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ACTS CHAPTERS 3 &4

KJV    NAS

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1-3 Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the ninth hour, the hour of prayer. 2 And a man who had been lame from his mother's womb was being carried along, whom they used to set down every day at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, in order to beg alms of those who were entering the temple. 3 When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he began asking to receive alms.

 

Act 3,1-12

(143c) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Witnesses of Jesus >> The public >> The disciples ministered publicly – The man healed was somebody everyone knew, unlike the shenanigans Oral Roberts pulled and those of his caliber, who would stage healings at his revival meetings, who after laying on his hands the person would leap up and throw away his cane (or crutches, walker, wheelchair, etc.) according to the script and jump around the stadium, pretending to be healed. This could not have happened in Peter's case, since the man was born crippled and was over forty years old, probably having lived in the community his whole life, and parked himself in front of the synagogue begging alms every Sabbath over a course of many years. No one would go through the trouble of setting up a 40-year staged healing. There was no other conclusion anyone could draw other than a bona fide miracle had taken place.

Act 3,1-10

(145d) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Jesus’ works bear witness of Himself >> Healing >> Jesus heals through the Church – Most miracles occur at spiritual junctures as a kind of christening of the event, such as  at the beginning of the first century with Jesus performing so many miracles and then His apostles performing many more. At the end of this age in transition to the Millennium many more miracles will occur during the Great Endtime Revival. These miracles are meant to attract people's attention to hear the word of God that people might be saved and also that God might communicate to mankind His intension that He is about to do something new. This is especially poignant when we remember that healing is an aspect of our salvation.

(229f) Kingdom of God >> God’s kingdom is a living organism >> Kingdom grows by itself >> God causes the growth >> God uses us to cause the growth – After the resurrection and ascension of the Lord, it appears that nothing had changed, at least not externally, but many changes were happening inside the apostles. God was establishing His kingdom on the earth on a spiritual level, starting in the hearts of the disciples, who had gone through a metamorphosis within the chrysalis through the terrible experience of seeing their Lord and master crucified, and now after the Holy Spirit was sent into the world they were emerging from their trauma as His apostles. life went on as usual for a while, continuing the routine that Jesus started, entering the synagogue and preaching the word of God. This was Peter and John’s intension as they were entering the synagogue and met this man who was crippled from his mother’s womb. It was unbeknownst to those around them the treasures that lay in their hearts after God had invested His life into them, and when they spoke it became apparent to all that Jesus was still alive on the earth, now dwelling in His people.

(246h) Kingdom of God >> Spirit realm imposed on the natural realm >> Demonstration of God’s kingdom >> God demonstrates His glory >> Demonstration of His healing virtue – There is a difference between believing in God on a theological basis and believing in terms of receiving something from Him, for then our faith would be based on personal experience. By grabbing this man and yanking Him to his feet, Peter made it a little easier for him to receive his healing. He didn’t have time to think about it, giving the devil opportunity to put negative thoughts of unbelief into his heart. Another thing, this was the beginning of the gospel of Christ and was one of the first recorded miracles that the apostles performed. Hence, for the same reason Jesus preached the gospel of the kingdom at the beginning of His ministry, strengthening people’s faith to receive the miracles that He would later perform, so because people were not familiar with the apostles preaching the gospel of the kingdom with power, the crippled man needed a little help with his faith.

Act 3,1-8

(216a) Sovereignty >> God controls time >> Suddenly >> Being healed without delay

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4-10 But Peter, along with John, fixed his gaze on him and said, "Look at us!" 5 And he began to give them his attention, expecting to receive something from them. 6 But Peter said, "I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene -walk!" 7 And seizing him by the right hand, he raised him up; and immediately his feet and his ankles were strengthened. 8 With a leap he stood upright and began to walk; and he entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. 9 And all the people saw him walking and praising God; 10 and they were taking note of him as being the one who used to sit at the Beautiful Gate of the temple to beg alms, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.

 

Act 3,4-10

(122j) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Boldness in adverse circumstances >> Do the will of God in the face of adversity

Act 3,4-8

(97e) Thy kingdom come >> Attention >> Facing in the direction of the Lord >> Focusing your attention on the word of God – Giving our full attention is an important aspect of receiving from God. There is a new science called Mindfulness Training that is especially effective in treating Obsessive/Compulsive Disorder (OCD) patience. The psychiatrist seeks to train the mind to adopt different behaviors, not just to do them but to think about doing them, sculpting new pathways in the brain that the patient will eventually follow, instead of the behaviors of his illness. In the same way God wants to impart things in us while we are fully present. He wants us to be there to witness the miracle of transferring His kingdom into us. Fixing the mind is the primary target on God’s priority list of healing and redeeming. He wants to impart His truth in such a way that we understand Him on a conscious level so that our mind might come alive and be healed of our dead thoughts that conflict with His living truth.

(115g) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Working the grace of God >> Laying on of hands >> Seeing signs, wonders and miracles This man who was healed had been lamb from his mother’s womb; He never was able to walk his whole life. Peter grabbed the crippled man and pulled him from where he was sitting, eliminating the occasion to contemplate whether or not to obey the command. He was either going to stand on his own two feet or crumple into a heap, so the man had to make a quick decision before his feet hit the ground whether he would receive his healing or not.

(121b) Expectation (Key verse)

(121f) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Hope >> Expectation >> Expecting good things based on God’s character >> Expectation based on God’s generosity

(249g) Priorities >> God’ s preeminence >> Wealth >> True perception of wealth >> The infinite and eternal wealth of God >> God’s perception of wealth >> Our hope in this life

Act 3,6-8

(9e) Responsibility >> God strengthens us from our weaknessesThese verses go with verse 16

Act 3-6

(67f) Authority >> Jesus delegates authority >> Name of Jesus >> Performing miracles in Jesus’ name -- This verse goes with verse 16

(150g) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Works of the Church bear witness of Jesus >> Confessing Jesus >> Confessing what Jesus has done -- This verse goes with verse 16

Act 3-10

(88i) Thy kingdom come >> Fearing the power of God is the beginning of wisdom

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

11&12 While he was clinging to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them at the so-called portico of Solomon, full of amazement. 12 But when Peter saw this, he replied to the people, "Men of Israel, why are you amazed at this, or why do you gaze at us, as if by our own power or piety we had made him walk?

 

Act 3,11-26

(7d) Responsibility >> Protecting the gospel >> Defend the word by preaching it

Act 3,11-23

(149b) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Works of the Church bear witness to Jesus >> Evangelism >> Three key messages in evangelism >> Repentance – Peter very succinctly laid down the basic principles of the gospel in splendid detail in these verses. There is an adage in evangelism, ‘We must get people lost before we can get them saved.’ This is what Peter was doing when he told the Jewish people they disowned the Lord after Pilate decided to release Him, which cut them to the quick. It was the fault of the people that Jesus was crucified, not their government, not the Pharisees or the chief priests but them. Pilate was actually  better than the people he governed, yet Pilate ended up disowning Him too, regardless of his good intensions. Someone could have argued and said to Peter, ‘I didn’t disown Him; I wasn’t’ even there.’ Peter had an answer for him too in that there was not a voice of support. Had anyone protested Jesus’ crucifixion, they would have hung him on a cross next to Him. One of the criminals crucified next to Jesus was the only person to support Him. “‘Don't you fear God,’ he said, ‘since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong’” (Lk 23-40,41). Peter delivered this message, denied Him three times that he even knew the Lord, which made him a sinner too in need of a savior.

Act 3,11-20

(146k) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Jesus’ works bear witness of Himself >> Purpose of miracles, signs and wonders >> Get peoples’ attention to hear the word – Peter immediately dispelled the notion that power had originated from him but directed the people's attention toward Jesus Christ who dwells in them through the Holy Spirit, who made this man whole. He preached a sermon, basing it on this miracle they all witnessed, using it as a springboard, essentially drawing an arrow from healing to salvation. He made sure to give the gospel its rightful emphasis, not on signs and wonders but on forgiveness, offering a formal invitation to eternal life in the Kingdom of Heaven. This man could have remained a cripple and still gone to heaven. Miracles get people’s attention, proving that a living God is present and willing to interact with us. Peter used the healing as a sign of His authority, not to perform healing, but to preach the gospel of Christ, emphasizing that his message was not a matter of personal opinion, but the very oracle of God.

Act 3,11-15

(109j) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Spirit and the word >> Spirit of truth is our teacher – Peter walked with Jesus for 3 years, being one of his closest disciples, yet Jesus never taught his disciples how to preach the gospel of Christ as Peter preached it that day. When the Lord was with them, they preached the gospel, but it wasn’t the same gospel that Peter preached after Jesus rose from the dead and ascended to heaven and sent the Holy Spirit in His place. The Holy Spirit taught Peter the gospel that He preached; therefore, who else better than the Holy Spirit should teach us also the gospel that we preach?

(149a) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Works of the Church bear witness to Jesus >> Evangelism >> Three key messages in evangelism >> The resurrection -- These verses go with verses 24-26. Jesus claimed to be the Son of God, so they crucified Him in effort to gain power over Him, just to see if they could do it (Mat 21,33-46), similar to being amazed at the immense size of a giant sequoia tree and cutting it down to count its rings. If they succeeded, then it proves that either He was not the Son of God or that we are stronger than Him. So the cross represents a direct rebellion against the very person and authority of God. It is no wonder He will not let anybody into his heaven who will not let Jesus into their hearts. The cross proves that if it were possible to dethrone God they would attempt to take it by force, but the resurrection of Christ circumvented man’s rebellion and has ironically become God’s formal invitation to share His glorious throne on His terms.

Act 3-11

(123k) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Love >> Spiritual affection >> Being in love with the body of Christ >> Physical affection with spiritual motives

Act 3-12

(77f) Thy kingdom come >> Humility >> Refusing the glory of man >> Rejecting the worship of men

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13-15 "The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified His servant Jesus, the one whom you delivered and disowned in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release Him. 14 "But you disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, 15 but put to death the Prince of life, the one whom God raised from the dead, a fact to which we are witnesses.

 

Act 3,13-15

(45e) Judgment >> God’s Judgment >> On believer’s sin >> Through His Son >> On the cross – Peter did not try to convince the people they were sinners through the law, but merely reminded them of their denial of Christ, yet he was not a hypocrite in accusing them of the very sin he also committed (Mat 26,69-75), in that Jesus died for sinners. Therefore, if they are sinners who receive Jesus as their savior, what are they who reject the gospel of Christ? Anyone who rejects the gospel has denied the Lord His rightful place in their hearts, and those who deny Him without repentance have Israel as their example of what misfortunes they can expect, who lost their place and their nation. What hope does anyone have after rejecting so great a salvation (Heb 2,1-4)?

