Acts 5:12-42

May 12, 2019 // By:Dave // No Comment

Acts is a  building book

Building of the church

(What is the church? discuss

Building of tension between the church and non-church

(Jesus dealt with opposition from the Pharisees since he came in a a new high priest representing a new convenant )

(Apostles are now dealing more with the sadducees because they are preaching a RESURRECTED Christ)

Acts 5:12 At the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were taking place among the people; and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s portico.

13 But none of the rest dared to associate with them; however, athe people held them in high esteem.

14 And all the more believers in the Lord, multitudes of men and women, were constantly added to their number,

15 to such an extent that they even carried the sick out into the streets and laid them on cots and pallets, so that when Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on any one of them.

16 Also the people from the cities in the vicinity of Jerusalem were coming together, bringing people who were sick or afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all being healed.

17 But the high priest rose up, along with all his associates (that is the sect of the Sadducees), and they were filled with jealousy.

high priest is more closely associated with sadducees than the pharisees 

what is the difference between sadducees and pharisees?

note that verse 17 says what about the emotional state of these sadduccess

the Sadducees were the theological liberals of the first century. 

They didn’t believe in 

  • miracles
  • resurrection
  • existence of angels. 

That’s why sadduccess were “sad you see?”   LOL!!

The Sadducees were a large part of the ruling elite, the Sanhedrin. They were the jewish politicians 

They worked to keep the Romans and the Jews happy.

Here this group is filled with jealous anger because their beliefs are being challenged and they are losing power. They hated the relentless testimony of the apostles, who kept telling them they were doubly guilty of crucifying Jesus. But we shouldn’t miss another obvious reason why these men are so frustrated in this scene. 

Are the sadducees actually fighting against the apostles ?

they are fighting against God Himself

Without even realizing it, they are fighting against the very purpose for which the universe was created, the exaltation of Jesus.

18 They laid hands on the apostles and put them in a public jail.

19 But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the gates of the prison, and taking them out he said,

20 “Go, stand and speak to the people in the temple the whole message of this Life.”

The Sadducees’ disbelief makes it a bit ironic that God sends an angel to miraculously free the apostles.

21 Upon hearing this, they entered into the temple about daybreak and began to teach. Now when the high priest and his associates came, they called the Council together, even all the Senate of the sons of Israel,  and sent orders to the prison house for them to be brought.

NIV translates “sons of israel” as elders

Easton Bible Commentary says “probably to make clear that the Pharisees were well represented in the council at this time, though they may not have been at the first trial but became vocal through Gamaliel at the second one (cf. vv.34-40)”

Jacob had twelve sons and at least one daughter, by his two wives, Leah and Rachel, and by their handmaidens Bilhah and Zilpah. Jacob’s twelve sons, named in Genesis, were Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, and Benjamin.

22 But the officers who came did not find them in the prison; and they returned and reported back,

23 saying, “We found the prison house locked quite securely and the guards standing at the doors; but when we had opened up, we found no one inside.”

24 Now when the captain of the temple guard and the chief priests heard these words, they were greatly perplexed about them as to what would come of this.

25 But someone came and reported to them, “The men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple and teaching the people!”

26 Then the captain went along with the officers and proceeded to bring them back without violence (for they were afraid of the people, that they might be stoned).

27 When they had brought them, they stood them before the Council. The high priest questioned them,

28 saying, “We gave you strict orders not to continue teaching in this name, and yet, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.”

Matt 27:25 tells us this is exactly what they asked for

29 But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.

30 “The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you had put to death by hanging Him on a cross.

31 “He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.

32 “And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him.”

33 But when they heard this, they were cut to the quick and intended to kill them.

34 But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the Law, respected by all the people, stood up in cthe Council and gave orders to put the men outside for a short time.

35 And he said to them, “Men of Israel, take care what you propose to do with these men.

36 “For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and a group of about four hundred men joined up with him. But he was killed, and all who followed him were dispersed and came to nothing.

