Preaching Leads To Prison
Acts Four

   The Apostles had healed a man at the Beautiful gate of the Temple. This provided a wonderful opportunity to preach Jesus and His resurrection. The priests and Sadducees were sad that "they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead." The result was that Peter and John were put in prison. "The inherent hatred of truth and righteousness on the part of the powers of darkness was quickly manifested in the bitter opposition encountered by the apostolic preachers of the gospel."

   The growth of Christianity was well underway by this time. "Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand." (Acts 4:4) The Apostles were called to answer for their authority to preach and to heal. They were asked, "By what power, or by what name, have ye done this?" (Acts 4:7) Peter and John saw this as simply another opportunity to preach Jesus.

   Their accusers could not deny that a notable miracle had been done on the lame man. Yet, they charged the Apostles "not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus." "Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right  in the  sight of  God to  hearken  unto  you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard." Their time in prison ended with being threatened and dismissed.

   Peter and John return to the other Apostles for a period of prayer and praise to God for His goodness. "And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness." (Acts 4:31) The result of this early persecution was that the believers were joined together in even stronger love. They cared for the poor by selling their property and goods and sharing with those that had need.

   The Apostles were arrested Acts 4:1-4: Peter and John were interrupted as they spoke about Jesus. The priests, captain of the temple and Sadducees caused the trouble. They were grieved because of the preaching about the resurrection of Jesus. The doctrine of the resurrection from the dead was a special grief to the Sadducees. The Apostles not only preached the resurrection of the dead in general, but they said that this man Jesus was raised from the dead.                               

   Peter and John were arrested late in the day. They were kept in prison to be dealt with on the morrow. Even though Peter and John were put in prison many of those that had heard the word believed. The number of Christian men grew to be about five thousand. The apostles had literally become fishers of men!                                                      

   The Apostles in court Acts 4:5-12: The apostles were examined by the rulers, the chief priests, the Scribes, and elders of the people. They were examined with the question, "By what power, or by what name, have ye done this?" The Holy Ghost directed the Apostles in answering for the faith. They explained that the man had been made whole in the name of Jesus. "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." (Acts 4:10)

   Jesus was shown to be a rejected stone which became the chief corner stone. Jesus is strong, durable, dependable and fit for a foundation for both time and eternity. Salvation can be found only in the name of Jesus. God resolved in His purpose that salvation would be made possible. He appointed his Son to be the salvation of the world. God saves by Him and by no other. Sadly, many reject all that Jesus, in His mercy offers.                                                                                   

   The Apostles were threatened Acts 4:13-22: Their persecutors were perplexed by the boldness of Peter and John. They had perceived of Peter and John as being unlearned, ignorant men. However, that is not the way they spoke before their accusers. Those that accused the apostles were unable to deny that a notable miracle had been done. After taking council together they decided that they would forbid the apostles to preach in the name of Jesus.                               

   The Apostles asked their accusers whether they should obey their commands or the will of God. Their conclusion was that they had to speak what they had seen and heard about the resurrection. The apostles knew that souls were perishing without Jesus. They looked to Jesus Christ as the only escape from eternal ruin. They knew that there is no peace of mind or proper life conduct aside from Jesus and His truth. The court released the apostles because they were fearful of the people. They did not care if they offended God, but they were afraid of the people.         

   The apostles in their own company Acts 4:23-37: When the apostles came back to their own company they: (1) reported what commands and injunctions their accusers had lain upon them, (2) reported what threatenings they had given them, (3) prayed together with the brethren, and (4) praised God. They looked upon God as their heavenly Father in Christ. He was the one to whom they looked for help, and in whom they expected safety, strength and grace. Their request was for boldness that they not be intimidated concerning preaching the Christ.                                                            

   The result of their prayers was: (1) the place was shaken where they were assembled together, (2) they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and (3) they spoke the word of God with all boldness. The shaking of the house assured them that God was still with them. This was also a time of great unity in the church "One heart and one soul" described the beautiful unity of the early church. They were in total agreement in matters of doctrine. There was a perfect harmony in their practice. Their souls were knit to one another in this large body of Christians.

   The liberality of fellow Christians helped meet the needs of poor brethren. Many, like Barnabas, the son of exhortation sold land or other possessions to help those that were in need. "It is quite probable that the land sold by Barnabas constituted his whole estate. Having no family dependent on him, he consecrated his life to unrequited missionary labor. "

   They brought this money and laid it at the feet of the Apostles. This giving was done out of gratitude to God and sympathy for man. Others glorify God when they see the good deeds done by Christians.                                                    

   If you have not started the Christian life "Today is the day of salvation." (II Corinthians 6:2.) To become a Christian hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus (John 8:24), repent of sins (Acts 17:30) and be baptized to wash away sins. (Acts 22:16) Your attitudes and actions should be molded after the example of the early Christians as they were willing both to live and to die for Jesus. .