204 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 3 - Part 4 - Book 17 - Acts Chapters 3, 4, 5

204: Acts Chapters 3, 4, 5 – Part 4 – Lesson 3 Part 4 Book 17

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 3 * PART 4 * BOOK 17

ACTS CHAPTER 3, 4, & 5

Let’s go back to the last verse of Acts Chapter 3 and begin. This is shortly after Pentecost and if you watch the language you will see that Peter is still addressing Jew only, the Nation of Israel. And as we saw in the closing part of the last lesson Peter is still very much on Covenant ground. Now when I say on Covenant ground, remember I stressed that Abrahamic Covenant when we were back there in Genesis. Because I’ve found out in my own study that the Abrahamic covenant was really the bedrock of everything that God has been doing in order to redeem mankind.
After 2000 years of a hopeless race of humanity coming out of Adam, destroyed in the flood, and right back into paganism at the Tower of Babel, God in so many words at 2000 B.C. says, “I’m going to do something totally different. I’m going to call out one man. And out of that one man I’m going to bring to me a little nation, and I’m going work through that little nation and prepare them and through them I will take Salvation back to the whole main stream of humanity.” And that of course was basically the Abrahamic Covenant. He promised Abraham a nation of people. He would put them in a geographic area of land and then at the appropriate time He would bring them their King, their Government and their Kingdom, and Israel could be the evangelization of the nations. But Israel rejected all that when they crucified and killed their King.
But even as we study in these early chapters of Acts we find God hasn’t given up on them. I think that is what you must see in these early chapters of Acts. We like to normally think that as soon as Israel crucified their Messiah, The Christ, then God was through with them, and turned to the Gentiles, but that’s not the case. And that is why I’m constantly showing you from Scriptures that Peter is still pleading with the Nation of Israel. He says, “The one you killed was the one you should have accepted as your King. But God raised Him from the dead, God has called Him back to glory, and God is ready to send Him back and still be your King, if you will just believe that that’s Who He is.” Pick that up in our closing remarks in our last lesson, verse 25, where Peter says to the Nation:
Acts 3:25
“Ye are the children of the prophets, and (the children) of the covenant which God made with our fathers (remember Peter is just as Jewish as the rest of them), saying unto Abraham, `And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.'”
Now in the seed of Abraham, we can also go all the way back to Genesis 3:15. The seed of the woman. And Who was the Seed of the woman? Who was the Seed of Abraham? The Christ! So this was all tied all the way back as part of God’s plan of redemption for the whole human race. But it was going to be through the Nation of Israel. And Peter is pleading with them. You’re the Covenant people, believe it, accept Him as your King, and as your Messiah, and God would yet send Him again. Then verse 26:
Acts 3:26
“Unto you first (do you see how plain that is?) God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away (how many?) every one of you from his iniquities.”
Now that was the secret to the whole thing. Every Jew had to believe and be converted and understand that Jesus was The Messiah, their Christ. They could have had the Tribulation and The King and Kingdom just that quick, and then they could have evangelized the whole Gentile world as the Old Testament prophesied. We have looked at that Scripture so often in Zechariah 8:
Zechariah 8:22,23
“yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the LORD. Thus saith the LORD of hosts; `In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.'”
But Israel rejected all of that, and it all fell through the cracks temporarily. Israel is still going to have her day in the sun, but in the meantime God has now been dealing with us Gentiles. But remember the secret to these passages. Everyone of the Jews had to believe who Jesus was and turn from their iniquities.
Acts 4:1,2
“AND as they spake unto the people (the Jewish nation), the priests, and the captain of the Temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them,” No Gentiles involved here. “Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead.”
We must be careful here. Especially the Sadducees, because the Sadducees did not believe in the Resurrection. You lived like an animal and died like one. That was their doctrine. Here is the one group most concerned about Peter’s preaching that Christ is alive and is yet able to come and be their King. The Sadducees are saying to Peter, “How dare you teach something that flies in the face of our doctrine? There’s no such thing as someone coming back from the dead.” So what did these Sadducees do?
Acts 4:3,4
“And they laid hands on them and put them in hold unto the next day: for it was now eventide. Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of men was about five thousand.”
So you see there is a fair number of Jewish believers at this time. Three thousands in Chapter 2, others in the interim, and now we have the figure of 5000. But out of several million people, how many is that? Just precious few. It’s just a sprinkling. Now verse 5 through 12 we will just skim, because here we have Peter and the others arrested.
Acts 4:5-7
And it came to pass on the morrow, that their rulers, and elders, and scribes, And Annas the high priest, and Caiaphas, and John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the kindred of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem. And when they had set them (disciples) in the midst, they asked, `By what power, or by what name (do you see that), have ye done this?'” How they healed the lame man was still the point of controversy.
Acts 4:8,9
“Then Peter filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them (now watch this, who is Peter talking to here? I’m just asking that you read what it says), Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel,” Who were Israel’s rulers? Their religious leaders.
“If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent (or crippled) man, by what means he is made whole;” Peter says if this is what we are on trial for:
Acts 4:10
“Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified (remember Peters tells Jews they killed Him. Paul tells us Gentiles that He died for us. Do you see the difference, it’s like day and night), whom God raised from the dead (Peter says this for the Sadducees), even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.”
Remember, there are no Gentiles in anything we have studied in Acts so far. You and I are not in there. Just read it in that light. Our risen Lord didn’t put the Gentiles in there and we shouldn’t put ourselves there. Now reading on:
Acts 4:11
“This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.”
All through Scripture, who is the Stone or the Rock? Christ is. Daniel Chapter 2, when he sees the Stone cut out without hands smiting King Nebuchadnezzar’s vision. Who’s the Stone? Christ. When Moses struck the Rock out there in the desert, and out came water, Who was the Rock? Christ again. And all through Scripture, the analogy is that He is the Stone or Rock. And when He said to Peter, in Matthew 16 the following:
Matthew 16:18
“And I say also unto thee, `That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church;…'”
Who was the Rock? Christ was. He’s the Rock of our Salvation. Here Peter is using an Old Testament analogy how that He was to be the Chief Corner Stone, He was to be the Head of the Corner, and He was the Stone they needed to hold everything together.
Legend has it that as Israel was building Solomon’s temple that the cornerstone was brought in first, but the builders didn’t know what to do with it so they dumped it out in a vacant lot. Grass grew over it and people would stumble over it as they cut across the lot. The cornerstone was used to hold every thing together. But they threw Him out into a vacant lot and He has become a stumbling stone even to this day. Now in that same light the Scripture says that “Jerusalem will also be a stone of stumbling.” And isn’t that exactly what it is? All the nations of the world are stubbing their toe on Israel and Jerusalem. And it’s going to be the stone of stumbling right up until the last day. But here Peter is saying, “You builders should have recognized that Chief Corner Stone. You should have known that He was the One that would hold the whole thing together. Instead you pitched Him off to the side and didn’t know what to do with Him.” This is exactly what he is saying. Let’s read it again.
Acts 4:11,12
“This is the stone which was set at nought (or count for nothing) of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”
This subject always comes up in our classes. What about Muslims? They are devout. They’re sincere, some are probably better people than most of us, morally and every other way. But what’s their downfall? They do not recognize the name of Christ. And so there is no other name. Salvation has to be centered on the finished work of the Cross of Christ. Now verse 13:
Acts 4:13
“Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John,…”
Remember I told you that after the Resurrection that the disciples were very bold, because they saw what power there was in the Resurrection. Before, they scattered at Jesus’ arrest. But after the Resurrection they become very bold, and were afraid of nothing. Let’s turn for a moment to Acts Chapter 8, and let me show you. This is seven years after Pentecost. Saul’s persecution has been running rampant, especially in the area of Jerusalem against Jewish believers. And here they have just put Stephen to death by stoning.
Acts 8:1
“AND Saul was consenting unto his death, And at that time there was a great persecution against the church (the assembly) which was at Jerusalem (Jewish believers); and they (these Jewish believers) were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.”
Two things should just shock us. One, in spite of the terrible persecution that was coming in upon these believers, that Jesus was The Christ, these twelve men did not run. Everyone else is fleeing for their life, but these twelve men sit tight. Two: if the great commission was kicked in gear like we think it should have been, then why are these twelve men still in Jerusalem, seven years after Pentecost (have you ever thought of that? Most people don’t). They should have, according to most of our understanding, been out among the Gentiles a long time ago. But the apostles are still looking for The King and the Kingdom. And they weren’t about to go any where except to Jerusalem. Because that is where Christ is going to return to, and it didn’t matter how tough it got they weren’t going to leave Jerusalem. Also in Chapter 11 we find:
Acts 11:19
“Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen traveled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only.”
Do you see that? At least seven years after the Cross and it’s still “Jew only.” And for these Jewish believers that is all they knew and that is all that was expected of them, because of the Abrahamic Covenant. They all had to be converted and become a nation of priests before they could do that. So don’t be too hard on them. But the main thing I want to impress upon you is we all have the idea that these Jews were going out into the ends of the earth with the Gospel. They weren’t as you can see. We’ll cover that in more detail later. But come back with me now to Acts 4:13 again:
Acts 4:13
“Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men (hey, that’s me. And I’m not apologizing for it one bit. I don’t stand here with a long list of degrees behind my name, but neither did these guys. And yet God used them. Some people will say to me, who are you to be doing what you’re doing? You haven’t had an education in all of this. And they are right. But did Amos? Or David? What were they? Basically what I am – they came off the ranch. And God used them. And if God used them, He can use me. If He can use me, He can use you. When Christianity started going down the tube and lost its power, I maintain it was when congregations wouldn’t even consider a man for the pulpit unless he had a Doctoral degree. And don’t think I’m against education, because I admire people that have got it. But when that becomes the sole criteria for being qualified to preach and teach The Word, I feel they are out in left field. These disciples were uneducated and ignorant men. And until we recognize that is what we are, God can’t use us.), they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.” That three years with Jesus was better than fifteen years in a seminary, or the University of Jerusalem, and they recognized that.
Acts 4:14-17
“And beholding the man which was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it. But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves, Saying, `What shall we do to these men? (they were up against it) for that indeed a notable miracle hath been done by them is manifest to all them that dwell in Jerusalem; and we cannot deny it. But that it spread no further among the people, let us straitly threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in this name.'”
Under normal thinking today, this council should have been commanding that they speak no more that Christ died for the sins of the world. That He was buried, and rose from the dead. (Our Gospel today) It doesn’t say that. All they said was, “We can’t let them preach in this name.” That’s what the Book says in these early chapters.
Acts 4:18-20
“And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said unto them, `Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye, For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.'”
Acts 4:21,22
“So when they had further threatened them (probably with prison and a beating) they let them go, finding nothing how they might punish them, because of the people (and here the man on the street came to their defense, because they haven’t done any thing worthy of prison): for all men glorified God for that which was done.”
“For the man was above forty years old, on whom this miracle of healing was shewed.”
Now I’m going to have to stop here. Why do you suppose the Scripture sees fit to give the man’s age as forty something? Remember Israel’s time of testing over and over was 40 years. It doesn’t have to be an exact forty years. And the same today, Israel has now been back in the land since 1948. We are in “forty something.” And I don’t set dates, but there is something very important in the time scale of forty years, when you are dealing with Israel.

