This is the fourth class on the book of Acts that we’ve had a group study and discussion on here. In the class before this we went part of the way into Acts 4. But this time, we started again at the beginning and went through the entire chapter. (The full audio of the Acts chapter 4 class can be heard here.)
A few subjects we touched on even before we got far into the class are:
- How does the future church of the Last Days related to or learn from the foundational church in the book of Acts?
- Will the body of Christ in the final End Time return full circle and end up being similar to the Early Church? Without material power or ostentatious ceremonies and assemblies?
- Who exactly were the Pharisees and the Sadducees and how can you easily remember the difference?
One thing we delved into was what Peter told the religious council that had summoned him. In this chapter, there are a cluster of verses that are like a brilliant constellation of major “stars” of Scripture.
Act 4:10 Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. Act 4:11 This is the stone which was set at naught of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Act 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. Act 4:13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.
In verse 10 there, Peter and John just could not have been more straightforward in pointing out that the Jesus they’d recently crucified there in Jerusalem was the power behind the healing of the lame man. Then, to further their point, they quoted a well known verse from that time from the Old Testament, Psalm. 118:22 “The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner.” Jesus Himself had quoted that verse to them months earlier in relation to their rejection of Him as their Lord and Savior. (see Matthew 21:42)
Bu there was more. The next verse famously says, “Neither is there salvation in any other, for there is none other name under heaven whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) This is one of the most well known doctrines concerning Christianity and one of the ones that seems most difficult for many people. But then Jesus said the same thing of Himself in His lifetime in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth and the life; no many comes to the Father but by me.” We spent some time in the class examining the implications of these verses and how they still impact people today.
So when the priests commanded Peter and John not to teach or preach anymore in the name of Jesus, did they obey the priests? You probably know the answer. We talked about that in the class and what it still means to all Christians.
At the time of Acts 4, the entire Christian witness and Christian church of God was centered in Jerusalem. It was a time of intense reaping. The sowing had been going on for all the 3 years of Jesus’ ministry but the time of decision had come and many did come over to the side of faith in Jesus. Acts 1-7 is all about this extremely important time in the history of the Jewish people when the gospel was preached to them in Jerusalem.
And then at the end of the chapter we hear again of the economic plan and program that was an integral part of the Early Church at that time. We saw this first in our class on Acts chapter 2. Here it says something very similar.
Act 4:32 And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. Act 4:33 And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. Act 4:34 Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, Act 4:35 And laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.
For many modern Western ears, especially Christian ears, this sounds decidedly like Marxism-Leninism. But was it? Were the early Christians Communists? This was what much of the last part of the class was about.
I’m just seeing more and more how the Lord makes it so that things can be shared in these small group circumstances that just don’t seem possible to be said in large churches on Sunday in these times. I hope this summary is a blessing to you and that you’ll get a chance to listen to the full class.
Yours in Him,