Last week we looked at the story of the crippled beggar at the Beautiful gate being healed. Peter was walking in a new boldness that came from the Holy Spirit’s baptism. He saw this man through the eyes of Jesus and used the authority given to Him by the Father to heal him. As a result, 2,000 more men were added to the church. Momentum is building and God’s Kingdom is growing!
We are going to pick up in Acts 5 and look at how God is using the Apostles to continue in the advancement of the Kingdom. There is a common theme of God using healings and miracles along with the preaching of the gospel to win the lost.
I. Faith is growing
Acts 5:12-16: The apostles were performing many miraculous signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers were meeting regularly at the Temple in the area known as Solomon’s Colonnade. But no one else dared to join them, even though all the people had high regard for them. Yet more and more people believed and were brought to the Lord—crowds of both men and women. As a result of the apostles’ work, sick people were brought out into the streets on beds and mats so that Peter’s shadow might fall across some of them as he went by. Crowds came from the villages around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those possessed by evil spirits, and they were all healed.
The healing of the crippled beggar launched the Apostles into greater faith and expectancy for miracles and healings. They had Jesus do many miracles and expected every time that He prayed for someone that they would be healed. After healing the lame beggar they no longer went to the temple just to pray. They went to minister healing and salvation.
God healed a man who had been crippled from birth. This not only raised faith and expectancy for healing in the Apostles but also for those who needed healing.
Solomon’s Colonnade was a common location for rabbis to teach their disciples. God opened a door for the church to meet in this area after the crippled man had been healed. They were meeting there regularly. It also says no one else dared to join them, even though they highly respected them.
The great news is that there were still many coming to know the Lord. The Apostles stay true to what God had told them to do and the result was the Kingdom kept growing.
“As the result of the Apostles’ work” means the apostles continued to preach the message of the cross and they continued to heal the sick.
They were lining them up on the streets so that Peter’s shadow might touch them and then they would be healed!
The story of Peter’s shadow healing people brought this verse to mind:
John 14:12-14: “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!
The woman with the issue of blood was healed by touching the robe of Jesus. Now we see people being healed by Peter’s shadow. We also see in Acts 19:12 that God healed people with handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched Paul’s skin.
II. Ministering in the power and authority of Jesus will come at a cost
Acts 5:17-32: The high priest and his officials, who were Sadducees, were filled with jealousy. They arrested the apostles and put them in the public jail. But an angel of the Lord came at night, opened the gates of the jail, and brought them out. Then he told them, “Go to the Temple and give the people this message of life!” So at daybreak the apostles entered the Temple, as they were told, and immediately began teaching. When the high priest and his officials arrived, they convened the high council—the full assembly of the elders of Israel. Then they sent for the apostles to be brought from the jail for trial. But when the Temple guards went to the jail, the men were gone. So they returned to the council and reported, “The jail was securely locked, with the guards standing outside, but when we opened the gates, no one was there!” When the captain of the Temple guard and the leading priests heard this, they were perplexed, wondering where it would all end. Then someone arrived with startling news: “The men you put in jail are standing in the Temple, teaching the people!” The captain went with his Temple guards and arrested the apostles, but without violence, for they were afraid the people would stone them. Then they brought the apostles before the high council, where the high priest confronted them. “We gave you strict orders never again to teach in this man’s name!” he said. “Instead, you have filled all Jerusalem with your teaching about him, and you want to make us responsible for his death!” But Peter and the apostles replied, “We must obey God rather than any human authority. The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead after you killed him by hanging him on a cross. Then God put him in the place of honor at his right hand as Prince and Savior. He did this so the people of Israel would repent of their sins and be forgiven. We are witnesses of these things and so is the Holy Spirit, who is given by God to those who obey him.”
It says that Sadducees were filled with jealousy over the Apostles’ ministry, so they arrested them and put them in jail.
It’s interesting - all the people who opposed Amiee Simple McPherson when she started the Foursquare Church. Many tried to discredit her, but God kept doing a mighty work through her and many people were healed, saved, and filled with the Holy Spirit.
This is an incredible story in Acts. The Apostles get arrested. Then an angel of the Lord helps them escape and tells them to go back to the temple and to preach the message of life.
These officials were dumbfounded when they went to the jail the next day only to find the Apostles not there. They got word that they were back at the temple and to go to arrest them again.
They gave the Apostles orders not teach about Jesus or His message anymore. Peter and the Apostles responded by saying “we must obey God’s authority over Human authority.”
III. God always wins
Acts 5:33-42: When they heard this, the high council was furious and decided to kill them. But one member, a Pharisee named Gamaliel, who was an expert in religious law and respected by all the people, stood up and ordered that the men be sent outside the council chamber for a while. Then he said to his colleagues, “Men of Israel, take care what you are planning to do to these men! Some time ago there was that fellow Theudas, who pretended to be someone great. About 400 others joined him, but he was killed, and all his followers went their various ways. The whole movement came to nothing. After him, at the time of the census, there was Judas of Galilee. He got people to follow him, but he was killed, too, and all his followers were scattered. “So my advice is, leave these men alone. Let them go. If they are planning and doing these things merely on their own, it will soon be overthrown. But if it is from God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You may even find yourselves fighting against God!” The others accepted his advice. They called in the apostles and had them flogged. Then they ordered them never again to speak in the name of Jesus, and they let them go. The apostles left the high council rejoicing that God had counted them worthy to suffer disgrace for the name of Jesus. And every day, in the Temple and from house to house, they continued to teach and preach this message: “Jesus is the Messiah.”
The Apostles’ response made the high council furious and they wanted to kill them. Then Gamaliel gave them some wise council.
Let them go. If they are doing these things on their own, it won’t last just like these other movements. However, if they are doing what God tells them, then nothing will stop them. The Apostles were then flogged and let go.
The Apostles rejoiced because they were counted worthy to suffer for the name of Jesus. Every day they continued to preach the message of Jesus.
1 Peter 1:6-7: So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.
We try to avoid trials and hardships as much as possible, but it’s these trials that refines us and shows us that our faith is genuine. There have been many challenges these past five years during this church plant, but I have experienced God’s glory and joy in ways that I could never imagine!
The Apostles remained faithful! Every day they continued to preach the message of Jesus.
God wants us to be a church that minsters the way the early church ministered. We will minister the full gospel - salvation, healing, and deliverance. We need the power of the Holy Spirit to do these things, so we will continue to pray for people to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Ministering this way may come at a cost, but the cost will be worth it when we see more people coming to know Jesus.