203 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 3 - Part 3 - Book 17 - Acts Chapters 3, 4, 5 - Part 3

203: Acts Chapters 3, 4, 5 – Part 3 – Lesson 3 Part 3 Book 17

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 3 * PART 3 * BOOK 17

ACTS CHAPTER 3, 4, & 5

Let’s go to Acts Chapter 3 for our study. This is just a few days after Chapter 2. Where do Peter and John go? To the Temple. No one has told them to stop Temple worship. Even though they have come apart from the main stream of Judaism, yet they are still involved in the Temple worship.

Acts 3:1

“NOW Peter and John went up together into the Temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour.”

Does the Church have any instruction that at a certain hour we all bow down and pray? Most religions did and still do. And Judaism did. The ninth hour was the hour of prayer. And who goes? Peter and John. The average reader misses this. I used to miss those same things, but I started asking questions and my students started asking questions that I couldn’t answer. And here is one of those questions. If this is the beginning of the Church, what are Peter and John doing going to the Temple at a prescribed hour of prayer? The Body of Christ doesn’t have anything like that. So that’s one of the things that made me start thinking. And I started looking, and I didn’t come to the conclusion that I have over night, it took a long time for me to have searched the Scriptures to see what they really say. And as you study don’t be afraid to say, well now what’s going on here? Why is this like this? And that is the way you learn.

Acts 3:2

“And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the Temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the Temple;” He was a beggar. Now turn for a moment to Chapter 4 verse 22:

Acts 4:22

“For the man was above forty years old, on whom this miracle of healing was shewed.”

Why am I bringing this up? Who must have walked by this man time and time again in those 3 years of His earthy ministry? Christ. Why didn’t He heal Him? Jesus was leaving all that for this time. That’s the beauty of a Sovereign God, and so Jesus never healed him, knowing that the time would come when Peter and John would pass him by, and this would precipitate a whole group of events. So this forty-year-old man was carried and laid at the gate which is called Beautiful and begged.

Acts 3:3-6

“Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the Temple asked an alms. And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us. And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them. Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee (now watch this): In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.”

What should Peter have put in there? If I would have had that power, I would have said, “Now look, in the name and in the power of the Resurrection of Christ rise up and walk.” That is where power is generated so far as you and I are concerned. Peter doesn’t even mention it, he only refers again to Who Jesus was, The Messiah, Israel’s promised King, and Saviour.

Acts 3:7

“And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up; and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.” What have you got? A miracle, pure and divine.

Acts 3:8-11

“And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the Temple (he was a Jew), walking, and leaping, and praising God: And all the people saw him walking and praising God; And they knew that it was he which sat for alms at the Beautiful gate of the Temple: and they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him. And as the lame man which was healed held Peter and John, all the people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon’s, greatly wondering.”

Because this isn’t far removed from Christ’s earthly ministry, they should have been able to put two and two together and say, “These are the fellows that were with Him when He performed all those miracles.” But memories are short aren’t they. Now verse 12:

Acts 3:12

“And when Peter saw it (the amazement of the people), he answered unto the people, `Ye men of Israel (He was talking only to Jews), why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk?'”

