Acts 5:12-16

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Introduction

[READING - Acts 5:12-16]
Acts 5:12–16 NASB95
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, the 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.
[PRAYER]
[CONTEXT] Luke, the author of Acts, uses summaries of the early church’s condition to transition between events.
He provides a summary in Acts 2:42-47 that transitions us from Peter’s Pentecost sermon to Peter and John healing the lame beggar and then being persecuted for it.
He gives another summary in Acts 4:32-35 that transitions from Peter and John’s persecution and all the believers praying for boldness to the humble generosity of Barnabas and the deceitful arrogance of Ananias and Sapphira—a deceitful arrogance that cost them their lives.
And our passage this morning, Acts 5:12-16, is another summary moving us from the Ananias and Sapphira event to another persecution of the Apostles at the hands of the religious leaders.
[TS] Lord willing, we will begin to talk about that persecution next Sunday morning, but this morning we want to see what this transition CALLS us to do.

Major Ideas

First, it calls us to pray (Acts 5:12).

Acts 5:12 NASB95
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.
[EXP] The persecution of Peter and John didn’t disrupt the unity of the early church. The pride of Ananias and Sapphira didn’t disrupt the unity of the early church. As Acts 5:12 says, the early church was still together.
Acts 5:12 NASB95
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.
A note in the NASB says that the phrase “At the hands of the apostles” is more literally “Through the hands of the apostles.”
It’s a good reminder that all the signs and wonders that took place in the early church were miracles performed by Jesus through the Apostles. They were conduits for the miraculous power of Jesus, but the power belonged to Him.
These early believers were together with one accord, a point that is emphasized by Luke in the early chapters of Acts.
In Acts 1:14 they had “one mind (and) were continually devoting themselves to prayer.”
In Acts 2:46 they were “continuing with one mind.”
In Acts 4:24 they “lifted their voices to God with one accord.”
In Acts 4:32 they were of “one heart and soul.”
And now in Acts 5:12 we read that were all together with “one accord,” which literally means that they were together with the same passion. That passion was, of course, Christ.
[APP] Once again we are challenged by the unity of the early church. Can we say that we are of one mind in prayer and devotion to the Apostles’ teaching? Can we say that we are of one heart and soul in caring for one another? Can we say that we are all together with one accord, with the same passion for Christ? Let’s pray that the Lord would make us one.
[EXP] They were of one accord in Solomon’s portico. Solomon’s portico is also known as Solomon’s Colonnade or Solomon’s Porch. This was a covered area on the eastern side of the temple mount which was surrounded by rows of pillars and covered with a paneled cedar roof. It was an area where people discussed religious matters as they were going into the temple for worship. It was undoubtedly one of the most public places in Jerusalem.
Jesus was once walking in Solomon’s portico when some Jews gathered around Him and said, “How long will You keep us in suspense? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered them by saying…
John 10:25 NASB95
25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in My Father’s name, these testify of Me.
In Acts 5, those miraculous works of Jesus are now being performed through His Apostles and more and more people are believing that Jesus is the Christ.
[APP] What will it take for people in our day to believe that Jesus is the Christ? We might be tempted to think we need to see some miracles like those in the early church. Our thought process may go, “Well, those miracles in the Name of Jesus pointed to Jesus as the Christ, so if people today could see some miracles in the Name of Jesus then they too might believe that Jesus is the Christ.” But not everyone who saw a miracle in the days of the early church believed that Jesus was the Christ.
When the Apostles and other disciples of Jesus miraculously spoke in languages they had never learned on the day of Pentecost, three thousand believed that Jesus was the Christ, but many more thousands kept on not believing.
As the Apostles kept performing many wonders and signs and day by day many were being saved, many more kept on living their day to day lives headed to Hell.
When Peter and John healed a man lame from birth in the Name of Jesus and then preached the Gospel of Jesus, many believed, so many in fact that the number of men in the Jerusalem church came to be about 5,000, but many others witnessed the same miracle and heard the same message and didn’t believe.
What caused some to believe while others remained unbelieving? What causes some to believe today while others remain unbelieving?
Jesus still works miracles today although He doesn’t do so with the same frequency or obviousness as He did in the days of the early church, and the message of Jesus is still being preached today just as it was in the early church, but what causes some to believe when they see the miracle or hear the message is the sovereign revelation of Jesus as the Christ by the Holy Spirit.
[ILLUS] When I was a young boy, I would sometimes have to hold the flashlight for my Dad as he worked on things. Invariably I would not aim the beam of light in the right place. Apparently my Dad wanted the light on what he was fixing rather than on his face!
Spiritually speaking, we are what is broken. We are what must be fixed, but for any of us to be “fixed” spiritually, the Holy Spirit has to shine His light on the face of Jesus Christ.
It is not the miracle in and of itself or even the message in and of itself that causes belief. It is the Spirit that gives life (John 6:63; 2 Cor. 3:6). It is the Holy Spirit that gives the gift of belief, the gift of faith, the gift of new life in Christ.
Let’s pray that the Holy Spirit would give the gift of belief to even more people in our day.
[TS] This passage calls us to pray.

Secondly, this passage calls us to decide (Acts 5:13-14).

Acts 5:13–14 NASB95
13 But none of the rest dared to associate with them; however, the 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,
[EXP] While many saw the apostolic signs and wonders and believed in Jesus as enabled by the Holy Spirit, none of the rest dared to associate with them.
Who were the rest who dared not associate with these early believers?
It is either the rest of the people in general, the rest of the Jews more specifically, or the rest of the Ananias and Sapphira types—hypocritical self-exalters who dared not even associate with these early believers lest they meet the same fate as that prideful couple.
None dared associate with believers in Jesus unless they were true believers themselves because of the fear of persecution and the fear of the Lord’s holiness.
Everyone, however, held them in high esteem. Even though the rest were unbelieving they held these early believers in high regard. Looking on from the courts that adjoined Solomon’s Portico, they respected the wonder-working power and the sacrificial love on display in the early church.
[APP] Some in this world will not associate with us as followers of Jesus, but do they respect the power of God working among us and the sacrificial love working through us?
[EXP] For some, however, the Spirit revealed to them Jesus as the Christ, and they moved from respecting Christians to joining Christians as believers themselves. As Acts 5:14 says…
Acts 5:14 NASB95
14 And all the more believers in the Lord, multitudes of men and women, were constantly added to their number,
Luke is no longer counting at this point. He told us that after Peter’s Pentecost sermon, 3,000 souls were added to the church. When Peter preached after healing the man lame from birth, Luke told us that the number of the men in the church came to be about 5,000 (Acts 4:4). But now it seems there were too many to count.
It might seem like there is a contradiction between what’s said in v. 13 and v. 14, but there is no contradiction. Together the verses say that after the deaths Ananias and Sapphira, which were obviously a judgment from God, people were either in or out; there was no middle ground. They knew that to be a follower of Jesus was a seriously holy thing, a seriously holy thing that could turn deadly for those who didn’t take Christ’s holiness very seriously.
[APP] How seriously do we take the holiness of belonging to the family of God? How seriously do we take the holiness of being a follower of Jesus Christ?
[ILLUS] This past week, a friend’s wife had a procedure and he mentioned that he might need help getting her inside their home after she was released from the hospital. I initially said that I’d be glad to help, but then I remembered that I had jury duty. No matter how bad I felt about not being able to help, I couldn’t be in two place at once.
In the way that we can’t be in two places at once physically, we can’t be of two belongings spiritually. Either we belong to Jesus or we belong to the world. We cannot be of both.
Too many in the church today try to straddle the line between the world and Christ, between sin and holiness, between condemnation and salvation. They don’t realize, however, that it is not a line they attempt to straddle but a chasm. They might as well be trying to stretch their legs across the grand canyon.
We should take a lesson from the pages of the early church and decide to either be all in or all out. True believers don’t try to straddle the chasm.
They’re all in.
[TS] This passage call us to pray. It calls us to decide.

And finally, this passage calls us to bring (Acts 5:15-16).

Acts 5:15–16 NASB95
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.
[EXP] When the power of Jesus Christ is coursing even through your shadow, it is really coursing through you! Well, the power of Jesus was really coursing through Peter! People knew that there was healing power in the Name of Jesus, so they brought their sick loved ones to the Apostles, even laying them on cots and pallets along the streets—the main thoroughfares—so that Peter’s shadow would fall on them as he walked by.
Some have noticed that the Greek word behind cots refers to small beds or couches used by those who could afford them while the word pallets refers to straw mattresses most often used by the poor.
The haves and the have-nots were bringing their ill to be healed by Peter’s shadow.
The text doesn’t say that anyone was healed by Peter’s shadow, although it seems to imply that they were. Later in Acts we’ll read about Paul’s handkerchiefs and aprons being used to heal people (Acts 19:12), and we remember that a woman was once healed after touching the hem of Jesus’ robe (Lk. 8:44).
This has lead some to conclude that there is power in certain relics, talismans, or amulets—objects supposedly endued with power.
[ILLUS] You can go online today and buy such things. On the website Etsy, I found that you can buy…
…an Attuned Archangel Michael Talisman for $25.
It has 177 ratings with an average rating of five stars.
…a Vintage Celtic Cross Talisman for $25.86.
It has 607 ratings with an average rating of five stars.
…a Healthy Sleep and Energy Recovery—Christian Amulet Talisman for $500.
Apparently that’s too rich for most people, because it only have one rating, although that one rating is five stars.
This nonsense started way back in the early days of the Catholic Church when Constantine’s mother, Helena, traveled to Holy Land four centuries after the birth of Christ to find His wooden cross.
Soon bits of wood were spread far and wide all claiming to be from Jesus’s cross. People flocked to these pieces of wood because they believed that they held power.
But the power was never in a relic, a talisman, an amulet, or even a shadow, apron, or robe.
The power was and is and will always be in Jesus Himself.
[APP] As followers of Jesus, we know that all power and authority in heaven and on earth belongs to Jesus. If we need healing power, we can go right to the source. We can go to Jesus.
If others we know need healing, we can bring them to the source. We can bring them to Jesus.
[EXP] But the news of miraculous power in Jesus’ name spread not only throughout Jerusalem but also throughout the neighboring cities, so that those people brought their ailing loved ones to be healed.
We know what it is to be sick, but what does it mean to be afflicted with unclean spirits? One translation says they were “tormented by evil spirits,” which helps us understand the terrible condition these folks were in.
These evil spirits were the fallen angels that fell from Heaven with Satan when he rebelled against God. During the ministry of Jesus and the ministry of His Apostles, the afflictions of these unclean spirits increased because the forces of evil were lashing out. They were working all the evil they could before they were put to open shame by the triumph of Christ from the dead and before the message of the cross spread around the world.
One brother put it this way, “..the (demonic) possessions were at once the work of Satan, as a means of doing evil, and of God, as a means of doing good by glorifying (Jesus) whom He had sanctified and sent into the world. Every expulsion of a demon by our Lord Himself, or in His name by His Apostles, was a triumph over His great enemy, not only in the unseen world but upon earth, in the sight of men as well as angels,” (J. A. Alexander, 212).
The Apostles had once failed to cast out an unclean spirit due to a lack of faith (Matt. 17:14-21), but now all who came to them were healed.
[APP] Today, there are charlatans who hold “healing campaigns.” (I wonder why they don’t hold these in hospitals!) But if anyone is actually healed at these events (which I doubt), not everyone is healed. This wasn’t so with Jesus or His Apostles.
All who came to them were healed.
That’s still true by the way. All who came to Jesus were healed and all who come to Jesus will be healed.
If you truly come to Jesus in faith, you will be healed—spiritually, physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, relationally, and in other ways you can think of!
The completeness of that healing may not be known to us until we are with the Lord in eternity, but if we truly come to Jesus in faith, we will be totally healed.
If you have faith in Jesus this morning, you are totally healed!
One day soon, you’ll see that I’m right!
[EXP] As people outside Jerusalem heard about the grace of God in Jesus Christ, the good news was spreading from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth just as Jesus said it would.
Acts 1:8 NASB95
8 but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”
[APP] Will we go spread that news? Will we bring people to Jesus so that they can be healed?
People today need Jesus. Jesus can heal them. It is Jesus who can heal you this morning—heal you of all your shame and guilt, all your bitterness and depression, all your hurt and pain, all your sin and rebellion.
He rose so that all condemnation would be taken away from you.
He rose so that all joy would be brought to you.
Repent of your sins and embrace Jesus as your Lord and Savior this morning.
Embrace Him as the One who paid the price of death for your sin to give you eternal life through faith in Him.

Conclusion

[PRAYER]
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