Week #138; Wed, Aug 19: Acts 3:1–8:40


Acts 3:1, I. The Lame Beggar Healed; II. Peter Speaks in Solomon’s Portico

I. KEY TEXT (The Lame Beggar Healed): “Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate to ask alms of those entering the temple.” (3:1-2)
A. INFERENCE: “Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms.” (3:3)
1. FINDINGS: “And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, ‘Look at us.’ And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, ‘I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!’ And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. And leaping up he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God.” (3:4-8)
2. CRITERIA: “And all the people saw him walking and praising God, and recognized him as the one who sat at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, asking for alms. And they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.” (3:9-10)
3. CONDITION: “Let us so move among men as to lead them to expect that we have something to give, and then give them Jesus. The lame man needed strength, and this is the divine gift of the gospel.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “It is the power of God unto salvation.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “The Savior makes us able to walk and leap in God’s ways.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Share the gifts of the gospel.

II. KEY TEXT (Peter Speaks in Solomon’s Portico): “While he clung to Peter and John, all the people, utterly astounded, ran together to them in the portico called Solomon’s.” (3:11)
A. INFERENCE: “And when Peter saw it he addressed the people: ‘Men of Israel, why do you wonder at this, or why do you stare at us, as though by our own power or piety we have made him walk? The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified his servant Jesus, whom you delivered over and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release him.” (3:12-13)
1. FINDINGS: “But you denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses.” (3:14-15)
2. CRITERIA: “And his name–by faith in his name–has made this man strong whom you see and know, and the faith that is through Jesus has given the man this perfect health in the presence of you all.” (3:16)
3. CONDITION: “And now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets that his Christ would suffer, he thus fulfilled. Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago.” (3:17-21)
4. CAUSE: “Moses said, ‘The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers. You shall listen to him in whatever he tells you. And it shall be that every soul who does not listen to that prophet shall be destroyed from the people.’ And all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and those who came after him, also proclaimed these days.” (3:22-24)
5. EFFECT: “You are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant that God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed.’ God, having raised up his servant, sent him to you first, to bless you by turning every one of you from your wickedness.” (3:25-26)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Turn from any and all wickedness.

Acts 4:1, I. Peter and John Before the Council; II. The Believers Pray for Boldness; III. They Had Everything in Common

I. KEY TEXT (Peter and John Before the Council): “And as they were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple and the Sadducees came upon them, greatly annoyed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. And they arrested them and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening.” (4:1-3)
A. INFERENCE: “But many of those who had heard the word believed, and the number of the men came to about five thousand.” (4:4)
1. FINDINGS: “On the next day their rulers and elders and scribes gathered together in Jerusalem, with Annas the high priest and Caiaphas and John and Alexander, and all who were of the high priestly family. And when they had set them in the midst, they inquired, ‘By what power or by what name did you do this?’” (4:5-7)
2. CRITERIA: “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, ‘Rulers of the people and elders, if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead–by him this man is standing before you well. This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.’” (4:8-12)
3. CONDITION: “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.” (4:13)
4. CAUSE: “But seeing the man who was healed standing beside them, they had nothing to say in opposition. But when they had commanded them to leave the council, the conferred with one another, saying, ‘What shall we do with these men? For that a notable sign has been performed through them is evident to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. But in order that it may spread no further among the people, let us warn them to speak no more to anyone in this name.’” (4:14-17)
5. EFFECT: “So they called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered them, ‘Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard. And when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way to punish them, because of the people, for all were praising God for what had happened. For the man on whom this sign of healing was performed was more than forty years old.” (4:18-22)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “None will enjoy peace of mind, nor act uprightly, till they have learned to guide their conduct by the fixed standard of truth, and not by the shifting opinions and fancies of men. Especially beware of a vain attempt to serve two masters, God and the world; the end will be, you can serve neither fully. Acts 4:15” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)