(89l) Thy kingdom come >> God convicts us of sin >> Conviction reminds us to repent

(199j) Denying Christ >> Man chooses his own destiny apart from God >> Rejecting Christ >> Unwilling to receive Christ >> Rejecting Christ as the Messiah

(210c) Salvation >> The salvation of God >> Jesus is our sacrifice >> God uses sinners to sacrifice His son

Act 3-13,14

(18a) Sin >> Unrighteous judgment >> Condemning Jesus

Act 3-13

(12k) Jesus is a servant (Key verse)

(13c) Servant >> Jesus serves His Father >> He is the servant of God – This verse goes with verse 26.

(98f) Thy kingdom come >> Endurance (Thorn in the flesh) >> (Faith à Suffering à Glory of Christ) >> The cross -- This verse goes with verse 18

(141h) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Old Testament bears witness to the new >> It bears witness to Jesus >> Prophesy about Jesus’ life -- This verse goes with verse 18

Act 3-14,15

(37a) Judgment >> The cross >> God judged the sin of the world through Christ – The sinner and murderer, Barabbas, whom they released in place of Christ, represents the one who would disown the Lord, the scapegoat, the very one who would call for His death. Let the murderer go free and kill Jesus to destroy the object of their guilt, but the guilt they had in His life could not hold a candle to the guilt they had in His death. It turns out after Jesus was raised from the dead that He made their rebellion futile, and then offered them forgiveness and eternal life, so now Jesus represents the one going free, the scapegoat. There are miles between a murderer who wants to be free of all consequences of his actions, and God offering forgiveness and freedom from our disobedience and unbelief to become the children of God and inherit eternal life to live with Him forever in paradise.

Act 3-14

(133b) Temple >> Your body is the temple of God >> Holiness >> God is holy >> Jesus is holy

Act 3-15

(39d) Judgment >> Jesus defeated death >> Witnesses of Jesus’ resurrection

(53d) Paradox >> Opposites >> Of life and death >> Life died

(144g) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Witnesses of Jesus >> Trinity bears witness of Jesus >> Father bears witness of His Son

(254g) Trinity >> Holy Spirit’s relationship between Father and Son >> Jesus is the life of the Spirit >> Jesus is the substance of God’s life >> Jesus conquered death because He is life

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16-18 "And on the basis of faith in His name, it is the name of Jesus which has strengthened this man whom you see and know; and the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect health in the presence of you all. 17 "And now, brethren, I know that you acted in ignorance, just as your rulers did also. 18 "But the things which God announced beforehand by the mouth of all the prophets, that His Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled.

 

Act 3-16

(9e) Responsibility >> God strengthens us from our weaknessesThis verse goes with verses 6-8

(67f) Authority >> Jesus delegates authority >> Name of Jesus >> Performing miracles in Jesus’ name -- This verse goes with verse 6. Peter was very quick to give glory to God, for he didn’t want people worshipping Him, though three hundred years later the Catholic Church did just that. He performed the healing and nobody worshipped him because of the words he spoke to them, saying that he was not responsible. Instead, the virtue that healed the man originated from the One they crucified, and rose from the dead and gave His Spirit, who works miracles through those who believe in Him.

(114g) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Working the grace of God >> Obeying the Holy Spirit >> Implementing the revelation of the Holy Spirit

(115b) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Working the grace of God >> Working God’s grace through Christ >> We receive the anointing through Christ

(150g) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Works of the Church bear witness of Jesus >> Confessing Jesus >> Confessing what Jesus has done -- This verse goes with verse 6

Act 3,17-26

(23a) Sin >> Pride closes the windows of heaven – Pilate gave up Jesus for crucifixion and condemned his own conscience. Isn’t that the very definition of sin, doing what you know is wrong, and wasn’t that the sin of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden when they ate the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil? They knew it was wrong to have Jesus crucified, because He had done nothing wrong.

Act 3,17-19

(175j) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> Ignorance >> Ignorant of what God means >> Ignorant of the meaning of God’s word – The person eligible for salvation is the one who commits sin in ignorance, not the one who commits sin in full knowledge. However, everybody knows what he is doing when he sins, otherwise it wouldn’t be sin. For example, Paul said that the Law increased sin’s transgression (Rom 5-20). Consider the first sin in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, if God never told the man not to eat from that tree, it wouldn't have been sin to eat of it, but because He said not to eat, it was a sin. So sin is literally defined by knowledge. We all know what we are doing when we sin, so how does the word “ignorance” fit into this equation? When the Holy Spirit speaks to us and we ignore Him, it is blasphemy. Therefore, blasphemy is the antithesis of sinning in ignorance. When we break the Law, we are still sinning in ignorance, compared to sinning against God Himself, such as what Adam did. Note that Eve did not commit the sin of blasphemy because she did not directly sin against God but against the word of her husband. Also note that had Adam not eaten from the Tree of Knowledge but committed some other heinous act, say he beat his wife, it wouldn’t have been a sin, because it didn't fall against a commandment that God had given Him. However, before he ate from the tree of Knowledge, Adam was perfect so beating his wife would have been impossible to him. They were totally free, except for the Tree of Knowledge; they were bound by that tree not to eat its fruit, but curiosity got the best of them, and the rest is history.

(193d) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Turn from sin to God >> Repent >> Turn from your evil ways >> Turn from sin to God

Act 3,18-22

(44a) Judgment >> Satan destroyed >> Complete >> It is finished >> Fulfill God’s will – The way of salvation has been prepared, and now we are living in the days of Jesus’ parable of the wedding feast (Lk 14,16-24). Peter was saying that supper is ready and the dinner bell is ringing, and all that remains is for us to come to the table and eat. God butchered His own Son, and the table is set, and we receive Him at communion; we eat His flesh and drink His blood that the Father might accept us in heaven. Peter said that the people acted in ignorance, not only they but also their fathers, referring to generational sins that stemmed throughout the millennia. Mankind has acted ignorantly, but now the time has come to obey Christ and be saved and to enjoy times of refreshing from the Lord. There is no demand made on us, except to attend the feast; it is a gift from God; all we need do is receive it, but of course people are too involved in their sins to receive Christ these days. They start counting all the plans they would have to break in order to attend the feast. Jesus said in His day, “Lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest” (Jn 4-35). In the first century people came to Christ by the thousands, even though there was persecution. In America there is hardly persecution, yet people still don’t come to Christ. What would they do in times of persecution? If they don’t join the Church, they will persecute it.

Act 3-18

(98f) Thy kingdom come >> Endurance (Thorn in the flesh) >> (Faith à Suffering à Glory of Christ) >> The cross -- This verse goes with verse 21

(141h) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Old Testament bears witness to the new >> It bears witness to Jesus >> Prophesy about Jesus’ life -- This verse goes with verses 21-23

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19 "Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;

 

Act 3,19-26

(210j) Salvation >> Jews and gentiles are being saved >> Gentiles included >> Fellow heirs with Israel (Spiritual Jew) >> God welcomes the Gentiles to the promise of Israel – “In your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed,” speaking to Abraham. Of course, he was speaking about Isaac first, because he was the only child born to Abraham. And then from Isaac would come Jacob, and from Jacob the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel. From them a multitude like sand on the seashore, which no one could count traveled the exodus from Egypt in digression to the promise land. Israel made war with the people dwelling in their land, uprooting and utterly destroying whole tribes that once lived there, and it made the rest of the world afraid of sinning. The gospel came through them to all the families of the earth, and the gentiles were blessed throughout the next two millennia. Some say that Christianity was the cause of war that killed many families of the earth, but these so-called holy wars were perpetrated by the Catholic Church, which claims to be the one and only true Christian Church, but their beliefs are pagan and their doctrines contrived, and their leaders unChrist-like. Instead, the true Christian Church is spiritual in nature, and God knows those who are His.

Act 3,19-21

(50dc) Judgment >> Last Days >> Jewish Led endtime revival >> Israel prophesied to restore the gentiles to salvation -- See: Act 3,20-26; 245i

Act 3-19,20

(30i) Gift of God >> Favor by His grace >> He does not take your sins into account -- These verses go with verses 25&26. Repentance is associated with times of refreshing. Talk to people about repentance, and most will tell you it a negative word. In today’s church we can hardly talk about sin, much less repentance, yet if it weren’t for sin, we couldn’t be Christians, because God would not have had a reason to come and die on a cross, and we received Him as our savior. Sin cannot be wiped away apart from repentance; in fact, practicing sin makes for a very complicated life as a Christian, yet probably each of us has experienced this. When we first got saved, we were probably riddled with sin, and then little-by-little we eliminated one sin after another through God’s help, until there were no longer any sins that we practiced. All Christians still commit sin but we are not in bondage to anything, and when we sin, we immediately repent and ask God’s forgiveness. Repentance comes first, then cleansing and then times of refreshing come from the presence of the Lord, meaning we cannot enjoy His presence while we are practicing sin. Every Christian sins every day, but we don’t practice sin, because we know it doesn’t honor God, and we have dedicated our lives for the very purpose of honoring Him. We are unhappy when we sin, and we do everything in our power to avoid it. God expects us to stop practicing sin, but He doesn’t expect us to completely eliminate sin. It goes back to the foot washing symbolism; Jesus said, “He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean” (Jn 13-10). Dust collects on our feet as a natural consequence of walking on a dirt road; there is nothing we can do to avoid dirt, mud and grime, for the earth consists of it. When it says He will send Jesus Christ appointed for you, it is referring to the Holy Spirit. Jesus is in heaven; He hasn’t returned to earth since His ascension 2000 years ago. Sending the Holy Spirit is tantamount to sending Jesus Christ, for the two are one and the same.

(35f) Gift of God >> God gives Himself to us >> Father sends the Holy Spirit – Peter was talking to Jews when he said “repent and return.” Had he said that to the gentiles, it wouldn’t have made sense, since they never knew God, hence they couldn’t have returned. God called the Jews through Abraham centuries before Peter. The entire nation of Israel had backslidden and was scarcely following the Lord. It is interesting that Peter told them to return as though the old covenant were still in force, but when they returned to God, they returned to a new covenant. Peter called for times of refreshing to come from the presence of the Lord, suggesting that prior to this there was oppression. The Romans oppressed Israel, though mostly they were oppressed by their own sins. God wants to refresh our souls, not just to save us but to give us a good life, leading us from our darkness into a relationship with Jesus Christ, based on faith and obedience in the Holy Spirit. God has declared anyone free from sin, who repents and returns to the Lord, not just as the work of the Spirit, but also as the work of the Father Himself, who sent His Son. God personally has declared man to be without sin, those who have believed on the name of Jesus and have committed their lives to following Him to His eternal Kingdom.

