Be sure to view the video introducing our study of Acts 5 (Lesson 5) by clicking here.
Meditate on Acts 5.12-16.
This chapter began with Satan trying to throttle the ongoing work of Christ. Now we find the apostles, in a very public manner, doing those things which sign the Kingdom and mark its advance (vv. 13-16). One more demonic scheme, blowing up in the arch-fiend’s face.
1. 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. Just like churches in our day, right? Right?
2. They are literally in the devil’s face, and he is nowhere to be found protecting his former domain. People seeing this boldness and these wonders understood this is 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. How should believers “resist the devil” today (1 Pet. 5.9)? When is such resistance called for? What can we expect if we do resist the devil?
3. This pericope (unit of meaning) seems deliberately placed by Luke as a way of emphasizing the devil’s defeat at the hands of the Lord. Believers have nothing to fear from the devil. Satan is still stalking about like a roaring lion, but he is on a tight leash, held by the Lord of glory, and he has no power to defeat the ongoing work of King Jesus if we resist him the way we should. What are some ways the devil wields his power to deceive in your life? In your church?
4. What is the responsibility of church leaders in preparing the people in their care to recognize the devil’s wiles and resist him with all spiritual vigor?
5. How can believers help one another to take more seriously the mandate of resisting the devil? How can we encourage and assist one another to be more consistent in “plundering” the devil’s domain? What should plundering the devil look like in your Personal Mission Field?
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 deceit 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 progress can be expected. How would you counsel a new believer to resist the devil?
O LORD my God, in You I put my trust;
Save me from all those who persecute me;
And deliver me,
Lest they tear me like a lion,
Rending me in pieces, while there is none to deliver.
O LORD my God, if I have done this:
If there is iniquity in my hands,
If I have repaid evil to him who was at peace with me,
Or have plundered my enemy without cause,
Let the enemy pursue me and overtake me;
Yes, let him trample my life to the earth,
And lay my honor in the dust. Selah
Arise, O LORD, in Your anger;
Lift Yourself up because of the rage of my enemies;
Rise up for me to the judgment You have commanded!
So the congregation of the peoples shall surround You;
For their sakes, therefore, return on high.
The LORD shall judge the peoples;
Judge me, O LORD, according to my righteousness,
And according to my integrity within me.
T. M. Moore
Each week’s studies in Acts are bound together into a free PDF that you can download for personal or group use (click here). Each week also features a video related to the studies of the week, which you may find helpful as you work through our studies in Acts.
Acts is the record of Christ’s ongoing work as King and Lord. For more insight into His work in our here and now, order the book, The Kingship of Jesus, from our online store by clicking here.
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