Southern Christian University

Acts Class Session 03

James A. Turner


Hello students.  I hope you have given careful attention to what we went over in the last Class Session about the throne of David.  It is my judgment that the average preacher in the church today does not have a clear understanding about the throne of David.  And when it comes to denominational people, I doubt very seriously if you would find one out of a hundred that has a clear understanding concerning the throne of David.  About twenty years ago, just about every denominational preacher around in this part of the country was talking about the rapture or something that has to do with that false teaching concerning the throne of David.  I have not seen them doing  it as much lately, but I am confident that nearly all of the people still believe that false doctrine, that Christ is going to come back to earth and set up an earthly throne and reign on earth for a thousand years.  Remember that doctrine is based on a wrong interpretation of I Thessalonians 4:16-17 and Revelation 20:6. 


Not only that, but it is contrary to and out of harmony with many Old Testament and New Testament passages. Please remember that the Bible is its own best interpreter, and when any passage is correctly interpreted it is in harmony with the whole Bible. In I Corinthians 14:33 Paul affirms that “God is not a God of confusion, but of peace”; therefore if he says one thing in one passage and something contradictory in another that would make him a God of confusion. Some brethren in Christ are not keeping those basic rules of interpretation in mind, and they are coming to conclusions on some passages that are absolutely out of harmony with many other passages!


I hope all of you will send me an e-mail, and let me know what you think about what we did in the class last week.  Have you gone back and highlighted all of those Old Testament references? Have you made you a chain reference so that you can sit down with your Bible and show a person what the Bible teaches on this subject?  In regard to so many preachers preaching the false doctrine, I think it reflects in part upon us.  If we had been doing our part in teaching the gospel over television and radio and various periodicals and in the pulpit, they could not have gotten by with that.  I believe there are many sincere denominational people, and if they had been exposed to both sides of the questions, I do not believe they could have gotten by with all of their false teachings.  I would appreciate it if you would let me know what you think about our study on this subject.  Do you have a clear understanding now?  If not, please send me your questions.  I do not see any reason why you cannot have a clear understanding. With as many Old Testament references that we called attention to that said that God would raise up Christ to sit on David's throne, and then to have the announcement of the angel Gabriel “that God shall give him the throne of his father David, and he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever and of his kingdom there shall be no end,” how can there be any room for doubt.


The Premillennial doctrine is absolutely contrary to what Gabriel said, and as we have studied it is contrary to the whole Bible. Every tenet of that doctrine is not only contrary to the scriptures, but also contrary to common sense.  Think of that tenet that Christ came to establish his kingdom but because the Jews rejected him (John 1:11-12) he ushered in the church age and the kingdom is yet to come.  Well, if Christ could not do what he came to do the first time, what guarantee do we have that he can do it the second time?  The scriptures teach very plainly that Christ did what he came to do, that he established his kingdom, and that he is at the right hand of God exalted as stated in Ephesians1:21, that Christ now reigns “far above all rule and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only of this world, but also in that which is to come.”  Common sense should tell a person that Jesus is not coming back to earth to reign on a pitiful earthly throne.


So Christ is at the right hand of God now.  He is reigning on David's throne now, and he is Lord and Christ now as stated here in Acts 2:36.  "Let all of the house of Israel therefore know assuredly, that God hath made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom ye have crucified.  Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their hearts, and they said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Brethren, what shall we do?"  Meaning, of course, what shall we do in order to be saved?  We know that we are guilty.  We have crucified the Lord of glory, and what do we need to do?  And notice what Peter said that they needed to do.  Now they showed their faith when they said, what shall we do?  Peter said to them, "Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."  So they were told to repent and be baptized for (KJV) or unto (ASV) the remission of their sins.  And here is a verse that is a very important.  The most popular doctrine taught in America today is that when a person just believes that he is saved, and then he is to be baptized because he has been saved. 


I want us to deal with verse thirty-eight in such a way that you will have a clear understanding and know that that is false teaching!  Now, there are a lot of sincere people out there that have been taught -- In fact, there are thousands and thousands of people in American society that have been taught all their lives that just as soon as a person believes that he is saved, and especially if he prays a little prayer, Lord, Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, come into my heart and save me.  That is one of the most popular doctrines in America today.  And a lot of these preachers are telling the people that for in the King James  Version or unto in the American Standard Version, for the remission of sins means because of.  It absolutely does not mean because of.  Now, I do not know any Greek, and I am not posing to be any authority whatever.  I do not have enough intelligence to learn the Hebrew language of the Old Testament and Greek of the New Testament in such a way that I could speak with authority in regard to those languages. 


Frankly I do not believe there are many people, if any that have such knowledge of those languages that warrants them coming with an interpretation that is contrary to our best versions of the Bible like the King James Version or the New King James Version or the American Standard Version of 1901 or the New American Standard Version or even the New International Version or some of the others.  In other words, I have read and heard some of our brethren give interpretations that are just so contrary to what all the better versions say.  I do not believe they have that understanding of the Greek language.  Any time you hear a person making an argument based on Greek that is contrary to the reading, of the better version you need to get skeptical of his interpretation.  They do not have such authoritative knowledge of the Greek Language.  The Greek language is very complex and difficult language. 


Now, in regard to the Greek word for or unto in Acts 2:38, Young's Analytical Concordance gives forty-three Greek words where we use the English word for.  And the word for in Acts 2:38, for remission of sins is E-I-S.  And the Concordance gives the meaning of that as being “with a view to”.  And, of course, in the context it means with a view to receiving remission of sins.  There are some Greek words that mean because.  I guess the primary one that they would be trying to base their argument on would be the seventh as listed in Young's Analytical Concordance spelled G-A-L-A-L,  but they may not give the Greek words.  They may tell you that for means because of like that man is serving twenty years for the crime that he committed, meaning he is serving twenty years because he committed a crime. 


That is the doctrine, that men are saved at the  point of just believing.  If that be the case, then men can be saved without repentance, and without confession, and the Bible teaches that those are necessary.   Matthew 10:32, Jesus says, "He that confesses me before man, him will I confess before my Father who is in heaven.  He that denies me before men, him will I deny before my Father who is in heaven."  And you remember according to the King James reading, the Ethiopian eunuch made that confession, that “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”  Timothy must have made a similar confession when he obeyed the gospel.  I Timothy 6:12 reads,  "Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on the life eternal.  Whereunto thou was called, and hast confessed a good confession in the sight of many witnesses.  I charge thee in the sight of God, who giveth life to all things, and Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed the good confession; that thou keep the commandment without spot, without reapproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ."  So Timothy had made a good confession in the sight of many witnesses, and that must be speaking of that confession that he made when he obeyed the gospel.  He must have made a confession similar to what is recorded in the King James version, that the Ethiopian eunuch made.  Acts 2:38 shows that repentance is necessary, but they are going to have a man saved just on the basis of believing and saying, “Lord Jesus, come into my heart and save me”. 


