Evening Bible Study
The book of Acts takes up where the gospels leave off. Jesus died on the
cross for our sins, rose on the third day, and just before He ascended into
heaven He told the disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the promised Holy Spirit.
It was about a week later, on the day of the Jewish feast of Pentecost, that
the Holy Spirit was poured out on the disciples, Peter preached, and the church
Last week we saw Peter and John entering the Temple where they encountered
a man who had been lame from birth, begging for money.
(Ac 3:6 NKJV) Then Peter
said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the
name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.”
The man was healed, a crowd began to develop, and again Peter preached to
the crowd, telling them about Jesus.
4:1-4 Peter and John Arrested
:1 Now as they spoke to the people, the priests,
the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees came upon them,
:2 being greatly disturbed that they taught the
people and preached in Jesus the resurrection from the dead.
:1 the captain of the temple
The guys in charge of maintaining order. Temple police.
:1 priests … Sadducees
The Sadducees was one of the sects, or denominations of the Jews. They were
the more liberal group. They didn’t believe in miracles and they didn’t believe
in angels. They only believed that the first five books of the Old Testament
(also called the Pentateuch or Torah) were inspired. They also did not believe
there was a resurrection from the dead.
That’s why they were so sad-you-see.
The priests tended to be of the Sadducees.
:2 preached in Jesus the resurrection
Because the Sadducees and priests didn’t believe in any kind of
resurrection, they didn’t like the fact that Peter and the other apostles were
teaching that Jesus had risen from the dead.
:3 And they laid hands on them, and put them
in custody until the next day, for it was already evening.
:4 However, many of those who heard the word
believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand.
:4 to be about five thousand
Even though Peter and John are thrown into jail overnight, more people have
come to believe in Jesus.
In Acts 1, there were 120 disciples. In Acts 2, the church had grown to be
3,000, now it’s 5,000 (men).
4:5-12 Answering the Sanhedrin
:5 And it came to pass, on the next day, that
their rulers, elders, and scribes,
:6 as well as Annas the
high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the family
of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem.
:5 rulers, elders …
This is the Sanhedrin, the religious rulers over Israel. The Sanhedrin was
a group of seventy men and contained both Sadducees and Pharisees.
The Pharisees were the conservative, orthodox sect of the Jews. They DID
believe in miracles, angels, all the books of the OT as inspired, and in the
:7 And when they had set them in the midst, they
asked, “By what power or by what name have you done this?”
:7 By what power or by what name
Keep in mind that an amazing miracle has been done. A man who has been lame
for over forty years, since birth, has been healed.
I find it interesting that they are no longer challenging the teaching of
the resurrection since the whole council is there, which includes Pharisees.
Instead, they want to know what’s behind the miracle.
Isn’t that a stupid thing to be asking? Shouldn’t they just be grateful
that the man got healed?
Actually it isn’t that stupid.
(Dt 13:1–5 NKJV)
—1 “If there arises among you
a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, 2
and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of
which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods’—which you have not
known—‘and let us serve them,’ 3 you
shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for
the Lord your God is testing you
to know whether you love the Lord
your God with all your heart and with all your soul. 4 You shall walk
after the Lord your God and fear
Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice; you shall serve Him and hold
fast to Him. 5
But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death,
because he has spoken in order to turn you away from the Lord your God, who brought you out of
the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of bondage, to entice you
from the way in which the Lord
your God commanded you to walk. So you shall put away the evil from your midst.
Moses wrote that just because a miracle is done, or something predicted
comes to pass, doesn’t mean that it is from God.
The bigger issue is whether or not this person doing the
miracle is leading the people away from worshiping Yahweh, the one true God.
We talked last Sunday about the gift of prophecy and our obligation to
“judge” or “test” prophecies.
(1 Co 14:29 NKJV)
Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge.
My old pastor used to say that we need to “chew the chicken and spit out
The problem is that sometimes we don’t stop to spit out
the bones …
Ate The Bones video
The Sanhedrin is actually doing the right thing in testing, but they are
doing it incorrectly and will come to the wrong conclusion.
Is Jesus Yahweh”? Or is He some “other god”?
The problem the Jewish leaders are having is that they didn’t recognize
that Jesus was the Promised One, the Messiah.
Jesus claimed to be Yahweh.
(Jn 8:57–59 NKJV) —57 Then the
Jews said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You
seen Abraham?” 58
Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham
was, I AM.”