Most Jews today won’t admit that Jews back then ever became followers of Christ, but archaeologists are finding evidence every day to the contrary. They are finding especially around the Sea of Galilee that indeed early believers of Christ were Jews. They are finding symbols carved in wood and stone that have the menorah, the candlestick of Israel’s history together with the Cross. Those were Jews who became followers of Christ. Remember most Jews don’t accept the New Testament. Look carefully at verse 13:

Acts 3:13

“The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob (those three names are for the Jews and the beginning of their Nation. And it was to them that Israel’s Covenant promises were repeated almost word for word. And at the end of the Covenant it was told that Salvation would go to the ends of the earth. And here comes Peter claiming these same Covenant promises out of Genesis), the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go.”Peter says you caused Him to be crucified. Now verse 14:

Acts 3:14-16

“But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you;” Verse 15 is almost identical to the verse back in Chapter 2. “And killed the Prince of life (did that stop God? No), whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.” What does Peter now set up for these people to believe His name.

“And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong (compare that with what we are to believe for Salvation in I Corinthians 15:1-4. Peter doesn’t make reference to it because that Gospel was revealed to Paul for us. Peter only knows to believe in His name), whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.”

The name implied that Jesus was The Christ, He was The Messiah, He was the promised One according to the Covenant. Which Jesus had tried to tell the Nation of Israel exclusively for three years. They were the ones who had to believe first, and then the Gentiles. But Israel would not believe. Peter is hoping that Israel would wake up and realize that the One they killed was the promised Messiah.

Acts 3:17

“And now, brethren (Peter could never address Gentiles as brethren. Maybe he did about 30-35 years later when he wrote II Peter, but not at this point in time. They have no idea they are to have anything to do with Gentiles), I wot (know) that through ignorance ye did it (killed The Messiah), as did also your rulers.”

Many years ago I had a retired pastor at one of my classes ask me, “Why did Peter give Israel this option, that they had killed their Messiah in ignorance? And why did Christ from the Cross say “Father forgive them,” and why did Stephen in Chapter 7 say basically the same thing?” Well it took me a while to figure all that out. But I think I’ve come up with the right answer by going back into Israel’s history. According to their law of cities of refuge, if an Israeli farmer was clearing rock off his field, throwing them over a hedge, and one of these rocks hit someone on the other side by accident and killed him, that Israeli could run to a city of refuge and plead with those city fathers about the accident. If they believed him they would send him back home totally set free because what he had done was in ignorance. Now bring that right up to the Cross.

Israel, had she rejected Him, knowing Who He was, God would have had to put them to death by completely destroying them. But since they did it in ignorance, God could continue to deal with them in mercy and Grace. Turn to I Corinthians. Paul is writing to the Gentile Church at Corinth. Paul only writes to believers. He never writes to the unbelieving world. But as he writes to the believers his message is going to go to the unbeliever also.

I Corinthians 2:7,8

“But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery (a secret), even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:” God knew that this apostle to the Gentile world would become a writer of Scripture. Now verse 8:

“Which none of the princes of this world knew (The Jewish leaders didn’t know Who He was, Rome certainly didn’t know): for had they known it they would not have crucified The Lord of glory.” They just didn’t know. Come back to Acts Chapter 3, and Peter is using this as an escape route for the Nation of Israel.

They were guilty of putting their Messiah to death, they rejected Him, and I think Israel is suffering for it to this very day. God’s not through with the Nation, His mercy will come back them. He’s still going to come back and keep His Covenant promises with them as a Nation. But for the past 1900 + years they have suffered so much and still have the Tribulation to go through.

Acts 3:17,18

“And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers.” Israel should have known, Israel could have known, but they didn’t know. And so consequently they rejected Him.

“But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets (the Old Testament was full of how He would come, suffer, die, be resurrected and ascend, but Israel couldn’t comprehend all of that), that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled.” You can’t stop God. Oh, He may move slowly, but all of these things had to happen and they did.

Acts 3:19-21

“Repent ye therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing (the Kingdom) shall come from the presence of The Lord;” That’s a semi colon, not a period. Verse 20 is a continuation of that same thought.

“And he (God) shall send Jesus Christ which before was preached unto you:”

“Whom the heaven must receive (Ascension – Psalms 110:1) until (this is a time word. There is going to come a time when He is going to leave heaven again, but He would stay there until) the times of restitution of all things (now when is this old planet going to experience the restitution of all things? During the Tribulation. When the mortgage or the scroll in Revelation Chapter 5 is paid off. That is the road map of paying off the mortgage on the earth when the curse will be lifted. Remember Satan has been holding that mortgage for almost 6000 years, ever since Adam fell. But it’s going to be restored to its original condition in the Garden of Eden before sin entered. Now that is the restitution of all things referred to in this verse), which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.”

Even though Peter is expecting The Lord’s immediate return to the Nation of Israel if they would repent, he also recognizes that they are going to go through seven years of restitution. Daniel’s seventieth week. He knew that was all part of the prophetic program. That after the Tribulation, Christ would return. But it was hinging on Israel’s repentance. The Kingdom couldn’t come until the restitution of all things would come to pass. Remember how many times we have looked at Psalms Chapter 2? It tells all about this. They would reject The Messiah, they would put Him to death, God would call him back to heaven, set him at His right hand until His enemies were made His footstool. And the next verse in Psalms Chapter 2 says, then will come His wrath and vexation. And then the next verse says, yet have I set my King upon the holy hill of Zion. All was to flow straight through one right after the other.

But God in His wisdom has interrupted all of this. In this First Advent Israel rejected Him, and God called Him back to glory, Israel continued to reject, although several thousands are saved it was just a drop in the bucket. Peter tells us that ALL must repent and believe on His name. So they kept rejecting and finally we are going to see here in Acts that God is going to send them into dispersion. This happened in 70 A.D. when Titus of Rome destroyed the Temple and Jerusalem. At the present time we are seeing God bring the Jews back to the land. We know that God, after the final rejection, turns to the Gentiles through the Apostle Paul with Salvation by Grace with no connection to Israel’s Law. We call it the Church Age. Calling out a people for His name, the Body of Christ.

We can see it so clearly, but Peter doesn’t understand that nor was it ever intended for him to understand it. All Peter knows is that Israel is still under the Abrahamic Covenant, and if Israel would believe they could have The King and Kingdom as promised in Psalms Chapter 2. But all of Israel had to accept the fact that Jesus was their Messiah. And that is what you have to understand for this to make sense to you.

Always remember that the first part of Acts is nothing but Peter and the Nation of Israel. And then all of a sudden there is a departure, and what is it? The conversion of Saul. Then in Chapter 10, Peter goes to the house of Cornelius a Gentile, and that is all new. Israel is going off the scene, and Gentiles are coming into God’s favor under Grace. Once you see that, The Book of Acts is so exciting to study. Now verse 22. Peter is still sticking to the Old Testament prophets and Covenant programs.

Acts 3:22-24

“For Moses truly said unto the fathers, `A prophet shall the Lord of your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me (Christ was a Jew); him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people. Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days.'” What days? The days that have just taken place. And verse 25 is what opened my eyes.

