Acts Chapter 5- Today, in my study, I was listening to chapter 4 before I read chapter 5, and the quote, “These men have been with Jesus,” struck me once again. You see, that phrase was meant to be an insult. They had crucified Jesus, and these men were repeating the rhetoric they tried so hard to silence, but to Peter and John, it was a compliment but it also made them a target!
In chapter five the church is growing, and people are selling their possession to advance the gospel. This wasn’t required of them; it was willingly sacrificed. But most of us know the story of Ananias and Sapphira. They wanted to look like they gave it all, but they actually tucked a few bucks back for themselves. They didn’t have to offer the whole bundle of cash, but they wanted to appear as if they were more generous than they were. But you can’t fool God. He knows our heart. Their lie buried them, and there was no need to be false except for their own ego. My point is when we paint a picture of an untruth about our self, it, in turn, will kill who we indeed are.
As we continue to read, we see Peter and John gaining momentum converting new believers and performing miracles, but they also gain more enemies. Verse 13 describes the fear of being associated with such men, “But no one else dared to join them, even though all the people had high regard for them. ”Acts of the Apostles 5:13 NLT Yet the church continued to grow!!!!! Some were afraid to join for fear of persecution while others were jealous of the followers they were gaining. Peter and John were adding to the new church and religious leaders were losing their congregation. Their obedience to preach got them arrested and thrown into jail. But an angle opens the gates of the prison cell and tells them to go back to the temple and continue preaching the message of life.
Go back to your persecutors because those who are around your enemies are listening to the message you are preaching or perhaps the message you are living. Read that again.
When I was around 13 or 14, I was in 4H for lambs. It was during Spring Fair I was confronted with a few bullies; twin girls and some boy. I would sing when I prepared my lamb for a show, and it got the attention of these little monsters. So, they began to harass me. I sang anyway. One day I went to fetch water, and the three started to follow me to intimidate me. It worked. I felt fear. I still have zero ideas about why they were bound to target me except for my singing. Perhaps I was annoying them. As I made my escape, I found myself on the lower level of the arena, and they were above me. That is when the boy snorted and hawked a giant loogy on me. I looked up and asked if he served a towel with his shower, and then calmly went back to my stall to tend to my lamb. They stopped chasing me that day. I faked my brave. or I should say I faithed it. I often think of this memory when I ponder persecution for loving Jesus.
Now back to the book of Acts. Peter and John had a giant red target painted on them if they returned but return, they did. They had to obey God rather than man. But here is the rescuing verse we should all cling to when things look bleak and hopeless, and it appears the enemy is winning. A wise man, who was not on their side but was clever enough to see how this type of persecution would play out, said this, “But if it is from God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You may even find yourselves fighting against God! ”Acts of the Apostles 5:39 NLT
Can we linger on this verse today and these points here?
· The signs of being with Jesus may annoy others before it blesses them. Keep singing.
· Creating a false good in us only kills our true self. Be honest with our walk even if it's messy
· Some will only watch from afar the power of God- Don’t be one of them.
· Even the enemy knows he can’t stop God, and when he picks a fight with you, he picks a fight with your Father. - Be bold with your bullies.