Summary: There was never a dull moment around old Jerusalem First Church! Pentecost came in a blast of Glory. It was fifty days after Jesus’ Resurrection when the Holy Spirit came upon the believers during the Feast of Pentecost. The presence of God filled t
A Lesson in Divine Providence
There was never a dull moment around old Jerusalem First Church! Pentecost came in a blast of Glory. It was fifty days after Jesus’ Resurrection when the Holy Spirit came upon the believers during the Feast of Pentecost. The presence of God filled the room, where they were praying, with wind and fire. The Holy Spirit had been promised by Christ and now He had arrived to fill and equip each believer for a special roll in Christ’s ministry. And, on that day, there was the unusual speaking in “other tongues” or other languages which was a miracle; it enabled Jews visiting from outside Judea, including Jews who no longer understood Aramaic or Hebrew, to understand the message of the gospel.
The Church was born and the new Christians were daring and eager. There were healings taking place at the hands of the apostles. It began just after Pentecost; Peter and John had gone to the temple to pray and as they entered through the Gate Beautiful they met a man who had been lame from his mother’s womb. When the man asked them for alms, Peter said, “Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.” At that command, the lame man did what he had never done before.
The First Church received a lesson on hypocrisy. A married couple, Ananias and Sapphira, sold a piece of property, and they purposely did not give all the proceeds to the fellowship. Then they lied by saying that they had given the full amount. When they were asked about the proceeds that they held back, first Ananias and then Sapphira lied both to the Holy Spirit and to the church leaders. Both of them, at different times, were struck dead.
Nevertheless, the First Church was increasing, not only in numbers, but also in other ways. Christ’s grace was poured out on them, so they were strengthened and equipped for service. The wave of power was building within the church to a great climax.
Can you relate to the First Church? What can we learn from them to apply to our present state of affairs? Let me suggest three things:
First, we will have times when we almost seem invincible. Our influence over others will draw friends and family to Christ. People will listen and agree with our opinions. We will easily resist temptation and we will feel God’s presence within; we will be happy and content.
Second, the good times will not last forever. There will be times when nothing seems to go right. We will fail in our service to the Lord. People will criticize us and make fun of us. When we are tempted, we will fall; we will sin knowingly. It will feel like God’s presence has departed from us. It will be disappointing, but it will not be hopeless.
Third, the key to being what we need to be is to remember who we are. I love the song, “I Am a Child of the King.” That says it all; nothing and no one is greater. He will not lose one of His. What ever power was available to the people of the First Church is also available to us. The same Jesus that the apostles knew is setting at the Fathers right hand, and He is our mediator. The same Holy Spirit who lived in the early believers, who came on the Day of Pentecost, lives within us. Remember, the God who made all things is your Heavenly Father. This is the overwhelming lesson of Acts 5:12-42.
Let’s read our text.
12 And through the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were done among the people. And they were all with one accord in Solomon’s Porch.
13 Yet none of the rest dared join them, but the people esteemed them highly.
14 And believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women,
15 so that they brought the sick out into the streets and laid them on beds and couches, that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might fall on some of them.
16 Also a multitude gathered from the surrounding cities to Jerusalem, bringing sick people and those who were tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all healed.
17 Then the high priest rose up, and all those who were with him (which is the sect of the Sadducees), and they were filled with indignation,
18 and laid their hands on the apostles and put them in the common prison.
19 But at night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out, and said,
20 “Go, stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this life.”