Acts 3:25

“Ye are the children of the prophets and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham,…”

202 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 3 - Part 2 - Book 17 - Acts Chapters 3, 4, 5 - Part 2

202: Acts Chapters 3, 4, 5 – Part 2 – Lesson 3 Part 2 Book 17

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 3 * PART 2 * BOOK 17

ACTS CHAPTER 3, 4, & 5

I am never afraid to tell people my doctrinal position, and never claim to have all the answers, but I trust the Holy Spirit has kept me from error in any way. I never claim to be right and everyone else is wrong, but we have found that so many people have been freed of traditional teaching, and have gotten a brand new lease on Scripture, when they began to realize how all of these things are chronologically unfolding. Now let’s pick up again in Acts Chapter 2, the last verse. Peter has been preaching to the Nation of Israel, and has been trying to convince them that the One they crucified was indeed their Christ, King, and Messiah. Many of them had been convicted, and as we saw in verse 41, three thousand on the day of Pentecost had repented of that sin, and were baptized. Then we saw in verses 42-46 that they sold all that they owned to put it into a common kitty so that all of them might live on that fund.

Acts 2:47

“Praising God, and having favour with all the people (true Christianity is that way. We stand for what we feel is the truth, but not in a contentious way. Too many times we put ourselves in a position where we are known for not getting along with people, and that is not a Christian testimony at all. These Jewish believers also had a lot of opposition from fellow Jews who were unbelievers and totally against this movement). And The Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” Here the word Church must be defined.

The word translated Church in our Bible comes from the Greek word “ecclesia” It’s where we get the word ecclesiastes or ecclesiastical which pertain to religious hierarchy. But the Greek word `ecclesia’ translated `Church,’ is also translated `assembly.’ Be careful. Not every time you see the word `Church’ in Scripture is it the New Testament Body of Christ. You have to learn to separate and put things in their rightful place. And every time you see the word `Church’ don’t try to lump it all into one category. For example turn over to Acts Chapter 7. Seven years after Pentecost we find Stephen preaching also to the Nation of Israel. He is addressing Jews. And Stephen goes all the way through Israel’s history, starting with Abraham and brings them on down through time. Let’s start with verse 35. I want you to get the true setting. I had one gentleman write from the television audience that I was all mixed up, that the Church began clear back with Moses. Bless his heart, he just didn’t know his Greek.

Acts 7:35,36

“This Moses whom they refused (that is the Israelites in Egypt), saying, `Who made thee a ruler and a judge?’ the same did God send to be a ruler and a deliverer by the hand of the angel which appeared to him in the bush. He brought them out, after that he had shewed wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, and in the Red sea, and in the wilderness forty years.”

Stephen is making the allusion that Moses was just a forerunner of The Christ. He was a type of Christ. And this is what Stephen is trying to emphasize. That the second Deliverer, Christ, they had crucified. I want to show you the setting he is referring to, when Israel had come out of Egypt, crossed the Red Sea and were encamped around Mount Sinai under Moses’ leadership.

Acts 7:37,38

“This is that Moses, which said unto the children of Israel, `A prophet shall The Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear.'” That was Moses speaking to the Israelites. Then Stephens says: “This is he (Jesus), that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sinai,…”

Was that a New Testament Church? Why of course not. But this gentlemen had the idea that the Church began back there in Sinai. That wasn’t a Church as we understand the Church, but rather at Sinai it was a called out assembly. That is also the word `ecclesia.’ Israel was a called-out assembly. God called them and led them out of Egypt, encamped them in Sinai, and they became a called-out assembly. Not a Church. They didn’t have deacons, or Bishops, or Pastors, they were under the Law of Moses. But it’s the same word, only used in a different way. And while we are still in Acts let’s turn to Chapter 19, where this same word “ecclesia” is not translated `Church,’ it’s translated `assembly,’ but it’s not a Godly assembly.It’s an ungodly assembly. Paul and Barnabas are in Ephesus and there has been such a turning from idolatry to Paul’s Gospel that the makers of idols saw their businesses going down the drain. So there is a big uproar. And they trying to get the emotions of the idolatrous Ephesians to turn on Paul and these new converts.

Acts 19:28,29

“And when they heard these sayings, they were full of wrath, and cried out, saying, `Great is Diana of the Ephesians.’ And the whole city was filled with confusion: and having caught Gaius and Aristarchus, men of Macedonia, Paul’s companions in travel, they rushed with one accord into the theatre.” What do you have? A mob. A riot.

Acts 19:30-32

“And when Paul would have entered in unto the people, the disciples suffered him not. And certain of the chief of Asia, which were his friends, sent unto him, desiring him that he would not adventure himself into the theatre.” Paul they will kill you. “Some therefore cried one thing, and some another: for the assembly…” (Ecclesia)

Is that a Church? Hardly. But it was a called out assembly, because who had called them out? The Silversmiths. When you see the word `church,’ you don’t automatically think it’s the Church as we know it, or as Paul refers to it as the Body of Christ. In Acts Chapter 2 the word `ecclesia’ was a called-out assembly and that is indeed what the Jewish believers were. They separated themselves from the mainstream of Judaism. They believed that Jesus was The Christ. They were assembling themselves in fellowship and breaking of bread. And they are a called-out assembly. They are also a Church. But not necessarily the Body of Christ.

Turn to I Corinthians Chapter 12. Here we have a new connotation. This called-out assembly is not usually called the Church in Paul’s writings, but it’s the Church which is His Body, or the Body is the Church. And that is what qualifies it, although it is the same Greek word `ecclesia.’ The Church today is a called-out assembly Who’s Head is in heaven, as the Head of the Body. And we are the Body. That’s a big difference. Peter doesn’t teach or know that in Acts. Peter makes no mention that Christ is the Head of this called-out assembly, and that these Jewish believers are part of Him. It’s as important to see what the Scriptures do not say as what they do say.

I Corinthians 12:12

“For as the body (human body) is one, and hath many members and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.” What are we talking about? The Church which is His body. It doesn’t matter what country that believer is in tonight, they are members of that Body. That wasn’t true before.

I Corinthians 12:13

“For by one Spirit (it’s capitalized, so Who is it? Holy Spirit) are we all (from the least to the greatest. As we become believers we are placed into the Body of Christ by the Holy Spirit. Some believers are far more spiritual than others. But regardless, if you are a believer you are in the Body of Christ. I’ve got a couple of fingers that were partially clipped off at one time. But they are still part of my body, they are not perfect but it’s still me. And the same way with the Body of Christ. And that is what Paul is using here as a picture. That not every believer is all that he should or could be, but nevertheless he’s still in the Body of Christ) baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free (it makes no difference, our station in life); and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.”

I Corinthians 12:14

“For the body is not one member, but many.” Go to Ephesians 1. Paul constantly makes reference to the Church which is His Body (the word `ecclesia’). Still a called out assembly, but with one difference, this Church has the Head in heaven, and the Body is on earth. But the two can’t be separated.

Ephesians 1:17

“That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:”

Ephesians 1:20

“Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,”

Ephesians 1:22,23

“And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be head over all things to the church.” What Church? “Which is his body (do you see the difference?), the fulness of him that filleth all in all.”

That word `fulness’ in the Greek also means `complement.’ We are the complement of the Head. It’s the same word, only in the Hebrew, in Genesis when Eve was given to Adam. She was given to be his complement, a part of him. That is why Paul brings in the physical marriage relationship between husband and wife as the beautiful picture of Christ and the Church which is His Body. I’m pointing this out to show that Peter doesn’t address anything like this at all. None of this was ever revealed to Peter. Peter doesn’t even mention the Body of Christ, and Peter doesn’t mention being baptized into the Body of Christ. He hasn’t had that revelation yet, and is unaware of it. So he is merely talking about a called out assembly of Jews who have separated themselves from the mainstream of Judaism by virtue of believing that Jesus was The Christ. Now Ephesians 5. Remember, Paul only writes to believers. And it’s usually a Gentile congregation. There were some Jews in them I’m sure, but it’s predominately to the believers who are members of a Gentile congregation.