(117f) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Rest in Jesus (Sabbath) >> Rest in His mercy

Act 3-19

(103d) Thy kingdom come >> Purifying process >> God’s cleansing power >> Cleansing power of the Holy Spirit

(104i) Thy kingdom come >> Pure in heart shall see God >> Shall see Jesus >> Being in the presence of Jesus – The presence of God is refreshing, though it involves repentance. This is just the opposite of what the world thinks. Talk to unbelievers about Jesus, using the word “repent” and they will come just short of screaming at you, if not becoming violent. They see repentance as highly negative and think God is evil because He wants to invade their lives and tell them how to live and take away everything they love, regarding their sinful pleasures and tell them to love those who hate them and despitefully use them. However, the Christian knows that the presence of the Lord is refreshing, and they will repent just to have His presence in their lives. The presence of the Lord is the Christian’s favorite pleasure, and it is not anything they can describe, unlike the unbeliever’s sins that everybody understands, being based on the elementary principles of the world. The principles of God and of His kingdom that He is building in our hearts contradict the world in every respect, and for that reason it is difficult to explain to worldly people the Christian experience. When we think of the world in the first century and all the spiritual darkness that existed, people were tired of their paganism, knowing there was no truth in it, supposing that if they sacrificed what little they had to a so-called god, somehow they would benefit, yet no good came of it. People were unhappy, miserable and in need. In the midst of their emptiness Christianity came with Paul carrying the gospel of Christ and commanded people to repent that they might enjoy the presence of the Lord, and people came to Christ by the droves in those days, because they were hungry for God and His truth. For there to be a church that was rooted in truth and cultivated unity in its members and enjoyed spiritual fellowship, developing a relationship with God was refreshing to them, and these same opportunities belong to us.

(120b) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Forgiveness >> God forgives us when we become accountable to Him >> When we repent – The sins we’ve committed are all in the past, and the past is forgiven. Now it is time to seek the Lord for a brighter future and receive the gift of eternal life. There is no more hostility toward us from God, only open doors and open arms. If we weren’t sinners, God couldn’t forgive us, and if God does not forgive us, then we can’t go to heaven, for God only receives and accepts forgiven sinners into His kingdom.

(228d) Kingdom of God >> God’s kingdom is a living organism >> God working in you >> Comforted >> We are comforted in the presence of God >> God comforts us in His company

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20&21 and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you, 21 whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time. 

 

Act 3,20-26

(245i) Kingdom of God >> Spirit realm imposed on the natural realm >> Literal manifestations >> Manifestation of God’s righteous judgment >> Manifestation of Jesus’ victory over sin – This period of restoration is in reference to the age of Millennium, when Jesus comes to literally establish His kingdom on the earth. This has been Israel's hope and prayer since the ancient prophets first brought it to light centuries before Christ, described as a "period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time," but He will not return while the Church is in disarray. Paul said, "That He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless." This means that Millennium will not come until He has restored the Church. The Church since the time of the apostles has been waiting for the return of Christ, and He hasn't come, because the Church has not fit Paul's description in Eph 5-27. We are grateful that "times of refreshing [have] come from the presence of the Lord," but until Christ physically takes over this world, the kingdoms of men will continue bringing wickedness and shame on one another, and for this reason the age of grace doesn’t seem very refreshing. Had the kingdoms of the earth taken full advantage of the cross throughout the last 2000 years, people could have achieved heaven on earth, but man's sinful nature is too restless and cruel to allow God to have His way, and man’s heart is too rebellious to let it come to pass. When the age of Millennium finally comes, Jesus will establish His righteousness on the earth. It will be a glorious and wonderful age, but Peter is preaching about a spiritual age of grace that must come first. See: Act 3,19-21; 50dc

Act 3,20-23

(67d) Authority >> Jesus at the right hand of the father >> He delegates authority – This is quite an amazing statement from the Old Testament: Moses was aware that his ministry was similar to that of Christ, the Great High Priest. Moses had a brother, Aaron, whom God appointed as Israel's high high priest. God reserved Moses as Israel's leader and judge, yet his relationship with God resembled a priest more than Aaron, in that God never invited Aaron into His presence as He did with Moses. No other man on earth before or after Moses except Christ spoke face to face with God, for there was no one since Moses who was humble enough to place so much authority in him without it going to his head. The runner-up would be Elijah, who was the companion of Moses at Jesus’ transfiguration, whose anointings will also compose those of the two witnesses of revelation chapter eleven. Moses never felt special; he was an anomaly to human nature that way, special because he never thought himself special.

Act 3-20,21

(42c) Judgment >> Satan destroyed >> Be like Jesus >> Overcoming sin

(237d) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Transferring the kingdom >> The Church is transferred to the kingdom >> The rapture >> Receiving the kingdom in God’s time

(254j) Trinity >> Holy Spirit’s relationship between Father and Son >> Jesus is equal with the Holy Spirit >> Salvation of Jesus’ Spirit We know that once Jesus ascended to the Father, He has not returned to the earth, but remains seated at His Father’s right hand, so when Peter said that God would send Jesus Christ, he meant He would send the Holy Spirit in His place. This verse speaks in no uncertain terms about Jesus being the embodiment of the Holy Spirit, so Peter was able to say that when God sent His Spirit, it was equivalent to sending His Son. This equivalence is not the same as Jesus telling His disciples, “he who receives you receives Me” (Mat 10-40). There he meant, ‘whoever is willing to receive you is also willing to receive Me.’ In contrast, Peter was saying when someone receives the Holy Spirit, it is not similar to receiving Jesus, it is identical to receiving Him. They are receiving someone who is so much like Jesus that He virtually is Him! We know that identical twins are separate and unique people, having their own personalities, attitudes and values, but in the case of Jesus and the Holy Spirit, they are actually the same person. Anyone who does not believe in the trinity has no excuse because of verses like this; they just choose not to believe it.

Act 3-20 

(220d) Sovereignty >> God overrides the will of man >> Predestination >> Divine appointments

(238g) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Transferring the kingdom >> The kingdom is transferred to the Church >> Jesus will never leave us

Act 3,21-23

(141h) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Old Testament bears witness to the new >> It bears witness to Jesus >> Prophesy about Jesus’ life -- These verses go with verse 13

Act 3-21

(98f) Thy kingdom come >> Endurance (Thorn in the flesh) >> (Faith à Suffering à Glory of Christ) >> The cross -- This verse goes with verse 13

(131k) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Unity >> Working together for one cause

(214g) Sovereignty >> God controls time >> God’s timing >> Dispensation of God’s revelations >> Dispensation of the last days

(233a) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Seeking the kingdom >> Seeking the goals of the kingdom >> Seek the goal of the resurrection

 

22-26 "Moses said, 'THE LORD GOD WILL RAISE UP FOR YOU A PROPHET LIKE ME FROM YOUR BRETHREN; TO HIM YOU SHALL GIVE HEED to everything He says to you. 23 'And it will be that every soul that does not heed that prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.' 24 "And likewise, all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and his successors onward, also announced these days. 25 "It is you who are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant which God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, 'AND IN YOUR SEED ALL THE FAMILIES OF THE EARTH SHALL BE BLESSED.' 26 "For you first, God raised up His Servant and sent Him to bless you by turning every one of you from your wicked ways."

 

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Act 3,22-26 

(210ha) Salvation >> Jews and gentiles are being saved >> Salvation is from the Jews >> The Jew first >> Jesus was a Jew – To the Jew first and also to the gentile nations the invitation of the cross has been extended. Peter brought the gospel to the Jews, who deserve to hear it before any other nation or people. The gospel belongs to them, who actually disowned the Lord, who committed the greatest sin of all. The rest of us have disowned the Lord on a more symbolic level, whereas the Jew literally disowned Him, making their sin greater than any other nation in the world. The beauty of God’s grace, therefore, is that He seeks out sin to forgive it, and His forgiveness destroys its power, and in its place He bestows an anointing. This suggests that the Jew potentially can receive a greater anointing than the average gentile Christian. The greater the sinner, the more the gospel belongs to him. This is why the accuser of the brethren, Satan, is intrinsically wrong, and why our guilt feelings regarding repentant sin is a lie. Next time the devil condemns us for the past, remember that God's love provides power to overcome the world.

Act 3-22,23

(20k) Sin >> Disobedience >> Rejecting the word

(29i) Gift of God >> God is on our side >> God identifies with us >> Jesus is our brother – We should understand this word “brother” to mean fellow Christian. In the days of Moses, when this prophecy was made, the word "brethren" meant a fellow Jew, any citizen of Israel. That makes all the gentile nations of the world neighbors, and we know that God forbade the Israelites to integrate into the neighboring nations but to keep their generations pure and to avoid their idolatry, just as Christ has commanded the Church to remain separate from the world (2Cor 6-17). It is clear that Jesus distinguished the Jew from the gentiles by the Canaanite woman whom Jesus hesitated to help, just because she was a gentile (Mat 15,22-28). So the Jews were His fellow countrymen, but His brethren were even further defined as those who believed in Him. This interpretation is consistent throughout Scripture, yet people have misinterpreted the Bible to say that His brethren and our brethren refer to those related in the flesh, fellow believers or even strangers off the street. No, the Christian meaning of the word "brethren" according to Scripture is our fellow believers in the faith.

(40h) Judgment >> Judgment of Christ >> God’s word judges the world >> It does not obey Him

(47d) Judgment >> God Judges the world >> Hell is a place of destruction – This is a strong warning from God. If we do not believe in Jesus Christ as our savior and receive the Holy Spirit as the pledge of our eternal inheritance, then we will be utterly destroyed from among the people. In Old Testament terms it meant to be destroyed as to physically die, whereas the New Testament defines the phrase "utterly destroyed" in terms of eternal judgment in hell.

(48l) Judgment >> Jesus’ enemies are destroyed >> Enemies of the truth

(51d) Judgment >> Judging the Church with the world >> Warned to heed the word of God – This prophecy, spoken in Deuteronomy 18,15-19, was in reference to Jesus Christ. The majority of Old Testament scripture hinges on this one passage. Exodus 20-19 should be included, “Let us not hear the voice of the Lord our God nor see this great fire anymore, or we will die” (See also: Deuteronomy 5-25). These passages testify that Israel sought Moses to intercede for them instead of God speaking directly to the people in order that their sins may not increase; they were wise to understand this. Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 18 essentially tell us why God sent His Son: the people were unwilling to relate directly with God, so He sent Jesus to us, His divinity cloaked behind human flesh that we might feel more at ease with Him. So what did mankind to to Him? We killed Him, proving that our hatred of God is not in regard to His laws or to His authority but to His ways and to His truth. Israel represents all nations before God, whether we are barbarians without law or sinners under the rule of law; if our ways contradict His ways, and if our truth contradicts His Truth, we will be utterly destroyed from among the people.

