“A Lesson On Lying, Indignation, and Boasting”
Acts 5:1, 2
- There are three things that the apostles had to deal with in this chapter…lying, indignation (unfavorable zeal, adamant hatred towards others), and boasting.
- In our study you remember that the entire book of Acts is called “Acts” which means what? It is the “acts or deeds” done by the apostles (great men of God).
- And of course we know that none of this would be possible without the empowerment of the Holy Spirit granted them by God.
I. Lying To The Holy Spirit
A) Faking spirituality
- In these first two verses we will see a prime example of two people who faked their spirituality to impress others. I would definitely not recommend anyone try it.
- Look at verse 1… But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession,
- So far, so good. Nothing wrong with selling something that belongs to you. God wants us to reap some kind of benefit for our possessions when we are finished with their being useful to us.
- I would recommend that in big purchases or selling of big items…seek God’s wisdom and ask Him to show you the right attitude and price to sell it for.
- This was mistake number one for this couple.
- Look at verse 2) And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it (Aware of what her husband was doing), and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
- Understand this… This Christian couple was in the congregation of “believers.” They were in the church acting like they were holier than they actually were and wanted to show everyone that they were generous in giving to the men of God (the apostles, pastors, leaders).
- There is nothing wrong with giving money to your pastor or leader, nothing wrong. In fact if there is anyone who wishes to give my wife and I $1,000,000.00 today… we would not refuse it nor would we blow it on booze and cigarettes.
- The problem is “how” you give it, and with “what heart” you are giving your money.
- Many people are fooled to think that are children of God because they voiced some prayer asking for Jesus to come into their heart, or they have been baptized and the Holy Spirit enter them to save their miserable souls. And then there are those who believe that their works for God and the church will help earn their ticket to heaven . If that’s not it then maybe they can buy their way into purgatory (Which does not exist by the way.) or into heaven.
- There are people going to church today who are faking their Christianity so well that they should take their acting talents to Hollywood.
- There are those people who believe that faking it is okay with God just as long as you don’t do it all the time and to other Christians.
- What is another word for “fake?” How about the word “false?” What does God have to say about being false or doing things falsely?
- We are all familiar with the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:16…Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. Do we correctly understand this verse?
- What does it mean in our KJV Bible written in 1611 Old English?
- The words in your Bible “false witness” means “false testimony.” We are not to be a false testimony for the Lord. We are not to play Christian. We are to BE A CHRISTIAN.
- Stop faking it. You are either spiritual or not spiritual. You are a member of SBBC or you are not a member of SBBC. Quit faking it.
- What about Exodus 23:1…Thou shalt not raise a false report: put not thine hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness. A “false report” here means the same thing… “…false testimony.”
- Do you know that in all judicial systems across the world is demanded of a witness in their courts to pledge to tell the truth and nothing but the truth? That’s right.
- Where do you suppose that came from? It wasn’t man’s idea because man has no idea what the truth is until God shows him.
B) You cannot fake spirituality for very long
- Why do you think that people fake their spirituality?
- They want to be accepted by good people.
- They want to be a part of something good.
- They want others to look at them in a good way and see them as a good person.
- You cannot claim to be a Christian and have false ways. Look at Proverbs 6:16…These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: 17) A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, 18) An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, 19) A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.
- God hates anything that is false, anything that is not true, and anyone who speaks or acts falsely. God Hates that.
- Look at this…Proverbs 19:5…A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall not escape.
- This means that when you lie…you will be punished. If your life is full of bad things happening to you and people gossip about you and tell stories about you… check your lips (hands) They may be suffering from the L.I.E. disease.
- Do you see in 19:5 where Solomon says that those who speak lies “shall not escape?” Escape what? They will not escape the judgment of God for lying.
- God abhors, hates and literally throws up at the sight of liars.
- Jesus said also in Matthew 7:15…Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16) Ye shall know them by their fruits.”
- Now back to our account of Ananias and Sapphira…
C) The “lie” to the Holy Spirit
- Look in our text of Acts 5:3) But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?
- How did Peter know that Ananias and Sapphira were not being honest in their giving?
- I believe that quite possibly they may have announced what they were giving to others in church and word got out to Peter about the amount and so he asked them about it.