Ephesians 5:21-23a

“Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto The Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church:…”

The Bible never gives authority for the husband to downtrod his wife. She is never to be his slave and servant, but she is a part of him. They are one. This is the Biblical teaching. Paul by inspiration is making it so plain. The husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the Church. To the Church, Christ’s the Head of the Body, and is never referred to as The King of the Church. But rather our Saviour. He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords, but to be scripturally correct He is not The King of the Church, but rather the Head. And what a difference that makes. If He was our King, we would be His subjects. Paul never intimates that we are subjects that have to bend to His every command, but rather we are part of Him. Just like the wife is part of the husband. Verse 24:

Ephesians 5:24

“Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.”

Now husbands we are to have the same attitude toward our wives as Christ has to the Church. A husband with that kind of attitude will never have a divorce problem. You see, there is a whole different attitude when we treat our wives as Christ treats the Church. And what is that? Total love, even to the place that He died for her. I often wonder how many American husbands today would die for their wives? Would we really be able to say that I love her so much that if I have to give my life for her I will gladly. Now that is the real test. But that is how much we are to love our wife. Now read on:

Ephesians 5:25

“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;”

Do you realize that Scripture never tells wives to love their husbands. Never. I know Peter tells the mothers to teach their daughters how to love a husband. But it’s never commanded the woman to love your husband. But husbands are commanded to love their wives. Why? It all goes back to Adam. God created Adam with the ability to love his helpmeet. But He also created in Eve the ability to respond to that love. And that’s what God does with us. When He saves us and places us into the Body, we are going to have the ability to love Him in return. And so many people miss this. How can you get this excited about The Bible, and Christian life? Well, unless you have experienced it, you can’t explain it.

Ephesians 5:26,27

“That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word.” Not baptism water but rather with Scripture.

“That he might present it (the Church, an ecclesia, called-out assembly) to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”

Ephesians 5:28-31

“So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as The Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones (because we have been united just like husband and wife), For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.”

Ephesians 5:32,33

“This is a great mystery (that’s why Peter couldn’t comprehend so many of the things that were revealed to Paul. Remember, Peter wrote in II Peter that Paul wrote things that are hard to understand. Peter doesn’t realize the full impact of this yet. That we as Gentiles believers are made one with Christ), but I speak concerning Christ and the church.” The Body of Christ.

“Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.”

Now isn’t it amazing that Paul in these series of verses constantly flips back and forth with the parallel of Christ and the Church, with the husband and wife. Why? Because it is a perfect synonymous relationship. Christ is the same to us as the husband is to the wife and the husband and wife relationship is the same as Christ and the Church. But remember Peter doesn’t bring any of this up in Chapter 2 of Acts. He can’t, nor was he expected to, because this hadn’t been revealed yet. Back to Acts 2:47. We will go into Chapter 3 next lesson. Lets read verse 47 once again:

Acts 2:47

“Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And The Lord added to the church (called-out assembly of believing Jews) daily such as should be saved.”

201 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 3 - Part 1 - Book 17 - Acts Chapters 3, 4, 5

201: Acts Chapters 3, 4, 5 – Lesson 3 Part 1 Book 17

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 3 * PART 1 * BOOK 17

ACTS CHAPTER 3, 4, & 5

It’s so nice to hear from so many of you who tell us not to change a thing in our teaching. Just keep it simple so we can understand it, and that is what we intend to do. We trust we are reaching hearts that probably would never otherwise be reached. We also know that a lot of folk are having their eyes opened to a lot of things that they never knew were in this Book. Now today we are going to jump right in where we left off in our last lesson, and that would be Acts Chapter 2. We finished verse 38 in our last lesson, but for a short review let’s back up to verse 36 so we can get the backdrop of this tremendous chapter.

Pentecost has now come, 50 days after the Crucifixion, and I maintain that it is one of the seven Jewish feast days that we find in the Book of Leviticus Chapter 23. It’s a Jewish crowd with a Jewish speaker, and I know that 90% of Christendom has been taught it is the birth of the Church, the Body of Christ. And I taught it that way for ever so long, and I was never comfortable teaching it that way, because there were so many things that just didn’t fit. The language in this chapter does not correlate with what we understand as church doctrine. So I make no apology for the fact that I’m going to be pointing out some things that are probably contrary to tradition. But don’t think for a moment that I don’t know what traditional teaching is. Traditional teaching tells us that here at Pentecost we have the beginning of the Gentile Body of Christ, but how can it be, because of the language, and setting. But now as we look at Chapter 2, look at some of the language that Peter uses. It’s plain English for us.

Acts 2:5

“And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.” There are no Gentiles here.

Acts 2:14

“…Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:”

Acts 2:22a

“Ye men of Israel,…” Now that doesn’t include Gentiles as I read English. These were all Jews, at a Jewish feast day in the Temple area.

Now come down to verse 36. We have Peter speaking, and he told these Jews how they had crucified their Messiah.

Acts 2:36

“Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly (Peter doesn’t say, “And you Gentiles,” – he leaves it at that), that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

I never want to be accused of being anti-Semitic by pointing out that Peter puts the blame upon the Nation of Israel. I am by no stretch of the imagination anti-Semitic. And I know that here in Acts Peter will over and over, lay the blame for the Crucifixion on the Jewish Nation. And of course they did precipitate it. But also never lose sight of the fact of what Psalms Chapter 2 said in verse 1:

Psalms 2:1

“The Kings of the earth (Gentiles) set themselves, and the rulers (Jews) take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying,”

So the whole human race is guilty of having crucified The Messiah. But here Peter is dealing with the Nation of Israel on Covenant grounds, and he is pointing out that they who should have known better, rejected the One that God sent to fulfill that Abrahamic Covenant as well as the other Covenants that are associated with it. So I don’t want to be misunderstood when I point out that Peter said they killed The Christ. Now verse 37:

Acts 2:37

“Now when they heard this (the Spirit is convicting them), they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?”

The pronoun here is `we.’ God is dealing with the whole Nation of Israel. So the question was so appropriate. “What shall we do…?” And remember we compared Peter’s answer with that of Paul with the Philippian jailer.

Acts 2:38

“Then Peter said unto them, `Repent, and be baptized every one of you..'”

We’ll see that “every one of you” again in Chapter 3. The idea was that if every Jew would have repented of their national sin; recognized that the One they killed was indeed their promised Messiah and King; then Chapter 3 tells us God would have sent Christ at that time to be their King and would yet set up the Kingdom.

As I teach these early chapters of Acts, I want you to remember our Gospel of Salvation, and that is to believe that Jesus died for you, was buried, and rose from the dead. I want you to see if you find that Gospel as a means of Salvation in any of these chapters. Look for it. But I promise you that you have to look real hard, because The Lord hasn’t revealed that yet, and won’t reveal it until we get to Paul. And if it’s not there, we have no right putting it there, because The Lord certainly didn’t. We often think, “Well, The Lord surely meant for it to be in there, so I’ll put it in there to make it complete.” But when we put our Gospel of Salvation in these early chapters we do great harm to the Scriptures. Just leave all Scripture exactly where it is, see who the Scripture is addressed to and you will be on solid ground. The emphasis in all of these early chapters was that the Nation of Israel was to believe in the name of Jesus Christ, and what did the name imply? Who He was. This goes all the way back to Matthew 16:13:

Matthew 16:13

“…Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?” And then Jesus, I think, pointed right at Peter and asked him:

Matthew 16:15,16

“…But whom say ye that I am?” And what was Peters answer?