II. KEY TEXT (The Believers Pray for Boldness): “When they were released, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them. And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, ‘Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, who through the mouth of our father David, your servant, said by the Holy Spirit, ‘Why did the Gentiles rage, and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers were gathered together, against the Lord and against his Anointed’–for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.” (4:23-28)
A. INFERENCE: “And now, ‘Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.’” (4:29-30)
1. FINDINGS: “And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.” (4:31)
2. CRITERIA: “God gave a sign of acceptance of their prayers. The place was shaken, that their faith might be established and unshaken. God gave them greater degrees of his Spirit; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, more than ever; by which they were not only encouraged, but enabled to speak the word of God with boldness. When they find the Lord God help them by his Spirit, they know they shall not be confounded, Isaiah 1:7. Acts 4:23” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “What a note of jubilant triumph was in that glorious prayer, offered by this threatened little band! They realized that they were under the special protection of God, who had made the world, had spoken by the prophets, and was the Father of Jesus.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “They thought that more miracles of healing would promote their cause; but, though they did not realize it at the time, their unity, love, hope, willingness to share their goods, coupled with their intrepid bearing, were their most potent arguments. Notice that in their consciousness, it was God’s hand that was being stretched out to heal, though their hands were the immediate channel of its beneficent operations. They had been filled before, but they were filled again. It is our privilege to claim repeated infillings to make good our leakage and evaporation.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “The disciples loved one another. This was the blessed fruit of Christ’s dying precept to his disciples, and his dying prayer for them. Thus it was then, and it will be so again, when the Spirit shall be poured upon us from on high. The doctrine preached was the resurrection of Christ; a matter of fact, which being duly explained, was a summary of all the duties, privileges, and comforts of Christians. Acts 4:32” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “One of the outstanding characteristics of this Spirit-filled church was unity, a sense of oneness that manifested itself in the sharing of material resources. To meet the needs of poor Christians, the more wealthy believers sold their lands or houses and brought the money to be used for the common welfare.” (The Wycliff Bible Commentary)

III. KEY TEXT (They Had Everything in Common): “Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all.” (4:32-33)
A. INFERENCE: “There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.” (4:34-35)
1. FINDINGS: “Thus Joseph, who was also called by the apostles Barnabas (which means son of encouragement), a Levite, a native of Cyprus, sold a field that belonged to him and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.” (4:36-37)
2. CRITERIA: “The Spirit of God is the source of generous and liberal giving. It is a poor substitute to set up bazaars, and fairs, and ice cream suppers. When the Church is filled with the Holy Spirit, her pockets will be easily emptied before His gracious, thawing presence. Let the sun arise in the heavens, and the frozen streams are instantly liberated and begin to sing on their way to transform wildernesses into gardens.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “There were evident fruits of Christ’s grace in all they said and did. They were dead to this world. This was a great evidence of the grace of God in them. They did not take away others’ property, but they were indifferent to it. They did not call it their own; because they had, in affection, forsaken all for Christ, and were expecting to be stripped of all for cleaving to him. No marvel that they were of one heart and soul, when they sat so loose to the wealth of this world. Acts 4:32” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “In effect, they had all things common; for there was not any among them who lacked, care was taken for their supply. The money was laid at the apostles’ feet. Great care ought to be taken in the distribution of public charity, that it be given to such as have need, such as are not able to procure a maintenance for themselves; those who are reduced to want for well-doing, and for the testimony of a good conscience, ought to be provided for. Acts 4:32” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “Here is one in particular mentioned, remarkable for this generous charity; it was Barnabas. As one designed to be a preacher of the gospel, he disentangled himself from the affairs of this life. When such dispositions prevail, and are exercised according to the circumstances of the times, the testimony will have very great power upon others. Acts 4:32” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Untangle from the world.