The phrase “I AM” in Greek is one of the ways of
translating God’s name, Yahweh.
Then they took up stones to throw at Him; but Jesus hid Himself and
went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.
They picked up stones because Jesus was claiming to be
Jesus said it was necessary to believe He was Yahweh to be saved:
(Jn 8:24 NKJV) Therefore
I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I
am He, you will die in your sins.”
In the Greek, Jesus is literally saying, “for if you do not believe that I AM, you will die in your
sins. He’s saying that if you don’t
believe He is God, you won’t be saved.
:8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said
to them, “Rulers of the people and elders of Israel:
:8 filled with the Holy Spirit
We saw Peter in the group who had earlier been filled with the Holy Spirit:
(Ac 2:4 NKJV) And they
were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as
the Spirit gave them utterance.
At that time they spoke with tongues and Peter got up to preach.
Now we see again Peter being filled with the Spirit and instead of being
tongue-tied and fearful, he clearly addresses the Sanhedrin and answers their
Remember, this is the man who denied Jesus when a little slave girl accused
him of being Jesus’ follower. Now he is
speaking to the Sanhedrin.
:9 If we this day are judged for a good deed done
to a helpless man, by what means he has been made well,
:10 let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by
the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from
the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole.
:10 by the name of Jesus Christ of
This is Peter’s answer to their question.
They did this in the name of Jesus, by the power of the name of Jesus.
When Peter met the lame man, this is what he said,
(Ac 3:6 NKJV) Then Peter
said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the
name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.”
:10 whom you crucified
This same group of men had condemned Jesus, sent Him to Pilate, and asked
for Jesus to be crucified.
:10 whom God raised from the dead
Just in case the Sadducees weren’t clear on this, Peter reminds them that
God had indeed raised Jesus from the dead.
Years later when Paul was standing on trial before the Sanhedrin, he
mentioned the resurrection of the dead and caused the Sanhedrin to start arguing
with each other – the Pharisees arguing with the Sadducees about the
:11 This is the ‘stone which was rejected by
you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’
:11 rejected by you builders
Peter is quoting from Psalm 118:
(Ps 118:22 NKJV) The stone which the builders rejected Has become the
Psalm 118 is a fantastic Messianic Psalm about the coming of the Messiah.
It’s the song that includes the lines,
118:25–26 NKJV) —25 Save now, I pray, O Lord;
O Lord, I pray, send now
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! We have blessed you from the
house of the Lord.
These were the words the people had been shouting to Jesus
on His triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. The words “Save now”
translate the phrase “Hosanna”.
There was an old Jewish tradition concerning the building of the temple.
The story was 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.
Now Peter reminds the Jewish leaders that they as the “builders” of Israel
have rejected the chief cornerstone, Jesus Christ.
Note: Again Peter sneaks in
Scripture into his message.
:12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there
is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
:12 there is no other name
The issue before the Sanhedrin is the “name” or “authority” by which this
miracle has been done.
Peter now makes the issue crystal clear.
There is only one name that counts. Jesus.
Yes, we Christians are quite narrow minded.
That’s because this is what the Bible teaches us.
Jesus Himself said,
(Jn 14:6 NKJV) Jesus said
to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father
except through Me.
God is the one who has decided that there is only one way that leads to
It would be horribly foolish for us to tell people that “all roads lead to
heaven” when indeed there is only one road.
If you bought a ticket to go to Hawaii, would you get on board if the pilot
told you it didn’t matter which direction he flew the plane because “all flight
plans end in Hawaii”?
There is only one road to heaven because there is only One
who has paid the price for our sins – Jesus.
4:13-22 Sanhedrin Response
:13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and
John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled.
And they realized that they had been with Jesus.
:13 uneducated and untrained men
This is the simple truth about Peter and John. This is what they were.
uneducated – agrammatos – illiterate, without learning, unlettered
These guys hadn’t been to school. They didn’t have their “letters” in any
untrained – idiotes – a private person, a common soldier; in the NT unlearned,
Does the Greek word here sound like a word we use? Idiots?
:13 they had been with Jesus
The Best Education
It’s not wrong to get an education.
The root idea of the word “disciple” is the idea of being a “learner”.
It’s good to keep sharpening yourself, to keep learning, to keep growing
But the bigger question is whether or not you’ve spent time with Jesus.
Spending time with Jesus is more than just learning facts.
It’s about obedience, letting Him change your life.