Remember also from the tenth chapter of the book of Romans, that Paul quoted verse thirty-two , For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved"  from Joel 2:32.  And again preachers will quote a passage like this and take it completely out of context.  Any person that will do that is a false teacher, but you see how they can get by with such a thing.  "Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."  And then they pray, Lord Jesus, come into my heart and save me.  But this passage shows that a person cannot call upon the name of the Lord in such a way as to be saved until he knows how to call upon the name of the Lord.  Romans 10:14, "How then shall they call on him whom they have not believed?  How shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard?  And how shall they hear without a preacher?  And how shall they preach, except they be sent?" 


So the writer is showing that in order for a person to call upon the name of the Lord in such a way as to be saved, he must first be taught how.  He must know what the Lord has commanded him to do in order to be saved.  And Jesus has commanded -- Well, that is Mark 16:16.  Let us begin with Mark 16:15, “ And he said unto them (the apostles). Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to the whole creation, He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved. And notice that believing and baptism are joined together with and a coordinating conjunction, joining two things of about equal rank together.  Of course, man is not saved by baptism only, just like he is not saved by faith only.  One must believe as given in John 8: 24.  Jesus said, "Unless ye believe that I am king, ye shall die in your sins, and where I go ye cannot come."  So there is no question about it, a person must believe. Hebrews 11:6 reads, “For without faith it is impossible to please God, for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that seek him.”


In John 3:14, after Jesus had talked to Nicodemus about the new birth, he then talked to him about his coming death on the cross, and this was early during his ministry.  He said, "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish but have everlasting life.  For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but the world through him might be saved.  He that believeth is not judged:  But he that believeth not is not judged already, because he hath not believed on the name of the only begotten Son of God."  So anyone that does not have real faith that Jesus Christ is the Son of God cannot be saved.  And in Romans 10:10, "For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."  So a man must believe, and he must confess that Jesus is the Christ.  He must repent as given here in Acts 2:38, and also Acts 17:30-31, and he must be baptized for the remission of his sins. 


The Greek word E-I-S used in Acts 2:38, be sure to remember that this is the same Greek word used in Matthew 26:28.  And you need to write that reference down if you are not already acquainted with it.  You need to write down by Acts 2:38 in your Bible, Matthew 26:28.  When Jesus instituted the Lord's Supper, he said, "This is the blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the remission of sins." The Greek word for is EIS the same word used in Acts 2:38. Now if for in Acts 2:38 means because of, then Jesus died in vain.  He died because men’s sins were already forgiven! Matthew 26:28 shows absolutely that their teaching is false. Remember that basic rule, that there must be harmony when scriptures are interpreted properly (I Corinthians 14:33).  


I remember going to a church that many of my kin people were members of when I was a teenager.  And I started to say a young man, but I guess a better term would be a teenager.  They would have their revival meetings, and when they had a revival meeting, they usually announced that on a certain night of this revival, we are going to open up the doors of this church for membership. The doors of the church were opened wide on Pentecost (Acts 2:40-41) and they have never been closed, and will never be closed until Christ comes in his second advent (Hebrews 9:28). When people went forward for membership in that church, they would ask them this question:  “Do you believe that God for Christ's sake has pardoned your sins”?  They would answer, yes, and then usually it was at the close of their revival meeting, they would have a baptismal service.  I am confident that they do not do that now, but that was the way it was back then.  You see that baptism was not counted as very important, because they thought that they were saved when they believed. Do you remember that Saul of Tarsus was told by Jesus, “but rise and enter into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do” (Acts 9:6) and for three days he did “neither eat nor drink” until after he was baptized Acts 22:16; 9:18-19). The same was true of all the conversions that are detailed. The eunuch (Acts 8:35-39) and the jailer rejoiced (Acts 16:34) after baptism. From these three cases of conversion, does not common sense tell us that baptism is essential to salvation.


I want you to notice as we study the book of Acts, that in every case of conversion where it tells the details, it always ends in baptism.  In regard to Saul of Tarsus, in Acts 22:16, where Paul is repeating the story about his seeing the light on the road to Damascus, and the Lord appearing to him, and then Ananias went to him to tell him what to do.  And Ananias said to him, Why tarriest thou?  Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord."  And really calling on the name of the Lord really means knowing how to call and then obeying.  And, of course, Saul of Tarsus did as he was commanded to do by Ananias. 


Even the baptism of John, contrary to what a number of our brethren taught in days past, that John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance that it was not for the remission of sins, the baptism of John was for the remission of sins. (Matthew 21:23-32; Mark 1:4; Luke 3:3), and those who rejected John’s baptism remained in a lost condition (Luke 7:30). Please remember that baptism is to be preceded by faith (John 8:24; Hebrews 11:6) repentance (Acts 2:38, 17:30) confession (Matthew 10:32; Romans 10:10; I Timothy 6:12) and then baptism puts one into Christ (Galatians 3:26-27; Romans 6:3-7) and into His church ( I Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 1:22-23, 4:4-5). Do you think that a person out of Christ and out of His church can be saved? If a person can be saved outside of Christ and outside of His church he can be saved with out scriptural baptism.                   


The gospel is something that must be obeyed, II Thessalonians 1:7-8.  When Christ comes, he will take “vengeance on them that know not God and obey not the gospel of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ.  It is obeyed in a form when one is baptized, in the likeness of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.  Reading from Romans the sixth chapter, and I will probably get the King James and the American Standard mixed up, and I may have a little something different from either version..  I am trying to begin with Romans 6:3, "Know ye not, that as many of us were baptized into Christ were baptized into his death?  Therefore we were buried by baptism into his death:  That like as Christ was raised up from the dead, by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.  For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be raised also in the likeness of his resurrection:  Knowing this, that the old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, for he that is dead is free from sin."  Now consider according to the doctrine of a person being saved just on the basis of faith, they have a live person that they bury when they baptize them.  What kind of person is to be buried?  Would it not it be that old man that is dead in sin (Romans 3:23, 6:23, Isaiah 59:1-2). that needs to be buried in the likeness of Christ's death and burial?  It is that man then that is raised to walk in newness of life. The faith only doctrine has a person walking in newness of life before baptism!


Baptism  marks the point where the alien sinner applies the blood of Christ, which is necessary for salvation (Romans 5:9; Ephesians 1:7).  We still sing the good song based on Exodus 12:13, “when I see the blood, I will pass, I will pass over you.  And back there, of course, it is talking about the blood of the lamb.  Exodus twelve, the whole chapter is about the institution of the Passover Supper that God instituted before the event that it was to commemorate.  God was going to pass over and kill the firstborn of man and beast in the houses of the Egyptians.  Before that event he gave the people of Israel the Passover Supper to keep.  They were to take the blood of the lamb and apply it to the lentils and the doorposts of their houses, Exodus 12:7.  And then verse thirteen says, "When I see the blood, I will pass over you."  The Passover feast continued to teach their children, that when the children asked why, they were to tell them because God passed over us when he killed the firstborn in the houses of the Egyptians.  Do you understand clearly now what I am talking about, their burying a live man according to their doctrine?  Well, that is ridiculous! 