Acts 5:1, I. Ananias and Sapphira; II. Many Signs and Wonders Done; III. The Apostles Arrested and Freed

I. KEY TEXT (Ananias and Sapphira): “But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, and with his wife’s knowledge he kept back for himself some of the proceeds and brought only a part of it and laid it at the apostles’ feet.” (5:1-2)
A. INFERENCE: “But Peter said, ‘Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land? While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.’” (5:3-4)
1. FINDINGS: “When Ananias heard these words, he fell down and breathed his last. And great fear came upon all who heard of it. The young men rose and wrapped him up and carried him out and buried him. After an interval of about three hours his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. And Peter said to her, ‘Tell me whether you sold the land for so much.’ And she said, ‘Yes, for so much.’ But Peter said to her, ‘How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.’ Immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. When the young men came in they found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. And great fear came upon the whole church and upon all who heard of these things.” (5:5-11)
2. CRITERIA: “The falsehood was an attempt to deceive the Spirit of truth, who so manifestly spoke and acted by the apostles. The crime of Ananias was not his retaining part of the price of the land; he might have kept it all, had he pleased; but his endeavoring to impose upon the apostles with an awful lie, from a desire to make a vain show, joined with covetousness. But if we think to put a cheat upon God, we shall put a fatal cheat upon our own souls.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “The sin of Ananias and Sapphira was, that they were ambitious of being thought eminent disciples, when they were not true disciples. Hypocrites may deny themselves, may forego their worldly advantage in one instance, with a prospect of finding their account in something else.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “They were covetous of the wealth of the world, and distrustful of God and his providence. They thought they might serve both God and mammon. They thought to deceive the apostles.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “And great fear came upon all the church at the commencement of a new career. (Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Do not covet.

II. KEY TEXT (Many Signs and Wonders Done): “Now many signs and wonders were regularly done among the people by the hands of the apostles. And they were all together in Solomon’s Portico. None of the rest dared join them, but the people held them in high esteem. And more than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women, so that they even carried out the sick into the streets and laid them on cots and mats, that as Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on some of them.” (5:12-15)
A. INFERENCE: “The people also gathered from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing the sick and those afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all healed.” (5:16)
1. FINDINGS: “Whatever tends to the purity and reputation of the church, promotes its enlargement; but that power alone which wrought such miracles by the apostles, can rescue sinners from the power of sin and Satan, and add believers to His worshippers. Christ will work by all his faithful servants; and every one who applies to him shall be healed.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
2. CRITERIA: “While the Holy Spirit works mightily within the Church, He co-operates with it in its outward operations by adding men and women to the Lord. None should be added to the Church roll who have not already been led into living union with Jesus. Through the Church, as His body, the risen Savior works such miracles as are here narrated, filling the hearts of the humble with love and joy, and exciting inveterate hatred in His foes.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “Now the predicted greatness of Peter (Mt 16:18), as the directing spirit of the early Church, was at its height. (Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “Two things are here remarkable. The one that Christianity at its beginnings was mightily helped and advanced by miracles done in the Name of Jesus Christ. The other that the authority of the apostles as the rulers of the Church was greatly strengthened by these miracles being wrought exclusively by their hands. We cannot understand either the external relations of the Church to the world, or the internal relations of the people to their spiritual rulers, unless we duly take count of these two things.” (The Pulpit Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “One great result of these numerous miracles would be to manifest that the Lord Jesus was still with his Church as truly as when he was upon the earth (Mat_28:20), and this manifestation remains for the comfort of his people.” (The Pulpit Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Believe in miracles.