(66h) Authority >> Jesus’ authority >> His cross is the power of God

(88c) Thy kingdom come >> Faith produces works >> Relationship between faith and works >> Faith without works is dead – This verse prophesied the coming of Jesus Christ, but it didn’t characterize Him according to the Hollywood profile and as some of our churches portray Him. Instead, it characterized Jesus as a man who was butchered to death that God might pour His grace on us through Him, and our only obligation is to receive Him. Many people claim to believe in Jesus, but when we look a little closer into the things that Jesus said, many of us are like the rich man who hung his head and walked away empty-hearted. Many of us are willing to receive His grace, but are we willing to live according to His will? Easy-believism has infected the Church with perverse doctrines and whole denominations that allow those who consider themselves Christians to live no different from the world. They give themselves permission to pursue their fleshly interests and feed their carnal desires with all forms of pleasure and still be on the path to sainthood, but the Bible doesn’t teach this as true faith.

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Act 3,24-26

(149a) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Works of the Church bear witness to Jesus >> Evangelism >> Three key messages in evangelism >> The resurrection -- These verses go with verses 11-15

Act 3-25,26

(30i) Gift of God >> Favor by His grace >> He does not take your sins into account -- These verses go with verses 19&20

Act 3-26

(13c) Servant >> Jesus serves His Father >> He is the servant of God – This verse goes with verse 13.

(54g) Paradox >> Opposites >> If repentance is a blessing, why do we need to be coerced?

(193g) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Turn from sin to God >> Repent >> God grants repentance

 

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Scripture quotations taken from the New American Standard Bible ® (NASB), Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission. www.Lockman.org

 

ACTS CHAPTER 4

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1-6 As they were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to them, 2 being greatly disturbed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. 3 And they laid hands on them and put them in jail until the next day, for it was already evening. 4 But many of those who had heard the message believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand. 5 On the next day, their rulers and elders and scribes were gathered together in Jerusalem; 6 and Annas the high priest was there, and Caiaphas and John and Alexander, and all who were of high-priestly descent.

 

Act 4,1-22

(180cb) Works of the devil >> Practicing witchcraft >> Wolves >> Be shrewd as wolves and more innocent than they appear >> Fighting off wolves with a clever innocence >> Being more bold than their cleverness

Act 4,1-14

(183j) Works of the devil >> The origin of lawlessness >> Spirit of Error (Anti-Christ / Anti-Semitism) >> Truth is the enemy of the spirit of error >> Spirit of error interrogates the truth – What would have happened had the religious leaders of Israel received Jesus Christ as their Messiah? They would not have been at odds with the apostles as they were in the Book of Acts. They were responsible for Him being crucified, yet the people had a motive too; when He came to Jerusalem, they expected the Kingdom of God to appear immediately, but when they saw that Old Testament prophecy would not be fulfilled according to their expectations, referring to the up-coming Millennium, the multitudes called as one voice for His crucifixion. They missed the Old Testament prophecy of their Messiah's first visitation, having come as the lamb of God to take away the sins of the world. The genuine gospel of Christ when preached through the Holy Spirit has the power to bring sinful man to it knees but not the religious world. Prior to the visitation of Christ they were the most respected people in Israel, but Scripture depicted them as some of the greatest villains of all time. 

Act 4,1-12

(149a) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Works of the Church bear witness to Jesus >> Evangelism >> Three key messages in evangelism >> The resurrection – Before the gospel, man’s understanding of God referred only to this life; there was little if any teaching about heaven in the Old Testament. Although Psalms and places in Isaiah spoke about heaven, it made no mention of man going there. The old covenant concerned itself only with this life, and then the new covenant came and brought “life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2Tim 1-10). The Church had to create new concepts in people’s minds before they could believe in Jesus, yet people were highly receptive to it. For example, the resurrection of Christ is the most important aspect of the gospel, yet the first century had to initially build that concept in people’s minds before they could believe in the gospel, because this idea didn’t exist. No doubt people thought about living forever, such as searching for the fountain of youth, but coming to life after the body had died and decayed into the ground was not something anybody even considered until then, though the idea was certainly intriguing. See also: Resurrection; Act 4,1-3; 201f

Act 4,1-3

(201f) Denying Christ >> Man chooses his own destiny apart from God >> Jesus is an offense >> Jesus offends the world >> The cross offends the world – The cross would be no threat at all without His resurrection. The preaching of the resurrection was a huge threat to the religious leaders of Israel, because they were the ones who condemned and crucified Jesus Christ and they also knew He rose from the dead, though they denied it. They made up stories about it and placed guards around His tomb, handpicking them. Instead of killing the guards, which they normally would have done had they failed in their duties, they instead gave them money to keep the story under their hats. Therefore, the resurrection from the dead cuts both ways, both in the fact that they crucified the Lord of glory, and also by the fact that they themselves will be raised from the dead one day to be sent to everlasting punishment. The resurrection from the dead is indeed man's greatest hope and man's greatest fear, depending on whether or not we believe in Jesus. See also:

Act 4-1,2

(39c) Judgment >> Jesus defeated death >> Preaching the resurrection – The religious leaders of Israel did not want the apostles to teach the people about the resurrection of Jesus Christ. They are not the only ones who don’t want to hear about the resurrection from the dead, though it is the hope and promise of Christianity, for the resurrection does not pertain to the believer only, but also to the unbeliever. When God raises the dead and gives the condemned a spiritual body that cannot die, He will then send them to hell. The Bible teaches that God dwells in smoke and fire, which is the environment of hell. Like the burning bush that drew Moses’ attention in the wilderness, God will give the damned an eternal body that cannot be destroyed, and then throw them into the eternal flames of the Lake of Fire, God's preferred environment. God is happy in this environment, but the damned are continually destroyed in it. The Bible also teaches that God will send the redeemed through a fire that will burn up the chaff, and that which remains will be their reward (1Cor 3,11-17). See also:

Act 4,5-20

(7d) Responsibility >> Protecting the gospel >> Defend the word by preaching it

Act 4,6-14

(123a) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Boldness to speak the word by the Spirit – Peter spoke with boldness that was not his own. When he opened his mouth, the words gracefully flowed off his lips without impediment or hesitation. God had driven the truth so deeply into him that it became his very essence. All he had to do was open his mouth and the truth just poured from him. He became a vessel through which God worked, contributing only his will, and the Holy Spirit did the rest. This was not the work of Peter to tell them these things, but the work of God. Peter was a screw-up; everything Peter did and said was wrong until the day of Pentecost, then everything changed. This is the power of the Holy Spirit in a person’s life. See also: Confidence/boldness; Act 4-13,14; 109i

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7-9 When they had placed them in the center, they began to inquire, "By what power, or in what name, have you done this?" 8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, "Rulers and elders of the people, 9 if we are on trial today for a benefit done to a sick man, as to how this man has been made well,

 

Act 4,7-20

(71j) Authority >> Ordained by God >> God ordains us through His commandments – Their question implicated that the apostles were encroaching on their turf by an authority that was foreign to theirs. They were essentially asking the apostles for their credentials. Peter didn’t offer any credentials other than boldness to speak the word that God put in his mouth. The purpose of credentials are to keep track of the people who have submitted to the proper authorities, but we don’t need credentials with God, because He has a good memory and is able to keep track of those who belong to Him. Nevertheless, those who would aspire to be pastor of a church nowadays better have credentials, because most churches won’t even consider a candidate without them, even though Jesus didn’t have any, nor did his apostles, except Paul, though once he met Jesus his credentials were reduced to rubbish (Phi 3-7,8). People don’t trust regular folks to know the truth or to pastor their churches, but prefer board certified people in their pulpits, but credentials do not guarantee any of these things. The credentials of the priests were their lineage as Levites, and their authority was the Old Testament, whereas the credentials of the disciples was the indwelling Holy Spirit, and their authority was the anointing that transformed them into apostles.

Act 4,7-10

(67f) Authority >> Jesus delegates authority >> Name of Jesus >> Performing miracles in Jesus’ name – Peter attributed the healing of this man to the name of Jesus, more specifically to the Holy Spirit, who performed the work of God. Peter gave credit to the name of Jesus, because He is the authority of the Holy Spirit, while the Holy Spirit is the power of Jesus, and the Father is the authority of Christ. Without the name of Jesus the Holy Spirit would have no identity, for without His name maybe Ala healed the man or Joseph Smith or Buddha; but when Peter associated the name of Jesus with the healing, there could be no mistaking that the God of Israel performed the healing. When Jesus was here in the flesh, He didn’t heal people for His own purpose and glory, but for the purpose and glory of His Father.

Act 4,8-14

(110c) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Spirit and the word >> Spirit speaks through us in times of persecution – The anointing dips into the repository of our knowledge and brings the truth to our remembrance, but sometimes the anointing makes us say things we didn’t know until we said them; in this way He is our teacher. The anointing put the Pharisees to silence; Jesus did it numerous times, and now His apostles were doing it. The religious establishment didn’t know what to say; they were completely at a loss for words, which is saying a lot. The Pharisees of their time were no different from the Pharisees of our time, their arrogance being greater than their knowledge, which makes them think they are right about everything. 2,000 years have transpired and has allowed the Pharisees of our day to arm themselves with answers to just about any debate we could throw at them, but a day is coming when the mouths of these modern-day Pharisees will be shut again, for the anointing is destined to return to the Church.

Act 4,8-12

(110l) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Spirit and the word >> Spiritual substance and truth >> Spiritual substance follows the truth – After Jesus' crucifixion, resurrection and ascension came Pentecost when He sent the Holy Spirit, who is the very essence of God’s kingdom, and so in that sense the Kingdom of God in fact came in all its glory. The spiritual essence of heaven is just like our own spirit, being the essence of ourselves. We have a body that gets most of our attention; we scrape our arm, so we put a band aid on it; we spend hours primping it; we use it to communicate with others and display the latest fashions on it, but when we die, the body lays in a casket, motionless, good for nothing, headed for decay. It will be buried in the ground so no one knows how bad it smells and how ugly and disgusting it is without our spirit living in it. This is what happens when the essence of ourselves leaves our bodies. It just shows how important we are to our bodies; we are the very essence of it. Without our spirit the body cannot live, and in the same way the Holy Spirit is just as important to the Kingdom of God. For God to send the Holy Spirit was to send the essence of His kingdom, but man is so tied to his flesh, he needs that last 1% comprising the physical aspect of God’s kingdom to feel that God is truly among us. Rather, all that remains of the Millennium is for Jesus to come in person and establish Himself as king of this planet, but He is already here in the Spirit, but that is not good enough for most people.

