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ACTS – Chapter 5                 

Memory verses for this week:  Eph 2:13  But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ..


Introduction:   In Chapter 4, we saw the persecution of the church beginning there in Jerusalem.   John and Peter are brought before the Sanhedrin council, and had to give an account of how they healed the lame man at the entry way of the temple.   When they explained that they did it in the name of Jesus Christ, they were instructed to not preach or teach in that name anymore.  But they continued to hearken to the instructions of God rather than man.


I. The Sin and Death of Ananias and Sapphira


Acts 5:1  But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession,

Acts 5:2  And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it, at the apostles' feet.

Acts 5:3  But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?


Apparently, the deed of Barnabas had inspired Ananias and Sapphira to sell their possessions and make a contribution to the church.


Acts 4:36  And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus,

Acts 4:37  Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles' feet.


There is never anything wrong with giving to the church.  What was wrong in this case was the fact that they purposefully attempted to make others believe they were giving all of the proceeds, when in reality they held back part of the price.  They did not have the same spirit in which Barnabas had in his contribution.  It was as if they wanted to get credit for the deed without the sacrifice.   David said that he did not want to give anything to God that did not cost him something.


2 Sam 24:22  And Araunah said unto David, Let my lord the king take and offer up what seemeth good unto him: behold, here be oxen for burnt sacrifice, and threshing instruments and other instruments of the oxen for wood.

2 Sam 24:23  All these things did Araunah, as a king, give unto the king. And Araunah said unto the king, The LORD thy God accept thee.

2 Sam 24:24  And the king said unto Araunah, Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the LORD my God of that which doth cost me nothing. So David bought the threshingfloor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.

In verse 2, we see that the couple conspired together to do this deed.   In their minds, all they had to do was fool a few men.  They did not realize that God would reveal their evil deed.   It says in verse 3 that “Satan” had filled their heart to lie to the Holy Ghost.   Ananias lied when he said he  was giving all that he had to God.   Many times God’s people pretend to be fully surrendered to the Lord when deep down in their heart they have sin hidden from the eyes of men.   Each of us need to ask the Lord to reveal those “hidden sins”, and repent of them and be wholly and totally sold out for the Lord.   This is an area that Satan wants to use to defeat the Christian.  Unless we are totally committed to the Lord, we will never live the total victorious Christian life that is filled with joy that Jesus promised to those who are saved. 

Acts 5:4  Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.

Acts 5:5  And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things.

Acts 5:6  And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him.


While Ananias had the possession, it was his to do with whatever he desired.   Even after he sold it, it was his to do whatsoever he chose; even if that meant keeping all the money for himself or just to give a small portion to the church.   Peter declares that when he came and said he was giving it all to the church, he did not lie to man but to God.   We see the Holy Spirit and God being used in synonymous terms.    The Trinity is made up of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, each being God, but yet separate entities.  Because Ananias lied, he dies and is buried y the young men of the church.  It is a serious thing to lie to God, because all things are open before His eyes and He knows our hearts even better than we know them ourselves.   We see the effect of his death on the church, “great fear came on all them that heard these things.”   You and I need to learn from the errors of those around us, and not make all the same mistakes in our lives.    That is why God penned both the good and bad deeds of men in the bible that we might by their examples understand that to live Godly and to fear God is the only way that we can have total peace and successful lives.


1 Cor 10:1  Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;

1 Cor 10:2  And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;

1 Cor 10:3  And did all eat the same spiritual meat;

1 Cor 10:4  And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.

1 Cor 10:5  But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.

1 Cor 10:6  Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.

1 Cor 10:7  Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.

1 Cor 10:8  Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.

1 Cor 10:9  Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.

1 Cor 10:10  Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.

1 Cor 10:11  Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.

1 Cor 10:12  Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.


Acts 5:7  And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in.

Acts 5:8  And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much.

Acts 5:9  Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out.

Acts 5:10  Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband.

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


It is so sad to see Sapphira come in with the same lie and have a similar fate befall her.   We can come up with grand schemes among ourselves, but if God is not first in our lives, the schemes may very well cause us to fall.   Peter charges them with having agreed together to lie about the gift.  We need to always be honest in our dealings, and not make vows that we can not fulfill.   While this couple did not make a vow to God to give all the money, their pretence that they were giving it all to the church cost them their lives.   Because of this, great fear came upon all the church.   How important should Christ be in our lives?


Luke 14:26  If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.

Luke 14:27  And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.


Jesus was not saying that we should hate our families, but was saying that no person should be more important to us than Jesus Christ.  


II. The Power of the Apostles and their Influence

Acts 5:12  And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon's porch.

Acts 5:13  And of the rest durst no man join himself to them: but the people magnified them.

Acts 5:14  And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.)

Acts 5:15  Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them.

Acts 5:16  There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one.


We see that many signs and wonders were wrought among the people.   We found in John that Christ performed the miracles that men might believe that he was the Son of God, and that believing men might be saved.


John 20:30  And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:

John 20:31  But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.


Mark 16:20  And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.


The Word of God was confirmed by all these signs.   Because of the people believed and there was great unity in the church, God performed many miracles.  With unity, the church can do great things with God empowering us.   We saw the effect of what happened to Ananias and Sapphira.  The church had great fear come upon it, and the hypocrites, those that were not true to the Lord, did not join but went away.   They feared something bad would come upon them.  But the true believers still came and were added to the church.  The influence of the apostles was apparent.  Many sick were brought to the disciples to be healed.   Our influence should be positive to the world and those that do not know Jesus as Savior.                      