- However, I also do not want to rule out and figure it most likely that the empowerment of the Holy Spirit upon Peter was so that he could see the truth from a lie.
- I think it is interesting to see where Peter said… “why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost…?”
- The only way for Satan to fill Ananias’ heart is if the Holy Spirit had left. “What fellowship hath light with darkness?”
- How did Ananias lie to the Holy Ghost? Look at the rest of the verse 3… and to keep back part of the price of the land?
- You see… they had said that they were giving a certain amount but decided to what? “…to keep back part of the price.” You do not go back on your word to God and not expect to go unpunished.
- Some might ask… How is “keeping back money” called “lying to the Holy Spirit?”
- Because the Holy Spirit is the one who convicts you to do something for God, in support of God and in the right heart. But when you ignore or change your mind about what you already decided in your heart to do or give…you are lying to God, His Spirit, and others around you when you fail to follow through with what you promised God. It is a “no-win” situation. Expect judgment.
- Let me remind many of you who joined our church. I have put up on the wall and years ago passed out a copy for you to keep as members of SBBC. It was a copy of the “Church Covenant.” I have passed it out again this morning with area highlighted to remind you of your promise to God and this church.
- Notice the part about ¾ s the way down where it says… We promise also to give of our tithes and offerings to this church as God has commanded us, cheerfully, regularly, and faithfully, to support this ministry, and the pastor of this church, it’s expenses, it’s missionaries, and when necessary the poor.
- Are you struggling spiritually, financially, mentally, emotionally? Well, DUH. You are being judged by God because you lied to the Holy Spirit and to God.
- Don’t get mad at me. You made a decision for God by joining this church and when you joined this church you agreed to meet the obligations mentioned in the “Church Covenant.”
- By the way… “giving of your tithes and offerings” is not giving what you want to give. It is giving 10% of your earnings (God’s command not mine) plus whatever your heart leads you to give. Anything less than 10% is considered to be “robbing God.” (Mal. 3:10)
- Some of you may be saying right now… “Well I give what I want and God hasn’t punished me for it.” I say in response to that idiotic thought… “Your day of Judgment is coming if you are God’s child.”
D) The judgment for lying
- Look at our text of Acts 5, now read verse 4a…Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power?
- What Peter is asking Ananias here was this… “When you had possession of the property was it not yours? And after you sold it, was the money given to you and you had the power of what to do with the money?
- I would have to say that there has been at least once or twice in our life when we have promised to do something or give something to someone and later think it over in our minds and then change our minds to justify our thoughts.
- Stop and think how you feel when someone tells you “You can count on me I’ll be there.” And then they do not show up. How do you feel. That is how God feels too. He made us in His image. He has the same desires and feelings that we do. But He is Holy and therefore demands holiness from His worshipers.
- Lying has no part in being Holy. False acting is not holiness.
- Look at the rest of verse 4b…why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? In other words… How could you hear the voice of Satan and obey it rather than the voice of God in the Spirit of God. How can you even contemplate the thought.
- Now look at 4c…thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God. Lying to man is one thing, but lying to God…that is serious business and with serious consequences.
- WHAT WAS THE JUDGMENT FOR LYING? Look at verse 5… And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: (DEATH!)
- Some people today might say… that is awful crude, or harsh for the punishment of lying.
- Here is my thought on this… I believe that God is a just God. I believe that God is also a God of “grace” and mercy. I further believe that this was not the first lie that Ananias told. Probably not the first promise broken.
- God “winks (overlooks) at some sins (Acts 17:30) sometimes.” But not for long. And it also depends on the seriousness of the offence.
- The term “gave up the ghost” means to “breathe your last breath” or die.
- This was not a judgment of Peter, but rather of God.
- I am sure that Peter had no idea that God would judge so harshly and swiftly. I mean…BAM, your dead. I have had spankings in my life from my parents that I felt I was going to die any minute.
- I can remember my dad saying… “I’m gonna wear you out when we get home.” But it was my dad who was wore out huffing and puffing, not me. I learned my lesson.
- What do you think went through Paul’s mind after Ananias flopped over dead?
- What do you think the people of the church felt when God’s judgment came. Look at the rest of verse 5b) ”…and great fear came on all them that heard these things.