37 “After this man, Judas of Galilee rose up in the days of the census and drew away some people after him; he too perished, and all those who followed him were scattered.

38 “So in the present case, I say to you, stay away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or action is of men, it will be overthrown;

39 but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them; or else you may even be found fighting against God.”

who is Gameliel ?

a leading authority in the Sanhedrin in the early first century CE. He was the son of Simeon ben Hillel and grandson of the great Jewish teacher Hillel the Elder

mentor for Paul the Apostle (known right now as Saul of Tarsus, a voracious reader)

In the Talmud, Gamaliel is described as bearing the titles Nasi “prince” and Rabban “our master”, as the president of the Great Sanhedrin in Jerusalem; although some dispute this, it is not doubted that he held a senior position in the highest court in Jerusalem.[3] Gamaliel holds a reputation in the Mishnah for being one of the greatest teachers in all the annals of Judaism (talmud is the equivalent of a commentary on jewish scripture and started by its focus on the Torah. The mishnah is the first part of the talmud containing written recordings of oral traditions based upon the torah)

Interesting that Gameliel’s argument is based upon sects of faith led by men who were killed resulting in followers being scattered

(while he clearly heard these followers speaking of a resurrected Messiah who has power over death and sees that these followers are not scattering but rather, growing in number and stronger in faith to the point where they no longer even fear death as punishment)

His statement in vs 39 about “fighting against God”

40 They took his advice; and after calling the apostles in, they flogged them and ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and then released them.

gamaliel says “stay away from these men and let them alone, Luke then records “they took his advice and had the men flogged and ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus (then released them)   

does that sound like leaving them alone ?

If that was their idea of leaving them alone, what were they originally planning to do ?

Why would someone fight against God ?

41 So they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name.

42 And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they kept right on teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.


  • A. The prophet Isaiah said, “Woe unto him who strives with his Maker.
    • 1. How could you as a mortal man ever hope to win in a contest with God?
    • 2. Would you strive with Him intellectually?
      • a. The foolishness of God is wiser than man.
      • b. Job and his friends were discussing all their opinions and ideas about God.
      • c. They spoke as if they knew so much about God.
      • d. When God began to respond to their arguments and ask them questions, they were silenced.
      • e. Man poor man, so ignorant in that which he knows best.
    • 3. To try to fight with Him physically is manifestly absurd.
    • 4. That leaves only one other battleground and that is spiritual.
  • B. It must be recognized that man can only fight against God because God allows him to do so.
    • 1. You exist only by the mercy and grace of God, for God sustains you.
    • 2. When Daniel was brought in to Belshazzar the Babylonian king to interpret the writing on the wall, he said to him, “You have praised the gods of gold and silver, but the God in whose hand your very breath is, you have not glorified.”
      • a. The God in whose hand your breath is, you depend upon God for your next breath.
      • b. It is interesting that your lungs and your heart are involuntary muscles that are not controlled by your brain. You do not have to think to breathe.
      • c. The body has voluntary and involuntary muscles. The voluntary muscles are attached to the frame of your body and are controlled by the brain, the involuntary muscles are not attached to the frame and are not controlled by the brain.
      • d. Those muscles upon which your life depends, God saw fit when He designed your body not to give you the control over them.
      • e. I find it interesting that Belshazzar’s grandfather Nebuchadnezzer had sought to fight against God and had learned a very valuable lesson that he sought to pass on. He declared, “I blessed the most High God and I praised and honored him that liveth forever, whose dominion [is] an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom [is] from generation to generation: all the inhabitants of the earth [are] reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and [among] the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou? Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all whose works [are] truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase.
  • C. This warning against fighting against God was given to the religious council in Jerusalem by a noted and respected rabbi whose name was Gamaliel.
    • 1. Paul the apostle was one of his students.
      • a. It is interesting to me that Paul though a student of Gamaliel, did not listen to the sage advise of his teacher and set out to destroy the church.
      • b. When Jesus apprehended him on the road to Damascus He said to him, “It has been hard for you to kick against the goads.”
      • c. Mules which were sometimes used for plowing had a habit of kicking, you have heard the phrase, “He can kick like a mule.” Another phrase is, “Stubborn as a mule.” So that when the mule was harnessed to the plow, they would begin to kick, so they put these goads behind their legs which were sharpened pieces of wood. When the mule would kick it would only bring pain to itself.
      • d. It has been hard for some of you to kick against the goads, you have been fighting against God, and look at all the pain it has brought into your life.