III. KEY TEXT (The Apostles Arrested and Freed): “But the high priest rose up, and all who were with him (that is, the party of the Sadducees), and filled with jealousy they arrested the apostles and put them in the public prison. But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out, and said, ‘Go and stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this Life.’ And when they heard this, they entered the temple at daybreak and began to teach.” (5:17-21)
A. INFERENCE: “Now when the high priest came, and those who were with him, they called together the council and all the senate of the people of Israel and sent to the prison to have them brought.” (5:21)
1. FINDINGS: “But when the officers came, they did not find them in the prison, so they returned and reported, ‘We found the prison securely locked and the guards standing at the doors, but when we opened them we found no one inside.’ Now when the captain of the temple and the chief priests heard these words, they were greatly perplexed about them, wondering what this would come to. And someone came and told them, ‘Look! The men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple and teaching the people.” (5:21-26)
2. CRITERIA: “And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest questioned them, saying, ‘We strictly charged you not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.’” (5:27-28)
3. CONDITION: “But Peter and the apostles answered, ‘We must obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.’” (5:29-32)
4. CAUSE: “When they heard this, they were enraged and wanted to kill them. But a Pharisee in the council named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law held in honor by all the people, stood up and gave orders to put the men outside for a little while.” (5:33-34)
5. EFFECT: “And he said to them, ‘Men of Israel, take care what you are about to do with these men. For before these days Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and a number of men, about four hundred, joined him. He was killed, and all who followed him were dispersed and came to nothing. After him Judas the Galilean rose up in the days of the census and drew away some of the people after him. He too perished, and all who followed him were scattered. So in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God! So they took his advice, and when they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.” (5:35-42)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Teach and preach Jesus as the Christ.

Acts 6:1, I. Seven Chosen to Serve; II. Stephen Is Seized

I. KEY TEXT (Seven Chosen to Serve): “Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution.” (6:1)
A. INFERENCE: “And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, ‘It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.’” (6:2-4)
1. FINDINGS: “And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands on them. And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.” (6:5-7)
2. CRITERIA: “The Grecians here mentioned were Jews who had lived abroad and spoke Greek. There were as yet no Gentiles in the Church. It was regarded as an annex to Judaism, and people had to become Jews before they were admitted to its privileges.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “What a glimpse is here afforded of the simplicity and fervor of the primitive Church! The daily ministration of relief; the choice of godly men to attend to secular details; the prime importance of prayer and the ministry of the Word; the recognition by the Apostles of the rights of the people-all is so spiritual and so worthy of the era of the Holy Spirit. Alas, that so fair a dawn should ever have been overcast!” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “The Church must dedicate to God those whom she has chosen under the guidance of His Spirit. Stephen on the one hand, and Saul on the other, were the leaders of their respective parties. We see traces of the latter in the references to them of Cilicia, Act_6:9. Stephen’s enemies prevailed over him by brute force, but he was conqueror through the blood of the Lamb and the word of his testimony.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “The opposition that the preaching of the gospel met with contributed to the success of it.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “In the best-ordered church in the world there will be something amiss, some grievances, or at least some complaints; those are the best that have the least and the fewest.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)

II. KEY TEXT (Stephen Is Seized): “And Stephen, full of grace and power, was doing great wonders and signs among the people. Then some of those who belonged to the synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called), and of the Cyrenians, and of the Alexandrians, and of those from Cilicia and Asia, rose up and disputed with Stephen.” (6:8-9)
A. INFERENCE: “But they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking. Then they secretly instigated men who said, ‘We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God’” (6:10-11)
1. FINDINGS: “And they stirred up the people and the elders and the scribes, and they came upon him and seized him and brought him before the council. and they set up false witnesses who said, ‘This man never ceases to speak words against this holy place and the law, for we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and will change the customs that Moses delivered to us.’” (6:12-14)
2. CRITERIA: “And gazing at him, all who sat in the council saw that his face was like the face of an angel.” (6:15)
3. CONDITION: “Wisdom and holiness make a man’s face shine, and yet these will not secure men from the greatest indignities.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
4. CAUSE: “He is charged with blaspheming this holy place. Christ was condemned as a blasphemer for words which were thought to reflect on the temple, even when they by their wickedness had profaned it.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
5. EFFECT: “He is charged with blaspheming the law.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Shine with the light of Jesus.