III.  The Second Persecution

 Acts 5:17  Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,) and were filled with indignation,

Acts 5:18  And laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison. 

We see that the High Priest and those with him laid hands on the apostles and put them in prison.

As we noted last week, sometimes religious leaders are the biggest enemies of God’s church.


Acts 5:19  But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth, and said,

Acts 5:20  Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life.

Acts 5:21  And when they heard that, they entered into the temple early in the morning, and taught. But the high priest came, and they that were with him, and called the council together, and all the senate of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought.

Acts 5:22  But when the officers came, and found them not in the prison, they returned, and told,

Acts 5:23  Saying, The prison truly found we shut with all safety, and the keepers standing without before the doors: but when we had opened, we found no man within.

Acts 5:24  Now when the high priest and the captain of the temple and the chief priests heard these things, they doubted of them whereunto this would grow. 

As many times in the life of the apostles, the angel of the Lord intervened in their behalf.  It says that the angel came and delivered them from the prison and told them to go and preach to the people all the “words of this life.”   When you and I are conversing with the lost of the world, we need to remember that we can talk about the weather, our families, sports, or if we will do it, we can talk of the Lord.   The Gospel of Christ is more important than any other thing we can talk to others about.   All of the other things are insignificant compared to the “Word of God.”  It is permanent and will never go away. 

Mark 13:31  Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my              words shall not pass away.


The apostles were obedient to the command, and God really blessed them.  It says that when the report of their escape came to the High Priest, they wondered where this movement would go and how much it would grow. 


Acts 5:25  Then came one and told them, saying, Behold, the men whom ye put in prison are standing in the temple, and teaching the people.

Acts 5:26  Then went the captain with the officers, and brought them without violence: for they feared the people, lest they should have been stoned.

Acts 5:27  And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them,

Acts 5:28  Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man's blood upon us.


We see the captain and the officers are filled with fear, due to the people.  They feared that they might be stoned to death.  The High Priest reiterates that he told them to not be preaching in the name of Jesus.  That if they continued doing this, that they might bring “this man’s blood upon us.”  Funny how they forgot what the people said when they cried out to Pilate.


Mat 27:24  When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.

Mat 27:25  Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.


IV.  The Apostles Answer the Council


Acts 5:29  Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.

Acts 5:30  The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree.

Acts 5:31  Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.

Acts 5:32  And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.

Acts 5:33  When they heard that, they were cut to the heart, and took counsel to slay them. 

Oh that all men would have the convictions and strength to obey God rather than men like Peter and the apostles had this day.    Peter effectively preaches another great gospel message as he declared:

               1. The Jews slew and hanged Jesus on a tree.        

                2. God raised Him from the dead.

                3. God hath exalted Him to be a prince and a Savior.

                4. They were the eye witnesses of these things.

Because the members of the council are convicted and were cut to the heart, the council decides to try and slay them.   This shows how evil the heart can become once you do one evil deed.  They had killed the Lord, now a few more disciples are expendable to keep the status quo.   God help us to never be involved in evil, but to do righteous deeds. 

V.  The Warning of Gamaliel 

Acts 5:34  Then stood there up one in the council, a Pharisee, named Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, had in reputation among all the people, and commanded to put the apostles forth a little space;

Acts 5:35  And said unto them, Ye men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what ye intend to do as touching these men.

Acts 5:36  For before these days rose up Theudas, boasting himself to be somebody; to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves: who was slain; and all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered, and brought to nought.

Acts 5:37  After this man rose up Judas of Galilee in the days of the taxing, and drew away much people after him: he also perished; and all, even as many as obeyed him, were dispersed.

Acts 5:38  And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought:

Acts 5:39  But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.

 Gamaliel was a wise man, and spoke a warning to these religious leaders.  He was a Pharisee, while the others were Saducees.  The Pharisees believed in the resurrection while the Sadducees did not.  (Acts 23:8)   Peter and the apostles were preaching the resurrection of Jesus.  Gamaliel was a doctor of the law and was well trained in the law of Moses and had a good reputation among the people.   In this warning, he uses things of the past to make them stop and think.  A man named Theudas had stood up and boasted to be someone when he was not.   He also calls to their attention how that Judas in the days of taxing had many to follow him and how he ultimately perished and his followers were dispersed.  Because of this, Gamaliel convinces them that nothing would come of the apostles if all they were teaching was false.  But if it were true, they could not stop it.   “Ye cannot overthrow it if it be of God.”   It was true, and almost 2000 years later, we still are preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ.


VI.                 The Apostles are beaten

 Acts 5:40  And to him they agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.

Acts 5:41  And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.

Acts 5:42  And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.  


Because they would not stop preaching in the name of Jesus, the apostles were beaten.  If they came tomorrow and said if we preached in Jesus’ name, we would be beaten, I wonder how many would show up for the church services.   Many care so little about the things of Christ that they don’t bother to come to church except on special occasions.  But if we were going to be beaten, it would make us all stop and think, would it not?  I hope we’d come and bear it, and like these apostles, go away rejoicing that we were found worthy to suffer shame for Jesus’ name.   They did not quit, and by God’s grace, we will continue on until Jesus calls us home.



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Prov 4:18  But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.


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