- When something bad happens to you…you better search out WHY? Because God always brings judgment for a reason and for a purpose. Search it.
- Now look at Acts 5:6… And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him. 7) And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in.
- These young men were members of the church and kind of like the “ball boys” at a football game. They tended to the needs of the older members.
- These people buried Ananias quickly and without the permission of the wife. The wife has no say in eastern culture. The husband makes all the decisions.
- Also we must know the fact that it was customary for people to be buried immediately after God’s judgment upon them was obvious.
- Where was the wife at for 3 hours. Where else, but Wal-Mart or Goodwill.
- Sapphira didn’t know her husband had died and was buried.
E) Sapphira was given opportunity to do right
- Look at verse Acts 5:8…And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much?
- Okay, here is her opportunity to do what was right in God’s eyes.
- And she said, Yea, for so much. She lied like a cheap carpet. She stuck with the same story that her husband said that cost him his life and now places her life in jeopardy.
- She could have said something like…”We promised God that we would give to the church $200.00 that we asked for the sale of the house. But we were given $300.00 by the person buying it. Do you suppose it would be okay if we kept the rest to pay off some bills and take a vacation?” But she didn’t do that.
- She nor Ananias mentioned anything about the extra money given to them for the sale of their home. Note what Peter said in verse 9…
- Verse 9a) Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together (conspired) to tempt the Spirit of the Lord?
- Peter was well informed of their action. Their deceit, their lying with intent to profit. Peter asks her… “How can both of you agree to do fool God’s people and grieve the Holy Spirit when it convicts you to do otherwise?”
- This is one great thing about being married to a Christian woman. Sometimes we men get our minds clouded up and the wife has to be the one to say… “No dear, you know that isn’t the right thing to do.” And we may say… “You are right, I’ll change my wrong and do what is right.”
- How can both do wrong?
- Note verse 9b “…behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out. In other words… The young men who carried out your husband are waiting for you to fall over in death due to God’s judgment.
- Let us finish quickly…Acts 5:10…Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband. 11) And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things.
- Sapphira was given an opportunity to do the right thing and she didn’t do it and therefore suffered the same judgment as her husband.
- Ladies…do not follow your husband when he fails to do the right thing. If you follow him, you will also reap the same judgment that He does.
- Our civil laws are set up on the same principles. If you stay around a friend of yours and he robs a bank while you are with him… you are an accessory to the crime. Your judgment will be that of your so-called friend.
- These two people, Ananias and Sapphira were made public examples by God to warn the people of God’s feelings about lying to Him.
- Look at verse 11) And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things.
- This is why God teaches us I Peter 2:17…Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.
- Hebrews 12:28…Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:
- This is not a fear that we are to show by keeping our heads down waiting for the next lightning bolt to strike us down.
- This is a fear of being punished for something we did wrong. This is why we have the Holy Spirit as a warning device to our carnal flesh that desires to do the wrong thing.
- When the warning of the Holy Spirit is ignored… prepare to receive the judgment.
- Let me ask you this… If you have fire alarms or smoke detectors in your home and they make their high pitch noise to alert you that there is smoke. Do you just ignore it and continue to watch your soap opera or do you get up and resolve the issue at hand?
- I would hope you put the fire out. You resolve the problem.
- God wants us to pay attention to the Holy Spirit when we are warned about our sins.
- Continuing to ignore the Spirit will bring God’s judgment.
II. Continuing Power In The Church
A) Miracles by the Apostles
- Let us look into Acts 5:12…And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch. 13) And of the rest durst no man join himself to them: but the people magnified them. 14) And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.)
- Several things must be addressed here in these three verses.
- The signs being the power of God in the Hoy Spirit behind the miracles performed of the apostles.
- Wonders being the amazement of the people in the church at the experience being witnessed on Solomon’s porch.
- The unbelievers afraid to join the church as they witnessed the result of not following God’s commandments. (The deaths of Ananias and Sapphira caused fear)
- The people lifted up the spirits of the apostles.
- Many new believers became members and joined the church.
