Sunday, September 02, 2007



Let's move past the Ananias and Sapphira story that is in direct contrast to that of Barnabas and see what was happening in the fellowship.
12At 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. 13But none of the rest dared to associate with them; however, the people held them in high esteem. 14And all the more believers in the Lord, multitudes of men and women, were constantly added to their number, 17But the high priest rose up, along with all his associates (that is the sect of the Sadducees), and they were filled with jealousy. 18They laid hands on the apostles and put them in a public jail. 19But 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 disciples of Jesus weren't able to be locked up, because the message of this life must be shared! So after they were freed by God from the jail, they went back into the Temple to continue teaching about Jesus. The jail-break and the freedom the disciples felt to continue to lift up the NAME OF JESUS embarrassed the religious leadership. So, they brought them back in, giving them strict orders not to speak in the NAME.

Peter responded to this: "We must obey God rather than men". This infuriated these leaders badly enough that they intended to put them to death! Then God used a Pharisee by the name of Gamaliel, who was a teacher of the Law, highly respected by all the people. Gamaliel was one of Paul's teachers, too.

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

NOTE this very carefully. The Lord uses here a religious leader to calm the angry leaders down and to put everything into perspective. Who was this man? 1. He was a well-respected man. 2. He was a God-fearing man. 3. He didn't have all the answers. 4. He was willing for God to demonstrate Himself by the fruit of the situation.

Gamaliel seems to have a heart bent toward the Lord, seeking His will and ways. You know, there are lots of people like Gamaliel out there, who may not be the "right" denomination or hold to the "right" doctrines and beliefs as you believe you do. Who was it that God used to gather the people of Nineveh to hear Jonah preach? It was the king! You see, our Lord is greater than our denominational or non-denominational affiliation and more awesome than our finite doctrinal boxes we have established. HE IS THE GOD OF GODS! So, be careful to keep out of His way, when He has a plan to raise up a leader that doesn't quite fit your list of "righteous" people.

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

This is how it works! It's not only in Jerusalem, but the teaching and preaching of Jesus as God's Messiah is going on continually throughout the world! God continues to open doors that no man can shut and shut doors that no man can open! He is awesome!



1As they were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to them, 2being greatly disturbed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. 3And they laid hands on them and put them in jail until the next day, for it was already evening. 4But many of those who had heard the message believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand. 5On the next day, their rulers and elders and scribes were gathered together in Jerusalem; 6and Annas the high priest was there, and Caiaphas and John and Alexander, and all who were of high-priestly descent. 7When they had placed them in the center, they began to inquire, "By what power, or in what name, have you done this?" 8Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, "Rulers and elders of the people, 9if we are on trial today for a benefit done to a sick man, as to how this man has been made well, 10let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead--by this name this man stands here before you in good health. Think of it. 5000 believed!

NOTE the disciples were asked IN WHAT NAME HAVE YOU DONE THIS? Then Peter has the opportunity to clarify it once more: BY THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST, THE NAZARENE, BY THIS NAME THIS MAN STANDS HERE BEFORE YOU IN GOOD HEALTH. And then Peter goes on to elaborate on this NAME: 12"And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved." As a practicing Buddhist once said to me, "Jesus seems to trump everything else!" IN THE POWERFUL NAME OF JESUS.

Now we come to a most interesting observation that is encouraging to all of us. 13Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus. These normal, uneducated men were amazing as they spoke, because it was evident that they had been hanging out with Jesus.

The most compelling thing to all who were watching the happenings was the lame man, himself. It's possible to argue with someone about who Jesus is on an intellectual basis, but when it comes to the reality of a lame man being miraculously healed, this was overwhelming! I call it the LAME MAN PRINCIPLE! It's so much more powerful to hear from the healed lame man than the agents of healing. This is the highest credibility and most persuasive evidence of all to everyone! You see this in verse 14: 14And seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they had nothing to say in reply.

