In chapter five of the Pentecostal handbook we learn that the disciples not only benefited from the Spirit’s power but also received His judgment and garnered the Jewish leaders wrath. However, God grew the church and continued to do miracles among the people.

Acts 5:1 Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. 2 With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet. 3 Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? 4 Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God.” 5 When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. 6 Then some young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him.

7 About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 Peter asked her, “Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?” “Yes,” she said, “that is the price.” 9 Peter said to her, “How could you conspire to test the Spirit of the Lord? Listen! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.” 10 At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11 Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.

  1. The problem with Ananias and Sapphira is that they pledged to give all the money from the property they sold but they lied and kept back some for themselves.
  2. Notice in v. 3 Peter said they lied to the “Holy Spirit” and in v. 4 Peter said they lied to “God.” This kind of verbal interchange showed that the early church was experientially Trinitarians.
  3. Great fear was in the church because the Spirit was present to reveal God’s power in many ways; including judgment.

12 The apostles performed many signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon’s Colonnade. 13 No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people. 14 Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number. 15 As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. 16 Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by impure spirits, and all of them were healed.

  1. Luke recorded that signs and wonders continued and they began to have a central meeting spot in the temple area, Solomon’s Colonnade (also known as, “Solomon’s Porch”).
  2. In v. 13 Luke recorded that “No one else dared join them,” but v. 14 recorded, “Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number.” This account is not contradictory but rather complimentary because the church’s growth was not from popularity but rather Spirit-led evangelism (1 Corinthians 2:2-5).

17 Then the high priest and all his associates, who were members of the party of the Sadducees, were filled with jealousy. 18 They arrested the apostles and put them in the public jail. 19 But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and brought them out. 20 “Go, stand in the temple courts,” he said, “and tell the people all about this new life.” 21 At daybreak they entered the temple courts, as they had been told, and began to teach the people.
When the high priest and his associates arrived, they called together the Sanhedrin—the full assembly of the elders of Israel—and sent to the jail for the apostles. 22 But on arriving at the jail, the officers did not find them there. So they went back and reported, 23 “We found the jail securely locked, with the guards standing at the doors; but when we opened them, we found no one inside.”

24 On hearing this report, the captain of the temple guard and the chief priests were at a loss, wondering what this might lead to. 25 Then someone came and said, “Look! The men you put in jail are standing in the temple courts teaching the people.” 26 At that, the captain went with his officers and brought the apostles. They did not use force, because they feared that the people would stone them. 27 The apostles were brought in and made to appear before the Sanhedrin to be questioned by the high priest. 28 “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,” he said. “Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood.”

29 Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than human beings! 30 The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead—whom you killed by hanging him on a cross. 31 God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might bring Israel to repentance and forgive their sins. 32 We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.” 33 When they heard this, they were furious and wanted to put them to death.

  1. The angel does a miracle of “transportation,” similar to the boat in John 6:21, Jesus appearing in a room in John 20:19 and Philip being transported in Acts 8:39.
  2. Notice how in v. 28 the leaders are totally aware that the apostles’ preaching places the blame on the entire nation of Israel and their leadership and command them to stop preaching.
  3. Peter declared they would rather obey God than human beings.
  4. Peter preaches salvation based in the Trinitarian context in vs. 31-32; “God/The Father,” “Jesus/The Son” and “The Holy Spirit.”

34 But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, who was honored by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin and ordered that the men be put outside for a little while. 35 Then he addressed the Sanhedrin: “Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men. 36 Some time ago Theudas appeared, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men rallied to him. He was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing. 37 After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt. He too was killed, and all his followers were scattered. 38 Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. 39 But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.” 40 His speech persuaded them. They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.

41 The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. 42 Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.

  1. Gamaliel, Paul’s mentor (Acts 22:3), advised the Jewish leaders to let God judge the disciples by watching to see if the church imploded by itself. This is not good advice to follow with false doctrine- they should have been willing to debate the issues (Acts 17:11), so it doesn’t really have present applications, but God used it to keep the disciples safe.
  2. The apostles were flogged and rejoiced because they were counted worthy of suffering for Jesus’ name. Concerning the flogging the ESV Study Bible notes: “This time the Sanhedrin enforced their command by scourging the apostles. The text does not say whether it was with the maximum of 39 stripes prescribed by Jewish law (see 2 Cor. 11:24) or with fewer stripes. The lashing consisted of striking the victim’s bare skin with a tripled strip of calf’s hide. The victim received two blows to the back, then one to the chest. Thus each cycle had to be divisible by three, which explains the maximum limit of 39 [13 cycles]—one less than the 40 prescribed in Deut. 25:3.”
  3. The disciples kept evangelizing and making new disciples!

Despite the early church witnessing God’s judgment and being persecuted by the Jewish leaders; they kept working the Word and God worked with them with signs following and new disciples being made!