- All of what we are reading so far in chapter 5 of the book of Acts (of the apostles) happened in the same day. So far the acts include…
- The deaths of two people who lied to the Holy Spirit. (vrs. 1-11)
- The deaths caused great fear to fall on the church. (vrs.12)
- Many “signs (Proofs of God’s hand being the guiding force behind the miracles).” (vrs.12)
- Many people “wonder (amazed at the miracles of the apostles).” (vrs.12)
- More believers in Jesus Christ were added to the church. (vrs.14)
- The great thing is that it didn’t stop there…
- Look at verse 15) Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them. 16) There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one.
- Sick people lined the streets needing to be healed. These were people that had been to the doctors of Jerusalem and Judea, and the uttermost and couldn’t heal them.
- More than likely they were people with long term illnesses and diseases that were not curable (So they thought.)
- They were so confident in Peter’s ability through the works of the Holy Spirit of God that they were just hoping that his shadow would fall on them as he passed by healing them of their ill.
- I believe that this probably came to their minds as they remembered hearing about the woman who touched the hem of the garment of Christ and was made whole.
- There were even people who came from out of town to be healed. What a day of rejoicing that must have been. Wish I could be there and cure all my aches and pains.
III. Put In Prison, then Freed
A) Put in prison
- Look at Acts 5:17…Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,) and were filled with indignation,
- After the couple (Ananias and Sapphira) had died, people were healed and still coming to the apostles for healing from out of town, the high priest (Annas or Caiaphas) and the Sadducees were filled with indignation (Hot tempered jealousy).
- Suddenly the apostles had become an instant success and gained instant popularity by the people.
- The priests could see all their members switching from their beliefs in “no-resurrection” to believing in “the resurrection” of Jesus Christ and themselves.
- Here’s the decision of the Sanhedrin…Acts 5:18…And laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison.
- Why do you think they threw them in prison? Typically, they would have a brief trial, convict them and throw them into prison or release them.
- The reason for no trial at the moment because it was too late in the day to start a trial that could take them well into the third watch.
- Also I believe that they needed time to gather their thoughts on the matter and to protect the departure of their parish.
- I believe that they were reminded of the trial of Jesus went well into the night at different cities and courts, and that didn’t turn out to well for the priests and their popularity.
- Look at Acts 5:19…But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth, and said, 20) Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life.
- This incident or account mentioned here in verse 19 should be proof enough to us that no matter how bad things may seem to be, there is always hope and rest in Jesus Christ that He will be our Saviour, our Redeemer.
- Look at the words of Adam Clark’s Commentary…
But the angel of the Lord—opened the prison doors—This was done:
- To increase the confidence of the apostles, by showing them that they were under the continual care of God; and,
- To show the Jewish rulers that they were fighting against Him while persecuting his followers, and attempting to prevent them from preaching the Gospel.
This was another warning graciously given them by a good and merciful God, that they might repent, and so escape the coming wrath.
- Notice now in verse 20… Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life.
- What did the angel mean by “all the words of this life?” The two words “this life” is talking about the “life” that people will receive when they believe on the name of Jesus Christ. Believe in the gospel (the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ).
- Philippians 2:16…Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.
- I John 1:1…That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;
- So when the angel said to the apostles to go and teach the people “all the words of this life” he meant all the words of Jesus Christ which is in the life of all believers.
- This angel was sent by God to give instruction to the apostles.
- God only calls people to do something after he has equipped them with the proper education, the proper tools (spiritual gifts) and a heart for telling the truth. Not lie.
- There are some people who like to embellish the truth and that is the same as lying.
- God knew that He could trust these men to spread the “Good News (Gospel)” just the way Jesus had instructed them for the three years of His ministry here on earth.
- Look at our text of Acts 5, and verse 21a…And when they heard that, they entered into the temple early in the morning, and taught.
- Notice here that the apostles wasted no time about doing what God had commanded.
- This was also a habit of Christ. To wake up early and go to the temple. (See John 8:2).
- They get into the temple and obviously there were others there already to be taught. They did not wait for the late sleepers to come in and start the service after they arrived.
- This is why I like to start on time 10:00 am or 11:00 am for services. If we waited till everyone arrived we would never get started with Sunday School until about 10:30. Then it would be about 11:15-11:30 before we have our Morning Worship service.
- Most people who are dedicated Christians will go to bed early the night before to make sure they are rested for Sunday’s worship with God.
