Acts 5:12-16

Sunday Morning Bible Study

September 21, 1997

Introduction

Last week we looked at the incident of Ananias and Sapphira, where a man and his wife were trying to pretend to be something they were not.

They were trying to pretend to be "big givers" to the church, pretending to give all their possessions to the church, when in fact they had kept some of the money for themselves.

The issue wasnít that they held some money back, but that they had pretended to be something they werenít.

God moved swiftly in judgment, and Ananias and his wife became the first two funerals of the early church.

As a result Ė

(Acts 5:11 KJV) And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things.

:12-16 Signs and Wonders

:12 And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people;

I believe that one reason why there was such a powerful demonstration of signs and wonders was to help authenticate the message of the gospel.

Jesus had risen from the dead, and this same power was being shown in the apostles.

But I wonder just how much some of this was also because of the discipline and cleansing of the church with the deaths of Ananias and Sapphira.

:12 (and they were all with one accord in Solomonís porch.

in Solomonís porch Ė

An area running the length of the east side of the temple, in the outer court of the Gentiles, and what seemed to be a favorite meeting place of the early church. (Acts 3:11)

This just happened to be where the church met. Kind of like meeting in a gymnasium at the YMCA.

with one accord Ė homothumadon Ė with the same mind, with the same passion.

Weíve seen this word now several times in the book of Acts.

There was a sense of togetherness in the early church.

Lesson:

Great things happen when the church is "together" in one place.

The day the Holy Spirit fell on the church, was a day of "togetherness":

Ac 2:1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.

Even after the coming of the Holy Spirit, things continued to grow, because they continued together:

Ac 2:46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,

When they prayed, great things happened because they were together:

Ac 4:24 And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou [art] God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is:

After their prayer, the place was shaken!

Some of you are still a little skeptical about your need to be "together" with other believers.

I know some of you have been deeply hurt by uncaring Christians.

But donít throw out the baby with the bath water.

Babies can have pretty yucky bath water, lots of junk floating in it.

Get rid of the bath water, not the baby.

Godís way involves "togetherness" among the believers.

Something happened this week that Iím kind of excited about.

Some of the pastors of the local churches in Fullerton got together to start praying for each other.

Weíre going to start meeting once a month.

Who knows what God might do as the churches learn to be in "one accord"?

(Psa 133:1-2 KJV) A Song of degrees of David. Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! {2} It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments;

:13 And of the rest durst no man join himself to them

Or, "of the rest, no one was bold enough to join himself to them"

the rest of who?

I believe itís talking about the rest of the unbelieving Jews in the temple. Those that werenít followers of Jesus.

Suddenly, it wasnít so "cool" to be hanging around with those followers of Jesus. In fact, it was getting a little scary.

join - kollao - from kolla ("glue"); to glue together, cement, fasten together; to join oneís self to

Itís used later on to describe Paul trying to "join" the church in Jerusalem in Ė

(NAS) Ac 9:26 And when he had come to Jerusalem, he was trying to associate with the disciples; and they were all afraid of him, not believing that he was a disciple.

The people of Jerusalem took the concept of "joining" the church kind of seriously.

After all, if the hypocrites were dropping dead, who would want to risk that?

:13 but the people magnified them.

The common person on the street was quite impressed by the things that God was doing in the church.

:14 And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.)

Though the some of the "rest" were reluctant to be considered a part of them, those that believed in the Lord were continually being added.

Lesson:

What it means to "join the church".

From this passage, there seems to be two elements involved in "joining" the church.

1. Believing

2. Being together in one accord

From the moment that you believe, youíre a part of the "Body of Christ".

(1 Cor 12:12-13 KJV) For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. {13} For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

Paul describes that church as if itís a living organism with many functioning parts, a living body.

My concern is whether or not people fully understand the need to be "in one accord".

I worry about are the ones who say "Iím a part of the worldwide Body of Christ, isnít that enough?"

They sit at home on their sofas and might be more committed to watching their favorite television shows, than being an active part of the Body of Christ.

Part of being in the "body" involves being together in an active role, both in reaching out to others, as well as receiving ministry from others.

Eph 4:15-16 (NLT) Instead, we will hold to the truth in love, becoming more and more in every way like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. {16} Under his direction, the whole body is fitted together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.

I believe that itís important for a person to make a commitment to a local church, to say, "Hey, I want to be an active part of this group."

Illustration

When you come and never commit to being a part of the church, itís kind of like two people who are living together, but not married.

There may be a measure of love there, but thereís no commitment.

Thereís only so much of yourself you dare give to the other person, because thereís nothing keeping them from walking out the door at any moment.

I believe that itís important that we have a group of believers that weíre committed to, on a basis kind of similar to marriage.

Itís not that you canít leave at anytime, but you are saying, "Hey, Iím going to be here for you, and Iím basically here for the long haul."

