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Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.
The Scriptorium

In Your Face, Satan

What a blockhead. Acts 5.12-16

Sin, Surge, Suffering, Rejoicing: Acts 5 (3)

Pray Psalm 54.6, 7.

I will freely sacrifice to You;
I will praise Your name, O LORD, for it is good.
For He has delivered me out of all trouble;
And my eye has seen its desire upon my enemies.

Sing Psalm 54.6, 7
(Beatitudo: Father of Mercies, in Your Word)
Willingly will we praise You, Lord, gladly adore Your Name!
You have redeemed us by Your Word and blest us by the same.

From all our trouble, by Your grace, You have redeemed us, Lord.
While all our foes in sad disgrace reel backward from Your Word.

Read Acts 5.1-16; meditate on verses 12-16.

1. How did the situation of verses 1-11 affect the church in Jerusalem?

2. How did the local people regard the church in their midst?

This chapter began with Satan trying to throttle the ongoing work of Christ (Acts 1.3). Now we find the apostles, in a very public manner, doing those things which signal the presence of the Kingdom and contribute to its advance (vv. 13-16). One more demonic scheme, blowing up in the arch-fiend’s face. No wonder Jonathan Edwards said that Satan is the greatest blockhead who ever lived.

We recall that Jesus said the signs and wonders He performed indicated that the devil had been bound and all his former holdings were now being plundered (Matt. 12.22-29). Here’s the proof of it: In perhaps the most public place in all of Jerusalem, the believers are mopping the floor with the devil, winning lost souls, healing broken bodies, sending wicked spirits packing, and generally making a great show of the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom as it vanquishes the kingdom of darkness, death, and the lie.

People, seeing this boldness and these wonders, understood this to be not the sort of thing you rush into without careful consideration, even though they held the believers in high esteem (v. 13). A new day has dawned; new rules are in effect; and a new Ruler is on the throne. But Satan is not finished yet, nor ever will be this side of the Lord’s return.

We must never lose sight of the fact that the devil is determined to frustrate the ongoing work of Christ. His most consistent tactic is to spread lies, deceit, self-interest, and disobedience within the Body of Christ, so that we believe the Lie rather than the plain teaching of the Word of God. But where believers and churches understand the importance of resisting the devil and are committed to the Lord’s Word in doing so, blessings of Kingdom presence and progress can be expected.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
“Yet none of the rest dared join them, but the people esteemed them highly” (Acts 5.13).

Respect must be paid to those who were disinclined to join this Kingdom Movement. They were apprehensive because they knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that a real change must happen in their lives.
This new life was not just an add-on to what they were already doing. No, it was a total turn around and change; and you couldn’t just pretend that you were participating.

They’d seen first-hand that an everyday lie could be the last lie you ever told! Sin bore real consequences. And maybe they were just honest enough with themselves to admit that they didn’t really want to play by all those constraining rules. I mean, loving God and your neighbors, sharing all your stuff, following the Ten Commandments, and then risking your life to pass along this info might be a real game-changer. And they weren’t up to the task. Foolhardy. But honest, nonetheless.

What about us? Are we truly ready to join in with Jesus and the disciples to live fully in the Kingdom? With our Leader and Savior Jesus? To be filled with the Holy Spirit so that we can live successfully in our Personal Mission Field, sharing the good and bad news of the Gospel?

Or do we just want to esteem other believers highly, but not join in?

It is a serious decision. One that should not be made lightly.

Because what we decide makes all the difference:
“But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness…” (Matt. 6.33).
“He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me…” (Jn. 12.25, 26).
“….present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Rom. 12.1, 2).
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2.10).
“I have inclined my heart to perform Your statutes forever, to the very end” (Ps. 119.112).

Let’s dare to fully join in and follow our beloved Savior to the very end!

For reflection

1. How did the church in Jerusalem benefit from the act of discipline against the man and his wife?

2. How did the community in Jerusalem benefit from that act of discipline?

3. What can we learn about resisting the devil and all his temptations from this incident?

Earth was becoming like heaven, for their way of life, boldness of speech, wonders, for all besides. Like angels were they looked upon with wonder. They were unconcerned about ridicule, threats, perils. They were compassionate and beneficent. Some of them they helped with money, and some with words, and some with healing of their bodies and of their souls; they accomplished every kind of healing. John Chrysostom (344-407), Homilies on the Acts of the Apostles 12

Pray Psalm 54.1-5.
Thank God for His constant help and sustaining grace. Call on Him to keep you through every trial or temptation you may face today.

Sing Psalm 54.1-5.
(Beatitudo: Father of Mercies, in Your Word)
Save us, O God, by Your great Name; vindicate us with power.
Answer our prayer, remove our shame, in this our desperate hour.

Strangers and foes against us rise, threatening woe and strife.
They have not set You in their eyes, but seek to take our life.

You are the Helper of our soul; You will sustain and bless.
Recompense evil to our foe in Your great faithfulness.

T. M. and Susie Moore

Check out our newest feature, Readings from the Celtic Revival (click here).

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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