- I hate to say it, but the fact of the matter is that no one will receive the full benefit of being in God’s house when they are half asleep.
- TRIAL AGAIN…Look at verse 21b…But the high priest came, and they that were with him, and called the council together, and all the senate of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought.
- I wonder if they are getting the idea now of how Paul must feel like.
- I know that the world would like to jail every believer in Jesus Christ. That way the world could do whatever they wanted and not feel guilty about it.
- Satan’s ploy is to shut the mouths of the preachers of God’s word and silence those who spread the gospel of Jesus Christ.
- In verse 21, we see who was called to this special meeting/trial.
- “the high priest” The authority of the church being the Sanhedrin
- “all the senate” being the “Greek Elders.” More than likely these men were not a part of the Sanhedrim, but were men of age and experience that were often referred to as “elders of the Jews (Acts 4:8, and Acts 25:15).
- These people were all called together first and then the council sent someone to fetch the apostles..
C) The Apostles on trial again
- Look at Acts 5, now in verse 22…But when the officers came, and found them not in the prison, they returned, and told,
- Huh-oh…time to panic! The officers of the church went to pick up the apostles and there was no one there.
- We must remember that prisons of that time were mere caves in the ground with a wooden door on it.
- Also, remember that if prisoners escaped it could be death to the guards that were supposed to be securing the prisoners.
- Now the church had gathered all these jurors, and guards and court appointed attorneys and etc to put these followers and preachers of Jesus Christ to death for disobeying a direct order of the Sanhedrin.
- Now the officers go back to the church in verse 23) Saying, The prison truly found we shut with all safety, and the keepers standing without before the doors: but when we had opened, we found no man within.
- Here’s what they discovered and relayed in message to the priests… “When we arrived, we saw for fact that the door was securely locked with the normal 12”’ giant padlock and there were guards standing outside the door, the guards let us into the cell block that they were staying in and there was no one there.”
- Do you want t know the reply of the high priest after hearing of this activity? Look at verse 24) Now when the high priest and the captain of the temple and the chief priests heard these things, they doubted of them whereunto this would grow.
- In other words… the high priest, the temple captain, and the chief priests had a pow-wow and decided that they needed to get this matter resolved. Thy further needed to quietly dispose of the spreading news of a disappearing act or God breathed miracle of the apostles.
- If word got out about these guys disappearing/escaping from the prison, then the popularity of the apostles would increase dramatically.
- Read verse 25) Then came one and told them, saying, Behold, the men whom ye put in prison are standing in the temple, and teaching the people.
- Okay, you talk about teleportation… these guys were good.
- You know what? To me this was God’s way of putting His stamp of approval on the ministry of the apostles. It was God’s way of telling the priests… “Hey you idiots that believe these apostle are not called of God to minister. Leave them alone. I want them to preach in the temple.
- Might I add… That we need to take literal notice here that when the Lord wants His men or man in office to preach and pastor His sheep he will allow him to stay. If the Lord wants him to move…God will move him. Otherwise leave the man of God alone.
- If the man of God is not doing what he is supposed to do…God will judge him.
- Now we see in verse 25 that the apostles are back to preaching in the temple. Picking up where they left off.
D) On trial again
- Look at verse 26…Then went the captain with the officers, and brought them without violence: for they feared the people, lest they should have been stoned.
- Now here’s the tender spot of this whole mess. The church leaders had to be tender and kind toward the apostles because it was totally obvious as to who’s side the people were on.
“A Lesson On Lying, Indignation, and Boasting”
Beginning in… Acts 5:26
- The apostles too were very clever in being obedient to the requests of the officers of the court. Christ taught them to be obedient unto death…even the death of the cross.
- If they were disobedient to the requests of the church leaders then it would make them look like they took the laws of God lightly.
- When you see in verse 26 where it said… “…for they feared the people, lest they should have been stoned.” This is not the apostles being afraid of being stoned. It was the guards and captains being afraid that the people would stone them for being brutal or disrespectful to their new leaders.
- Look at verse 27) And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them, 28) Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.
- First of all they are accusing the apostles of disobeying the direct order of the Sanhedrin to…
- Not preach or teach in “this name.” They were so strict with their order that they could not even say His name…ever.
