The Apostles Persecuted
Then the high priest and all his associates, who were members of the party of the Sadducees, were filled with jealousy. They arrested the apostles and put them in the public jail. But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and brought them out. “Go, stand in the temple courts,” he said, “and tell the people all about this new life.”
At daybreak they entered the temple courts, as they had been told, and began to teach the people.
When the high priest and his associates arrived, they called together the Sanhedrin—the full assembly of the elders of Israel—and sent to the jail for the apostles. But on arriving at the jail, the officers did not find them there. So they went back and reported, “We found the jail securely locked, with the guards standing at the doors; but when we opened them, we found no one inside.” On hearing this report, the captain of the temple guard and the chief priests were at a loss, wondering what this might lead to.
Then someone came and said, “Look! The men you put in jail are standing in the temple courts teaching the people.” At that, the captain went with his officers and brought the apostles. They did not use force, because they feared that the people would stone them.
The apostles were brought in and made to appear before the Sanhedrin to be questioned by the high priest. “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,” he said. “Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood.”
Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than human beings! The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead—whom you killed by hanging him on a cross. God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might bring Israel to repentance and forgive their sins. We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”
When they heard this, they were furious and wanted to put them to death. But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, who was honored by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin and ordered that the men be put outside for a little while. Then he addressed the Sanhedrin: “Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men. Some time ago Theudas appeared, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men rallied to him. He was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing. After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt. He too was killed, and all his followers were scattered. Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”
His speech persuaded them. They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.
The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.
July 31, 2022 • Ken Chang • Acts 5:17–42
Finding True Freedom
October 1, 2023 • Wade Pursell
Conversation Starters ╬
Jesus isn't the only way to God
September 24, 2023 • Phil Bremerman
Conversation Starters ╬ The world tells us that there are many places to look for meaning, fulfillment, and purpose. Salvation is only found in Jesus, He is the way, the truth and the life. If we see Jesus we see the Father. When have you looked to other things, people, or activities to “lead you to god/God”? What were those—name them. Ask God to show you how they proved less than what you hoped or expected. ╬ John 14 and Acts 4 offer hope and assurance. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” The believer does not live in a state of uncertainty. Do you doubt this “narrow path” to God or do you have even a mustard seed sized faith? Ask for prayer from those around you to help you believe your faith and doubt your doubts.
Jesus will save everyone
September 17, 2023 • Chris Piehl
Conversation Starters ╬ Two of the questions for baptism are: “Do you acknowledge your need of the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ and the renewing grace of the Holy Spirit?” And, “Do you look to the Lord Jesus Christ for your salvation?” Can you answer “yes” today? Take a moment to re-affirm your salvation and the matchless mercy of God. If your answer is “hmm, not sure” or “nope,” I invite you pause before these questions. Ask God the Spirit to lead you. ╬ Universalism is attractive because we hope that all people will be saved. These hopes come from a heart of compassion for the destiny of people. This compassion comes from God who is “the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort” (1Cor 1)! Compassion compels us to love those who have not yet heard the gospel and inspires us to evangelism. Who do you know who has not yet said “yes” to Christ’s love? Pray. Ask the Lord to lead you to love and friendship and service to those who need Jesus.