It is that old man of sin that is to be put off.  He needs to be buried.  He needs to apply the blood of “the lamb of God, that taketh away the sins of the world” (John 1:29). Remember how Paul said, I have been crucified with Christ, it is no longer I that live, but  Christ that  liveth in me.  And the life that I now live I live in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself up for me (Galatians 2:20-21).”  And we are all to keep that old man of sin under control.  In regard to Christian people, their sins must be covered by the blood of Christ.  So how are those sins atoned for?  Do you remember that second law of pardon as given by Peter in Acts 8:14-24. Simon, who had been a sorcerer had believed, but when he saw that by the laying on of the apostle's hands, the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit were given, he wanted to buy that power with money. In former days he had really fooled the people by his magical tricks, and  he was evidently thinking about the money that he could make if he had the power that the apostles had. Peter refused him.  He told him he was in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity and that he needed to repent and pray, that perhaps the thoughts of his heart would be forgiven him.  So that is the second law of pardon for Christians.  Remember that John said, I John 1:7, "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin."  So just as long as the children of God walk in the light, the blood of Christ continues to cleanse them from sin.  But he goes on to say, "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us but if we confess our sins, he is just and righteous to forgive us of our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."  So one who has been scripturally baptized, never needs to be baptized again.  When he sins, he is to repent and pray to God to forgive him of his sins.  And John says that he is “just and righteous to forgive of us of our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  


We got down to Acts 2:38, "Peter said unto them, Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ."  The American Standard says unto, the King James says for.  "For the remission of your sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."  Now, the gift of the Holy Spirit that believers receive is not a miraculous gift, it is a non miraculous gift of God's Spirit, the Holy Spirit dwelling in the heart of Christians.  Acts 5:32, Peter says that, “God has given his Holy Spirit to all them that obey him.”  So there is a non-miraculous gift that believers receive when they are baptized.  Verse thirty-nine, "For to you is the promise, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call unto him."  Peter is very definitely speaking by inspiration of the Holy Spirit.  He evidently did not understand at that time that the Gentiles were to have salvation.  It took, as recorded in Acts ten, that sheet let down from heaven with all manner of unclean animals on it to prepare him for the Lord’s instruction. He was told to “arise, Peter kill and eat”. And Peter said, “not so, Lord, nothing common or unclean has ever entered into my mouth.”  But he was told to go with those men that Cornelius had sent, “with nothing doubting”.  It took that vision from heaven to convince him that the Gentile people were not to be counted as unclean.  The latter part of Acts 2:39 is speaking of the Gentiles. "For to you is the promise, and to your children,  (Jewish people)  and to all that are afar off."  Those that were afar were, of course, are the Gentile people.  The same language is used in Ephesians, that Christ “came and  preached peace to them that were far off and peace  to them that were nigh. 


The Gentile people were those that were afar off, the Old Testament was not given to them.  They had become so sinful back there as we see from Romans 1:18 through the rest of the chapter that God gave them up to their vile passions, and he let them go their own stubborn way.  They, of course, had gone the way of idolatry, and they were afar off.  Let us read verse thirty-nine again, "For you is the promise, and to your children, and to all that afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call unto him.  And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, Save yourselves from this crooked generation."  I have heard preachers say that the Lord saved some of us when we did not want to be saved.  A man has got to be sincere in order to be saved.  He must have that spirit.  Lord, I am lost and I need salvation.  Now, I think there are a lot of people that have gone to gospel meetings for some other purpose, but when they got there, like these people on Pentecost, they were pricked in their hearts by the preaching of the gospel and obeyed, but they were not saved when they did not want to be saved, they wanted to be saved. 


And here it says, "Save yourselves from this crooked generation."  There is something that each individual must do on his part to save himself, and saving faith is always active faith. How can anyone sit down and read the eleventh chapter of the book of Hebrews without recognizing that all of those great people of faith back there showed their faith by doing as the Lord instructed them to do.  Hebrews 11:7 says, “By faith Noah, being warned of God concerning things not seen as yet, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house, through which he condemned the world, and became the heir of righteousness which is according to faith.”  Noah moved with godly fear to do as God instructed him to do.  Evidently there had not ever been any rain on the earth, much less a world wide flood. There is no mention of it raining on the earth until the flood.(Genesis 2:6-7).  But Noah moved with godly fear and prepared an ark in the saving of his house by which he condemned the world and became the heir of righteousness.  And so saving faith is always active faith. 


If intellectual faith is all a man has to have, the devils will be saved.  James rebuked his Jewish brethren because they were practicing a faith-only religion.  And I would like for you to turn with me to James the second chapter, beginning with verse fourteen, where James says, "What doth it profit, my brethren, if a man say he hath faith, and have not works?  Can that faith save him?"  That is a rhetorical question that the man who is not ready to do as God has instructed him to, he does not have saving faith.  "If a brother or sister be naked, in a lack of daily food, and one of you say unto them, Go in peace, be ye warmed and filled; and yet ye give them not the things needful to the body; what doth it profit?  Even so faith, if it hath not works is dead, in itself.  Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith and I have works:  Show me thy faith apart from thy works, and I will by my works will show thee my faith.  Thou believest that God is  one thou doest well:  The demons also believe, and shutter.  Wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith apart from works is dead?  Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?  Thou seest that  faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?  And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned unto him for righteousness:  And he was called the Friend of God." 


In James 2:23, he is quoting from Genesis 15:6 the first part of it.  God appeared to Abraham after he had been in the land of Canaan, about ten years, and   God had promised him that through his seed all nations of the earth would be blessed.  And he still did not have a single child, and he was reasoning that Eleazar, a servant born in his house, would be his heir.  God said, “he shall not be thine heir, but  he that cometh forth from thine own bowels shall be thine heir.”  He told him to number the stars, if he could, and he said, “so shall thy seed be”.  And then Genesis 15:6, "And Abraham believed God; and it was reckoned unto him for righteousness."  But you see that James joins his faith and his works together and says verse 22, “thou seest that faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect” "Ye see that by works a man is justified, and not only by faith."  Now, James is not trying to discredit faith, but he is showing there is more than just an intellectual faith when he says in like manner, “you see that by works man is justified and not only by faith.”  And that is the only time we have only by faith (ASV) or by faith only (KJV) in the scripture, not only by faith. Have you looked at the outline on Things By Which We Are Saved?  In that outline I believe that I listed about twenty different things that the Bible says that have a part in our salvation.  And again when we read in I Peter 3:21, "The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us; not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God." 