- To bring “this man’s blood” (again refusing to say Jesus name) upon them. Remember Peter’s sermon in chapter three, blaming the religious leaders for their part in crucifying the Savior of the world, the Son of God, and the hope of every Gentile believer. Jesus blood was on their hands and they knew it.
- The term “blood on your hands” means that you are guilty of shedding their blood or guilty of someone’s death.
- In Genesis after the flood God gave Noah a commandment to live by in Genesis 9:6…Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.
- God is saying that He made man and He alone will take the man’s life. Man is not supposed to kill man. It is a judgment of God, we are not to judge.
- Now in verse 28 of Acts 5, we see that the Sanhedrin must have forgotten the statement by their supporters in Matthew 27:24… When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it. 25) Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.
E) The preaching of Jesus Christ
- Now look in Acts 5:29-32…
- 29) Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. I believe that it would be safe to say that Peter was doing all the talking and the rest of the disciples were merely saying Amen, that’s right brother, preach it.
- No matter what… they all agreed that they were going to obey God and not men. Men always have a way of twisting God’s laws to make themselves comfortable. Eleven
- Now look at verse 30) The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree.
- Peter is saying that it was not the disciples that glorified Jesus Christ and created a man and called Him the Son of God. God raised Him (Jesus) up. God created Jesus to be flesh, to be the Savior of the world, the only hope for mankind.
- Then Peter once again accuses the Sanhedrin for killing (slew) Jesus and then “hanged” Him on a tree.
- The law states in Deuteronomy 21:23…His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God😉 that thy land be not defiled, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.
- There was nothing wrong for a person to be hung on a tree. It was a way of showing people the punishment for crime. It was a way for people to see that you cannot sin or commit a crime and then not expect to receive a punishment for that crime.
- The wrong in the hanging of a criminal’s body on a tree came only when they refused to take the body down from the tree at the end of the day. In fact, the body must be buried before sunset that evening.
- Back in our text of Acts 5:30… when Peter blamed the Sanhedrin of hanging Jesus on a tree, they were showing them that God made the law. The law states that “cursed is everyone that hangeth on a tree.” Showing that the Sanhedrin’s actions were just as bad as the worst sinner. God allowed this to happen to fulfill th prophecy of the Old Testament.
- Look at Paul’s words in Galatians 3:13…Galatians 3:13…Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: It was written in Deut. 21:23.
- THE PREACHING OF REPENTANCE…Now look at Acts 5:31) Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.
- There are five very important things here that Peter brings out to Israel (God’s children).
- “Him hath God exalted…” Once again, man did not raise up this prophet Jesus. You see, man had raised up many men calling them the messiah. There were many false messiahs before Jesus came. Israel had wanted a Savior for so long that they kept creating one. Peter said that God created this man Jesus. God exalted Him.
- “…to be a Prince” Prince meaning the “Prince of life.” The Greek word for prince means… originator, pioneer, the beginning of something. Jesus is the beginning of a “new life.” (Look at Hebrews 2:10, and 12:2, as it means “author” also.)
- “…and a Saviour,” He (Jesus) is salvation to the Jews who desperately need it.
- “…for to give repentance to Israel,” Salvation demands repentance. One cannot be “saved” or redeemed until God sees true repentance in a person’s heart. The nature of repentance is revealed to us in II Cor. 7:9-12.
- “…and forgiveness of sins.” Salvation must be started by repenting of your sins and then there must be a forgiveness of those sins. Not man’s forgiveness, but God’s forgiveness which took place on the cross for those who accept Jesus Christ as their personal Savior.
- Peter and the disciples now bear “witness” of the truth in Jesus Christ in Acts 5:32) And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him. 33) When they heard that, they were cut to the heart, and took counsel to slay them.
- They wanted the Sanhedrin to know that they are “eye witnesses to the facts about Jesus Christ being tried by the Sanhedrin, killed by the Sanhedrin, Hung on the cross by the Sanhedrin, and Jesus burial by the Sanhedrin. They were guilty of all accounts with eyewitnesses.
- I think it is funny that Peter also reminds them that the Holy Ghost was also a witness. The Holy Spirit of God convicted the hearts of Jesus’ accusers and they went against the Holy Spirit of God, they ignored the conviction to do that which was right.