Acts 7:1, I. Stephen’s Speech; II. The Stoning of Stephen

I. KEY TEXT (Stephen’s Speech): “And the high priest said, ‘Are these things so?’” (7:1)
A. INFERENCE: “And Stephen said: ‘Brothers and fathers, hear me. The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran, and said to him, ‘Go out from your land and from your kindred and go into the land that I will show you.’ Then he went out from the land of the Chaldeans and lived in Haran. And after his father died, God removed him from there into this land in which you are now living. Yet he gave him no inheritance in it, not even a foot’s length, but promised to give it to him as a possession and to his offspring after him, though he had no child. And God spoke to this effect–that his offspring would be sojourners in a land belonging to others, who would enslave them and afflict them four hundred years. But I will judge the nation that they serve,’ said God, and after that they shall come out and worship me in this place. And he gave him the covenant of circumcision. And so Abraham became the father of Isaac, and circumcised him on the eighth day, and Isaac became the father of Jacob, and Jacob of the twelve patriarchs. And the patriarchs, jealous of Joseph, sold him into Egypt; but God was with him and rescued him out of all his afflictions and gave him favor and wisdom before Pharaoh, king of Egypt, who made him ruler over Egypt and over all his household. Now there came a famine throughout all Egypt and Canaan, and great affliction, and our fathers could find no food. But when Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt, he sent out our fathers on their first visit. And on the second visit Joseph made himself known to his brothers, and Joseph’s family became known to Pharaoh. And Joseph sent and summoned Jacob his father and all his kindred, seventy-five persons in all. And Jacob went down into Egypt, and he died, he and our fathers, and they were carried back to Shechem and laid in the tomb that Abraham had bought for a sum of silver from the sons of Hamor in Shechem. But as the time of the promise drew near, which God had granted to Abraham, the people increased and multiplied in Egypt until there arose over Egypt another king who did not know Joseph. He dealt shrewdly with our race and forced our fathers to expose their infants, so that they would not be kept alive. At this time Moses was born; and he was beautiful in God’s sight. And he was brought up for three months in his father’s house, and when he was exposed, Pharaoh’s daughter adopted him and brought him up as her own son. And Moses was instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and he was mighty in his words and deeds. When he was forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brothers, the children of Israel. And seeing one of them being wronged, he defended the oppressed man and avenged him by striking down the Egyptian. He supposed that his brothers would understand that God was giving them salvation by his hand, but they did not understand. And on the following day he appeared to them as they were quarreling and tried to reconcile them, saying, ‘Men, you are brothers. Why do you wrong each other?’ But the man who was wronging his neighbor thrust him aside, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge over us? Do you want to kill me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday?’ At this retort Moses fled and became an exile in the land of Midian, where he became the father of two sons. ‘Now when forty years had passed, an angel appeared to him in the wilderness of Mount Sinai, in a flame of fire in a bush. When Moses saw it, he was amazed at the sight, and as he drew near to look, there came the voice of the Lord: ‘I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham and of Isaac and of Jacob.’ And Moses trembled and did not dare to look. Then the Lord said to him, ‘Take off the sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground. I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt, and have heard their groaning, and I have come down to deliver them. And now come, I will send you to Egypt. This Moses, whom they rejected, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge?’–this man God sent as both ruler and redeemer by the hand of the angel who appeared to him in the bush. This man led them out, performing wonders and signs in Egypt and at the Red Sea and in the wilderness for forty years. This is the Moses who said to the Israelites, ‘God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers.’ This is the one who was in the congregation in the wilderness with the angel who spoke to him at Mount Sinai, and with our fathers. He received living oracles to give to us. Our fathers refused to obey him, but thrust him aside, and in their hearts they turned to Egypt, saying to Aaron, ‘Make for us gods who will go before us. As for this Moses who led us out from the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.’ And they made a calf in those days, and offered a sacrifice to the idol and were rejoicing in the works of their hands. But God turned away and gave them over to worship the host of heaven, as it is written in the book of the prophets: ‘Did you bring to me slain beasts and sacrifices, during the forty years in the wilderness, O house of Israel? You took up the tent of Moloch and the star of your god Rephan, the images that you made to worship; and I will send you into exile beyond Babylon.’ Our fathers had the tent of witness in the wilderness, just as he who spoke to Moses directed him to make it, according to the pattern he had seen. Our fathers in turn brought it in with Joshua when they dispossessed the nations that God drove out before our fathers. So it was until the days of David, who found favor in the sight of God and asked to find a dwelling place for the God of Jacob. But it was Solomon who built a house for him.” (7:2-47)
1. FINDINGS: “Yet the Most High does not dwell in houses made by hands, as the prophet says, ‘Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me, says the Lord, or what is the place of my rest? Did not my hand make all these things?’ You stiff-necked people uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you, Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered, you who received the law as delivered by angels and did not keep it.’” (7:48-53)
2. CRITERIA: “Stephen was going on, it seems, to show that the temple and the temple service must come to an end, and it would be the glory of both to give way to the worship of the Father in spirit and in truth; but he perceived they would not bear it. Therefore he broke off, and by the Spirit of wisdom, courage, and power, sharply rebuked his persecutors. Acts 7:51” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “The gospel was offered now, not by angels, but from the Holy Ghost; yet they did not embrace it, for they were resolved not to comply with God, either in his law or in his gospel. Acts 7:51” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “Their guilt stung them to the heart, and they sought relief in murdering their reprover, instead of sorrow and supplication for mercy. Acts 7:51” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “Words like these could not be forgiven. The growing irritation of the audience seems to have extorted those burning remonstrances, and to have hastened the final scene. But the storm that burst around Christ’s faithful confessor and first martyr could not disturb his serenity. His heart was fixed, trusting in God, Psa_108:1. The peace of God garrisoned his heart and mind. At the moment when his foes were fiercest, the presence of Jesus, who had risen from sitting to standing, in order to encourage and welcome him, was most vital.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Fix your heart on Jesus.