Acts 2:41"Then they that received his word were baptized: And there were added unto them in that day about three thousand souls."  Notice that in The American Standard Version and in the King James Version and the New King James Version has unto them in different print, which means that the translators thought that that would help to better understand what it is saying.  The New American Standard Bible reads, “and there, were added that day about three thousand souls”.  But it actually carries the same meaning there were added that day about three thousand souls.  Added to what?  They were added to those charter members of the church.  All of those who had been baptized by John and by Christ and his apostles under the limited commission and remained faithful, they were charter members in the kingdom of God.  They were added unto them that day about three thousand souls.  I can remember the day when some of our brethren taught that those people had to be baptized again when the baptism of the great commission was given. That is not the case.  In I Corinthians chapter fifteen   Paul was giving some of the appearances that Christ made during that forty-day period before his ascension. I Corinthians 15:6 reads, “then he  appeared to above five hundred brethren at once  of whom the greater part remain until now, but some have fallen asleep.  Well, who do you suppose the five hundred brethren that Jesus appeared to during that forty-day period were?  He had told the apostles that he would be put to death, and on the third day he would be raised up, and he would go before them into Galilee.  And then after he was raised he gave instruction to the women to tell the apostles that he was going before them into Galilee.  It must have been that Galilee meeting that verse six is speaking of., So those who had been baptized by John or Christ and his apostles under the limited commission were not baptized again. The only time we read of disciples being baptized again is Acts 19:1-6, and they needed to be baptized again because they had been baptized  by Apollos with John’s baptism (Acts 18:24-26) after Pentecost. John’s baptism was valid until the baptism of the great commission on that first Pentecost after the ascension of Christ. If you think that others were baptized please answer this question, Who baptized the apostles after Pentecost?


Acts 2:42, And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' teaching and fellowship, and in the breaking of bread and prayers." And I think surely he is talking about items of worship there, that they continued in the apostles' teaching, and the fellowship and partnership which includes giving and working together in the service of the Lord.  And the breaking of bread (the Lord's Supper) and prayer.  "And fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles." 


I want you to notice that no wonders and signs, no miracles were done by anyone except the apostles until they laid their hands on those seven men that were selected, as recorded in Acts six, to take care of the distribution of food to the Grecian widows.  And then we see that Stephen and Philip had miraculous abilities after that, and I presume all the others must have had miraculous ability as well.  But we know definitely that those two did.  "And fear came upon every soul:  And many wonders and signs were done through the apostles."  The primary purpose of the wonders and signs was to confirm their teaching that they were from God and that they were speaking from God.  Hebrews 2:3-4 reads, “how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation (salvation in Christ) which having at the first been spoken by the Lord was confirmed unto us by them that heard; God also bearing witness with them by signs and wonders, and by manifold powers, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to his own will.” Acts 2:46, "And all that believed were together, and had all things common; and they sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all, according to as any man had need."  Here we see the wonderful liberality on the part of those believers in Jerusalem and Judaea, selling their possessions and goods, making it possible that all of those Jews that had come from great distances and had heard the gospel, that they could continue to stay and participate in the teaching and evangelizing of the people during those early days of the church, They sold their possessions and goods and parted them to all according as any man had need. 


They were converting people every day.  "And day by day continuing steadfastly with one accord in the temple."  During those early days of the church, it looks like they had such favor with the people that there was no big persecution.  But it was not long until persecution came against the church.  But notice that they were meeting daily in the temple.  "And day by day continuing steadfastly with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread at home  (eating their meals at home.) they took their food with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favor with all the people.  And the Lord added to the them day by day those that were saved."  Another reference that we need to call attention to is I Corinthians 12:13, "For by one Spirit were we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Greeks, or bond or free; and all made to drink into one Spirit."  The same steps that put one into Christ puts one into Christ's church or the church of God. Our brethren usually speak and refer to the church as the church of Christ.  We may sometimes leave the impression that that is the only name that it can be called by.  But Paul addressed two epistles to the church of God which is at Corinth.  The church of God as far as the name is concerned is just as scriptural and right as the church of Christ.  Now I am not advocating that we take down our sign because it would cause confusion because there are those that have the right name, but do not teach the right doctrine.  But nothing is wrong with the name, the church of God.  "And the Lord added to them day by day those that were saved." 


Chapter Three

In the first part of this chapter Peter, by miraculous power of the Holy Spirit, healed a man who had been lame from his mother's womb.  I believe it states that he was about forty years of age, and never had walked.  And he healed him, and this then brought another great audience together, and gave Peter an opportunity to speak to the Jewish people again.  One of the primary purposes of miracles was to aid in giving and confirmation of the word of God. This is a very interesting account to me of the healing of this lame man.  Now, Peter and John were going up into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour  (3 p.m.)  And a certain man that was lame from his mother's womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the door of the temple which is called Beautiful."  Note the details, He was lame from his mother’s womb and he could not walk. He was carried by others and laid at the Beautiful gate of the temple so that he could receive alms from the people. He was begging for a living.  "A certain man was lame from his mother's womb."  So-called miraculous healers today do not want anybody in their audience like that to be healed, and if there are, they go away unhealed. 


A number of years ago these people had a big healing service in Gadsden, Alabama. A person was brought in a wheel chair, and was supposedly healed. The case was checked out and it was learned that there was nothing wrong with the person that was brought in a wheel chair. It was a fake! Now they can convince a lot of people that they have been healed because maybe they are troubled with something that was temporary or with something that comes and goes, like back trouble with a lot of us,  or a lot of people think they have something wrong with them when there is nothing really wrong with them.  And a lot of people can go away, convinced that they are healed. Please mark it down; no one today has any miraculous power.  We will probably get around to discussing that sometime later.  "And a certain man that was lame from his mother's womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the door of the temple which is called Beautiful."  There were a number of doors to the temple, and this one is called Beautiful.  "To ask alms of them that entered into the temple; who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple."  The temple and other buildings of the complex were on nineteen acres of land.  Verse three, "Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked to receive an alms.  And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us.  And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something from them."  He was expecting money from them, he was begging for a living.  "But Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but what I have give I thee:  In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth walk.  And he took him by the right hand, and raised him up."  Peter must have done that in order to convince him that he had been healed.  and he took him by the right hand and raised him up,  and immediately his feet and his ankle bones received strength.  and leaping up he stood, and began to walk, and he entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping and praising God."  I really like the latter part there of verse eight, can't you just see him he is so happy about being able to do this.  He walks awhile, he leaps awhile, and praises God all the time.  He entered with them into the temple, walking and leaping and praising God.  "And all the people saw him walking and praising God:  And they took knowledge of him that it was he that sat for alms at the Beautiful gate of the temple.  And they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him."  He was not like the person that was brought to the Gadsden service, a person that the people did not know. Do you guess that some of them had given alms to him a number of times?


Would not there be wonder and amazement today if a certain person had been lame from his mother's womb and was forty years old and was actually healed?  That news would be carried immediately over all the major networks. How many thousands of people do you suppose would be there to be healed in only a few hours?  "And as he held Peter and John, all the people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon's greatly wondering."  So you see the great miracle of healing brought a great audience together.  I think if you give careful attention to all the great miraculous things that were done during the Old Testament period, that there was something up and beyond the person that was healed or what ever the miraculous event it was, something else involved besides the healing, and here the healing of this impotent man brings a great audience of people together.  And as he held Peter and John, all the people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon's greatly wondering. 


Acts 3:12, "And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this man?  Or why fast ye eyes on us, as though by our own power or godliness we had made him to walk?"  So Peter wants the people to know this is not done by our power, but done by the Holy Spirit.  "The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye have delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to release him." 


