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Monday, April 11, 2022

2022.04.11 Hopewell @Home ▫ Acts 5:17–41

Read Acts 5:17–41

Questions from the Scripture text: Who rose up in Acts 5:17? Who were with him? With what were they filled? What did they do in Acts 5:18? Who did what in Acts 5:19? What did the angel say to do (Acts 5:20)? How did they respond in Acts 5:21? What did the priest/Sadducee party do in verse 21? Who else was with them? What did they send for? Who came in Acts 5:22? What didn’t they find? What did they do? How did they report finding the prison (Acts 5:23)? And the guards? But then what happened? What three parties does Acts 5:24 specify? What do they wonder? What does someone come say in Acts 5:25? Who go in Acts 5:26? In what manner do they bring them? Why? Before whom do they set them (Acts 5:27)? Who leads questioning? What does he ask (Acts 5:28)? With what does he say they have “filled Jerusalem”? What did he accuse them of intending? Who answer in Acts 5:29? What do they say? What do they call God in Acts 5:30? What had He done? But what do they say the council has done? But then to where did God raise Jesus (Acts 5:31)? To be what? To give what two things to whom? Whose witnesses are the apostles (Acts 5:32)? Who else is witnessing? To whom has God given the Holy Spirit? How did the council feel about this answer (Acts 5:33)? What do they plot to do? Who stands up in Acts 5:34? What party does he belong to? What job does he have? What do the people think of him? What does he first command to be done? Whom does he address in Acts 5:35? To what does he tell them to take heed? About what? Of what does he remind them in Acts 5:36-37? What had happened in those cases? What does Gamaliel say to do to the apostles (Acts 5:38)? What will happen if the plan or work is of men? What cannot happen if it is of God (Acts 5:39)? What would they be doing in that case? How did the council respond (Acts 5:40)? But what did they do to them anyway? What did they command them? What do the apostles do in Acts 5:41? With what emotion? Rejoicing over what?

God’s Strength
God can use what the wicked do to accomplish what His hand and His purpose have predetermined (cf. Acts 4:28). And God can overrule by the hand of an angel (Acts 5:19) what the combined hands of the entire priestly/Sadducee party try to do (Acts 5:17-18).  

God’s Servants
Why are the apostles back preaching in the temple the next day (Acts 5:25)? Because the angel (messenger of God) who broke them out had told them to (Acts 5:20). Again in Acts 5:29, they say “we ought to obey God rather than men” (cf. Acts 4:19; Acts 1:8, Acts 5:32, cf. Luke 24:48).

God exercises almighty strength through weak servants to whom He gives courage and faithfulness. And He gives them the joy and honor of fellowship in His suffering (Acts 5:41, cf. Matthew 5:11–121 Peter 4:12–16). 

God’s Salvation
The gospel is for sinners. A most amazing thing in this passage is the object of salvation specified in Acts 5:31, “… to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.” The flesh would say, “these murderers of Christ (Acts 5:28b, Acts 5:30) and opposers of the apostles (Acts 5:18Acts 5:28a, Acts 5:33) ought to be punished!” But the apostles of Christ follow His lead in proclaiming repentance and forgiveness to those who are presently persecuting them!

The apostles respond to the council’s hatred with grace. The council responds to the apostles’ graciousness with more hatred (Acts 5:33). 

God’s Spy
Sometimes the Lord places and uses unlikely people. One might think of Hushai, whose counsel foils Ahithophel (cf. 2 Samuel 16–17), or the city clerk in Ephesus that God uses to disperse that crowd (cf. Acts 19:35–41). In this case, it’s one of the most respected members of the Pharisee party (Acts 5:34a, cf. Acts 23:6) making the very point about God’s strength and God’s servants that the Spirit makes throughout this passage: the council is in danger of fighting against God!

God is inexorably applying Christ’s salvation to those who deserve His vengeance. And He’s giving to those whom He redeems the honor and joy of being junior (infinitely) partners in this glorious work!

Whom do you know who opposes you for Christ’s sake? What does it look like to love them with the gospel anyway? Even if they never convert, what honor and joy may you have?

Sample prayer:  Lord, apart from Your grace, our hearts would oppose You and all Who are Yours. But You gave Christ for us anyway. Your Spirit continues to bring to You everyone whom You have redeemed by Your almighty power. And You give us the privilege of participating with You and suffering with You. Forgive us for when we are reluctant to suffer for Your sake, or when we fear man’s infinitesimal power instead of Your almighty power. Give us courage in trouble and evangelizing love for our enemies, in Jesus’s Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP98 “O Sing a New Song to the Lord” or TPH431 “And Can It Be That I Should Gain”

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