The good news breaks down the barriers of sin and separation and reconciles enemies and "the other."

In this second part of Acts the Gospel moves out from Jerusalem to Judea and touches the nations.

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Transcript

Dan: 

Hi everyone. And welcome to trainingforliferedeemed. We are up to episode 23. I'm your host, Dan . I'm here with my dad as always David Jackson. And today we're going to be looking at Acts chapter five, verse 12, through to chapter eight, verse three. This is covering three sets of study notes that you can get from us, which are studies six to eight. And it's going to bring us to the end of part one of our study series on Acts We have this process. We've just ended up at the end of the last one with Ananias and Sapphira. They been killed because they were lying to the holy spirit. We then have the church begins to grow again. They're fearful and standing off of who the apostles are and what's happening with them. And then we have the apostles as a group, get arrested. What's happening here. Now

David: 

The Sanhedrin originally pulled in Peter and John and told them, put a sock on it. We don't want to hear any more about Jesus. You're causing trouble. Go away. Peter and John replied, you're the ones who are on trial. You killed the Messiah. We're going to go out there and tell everybody about Jesus. And you do what you like. We're going to obey God, not you. You're the criminals. They then went out and did exactly that. So we're back to this scene where in Solomon's Portico, which seems to be where Jesus used to run Bible classes. When he was in town, the apostles are out there and more people are coming. I think if I'm reading this right, that the people are already been converted, having their Bible studies at home where the Sanhedrin won't see them, whereas the apostles are going into the temple and new people are coming and they're continuing their Bible classes. And the word is spreading. And the Sanhedrin is up t here i n their office. Looking down, going these guys, aren't doing what they're told. This is getting out of hand. So they send the police down and this time they publicly arrest them. All of them.

Dan: 

Before we go onto that public arresting, I've noticed here in this passage from verse 11 ish, down to the 16, there's a lot of language that actually reflects what happens with Jesus. Like they're bringing lots of people from all over the place for them to be healed. They're teaching and staff. We have the opposition that comes up. They're jealous. It's very much like they're just continuing the ministry of Jesus here. So yeah, that's , that's my contribution right now.

David: 

That's quite right. We had one miracle and we had an arrest. Now. We've got people bringing their sick and everybody from everywhere and we've got lots of miracles happening and more people are coming and the original converts look like they're staying home.

Dan: 

Yeah. And they're coming from all over the vicinity. Like it's not just Jerusalem. Now that people are actually coming in from the cities around Jerusalem.

David: 

Coming in from Judea, they've heard, Hey, you can bring Auntie Flo She can get healed , you know, and it's happening. And the Sanhedrin, it's just totally gone out of control. So this time they publicly want to stamp their authority on the place. And so they go down, they send the temple police down. These are not Roman soldiers. And they arrest all of the apostles that are teaching. And they're going to stand before the Sanhedrin and have their say. But the problem is it's heading towards sunset. They've thrown them in prison this time, not just d ragged them up. So they're downstairs in jail. Upstairs the Sanhedrin have gone home to bed. And in the middle of the night, God does his thing and they're all out of jail. And what I think is really funny in this passage, t here's a bit of a challenge to me. Cause I like to sleep in when they're released from prison, they're told go down into the temple grounds and start teaching again. So early in the morning, which is first light, they're all out there and the crowds are coming and the whole thing's happening again. And by the time the Sanhedrin gets out of bed and finds their offices. And they're sort of in this sleepy looking cartoon picture of the Sanhedrin meeting, there's a court , you better go down and get the prisoners. And i t was nine o'clock in the morning. They'd been teaching for three hours and the guard comes back and says, well, I'm sorry, they're gone. Where are they? Well look at your window. They're b ack u p. God is mocking this mob and they thoroughly deserve i t. so the apostles come back and tell hi m i n shorter words this time we'll evade God, rather than you, they get threatened. And then it's back to work. Meanwhile, up pops our little mate Gamaliel.

Dan: 

Yeah. He's quite significant later on because Paul is studying under Gamaliel throughout Paul's life, which I presume means Paul is somewhere around here at the moment as this is going on. So Gamaliel essentially just kind of says to leave them alone, if it's not from God it'll fall apart on its own. But if it is from God, we'll end up fighting against God, which is not what we want.

David: 

Yeah. For the Sanhedrin. It's all about not causing problems with the Romans. Cause they're on a good deal. They're all involved in bribery and corruption with the Romans. They want it . They want to keep business happening. They remember all these false Christs and false messiahs that were bouncing around , who got people dead. The Pharisees, are, a completely different l ot. The Sadducees are a corrupt, the Pharisees are the Bible teachers. And they're very aware that the Messiah is promised in the old Testament and the Messiah is coming and they trust that God fulfil that promise. And there's a bit of a worry. What if these guys are telling the truth, you've just seen people healed in massive scale for a Pharisee reading his Bible. That's fairly persuasive, but obviously G amaliel isn't quite persuaded yet. The result is you guys might want to think about whether you want to give these guys a hard time.