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10-12 let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead -by this name this man stands here before you in good health. 11 "He is the STONE WHICH WAS REJECTED by you, THE BUILDERS, but WHICH BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER stone. 12 "And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved."

 

Act 4-10,11

(139i) Temple >> Building the temple (with hands) >> Tear down the old to rebuild the new – Peter called them builders, who were the religious leaders of Israel, who were called by God over the centuries since Moses to build His truth in the hearts of His people. The Levitical priesthood were charged with the responsibility of keeping the laws of old covenant temple worship and were mandated to diligently teach these things to the people and prepare them to receive their Messiah when He came. They were supposed to be diligently studying the Scriptures in order that they might come to the proper conclusions and have the insight to see God’s plan for Israel and for mankind in general, but all they saw was what they wanted to see. They were looking for a bodacious God who would come with flashes of lightning, fire and smoke and ferocious anger and trumpet blasts, instead they were flanked by a humble servant in the Son of God. 

Act 4-10

(67e) Name of Jesus (Key verse)

(241i) Kingdom of God >> Opposition toward the Kingdom of God >> Persecuting the kingdom >> Persecution to the death >> Kill Jesus >> Kill Jesus by the predetermined plan of God >> The apostles taught about His death – The only act of obedience the priests showed was in crucifying the Lord Jesus Christ according to the predetermined plan of God, but they didn’t get any credit for that. They killed Him through unbelief of sinful flesh governed by greed, lust and pride, and there is no honor in that.

Act 4-11

(182b) Works of the devil >> The origin of lawlessness >> Deception >> Self deception >> Believing you know God when you don’t – God raised Jesus from the dead and sent the Holy Spirit in His place for all who would believe in Him, thereby receiving the Kingdom of God in its full essence. By this, those of His enemies were left completely in the dark about God, allowed to believe that nothing ever came of Christ’s visitation. God allowed them to believe they got the best of Him, for when they paid the soldiers to perpetrate a story that someone stole His body from the tomb, they believed their own stories, but in their hearts they knew the truth. People like them actually think they can create the truth instead of searching for it as one searches for a lost coin (Lk 15,8-10). The truth does not belong to people who make up stories and then believe in them.

(201d) Denying Christ >> Jesus is an offense >> Truth offends error >> The word offends peoples’ sinful lifestyles – Jesus was the exact representation of God, but Israel was not obedient long enough to get to know Him. He came to show us the way, and had the religious leaders done their job and instructed Israel to watch for a humble savior, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory, but their blindness allowed the predetermined plan of God to proceed. They crucified Him for the sake of those who would believe in Him, while exempting themselves from eternal life. The wickedness of man is contemptible in the eyes of God, who knows a better way to live and came here to show us, and we killed Him for it.

Act 4-12

(67g) Authority >> Jesus delegates authority >> The name of Jesus is the salvation of God

(208d) Salvation >> The salvation of God >> Salvation verses >> The expectations of God >> God expects us to follow Him

(210g) Salvation >> The salvation of God >> Jesus is our savior >> Jesus is the only savior

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13 Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus.

 

Act 4,13-20

(18k) Sin >> Twisted thinking >> Unable to distinguish between good and evil >> God’s works are evil

(75i) Thy kingdom come >> Motives >> Being manipulative >> Controlling people in the dark >> Hiding the facts – Peter spoke to them with a Spirit that the religious authorities did not possess, a Spirit they may have wanted, but one they could not receive because they did not believe. They would have immediately abused the anointing, converting it from a gift to a curse, and from a tool of evangelism to a weapon of destruction to further enslave the people.

(76b) Thy kingdom come >> Motives >> Seeking authority for security >> Motives based on desire for power – The religious leaders of Israel didn’t want the apostles giving glory to God after they crucified Jesus and discovered He wouldn’t stay dead, for after He ascended to heaven He was apparently still among His disciples somehow. The religious establishment didn’t want the apostles spreading the word that the man they crucified was responsible for the miracles they performed. They controlled society and told people what to believe, and they didn’t want the apostles treading on their territory. The political/religious authority of the Pharisees, scribes and chief priests was embedded in Jewish history, ordained by God Himself centuries in the past, whereas from man’s limited perspective Jesus just showed up one day.

(87d) Thy kingdom come >> Obedience >> Church obeys all the Father’s will

(154a) Witness >> Validity of the Father >> God bears witness against the world >> No excuse >> There is no excuse for rejecting Christ

(175f) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> Ignorance >> Dodging the issue (willful ignorance) >> Evading the word of God

(185d) Works of the devil >> The origin of lawlessness >> Mystery of lawlessness >> Denying Christ in spite of His proven identity

(198a) Denying Christ >> Man exercises his will against God >> Man withers when he is in control >> Unteachable >> Resisting the knowledge of God – Peter and John were untrained men; it was intentional on Jesus’ part to choose disciples without degrees in higher learning, whom He would have had to retrain and whom others would have imitated and felt the need for a college degree before they could feel spiritual. Regardless of the would-be training, it would have invariably competed with the knowledge of God that Jesus wanted to instill in them. It is interesting that the Pharisees were able to discern the apostles’ lack of formal training, but were unable to discern God’s truth, while in a position of spiritual authority. That is, they were far more keenly aware of what the apostles didn't say and how they didn't say it than what they actually said. How did they know they were untrained? Perhaps the way they were dressed gave them away or their choice of friends. They were not intellectuals and they lacked poise in issues of social graces and affluence. More than anything, what betrayed them was their language, not their vernacular or dialect, but their conversation. They never heard anyone speak the way they did; they sounded reminiscent of Jesus; they simply did not recognize their knowledge. 1Jn 4-5,6 says, “They are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.” There was no school of thought they were mirroring; the things they were saying were brand-new. Peter and John were not regurgitating the social philosophies of their time; they were blazing a new trail, preaching the gospel of the Kingdom.

Act 4,13-18

(16k) Sin >> Continuing in sin to avoid the light >> Suppressing the truth they cannot deny – The Pharisees were angry with the apostles for preaching Jesus and using His name in the proclamation of the gospel and for healing the beggar who was known by all to have been a cripple. Normally, miracles, signs and wonders get people's attention to hear the word of God, but this doesn't work with religious psychopaths. The Pharisees were infuriated, but what bothered them all the more was the confidence of Peter and John. The Pharisees killed Jesus, though He was innocent of all wrongdoing, and they wanted Him to stay dead, and He wouldn’t lie down for them, so if they couldn’t kill the man, the next best thing was to kill the apostles, but that was not a viable option, since they had not committed any crimes either, so they tried to kill their message, but Peter piped-up and said it was not possible for them to stop talking about Jesus. They were utterly compelled by the Spirit. They were only following orders, for it was the Spirit of God who was working with them.

Act 4,13-16

(149j) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Works of the Church bear witness to Jesus >> Evangelism >> Authority of the rhema given to evangelism >> Being prepared by God personally – Peter and John went about preaching the word of God during the first century, and as Jesus said, the fields were white with harvest (Jn 4-35), and so many thousands of people got saved, because they had three things going for them: they had the knowledge of the truth (having spent 3 years with the Lord); they had an anointing, and they lived in a generation that was open to the gospel. We could know the truth and append an anointing to it and preach the gospel to a people who were not open to it, and the only result would be persecution. The anointing does two things: it teaches us what to say and it empowers us to say it. It is not enough to say something meaningful if we say it in a way that appears we don’t really believe it. Conversely, it is the very definition of a charlatan to say something in a meaningful way without there being any substance to his words. We need both truth and boldness from God. The anointing gives us these qualities. 

(185h) Works of the devil >> The result of lawlessness >> Blasphemy >> Responding with contempt to the Holy Spirit >> Resisting the Holy Spirit – The religious leaders of Israel recognized the apostles as having been with Jesus; that is, they recognized the Holy Spirit, but they did not recognize the truth in their words anymore than they recognized Jesus as their Messiah. They knew He rose from the dead, because they were the ones who made up the story that His disciples came and stole away the body right under the noses of highly trained guards, whose lives were on the line if found slack in their duties. When the rulers and elders and scribes came together to discuss the matter, believing in Jesus was never discussed as an option, nor did they admit that this was undoubtedly the work of God. Believing in Jesus was never a remote possibility with these guys. They knew the miracles that Jesus performed; they knew the Spirit by which He spoke; they knew the many prophecies of the Old Testament that He fulfilled; they had all the proof they needed that this miracle was from God, but there was no way they would ever admit, believe or confess the truth about any of this. It is interesting that they acknowledged the fact that the disciples spoke in the Spirit of Jesus, though refusing to believe in Him. Ironically, the Holy Spirit is the ultimate manifestation of God’s kingdom, in that not everything Jesus did was a miracle, but everything the Holy Spirit does is a miracle. Jesus said lots of things throughout His life, but the Holy Spirit will shake us to our foundation whenever we hear His voice. The words of Christ had this effect under the anointing, because He spoke by the Spirit of His Father. To deny the truth that the Holy Spirit revealed was to condemn their souls. It is the unpardonable sin, there is nothing more evil than rejecting the truth that the Holy Spirit reveals, and this is what was happening to the religious leaders of Israel. Peter was revealing the truth to these guys through the power of the Holy Spirit, and they were denying it, condemning their conscience. Peter and the apostles were not responsible for their impending judgment from God, but they played a part in the severity of their eternal damnation, and they knew it and hated them for it.

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Act 4-13,14

(35h) Gift of God >> God gives Himself to us >> Gift Of The Holy Spirit (Pentecost) >> The anointing – If some of our great orators of the past were to come back and preach the gospel to our generation, it is questionable whether they could get anyone to respond to them at all. Nearly everything we say has virtually no effect on anyone. They say that some of the most renowned Christian orators of the past would stand at the podium and preach the gospel during days of revival, some would merely read a prepared sermon, and hundreds would get saved. We still have copies of their sermons, so why don’t we read their sermons and rekindle a revival in our day? It would probably sound common and mundane, so what is missing that these men had? They had the right time period of revival, and they had an anointing! We can write about the anointing, but it cannot inscribe it on a piece of paper, for the anointing was made for men’s hearts, not for paper. The anointing is a little like how computers work. Take a Word document, for example, it takes a program like Microsoft Word to initially write the document and create the file, and we can send that file to somebody else, but in order for him to read it, he too must have Microsoft Word installed on his computer, otherwise the file just contains a lot of unreadable zeros and ones. So the writer of the Bible was obviously anointed, and it takes an anointed reader to decipher the words before the message can be successfully conveyed. Jesus, who had the fullness of anointing, spoke the Word, and His words still inspire to this day those who are endowed with an anointing. Others can read His words and not understand the first thing He said, simply because they are not born-again or filled with the Spirit, and so they have no way of interpreting the words.