“And Simon Peter answered and said, `Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.'”

Peter doesn’t say the One Who died for me, was buried and rose from the dead. Why? It hadn’t been revealed that this was going to be the Church Age Salvation message. So the whole premise of the earthly ministry to the Nation of Israel was they were to keep the Law, because He never told them they weren’t under the Law, He lived under the Law, Israel was under the Law, but along with that they were to believe Who He was. He was The Christ, their Messiah. Peter hasn’t changed one bit. The only difference now is that Christ has died, had been buried, and was raised from the dead and ascended back to glory, but not a word yet that Salvation has been made available because of it. So in verse 38 all Peter says is to repent and be baptized for the remission of sin, because the Nation was guilty of killing their Messiah. Now verse 39:

Acts 2:39,40

“For the promise is unto you (remember He came to His own but His own received Him not), and to your children, and to all that are afar off (some think that is a reference to Gentiles. I don’t see that, because the Jews were from one end of the empire to the other. Many were still dispersed even as far back as the Babylonian captivity. Remember, only a few thousand came back during that time. And even earlier, part of the ten tribes were taken up into Syria and never came back, so Jews were all over the then-know world), even as many as The Lord our God shall call.” Now verse 40:

“And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, `Save yourselves from this untoward generation.'”

What was this generation of Jews guilty of? Rejecting and crucifying. And he says, “Don’t identify yourself with those people, come out from that thinking that He was an impostor and blasphemer and separate yourself, and come to realize that He was Who He said He was. The Christ!” Now verse 41. Here is another verse that I used to twist as far out of shape as anybody could do it. I used this verse for years to get people people to do something.

Acts 2:41

“Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.”

Now what did John the Baptist do? As soon as they repented, he baptized them. And those believers became a separated group of Jews. And we have the same thing here. It’s a furtherance of that same message. Only now the finished work of the Cross has been consummated, so that God could now save these people based on the shed blood. There is nothing here to indicate that these people are believing for their Salvation in what we call the Gospel. You know I’m talking about the Gospel that was revealed to Paul. Reference I Corinthians 15:1-4. Paul tells us that’s the Gospel by which we are saved during this Church Age we are now living in. This Gentile Body of Christ. But here we don’t see a word that they were to believe for their Salvation that Christ died for them. But rather the message was they killed Him. What a total difference. We are going to define the Church, and what it is all about in the New Testament, in a lesson in the near future.

Acts 2:42a

“And they continued steadfastly in the apostles doctrine…”

What apostles are we talking about? The Twelve. And what did these Twelve men know? Not much more than that Christ had come, and fulfilled all the Old Testament promises. He had presented Himself as The King, The Messiah, but Israel had rejected Him. And that is all they knew. Rather than being misunderstood, I would like for us to turn to II Peter, the last chapter. We have a lot of people out there, with good intentions, well-churched, but they don’t know these verses are in their Bible. And remember, Peter is writing these epistles shortly before he is martyred, so this takes us up to about 66 A.D. And in 70 A.D. the Temple is destroyed, and these same Jews and their children that Peter is pleading with go out into dispersion. Paul’s letters have already been written for the most part, they may not have been circulated that much as of yet, but they have been written. Now look what Peter writes:

II Peter 3:15,16

“And account (understand, take it to heart) that the long suffering of our Lord is salvation (The Lord’s not willing that any should perish); even (Peter says) as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;”

“As also in all his epistles (Romans, I & II Corinthians, Philippians, Colossians, Ephesians, Galatians, and so forth are his epistles. Peter says in all those epistles), speaking in them of these things (what things? Those that pertain to Salvation as referred to in verse 15); in which are some things hard to be understood,…”

Now this is Peter writing by inspiration. And bless his heart, at the end of his life, he still can’t quite put everything together that Paul has brought on the scene. So when people tell me they haven’t heard this before, I tell them not to feel bad, because Peter spent three years with The Lord Himself; Peter preached from Pentecost on, filled with the Holy Spirit; and yet when Paul came on the scene, and had written his letters, Peter by inspiration had to admit right here at the end of his life that there was so much of that he couldn’t comprehend. That’s what The Book says, I’m not saying it. That is also implied in Galatians 2:7-9, where Peter and the eleven would go to the Jews with their message and Paul would go to the Gentiles with his message. Now read on:

II Peter 3:16

“As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest (or twist. That is what people have been doing with the Scriptures ever since Peter wrote it. They twist the Scripture so that it fits what they think it should say), as they do also the other Scriptures, unto their own destruction,”

If people would only leave Scriptures where they are. God put them in the particular order they are in for a purpose. They try to fit Paul’s doctrines and teaching with Peter and the eleven and they just won’t fit. Our Lord and Saviour didn’t do it as He inspired the writers, and we shouldn’t try. Satan uses every avenue to confuse the Truth of God’s Word. And he is doing a mighty good job of twisting the Scriptures.

I remember hearing an evangelist relate a story of what is happening even today. He was a young man of about 13 or so and in a group that did not believe in the literal, physical Second Coming of Christ. So, this young man went to the pastor and showed him the verse in the Book of Zechariah 14:4 that says, “And his feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives,” He asked the pastor what he thought of that. The pastor looked at the verse and said, “Young man that verse doesn’t mean what it says.” So the young man turned around and left, and figured the pastor should know. He said when he reached the age of twenty, again he was bothered why this verse was totally ignored by his people. And by then, he had a different pastor, so he went into that pastor and showed him the verse, and said. “Now pastor, what do you do with a verse like this?” The pastor answered, “Ah, don’t let that bother you, that’s Apocalypse.” This young man said that was a great big word that went right over his head, but he thought the preacher must know what he’s talking about, so he dropped it for a while. He went on to tell us by the time he was twenty five The Lord had opened his eyes, and he saw that he had been misled. And he could see what he saw at the age of thirteen was more right than the people that he was questioning. And this is what we are plagued with today.

We are plagued with traditional views. People hear them from the pulpit and say they must be right because the preacher said so. Well, you don’t go by what the preacher says. You don’t go by what I say, but rather you must learn to search the Scriptures to see what they say. And I don’t claim to have all the answers. Often I will put things out over television, and I don’t expect people to say, “Well, that’s the way it is, this guy know The Book.” No. But I do expect people to search the Scriptures, and see if I’m right or wrong. I have so many tell us that for the first time in their life they are studying their Bible.

Peter then, at the end of his life, recognizes that Paul now has the answers to questions that he himself still can’t quite comprehend. Now come back to Acts Chapter 2:42. So they are continuing in the apostles doctrines which of course included none of the revelations given to the Apostle Paul later. And this is where I always maintain that Scriptures are a progressive revelation. The Scriptures tell us that God has the ability to hide things until it was time to reveal them. God doesn’t unload everything back in Genesis as some think. He didn’t put everything back there in the Old Testament, and He didn’t tell everything in His earthly ministry. But as He sees fit, He reveals these certain truths and it’s up to us to discern what and when they are. So here we have simply the “apostles doctrines and fellowship, and in breaking of bread and prayer.” Now that is all very normal and common. They were now separated from the mainstream of Judaism and so the only place they could really talk together was in their own group of fellowship. And they would have their meals together.

