Chapter Five — Part Three: The Book of Acts

By: Pastors Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne

Publish date: 05/30/2021

Foundation Scriptures:
Acts 5:17-33

1. Imprisonment.
a. Acts 5:17-18 NKJV — Then the high priest rose up, and all those who were with him (which is the sect of the Sadducees), and they were filled with indignation, 18 and laid their hands on the apostles and put them in the common prison.
b. A sect is a body of people—whether good or bad—choosing to follow their own tenets or beliefs; caused by dissensions arising from diversity of opinions and aims.
c. The Pharisees and Sadducees disagreed on doctrine but were united in their persecution of Christ and Christians!
d. They were filled with zealous (zēlos) indignation.
e. In the positive, zēlos means: Excitement of mind, ardour, fervour of spirit; zeal, ardour in embracing, pursuing, defending anything; zeal in behalf of, for a person or thing.
f. In the negative, it means: the fierceness of indignation, punitive zeal; an envious and contentious rivalry, jealousy.
g. The religious leaders were basically full of envy, jealousy, and indignation, because of the popularity and influence of the Christians—and of Jesus before them.
h. You may imprison God’s messengers, but you can never imprison the Gospel message!

2. Angelic Deliverance.
a. Acts 5:19-20 NKJV — But at night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out, and said, 20 “Go, stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this life.”
b. An angel opened the prison doors and brought them out, commanding them to:
c. GO!
f. John 1:4 AMPC — In Him was Life, and the Life was the Light of men.
g. They were commanded to continue to speak of this LIFE, the resurrection life—physical, spiritual, and eternal life—that is available through Jesus Christ.
h. Acts 5:21a NKJV — And when they heard that, they entered the temple early in the morning and taught.
i. Despite the threats, they obeyed the message delivered by the angel, and went back to doing what they were commanded from the beginning.
j. Acts 5:21b NKJV — But the high priest and those with him came and called the council together, with all the elders of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought.
k. Every important (in their own eyes) religious representative leader assembled to confront the apostles—no doubt, to try to intimidate them into silence and submission.
l. Acts 5:22-23 NKJV — But when the officers came and did not find them in the prison, they returned and reported, 23 saying, “Indeed we found the prison shut securely, and the guards standing outside before the doors; but when we opened them, we found no one inside!”
m. This was a miraculous deliverance!
n. The disciples saw an angel and an open door.
o. But the angel brought them out of the prison through locked doors and past armed guards, who saw nothing!

3. Teaching in that Name.
a. Acts 5:24-25 NKJV — Now when the high priest, the captain of the temple, and the chief priests heard these things, they wondered what the outcome would be. 25 So one came and told them, saying, “Look, the men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple and teaching the people!”
b. Acts 5:26 NKJV — Then the captain went with the officers and brought them without violence, for they feared the people, lest they should be stoned.
c. They went and fetched them from the temple—without violence—because they were afraid that the crowd would turn on them and stone them!
d. They feared the opinions of the crowd, who were currently strongly in favor of the Christians.
e. They were stubborn and arrogant, and the only thing they really cared about was the opinion of the people.
f. Acts 5:27-28 NJKV — And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest asked them, 28 saying, “Did we not strictly command you not to teach in this name? And look, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this Man’s blood on us!”
g. This is a classic example of people not wanting to take responsibility for things they have done themselves.
h. Whilst insisting that Jesus be crucified, they proclaimed: “His blood be on us, and on our children!” (Matt. 27:25)
i. But now they did not want to accept responsibility—or face the penalty—for denying Him.

4. Obey God, Not Man.
a. Acts 5:29-32 NKJV — But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men. 30 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree. 31 Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. 32 And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.”
b. Every one of us needs to come to the revelation that we ought to obey God, rather than men!
c. The heart of the Gospel message is the death, burial, and physical resurrection of Jesus, as well as His exaltation to the right hand of God and His ministry of intercession on our behalf—and the necessity of repentance, forgiveness, and obedience to the Word.
d. Acts 5:33 KJV — When they heard that, they were cut to the heart, and took counsel to slay them.
e. The were cut to the heart—not with repentance, but with anger, spite, malice, and revenge.
f. 1 John 3:15 NKJV — Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
g. Sadly, those Jews who were first in line—from God’s viewpoint—to receive the blessing of salvation, were stubbornly refusing it.