Notice Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and God first told Abraham that Eleazar, that servant born in your house shall not be your heir.  And then Genesis chapter twenty-one when Isaac was weaned, Abraham gave a great feast, and on that day Ishmael the son of the handmaiden mocked Isaac,  and Sarah saw him mocking her son, and she said to Abraham, “cast out the handmaiden and her son, for he is not going to inherit with my son.” Ishmael was at that time about seventeen years of age.  And evidently Abraham had great concern, and great love for Ishmael, and he did not want to cast him out.  But God appeared to him and told him to do as his wife had said, and he would make a great nation of Ishmael, but he said “in Isaac shall thy seed be called.”  And then Isaac married Rebekah, in the twenty-fifth chapter of Genesis, Rebekah was barren and Isaac prayed that she might have a child.  And God answered his prayer, and she conceived with twins, and God made a choice before those twins were born that the Jewish people would be called through Jacob and not through Esau (Genesis 25:21-23; Romans 9:10-12).  Also in Genesis 25:1-6 after the death of Sarah, Abraham married Keturah and had six sons by her.  But notice that the Jewish people are spoken of as descendents of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in more than one reference because the Jewish people came through Isaac and Jacob.  The other people were Gentile people that came also from Abraham's seed, Ishmael, and the six sons of Keturah.  The God of Abraham and of Isaac and of Jacob, the God of our fathers has glorified his servant Jesus.”  That is the way Jesus is spoken of in more than one reference in Isaiah as God's servant.    "Whom ye delivered up and denied before the face of Pilate when he had determined to release him."  The gospel of John shows the effort that Pilate put forth to try to release Jesus.  But they did not want Jesus released.  They were ready for him to release Barabbas. He had chosen probably the worst criminal of that time, thinking that they would surely say release Jesus rather than Barabbas.  Barabbas was a criminal.  He was a murderer as Peter speaks of him in this second gospel sermon.


Let us read a little bit from John nineteen.  When Pilate questioned him, he saw that Jesus had done nothing worthy of death.  And when he learned that he was of Herod's jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, and Herod sent him back to Pilate.  Herod did not find anything wrong with him.  Remember the reference there in John 18:36, he told Pilate my kingdom is not of this world.  Let us pick up with John 18:38,  "Pilate saith unto him what is truth?"  That makes a great subject, what is truth?  "And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews and saith unto them, I find no crime in him.  But ye have a custom, that I should release unto you one at the Passover.  Will ye therefore that I release unto you the King of the Jews?  They cried out therefore again, saying, Not this man but Barabbas."  Now Barabbas was a robber, and more than a robber.  "Then Pilate therefore took Jesus and scourged him."  A scourging was a brutal and terrible ordeal.  If you will think of being whipped with a buggy-whip having metal or bones in the tip ends of each part of that whip, you will have some understanding of how brutal it was.  Sometimes they would beat a man to the point that he would die from the scourging, and sometimes a man’s bowels would be protruding because of all the cuts that they made on his body.  "And the soldiers planted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and arrayed him in purple garment, and they come unto him and said, Hail, King of the Jews!  And they struck him with their hands.  And Pilate went out again, and saith unto them, Behold, I bring him out to you, that ye may know that I find no crime in him.  Jesus therefore came out, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple garment.  And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man!"  I think that means, do you not think that he has suffered enough already?    The man was beaten, and they had mocked him by arraying him with the kingly garment.  He came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple garment mocking him.  "When therefore the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, saying, Crucify him, crucify him.  Pilate saith unto them, Take him yourselves, and crucify him:  For I find no crime in him.  The Jews answered, We have a law, and by the law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.  When Pilate therefore heard this saying, he was the more afraid; and he went into the praetorium again, and saith unto Jesus, Whence art thou?  But Jesus gave him no answer.  Pilate therefore saith unto him, Speakest thou not unto me?  Knowest thou not that I have power to release thee, and power to crucify thee?  And Jesus answered, Thou wouldest have no power against me, except it were given thee from above:  Therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath greater sin."  Jesus knew exactly what was going to happen to him.  And remember as Peter said in that first gospel sermon “by the hand of lawless men, you did crucify and slay.” 


"And upon this Pilate sought to release him, but the Jews cried out, saying, If thou release this man, thou art not Caesar's friend:  Every one that maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar.  When Pilate therefore heard these words, he brought Jesus out, and sat down on the judgment seat at the place called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha.  Now it was the preparation of the Passover, it was about the sixth hour:  And he saith unto the Jews Behold your King!  They therefore cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him.  Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King?  The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar.  Then therefore he delivered him unto them to be crucified."  Pilate knew that Jesus was not guilty, but he yielded to the voice of the chief priests of the Jewish people and delivered Jesus to be crucified.  And remember that John is writing a long time after the destruction of Jerusalem, and evidently Jewish time has gone by the wayside, and  in John 19:14, he uses Roman time.  And Mark tells us that it was the third hour and they crucified him. Mark is using Jewish time, and John is using Roman time. The sixth hour Roman time is the same as ours today 6A.M., and the third hour Jewish time was 9 A. M.


Back to Acts 3:13,  The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him before the face of Pilate, when he was determined to release him."  You see from the reading in John how Pilate had determined to release Jesus and took a lot of steps to try to get that done.  "But when they cried out, crucify him, crucify him, we have no king but Caesar, he yielded to the voice of those who were ready to murder the Son of God.” Acts 3:14,  But ye denied the holy and righteous one and asked for a murderer to be granted unto you."  The other reference says the robber; he probably committed a murder in the process of his robbing.  "And killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses."  And remember that all the apostles were to be witnesses of the ministry of Christ and especially of the resurrection of Christ.  "And by faith in his name hath his name made this man strong, whom ye beheld and know:  Yea, the faith which is through him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.  And now, brethren, I know that in ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers.  But the things, which God foreshadowed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he thus fulfilled."  There are a number of references in the Psalms about how that Christ would suffer.  And, of course, Isaiah fifty-three, details so many things about Christ's death, it is the great chapter of the Old Testament about the death of Christ.  I think we will have plenty of time to do a lot of reading in this class in  Acts.  Let us turn to Isaiah chapter fifty-three and read from that great chapter.  And Isaiah is writing about 750 years before Christ was born of the virgin Mary, and he tells about the death of Christ.  Let us pick up with Isaiah chapter 52:13, another reference where Christ is called God's servant.  "Behold my servant shall deal wisely.  He shall be exalted and lifted up and shall be very high.  Like as many were astonished at thee.  His visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men: So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him:  For that which he had been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they understand."  So his body was so marred.  Would it be by that scourging  that we read about in the nineteenth chapter of John? The twenty-second Psalm also talks about that his body was marred. 


