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                         "ACTS OF THE APOSTLES"

                              Chapter Five

OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING THIS CHAPTER

1) To examine the sin of Ananias and Sapphira in lying to the Holy
   Spirit

2) To note the amazing signs and wonders that were done by the apostles,
   in which all were healed

3) To consider the apostles' response when government seeks to stifle
   the preaching of the gospel

SUMMARY

In contrast to the remarkable liberality in the church as described in
the previous chapter, we are now told of the example of Ananias and
Sapphira.  A husband and wife who sold a possession, they tried to
mislead the apostles that they were giving the entire proceeds.
Confronted one at a time by Peter and found guilty of lying against the
Holy Spirit, they both fall dead, bringing great fear upon all (1-11).

Highly esteemed among the people, the apostles continue doing many signs
and wonders among the people and in the temple (Solomon's Porch).
Believers were added to the Lord in increasing numbers, who then brought
the sick out into the streets on beds and couches, that perhaps the
shadow of Peter might fall on some of them.  A multitude from the
surrounding cities brought those who were sick and tormented, and
everyone was healed (12-16).

Once again the high priest and those of Sadducees are filled with anger.
They have the apostles placed into custody.  During the night, an angel
of the Lord frees them and commands the apostles to continue to teach in
the temple.  In the morning when the council convenes, the prison is
found secure but empty.  When told that the apostles are teaching in the
temple, officers are sent to bring the apostles peacefully to the
council.  When the high priest charges them of disobeying the command
not to teach in the name of Jesus (cf. 4:18), the apostles reply "We
ought to obey God rather than man."  They further proclaim that God
raised Jesus (whom the council had murdered) and has exalted Him to be
Prince and Savior who offers repentance to Israel and forgiveness of
sins.  To this the apostles claim to be witnesses, along with the Holy
Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him (17-32).

Infuriated, the council plots to kill the apostles.  However, one in the
council, a Pharisee and highly respected teacher of the law by the name
of Gamaliel (cf. 22:3), advises the council to leave the apostles alone.
Based upon the history of other "movements" that had failed, Gamaliel
reasons that if the apostles were doing the work of men, it would come
to naught.  But if it was the work of God, the council could do nothing
to stop it and would only be fighting against God.  The council is
willing to heed his advice, though the apostles are beaten and charged
not to speak in the name of Jesus before being released.  The apostles
leave the council rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer
shame in the name of Jesus, and continue right on teaching and preaching
Jesus as the Christ every day in the temple and in every house (33-42).

OUTLINE

I. ANANIAS AND SAPPHIRA (1-11)

   A. THEIR PLOT TO DECEIVE (1-2)
      1. They sold a possession, but kept back part of the proceeds
      2. Ananias brings a part to the apostles, Sapphira aware of his
         intention to deceive

   B. THE DEATH OF ANANIAS (3-6)
      1. Peter challenges Ananias
         a. Why has he allowed Satan to enter his heart to lie to the
            Holy Spirit?
            1) The land was his to use
            2) The money was his to control
         b. He has not lied to men, but to God!
      2. Ananias drops dead
         a. Upon hearing the words of Peter
         b. Creating great fear on those who heard
         c. Carried out by young men and buried

   C. THE DEATH OF SAPPHIRA (7-11)
      1. Peter confronts Sapphira
         a. She enters three hours later, unaware
         b. Did she sell the land for a certain amount?  Yes, she
            answers
         c. Why did she agree with her husband to the test the Spirit?
         d. Those who buried her husband are ready to carry her out
      2. Sapphira falls dead
         a. Immediately at the feet of Peter
         b. Carried out by young men and buried by her husband
         c. Creating great fear upon all the church and all who heard

II. THE POWER OF THE APOSTLES (12-16)

   A. WITH ONE ACCORD IN SOLOMON'S PORCH (12-13)
      1. Many signs and wonders were done by the apostles among the
         people
      2. While none dared join them, they were esteemed highly

   B. HEALING ALL WHO BROUGHT TO THEM (14-16)
      1. Believers were increasingly added to the Lord
      2. They brought the sick out on the street
         a. Laying them on beds and couches
         b. That at least the shadow of Peter passing by might fall on
            them
      3. A multitude gathered from the cities surrounding Jerusalem
         a. Bringing the sick and those tormented by unclean spirits
         b. They were all healed

III. THE PERSECUTION OF THE APOSTLES (17-42)

   A. IMPRISONED, THEN FREED (17-21a)
      1. The apostles put into the common prison
         a. By the high priest and those of the sect of the Sadducees
         b. For they were filled with indignation
      2. The apostles freed by an angel of the Lord
         a. Who came at night, opened the prison doors, and brought them
            out
         b. Who charged them to return to the temple and speak the words
            of life
         c. Which they did, entering the temple in the early morning

   B. BEFORE THE COUNCIL (21b-33)
      1. The council calls for the apostles to be brought from the
         prison
         a. The officers are unable to do so, for the apostles are not
            there!
         b. Despite the secure doors, and guards standing outside
      2. The council has the apostles brought from the temple
         a. The council is informed that the apostles are teaching the
            temple
         b. The apostles are brought to the council peacefully, for fear
            of the people
      3. The high priest challenges the apostles
         a. Were they not strictly commanded to teach in Jesus' name?
         b. You have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, intending to
            bring this Man's blood on us!
      4. Peter and the apostles respond
         a. We ought to obey God rather than man
         b. God has raised Jesus, whom you murdered
         c. God has exalted Jesus to His right hand
            1) To be Prince and Savior
            2) To give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins
         d. We are witnesses to these things
            1) And so is the Holy Spirit
            2) Whom God has given to those who obey Him
      5. The council's immediate reaction
         a. They were furious
         b. They plotted to kill the apostles