18And when they had summoned them, they commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19But Peter and John answered and said to them, "Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; 20for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard." 21When they had threatened them further, they let them go (finding no basis on which to punish them) on account of the people, because they were all glorifying God for what had happened; 22for the man was more than forty years old on whom this miracle of healing had been performed.

One more thing here in chapter 4: 32And the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; and not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own, but all things were common property to them. 33And with great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all. 34For there was not a needy person among them, for all who were owners of land or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sales 35and lay them at the apostles' feet, and they would be distributed to each as any had need. 36Now Joseph, a Levite of Cyprian birth, who was also called Barnabas by the apostles (which translated means Son of Encouragement), 37and who owned a tract of land, sold it and brought the money and laid it at the apostles' feet.

I've noticed that every ministry where Jesus is dynamically working within a fellowship there is always a few who become unusually committed to the point of great generosity. These few are used of God to literally launch a ministry to a whole new level. This was the case of Barnabas. And even his name says it all. The meaning of Barnabas is SON OF ENCOURAGEMENT. His example of selling a property he owned and giving it all to the local fellowship must have been a real encouragement to the young fellowship in Jerusalem. Later in this study we'll see others who step forward-many business men and women-to underwrite the needs of the fellowship.

So, there you have it. God uses ordinary people, even uneducated and untrained, in unusual ways to do wonderful things! But the most effective thing in being persuasive about Jesus is to use the LAME MAN PRINCIPLE.

Who are the "lame men" in your life-the people in whom you have invested your life, those fellow followers of Jesus who have experienced Jesus because of you? When they share their stories, people listen!

By the way, this is at the core of what Jesus meant when He said that His disciples will do greater works than He did. The NAME OF JESUS is powerful all by itself, but there is nothing more attractive than the powerful NAME OF JESUS transforming someone's life-forever!




1Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the ninth hour, the hour of prayer. 2And a man who had been lame from his mother's womb was being carried along, whom they used to set down every day at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, in order to beg alms of those who were entering the temple. 3When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he began asking to receive alms. 4But Peter, along with John, fixed his gaze on him and said, "Look at us!" 5And he began to give them his attention, expecting to receive something from them. 6But Peter said, "I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene-walk!" 7And seizing him by the right hand, he raised him up; and immediately his feet and his ankles were strengthened. 8With a leap he stood upright and began to walk; and he entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God.

Like most of us, this man who had been lame from birth, was confused about what he really needed. He wanted something from them-money-that was not going to bring healing to his core problem. He was willing to "settle" for something less than he needed. Yet God had a different idea as He always does. The Lord used Peter and John to bring real healing to his problem.

9And all the people saw him walking and praising God; 10and they were taking note of him as being the one who used to sit at the Beautiful Gate of the temple to beg alms, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.

NOTE when all the people saw the lame man walking and praising God, they recognized him as being the same man who had sat at this gate, begging for years! They were in shock over it all.

Even though the people were impressed with what had happened through Peter and John, Peter made it clear that this was not done by their own man-made power: 11While he was clinging to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them at the so-called portico of Solomon, full of amazement. 12But when Peter saw this, he replied to the people, "Men of Israel, why are you amazed at this, or why do you gaze at us, as if by our own power or piety we had made him walk?

Then Peter clearly declares that this healing occurred by faith in the NAME of Jesus, 16"And on the basis of faith in His name, it is the name of Jesus which has strengthened this man whom you see and know; and the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect health in the presence of you all.

NOTE that the power for this miraculous healing came through the NAME OF JESUS. I like the song we sing: Jesus, Jesus, Jesus; 
There's just something about that name! Master, Savior, Jesus, 
Like the fragrance after the rain; 
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, 
Let all heaven and earth proclaim; 
Kings and kingdoms will all pass away, 
But there's something about that name!

There is something about that name and we're going to see the power of the name of Jesus unfold throughout this book study. In the meantime, do everything you can to embrace the teachings and principles of Jesus. His name will become more real and dynamic to you as we walk through this book.