Acts 4;13

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 3, Day 4: Acts 4:1-22

Summary of Acts 4:1-22:

The priests and the Sadducees arrest Peter and John because they were teaching people Jesus rose from the dead.  But many heard and more were converted.

The next day the pair was brought before the Sanhedrin (a group resembling the group Jesus was brought before) and asked by what power they healed.  Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, speaks the truth, “It is by the name of Jesus Christ whom you killed that this man is healed.  Salvation is found only in Jesus.

The learned men were astonished these so-called unschooled, ordinary men could heal.  They could do nothing since everyone had seen the man healed.  The Sanhedrin want to stop them from speaking in Jesus’ name but when they asked Peter and John to stop, they refused. Reluctantly, the two were let go since they could not deny a miracle had taken place.

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 3, Day 4: Acts 4:1-22

10) Peter proclaimed that Jesus alone has the power to raise the dead and that salvation is found in no one else but Jesus. It makes a difference if you are saved and go to heaven or not. Believers are saved; unbelievers in Jesus Christ as the Savior are not.

11a) Even more people believed, now numbering 5000. Those who arrested them took note as well of Jesus’ power. All the people were praising God for what had happened so they were set free.

b) Personal Question. My answer: The power of Jesus can overcome anything so give my troubles to him.

Conclusions BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 3, Day 4: Acts 4:1-22

When we did Acts before, Lesson 3 covered Acts 3-7. I’m wondering where we’re going this year. It’s cool to see how the authorities can’t do anything because they can’t refute the power of Jesus.

End Notes BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 3, Day 4: Acts 4:1-22

The captain of the temple is the police force of the temple. Boice says that the emphasis in the original indicates that they stopped and seized Peter and John suddenly.

The Sadducees were disturbed that Peter and John taught the people and preached in Jesus the resurrection from the dead; they did not believe in the afterlife or the resurrection at all.

This was a scare tactic on the part of the authorities to get Peter and John to stop preaching about Jesus. Acts 4:21 mentions further threats.  Boice notes that Acts 4:1-6 lists no less than 11 different groups or individuals opposing these followers of Jesus.

This was a scene of power and intimidation. This same group of leaders had recently condemned Jesus to death, and they wanted them to know that they had the power to do the same thing to Peter and John.

mountains

Peter’s logic was piercing – why are we on trial for a good deed?

The quotation from Psalm 118:22 was appropriate. Jesus was rejected by men – by those leaders – but was exalted by His Father.

God uses both educated and uneducated men for His purpose. It’s just as wrong to think that formal education disqualifies someone for effective service as it is to think that it automatically qualifies someone for effective service.

It is interesting to note what the Jewish leaders did not do: they did not make any attempt to disprove the resurrection of Jesus. If it were possible to do, this was the time to do it; yet they could not.

Luke probably found out what the Sanhedrin discussed among themselves because a member of that Sanhedrin later became a Christian: Saul of Tarsus. Acts 26:10 gives us reason to believe Paul (Saul) was a member of the Sanhedrin to cast his vote against the early Christians.

If this is true, then Peter and John had no idea they were preaching to a future apostle and the greatest missionary the church would ever see. We have no idea how greatly God can use us.

How God Uses Bad Situations for Good

  • 2,000 more people came to believe in Jesus
  • Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit again
  • Peter preached Jesus to the leaders of the Jews
  • Hostile examiners and unbelievers confirmed a miraculous healing
  • The enemies of Jesus were confused
  • Peter and John were bolder for Jesus than ever before
  • God was glorified

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 3, Day 5: Acts 7

Summary of passage:  Stephen begins his defense by citing history.  He reminds the Sanhedrin that God appeared to Abraham while he was still in Mesopotamia and told him to go to Haran.  So he did.  Then God told him to go to Canaan and he did.  God promised him he and his descendants would possess that land even though at the time Abraham didn’t.  They would be enslaved for 400 years but afterward they would worship Him.

He gave Abraham the covenant of circumcision.  Isaac was born.  Isaac had Jacob who became the father of the twelve patriarchs.

He retells the story of Joseph, how these same patriarchs (Joseph’s brothers) sold him into slavery into Egypt.  But God was with him and Joseph became Pharaoh’s right-hand man.  Famine struck Canaan so Jacob and his whole family went to Egypt to survive and live with Joseph.

Their ancestors grew over this time but became oppressed by a different ruler of Egypt.  Around this time, Moses was born and he was brought up by Pharaoh’s daughter and educated in the Egyptian ways.

