Chapter 4 closes with another description of the life of the new church.
Verse 33 mentions that the apostles did keep on preaching contrary to the commandment of the Jewish rulers, but the main thought here is the love that the believers had for one another evidenced by how they shared their possessions with anyone who had need. We are also introduced to Barnabas who is noted for his generous benevolence and later will travel with the apostle Paul preaching the gospel.
Question: It says “all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds…and laid them at the apostles feet” (34, 35). Is this required of all Christians?
The apostles will defy the order to quit preaching in the name of Jesus, but the first thing they do is they meet with their companions and pray for God’s help. What a great example!
The prayer acknowledges the sovereignty of God as the creator of all things. It then focuses on Psalms chapter 2 which speaks of how worldly powers and rulers will try (in vain) to defeat the purposes of God. Peter applies this to what Pilate and Herod and the people of Israel had done to Jesus.
Question: Does Peter ask God to take away the persecution? What, specifically, does he ask for?
The Jewish leaders realize they have a problem. They cannot deny that a miracle has been done and they are surprised at the boldness and popularity of the apostles.
They convene privately to discuss their situation and decide to threaten the apostles and forbid them to preach in the name of Jesus.
Note how Peter and John answer the Jewish rulers. What impresses you about their response in verses 19 and 20?
The day after Peter and John were arrested the Jewish rulers come together and question them for their teaching and the healing of the lame man. Note that among these examining the apostles are Annas and Caiaphas who had participated in the trial of Jesus.
Peter “filled with the Holy Spirit” gives all the credit to Jesus and in so doing condemns them for having put Jesus to death.
Another Old Testament Psalm (118) is cited and Peter boldly claims Jesus is the only way to salvation!
Explain the quote from Psalm 118, “The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone”.
Word gets back to the Jewish leaders that some followers of Jesus had performed a miracle and were teaching that Jesus had been raised from the dead.
Peter and John (or it could be all the apostles?) are taken into custody.
Verse 4 says the number of believers (men) came to be about 5000.
Why were the Jewish leaders “greatly disturbed” when they heard about the apostles? Try to give at least 2 answers.
Note how the miracle performed on the lame man set the stage for Peter’s second sermon. All the people came together, greatly amazed and ready to listen to Peter’s explanation.
This is the second recorded sermon in Acts and it makes the same point as the first: you crucified the son of God but God raised him from the dead. This was God’s plan from the beginning, and you can be forgiven if you repent.
What evidence does Peter give to support his claim that Jesus was the Christ and was raised from the dead?
In verse 15 –
In verse 16 –
In verses 22–26 –
Yesterday we read at the end of Acts 2 that many miracles were being done by the apostles. Today we see one specific example.
While entering the temple Peter and John encounter a beggar who had been unable to walk from his birth. They heal the lame man in the name of Jesus and he immediately begins “walking, leaping, and praising God”.
This was a joyous day certainly for the lame man, and hopefully he became a believer in Jesus.
But what does this account illustrate about the larger purpose of God in allowing his servants to perform miracles? Look at the effect the miracle had on the people who were there (beginning in verse 9). What does Peter do with the opportunity (11-12)?
Today’s reading is a summary of the life of the first Christians in the days following Pentecost. We see they continued in the apostles teaching. We see their love for one another. It seems to have been a very joyful time for the new church.
We call this study “Christianity… In The Beginning” and at the end of Acts 2 we can truly say Christianity has begun. The church is been established and is growing.
Verse 43 says “fear came upon every soul”. What kind of fear was this and why were they experiencing fear?
Today we read the people’s response to Peter’s teaching. He had told the people in Jerusalem on Pentecost that they were guilty of crucifying Jesus but that God had raised Him the dead and made Him Lord and Christ.
Their reaction was they were “cut to the heart” and asked what they must do.
What does it mean that they were cut to the heart?
What did Peter tell them to do?
Just one verse today but this is the conclusion and main point of Peter’s sermon on Pentecost. Based on the proofs he has provided (the Psalms, their eyewitness testimony, the people’s own knowledge of Jesus life) he says they can “know assuredly” that Jesus is Lord and Christ.
We also need to believe that Jesus is Lord and Christ. What does Lord mean? What does Christ mean?