Isaiah fifty-three, "Who hath believed our message?  And to whom hath the arm of Jehovah been revealed?  For he grew up before him as a tender plant and as a root out of dry ground:  He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.  He was despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief."  Think of how Isaiah by the Holy Spirit speaks in past tense when it was more than seven hundred years before Christ was born of the virgin Mary.  "He was despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief:  As one from whom men hide their face; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.  Surely he hath born our griefs, and carried our sorrows:  Yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.  But he was wounded for our transgressions."  Think how that statement parallels II Corinthians 5:21, "Him who knew no sin; him he made to be sin in our behalf; that we might become the righteousness of God in him.”  Verse five, “He was wounded for our transgressions.  He was bruised for our iniquities.  The chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.  We all like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and Jehovah hath laid on him the iniquity of us all." 


Do you remember back there in early days of the New England states how that they taught that doctrine that man is born in sin, holy inclined to all evil.  They had their children to write on their writing slates, “In Adam’s fall, we sinned all.”  Man is not born in sin.  Think of verse six there.  "All we like sheep have gone astray."  Not born astray, but gone astray.  "We have turned every one to his own way."  Anytime men turn to their own way, they do that which is contrary to God's way.  "And Jehovah hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.  He was oppressed, yet when he was afflicted, he opened not his mouth:  As a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and as a sheep before the shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.  By oppression and judgment:  He was taken away.  And as for his generation, who among them considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living:  For the transgression of my people to whom their stroke was due.  And they made his grave with the wicked, and with a rich man in his death; although he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.  Yet it pleased Jehovah to bruise him."  One of the seven statements that Jesus made on the cross was:  My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me.  And he prayed so earnestly in the garden of Gethsemane that, “if it be thy will let this cup pass, but not my will, but thine be done.”  It was the Father's will that Jesus should die as that sin offering for man.  "Yet it pleased Jehovah to bruise him; he hath put him to grief:  When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of Jehovah shall prosper in his hand.  He shall see the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied."  It took a perfect sacrifice to make atonement for the sins of man.  Think of verse eleven there, "He shall see the travail of his soul."  Christ's death on the cross satisfied the righteousness of God’s justice. God’s righteousness demanded  that a perfect man had to die as a sin offering for sinful men.  "And shall be satisfied."  According to Romans 3:26 that is the way that God could “be just, and the justifier of him that faith in Jesus.” That is the way that God could uphold his justice and righteousness on one hand and grant mercy for sinners on the other. The righteousness and holiness of God would not allow animal blood to make atonement for sin (Hebrews 10:4)!  "By the knowledge of himself shall my righteous servant justify many; and he shall bear their iniquities.  Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he poured out his soul unto death:  And was numbered with the transgressors."  Remember that two malefactors were crucified with him one on each side of him..  "Yet he bore the sins of many, and made intercession for the transgressions."  Again, one of the seven statements that Christ made while he was on the cross was, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.  And that is the meaning of that last part there of that verse, made intercession for the transgressions.  So more than seven hundred years before Christ was born of the virgin Mary, Isaiah through the Holy Spirit gave many details about the death of Christ.  We may began our next class period with reading from the 22nd Psalm.  Our time is up.  A brief recess was taken.


Let us pick up with Acts 3:19, "Repent ye therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that so there may become seasons of refreshing from the presence of the Lord; and that he may send the Christ, who hath been appointed for you:  Even Jesus whom the heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things.  Where God hath spaken by the mouth of all his holy prophets that have been from of old.  Moses indeed saith."  And he begins and quotes from the eighteenth chapter of the book of Deuteronomy, I believe beginning with verse fifteen.  "For Moses indeed said, A prophet shall the Lord raise up unto you from among your brethren, like unto me."  Moses was a great leader of the people of Israel.  God gave the law through him, and the New Testament was given by Christ.  "A prophet shall the Lord raise up unto you from among your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hearken in all things whatsoever he shall speak unto you." 


Please remember that everything that the apostles wrote is as authoritative as what Jesus said during his personal ministry.  In John 16:7-14, Jesus said concerning the Holy Spirit, he shall not speak of himself, the Holy Spirit, but he shall take of mine and shall declare it unto you.  So every message of the inspired men is the word of Christ.  "And it shall be that every soul that shall not hearken to that prophet, shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.  Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and them that followed after, as many as have spoken they also told of these days.  Ye are the sons of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with your fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all of the members of the earth be blessed."  The latter part is a quotation of Genesis 12:3, that God promised Abraham through his descendants that all families or nations of the earth would be blessed.  And that meant that Christ would come from the seed of Abraham through the descendants of Isaac and Jacob.  Verse 26, "Unto you first God, having raised up his Servant, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities. 


Chapter Four

And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them."  The Sadducees did not believe the resurrection of the dead or spirits.  The Pharisees believed in both.  "Being sore trouble."  Later on we will see how that Paul divided the Jewish council, by saying, “for the hope of the resurrection of the dead I am called in question.” Acts 4:2, "Being sore troubled because they taught the people and proclaimed in Jesus the resurrection from the dead.  And they laid hands on them, and put them in ward unto the morrow:  For it was now eventide."  So they put Peter and John in prison because they are teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead.  "But many of them that heard the word believed; and the number of men came to be about five thousand."  We have already mentioned, that usually if there is any difference, there are more women that obey the gospel than men.  On the basis of Acts 4:4, would not the Jewish Christians at this time number at least ten thousand?  "Many of them that heard the word believed; and the number of men came to be about five thousand." 


Again, please highlight those verses about how many of the Jewish people obeyed and how rapidly the church grew among the Jewish people during the early days of the kingdom of Christ and of God the Father.  Go back to Acts 2:41, "There was added unto them that day about three thousand souls."  Be careful and do not highlight more than you need to highlight.  And then the latter part of Acts 2:47, "And the Lord added to them day by day those that were being saved.  And Acts 4:4, "Many of them that heard the word believed; and the number of men came to be about five thousand."  And then after the death of Ananias and Sapphira, Acts 5:14, "And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women."  So take ten thousand people, and then add multitudes of people to that, and you surely got a great number of people.  And then chapter 6:1," And in those days, when the number of disciples were multiplied."  And 6:7, "And the word of God increased; and the number of disciples multiplied in Jerusalem exceedingly; and a great company of priests were obedient to the faith."  It looks like to me that the least estimate that we ought to come with on the basis of the reading of all those references would be that twenty thousand Jewish people had obeyed the gospel. 


Back now to Acts 4:5, "And it came to pass on the morrow that the rulers and elders and scribes were gathered together in Jerusalem.  And Annas the high priest was there."  Now he is the father-in-law to Caiaphas.  According to the Old Testament scriptures, the high priests were to serve a lifetime, but the Romans had put Annas out of office and put his son-in-law Caiaphas in his office.  John tells us how that when Christ was arrested, that he was carried first to Annas and then to Caiaphas, Does that not show that the Jewish people still recognized Annas as being the rightful high priest and Caiaphas the legal high priest from the standpoint of their being under Roman authority.  Verse six, "And Annas the high priest was there, and Caiaphas, and John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the kindred of the high priest.  And when they had set them in the midst, they inquired, By what power, or by what name, have ye done this?  Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit said unto them." 


