Today’s reading is: Acts 4-7
Acts Chapter Four
- Peter & John came under Sanhedrin attack, even as Jesus Christ had done (Acts 4:1ff.).
- The Lord had fed 5,000 on one occasion, but Peter & John led 5,000 to the Lord on this occasion (Acts 4:2).
- The Sadducees were the most alarmed at the Apostles’ message because it was a resurrection message.
- Peter used the opportunity to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the Sanhedrin itself (Acts 4:8-12).
- The council was at a loss for what to do with Peter & John. They ended up issuing a gag-order that the Apostles rejected (Acts 4:13-22).
- Following their release, Peter & John led Jerusalem Bible Church† in a corporate prayer meeting that shook the walls (Acts 4:23-31a).
- As a result of their specific prayer request, the ministry of the Holy Spirit through them became a bold & confident speaking ministry (Acts 4:31b).
- The communal survival of Jerusalem Bible Church ✝ is once again outlined (Acts 4:3235), introducing Barnabas to the narrative of Acts (Acts 4:36-37).
P= It is important to understand that the communal living of the infant church in Jerusalem was not commanded by Scripture, the Lord, or His Apostles. It was the temporal-life application of the spiritual-life fruit of the Spirit (unconditional love).
✝ Pastor Bob’s nickname for the local church founded in Jerusalem. They didn’t really call themselves that.
Acts Chapter Five
- Ananias and Sapphira were caught up in the charity fervor and sinfully attempted to deceive the Church with an untrue endowment (Acts 5:1-11).
- The Apostles’ popularity soared as their healing ministry was publicized, once again in imitation of the Lord’s earthly ministry (Acts 5:12-16).
- The Twelve are jailed by the Sadducees, released by an angel (whom the Sadducees do not believe in), and continued their daily teaching in the temple (Acts 5:17-25).
- The Jewish Council then re-arrested the Twelve, and tried them for violating the previous gag-order (Acts 5:26-28).
- When the Twelve confessed their “guilt,” the council intended to execute them (Acts 5:29-32).
- The Pharisee Rabbi Gamaliel takes a stand and delivers a message of wisdom (Acts 5:33-39).
- The Apostles considered it a privilege to suffer shame for the name of Jesus Christ, and were emboldened to teach & preach all the more (Acts 5:40-42).
Acts Chapter Six
- A problem arose in Jerusalem Bible Church† which required the Apostles to appoint servant-helpers (Acts 6:1-6).
- The servant-helpers were tasked with day-to-day practical duties within the Church.
- Their ministry freed the Apostles to devote themselves to prayer, and the ministry of the Word (in that order).
- Seven such men were established, according to the Apostle’s estimate of the work-load. This event introduces Stephen to the Acts narrative.
- These servant-helpers were also empowered to perform miracles with delegated authority from the Apostles.
- Of all the servant-helpers, Stephen came under fire from a particular “Synagogue of Freedmen.” This synagogue arrested Stephen, and filed malicious charges against him with the Sanhedrin (Acts 6:9-15).
Acts Chapter Seven
- Chapter 7 details Stephen’s trial, where he delivers an entire “Walk Thru the Bible” evangelistic Bible class, covering Abraham to Solomon (Acts 7:1-50).
- Stephen closes his message with a rebuke for the stiff-necked Sanhedrin (Acts 7:51-53), who promptly executed him under mob-justice (Acts 7:54-60).
- This event introduces Saul of Tarsus to the Acts narrative.
- Saul was a young man entrusted giving his ascent to the mob justice (Acts 7:58).
- Saul cast his vote for Stephen’s execution as a voting member of the Pharisee party within the Sanhedrin (Acts 8:1; 22:20; 26:10).