   C. THE ADVICE OF GAMALIEL (34-39)
      1. Gamaliel stands up in the council
         a. A Pharisee, a teacher of the law
         b. Held in respect by all the people
         c. Who commands the apostles be put outside for awhile
      2. Gamaliel cautions the council
         a. To be careful what they do with the apostles
         b. Remember what happened to Theudas
            1) A man claiming to be someone, joined by 400 men
            2) He was slain, and those who obeyed him came to nothing
         c. Remember what happened to Judas of Galilee in the days of
            the census
            1) He drew away many people after him
            2) He also perished, and those who obeyed him dispersed
         d. His advice regarding the apostles:  leave them alone
            1) If their work is of men, it will come to nothing
            2) If it is of God, it cannot be overthrown and you will be
               fighting against God

   D. THE APOSTLES' RELEASED (40-42)
      1. The council's decision
         a. They agree with Gamaliel to let the apostles go
         b. But first beat them and command them not to speak in the
            name of Jesus
      2. The apostles' reaction
         a. They depart rejoicing they were counted worthy to suffer
            shame for His name
         b. They continued to teach and preach Jesus daily in the temple
            and in every house

REVIEW QUESTIONS FOR THE CHAPTER

1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - Ananias and Sapphira (1-11)
   - The power of the apostles (12-16)
   - The persecution of the apostles (17-42)

2) Who is introduced as having sold a possession? (1)
   - Ananias and Sapphira, husband and wife

3) What did the husband do?  Was the wife aware of it? (2)
   - He kept back part of the proceeds and brought a part to the
     apostles; yes, she was

4) What did Peter charge the husband of doing?  In what way? (3)
   - Lying to the Holy Spirit
   - By keeping back part of the price (but implying he was giving all
     of it)

5) Who did Peter say he had lied to? (4)
   - Not to men but to God

6) What happened when the man heard this?  What was the reaction of
   those who heard? (5)
   - He fell down and breathed his last; great fear come upon all who
     heard

7) How long before the wife came in?  Was she aware of what happened?
   (7)
   - Three hours; no

8) Did she attempt to mislead Peter also? (8)
   - Yes

9) What did Peter charge her with being guilty of doing? (9)
   - Agreeing with her husband to test the Spirit of the Lord

10) What then happened?  What was the reaction upon those who heard?
    (10-11)
   - She fell dead, and was buried by her husband; great fear came upon
     them

11) What was being done by the apostles? (12)
   - Many signs and wonders among the people

12) How did the people regard the apostles? (13)
   - None dared join them, but did esteem them highly

13) Did this hinder the growth of the church? (14)
   - No, believers were being increasingly added to the Lord

14) What did the believers do?  Why? (15)
   - They brought the sick out into the street on beds and couches
   - That the shadow of Peter passing by might fall on them

15) Who else were bringing sick people? (16)
   - A multitude from the surrounding cities

16) Of those sick and tormented brought to the apostles, who were
    healed? (16)
   - They were all healed

17) Who was filled with indignation and had the apostles put into
    custody? (17-18)
   - The high priest and those of the sect of the Sadducees

18) Who freed the apostles during the night?  What were they told to do?
    (19-20)
   - An angel of the Lord; to go to the temple and speak to the people
     all the words of this life

19) What was discovered when the apostles were sent for from prison?
    (21-23)
   - The prison was secure with the guards standing outside, but no one
     was inside

20) When told that the apostles were teaching in the temple, what did
    the council do? (24-26)
   - Sent the officers to bring the apostles without violence, for they
     feared the people

21) What three charges did the high priest make against the apostles?
    (27-28)
   - Did we not command you not teach in this name?
   - You have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine
   - You intend to bring this Man's blood on us!

22) What was the initial response of Peter and the apostles to these
    charges? (29)
   - We ought to obey God rather than man

23) What else did the apostles proclaim on this occasion? (30-32)
   - God raised up Jesus whom they murdered by hanging on a tree
   - God exalted Him to His right hand to be Prince and Savior
   - To give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins
   - We are witnesses to these things, as is the Holy Spirit whom God
     has given to those who obey Him

24) What was the council's initial reaction?  What were they planning to
    do? (33)
   - They were furious; they plotted to kill the apostles

25) Who in the council stood up?  Who was he?  What did he command? (34)
   - A Pharisee named Gamaliel
   - A teacher of the law held in respect by all the people
   - That the apostles be put outside for a while

26) What were his initial words to the council? (35)
   - Take heed what you intend to do regarding these men

27) What two examples does he give of 'failed movements'? (36-37)
   - Theudas and his followers who came to nothing when he died
   - Judas of Galilee and those who followed him, who were dispersed
     when he died

28) What counsel does Gamaliel then offer?  Why? (38-39)
   - Keep away from the apostles and leave them alone
   - If their work is of men, it will come to nothing; but if it is of
     God, they will be fighting against God and cannot overthrow it

29) What was the council's response to Gamaliel?  Yet what did they
    still do? (40)
   - They agreed with him
   - They beat the apostles, commanded them not to speak in the name of
     Jesus, then let them go

30) How did the apostles' respond as they left the council? (41)
   - Rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for the
     name of Jesus

31) What did the apostles continue to do?  Where? (42)
   - Teach and preach Jesus as the Christ; daily in the temple, and in
     every house
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