When I think of Peter's answer here, there is not any doubt in my mind that he is being directly given answer by the Holy Spirit.  Turn to chapter 10 of Matthew.  Reading from Matthew ten about the numbering of the twelve apostles and Jesus sending them forth under that limited commission.  Let us begin with Matthew 10:16, "Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves:  Be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.  But beware of men:  For they will deliver you up to their councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; ye and before governors and kings shall ye be wrought for my sake, for a testimony to them and to the Gentiles."  "But when they deliver you up, be not anxious how or what ye shall speak:  For it shall be given you in that hour what ye shall speak.  For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father that speaketh in you.  And brother shall deliver up brother to death, and father his child:  And the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.  And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake:  But he that endureth to the end the same shall be saved.  And when they persecuted you in this city, flee ye to the next:  For verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone through the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come."  So Jesus said be not anxious about what are you going to speak when you are brought before councils, before various courts, for it shall be given you in that same hour. Peter and John are brought before at least a part of the highest court of the Jews, at least all of those that are of kindred of the high priests. 


Back to Acts 4:7, "And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, By what power, or by what name, have ye done this?  Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit."  Does not that, with what we read there from Matthew, tell us that his answer is being given him.  "Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders."  So he is before the ruling authorities of the Jewish people, if not the whole Sanhedrin court, at least the primary ruling part of it, to say the least of it.  "Ye rulers of the people and elders, if we this day are examined concerning a good deed done to an impotent man, by what means this man is made whole; be it known unto you and to all the people of Israel, that in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even to him doth this man stand here before you whole." 


Do you think that Peter was speaking bold words to that court, the same court that had Jesus crucified? But he has that boldness to speak that message from the Holy Spirit.  " He is the stone which was set at nought of you the builders, which was made the head of the corner.  And in none other:  Is there salvation:  For neither is there any name under heaven that is given among men, whereby we must be saved."  Think how that verse would parallel John 14:6, where Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the light.  No man cometh unto the Father except by me."  And Peter said, ye have crucified him.  You rejected him as the head of the corner.  He is the stone, which was set  at nought of you builders, which is also the head of the corner.  The quotation is Psalms 118:22.  That is the same passage that Jesus called attention to when he gave the parable about the wicked husbandman?  Please turn to Matthew chapter twenty-one, and let us see if that is not the case.  Picking up with verse thirty-three of Matthew twenty-one, "Hear another parable:  There was a man that was a householder who planted a vineyard, and set a hedge about it, and digged a winepress in it, and built atower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into another country."  In the fifth chapter of Isaiah, the vineyard is spoken of as God's people, and these Jewish rulers  are the husbandmen in charge of his vineyard, but they are wicked.  "And when the season of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, to receive his fruits.  And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another.  Again, he sent other servants more than the first: And they did unto them in like manner.  But after he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son."  Jesus came to die on the cross, and he knew that they were going to kill him.  And so he is speaking to Pharisees who rejected the baptism of John, and they led in seeing to it that Christ was put to death.  And Jesus knows that they will do it.  And so he is saying to them very plainly, "He sent other servants more than the first: And they did in like manner.  But after he sent unto them his son."  "But the husbandmen when they saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir:  Come, let us kill him, and take his inheritance.  And they took him, and cast forth out of the vineyard, and killed him.  When therefore the Lord of the vineyard shall come, what shall he do unto those husbandmen?  They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those miserable men, and will let out the vineyard unto other husbandmen, who shall render him the fruits in their seasons.  Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same was made the head of the corner:  This was from the  Lord, and it is marvelous in their eyes?" 


So you see Jesus quoted to them this reference here that the apostle Peter is using or the Holy Spirit is using.  "Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken away from you."  It would be taken away from the Jewish people as a people. "And shall be given to a nation bringing forth the fruits  thereof.  And he that falleth on this stone shall be broken in pieces:  But on whomsoever it shall fall, it will scatter him as dust.  And when the chief priests and Pharisees heard his parable, they perceived that he spake of them.  And when they sought to lay hold on him, they feared the multitudes, because they took him for a prophet." 


Back to Acts 4:11, he is the stone that was set at nought of you builders, which was made the head of the corner.  And in none other is there salvation: For neither is there any other name under heaven that is given among men, wherein we must be saved.  Now when they beheld the boldness of Peter and John, and had perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled and took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus."  Men who have real faith will be ready to give courageous answers.  People today should also be able to take knowledge of us,  all members of the church, who have been Christians for a considerable length of time,  others should take knowledge of them that they have been with Jesus.  The Jewish court here took knowledge that Peter  and John had been with Jesus.  They had not been trained in those foremost schools of the Jewish rulers, and thus they are spoken of as unlearned and ignorant men.  But, of course, they were not unlearned because Jesus had taught them. He is the master teacher! They were not ignorant men,  they were brave, intelligent men.    "And seeing the man that was healed standing with them, they   could say nothing against it."  Talk about real evidence before the court, there is the man.  It says that he was about forty years of age and never had walked?  The Court knew that he had been lame, because he was  carried daily, and set at the Beautiful gate of the temple to beg alms from the people. 


Come down to verse fourteen,  The man that was healed was standing with them, they could say nothing against him.  That man must have showed boldness to be present, or do you reckon that they had put him in prison or jail overnight?  " When they commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves, Saying, What shall we do to these men?  For that indeed a notable miracle hath been wrought through them is manifest to all that dwell in Jerusalem; and we cannot deny it."  That is implying that they would have tried to deny it if they thought they could have been successful in denying it, but they recognized that such a notable miracle –that there was no way that they could successfully deny it. Surely it was the talk of all the people, the healing of that man who had been lame from  his mother's womb, and was about forty years old.   So they dared not try to deny that that man had been healed. If anyone could heal like that James Turner nor anyone else could successfully deny it! In fact that would prove that some men today have miraculous power!


Acts 4:17, "But that it spread no further among the people, let us threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in his name.  And they called them, and charged them not to speak at all or teach in the name of Jesus."  Now, let us recognize very clearly that when a government, or legal authorities give instruction that is contrary to God's instruction, then we are to do as Peter and John did.  They charged them not to speak at all or teach in the name of Jesus.  So they were trying stop them from giving God’s message to the people.  But notice how bold they are.  "But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it is right in the sight of God to hearken unto you rather than unto God, judge ye.  For we cannot but speak of things which we saw and heard."  Those apostles had real faith.  In substance, they are saying, we are not going to listen to you at all.  We are going to continue to speak and teach like we have been doing.  It is not right for us to hearken unto you rather than unto God.  Men of real faith are going to speak for the Lord.  "For we cannot but speak the things which we saw and heard.  And when they had further threatened them, let them go, finding nothing how they might punish them."  Does not that tell us that they really wanted to find something?  "Finding nothing how they might punish them."  Why?  "Because of the people:  For all men glorified God for that which was done."  I thought that was in chapter three, here it is.  "For the man was more than forty years old, on whom this miracle of healing was brought" Think of all the people that must have known that man over a period of many years.  They had been carrying him daily to that beautiful gate of the temple. The most important thing about this miracle was that it brought that great multitude together, and gave Peter another opportunity to speak again, proclaiming the name of Jesus, and the resurrection of the dead. So the miracle had eternal effects!  