II. KEY TEXT (The Stoning of Stephen): “Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth at him. But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.” (7:54-56)
A. INFERENCE: “But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together at him. Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul.” (7:57-58)
1. FINDINGS: “And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’ And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.” (7:59-60)
2. CRITERIA: “Nothing is so comfortable to dying saints, or so encouraging to suffering saints, as to see Jesus at the right hand of God: blessed be God, by faith we may see him there. Acts 7:54” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “Our Lord Jesus is God, to whom we are to seek, and in whom we are to trust and comfort ourselves, living and dying. And if this has been our care while we live, it will be our comfort when we die. Acts 7:54” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “Though the sin was very great, yet if they would lay it to their hearts, God would not lay it to their charge. Stephen died as much in a hurry as ever any man did, yet, when he died, the words used are, he fell asleep; he applied himself to his dying work with as much composure as if he had been going to sleep. Acts 7:54” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “You will never know the completeness of Christ’s comradeship till you have weathered a storm in His company.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Keep continuous company with Jesus Christ.

Acts 8:1, I. Saul Ravages the Church; II. Philip Proclaims Christ in Samaria; III. Simon the Magician Believes; IV. Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch

I. KEY TEXT (Saul Ravages the Church): “And Saul approved of his execution.” (8:1-2)
A. INFERENCE: “And there arose on that day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. Devout men buried Stephen and made great lamentation over him.” (8:2)
1. FINDINGS: “But Saul was ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison.” (8:3)
2. CRITERIA: “Though persecution must not drive us from our work, yet it may send us to work elsewhere. Wherever the established believer is driven, he carries the knowledge of the gospel, and makes known the preciousness of Christ in every place. Acts 8:1” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “Where a simple desire of doing good influences the heart, it will be found impossible to shut a man out from all opportunities of usefulness. Acts 8:1” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “Evidently Stephen was beloved outside the precincts of the Church, for it would seem that the devout men who lamented his early death and carried his poor body to its burial were godly Jews who had been attracted by his earnest character.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “According to the subsequent statement of the arch-persecutor, the disciples of Jesus were dragged before the magistrate, thrust into prison, exposed to cruel torture, and compelled to blaspheme His holy Name. During those terrible days scenes were enacted which were destined to fill the heart of the future Apostle with most poignant sorrow.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Be with the devout.

