Romans 1:16-17 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.

All articles are written using the NKJV, unless otherwise noted! All articles are written by David Hicks, unless specified otherwise.

Witnesses to Me

To The End of the Earth!

- A Study In Acts -

Chapter Four – First Arrest

ACTS 4:23-37:

Peter and John have now faced the Sanhedrin court, and their attempts to have the Apostles of Christ Jesus incriminate themselves; by boldly stating the Name and Power behind the notable miracle performed. Their bold response through the Spirit of God has had the effect of acknowledgment from the leaders of the people, that they (the Apostles), had been with Jesus (vs. 13).

Being fearful of the people (vs. 16-17, 21), they threatened the Apostles that they “Not speak at all or teach in the name of Jesus” (vs. 18).

Peter and John gave the only response they could, in an approved example of civil disobedience, they acknowledged a greater source of authority than the councils; God!

The council further threatened them and then released them. In this lesson we will pick up with Peter and John returning to their companions and issuing a fulfillment of prophecy.

Text #1:

Acts 4:23 “And being let go, they went to their own companions and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them.”

At their release, Peter and John have returned to their companions. These are the rest of the Apostles of Jesus Christ, as determined by the term “Own” companions (coming from the Greek word that means “One’s Own”). These are the Apostles mentioned in verse 33.

Peter and John gave a detailed report of the events that had just transpired, which would show to the Apostles the complete fulfillment of the promise of the Spirit that they had heard from their Master (1:4). This will in turn give boldness to the rest of the Apostles in their work of boldly speaking the word.  

Text #2:

Acts 4:24-26 “So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: “Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them, 25 who by the mouth of Your servant David have said:
‘ Why did the nations rage, And the people plot vain things?
The kings of the earth took their stand, And the rulers were gathered together Against the LORD and against His Christ.’”

See also: Psalms 2:1-2.

It is at the conclusion of the report, that the Apostles of Christ unanimously declare the glory of God and His control of the events transpiring in the form of a prayer. They will then additionally confirm that this is what was spoken by David, as a prophet of God. They will quote from – Psalms 2:1-2. This is a Messianic Psalm that portrays rebellion and hatred against the Anointed of God; however, the rebellion and hatred would have no effect on stopping the power of God in establishing His kingdom or setting His King on the holy throne, note:

Psalm 2:3-9 “Let us break Their bonds in pieces And cast away Their cords from us.”
4 He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; The Lord shall hold them in derision.
5 Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, And distress them in His deep displeasure:
Yet I have set My King On My holy hill of Zion.”
7 “I will declare the decree: The LORD has said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. (see also: Acts 13:33; Hebrews 1:5; 5:5)
8 Ask of Me, and I will give You The nations for Your inheritance, And the ends of the earth for Your possession.
9 You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.’” (see also: Revelation 2:27)

Whether the nations rage (Gentiles), whether there is plotting vain things by the people (Jews), the rulers and all others will still have to bow a knee the Jesus the Christ of God.

Text #3:

Acts 4:27-31 “For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together 28 to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done. 29 Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, 30 by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.”
31 And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.”

In verse 27-28, the Apostles will commentate on the true meaning of the passage from the second Psalms. One of the most important thoughts to take away from this instruction is the statement of comprehensive control by God, of the events surrounding the death, burial, resurrection, and ascension to the right hand of God, of Jesus the Christ.

“Determined Before”, predetermined, to decide beforehand. God purposed that Jesus was to die for the sins of man, He purposed that He be resurrected as the final sign that He was the Son of God (Acts 2:32; Romans 1:4), and He purposed to establish the Christ on His throne after these events (Acts 2:36, 4:27“Have anointed”, is past tense, showing at present He is King).

Also, we should notice in these statements of the Apostles, that they did not pray for God to strike their enemies, but due to the threats of the enemies of God and His Christ, they only wanted the ability to speak more boldly concerning God’s word, and that He continue to confirm their words by the powerful signs and wonders to follow.

At the conclusion of these words they would be in unison “Filled with the Spirit” as they would continue to speak the word with boldness; even in the face of the threat of the council. This is not a new work of the Spirit, but a continuation of the work of the Spirit through the Apostles (“Companions” - vs. 23, “Apostles” - vs.33), based on their prayer to God.

Text #4:

Acts 4:32-37 “Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. 33 And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all. 34 Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, 35 and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need.
36 And Joses, who was also named Barnabas by the apostles (which is translated Son of Encouragement), a Levite of the country of Cyprus, 37 having land, sold it, and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.”

One Heart and Soul: This is the fulfillment of the unity that Jesus prayed would come upon all those who believed through the word of the Apostles, note:

John 17:20-21 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.”

Power and Witness: The Apostles continued to boldly speak the word of God for conversion and edification in the midst of these unified and humble brethren; and demonstrated the word in power by the signs and wonders that followed.

Distributed to Each: Here is the second mention of approved benevolence to be practiced by the Body of Christ (to go along with 2:44). These Christians are collectively setting an example for all collective benevolence to follow. We as bodies of Christ should not allow our brethren to suffer for food, shelter, etc… when we their brethren can prevent it.

1 John 3:17 “But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?”

Joses: “Joses” or in some cases “Joseph”, is going to be named by the Apostles, “Barnabas” (“Son of Encouragement”, or “Consolation”); because of his proven ability to exhort people (to encourage, strengthen, and charge them to do their duty). He was a Levite and a permanent resident of the isle of Cyprus.

He is also going to be used as an approved pattern of liberality, which is probably given for setting the stage for the events that will be shared in the next chapter. 

Next: “First Collective Discipline!”