- The Sanhedrin had not learned their lesson. They continued to be like Pharaoh in Egypt. Hard hearted. They were “cut to the heart.” It was the word of God that cut their heart. Not the words of Peter and the apostles. It was the Word of God!
- I believe that Paul describes it best in Hebrews 4:12…For the word of God is…
- “ quick,” Most long term Christians should know that the word “quick” in our KJV of the Bible is rendered as “alive.” It is the living breathing Word of God. We continually find new truths in it daily as we study or read it.
- “… and powerful,” Barnes Notes said this… Its power is seen in awakening the conscience; alarming the fears; laying bare the secret feelings of the heart; and causing the sinner to tremble with the apprehension of the coming judgment. What other book can you read that causes these type of feelings and results of the body. NONE.
- “… and sharper than any twoedged sword, The reason that it is sharper than a sword is because it can pierce the heart without stopping it’s function. It reaches the heart where the center of action is. The reason for two sharp edges to be able to cut from any direction. This part of the verse actually deals with the sword’s makeup… sharp.
- “… piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow,” This part of the verse actually deals with the function of the sword. It “pierces” (penetrates) so deep that it “divides asunder (cuts into pieces)” your soul and spirit, and your bones. A continual reading and studying of the word of God will finally reach places that were unreachable before.
- “… and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” The word “discerner” means 1. To divide mentally from the others. 2. To recognize or make out clearly. In other words the Bible points out clearly a person’s faults and reasoning of their heart and thoughts.
- This is why the Word of God must be preached by men of God to bring men to repentance by dividing
F) Gamaliel’s advice
- Now look at Acts 5:34…Then stood there up one in the council, a Pharisee, named Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, had in reputation among all the people, and commanded to put the apostles forth a little space;
- This always hold true no matter what the circumstance is… There will always be that “one” that has to be different. That “one” who has to buck authority. That “one” that has to speak his mind. Always at least “one.”
- Gamaliel was a prominent rabbi (Like his grandfather Hillel). His most popular student was the apostle Paul.
- It says here that he was a “doctor of the law.” Meaning…a teacher of the Jewish law; It was his duty to interpret the laws of Moses, and probably to preserve and transmit the traditional laws of the Jews.
- “…had in reputation among all the people,” Having a reputation here meaning that he was respected by all the people as the best of any advisors.
- In this particular case, Gamaliel’s advice was good for the Pharisees and the church at Jerusalem.
- Let us investigate Gamaliel’s advice…
- Verse 34c…commanded to put the apostles forth a little space; This means that he asked that the apostles be taken outside or to another room so that the Sanhedrin (council of the church) can discuss what to do with them in private without interruption.
- Verse 35…And said unto them, Ye men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what ye intend to do as touching these men. Gamaliel warns the church leaders that they should be very careful as to how they treat these apostles.
- Verse 36…For before these days rose up Theudas (leader of a revolt in Judea), boasting himself to be somebody; to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves: who was slain; and all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered, and brought to nought. Gamaliel reminds the Sanhedrin council of the story about this man Theudas who claimed to be great that led a group of his followers to a river where he claimed to be a prophet like Moses and was going to part the water for them to walk across. Needless to say the people died when attacked by an army from behind as they were unable to cross the river.
- Verse 37…After this man rose up Judas of Galilee (He was the founder of a religious group called “Zealots” devoted to their nation more than to God.) in the days of the taxing, and drew away much people after him: he also perished; and all, even as many as obeyed him, were dispersed. Now Gamaliel tells another story of a guy named Judas of Galilee. This guy too staked claim to being a prophet that had often been leading a revolt who tried to overthrow Roman power in Palestine.
- Gamaliel points out that He too perished (Beheaded) and all his followers were killed and some were scattered and never found.
- Verse 38…And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought:
- Here is wise council from Gamaliel. Do not attack these apostles. Leave them alone. Do not oppose them. If what these apostles preach and teach and do be their own works established by man, then nothing will flourish from their work. There will be no fruit of their labor.
- Verse 39…But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God. But if these apostles preaching and teachings and works be sent from God…there is nothing we can do. We certainly would not want to fight against God. This was the wisest thing He said and recognized.
G) What was done with the advice
- Look now at Acts 5: 40a… And to him they agreed: So here’s what the Sanhedrin did… They agreed with Gamaliel. What were they agreeing to?