(109i) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Spirit and the word >> Spirit the teacher >> Spirit trains us to be like Jesus – Some try to imitate boldness by speaking loudly with a certain look on their face, but true boldness can express itself as a quiet confidence. Deep and abiding knowledge of God’s truth gives us confidence that Jesus had and His apostles. It says they observed the confidence of Peter and John and recognized them as having been with Jesus. This confident boldness is the trademark of the anointing; it indicates that we have met God and interact with Him on a regular basis. The first thing noticeable about Jesus was His confidence, His clarity of mind. We can be masterful in any field of knowledge, and it doesn’t engender boldness. We can confidently articulate our assertions, but boldness is something else. It is the result of the anointing that God has placed on our lives through the Spirit who dwells in us. The anointing is the result of combining the Holy Spirit with the word of God, allowing these two to fellowship in our hearts, bringing them together in prayerful study of the Scriptures. A person can be filled with the knowledge of God, read his Bible and memorize Scripture, but it doesn’t guarantee that he will be inspired. As born-again believers in Jesus, we obey the Scriptures we read through a life-commitment to prayer, listening for the Holy Spirit to teach us about His word. See also: Confidence/boldness; Act 4-13; 121l

(146k) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Jesus’ works bear witness of Himself >> Purpose of Miracles, Signs And Wonders >> Get peoples’ attention to hear the word

(246h) Kingdom of God >> Spirit realm imposed on the natural realm >> Demonstration of God’s kingdom >> God demonstrates His glory >> Demonstration of His healing virtue

Act 4-13

(43e) Judgment >> Satan destroyed >> Conform to Christ’s ministry to the world

(82l) Thy kingdom come >> Power of prayer >> Prayer anoints your life in the word -- This verse goes with verses 24-31

(121l) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Confidence >> Confidence in God >> Confidence in God as you fulfill your ministry – "Confidence" and faith are synonymous, but they are not the same. 1Jn 2-28 says, “Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming.” Faith is a substance that comes from heaven that gives us confidence in God, and He has commanded us to protect our faith from sin, because it has the effect of eroding our confidence. Sin makes us feel unworthy of God, and if we feel unworthy, how then can we walk in His faith? God wants us to have confidence in Him and be free from sin, but just as much, He wants us to experience His freedom for the purpose of doing His will. The boldness of Peter and John toward men and their confidence in Jesus was the result of their freedom not just from sin but also to do His will. See also: 254i

(254i) Trinity >> Holy Spirit’s relationship between Father and Son >> Jesus is equal with the Holy Spirit >> Holy Spirit is life >> Spirit of Jesus – Jesus spoke to the religious leaders of his time with confidence and boldness, and the apostles had the same Spirit of Jesus. Holding credentials of a degree from a theological seminary given by men is just a piece of paper like the straw man received from the Wizard of Oz. No amount of education and training can give you what Peter and John possessed from God. It wasn’t just what the apostles said, but also how they said it that had such an impact, communicating to the religious leaders of Israel that Peter and his friends knew Jesus. We think everybody knew Jesus and his disciples back then, but the thugs who arrested Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane needed a guide to identify Him. Jesus did not have a Hollywood face or the stature and looks of King Saul but had an ordinary appearance, which helped Him blend into the crowd, and he picked His disciples with similar physical attributes, so they would not be easily identified. The religious leaders were familiar with the Spirit of Christ; they didn’t know the disciples by sight, but they knew that Peter knew Jesus once he opened his mouth and spoke the word of God with boldness. See also: Confidence/boldness; Act 4,29-33; 149h

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14-18 And seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they had nothing to say in reply. 15 But when they had ordered them to leave the Council, they began to confer with one another, 16 saying, "What shall we do with these men? For the fact that a noteworthy miracle has taken place through them is apparent to all who live in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. 17 "But so that it will not spread any further among the people, let us warn them to speak no longer to any man in this name." 18 And when they had summoned them, they commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 

 

Act 4,14-20

(240j) Kingdom of God >> Opposition toward the Kingdom of God >> Hindering the kingdom >> Taking away the key of knowledge >> Suppressing the truth – These men were incapable of believing in God; occasionally we meet people like this; they are the stuff of horror movies. Not for a minute did they consider believing in Jesus through the undeniable proofs presented to them. Not one of them considered the possibility that the apostles were telling the truth. Even if a miracle occurred under their noses, they wouldn’t stop to consider the possibility that the message associated with the miracle was from God. The Pharisees and chief priests who were involved in crucifying the Lord encapsulated the reprobate mindset that is so warped, they are not even eligible for salvation. They said with their own mouth that they could not deny to the people that a noteworthy miracle had occurred, but they personally denied. We are talking about a hardness of heart that is virtually impossible to fathom.

(242g) Kingdom of God >> Opposition toward the Kingdom of God >> Persecuting the kingdom >> Worldly pressure >> World pressures you to forsake God

Act 4,14-18

(186b) Works of the devil >> The result of lawlessness >> Blasphemy >> Cursing the Holy Spirit >> Consider the work of the Holy Spirit to be sin

Act 4-16

(148e) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Works of the Church bear witness to Jesus >> Evangelism >> Natural advantage of the public eye -- This verse goes with verse 21. God uses miracles to prove both His message and His messengers as genuine. The apostles never considered doing what their religious leaders told them, but asserted pointblank that they would disobey their command. The religious establishment could not argue against the things the apostles were publicly preaching, because God placed His stamp of approval on their message by the miracle the apostles performed.

Act 4,17-22

(148j) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Works of the Church bear witness to Jesus >> Evangelism >> Obligation to preach the gospel >> Preach even if it hurts

Act 4,17-20

(69g) Authority >> Righteous judgment >> Meditate on discernment >> Judging what is right

(71a) Authority >> Believer’s authority >> We have authority from God to evangelize the world >> We have an anointing to preach the gospel

(94h) Thy kingdom come >> God’s perspective >> His perspective on the witnesses of Jesus

(150g) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Works of the Church bear witness of Jesus >> Confessing Jesus >> Confessing what Jesus has done

Act 4-17,18

(67i) Authority >> Jesus delegates authority >> Preaching the gospel in Jesus’ name – The religious leaders of Israel commanded the apostles to stop preaching in Jesus’ name because they wanted this man to disappear, for they had His blood on their hands. Before they crucified Him they said in Mat 27-25, “His blood shall be on us and on our children!” They wanted Him dead because He was infringing on their phony religion, disrupting their lives and means of income. There was a change of motives between crucifying Christ and commanding His name never to be spoken. They figured that if the name of Jesus disappeared, His blood would disappear off their hands. They crucified an innocent man, and they knew it. Unrepentant sinners running from God are like running from the sun; they keep running until they meet Him face-to-face on Judgment Day. It is ironic that unbelievers want to remove the stain of Jesus' blood from their hands, but believers want His blood on them, for it signifies their salvation, but do we understand that having His blood on our hands means that we are responsible for His death?

(201e) Denying Christ >> Jesus is an offense >> Truth offends error >> The gospel offends the religious establishment – Jesus is just as much an offense in our time as He was then, for He will forever remain an offense to unbelievers of this world. We understand why He was an offense in the days of the apostles, because the chief priests and Pharisees were the very men who had Jesus murdered, but why is He still an offense 2000 years later? It reduces to conscience. People spend an inordinate amount of time and effort patching up their conscience, instead of fostering its good health by doing what they know is right. Typically, they live however they want and deal with their conscience later, developing philosophies and friends that help them feel better about themselves, and then comes the evangelist telling them about Jesus, and all their patchwork falls apart.

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19-22 But Peter and John answered and said to them, "Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; 20 for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard." 21 When they had threatened them further, they let them go (finding no basis on which to punish them) on account of the people, because they were all glorifying God for what had happened; 22 for the man was more than forty years old on whom this miracle of healing had been performed.

 

Act 4-19,20

(6c) Responsibility >> Advocate God’s cause >> Jesus’ yoke of evangelism – The slave only does what he is told. The apostles were the slaves of Christ, so does that mean they had no choice? Slaves basically have a choice; they can deny their master and face the consequences, but what consequences had the disciples faced had they denied the Lord their service and stopped preaching the gospel? They would have resisted the Holy Spirit and grieved the Lord whom they loved and who loved them. Everything was well defined for them, had they resisted, they would have immediately found themselves blaspheming the Holy Spirit and being guilty of an unforgivable sin. So we see that the disciples’ choice reduced to the option between life and death, between obeying the person they loved with the hope of eternal life or throwing it all away to please a posse of unenlightened degenerates. It wasn’t much of a choice.

(61j) Paradox >> Two implied meanings >> We cannot stop speaking what we have seen and heard: We are addicted to preaching the gospel / We are mandated to preach the gospel When Peter said, “We cannot stop!” he meant he was both mandated and addicted to preaching the gospel. He was compelled by the Spirit to do so, like a heroine addict who cannot stop shooting junk into his veins. The apostles were speaking to the Jews as though they were junkies of the gospel, but simultaneously he was speaking to them in terms of having Christ’s yoke of evangelism around their necks. 

(90b) Thy kingdom come >> God convicts us >> Conviction leads us in the way of faith – All of mankind were hinged upon the apostles’ work. They were saluting the gospel bon voyage, because God knew after the original apostles fell asleep savage wolves would rush to take their place (Act 20-29,30). Giving the gospel a good push into its uncertain future was like pushing an empty canoe into a lake hoping it will reach the other shore and seeing it almost immediately stall; its initial energy put into it quickly fading with the boat just out of reach dawdling by the shoreline, going nowhere. The Church really needed a good sendoff, and by the time the apostles were done, they had nearly reached the entire known world with the gospel of Christ, and there were many people who caught fire after them and continued propelling the gospel of Christ, and this flame has continued to flicker throughout the eons, but there are so many factions in the Church today that anyone who has a remnant of the Spirit is met with distain by the religious establishment, no different from our friends Peter and John in this story.

