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! Introduction:
This is the first persecution of the church.
In this portion of Scripture we will see several challenging lessons for Christian service.
Many times in our walk with the Lord, when circumstances are not going the way we think they should go, we ask the Lord to /“take these bad circumstances away.”
/But…I think that we should also pray, /“Lord, help me to see what you want me to learn through these circumstances.”/
In the following passage, we see how Peter and John are put into custody for teaching the people and preaching about Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead.
!! A.                 Peter and John arrested and tried (v.1a).
!!! 1.                  “As they spoke to the people… they came upon them… laid hands upon them…” (v.1a; 3:1).
!!!! a)                  For preaching (3:1f) (v.1a).
!!!!! (1)                 So here we see they were arrested “as they spoke,” that is, while they were preaching.
!!!!! (2)                 Thousands had rushed to see the cripple who had been healed and to hear the message being proclaimed by the two men who had such power.
!!!!! (3)                 The temple was a massive building which could hold thousands (Acts 4:5).
The excitement and noise were bound to attract the attention and bring the temple authorities to the scene.
!!!!! (4)                 They thought they had eliminated the “Jesus movement” eight weeks earlier when they had crucified Jesus.
Now these two men (Peter and John) were publicly preaching the rumor that God had raised Jesus from the dead.
And they were preaching, of all places, in the temple precincts.
!!!! b)                  The temple.
!!!!! (1)                 The temple sat on top of Mt.
Zion and was thought to have covered about thirty acres of \\ land.
It consisted of two parts, the temple building itself and the temple precincts or \\ courtyards.
The Greek language has two different words to distinguish which is meant.
!!!!!! (a)                 */The temple building/ (**naos)* was a small ornate structure which sat in the center of \\ the temple property.
It was called the Holy Place or Holy of Holies, and only the High \\ Priest could enter only once during the year, on the Day of Atonement.
!!!!!! (b)                */The temple precincts/ (**hieron)* were four courtyards which surrounded \\ the temple building, each decreasing in their importance to the Jewish mind.
It is critical to remember that great walls separated the courts from each other.
(i)                   */First, there was the Inner Court of the Priests/*.
Only the priests were allowed to enter this court.
Within the courtyard stood the great furnishings of worship: the Altar of Burnt Offering, the Brazen Laver, the Seven Branched lampstand, the Altar of Incense, and the Table of Showbread.
(ii)                 */The Court of the Israelites was next/*.
This was a huge courtyard where Jewish worshippers met together for joint services on the great feast days.
It was also where worshippers handed over their sacrifices to the priests.
(iii)                */The Court of the Women was the third Courtyard/*.
Women were usually limited to this area except for worship.
They could, however, enter the Court of the Israelites when they came to make sacrifice or worship in a joint assembly on a great feast day.
(iv)               */The Court of the Gentiles was the last courtyard/*.
It covered a vast space, \\ surrounding all the other courtyards, and was the place of worship for all \\ Gentile converts to Judaism.
\\ !!!! c)                  Three facts need to be noted about the Court of the Gentiles.
!!!!! (1)                 It was the courtyard farthest removed from the center of worship, the Holy of Holies which represented God’s very presence :
*Paul said how Jesus Christ broke these walls down, he said *"For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall," (Ephesians 2:14, NASB95)
!!!!! (2)                 A high wall separated the Court of the Gentiles from the other courts, disallowing any Gentile a closer approach into God’s presence.
There were, in fact, tablets hanging all around the wall threatening death to any Gentile who went beyond his own courtyard.
!!!!! (3)                 It was also in the Court of the Gentiles where so much commercialism took place.
!!! 2.                  The priests… the captain of the temple… and the Sadducees…” (v.1b).
!!!! a)                  By the leaders of the temple (v.1b).
!!!!! (1)                 *Priests*: all the male descendants of Aaron were priests.
In the time of Christ there were over twenty thousand priests.
Since there was only one temple (located in Jerusalem), the priests were divided into groups.
There were twenty-four groups, and each group served in the temple for one week twice a year
!!!!! (2)                 *Temple Captain*: this was the right-hand man, the chief executive officer or chief of staff to the High Priest.
He was probably what Scripture calls the /chief/ /officer/ or “the ruler of the house of God”.
He was responsible for the administration of the temple which meant he was held accountable for the order and any disorder that took place within the temple precincts.
!!!!! (3)                 *Sadducees*: the religious and political liberals of Christ’s day.
They were the wealthy, the governing class of leaders in Israel.
Many Sadducees served on the nation’s governing body, the Sanhedrin.
!! B.                They suffered abuse because they preached the resurrection (v.2-4).
!!! 1.                  “They taught… and preached in Jesus the resurrection from the dead…” (v.2).
!!!! a)                  Jesus Christ died for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3).
!!!!! (1)                 The words “first of all” mean that the very first thing Paul ever preached to the Corinthians was the death of Jesus Christ.
!!!!!! (a)                 The death of Christ is so important that it must be the first thing preached.
It is the very foundation of a person’s salvation.
!!!!!! (b)                Apart from the death of Jesus Christ there is no salvation; therefore, the fact of Christ’s death must be the first subject proclaimed.
!!!!! (2)                 Christ died for our sins.”
The word “for” (huper) means for /our benefit, for our sake, in our behalf, in our stead, as our substitute/.
This means at least three things:
!!!!!! (a)                 */Christ died as our sacrifice/* */–/*
*Paul said that *"Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed."
(1 Corinthians 5:7, NASB95)
*Jesus Christ *"Died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf."
(2 Corinthians 5:15, NASB95)
*God the Father* “Made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." (2 Corinthians 5:21, NASB95)
*To the Ephesians, Paul said to *"Walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma."
(Ephesians 5:2, NASB95)
*The writer of Hebrews says that *"It was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens; who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself."
*Peter says that Jesus *"Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed."
(1 Peter 2:24, NASB95)
\\ !!!!!! (b)                */Christ died as our ransom/* */–/* to redeem, to deliver by paying a price.
The word is used 3 ways in the New Testament:
(i)                   /It means to redeem (//agorazo)/: to deliver; to set free from the slave market of sin, death, and hell.
*Paul says that we *"Have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body."
(1 Corinthians 6:20, NASB95)
*Speaking about false prophets, Peter says that *"False prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves."
(2 Peter 2:1, NASB95)
(ii)                 /It means to redeem out of (//exagorazo)/: to deliver /out of/ the enslavement to sin, death, and hell.
It means to be delivered /out of/ and never returned.
!!! 2.                  “They laid hands on them… put them in custody until the next day…” (v.3).
!!!! a)                  They were arrested (v.3).
!!!!! (1)                 The authorities arrested Peter and John.
It was late afternoon, too late for a trial, so they jailed them for the night.
!!! 3.                   
!!!! a)                  They bore fruit: 5,000 converts (v.4).
(1)                 But note a significant fact: before Peter was arrested, he had shared enough of the gospel for the crowd to respond.
Five thousand men (not counting women and children) made decisions for Christ.
(2)                 Persecution did not stop the Word and the Spirit of God from working.
Souls (fruit) were saved despite the abuse and opposition.
What a lesson for believers to /keep on/ in their preaching and witnessing no matter the opposition.
*Isaiah 55** says *“My Word shall not return to me void” (Isaiah 55:11).
*Paul said in 2 Timothy that *“The Word of God is not bound” (2 Tim.
!! C.                They credited Christ with the power to heal and to change lives (v.5-10).
!!! 1.                  “Their rulers, elders, etc… set them in the midst of them…” (v.5-7).
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