Acts 4:1-14

Sunday Morning Bible Study

August 17, 1997


Peter and John had been going to a prayer meetin' at the temple (Acts 3:1), when they ran into a lame man.

The man got healed.

When the crowds began to gather to see what had happened, Peter had used the opportunity to preach to the people about Jesus, the one whose power had healed the man.

:1-4 The arrest

:1 the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them,

The Sadducees were one of the "denominations" within Judaism at that time (the Pharisees were the other major group).

They were the liberal group, and they didn't believe in the supernatural, things like angels and the resurrection. Most of the nations leaders and priests were Sadducees.

The captain of the temple - a type of temple police.

:2 Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead.

Every time Peter has preached, he's mentioned the resurrection of Jesus.

In his second message, explaining the lame man's healing:

(Acts 3:14-15 KJV) But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; {15} And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.

This is not the message that the Sadducees want being spoken in their temple.

:3 put them in hold unto the next day: for it was now eventide.

When Peter and John came into the temple, it was about 3:00 p.m., and now after the healing, after talking to the people, and now being arrested, it's about sunset.

Rather than bother with them now, they decide to put them into jail until the morning.

:4 many of them which heard the word believed … about five thousand.

Some have suggested that this was 5,000 new converts that believed because of this one event.

It's probably more likely that 2,000 believed, bringing the number of the church up to 5,000.

Either way, it's still pretty incredible, and pretty exciting.

Lesson #1:

It all starts with one.

Peter took the time to reach out to one single lame man, and 2,000 people end up getting saved.

We can get lost in the huge numbers sometimes, but the reality is that salvation always happens one person at a time.

Don't get confused and caught up thinking that you have to reach thousands of people for Christ.

It's more likely that God has one person that's been on your heart.

And it starts by you reaching out to them, taking them by the hand and saying, "In the name of Jesus Christ, rise and walk."

Lesson #2:

Be a part of the move of God's Spirit.

It's a little like what's going on down at Anaheim Stadium with the Harvest Crusade.

There is something incredibly exciting about watching thousands of people make decisions for Jesus Christ at the same time.

If you've lost a little bit of the excitement in your life of reaching people for Jesus, you ought to get down to the Stadium tonight, whether you bring a friend or not.

I've been down on the field. I've talked with some of these people who are choosing to follow Jesus.

Thursday night I coincidentally ran into a family in our church that I've been concerned about, and out of the thousands of people on the field, they walked right into me.

Friday night, I talked with another couple who had been living together for years, and they both came to the Crusade, and both went forward to ask Jesus into their lives. They want to get married and make things right.

These are truly exciting times we're living in.

"People get ready, Jesus is coming, soon we'll be going home."

God is whispering, "Only a little while longer, just a few more people …"

God is moving. Are you going to be a part of it?

:5-14 Trial and Defense

:6 as many as were of the kindred of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem.

This is kind of a court thrown together, and this court is composed of mostly Sadducees.

This is the same court that condemned Jesus a few months earlier.

:8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them

The source of Peter's answer came from being filled with the Holy Ghost.

Jesus had said,

Mt 10:19-20 But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. 20 For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.

:9 If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole

impotent - weak, infirm

he is made whole - sozo - to save, keep safe and sound, to rescue from danger or destruction

This is kind of important, because though Peter might be indeed talking about the man's healing, he's using the very root word for "salvation", about which he's going to make a statement in verse 12.

I think there is more than just a healing that has occurred here.

I believe that this lame man has been saved.

He's come to trust in Jesus as His savior.

:10 by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth

Peter wants it to be very clear that it was Jesus who performed the miracle, and it was Jesus who gave them the authority and power to do this work.

:11 This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.

set at nought - despised

Peter here quotes Psalm 118, a Psalm recognized as one talking of the Messiah.

There was also a tradition that during the building of the second temple (Zerubbabel's temple), that there was a stone sent up from the quarry to the building site. When the builders received the stone, they couldn't figure out where it was supposed to go, so they threw it over the hill to get it out of the way. The tradition goes that when they got near to finishing the building, the builders sent back word to the quarry asking where the corner stone was. When the quarry sent back saying that they had already sent it long ago, the builders realized that this one stone, the most important in the whole building, had been the one thrown away.

Peter now says that Jesus was that stone, rejected by the builders, by the leaders of Israel, but who was indeed the very most important stone in all the building of God.

:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

Saved from what?

Peter is talking about more than just a lame man getting healed.

He's talking about eternal salvation, for a person to be saved from the eternal consequences of their sin.

All of mankind is on a sinking ship.

The ship is sinking because our sins have put a huge hole in the ship, and it's not going to float.

And God has offered one helicopter, with one ladder to those who want to be rescued from the sinking ship.

God looked down on mankind and saw that our sin was separating us from Him.

God saw that the only way to fix the situation was for somebody to pay the price tag for our sin.

And the Bible says that the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23).

So God sent His only Son to come and pay for our sin by dying on a cross.

God offers to us this free gift of salvation to us, if we'll simply receive the gift by believing in Jesus.

Is this being narrow-minded?

It's just the truth.

No one else has paid the price for your sins.

God is just making it easy for you.

You only have to remember one name, Jesus.