When Moses was 40 he visited his fellow Israelites and interceded when one was being mistreated by an Egyptian and killed the Egyptian.  However, the Israelites did not trust Moses so he fled to Midian.

Another 40 years passed when an angel appeared to Moses in the burning bush where God then spoke to him.  God told him he was sending him back to Egypt to rescue his people, the same people who had rejected Moses before.

He led them out of Egypt and wandered for 40 years.  During this time, the people still questioned Moses leadership and decided to make a golden calf to follow instead.  God got mad at this and told them they would be punished by exile in Babylon (much later on in history).

Moses had the tabernacle and it remained in the land until the time of David and Solomon built a dwelling place for it and the Lord.  But Stephen says God does not live in houses built by men.

Now Stephen attacks the Sanhedrin, accusing them of resisting the Holy Spirit and persecuting prophets and ultimately killing Jesus.

Of course, the Sanhedrin weren’t happy with this attack.  But Stephen looked up and saw the glory of God and Jesus at His right hand.  Appalled the Sanhedrin attacked Stephen and stoned him to death.  Stephen prayed for the Lord to forgive his attackers, while Saul looked on–something of profound significance coming up.

Questions:

13a)  Stephen is being charged with blasphemous words against Moses, the law, customs, the temple, and God.  He is laying out the history of Abraham and Moses, careful to mention how the people had rejected Moses and to highlight how God was behind both of them.

b)  But the people rejected God’s chosen men time and time again, citing examples of the golden calf and angering God, including rejecting Moses even with the presence of the Tabernacle.

c)  Even today,  you (the Sanhedrin) resist the Holy Spirit, persecute and murder prophets (Jesus), and disobey God’s laws just like  your ancestors of the past.

14a)  Accused of blasphemy against God, Stephen used God’s words and God’s history to show how it was they who were not obeying God, not him.  Ever since Abraham, the people have resisted God’s chosen people (here I am assuming Stephen is counting himself as a chosen person of God) and continue to do so.  Basically, they are hypocrites.

b)  Stephen was calm and angelic.  The Sanhedrin were furious and gnashed their teeth at him.  Stephen used words as his weapon. The Sanhedrin used stone.

15)  Stephen looked up to Heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.

16a)  Yes.  Death by stoning is a horrible way to go.  Jesus suffered in death and so did Stephen but Jesus was with him so I’m sure the pain was dulled by this knowledge.

b)  Saul

c)  Lord Jesus

Conclusions:  I can’t support my answer to 16a but it seems at least by the Notes from Lesson 1 and the little circle, BSF is implying suffering is a part of victory so since Jesus suffered, so did Stephen.  Plus, I can’t imagine being hit by one stone, let alone enough to kill you.

I love Stephen.  He’s one of my favorites in the Bible.  Here’s a guy who loves the Lord, does the Lord’s work, and is blessed by the Lord to do so and yet he’s picked on for doing so and ultimately killed because of it.  And he didn’t really do anything when compared to Jesus.  I would wager someone or some people just didn’t like him and wanted him gone.

Yet the Lord is with him to the very end.  Awesome!

I loved the synopsis of the history of Genesis and Exodus as well as we see how people resisted God’s word throughout the ages.  It seems like the people were just dumb back then (I mean who makes a golden calf when Moses is up talking to God face to face, right?) but you see the same kind of thing today.  People rejecting God’s word over and over again.  Ironic, isn’t it, how we still haven’t learned from the past.

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 3, Day 4: Acts 6

Summary of passage:  The Grecian Jews (the minority) complained to the Hebraic Jews (the majority) that their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food.  The 12 Apostles called a meeting and decided to chose 7 men who were full of the Spirit and wisdom to tend to the problem so they could give their attention to prayer and ministry of God’s word.

They chose Stephen, Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch (all Grecians).  The problem was fixed and the number of believers grew.

Stephen who was full of God’s grace and power did great miracles.  Opposition arose (as always) from different Jewish sects but none of them could outwit Stephen.  So they told a lie about him to have him seized.  They produced false witnesses against Stephen, accusing Stephen of blasphemy against Moses, God, and Jesus.

Stephen’s face was like the face of an angel.

Questions:

11a)  The widows of the Grecian Jews were being overlooked by the Hebraic Jews in the daily distribution of food.

b)  To spread the word of God.  Verse 2  In prayer and the ministry of the word.  Verse 4

c)  They did what all good leaders do:  they delegated.  They had the Grecian Jews (the ones with the complaint) choose 7 men amongst them who were full of the Spirit and wisdom to handle the distribution of food.

d)  To delegate.  Include everyone in the decision-making process.  Everyone is important and deserves a voice.

