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                         "ACTS OF THE APOSTLES"

                              Chapter Four


1) To study the beginning of the persecution against the church, and the
reason for it

2) To note the apostolic response to persecution, and continued progress
of the church in Jerusalem


The first case of persecution against the church is described in this
chapter.  Peter and John are put into custody because their preaching on
the resurrection of Jesus disturbed a number of the religious leaders
(in particular the Sadducees who denied any resurrection, Mt 22:23; Ac
23:8).  In spite of this, the number of men who believed came to be
about five thousand (1-4).

After a night in jail, Peter and John are brought before the council,
including the high priest and members of his family.  Challenged to
explain themselves, Peter proclaims the healing was done by the name of
Jesus Christ, the very one they crucified yet whom God raised from the
dead and who has now become "the chief cornerstone" (cf. Ps 118:22),
and in whose name alone salvation is now available.  Amazed  at Peter
and John's boldness, and unable to deny that the lame man had been
healed, the council sends them outside and confer among themselves.
They decide to prevent the spread of the apostles' doctrine by
threatening Peter and John not to preach or teach in the name of Jesus.
The apostles respond that they must speak what they have seen and heard.
The council, unable to do anything more at this time because of the
people, simply threaten the apostles once again and let them go (5-22).

Returning to their companions, Peter and John report what has been said.
Prayer is offered, asking for boldness in view of the persecution
foretold in Psalms 2:1-2, and for signs and wonders to continue in the
name of Jesus.  At the conclusion of the prayer, the place where they
prayed was shaken and all were filled the Holy Spirit, emboldening them
to speak the Word of God (23-31).

The chapter ends with a description of the continued growth of the
church, with the oneness of the brethren and the empowered testimony of
the apostles to the resurrection of Jesus.  The great liberality
continues, meeting the needs of the saints.  One example in particular
is noted, that of Barnabas, whose work is featured later in the book
(cf. Ac 11:22-30; 13:1-15:41), and whose liberality stands in stark
contrast to what takes place in the next chapter (32-36).



      1. Peter and John taken into custody
         a. By the priests, captain of the temple, and the Sadducees
         b. Who were upset by their preaching in Jesus the resurrection
            from the dead
         c. Kept overnight until the next day
         d. The number of those who believed came to be about five
      2. Their appearance before the Council (Sanhedrin)
         a. Before the rulers, elders and scribes
         b. Before Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander,
            along with other family members of the high priest
         c. Peter and John challenged to explain by what power or name
            they have acted
      3. Peter's response as led be the Spirit
         a. Were they being judged for doing a good deed to a helpless
            man in making him well?
         b. It was by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth he was made
            1) Whom they crucified
            2) Whom God raised from the dead
            3) Who is the stone rejected by the builders, and has become
               the chief cornerstone - cf. Ps 118:22
         c. There is salvation in no other name under heaven

      1. The council's reaction
         a. What the council saw
            1) The boldness of Peter and John
               a) Perceived as uneducated and untrained men
               b) Realized as having been with Jesus
            2) The man who had been healed
               a) Standing with Peter and John
               b) Against whose healing nothing could be said
         b. What the council reasoned
            1) A notable has occurred, evident to all, none could deny
            2) To prevent further spread, to threaten the apostles
         c. What the council did
            1) Commanded Peter and John
            2) Not to speak at all or teaching in the name of Jesus
      2. Peter and John's reply
         a. Shall they listen to the council or God?
         b. They cannot but speak what they have seen and heard
      3. Peter and John released
         a. Upon further threatening
         b. Finding no way of punishing them,
         c. Because of the people, who glorified God for what had been
         d. For the man who was healed was over forty years old


      1. To their brethren
      2. To report all that had been said to them

   B. THEIR PRAYER (24-30)
      1. Addressed to the Lord God, Creator of all things
         a. Who prophesied by the mouth of His servant David
         b. Of the nations' rage and plotting against His Christ
         c. As fulfilled by Herod and Pilate, by Gentiles and Israel
         d. Who did according to His predetermined purpose
      2. Asking for all boldness in the face of such threats
         a. That His servants may speak His word
         b. That His hand might stretch out
            1) To heal, to do signs and wonders
            2) Through the name of His holy Servant Jesus

