Persecution

Acts 5
19 But at night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out, and said, 20 “Go, stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this life.”

From my commentary:
The later history of these apostles – and others associated with them in the early church – shows that sometimes God delivers by a miracle, sometimes He does not. According to fairly reliable church history and tradition, miraculous angels did not always deliver them.

· Matthew was beheaded with a sword.
· Mark died in Alexandria after being dragged through the streets of the city.
· Luke was hanged on an olive tree in Greece.
· John died a natural death, but they unsuccessfully tried to boil him in oil.
· Peter was crucified upside-down in Rome.
· James was beheaded in Jerusalem.
· James the Less was thrown from a height then beaten with clubs.
· Philip was hanged.
· Bartholomew was whipped and beaten until death.
· Andrew was crucified and preached at the top of his voice to his persecutors until he died.
· Thomas was run through with a spear.
· Jude was killed with the arrows of an executioner.
· Matthias was stoned and then beheaded – as was Barnabas.
· Paul was beheaded in Rome.

Let the record show, this is delivery from PERSECUTION. Not sickness. Not poverty.
Persecution is the ONLY thing we are not promised to be delivered from.

If it makes you worse, it isn’t God.

Acts 5
17 Then the high priest rose up, and all those who were with him (which is the sect of the Sadducees), and they were filled with [a]indignation, 18 and laid their hands on the apostles and put them in the common prison.

From my commentary:
The apostles, like Jesus whom they represented, were persecuted because their good works and popularity were a threat to those who had an interest in the status quo of the religious establishment. Sadly, the religious establishment of that day left the people worse off, not better.

There is a lot of this in politics now days also.

People were being healed and set free. The religious leaders wanted control, so this had to stop. Otherwise no one would have any need for their religious sermons and rituals.

I could also make a very good argument, that coming to Christ should be something that is amazing in your life. It says you free and gives you clarity in your life. With that clarity your life should improve. It will also give you tools, like the Holy Spirit to combat the areas in your life that are trouble spots. MINUS persecution, NOTHING should stand in your way.

A move of God

This is what a move of God looks like:

Acts 5
15 …so that they brought the sick out into the streets and laid them on beds and couches, that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might fall on some of them. 16 Also a multitude gathered from the surrounding cities to Jerusalem, bringing sick people and those who were tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all healed.

Do not let anyone tell you otherwise. He is healing the sick and restoring people!

Also notice that word ALL. All were healed.

Thank the Lord that He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. Receive victory in your life for healing! Have faith to believe you have received.

More Miraculous.

Acts 5
14 And believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women, 15 so that they brought the sick out into the streets and laid them on beds and couches, that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might fall on some of them. 

From my commentary
It may sound crazy that one could be healed by the touch of a shadow, but we know a touch of Jesus’ clothing healed a woman (Luke 8:44). There wasn’t anything magical in the garment, but it was a way that her faith was released. In the same, there was no power in Peter’s shadow itself, but there was power when a person believed in Jesus to heal them, and the passing of Peter’s shadow may have helped some to believe.

It wasn’t about Peter’s shadow. it was about the presence of God on Peter. The same presence that brought swift justice to Ananias and Sapphira, also brought amazing miracles. This is the presence of the Lord we should strive for.

None Dared Join

Acts 5
12 And through the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were done among the people. And they were all with one accord in Solomon’s Porch. 13 Yet none of the rest dared join them, but the people esteemed them highly. 

This:
None of the rest dared join them: The community of Christians had a marvelous reputation for integrity, and everybody knew it was a serious thing to be a follower of Jesus. An Ananias and Sapphira incident would reduce the level of casual commitment.

The believers gathered at Solomon’s porch and the “casual christian” or persons just wanting a show, stayed away. I imagine the presence of God their was overwhelming. After the story of Ananias and Sapphira  got around, people decided to steer clear.

The true power of God will draw in the real, and get rid of the fake.

Ananias and Sapphira Pt 5

Acts 5
10 Then immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. And the young men came in and found her dead, and carrying her out, buried her by her husband. 11 So great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things.

I want to cover this again. The end part I believe is important.
“…great fear came upon all the church…”

It is time for the respect for the Lord and His glory to return to the church. The power is real. The glory is real. Let us walk in a fashion where sin and lies cannot even be in our presence.

Ananias and Sapphira Pt 4

Acts 5:7 Now it was about three hours later when his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. And Peter answered her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for so much?”

She said, “Yes, for so much.”

Then Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.” 10 Then immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. And the young men came in and found her dead, and carrying her out, buried her by her husband. 11 So great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things.

Ananias and Sapphira both died, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that they did not go to heaven. It is impossible to say for certain, for only God knows. But we can see that it is possible for a Christian to sin unto death (1 John 5:16-17), and we have New Testament examples of saved Christians being judged by being “brought home” in death (1 Corinthians 11:27-32). “True Christians do not lose their salvation by sinning. The punishment of Ananias and Sapphira, though extreme, was for this life only.”

Ananias and Sapphira Pt 3

Acts 5
Then Ananias, hearing these words, fell down and breathed his last. So great fear came upon all those who heard these things. And the young men arose and wrapped him up, carried him out, and buried him.

From my commentary:
This was a harsh penalty for a sin that seems to be common today. Some wonder if God was not excessively harsh against Ananias.
The greater wonder is that God delays His righteous judgment in virtually all other cases. Ananias received exactly what he deserved; he simply could not live in the atmosphere of purity that marked the church at that time.

This is the tragic truth of the church today. We have strayed far from the power of God and we yearn for only knowledge and things we can argue. We need to move in the Holy Spirit with POWER and might. We need to purify ourselves to be prepared for the move on God.

I like this quote from G.Campbell Morgan:
The Church’s administration to-day is not what it was, or there might be many dead men and women at the end of some services.”

Ananias and Sapphira Pt 2

Acts 5
 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.”

From my commentary:
While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? This shows how unnecessary their sin was. Ananias was free to use the money for whatever he wanted, except as a way to inflate his spiritual image and pride.

Annanias was never forced to sell anything and give it to the church. He wanted to LOOK good. He wanted to look spiritual, so that all would praise HIS great deed. This is NOT why we give.

Ananias tried to inflate his ego through a public act, so Peter exposed his lie publicly. This was the Holy Spirit working through Peter through a gift of knowledge exposing the works of enemy.

This is why we pray. This is why we seek God’s face in quiet time. We need the Holy Spirit to expose the lies of the enemy for our protection and to further the kingdom of God without hinderance. We need the power given to us by the Lord, working through us in ever day situations.

Ananias and Sapphira

So far we have been reading about the Holy Spirit falling on the apostles. Then the apostles using their new best friend start preaching. They get persecuted, they preach even more. Buildings shake, people are healed and the lost are saved.
NOW we are about to dive into the swift judgement that comes with the thick presence of God.

Acts 5
But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession. And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles’ feet. 

So Ananias wanted to be like Barnabas, the “Son of Encouragement.” So they too sold something. However, they did not give it all to the apostles.

Some notes:

But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession: After they saw the great generosity of Barnabas and how well he was respected (Acts 4:36-37), Ananias and Sapphira decided they wanted to receive the same respect.

b. He kept back part of the proceeds: They sold the possession, and gave only a portion to the church, while implying that they sacrificially gave it all to the church.