II. KEY TEXT (Philip Proclaims Christ in Samaria): “Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word. Philip went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed to them the Christ.” (8:4-6)
A. INFERENCE: “And the crowds with one accord paid attention to what was being said by Philip when they heard him and saw the signs that he did.” (8:7)
1. FINDINGS: “For unclean spirits, crying out with a loud voice, came out of many who had them, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. So there was much joy in that city.” (8:8)
2. CRITERIA: “Wherever the gospel gains the admission and submission it ought to have, evil spirits are dislodged. This was signified by the casting of these unclean spirits out of the bodies of people, who came out with shrieks. They came out with great reluctance, but were forced to acknowledge themselves overcome by a superior power.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
3. CONDITION: “The common people gave heed to Philip, crowds of them, not here and there one, but with one accord; they were all of a mind.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
4. CAUSE: “Philip preached the good news of the kingdom of God, and he preached the name of Jesus Christ, as king of that kingdom. The people not only gave heed to what he said, but at length believed it, were fully convinced that it was from God and not from men. When they believed they were baptized. This occasioned great joy. ” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
5. EFFECT: “The bringing of the gospel to any place is just matter of joy, or great joy, to that place.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Bring great joy of Jesus Christ to any place you go.

III. KEY TEXT (Simon the Magician Believes): “But there was a man named Simon, who had previously practiced magic in the city and amazed the people of Samaria, saying that he himself was somebody great.” (8:9)
A. INFERENCE: “They all paid attention to him, from the least to the greatest, saying, ‘This man is the power of God that is called Great.’ And they paid attention to him because for a long time he had amazed them with his magic.” (8:10-11)
1. FINDINGS: “But when they believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Even Simon himself believed, and after being baptized he continued with Philip. And seeing signs and great miracles performed, he was amazed.” (8:12-13)
2. CRITERIA: “Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, for he had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.” (8:14-16)
3. CONDITION: “Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit. Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, saying, ‘Give me this power also so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.’” (8:17-19)
4. CAUSE: “But Peter said to him, ‘May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right before God. Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity.’ And Simon answered, Pray for me to the Lord, that nothing of what you have said may come upon me.’” (8:20-24)
5. EFFECT: “Now when they had testified and spoken the word of the Lord, they returned to Jerusalem, preaching the gospel to many villages of the Samaritans.” (8:25)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Be open to the Spirit; let the Spirit enter your heart (not just your head).

IV. KEY TEXT (Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch): “Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, ‘Rise and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.’ This is a desert place. And he rose and went. And there was an Ethiopian, a eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure. He had come to Jerusalem to worship and was returning, seated in his chariot, and he was reading the prophet Isaiah.” (8:26-28)
A. INFERENCE: “And the Spirit said to Philip, ‘Go over and join this chariot.’ So Philip ran to him and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, ‘Do you understand what you are reading?’ And he said, ‘How can I, unless someone guides me?’ And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. Now the passage of the Scripture that he was reading was this: ‘Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter and like a lamb before its shearer is silent, so he opens not his mouth. In his humiliation justice was denied him. Who can describe his generation? For his life is taken away from the earth.’” (8:29-33)
1. FINDINGS: “And the eunuch said to Philip, ‘About whom, I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?’ Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus. And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, ‘See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized? And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him. And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away, and the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing. But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he passed through he preached the gospel to all the towns until he came to Caesarea.” (8:34-40)
2. CRITERIA: “Doubtless there is a special providence of God conversant about the movements and settlements of ministers. He will direct those who sincerely desire to follow him into that way in which he will acknowledge them.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
3. CONDITION: “Sometimes God opens a door of opportunity to his ministers in places very unlikely.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
4. CAUSE: “We should not be so shy of all strangers as some effect to be. Of those of whom we know nothing else we know this, that they have souls.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
5. EFFECT: “It is the duty of every one of us to converse much with the holy scriptures. Persons of quality should abound more than others in the exercises of piety, because their example will influence many.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Find lost souls and converse with them the holy scriptures.

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