   C. THE ANSWER (31)
      1. The place in which they were assembled was shaken
      2. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit
      3. They spoke the word of God with boldness


   A. THEIR UNITY (32)
      1. The multitude of believers were of one heart and one soul
      2. None claimed their possessions as their own; they had all
         things in common

      1. With great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection
         of Jesus
      2. And great grace was upon them all

      1. None among them lacked what they needed
         a. For all who possessed lands or houses sold them
         b. The proceeds were laid at the apostles' feet
         c. Distribution was made as each had need
      2. The example of Joses
         a. Called Barnabas, Son of Encouragement, by the apostles
         b. A Levite of the country of Cyprus
         c. Sold land, and laid the money at the apostles' feet


1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - The arrest of Peter and John (1-22)
   - The prayer for boldness (23-31)
   - The progress of the church (32-37)

2) Who came upon Peter and John while they were speaking? (1)
   - The priests, the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees

3) Why were they upset with Peter and John? (2)
   - Because they preached in Jesus the resurrection of the dead

4) Why did that upset them? (cf. Mt 22:23; Ac 23:8)
   - The Sadducees did not believe in a resurrection

5) What did they do with Peter and John? (3)
   - Placed them in custody until the next day

6) How many men had come to believe in Christ? (4)
   - About five thousand

7) Who joined the rulers, elders and scribes on the next day? (5-6)
   - Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, Alexander, and other members
     of the family of the high priest

8) What did they ask Peter and John? (7)
   - "By what power or by what name have you done this?"

9) What name did Peter given them? (8-10)
   - The name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth

10) What had the religious leaders done?  What had God done? (10)
   - Crucified Jesus
   - Raised Jesus from the dead

11) What else did Peter say about Jesus? (11-12)
   - He is the rejected stone which has become the chief cornerstone
     (cf. Ps 118:22)
   - There is salvation in no other name but His

12) What did the religious leaders see, perceive, and realize about
    Peter and John? (13)
   - Their boldness
   - That they were uneducated and untrained men
   - That they had been with Jesus

13) What could the religious leaders not deny? (14)
   - That the man standing with Peter and John had been healed

14) After Peter and John were put out of the council, what did the
    council confer among themselves? (15-17)
   - They could not deny such a notable miracle
   - To prevent the spread of the apostles' doctrine, to severely
     threaten them

15) What did the council command Peter and John?  How did they respond?
   - Not to speak at all or teach in the name of Jesus
   - "Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than
     to God, you judge."
   - "...we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard."

16) After threatening the apostles some more, why did the council not
    punish them further? (21-22)
   - Because of the people, who glorified God for what had been done

17) Once released, what did Peter and John do? (23)
   - Returned to their companions and reported all the council had said

18) What did they then do? (24)
   - Pray to God

19) What Messianic prophecy did they refer to in their prayer? (25-26)
   - The one found in Ps 2:1,2

20) Who were mentioned as a fulfillment of opposing God and Christ? (27)
   - Herod and Pilate; the Gentiles and the people of Israel

21) In their opposition against God, what had they actually done? (28)
   - What God had determined before to be done

22) In their prayer, what did the apostles ask of God? (29-30)
   - To consider the threats and give His servants boldness to speak His
   - To grant healing signs and wonders to be done in the name of Jesus

23) What happened in response to their prayer? (31)
   - The place where they assembled shook; they were all filled with the
     Holy Spirit
   - They spoke the word of God with boldness

24) What manifested the oneness of the believers at that time? (32)
   - They had all things in common

25) What manifested the greatness enjoyed by the church at that time?
   - With great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of
   - Great grace was upon them all

26) What manifested their love and generosity at that time? (34-35)
   - Those who had lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds
     to the apostles
   - Distribution was made as anyone had need

27) Who was singled out as an example of their liberality? (36-37)
   - Joses, a Levite from Cyprus named Barnabas (Son of Encouragement)
     by the apostles
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