(216d) Sovereignty >> God overrides the will of man >> God’s will over man >> Compelled by the Spirit >> God takes advantage of your love for Him >> Being addicted to the Holy Spirit – If they didn’t preach the gospel of the kingdom, they would have experienced Jeremiah 20-9, "If I say, ‘I will not remember Him or speak anymore in His name,’ then in my heart it becomes like a burning fire shut up in my bones; and I am weary of holding it in, and I cannot endure it." Paul also said in 1Cor 9-16, "I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel." If the apostles didn’t preach the gospel, their spiritual lives would begin to disintegrate. Paul and Peter and all the apostles virtually became addicted to obeying the Holy Spirit, and their immediate benefit was growing ever closer to Christ. They actually felt closer to Him than they ever did with Jesus in the flesh! They became addicted to His spiritual presence with His word always on the tip of their tongue, always ready at a moment’s notice to speak the undefiled Word of God. Signs and wonders came through their hands during various times of their ministries, but this was nothing compared to their relationship with Him, being willing to sacrifice anything to maintain that connection.

Act 4-20

(156j) Witness >> Validity of the believer >> Evidence of salvation >> You will know them by their words

Act 4-21

(148e) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Works of the Church bear witness to Jesus >> Evangelism >> Natural advantage of the public eye -- This verse goes with verse 16. The apostles used their growing popularity to protect themselves from their persecutors; Jesus did the same thing, being a common strategy. They wanted relief from their enemies so they could continue preaching the gospel unhindered, and while this is a logical and reasonable ambition, it doesn’t always have the best results. God eventually answered their prayers, but He wanted to keep using their persecutors to further the gospel, for persecution always has the opposite effect of its intent. The people thought they needed persecution to end so they could more effectively spread the gospel, but persecution was busy spreading the gospel in the public eye more effectively than if it were left unhindered. Once God finished using their persecutors, He finally answered their prayer, and He judged their persecutors by judging the entire nation of Israel for rejecting the gospel.

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23-26 When they had been released, they went to their own companions and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said to them. 24 And when they heard this, they lifted their voices to God with one accord and said, "O Lord, it is You who MADE THE HEAVEN AND THE EARTH AND THE SEA, AND ALL THAT IS IN THEM 25 who by the Holy Spirit, through the mouth of our father David Your servant, said, 'WHY DID THE GENTILES RAGE, AND THE PEOPLES DEVISE FUTILE THINGS? 26 'THE KINGS OF THE EARTH TOOK THEIR STAND, AND THE RULERS WERE GATHERED TOGETHER AGAINST THE LORD AND AGAINST HIS CHRIST.' 

 

Act 4,23-31

(48b) Judgment >> Eternal judgment >> God's eternal judgment on the world – The persecutors of the early church were Jewish zealots; what happened to them? The entire nation was taken away, dispersed and removed from their own homeland for nearly 2000 years. They became pilgrims just like the Christians they persecuted, wandering the earth, people without a nation, persecuted everywhere they went. So when we think about the judgment that God imposed on the enemies of His Church through their rejection of the gospel, it was extremely severe. It is better, like Paul said, to rightly judge ourselves to avoid being judged (1Cor 11-31), for if we defer responsibility to Him, the consequences He imputes will be far worse than the simple act of repentance He asked of us.

(194d) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Turn from sin to God >> Run to God >> Run to God from your enemies

(242f) Kingdom of God >> Opposition toward the Kingdom of God >> Persecuting Jesus – Consider the power of this prayer: we have a recollection of God’s answer written in our history books! The reason this was so powerful is that we are taking His word, not our own thoughts, into prayer and asking Him to do what He said He would do. The apostles accurately interpreted Psalm 2-1,2; they didn’t misquote it or force it into a different context to mean something else, but took the proper context of God’s word as it was intended and directly applied it to their situation in prayer. That is, they told God that this was a prophecy against their enemies that was being fulfilled in their own lives, that the rulers were literally doing exactly what these verses say, reminding God that the rulers had gathered against the Lord and against His Christ. In other words, they were telling the Lord that their enemies were fighting against Him and not against them, taking themselves out of the equation. They reminded the Lord that their enemies were subverting His gospel and inhibiting His cause, not their cause. They were asking Him to fight for His purposes, not theirs. They were not asking God for something they wanted, but for something He wanted, and that is a powerful prayer.

Act 4,23-26

(130b) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Unity >> Being in one accord >> Having one voice

Act 4,24-31

(28k) Gift of God >> God is our advocate >> God protects us through prayer

(82l) Thy kingdom come >> Power of prayer >> Prayer anoints your life in the word -- These verses go with verse 13. This prayer of the early Christians summarized the prayers of the First Century Church. Note, at the guidance of the apostles the disciples prayed against their enemies, asking God to “take note of their threats” (v29). They were appealing to God to do something about them. Essentially, they threatened their enemies with the word of God and prayer, quoting Scripture against them. They didn’t try to tell God what to do, but let Him decide for Himself what He should do. The Pharisees and chief priests who were persecuting the apostles also persecuted Paul throughout his entire ministry; they severely beat him many times, threw him in jail and flogged him, placing the brand-marks of Jesus on his body (Gal 6-17). They came to be his status symbol, His mark as an apostle.

(111h) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Spirit and the word >> Kingdom of God revealed >> Word plus signs and wonders – This is an example of combining the Holy Spirit with the word of God by praying the Scriptures. The resulting earthquake represented God’s endorsement on the life and faith of his disciples, and also endorsing their practice of taking the written word of God with them into prayer. This kind of prayer leads to a Most Holy Place with God. The people literally prayed the word of God. Note that there is a difference between praying according to the Bible and literally praying the Scriptures. Just because we don’t often see this in the Bible doesn’t mean it isn't relevant. The entire book of Psalms consisting of 150 chapters, the longest book in the Bible, is a book of prayers, so in that sense Psalms teaches us to pray the word of God. Without question in most cases the writers of the Psalms penned their verses while in a state of prayer, and it is also how we should read them, and it is also how the apostles and the First Century Church used them in this particular case, in a state of prayer.

Act 4,24-26

(245e) Kingdom of God >> Spirit realm imposed on the natural realm >> Literal manifestations >> Literal manifestation of Jesus Christ >> Manifestation of Jesus’ second coming – This prayer of the early Christians summarized the prayers of the First Century Church, and note that at the guidance of the apostles they asked God to do something about their persecutors. Essentially, they threatened their enemies with God through prayer, quoting Scripture against them. The passage they quoted from the Old Testament was a prophecy meant for the second coming of Christ, but the First Century Church borrowed it to use against their enemies at the beginning of the age, indicating that the beginning and the end of this age will have similarities. It also shows how they interpreted Scripture, using it as a spiritual manifestation in the apostle’s time, knowing that it has a literal interpretation for the end of the age, when the world literally takes its stand against the Lord and against His Christ.

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27-31 For truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, 28 to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose predestined to occur. 29 "And now, Lord, take note of their threats, and grant that Your bond-servants may speak Your word with all confidence, 30 while You extend Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders take place through the name of Your holy servant Jesus." 31 And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness.

 

Act 4,27-33

(131n) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Unity >> Power of God seen through unity

Act 4-27,28

(219j) Sovereignty >> God overrides the will of man >> Predestination >> God’s calling is our destiny – It was predestined from the foundation of the world that Israel should reject and crucify the Messiah. We have heard phrases like: 'Certain things are destined to happen' and 'we have a destiny,' then there is predestination, which is one step beyond destiny. Our destiny is what we were created to do, whereas predestination disregards human will; essentially it has already happened far as God is concerned. However remember, Jesus sweat drops of blood committing the cross to heart, so we can say that Father, Son and Holy Spirit predestined the cross from eternity past, but when Jesus entered the temporal realm and dwelt among us, at that point the cross was His destiny, having been restricted from the divine attribute of predestination. Everything already has happened in God's mind, who knows everything; He can travel through time to the future to see what will happen, and of course He has a clear recollection of the past. God was not responsible for Israel rejecting Him; He only knew they would, as though He had planned it that way from the beginning. It is impossible to blame God for what people do, though many have tried. People have blamed Him for every travesty under the sun, just because He was aware that it would happen and had the power to stop it. Likewise, people accidentally run over animals with their cars, though they could see what was about to happen and had the power to stop it, yet they are usually traveling at too high a speed to swerve or slam on the breaks to avoid hitting the creature and cause an accident that might kill people. This in some way approximates the reason God allows bad things to happen: all the circumstances of the universe run on a chain reaction sequence of space and time, and to break that continuum would have a ripple effect on the circumstances downstream, so God would in fact become responsible for everything that happened after that. God gave this world to man to do with it however he sees fit. If God stepped in, He would invariably change the circumstances to possibly kill just as many people as would have died had He simply allowed the cards to fall as they may, so it’s a lose-lose situation for God to get involved in man’s affairs. However, where there is faith, it is another story. Faith allows God to intervene, so those who believe in Him get the credit while He gets the glory.

Act 4-27

(13c) Servant >> Jesus serves His Father >> He is the servant of God – This verse goes with verse 30.

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Act 4,29-33

(115d) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Working the grace of God >> Through your ministry >> Through your calling >> In preaching the gospel The very first deception of the Church that occurred almost immediately after the apostles fell asleep was the belief that the dispensation of signs, wonders and miracles had ended. If this were true, then Jesus should have told us that His promises had a time limit, but it wasn’t God’s willingness or His ability to perform miracles that expired, but man’s faith to believe in Him. Man was willing to believe in God before he lost his nerve, and now man’s dispensation of faith has ended, but the problems of the Church extend far beyond that. The two aspects of God’s truth that immediately fell to the wayside were the idea of working with the grace of God, accompanied by our understanding of the Holy Spirit's interconnectedness with the word of God. The earthquake was the result of praying the Scriptures. The Holy Spirit is our access to the Father, and prayer is our access to the Holy Spirit, so when we pray the Scriptures, we are fellowshipping with Christ. When God reveals His word to us by the Spirit and we obey what He says, we work with the grace of God to do His will.