Anyone who has spent time with Jesus knows what Jesus taught, like this:
7:24–27 NKJV) —24 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I
will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 and the
rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and
it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. 26 “But everyone who hears these
sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a
foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27 and the rain descended, the floods
came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its
Just knowing “stuff” isn’t enough. We must learn to “do”
stuff. We must learn to obey what Jesus has taught us.
:14 And seeing the man who had been healed
standing with them, they could say nothing against it.
:14 they could say nothing
You can’t really get too critical of Peter and John when the guy who has
been lame for forty years is standing next to them.
A Changed life
One of the problems Christians have with unbelievers is their
credibility. We pretend to be something
The idiot tried to sell his old car. He was having a lot of problems
selling it, because the car had 200,000 miles on it. One day he mentioned his
problem to a friend he worked with. The friend told him, “There is a way to
make your car easier to sell, but it’s not legal.” “That doesn’t matter,”
replied the idiot, “as long as I can sell the car.” “Okay,” said the friend.
“Here’s the address of a friend of mine. He owns a car repair shop. Tell him I
sent you and he will turn the odometer in your car back to 70,000 miles. Then
it shouldn’t be a problem to sell.” The following weekend, the airhead made the
trip to the mechanic. A month later, the friend asked the airhead, “Did you
sell your car?” “No,” replied the airhead, “why should I? It only has 70,000
miles on it.”
Some of us are like that.
We feel like we need to “sell” Jesus to people around us, but we have a problem. We aren’t letting God do a work of truth in
our lives and we keep trying to turn the odometer back to give people the idea
that God is working when He isn’t. And
He isn’t working because we’re reluctant to change.
One of the greatest things you can share with a person is how Jesus changes
lives. Really changes lives.
What can they say to you when Jesus has really changed you?
This is why it’s so important to be real in your walk with the Lord. If
you’re struggling, admit it. That’s the only way to grow out of it. And when
you are doing well, it’s the real thing, not an act, and people have no response
to the reality of God working in your life.
:15 But when they had commanded them to go aside out of
the council, they conferred among themselves,
:16 saying, “What shall we do to these men? For,
indeed, that a notable miracle has been done through them is evident to
all who dwell in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it.
:17 But so that it spreads no further among the people, let us severely
threaten them, that from now on they speak to no man in this name.”
:17 severely threaten – literally,
“let’s threaten them with a threat”
:18 So they called them and commanded them not to
speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.
:18 not to speak at all nor teach in the
name of Jesus
This is all they have the courage to tell the apostles.
They want them to just stop talking about Jesus.
:19 But Peter and John answered and said to them,
“Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you
:19 Whether it is right
(Ac 4:19 NIV) But Peter
and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him?
You be the judges!
The Sanhedrin have set themselves up as the judges
in this issue. They are going to make a judgment. Peter says the judgment they
really have to make is whether or not Peter and John should listen to them more
than to God.
:20 For we cannot but speak the things which we
have seen and heard.”
:21 So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no
way of punishing them, because of the people, since they all glorified God for
what had been done.
:22 For the man was over forty years old on whom
this miracle of healing had been performed.
:21 finding no way of punishing them
The attitude of the crowd is going to keep the Sanhedrin from punishing
Peter and John. They’re released with a warning.
4:23-31 Bold Prayer
:23 And being let go, they went to their own companions
and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them.
:24 So when they heard that, they raised their
voice to God with one accord and said: “Lord, You are God, who made heaven
and earth and the sea, and all that is in them,
:24 Lord – despotes – a master, Lord
Carries the idea of absolute ownership and uncontrolled
:24 who made heaven and earth…
They start their prayer by reminding themselves just who they are talking
God is our Creator.
:25 who by the mouth of Your servant David have
said: ‘Why did the nations rage, And the people plot vain things?
:26 The kings of the earth took their stand,
And the rulers were gathered together Against the Lord and against His Christ.’
:27 “For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus,
whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the
people of Israel, were gathered together
:28 to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose
determined before to be done.
:25 Why did the nations rage
They are quoting Psalm 2:1-2. They are praying this scripture.
They are reminding themselves that God had already predicted that there
would be opposition to the coming Messiah, the “Anointed” one.
:29 Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to
Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word,
:30 by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that
signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.”
:29 with all boldness they may speak
This is the heart of their request. They pray for boldness.
boldness – parrhesia – freedom in speaking, unreservedness in speech; free and fearless
confidence, cheerful courage, boldness, assurance
What are you praying for?
