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Ambassador Baptist Church
1926 Babcock Blvd
Pittsburgh, PA 15209
(412)822-7255
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Pastor's Pen - November 14, 2007
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November 14, 2007

Acts 4-6
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Acts
Chapter 4
  1. And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them,
  2. Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead.
  3. And they laid hands on them, and put them in hold unto the next day: for it was now eventide.
  4. Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand.
  5. And it came to pass on the morrow, that their rulers, and elders, and scribes,
  6. And Annas the high priest, and Caiaphas, and John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the kindred of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem.
  7. And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, By what power, or by what name, have ye done this?
  8. Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel,
  9. If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole;
  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.
  11. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.
  12. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
  13. Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.
  14. And beholding the man which was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it.
  15. But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves,
  16. Saying, What shall we do to these men? for that indeed a notable miracle hath been done by them is manifest to all them that dwell in Jerusalem; and we cannot deny it.
  17. But that it spread no further among the people, let us straitly threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in this name.
  18. And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.
  19. But 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.
  20. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.
  21. So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding nothing how they might punish them, because of the people: for all men glorified God for that which was done.
  22. For the man was above forty years old, on whom this miracle of healing was shewed.
  23. And being let go, they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them.
  24. And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is:
  25. Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things?
  26. The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ.
  27. For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together,
  28. For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.
  29. And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word,
  30. By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus.
  31. 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.
  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.
  33. And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.
  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,
  35. And laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.
  36. And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus,
  37. Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles' feet.


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Acts
Chapter 5
  1. But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession,
  2. And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles' feet.
  3. But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?
  4. Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.
  5. And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things.
  6. And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him.
  7. And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in.
  8. And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much.
  9. Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out.
  10. Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband.
  11. And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things.
  12. And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon's porch.
  13. And of the rest durst no man join himself to them: but the people magnified them.
  14. And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.)
  15. Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them.
  16. There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one.
  17. Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,) and were filled with indignation,
  18. And laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison.
  19. But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth, and said,
  20. Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life.
  21. And when they heard that, they entered into the temple early in the morning, and taught. But the high priest came, and they that were with him, and called the council together, and all the senate of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought.
  22. But when the officers came, and found them not in the prison, they returned, and told,
  23. Saying, The prison truly found we shut with all safety, and the keepers standing without before the doors: but when we had opened, we found no man within.
  24. Now when the high priest and the captain of the temple and the chief priests heard these things, they doubted of them whereunto this would grow.
  25. Then came one and told them, saying, Behold, the men whom ye put in prison are standing in the temple, and teaching the people.
  26. Then went the captain with the officers, and brought them without violence: for they feared the people, lest they should have been stoned.
  27. And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them,
  28. Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man's blood upon us.
  29. Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.
  30. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree.
  31. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.
  32. And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.
  33. When they heard that, they were cut to the heart, and took counsel to slay them.
  34. Then stood there up one in the council, a Pharisee, named Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, had in reputation among all the people, and commanded to put the apostles forth a little space;
  35. And said unto them, Ye men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what ye intend to do as touching these men.
  36. For before these days rose up Theudas, boasting himself to be somebody; to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves: who was slain; and all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered, and brought to nought.
  37. After this man rose up Judas of Galilee in the days of the taxing, and drew away much people after him: he also perished; and all, even as many as obeyed him, were dispersed.
  38. And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought:
  39. But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.
  40. And to him they agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.
  41. And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.
  42. And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.


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Acts
Chapter 6
  1. And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration.
  2. Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables.
  3. Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.
  4. But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.
  5. And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch:
  6. Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them.
  7. And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.
  8. And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people.
  9. Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen.
  10. And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake.
  11. Then they suborned men, which said, We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses, and against God.
  12. And they stirred up the people, and the elders, and the scribes, and came upon him, and caught him, and brought him to the council,
  13. And set up false witnesses, which said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law:
  14. For we have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place, and shall change the customs which Moses delivered us.
  15. And all that sat in the council, looking stedfastly on him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel.


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Thought for the day:
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 Acts 5 tells the familiar story of Ananias and Sapphira. Even though it is a well-known event, it is worthy of our attention because I believe that their sin is often mimicked by believers today. The story really has its beginning back at the end of chapter 4 where we read once again about the willingness of the first century church members to donate their goods to meet the needs of others. One of these men was a man named Jonas, who was of such a good reputation that he was named Barnabas by the apostles. The name Barnabas means "son of consolation", and it appears that this name was given to him because of his willingness to give of his possessions in order to be a comfort and encouragement to others. While there is no evidence in Scripture to indicate that Barnabas had any selfish motivations for his actions, it is true that others saw what he did, and knew of the respect that the church leaders had for him.

 It is at this point that Ananias and Sapphira sell a piece of property themselves. However, rather than give the entire amount to the Lord, they decided to keep back part of the proceeds. Note here that the problem they encountered was not the fact that they kept back part of the money. Peter makes that very clear in verse 4 when he states,

"Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power?"
He is saying that they did not need to sell the property at all, and once they did sell it they could have used the money in any way that they pleased. The problem was not their reluctance to turn over all the money; it was their public lie that they had turned over all the money. In an attempt to win favor with the apostles and with the church they lied about their level of commitment, and God struck them dead for it.

 Here is the modern application. Many people are sitting in churches proclaiming how much they love God, or how much they give to the Lord, or how surrendered they are to Him. Yet the truth of the matter is that some of these people don't love God very much at all. Once they get away from the rest of the church membership they act and talk just like the world. They talk about how concerned they are about the lost, but they never witness to anyone. They profess great concern for missions, but they don't give and certainly don't go. They proclaim a great love for their spouse and children, yet their actions and speech away from the church tell a different story. The fact is that they really are not all that interested in spiritual things; they just want other people to think that they are. Sometimes these people can fool the pastor and their fellow church members. However, they can never fool the Lord. He knows their hearts. He knows their motivations. He knows their hypocrisy. And He will deal with them.

 It is interesting to note that Peter makes a point of saying that Ananias and Sapphira lied,

"not unto men, but unto God."
Ananias was talking to Peter, but apparently he was not only interested in impressing the church, but was also hoping to impress God. How foolish this was, for it is obvious that the Lord knew the how sincere he really was. In the same way it seems like some believers today are trying to convince God of their spirituality by turning on their religion for a few hours on a Sunday morning. They seem to think that a couple hours on Sunday will undo all their wasted time from the rest of the week. Remember, God is not fooled, even if men are.

 Be honest with yourself, with your fellow church members, and with the Lord. Don't claim to be what you aren't, for God knows, and He will hold you accountable.

Pastor Mark J Montgomery

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