ACTS CHAPTER FIVE


"We Must Obey God"

Suggested Teaching Objectives

1. To teach the determination necessary to obey God.

2. To teach the folly of disobedience to God.

3. To teach the value and importance to the community of our obedience to God.

4. To show that the scriptural method of enlarging a church through visitation.

Introduction: Few people today are obedient to God. This is also true of many church people. If they were obeying God, they and the churches would be causing a great stir in their communities. The church at Jerusalem was the "talk of the town" because they were obedient Christians. Let us learn some lessons about their obedience so that we might see how we could make "our church impact" upon the community as great as theirs. We must obey God.

I.Even when tempted by the flesh and by Satan -- VS. 1-11

The love, these Christians had for each other, was so great that they were even selling their homes and giving the money to the Apostles so that the needy Christians would have their needs met. cf. Chap. 4:34-37.

Now Ananias and Sapphira were tempted to see that they be among the notable ones who were so sacrificing, that they schemed to do this dishonestly. They sold their land and kept back part of the money. Then they brought it to the disciples and pretended that the sum they brought was all the money they had received for that which they sold. They were guilty of the sin of covetousness (Exodus 20:17; Luke 12:15-21; Mark 7:21) and the sin of lying (Matthew 15:19; 19:17, 18; John 8:44).

Satan had used their fleshly desires to tempt them and they had fallen into sin. The seriousness of the sin is noted when we see that in their lying to God. We must not profess to be more in church and to the church than we really are. This curse of their deaths was brought about by their half-hearted lukewarmness, which God abhors. Revelation 3:15-16. cf. I Samuel 15:20-23. God gives a stern warning in Romans 8:13 and I John 5:16 which teaches us that a premature death is possible for Christians who do not live as they should.

II. In our exercise of faith -- VS. 12-16

Vs. 12 -- The Apostles exercised their faith in the risen Lord and boldly declared Him unto the people of Jerusalem and God authenticated their word with signs and wonders. Mark 16:20.

Vs. 13-14 -- The people showed their faith by identifying themselves with this group of believers and God blessed with more souls. There is no excuse for a saved person not identifying himself with the Lord and His people by baptism and church attendance. Somebody is watching you and you are an influence on them. Your whole-heartedness for the Lord might bring them to Christ.

Vs. 15-16 B The Holy Spirit was working so greatly in the midst and through these believers that even the physically sick were being made well. God would heal many today if His people were out and out for Him as these Christians were. The healing was not in or by Peter, but it was wholly of God. We need to exercise our faith in the Lord to use us and to trust Him to do marvelous and miraculous things. Prov. 3:5-6: Heb. 11:6.

III. When persecuted -- Vs. 17-39

The Sadducees didn't believe in miracles or of the resurrection. They were angered over God's workings and the Apostles' message. They had the Apostles imprisoned, but God miraculously delivered them so they could continue their preaching. All the forces of Satan and this present world can't stop God's people from witnessing if they are determined to do so unless God wills that they be stopped.

Vs. 21 -- They entered the Temple early. They were not l

Vs. 28 -- The council was the Sanhedrin, which had illegally tried Jesus just prior to His death. They (the council) admitted that the Apostles had filled Jerusalem with their teaching. It would be great if some church in our city were that successful.

Vs. 29-32 -- The Apostles showed their mind when they said, "We ought to obey God." This was what they intended to do. Then they preached about Jesus and accused the council of putting Him to death. The fact that God had exalted Him was witnessed by them. "A man with an argument is no match for a man with a testimony."

Vs. 34-39 -- Gamaliel, a teacher of great reputation whom Paul boasted of as having been his teacher, stood up in their defense. His argument, however, was not valid. Just because a work prospers or does not is no indication of God's blessings. Eg. Christian Science, Jehovah's Witnesses, Mohammedanism, Buddhism, etc. But the council agreed, with reservations. Perhaps, they too, were beginning to wonder if these things (teachings and workings of God through the Apostles) were so.

The Apostles obeyed God even when persecuted. They were determined to obey God. We should be so determined also, so that when persecution comes, we will stay true to the Lord.

IV. When beaten and seemingly defeated -- VS. 40-41

They were beaten (scourged) and commanded not to preach. They were seemingly defeated but then they no doubt thought of Jesus' suffering for them. Then they thought of the fact that as He suffered, they were suffering, and all for Him. So, they rejoiced that God had so counted them worthy as to allow them to suffer for Him. They were then glad they had determined to obey God rather than men.

V. Daily, whether in or out of the church -- VS. 42

Daily, they talked about Jesus. Not just in the temple while assembled with the saints (it was easy then) but also in every house (where it often was not easy) they told people about their need of Jesus. They were obeying God. Acts 1:8

Conclusion: We ought to obey God! We ought not to let Satan defeat us as he did Ananias and Sapphira. We ought to exercise faith in the Lord for success in His work. We ought to obey God even when persecuted, slandered, ridiculed, misunderstood, beaten and when seemingly defeated. We ought to keep on, keeping on. II Timothy 4:2. If every Christian in our church would do as these Apostles did, it would soon be said of us, too, "these have filled our city with this doctrine."