Acts 4:23, "And being let go, they came unto their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said unto them."  That great body of believers, and they when they heard it, lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Oh Lord, thou that did make the heavens and the earth, and the sea, and all that in them is: Who by the mouth of the Holy Spirit by the mouth of our father David thy servant did say, Why did the Gentiles rage, and the people imagine vain things?  The kings of the earth set themselves in array, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his anointed.  For in truth in this city, against thy holy servant Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together to do whatsoever thy hand and thy council foreordained to come to pass."  Now, notice that when Peter and John went back to their company and told them about what the chief priests and the elders had commanded them and threatened them, that that company of believers prayed unto the Lord with one accord.  They did the good and proper thing.  And we are living in a time right now when many people need to meet together and pray for the Lord's help, and that is what they are asking for in this prayer. 


Notice that they ask for some definite things in regard to what they wanted the Lord to do to them.  But coming back to verse twenty-eight.  Verse twenty-eight is another one of those references about how God had foreordained some things.  And he said these Gentile rulers have risen up against your anointed to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel foreordained to come to pass.  In other words, they had risen up against Christ and crucified him, but it was foreordained of God to come to pass.  God had foreordained and predestined before he made man that Christ would be the sin offering,  and that all who would accept and obey Christ, all those who would apply the blood of Christ would be saved from sin. 


Notice the Psalm that they are quoting from is the second Psalms.  And let us turn and read from that second Psalm.  There are a number of Psalms that have at least portions about the Christ to come.  And Peter in that first sermon quoted from the sixteenth Psalms about the promise that God gave David, about he was going to raise up of the fruit of his loins one to sit upon his throne, and that had reference to Christ.  But reading from Psalms two, "Why do the nations rage?"  And so they are quoting the first part of the second Psalms.  "And the people imagine a vain thing?  And the kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against Jehovah, and against his anointed, saying, let us break their bonds asunder, and cast their cords from us."  So those believers knew that this had reference to Christ, and thus they said in this city this has been fulfilled.  "He that sitteth in the heavens will laugh: The Lord will have them in derision.  Then will he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.  Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion."  Of course, that may have reference to David first.  But if so, it has that second reference in Christ.  "I will tell the decree:  Jehovah said unto me, thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee."  Paul interpreted, “thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee”, when he was speaking to the Jewish people in the synagogue at Antioch of Pisidia, and he applied it to the resurrection of Christ.  I can remember when I thought that had reference to the birth of Christ, but it is about the resurrection of Christ.  "And Jehovah said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.  Ask of me, and I will give thee the nations, for thine inheritance."  And surely that is about Christ and not David.  "And the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.  Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.  Now, therefore, Be wise O ye kings:  Be instructed, ye judges of the earth.  Serve Jehovah with fear, and rejoice with trembling.  Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish in the way for his wrath will soon be kindled.  Blessed are they that take refuge in him."  So it looks like to me that the whole Psalms is about Christ, David speaking in the Spirit about Christ, the anointed one from God the Father. 


These believers knew that the Psalm was about Christ, and  they quoted a part of that Psalm in their prayer.  Have you ever heard brethren criticize a brother that would do a little quoting in his prayer?  I have.  But if you read the prayers of the Old Testament and the New Testament, you will find that there is a considerable amount of quoting  the scriptures in some of the prayers.  Back now to verse twenty-eight, "That that they had done whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel foreordained to come to pass."  When we get over to chapter thirteen about when those Jews in the synagogue at Antioch of Pisidia began to speak out against what was spoken by Paul and Barnabas, they spoke out against them, and said that it was necessary that the word of God should first be spoken to you.  "But seeing ye thrust it from you, judge yourselves worthy of eternal life, lo we turn to the Gentiles."  And the Gentiles were glad.  I believe it states that, “as many as were ordained to eternal life and believed”.  At least we will have that foreordination passage coming up in Acts thirteen. 


Verse 29, "And now, Lord, look upon their threatenings:  And grant."  Notice, they ask for some specific things.  "Look on their threatenings,  Lord consider what these rulers are doing.  and grant unto thy servants to speak thy word with all boldness."  So they asked for God's help to speak boldly.  And we need to ask for God's help that we may be bold to speak the word of God as we should speak it.  "While thou stretchest forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of thy holy servant Jesus."  And so they asked for two specific things, that the Lord -- well, three things.  Look upon their threatenings.  In other words, Lord consider how you are to help us take care of all of these threatenings, and give us the courage to speak thy word with all boldness, and Lord heal and give signs and wonders. The purpose of the signs was to show the people that they were speaking from God, and the message would be confirmed by the signs that the apostles would be doing in the name of Jesus. 


Acts 4:31, And when they had prayed, the place was shaken wherein they were gathered together."  God gave them a demonstration that their prayers had been answered.  "And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spake the word of God with boldness.  And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and soul."  There was real unity in the early days of the church.  "And not one of them said ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common."  And again the people in Jerusalem and Judaea and other places sold some of their possessions and brought the money and laid it at the apostles feet, as we  will be reading in verse thirty-five. "And fear came upon every soul:  And many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.  And all that believed were together, and had all things common:  And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, according to any man hath need."  And so again that is mentioned.  Verse thirty-two again, "And the multitude of them that believed were one heart and one soul:  And not one of them said ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common."  God had not commanded them to do that.  There is no statement made where God had commanded, but they just had such a love of God's truth and wanted that truth proclaimed to the people, that of their own accord they were selling some of their possessions to make it possible that all of those who had come from a great distance could stay and participate in those wonderful things. 


Verse thirty-three, "With great power gave the apostles their witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus:  And great grace was upon them all."  Grace is unmerited favor, a wonderful kindness of God.  Unmerited favor was upon this great body of believers.  "For neither was there any among them that lacked:  For as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the price of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles' feet."  So the apostles were in charge of  the money, and the distribution to the needs of the people. A wonderful  spirit was manifested by those who were selling their possessions, so that those Jewish people who had come to that Pentecost from every nation under heaven could stay and hear and have a part in that evangelism.  "And Joseph, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, which is, being interpreted, The son of exhortation."  The footnote in my Bible says consolation.  So Barnabas was a man with unusual ability to give comfort and consolation and exhortation to the people.  We will read later in chapter eleven that he is the man that the apostles chose to go over to Antioch of Syria, that first Gentile church.  They sent Barnabas over there.  They could not have sent a better man for that work, because of his ability to exhort and encourage and comfort people.  There are those who have special abilities in that respect today.  It is said that during the days of the early restoration period in this country, that quite frequently there would be two speakers.  Maybe one would be like an Alexander Campbell who could really tell the brethren what the Bible teaches, but did not have that peculiar ability to exhort the people to obedience.  Frequently they had another speaker to exhort the people to obey what they had heard. "A Levite, and of the country of Cyprus, having the field, sold if it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles' feet."  So chapter five will be our beginning place for our next session.  Thank you for your good attention