Dan: 

From there we move on into this choosing our seven deacons. And why is it significant that they organize these things called deacons and what the word means Service or servant almost.

David: 

Yeah. It's uh , your next problem is while the apostles are up there , busily trying to handle all this teaching and getting arrested and crowds and everything else. The people back in their homes are trying to feed people and look after them and run these home Bible study groups and whatever they're doing. And the next thing we've obviously moved on in time. Some significant time has passed since Pentecost. And we're now at a point where you're having to set up ministries to the poor and the widows that the gospel's working its way out in practical ways. And now some of the jealousies are surfacing. We've sort of got to what we call hump day haven't we , you know , it's day three, camping. We've had a lovely time getting all set up, but now we're going to start whingeing and the whingers and the practical difficulties here . So you've got people who've come from Greek culture gathering in synagogues where Greek is spoken. You've got another bunch of people who grew up in Judea and they're going to Hebrew speaking synagogues. And now that they've become, Christians our widows are missing out. You're not doing the right thing. We're not getting a fair share. Grumble grumble. Everything's been the Apostle's responsibility up to this point. So they're doing the teaching and they're managing the finances and it's time to now divide up the jobs. And so deaconing is ministry service and the the apostles are saying, look, guys, we can't do everything. We'll focus on the teaching a nd prayer. You need to give some other people t he job of looking after widows and finances and stuff.

Dan: 

Yeah. So let's actually kind of setting up the processes of how even now churches still function much on this same model, where you have people who are in charge of the teaching and prayer type aspects of things. And then you also have other people who get elected or ordained or voted in or any system for people who are going to then do the more service-based ministries. And it's not that one's more important than the other. It's just that you need both and you can't do all of them as one person.

David: 

And I think we've missed the, we were thinking about when you get into the written studies, we've missed the importance of diaconal ministry because these are the guys that get into the homes. And the next thing you know, the guy who's doing meals on wheels to widows is the guy that is suddenly the focus of all the Sanhedrin''s attention because of the power and the effectiveness of his ministry. He's going into the homes of widows and vulnerable people and signs and wonders are happening. And he's telling people about Jesus and that's really threatening the establishment. So next arrest is a deacon.

Dan: 

Yeah. Stephen ends up getting hauled before the Sanhedrin and having to defend himself. He's going to become the first martyr , I guess, of the church. But yeah , let's talk about his defense. He kind of provides a big, long winded summary of some of the old Testament.

David: 

I love Steven, you're standing beyond in front of these guys and you know, they're going to kill you. You just know they're going to kill you and they're going to kill you as soon as you stop talking. That's why this is the longest chapter in Acts. He keeps talking because he's going to get dead as soon as he stops. And when the , the crowd get restless at the end, then he's going to stick it to them. So the talk is really, let me explain to you the whole Bible, I'll start at Genesis and we'll work our way all through everybody else. And I'll show you why you guys are the enemies of God's people. You are just part of that whole big story of all the people who opposed. God's plan of salvation. You're just the last little appendix at the end here, and they're getting restless and they're getting offended. So he, in language that Christians don't use, he tells these fellows that you're so proud of being the circumcised Jews, but you know what? You've got a foreskin over your heart and over your ears. And at that point they lose, totally lose it. You heart of hearts, you've uncircumcised, heart and ears. And in this ridiculous irony, their response is to cover their ears and go raging at Stephen drag him out and kill him because he dared to accuse them of being murderers.

Dan: 

And then they don't stop there either . This is the beginning of the persecution that's of this kind of scale, where we have soon, Paul is going to be referred to as this man who's chasing after Christians and trying to hunt them down and put them in jail and arrest them and try them and kill them, kill them. Yeah. So this is going to lead to Christians spreading and leaving Jerusalem because they've all been attracted to Jerusalem because of the miracles that are happening, the teaching of the apostles. And now suddenly with the persecution they're gonna spread and kind of go back home in essence, the less they have to have to be there, they're heading out.

David: 

Okay . It's an interesting way to graduate from Bible college. Isn't it. Okay. Grab your books and run. And take your learning with you.

Dan: 

And so we're actually going to end part one here, and we're going to start part two in our next episode. It's not like we're waiting ages for it, but , uh , in the next part, we're going to start to see what happens when these people go home and how the gospel is going to continue to spread and how the holy spirit is going to be using these people. So make sure that you come back and listen to that. Now this episode is coming to an end. So thank you so much for joining us for listening to this and for going deeper with us into Acts chapter five, 12 verses 12, until chapter eight, verse three, make sure you come over to trainingforliferedeemed .com to grab the study notes there for the next three studies that studies six, seven, and eight, you can sign up there and get those studies and really go deeper. We look forward to you coming back, make sure that you subscribe so you don't miss out on the episodes. And if you really are enjoying these, please leave us a review or come over to the show notes at trainingforliferedeemed.com/23. And leave us a comment there as well. We'd love to hear from you.