Church membership isnít about how much you give, or who controls your life, itís about a commitment to the other believers in the church.

:15 Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches,

Because of the use of parentheses, you can tell that the King James translators felt that this verse picked up from verse twelve, which said,

"And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people Ö insomuch that they brought forth the sick Ö"

Donít think the streets were lined with Lazy Boys, these are small cots or pallets.

:15 the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them.

Did Peterís shadow have healing qualities?

We should let Peterís own words, when the lame man was healed, answer this:

Acts 3:12-13,16 And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk? {13} The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus Ö And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.

So whatís happening here?

Lesson:

The release of faith.

It seems that with some of us, we just have a hard time believing that God is going to work in our lives, such as healing us.

And itís pretty important to the Lord that we learn to trust Him to take care of us.

Sometimes we need a little help.

Mt 9:20-22 And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind [him], and touched the hem of his garment: 21 For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole. 22 But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.

Did Jesus rebuke the woman and say, "Listen lady, My robe didnít heal you! Donít be so superstitious!"

In fact, later on Ö

Mt 14:35-36 And when the men of that place had knowledge of him, they sent out into all that country round about, and brought unto him all that were diseased; 36 And besought him that they might only touch the hem of his garment: and as many as touched were made perfectly whole.

Jesus honored their desire to be healed.

We see something similar in the ministry of Paul Ė

(Acts 19:11-12 NLT) God gave Paul the power to do unusual miracles, {12} so that even when handkerchiefs or cloths that had touched his skin were placed on sick people, they were healed of their diseases, and any evil spirits within them came out.

Years ago, there was a guy on television who used to tell people to lay their hands on the TV set to receive healing.

Some people laughed and made jokes about it, but for some people, God used it to help them release their ability to trust Him for a healing.

Sometimes we donít need this help.

Mat 8:5-10 And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him, {6} And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. {7} And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him. {8} The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. {9} For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. {10} When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.

Mat 8:13 And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour.

Not everyone needs this kind of extra help in receiving from the Lord.

God has given us some things in the church to do to help get us over that hump of unbelief, one of them being Ö

Anointing with oil.

James 5:14-16 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: {15} And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. {16} Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

Thereís nothing magic about being anointed with oil, itís just olive oil. You can even do it at home!

But thereís times when we just need that extra little boost.

Perhaps youíre saying to yourself, "If only I could get the elders of the church to anoint me with oil Ö"

Then come up after the service!

:16 bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits

There were two groups of people that were brought for help:

Some were sick, others were "troubled with demons".

Do people have problems with demons today?

Maybe yes

I think there are times when we look at every possible explanation for a personís behavior, except for the demonic.

I wonder how many people in mental hospitals and on psychiatrist couches are really troubled with demons.

Maybe no

I also think that some have gone overboard in thinking that every problem is a demonic one.

Some churches regularly have "deliverance" meetings.

If you have a weight problem, then just get the "demon of gluttony" cast out.

If you have a smoking problem, then have the "smoking demon" cast out.

If you have a lust problem, then get the "demon of lust" cast out.

While I have no doubt that these problems may be aggravated by demons, for the most part, they are problems of our flesh.

And you wonít get anywhere trying to cast out the flesh. Youíre stuck with it.

I also think that there are folks with medical problems that we tend to lump into the category of "demonic".

Turrets syndrome causes a person to jerk or even speak uncontrollably.

Medical doctors appear to have shown that some kinds of depression are simply a matter of a chemical imbalance in the brain.

Lesson:

We need discernment.

Life isnít so easy. Donít be quick to categorize people as "demonic" or "not demonic".

We want quick answers to troubling problems, but what we need is discernment.

Sometimes a lack of discernment leads us to the wrong conclusions.

Illustration

The scene is a four engine airliner. The pilot's voice comes across the intercom: "Those of you on the left side of the plane have probably noticed that one of our engines has failed. Do not be alarmed. We can still fly on three engines, but we will probably arrive about 15 minutes late." A few minutes later the pilot's calm voice was heard again: "Those of you on the right side of the plane are probably aware that a second engine has failed. Do not be alarmed. We can make it on two engines, though we will probably be at least 30 minutes late now." A few minutes later the pilot spoke to the passengers: "It has just come to my attention that a third engine has failed. Please do not be alarmed. We can make it to the airport on one engine. However, we will arrive approximately 45 minutes late." One passenger turned to another and said, "Boy, I hope that fourth engine doesn't fail, or we could be up here all night!"

The wrong conclusions can lead you away from the place of healing, and into lots of delays.

If the problem is your flesh, the answer isnít "casting it out", itís crucifying it.

It means that you have to die a little more to yourself.

How do we grow in discernment?

I think the most practical way is through staying grounded in Godís Word.

(Psa 119:99 KJV) I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation.