Responding to the Truth – Acts 5:12-42

By John Bellingham on March 10, 2013
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Responding to the Truth

Acts 5:12-42


1.     The persecution of the Early Church escalates in this chapter as the Apostles are arrested and brutally beaten

2.     This passage illustrates four common responses to the truth of the Gospel


Response 1:  Curiosity (v. 13)

1.  “The rest” did not dare to join the believers, but continued to hold them in high esteem

  • They were intimidated by the fear of persecution
  • They were afraid to commit half-heartedly and suffer the same punishment as Ananias and Sapphira

2.  Many people are attracted to Christ and His gospel, but are unwilling to count the cost of discipleship


Response 2:  Saving Faith (vv. 14-16)

1.  “Multitudes” join in spite of the threat of persecution

2.  The Gospel spreads outward from Jerusalem in initial fulfillment of Jesus’ Commission (v. 16, cf. Acts 1:8)

3.  Miracles continue to confirm the ministry of the Apostles as the continuation of the ministry of Jesus Christ


Response 3:  Hostility (vv. 17- 33)

1.  The ‘Sadducees’ respond to the Apostles with violent hostility

  • They are jealous (v. 17)
  • They are blinded to the truth in spite of overwhelming evidence
  • They are eager to kill the Apostles just as they eagerly sought the death of Jesus Christ (v. 33)

2.  Satan and sin has blinded the minds of unbelievers.  Nobody will believe the gospel until the Holy Spirit opens our eyes and changes our heart


Response 4:  Apathy  (vv. 34-39)

1.  The ‘Pharisees’ tended to be more sympathetic to the Christians than the other factions within the Sanhedrin

  • They believed in the resurrection (cf.Matt 22:23-33)
  • They believed in angels (cf. Acts 23:8)

2.  Gamaliel’s religious tolerance helps to save the Apostles from certain death at the hands of the Sadducees

3.  Gamaliel’s advice sounds very wise at first glance, but a closer examination reveals a deep sense of apathy

  • God directs history and work all things according to the counsel of His will (cf. Ephesians 1:11)
  • God’s sovereignty over all things is not an excuse for human indecision and disobedience


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