(149h) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Works of the Church bear witness to Jesus >> Evangelism >> Authority of the rhema given to evangelism >> Preaching the gospel by the power of God – There is something about boldness and confidence that really sends a message to people; it’s not just what we say, it’s also how we say it. Those who carry a bona fide anointing, the confidence they transmit accentuates their message. The words are great by themselves, but when we add boldness and confidence to them, it supercharges the word of God, sending the message straight to the heart. The audience can deny the message, but they cannot ignore our boldness. See also: Confidence/boldness; Act 4,29-31; 122b

Act 4,29-31

(122b) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Confidence in God >> Through prayer The word “confidence” is directly linked to faith. If we want to see answered prayer, we must develop confidence in God, which would incite Him to answer our prayers, being that God only works through faith. If the Church were vibrantly serving the Lord, it would encourage confidence in the members, and answered prayer would become more common. Where does confidence originate? We can grow confident in the Lord through our own relationship with God as students of the word and disciples of prayer, but how far can that take us, since the Bible teaches that the people of God were meant to come together in assembly as a Church and not individuals? He hasn’t called the members of Christ to be separate from each other but to be separate from the world. Since God has called the members of Christ to pursue Him as a Church, why would He work with individuals? He would be contradicting Himself, defeating His own purpose, undoing the establishment of the Church. God wants His people to work together before He will work among us to accomplish His will. He will not operate any way other than what Scripture teaches. He will not compromise His Church or His truth for the disobedient and rebellious. God can minister to the individual in spite of the Church, but He cannot use the individual to minister to the Church until the people are ready to receive him. Anybody can have a relationship with God as close as he wants, and through that relationship minister to individuals, but when it comes to manifesting the Kingdom of God in the world, the Lord wants to reveal Himself on a corporate level through the Church, not just through a few. If the members of His body dedicate themselves to the will of God and seek to fulfill His purpose in their lives, God would be inclined to work among us. He has the entire body of Christ worldwide in mind when He speaks about the Church; therefore, none of these things will ever happen until God causes His people to globally unite. Then the saints will serve the Lord in the way He desires and will engender a level of confidence that will satisfy His willingness to answer our prayers. Until then, all we can do is watch and pray and maintain our personal relationship with God in hope of influencing our local church where we attend and encourage some to serve the Lord in a fuller way. See also: Unity; Act 4,32-36; 117g; Confidence/boldness; Act 4,6-14; 123a

Act 4-29

(44ka) Judgment >> Transformation process >> Fulfill your ministry

Act 4-30

(13c) Servant >> Jesus serves His Father >> He is the servant of God – This verse goes with verse 27

Act 4-31

(147f) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Jesus’ works bear witness of Himself >> Divine works of God >> Spiritual manifestations

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32-37 And the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; and not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own, but all things were common property to them. 33 And with great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all. 34 For there was not a needy person among them, for all who were owners of land or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sales 35 and lay them at the apostles' feet, and they would be distributed to each as any had need. 36 Now Joseph, a Levite of Cyprian birth, who was also called Barnabas by the apostles (which translated means Son of Encouragement ), 37 and who owned a tract of land, sold it and brought the money and laid it at the apostles' feet.

 

Act 4,32-37

(8h) Responsibility >> Preparing to interact with God >> Preparing for revival – It is interesting when we look at endtime prophecy that this whole process is reversed at Jesus’ return. As the early disciples later dispersed, the last day’s church will soon rally, creating camps and their own economies in preparation to receive the Lord Jesus Christ, who is coming to establish His thousand-year reign on the earth. Just as the apostles were confident of His return in their lifetime (though He never came), so the Church in the last days will be confident of His return for all the more reason, because 2000 years have transpired, and they will not be disappointed, for they will be led by two highly distinguished prophets and by 144,000 Jewish zealots. It will be important for everybody to have something to offer the body of Christ in those days.

(34l) Gift of God >> Be generous like your Father >> Give to your brother – This indicates tremendous vision on part of the saints to relinquish their possessions to feed the poor among them. Some donate their estate to the Church after they die, but seldom prior to their death, while they are healthy and young with a full life ahead of them. Most people would consider what they did to have been a very poor investment, but the early saints were not economists. They were born-again Christians who loved God with all their hearts, who traded their value of money for eternal rewards. They came to the realization that God would take care of them, even if they gave away all their possessions, so long as they remained in the center of God’s will. That is not to say God promised to give their money back like we hear from prosperity gurus. The early church was not about money or earthly riches, and this is what the prosperity teachers today need to realize.

(72j) Authority >> Hierarchy of authority >> More Authority The More Responsibility >> The strong shall help the weak

(78e) Thy kingdom come >> Sincerity >> Taking God to heart >> Having pure motives and desires – The poor and those who were wealthier were alike, for they all gave what they had to the apostles, eliminating poverty in the Church for a season. No one had possessions they called their own, for everything was common property of the group, not by compulsion, but on a volunteer basis. It was communal living; others would call it Socialism. It didn’t last long partly because of the dispersion, but it probably wouldn’t have lasted much longer, since it was inevitable that some people would surmise they could live off the group without being productive, and soon rules would need to be imposed that would turn into laws and then a government. It appears that establishing a Christian government was never God's will. As proof of the dispersion, it appears that God wanted His people marbling among the people in order to better influence them and to avoid making themselves a target for persecution. This short period had its intended effect, allowing the people to focus on their vision of faith toward God and love toward one another, and allowing the apostles devote all their time and energy exclusively to the word of God and prayer, giving the Church a strong start.

(96i) Thy kingdom come >> Attitude >> Positive attitude about giving

(119g) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Freedom >> Debt free

(128i) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Bearing fruit >> Living a fruitful life >> Be fruitful and multiply >> Growing spiritually – The fact that people were getting saved had a great impact on the saints; their surrounding communities were believing in the gospel of Christ. Their teachings were life-altering, but it was the fact that the gospel penetrated their world, seeing people coming to the realization of Jesus Christ, constantly seeing new faces shining with the glory of God that brought tremendous encouragement to the saints, and increased their faith to believe the truth. What we should understand about this is that we can have dynamic teaching, but if the Church is not growing spiritually and numerically, it is a sign there is something wrong. We live in a different world with different circumstances with almost everybody having heard about Jesus; we can’t very well compare ourselves with the first century. They introduced a brand new concept to a world that God had personally prepared to receive, yet the expectation is the same; we must grow in the things of God or we will grow weary and become stagnant.

(131h) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Unity >> Interdependence >> Being selfless toward one another

(215d) Sovereignty >> God controls time >> God’s timing >> Fulfillment of God’s time >> Completion of a period of time – This period of the Church was extremely important as an opportunity for God to have His people’s undivided attention, not distracted even by a career, though there were probably some who held jobs and helped finance the Church, and everybody benefited. This period was so important to a fledgling church in a lost and hostile world, where people of faith will spend most of the next couple millennia floundering in the dark. The better relationship they developed with the Lord, the better their chances of surviving, though many were persecuted and some were martyred.

(236h) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Invest in the kingdom >> Invest your treasures into the kingdom >> Invest everything you value – the Church had a vision from God, which superseded their value of money. They gave it all away to the apostles, whom they trusted with their lives, for the sake of those who were in need. No one had more than anyone else, making everyone financially equal. Church visions still revolve around money, but it was the early church’s vision that devalued money. Soon as they lost their vision of faith and love, money became valuable again and they began to pursue it. Today centuries later, the Church has built doctrines around money so that without it, evidence exists that without money the blessing of God is not among people with less. Now we have a highly materialistic church, because there is no vision of unity.

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Act 4,32-36

(117g) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Eyes of your spirit >> Vision >> Real-eyes God’s purpose for the Church >> Understand Jesus' vision of the Church – The apostles walked with Jesus for 3 years, saw him after His resurrection and watched Him ascend into heaven, yet none of this really mattered until they received the Holy Spirit. Then the Holy Spirit combined with the truth Jesus taught them that He was indeed the Son of God and that He paid for the sins of the world through His own blood. A vision resulted and they could walk by its light. Where is the vision of the Church today? For us it is a story that we have decided to “believe.” In contrast, the early church didn’t decide to believe in Jesus; they had no choice but to believe in Him; their faith was a knee-jerk reaction, and now we need God to jumpstart our faith. We have the choice to believe in God or not believe, but to those of the early church Jesus wasn’t a belief; He was a reality that when combined with the Spirit, unleashed the power of God. When all the people together believed the same thing by the strength that God supplied, they had a vision of unity that the Church has not seen again. A vision like this doesn’t exist in the Church anymore; it is gone. Jesus said in Mat 5-13, ‘You are the salt of the earth, but if the salt has become tasteless, how will it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.’ Once the salt has become tasteless, that is, once we let the fire wane, how can we restart it? God has given us authority to keep it burning by fanning the flames, but not to restart it. Only God can do that, and He has no intensions of returning until the designated time, so if the fire has extinguished after 300 AD, we have no choice but to believe in God through a long heritage of doctrines that have scrambled the facts and introduced different spirits, until it is impossible to get back what the early church once enjoyed without help from God, and help is coming! God has arranged a time when He will re-ignite the coals, at the end of the age, when He will establish a worldwide revival. Many millions of people will be saved during this great endtime revival. See also: Unity; Act 4,29-31; 122b

Act 4,33-35

(23g) Sin >> Poverty (Oppression) >> Tending to the needs of the poor (this is not in relation to sin) – It says that with great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus in reference to evangelism, speaking with great authority and backing that authority with signs, wonders and miracles. Seeing the grace of God piercing the darkness gave the Church vision to realize that their faith in God meant more than the things of the world. Christians back then had the protection and leadership of the original apostles, affording them great security. They also had the Holy Spirit manifesting Himself, and had the truth in its purest form. As a result of these things they had unity. It doesn’t say the people who sold their possessions and gave the proceeds to the Church were held in honor above others. Rather, with everything in place, this had tremendous impact on the Church, giving them extraordinary vision so that their possessions were no longer valuable to them. The only thing that held meaning anymore was their faith. Contrast that with the Church today, everyone is out for himself and considers his possessions to far outweigh any significance of faith in the gospel. People today identify with their possessions so much that they extrapolate personal value from them. Essentially then, the main difference between the early church and us is most clearly seen in the discrepancy of our value system. Israel also faltered in the old covenant era, and at the center of their unbelief was materialism. This is not just one of many manifestations of unbelief; materialism happens to be the ultimate manifestation of unbelief. The love of money is caustic to our faith because it gives a false sense of value and security, as opposed to being led by good and righteous men who would sacrifice their lives rather then see evil befall the children of God. Today opportunists run the Church; therefore, to the degree that we love our possessions is the degree to which we have lost our vision.

Act 4-33

(111b) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Spirit and the word >> Spirit and evangelism

Act 4,34-37

(73c) Authority >> Respect your leaders >> The ministry to the saints

(77n) Thy kingdom come >> God Ministers To People Through The Humble >> Humility gives a blessing

Act 4-36,37

(139c) Temple >> Building the temple (with hands) >> Encouragement >> Urging the disciples to continue in the faith

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