This week I read Acts 3 and 4. Briefly what happens is Peter and John are going to the temple to pray, when they heal a man in Jesus name (Acts 3:1-10). When questioned on this they preach Jesus resurrected (Acts 3:11-26). This angers the Sadducees who have them arrested (Acts 4:1-4). Later they are brought before the Sanhedrin, who threaten them not to preach Jesus. They tell the Sanhedrin that they would rather obey God than man and would continue to preach. They are set free (Acts 4: 5-22). Upon returning to the other believers they all pray and are filled with the Holy Spirit again (Acts 4:23-31). And the church continues to function (Acts 4:32-37).
Here are the main points I gathered concerning the church:
- Peter and John still went to the temple to pray
- They did not give the beggar any of the funds they were sharing in Acts 2. That appears to be for believer, the beggar did get a miracle of healing
- Healing is done in the name (authority) of Jesus.
- Peter again is the one preaching. It would seem there is a seniority, but it could just be character or ability that leads him to do most of the talking. The text really does not say he was the leader.
- The numbers grew from 3000 to 5000.
- It is clear that no man is saved but by the name of Jesus (Acts 4:11-12).
- Never deny Jesus, or disobey God, even if authority commands it.
- In adversity pray
- The filling (baptism) of the Holy Spirit is an event that can occur multiple times.
- The church was one of heart and soul. Does this mean we should split from someone if we have a disagreement?
- The apostles testified of Jesus resurrection. They appear to be the main people who preach.
- They had all things in common, with those selling to provide for those who had need (again, the historical context as mentioned in Part 2 is that a lot of the new converts came from outside Jerusalem, and all they had was far from them). Barnabas is used as an example of this. He was from Cyprus. But tradition tells us that he had moved to Jerusalem earlier, and had studied under Gamaliel, with Saul of Tarsus.
What is a church? Answer:
Believers in Jesus, who are of one heart and soul, gathering to:
- Pray. They prayed together as a habit, but also in times of adversity
- Praise God.
- Study the scriptures.
- They also went to the temple together, daily, for pray. This is no longer possible for us since (1) the temple is destroyed and (2) not all believers are Jews.
They also had fellowship which entails the following:
- They eat together, as a community but also in separate homes.
- All things are shared in common, with those having, selling their goods to provide for those without. Historical context here is that a lot of the early converts were far from home and had nothing. Also these funds were not shared with non-believers.
Positions in the church:
- Apostles: a special position with the criteria that they were with Jesus from His baptism till His resurrection. Based on historical context, this position is no longer applicable for today, as no one alive can meet this criterion. They taught the new believers, did miracles and testified of Jesus’ resurrection.