They don’t pray for God to remove the rulers or to shut them up.
They pray that they would be bold and continue to speak in the middle of
John tells us the secret of getting your prayers answered:
(1 Jn 5:14–15 NKJV) —14 Now this
is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His
will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we
have the petitions that we have asked of Him.
The secret is learning to ask for what God wants.
I think that from time to time we need to evaluate what we’ve been asking
It’s not wrong to ask for things. It’s not wrong to ask
for what you want.
Yet ultimately we need to learn what it is that God wants.
Sometimes God might want something different than what I’m
Phillip Brooks wrote - “Do not pray for easy lives, pray to be
stronger men and women. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for
powers equal to your tasks.”
:31 And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together
was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the
word of God with boldness.
:31 the place … was shaken
There was an earthquake.
:31 they were all filled with the Holy
Once again, the Holy Spirit falls on the church.
Note: It doesn’t say they spoke
with tongues. They might have, but it doesn’t say it.
When Peter was again (vs. 8) filled with the Spirit, it involved his reply
to the Sanhedrin. It doesn’t mention tongues.
Again and again
We don’t need to be filled with the Spirit just once.
We need to be filled over and over and over again.
(Eph 5:18 NKJV) And do not
be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit,
The grammar speaks of being continually filled with the
Spirit, over and over again.
I think a healthy way to look at it is to think of ourselves as “leaky”
vessels. When we ask the Holy Spirit to fill us, He does, but for some reason
we seem to continually need more, perhaps because we leak.
When you “fill” your car with gasoline, it doesn’t stay “full”, but you
burn the gas as you drive the car. You have to keep going back to the gas
station to “fill up”.
:31 they spoke the word of God with
God answered their prayers.
:32 Now the multitude of those who believed were
of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he
possessed was his own, but they had all things in common.
:32 common – koinos – common
This is the word that’s at the root of “fellowship” and “communion” (koinonia),
having things in “common”. Here, the church had their property in common.
You could say they were true “communists”, but not something that was
forced on them by the government, but something they willingly did for one
:33 And with great power the apostles gave witness
to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all.
:33 with great power … gave witness
Same two concepts, same two Greek words as are in Acts 1:8
(Ac 1:8 NKJV) But you
shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses
to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
:33 to the resurrection
We’ve seen this each week, the big issue in the
messages of the early church was the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.
:33 great grace was upon them all
They had tasted God’s love in such a way that they couldn’t help but share
it with others.
A MECHANIC AND
A mechanic who worked out of his home had a dog named Mace. Mace had a bad
habit of eating all the grass in the mechanic’s lawn, so the mechanic had to
keep Mace inside. The grass eventually became overgrown. One day the mechanic
was working on a car in his backyard and dropped his wrench losing it in the
tall grass. He couldn’t find it for the life of him so he decided to call it a
day. That night, Mace escaped from the house and ate all the grass in the
backyard. The next morning, the mechanic went outside and saw his wrench
glinting in the sunlight. Realizing what had happened, he looked up to the
heavens and sang out loudly, proclaiming... (are you
ready for this?) “A grazing Mace, how sweet the hound that
saved a wrench for me!”
:34 Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors
of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were
:35 and laid them at the apostles’ feet;
and they distributed to each as anyone had need.
:35 they distributed to each
The folks who owned properties sold them, giving the proceeds to the
apostles to distribute among the poor of the church.
I find it fascinating that it doesn’t seem as if the apostles twisted
people’s arms to give. They just gave.
:36 And Joses, who was
also named Barnabas by the apostles (which is translated Son of Encouragement),
a Levite of the country of Cyprus,
:37 having land, sold it, and brought the
money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
:26 Joses … named
This is the fellow that will one day team up with the apostle Paul (as in
“Paul and Barnabas”).
His actual name was Joses, perhaps a form of
The apostles nicknamed him “son of encouragement” which comes out in
Aramaic as “Bar-nabas”
He was a guy known for encouraging others. Perhaps he had the gift of
Encouragement – paraklesis – exhortation,
admonition, encouragement, comfort
Barnabas was originally from the island of Cyprus.
One of the first places that Paul and Barnabas will go to on their first
missionary journey will be to the island of Cyprus.
He was also a Levite, from the tribe of Levi, he
could have had responsibilities in serving in the Temple.
Barnabas was also one of those who sold property and gave it to the
apostles to distribute to the poor.