  • A. Wrong concept of God.
    • 1. They have only listened to what others have said about God and have not known what God has said about Himself.
    • 2. I have heard people say the most off the wall things about God and about the Bible which only reveal to me their ignorance. I realize that they do not know God nor the Bible, they are only saying what they have heard others say.
    • 3. The Bible purports to be God’s revelation of Himself to man, I am convinced that it is.
      • a. Unless you have read the Bible all the way through, how can you possibly be so opinionated about its contents.
      • b. Some people start reading the Bible in Genesis and when they get to the story of God asking Abraham to offer his son Issac as a sacrifice, they close the book and say, “I cannot believe in a God that would require a father to do such a horrible thing.” Yet they may have participated in an abortion. Genesis does not have the full story of this event. You need the book of Hebrews in the New Testament to fully understand the story for it explains to us the thinking of Abraham at the time.
      • c. So many people say, “I do not believe the Bible.” If you ask them if they have ever carefully read the Bible all the way through, if they are truthful they will tell you no. How can you respect the opinion of a person who makes such a judgment without examining for themselves all the evidence.
      • d. I do not ask you to take my word for it, I want to challenge you to examine for yourself, see what the Bible teaches about God, about you, and how a man can come to know and serve God.
    • 4. So it is out of ignorance that some people fight against God.
  • B. Some have had unfortunate experiences in life that they have wrongfully blamed upon God, and have thus become embittered against Him.
    • 1. Maybe a minister has lied to them, or cheated them. They had looked up to them as God’s representatives, and now are crushed to find that they are human. This is tragic because so often people do look upon us as perfect. Let me assure you that I am far from perfect, God saved me and has blessed me to demonstrate His grace.
    • 2. Maybe they had prayed and God did not answer their prayer. Ted Turner of Turner Broadcasting Company attributes his bitterness against God to the death of his sister, for whom he had desperately prayed that God would spare her life.
      • a. The tragedy is that she loved the Lord and is with the Lord, and though he loved her so deeply, he will never be with her in the kingdom of God unless God gets hold of his heart and he repents from his sin and seeks forgiveness.
      • b. We have such a wrong concept of death. It is only our selfishness that causes us to pray that God will not let His children die. To be absent from this body is to be present with the Lord. Isn’t that where we all want to be?
      • c. It is reported that when Louis Talbot died, that his wife was praying the Lord would not let him die, and he stopped her saying in effect, “For years I have been looking forward to this moment when I could be with my Lord, please do not try to stop me from this joy.”


  • A. God loves you and His plan for your life is the very best thing that could ever happen to you.
    • 1. God said,
      • JER 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
      • PSA 84:11 For the LORD God [is] a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good [thing] will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.
    • 2. If I were a leader of a foreign power that was experiencing economic woes I would declare war on the United States and send my troops to attack. After we were defeated I would surrender and then apply for aid like the Marshall plan and others. Like Japan and Germany I would then head a prosperous nation.
    • 3. This is sort of what happens when a person quits fighting and surrenders to God.
  • B. Is it possible that you are fighting against God today?
    • 1. You have become involved in some evil that is ready to destroy you, you have been straying from His way, and He has spoken to you about it, but you are fighting Him.
    • 2. Let me plead with you for a moment, consider the consequences of fighting against God, think of how awful it would be if you won, you would then be eternally lost.

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