:13 they saw the boldness of Peter and John

boldness - freedom in speaking, unreservedness in speech

Remember that this is big bold Peter who couldn't admit to a little slave girl that he was a follower of Jesus!

What they were seeing was the power that the Holy Spirit had put in Peter's life.

:13 they were unlearned and ignorant men …

Ignorant - idiotes - in the NT, an unlearned, illiterate man

These guys hadn't even been to the best seminaries! What could they know?

Apparently, this wasn't some kind of a grand scheme cooked up to some ingenious guys.

These were just ordinary guys.

Something was working in them.


God uses ordinary people.

Paul wrote:

(1 Cor 1:27-29 NLT) Instead, God deliberately chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose those who are powerless to shame those who are powerful. {28} God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important, {29} so that no one can ever boast in the presence of God.

Do you ever feel like you're not special enough to be used by God?

Perhaps you've got it backward.

God wants to use ordinary people, so the world will see that it's not us, but it's God at work.

God uses empty vessels.

It's God's desire that the world see His power and His glory.

But when we're working so hard for people to see what great, ingenious servants of God we are, all people see is us, and not Jesus.


When God called Gideon to be the one to deliver Israel from their oppressors, (Judg. 7), Gideon gathered up an army of 32,000 men to face a horde of 150,000 Midianites.

But when he got ready to go to battle,

(Judg 7:2 NLT) The LORD said to Gideon, "You have too many warriors with you. If I let all of you fight the Midianites, the Israelites will boast to me that they saved themselves by their own strength.

Gideon was told to send home all those who were afraid, and 22,000 went home!

And God said to Gideon, "You still have too many guys!"

Finally, Gideon ended up with only 300 men to fight against the Midianites.

Guess who won?

Don't think God can't use you just because you're ordinary or foolish. You may be just what God is looking for.

:13 they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.

The language in the Greek speaks of having continually been with Jesus.

It's not just that they had run in to Jesus occasionally, but that they had spent lots of time with Him.

Have you noticed how people who hang out together start looking like each other over time?

I've certainly seen it in married couples, the ones married for 50 years or so. I remember one couple that looked more like twins, yet they were just husband and wife.

When you spend a lot of time with Jesus, you'll begin to look a little more like him.

Maybe not in physical appearance, but certainly in the way you act, the way you talk, the way you treat people.


Spend time with Jesus.

Maturity doesn't come from hanging around Greg Laurie or Chuck Smith.

It certainly isn't going to come by hanging around me.

The very best I can do for you, is to point you to Jesus, and help you spend time hanging around Him.

I'm not just talking about just reading your Bible and praying.

I'm talking about spending time with Jesus.

I think for some of us, we show up at our daily appointment with Jesus, and as He sits there in the chair next to us, we go about our business trying to get through our Bible reading as fast as we can, then saying a few pat little religious things, calling it prayer, then head for the door, all the while Jesus is sitting there, waiting for us to turn around and talk to HIM!


In the Old Testament, when the Israelites were being led by Moses, Moses would go spend time with God in this tent called the tabernacle, and when he would come out, his face would be glowing.

You could tell that Moses had spent time with God, he glowed in the dark!

Can people see the glow from your time spent WITH Jesus?

I can tell when my wife has been with Jesus.

She gets this look about her, and she starts apologizing as she tells me things that the Lord has been saying to her.

I've learned to let her be all apologetic and all, but to also pay close attention to what she's saying.

:14 And beholding the man which was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it.

Lesson #1:

The proof is in the change.

More than anything that Peter and John could say, as important as it was, the thing that confused these religious people was the fact that this lame man had been healed, and he was standing there with Peter.


From Wiersbe: "In his evangelistic ministries, the Methodist preacher Samuel Chadwick used to pray for "a Lazarus" in every campaign, some "great sinner" whose conversion would shock the community. God answered his prayers in meeting after meeting as infamous wicked men trusted Christ and became witnesses through their changed lives. Let’s go after the "hard cases" and see what God can do!"

What you say to your friends is very important, but it doesn't mean quite as much if your life doesn't reflect the power that God has to change you.

Lesson #2:

Get back on the bike.

Some of you have been discouraged because you've tried to change, but every once in a while you end up tripping and falling again.

And you end up feeling like quitting, because you can't seem to make the change.


I've got a son who is in that in-between stage of learning to ride a bike.

He's got an older brother who has it all down pat, and loves to ride his bike.

He's got a younger brother who also loves to ride his bike, but his still has training wheels.

But when the middle son starts to get the bike down, we stop riding bikes for a couple of months, and when we get out the bikes, he has to learn all over again. It's to the point where the others ride their bikes, but he gets on roller blades.

Is he destined to never ride a bike? No.

He just needs to have Daddy spend more time running alongside him, holding him up, until he finally gets it down.

Some of you are afraid you'll never learn to ride.

I think you need to just put your helmet and knee pads on, convince Dad to get out of His chair, and try again.

When you finally get the bike riding down, there's not much that your friends will be able to say.

The healed man will be standing right in front of them.

There is a hunger in the world for God.

We've seen it over the last few days at the Harvest Crusade.

Sometimes we get to thinking that people just don't want to hear about God.

I think that deep down, there's a yearning in their hearts for God.

Are you searching for that "something more"?

It's only found in Jesus.