- Leave the apostles alone.
- Don’t touch them.
- Don’t confront them.
- Don’t counsel them.
- Don’t do anything to them in case they truly are men of God because they didn’t want the judgment of God to be upon their church and the city.
- I’m sorry, but after you read the reaction of these supposedly grown men of the Sanhedrin, you realize the child like behavior they soon succumb to in verse 40b… and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.
- Isn’t this like a child? You tell them what you want them t do and they nod their heads agreeing to do exactly as you commanded. Then they turn right around and do what they want to do. (Much like our deaf in the church Amen!)
- I can stand in the pulpit of this church and preach all day long on Sunday and have everybody sign Amen, and nod their heads and agree to what God’s word is saying… and you know what happens? You go right out and do what you want to do. IGNORANT little sheep we are.
- Did you get that? Gamaliel said DO NOT TOUCH THEM! What do they do?
- “…they had called the apostles,” They had the apostles come together (Because they were spread out in the Temple strategically) and brought to the court yard as was Jesus in His scourging.
- “… and beaten them,” WHAT? Are you serious? Gamaliel said not to touch them. He said to “let them alone.” Now why in the world would they BEAT THEM? I’ll tell you why. I was reading one of the commentators on this account here in Acts 5, and Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament said this…
- The reason why they did not adopt the advice of Gamaliel altogether, doubtless was, that if they did, they feared that their authority would be despised by the people. They had commanded them not to preach; they had threatened them, (Acts 4:18 and Acts 5:28) they had imprisoned them, (Acts 5:18) and now, if they suffered them to go without even the appearance of punishment, their authority, they feared, would be despised by the nation, and it would be supposed that the apostles had triumphed over the Sanhedrin.
- Now that makes sense to me. Pride.
- May I also say that most commentators agree that the apostles were more than likely flogged (whipped) with 39 lashes as that was the normal punishment for a crime in the church (II Cor. 11:24)
- “… they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus,” After they beat them then they threaten them. In fact, they tell them what they cannot talk about. They wanted Jesus name to be expunged for good.
- “…and let them go.” They didn’t really let them go. Oh yes they let them go physically, but mentally they were still captive to the rule of the church. Still in judgment of the Sanhedrin. Big bullies.
- Now in closing let us read Acts 5:41) And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.
- This is the epitome of Christian behavior. After someone criticizes you for the church you go to, make fun of your faithfulness to Jesus and God, laugh at your bible reading and so on… REJOICE BABY!
- Count it as JOY. And WORTHY to be treated like Christ.
- NOW THE BIG QUESTION… Did the apostles obey the Sanhedrin’s rebuke?
- Look at verse 42) And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.
- They were not discouraged. They kept doing what Jesus had told them to do in Mark 16:15…And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
- I thank God my Father and His Son Jesus Christ for their support in the apostle’s doctrines of Jesus Christ and their steadfastness in preaching it no matter the trials and discouragements they face…Preach it men!
INSTRUMENT NO. I
Silent Bible Baptist Church
(A contract between God, other church members and you)
We believe that we have been led by the Holy Spirit of God, and received the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Savior, and have followed Him in baptism in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
We wish to make a covenant with this church in the presence of God, angels and this church. We are being serious, honorable, and humble with much joy having a desire to be in unity with one another, as the body of Christ.
We promise, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to work together in Christian love with all the members of this church.
We will work hard at trying to help everyone improve in knowledge, holiness, and be of comfort and help to others in our ministry.
We will also be a part in helping this church become a success, and keep others in spiritual balance, and to not remove our attendance to worship or remove the two ordinances (Baptism and the Lord’s supper) from this church.
We promise also to keep ourselves disciplined, and to honor the Baptist doctrines(What we believe and teach) stated in the Four Instruments of this church.
We promise also to give of our tithes and offerings to this church as God has commanded us, cheerfully, regularly, and faithfully, to support this ministry, and the pastor of this church, it’s expenses, it’s missionaries, and when necessary the poor.
We will do our very best and expect no less from anyone else who is a member of this church to follow Jesus and honor God using the King James Bible as our final authority.
All the members of Silent Bible Baptist Church said…