You can know someone for a long time with a casual relationship, but you don’t really get to know them or their family until you are invited into their home for a meal. We have experienced this so often, that when you are invited in for a meal everything is most generally just laid out. We get an idea where their kids are and who they are married to, and everything about the family. And I think that is the same situation here. They were coming together in a fellowship that they had never enjoyed in Judaism. Now verse 43:

Acts 2:43

“And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.”

Remember this is still very appropriate. They are an extension of Christ’s earthly ministry. That’s what He told them in Acts 1:8, that they would receive power. A kind of power that would continue to do what He had done while in their midst. Now verse 44. If you think this is a Church chapter, does your Church practice the next verse? I have never seen a Church that sells all their individual goods, cash in all their C.D.’s, sell their real estate, and cars and all they own and put it into a common kitty. But this is what they did.

Acts 2:44,45

“And all that believed were together, and had all things common. And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men (“men” is italicized so it has been added), as every man had need.”

Every one is now living out of that common kitty which was probably very large starting out. Why were these people so ready to get rid of all their possessions. We are going to see in Chapter 3, that even good old Barnabas was a land owner and sold his land on the Island of Cyprus. Turned it into cash and brought the money to the kitty in Jerusalem. Now why were they so ready to do that? Because The King and Kingdom are just over the horizon. They can see the Nation of Israel responding to it like they did. And Peter tells them that if the whole Nation responds, that Christ would return and they would have The King and Kingdom and who would need houses and land once the Kingdom is set up? The Old Testament promised that the Kingdom would be a utopia, there would be no poor, or no need for food. It would be the perfect environment that man is looking for. And that was just over the horizon. So they sold them gladly, thinking that this was in the immediate future. Now verse 46:

Acts 2:46

“And they, continuing daily with one accord (where) in the Temple (The Temple hasn’t locked its doors. God hasn’t said a word about staying away from it. There had not been one word uttered by anyone that they were not under Law. But we have all been instructed through the years to assume that these people are now under Grace and not Law. Don’t ever assume anything, just search the Scriptures. And if you can find in the Scriptures that Peter and the eleven are saying that these Jews are not under Law, and can forget about Temple worship, that they are free from that, if you can show me that, then I’ll change my way of teaching. But I’m not worried because you can’t), and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,”

Now I have never been in a Church congregation that is that good. Have you ever been in a Church where everyone is agreed on everything? When you find a Church like that let me know because I’ll drive a hundred miles to join it. There is no such thing now, but here in Acts it was! Why? Because this is not the Church as we understand it. This is a called out group of Jewish believers. The Spirit had been poured on them; they were all of one mind. They were all living out of one common kitty. And I know that kitty had to be kept going by new believers coming in and adding to it or else it was going to run out. What did happen? It ran out. And God in His Grace and goodness covered that situation with the Apostle Paul. Wherever Paul went he took up a collection for the poor and needy Jewish believers at Jerusalem. Why were they poor? Well, the kitty had been emptied.

200 - Les Feldick Bible Study Lesson 2 - Part 4 - Book 17 - Explanation of Acts 2:38 - Part 2

200: Explanation of Acts 2:38 – Part 2 – Lesson 2 Part 4 Book 17

Through the Bible with Les Feldick

LESSON 2 * PART 4 * BOOK 17

EXPLANATION OF ACTS 2:38

Let’s pick up again in the Book of Acts and for a short review we will start at Chapter 2 verse 36. Remember this is a Jewish feast day that is being celebrated. Jews from the then-known world have come to celebrate the feast of Pentecost. This is one of the seven feasts listed in Leviticus 23. Now it’s on this day of Pentecost that this huge crowd of Jews are out there in the Temple area and Peter, through the power of the Holy Spirit, is addressing this great gathering. And regardless what nations these Jews have come from, they are hearing it in their own language. And this is the miracle of it all. Peter is speaking to Jew only (with an occasional proselyte). There is no Gentile ground here. God doesn’t put Gentiles in this group and neither should we. It’s a Jewish feast day, a Jewish crowd, a Jewish speaker, and a Jewish message. And now verse 36:

Acts 2:36,37

“Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly (this is all twelve tribes that are represented here, and God knows who they are), that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.” Peter is accusing these Jews of killing Christ their Messiah. “Now when they heard this they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren what shall we do?” And before we look at Peter’s answer, I want to take you back to Acts Chapter 16.

In Chapter 16, Paul has begun his missionary journey throughout western Turkey. Earlier in this chapter the Holy Spirit directed him over into Greece. One of the first cities he approached there was Philippi. And that is where he met Lydia, who was the first European convert. After the conversion of Lydia, he is arrested and beaten along with Silas, and cast into the lower dungeon of the jail, as in verse 25. The setting is completely different than in Acts 2. This is all Gentile ground, a Gentile prison, a Gentile jailer, This Gentile jailer may have witnessed Paul and Silas preaching, and saw their arrest and beating. Now he was given charge over these two men along with the rest of the prisoners.

Acts 16:25-29

“And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God; and the prisoners heard them.”

“And suddenly there was a great earthquake (we still haven’t left the economy of signs and miracles, and wonders. These will pass off the scene in Paul’s ministry at a little later time. But at this time we have a miraculous earthquake with a distinct purpose), so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed.”

“And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled.” The Roman authority would have killed him if prisoners had escaped.

“But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, `Do thyself no harm: for we are all here.'” Although they could have fled they didn’t, because this is a Sovereign God at work.

“Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas,”

Why did this pagan Gentile jailer pick Paul and Silas out of all his prisoners? Somehow, God let him know that here was the answer to his dilemma. He’s got all these prisoners loose, ready to flee, but they are staying there. God lets that jailer know the answer to his problem, but it’s going to be a lot more than a bunch of prisoners, it’s going to be the man’s own soul.

Acts 16:30

“And brought them (Paul and Silas) out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” Now look at the comparison.

Peter, preaching in Acts Chapter 2, is dealing with the Covenant Nation of Israel. And they say in verse 37, “What must we do?” But God doesn’t deal with Gentiles on Covenant ground. He deals with us as individuals. Every individual has to ask that same question. “What must I do…?” Let’s compare the answers each were given. In Acts Chapter 2, it is very clear, anyone can understand it. I’m leaving every word the way it’s in your Bible and mine. I’m not changing a thing. Israel says, “What must we do?” Look at Peter’s answer.

Acts 2:38

“Then Peter said unto them, `Repent, and be baptized (the next two words are crucial) every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost,'”

Everyone of them would have to be converted and accept Christ as their Messiah for God to pick up where He had left off. He would have sent back The King and set up the Kingdom. Peter also tells them this in Acts 3:26. Look at the message. Peter says, “Repent and be baptized.” Who began that message? John the Baptist. John was the herald of The King, and his message was, “Repent and be baptized.” That was for the Nation of Israel. Now compare this with Paul’s answer to the Gentile in Acts Chapter 16. Paul is not talking to the Nation of Israel, he’s talking to a Gentile. And when this Gentile asks what he must do to be saved, what does Paul tell him?