12)  Deacon means servant. Paul writes in 1 Timothy 3:8-13 Deacons must be worthy men of respect, not indulgent in wine, trustworthy, and a good manager amongst other qualifications. Here, the passage only states they must be full of the Spirit and wisdom.

Conclusions:  No where in my Bible in Acts 6 is the word deacons used.  I didn’t even think of the 7 as Deacons until this question.

Webster’s Dictionary defines a deacon as a subordinate officer in the Christian church; a Roman Catholic cleric ranking below a priest; a Mormon in the lowest grade of the Aaronic priesthood

When I was a kid, I thought of deacons as old people or elders of the church.  We don’t have deacons in my church.  I like the word servants of the church better.

Maps:  This was the best I could do.  It shows all the locations:  Cyrene and Alexandria on the coast of Africa, Cilicia above modern-day Israel in Asia Minor. It also has good explanations of what’s coming in Acts.

http://www.ccel.org/bible/phillips/CN092MAPS1.htm

Good map of Cilicia and great background information:

http://bibleatlas.org/regional/cilicia.htm

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 3, Day 3: Acts 5

Summary of passage:  Ananias sold some property with his wife’s knowledge with the intent to give the proceeds to the Lord.  Instead, he kept part of the money for himself.  Peter calls him on it, asking him how he has lied to the Holy Spirit.  Thus, Ananias fell down dead.  Fear seized all who heard Ananias’ tale (understandable).  He was buried.

Three hours later not knowing what has happened to her husband, Sapphira comes in and tells Peter the same thing.  Peter says she too is testing the Holy Spirit.  She too fell down dead.  Great fear seized the whole church (NOTE:  First time the word church is used in the Bible).

The Apostles continue to heal many people.  More and more people became believers.  Crowds gathered for healing.

The Sadducees (the Jewish elite and law-makers) arrested the Apostles for what they were doing.  But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and told them to go to the temple courts and keep proclaiming the Good News.

The next morning, the guards seized the Apostles again, baffled by how they escaped.  The Sanhedrin questioned them thoroughly, asking why they violated their order not to teach in Jesus’ name.  Peter and the others reply, “We must obey God rather than men!…We are witnesses and so is the Holy Spirit.”

The Pharisees wanted to put the men to death but one named Gamaliel spoke wisdom, saying if these men are from God, you will not be able to stop them because then you would be fighting God himself.

Still, the Apostles were flogged and ordered to not speak in the name of Jesus.  Shockingly, the Apostles left rejoicing for their suffering because it was for God.  Day after day, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the Good News that Jesus is the Christ.

Questions:

8a)  You have lied to the Holy Spirit and tested the Holy Spirit so they fell down and died.

b)  God takes lying and deceiving him very seriously.  He doesn’t like people misrepresenting themselves before Him and others for personal gain.  He doesn’t like pride, greed, and pretenses of spirituality.

9a)  Verse 32

b)  Verse 32

10a)  The apostles rejoiced at their flogging because they had deemed them worthy of suffering for Jesus.  They never stopped teaching about Jesus despite their suffering.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Literally, no.  Who amongst us has ever been flogged for Jesus?  Not many in the US.  However, one can be flogged verbally for speaking about Jesus and persecuted in other ways (such as ostracism).  It happens less and less in today’s society but it does happen.  In my times of personal suffering, I like to think I honor Jesus and God by praying, hoping, and keeping the faith.  For this too shall pass.

Conclusions:  Great life lesson for all of us–the Apostles rejoiced at their suffering for God.  Many of us think we are suffering (and in our world, we are) but when we think about the physical act of being flogged (whipped repeatedly) our suffering is nothing compared to the Apostles’.

So the question then becomes:  are we suffering for God?

End Note:  Solomon’s Colonnade (also known as Solomon’s Porch) “was a roofed colonnade in the temple build by Herod the Great.  It may have been so named because of the tradition that Solomon had once constructed a similar E wall and cloister.  It was here that Jesus walked and talked during his Feast of Dedication (John 10:23).”

Taken from Zondervan Illustrated Bible Dictionary by J D Douglas and Merrill C Tenney.

Very detailed site with modern-day pictures here:  http://templemountlocation.com/triplegate.html