many blessings, God has blessed the Ministry with new improved Orphanage accommodation just in the nick of time. God moved in a miraculous way. We give thanks to God’s people who have given donations. An old lady visited 2 nights before they were going to be made homeless and they fed her food meant for some of the kids, they were running out of food too and after she had eaten they prayed for her and she prophesied release of God’s favour for provision over them- the following day they had the funds necessary to pay 3 months rent in advance for the new accommodation and moved in on the day they would have been made homeless.

      

Acts chapter 12

Acts 12:1  About that time Herod the king laid violent hands on some who belonged to the church.

 

The word "church" comes from the compound Greek word "EKKLESIA,"  the Greek word means "calling out" ("EK" - "out" and "KALEO" - "to 'call'") (Strong's Concordance). The word EKKLESIA, technically, could identify any assembly of people, like how it was used in Acts 19:39 to refer to a town assembly and in Acts 7:38 to refer to the assembly of Israelites who came out of Egypt. However, the word is typically used to distinguish those who, through faith in Christ, have been called out of the world into the kingdom of God.

The word "church" identifies the body of Christ as a whole (Matthew 16:18; Colossians 1:18, and 24) and can also refer to a local part of the body of Christ (Romans 16:5; 1Corinthians 1:2; Revelation 2:1, 8, 12, and 18). Nowhere in Scripture does it refer to a building that the saints meet in. The church is not brick and mortar but born-again people. The only scriptural reason for different assemblies, or churches, is location.

Doctrinal differences were meant to be resolved (1Corinthians 1:10) and are not a justification for division in the universal church.

1Corinthians 1:10  I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.

So you have to wonder how we arrived at the church of today with all the divisions ?

Acts 12:2  He killed James the brother of John with the sword,

 

This was James the son of Zebedee, one of the apostles that he killed.

 

Acts 12:3  and when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. This was during the days of Unleavened Bread.

Acts 12:4  And when he had seized him, he put him in prison, delivering him over to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending after the Passover to bring him out to the people.

 

      . Four soldiers were watching Peter on each shift, or a total of sixteen soldiers who guarded him throughout the four watches of the night a twelve hour period.

 

            It seems like heavy security for a preacher. Possibly Herod was aware of the disciples' previous miraculous escape from prison, and he wanted to make sure that no one rescued Peter and attributed it to God as a miracle. Just as when the priests sealed Jesus' tomb, Herod's precautions were useless against the power of God, and they served only to verify the miracle that God performed.

 

Acts 12:5  So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church.

Acts 12:6  Now when Herod was about to bring him out, on that very night, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries before the door were guarding the prison.

 

Peter was well aware that Herod planned to kill him--as he had killed James the next morning. In the natural, this looked like the end for Peter. Yet Peter was not wringing his hands, pacing the floor, or even praying” Lord help me”. He was fast asleep. Peter had amazing faith in the Lord. Peter who had bitterly denied the Lord because he was afraid of persecution had changed so much since Pentecost, the past was behind him. The way this verse describes the soldiers guarding him it looks as if two of the soldiers were chained to him, one on each side, and two soldiers were outside the cell, guarding the door. Having the two soldiers chained to Peter was different from the way the apostles had been imprisoned before (Acts 5:23) and could mean they did nt want another escape.

 

Acts 12:7  And behold, an angel of the Lord stood next to him, and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him, saying, "Get up quickly." And the chains fell off his hands.

Acts 12:8  And the angel said to him, "Dress yourself and put on your sandals." And he did so. And he said to him, "Wrap your cloak around you and follow me."

Acts 12:9  And he went out and followed him. He did not know that what was being done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision.

Acts 12:10  When they had passed the first and the second guard, they came to the iron gate leading into the city. It opened for them of its own accord, and they went out and went along one street, and immediately the angel left him.

Acts 12:11  When Peter came to himself, he said, "Now I am sure that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting."

Acts 12:12  When he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose other name was Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying.

Acts 12:13  And when he knocked at the door of the gateway, a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer.

Acts 12:14  Recognizing Peter's voice, in her joy she did not open the gate but ran in and reported that Peter was standing at the gate.

Acts 12:15  They said to her, "You are out of your mind." But she kept insisting that it was so, and they kept saying, "It is his angel!"

Acts 12:16  But Peter continued knocking, and when they opened, they saw him and were amazed.

Acts 12:17  But motioning to them with his hand to be silent, he described to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, "Tell these things to James and to the brothers." Then he departed and went to another place.

Acts 12:25  And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem when they had completed their service, bringing with them John, whose other name was Mark.

 

God is the God of the supernatural. Can you picture this situation, Peter was not only bound in chains but he was chained to two guards. Herod must have felt there was no way of escape for Peter. But God!  God sent His angel to set Peter free from all the chains and rescue him. The sentries and guards were unaware of anything happening, even Peter believed he was seeing a vision when all this took place. The glory of the Lord shone into the prison. The light shining in the prison didn't wake Peter up; the angel had to hit him in the side. Peter must have been in a deep sleep. There is no mention here that the chains were unlocked. Could it be that Peter's arms were made to pass through the metal chains, much as Jesus walked into a room when the doors were shut? (John 20:19). Outside the gates the angel disappeared and Peter realized this was no vision. I’m sure he would realize this was God’s intervention. They were all praying inside the house of John Mark’s mother Mary and they were probably bringing Peter before the throne room and most likely had asked for God’s intervention yet here we see the similarity to us today. When the servant girl Rhoda heard his voice at the gate she was overjoyed and went to tell the others, who then accused her of being out of her mind. After all it couldn’t be possible or could it?  Peter kept knocking and when they opened the door they were amazed that he was there. Their prayers had been answered but their faith had not quite been up there to believe that they would see Peter freed.

 

Acts 12:18  Now when day came, there was no little disturbance among the soldiers over what had become of Peter.

Acts 12:19  And after Herod searched for him and did not find him, he examined the sentries and ordered that they should be put to death. Then he went down from Judea to Caesarea and spent time there.

Acts 12:20  Now Herod was angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon, and they came to him with one accord, and having persuaded Blastus, the king's chamberlain, they asked for peace, because their country depended on the king's country for food.

Acts 12:21  On an appointed day Herod put on his royal robes, took his seat upon the throne, and delivered an oration to them.

Acts 12:22  And the people were shouting, "The voice of a god, and not of a man!"

Acts 12:23  Immediately an angel of the Lord struck him down, because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and breathed his last.

 

       Herod thought of himself as a god and exalted himself .   He did not see that what had happened regarding Peter was the act of God causing him to be set free miraculously by God’s intervention, The prison sentries were put to death, blamed for their supposed negligence. He must have enjoyed the cries of the people saying that Herod had the voice of a god. Herod received a severe punishment, he would not give glory to God, he would not acknowledge God and yet after all this happening  I believe he would be convinced of the reality of God but no way would he acknowledge him, instead he wanted to steal God’s glory. The punishment here was more in keeping with punishments under the Old Covenant but Herod was an unbeliever who denied God so he was not under New Covenant promises.

 

Acts 12:24  But the word of God increased and multiplied.

 

 

God’s Word never fails, it went forth and it multiplied. The testimony of what God was doing in personal lives bore witness and it invoked a response.

Recent Blog Entries

Newest Members

Recent Prayer Requests

  • healing

    Pray please for healing of my coxofemoral joints, my name is Konstantyn.
  • healing

    Pray please for healing of my coxofemoral joints, my name is Konstantyn.

Testimonials

Donate!