Acts 16:31

“And they (Paul and Silas) said, `Believe on The Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.'”

Does it say Repent and be baptized? No, and if that was the criteria it would have been in here. That was the Jewish program, and by this time it has fallen through the cracks because Israel is rejecting it again. God has now turned to the Gentiles through the Apostle Paul, without Israel. So the jailer said, “What must I do?” The answer is simple: “Only Believe on The Lord Jesus Christ.” Now when you know the rest of Paul’s message, he only had one Gospel to believe: “That Christ died for your sins, was buried and rose from the dead.”You can find that message in many places in Paul’s letters, for example I Corinthians 15:1-4. Believe the Gospel. And it’s no different for Gentiles today, and the Jew as well. That is the criteria tonight. We have to believe the Gospel and nothing else. You search Paul’s letters from Romans through Hebrews (and Hebrews is more Jewish than the rest and there is a reason for that), and show me one place where Paul teaches repentance and baptism for Salvation. You won’t find it. Paul doesn’t teach it. Paul’s message is a different economy and you can’t mix them. A lot of people try to. Our Lord didn’t mix them and neither should we. The verses in Galatians 2:7-9 exist because they were two different messages. That’s why Peter says Paul’s message of Salvation is hard for him to understand in II Peter 3:15-16. To the Jew it was repent and be baptized. To the Gentile it is believe the Gospel. See how simple that is. Now let’s come back to Acts 2 and make another tremendous comparison. Read verse 38 again:

Acts 2:38

“Then Peter said unto them, `Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins,…'” The whole Nation of Israel had to repent and be baptized.

Winning the whole world has never been implied with Paul. In Acts 15, when even James had to agree that God is using Paul to go to the Gentiles, what was the expression that James used? Calling out a people for His name. That doesn’t imply 99 or 100%. Christianity has always been just a small percentage. But we should always be ready to share the Gospel that Paul presents to everyone we come in contact with when the opportunity presents itself. I get a kick out of the Gallop polls, the last one I saw was 60% of Americans were professing Christians. That’s a joke because 60% of the Bible belt aren’t Bible believing Christians, let alone other vast areas of our country. But it’s always been that very small percentage, and it hasn’t changed that much. Another comparison here in verse 38:

Acts 2:38

“…and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost,”

I’ve had questions asked of me about this for many years, and let me ask you a question. What was the prerequisite in this verse for receiving the Holy Spirit? Repentance and baptism. That is the first part of the verse. Look at it again:

Acts 2:38

“…Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

Is there any mention of the death, burial, and Resurrection? Any mention of the shed blood for atonement? Not a word. But only the name. When you talk about the name of someone, what does that imply? Who he is. If I say the name of one of our Presidents, what do you associate that with? The White House. You speak the name and immediately it’s the position that you’re tied to. So, Peter doesn’t mention death, burial, and Resurrection. But what were they to put their faith in? Who Jesus was. He was The Christ their Messiah, and they had killed Him. But God had raised Him from the dead. They were to repent and be baptized for the remission of sins and then they would receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. In Acts Chapter 10, we have Peter at the house of Cornelius, a Gentile. This is seven years after the Cross. Not a Gentile has been saved. Back in Acts 2, the Jews had to repent and be baptized, then they could receive the Holy Spirit. Now look at what it says here:

Acts 10:44

“While Peter yet spake (he hadn’t come to the end of his message) these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. “

And we know they all believed. Have they been baptized yet? No, these are Gentiles who haven’t heard anything of the Law. But the moment they believed Peter’s message the Holy Spirit came down, and the amazing thing is God had to prove to Peter and these six other Jews that God was doing something totally new, and that was saving Gentiles! Not on the basis of repentance and baptism, but the moment they heard the word and believed. Peter is still tied to that Jewish economy, so when he sees what is happening he commands these Gentile believers to be baptized after the fact instead of before as we saw in Acts 2:38:

Acts 10:47

“Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have (past tense) received the Holy Ghost as well as we?”

This isn’t a contradiction, this is not Chapter 10 contradicting Chapter 2, but rather a change of events. Ten is Gentile and Two is still Jew. Acts is a transitional book, so always be aware that what was good for the Jew under that Jewish economy seems like a contradiction, but it’s not, it’s only God changing the program. The moment we believe for our Salvation the Gospel of Grace, that Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, the Holy Spirit baptizes us and we are saved. Don’t put the message that Peter preached and the message that Paul preached in a blender and mix it all up and expect to understand it. That will give you heartburn, and you will never be able to see what you should clearly believe for your Salvation. But if you will realize that God is changing the program when He goes to the Gentiles, and leave the Scriptures right where they are, I believe the Scriptures will be opened to you. So many people come into my classes and almost immediately have their eyes opened. I don’t do that, the Holy Spirit does that when you search the Scriptures.

When I first started teaching in Oklahoma, I had a class in a home in Stigler. I hadn’t taught for long when a professional man, who has since died, shook his head and said, “Why haven’t we been taught this before?” Later that year he told me, “I feel like I have been cheated all my life, because so much of the Scripture I couldn’t understand, but this teaching just lays it all out so beautifully.” And countless numbers have said the same thing. It is so plain if you will just separate the Jewish program from the Gentile. It’s the same God. God hasn’t changed but His program has. Now we are resting on the finished work of the Cross. Peter hasn’t been told about this yet, Peter is still on Covenant ground. So he is still proclaiming a repentance and baptism, and then the Holy Spirit. Let’s look in Ephesians Chapter 1. Ephesians is one of Paul’s later epistles. You will see things in these prison epistles that he doesn’t even allude to in his earlier writings. Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians are higher ground and deeper water so far as doctrine is concerned. This is where the meat of the Word is.

Ephesians 1:12,13

“That we (believers) should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.” It doesn’t say repented and baptized, but rather first trusted in Christ. “In whom ye also trusted, after (notice the progression) that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation (I Corinthians 15:1-4): in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise. “

Do you see the order? Every child of God has to come from a place of being a sinner, a son of Adam, condemned already. As soon as we realize that we are a sinner, we heard the Gospel and the Holy Spirit opened our understanding and we believed it. The moment we believe the Gospel the Holy Spirit comes in, and becomes God’s brand upon us, He becomes the very power of God within us, and we are not under Law but rather Grace. That doesn’t mean we become lawless. Grace is never license. But we have been given such freedom under Grace. We are now led and guided by the Holy Spirit of God. And that is part and parcel of the whole Salvation experience, and that is what makes true born again believers so different from false professors. A lot of people who are church members have never experienced true Salvation. They can’t tell you what they believe for their Salvation. I always compare them to the Old Testament when Israel came out of Egypt. There was a great group of hangers-on. The mixed multitude. They were the unbelievers who were just hanging on to see what would happen. And a lot of so-called Christians are hanging on to the social environment of the Church, they want to be part of all the good things. They enjoy the music and all of that. But you get them down to the nitty gritty of studying this Book, the nitty gritty of actually living a testimony for Christ, and you can forget it. But God is not looking for that. He is looking for men and women who have experienced a genuine Salvation. They have experienced the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and we don’t need law to tell us what we can and can’t do. We are sealed with the Holy Spirit.

Ephesians 1:14

“Which is the earnest (our down payment) of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.” And remember the purchased possession is the whole person: the body, soul, and spirit.