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

What Can We Do?

What to make of this situation?

Acts (5)

Be sure to view the video introducing our study of Acts 5 (Lesson 5) by clicking here.

Meditate on Acts 5.27-32.
The religious leaders of Jerusalem, duly appointed and tolerated, if not confirmed by Rome, had indeed rendered a judgment and instructed the disciples not to preach or teach in the name of Jesus. There it is: an imposition on the disciples’ religious freedom! So what did they do? Appeal to a higher court? Mount a petition drive? Organize a campaign to get new leaders?

For reflection
1. The apostles did none of these things, of course. They simply disobeyed. And they disobeyed knowing full well that they’d probably be right back there again, and maybe this time with a little more than a threat imposed against them (v. 40). Civil magistrates are God’s servants for good (Rom. 13.1-4). Is it ever right for a Christian to disobey them? Explain.

2.  Had we been there we’d probably have been whining about our “religious freedom”, appealing our case in every available public square, seeking out sympathetic Gamaliels and Corneliuses (Acts 10) to overthrow these unjust laws, and warning one another about more dire stuff yet to come. Should we be surprised when secular authorities infringe on our religious liberty? Why or why not?

3.  The apostles simply disobeyed, and they disobeyed deliberately and declared their intention of doing so, right there in the very presence of the men who were seeking to curtail their “religious liberty”! It is more important to obey God than to obey men (v. 29). And it’s also important to make the most of every opportunity for proclaiming the Good News (Eph. 5.15-17), no matter who gets offended or what may be the accompanying cost. How has it come about that Christians so readily allow secular authorities to tell us when and where we can talk about our faith, and when and where we cannot?

4. The word “Prince” in verse 31, is in the Greek, archegon, and means something more like “captain” or even “author”. It’s the same word used to describe Jesus in Hebrews 12.2. Jesus, Peter was saying, writes our rules and directs our actions. Not you. What’s the secret to the apostles’ courage and resolve?

5.  What does it mean for Jesus to be not just Savior, but Captain, Author, and Prince in your life every day? Do you see any areas of your life that need to be brought more fully under His authority?

The apostles and other disciples had made the Kingdom turn, and there was no turning back. They were caught up in the agenda of Christ and the power of His Spirit, and they certainly could not deny what they had seen and heard and knew to be true. And Jesus had warned them such a stance and calling would not be an easy road. How can our lives begin to look more like these first believers?

Closing Prayer
Help, LORD, for the godly man ceases!
For the faithful disappear from among the sons of men.
They speak idly everyone with his neighbor;
With flattering lips and a double heart they speak.
May the LORD cut off all flattering lips,
And the tongue that speaks proud things,
Who have said,
“With our tongue we will prevail;
Our lips are our own;
Who is lord over us?”
“For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy,
Now I will arise,” says the LORD;
“I will set him in the safety for which he yearns.”
The words of the LORD are pure words,
Like silver tried in a furnace of earth,
Purified seven times.
You shall keep them, O LORD,
You shall preserve them from this generation forever.

Psalm 12.1-7

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 insightin to His work in our here and now, order the book,
The Kingship of Jesus, from our online store by clicking here.

Please prayerfully consider supporting The Fellowship of Ailbe by sending a gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 19 Tyler Drive, Essex Junction, VT 05452. Or, you can click here to donate online through credit card or PayPal.

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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