SERIES: The Book of Acts

TEXT: Acts 5:12-26 

MESSAGE: The Words of This Life

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“The very heart of the new covenant is transformed character, the result of regeneration, people who love holiness where they did not once love holiness, people who have been transformed from the inside. Now (Ananias & Saphira) want a reputation…and pretend, in fact, that they have been transformed. Thus, they are lying regarding the gift of the Spirit. They are lying before God. They are not simply deceiving the church.”

— D.A. Carson

“The expression of Christian character is not good doing, but God-likeness. If the Spirit of God has transformed you within, you will exhibit Divine characteristics in your life, not good human characteristics . God’s life in us expresses itself as God’s life, not as human life trying to be godly.” – Oswald Chambers

And so, what can we learn about Christian Character? Well, there are three elements (1. Renewal 2. Rejection 3. Resolve)

  1. Renewal (v. 12-16)

Now many signs and wonders were regularly done among the people by the hands of the apostles. And they were all together in Solomon’s Portico. 13 None of the rest dared join them, but the people held them in high esteem. 14 And more than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women, 15 so that they even carried out the sick into the streets and laid them on cots and mats, that as Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on some of them. 16 The people also gathered from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing the sick and those afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all healed.”

In July of 2019 Mike Aquilina wrote an article entitled, “How the Church invented health care” and here’s what he wrote:

“Throughout the writings of the early Christians, there is an emphasis on Jesus as a healer. St. Ignatius of Antioch, writing in A.D. 107, spoke of the Lord as a physician.The early historian Eusebius described Jesus’ ministry with lines taken directly from the pagan physician Hippocrates. He wrote: “A devoted physician, to save the lives of the sick, sees the horrible danger yet touches the infected place, and in treating another man’s troubles brings suffering on himself.” Christians instinctively responded to Jesus’ healing imperative by dedicating themselves to the practice of medicine. St. Justin Martyr in the second century and Origen in the third both testify that many of their co-religionists were medical doctors.The historian Ferngren, citing archeology and documentary evidence, concludes that “no other professional group comes close to the number of physicians” in the early Church.”

      2. Rejection (v. 17-18)

But the high priest rose up, and all who were with him (that is, the party of the Sadducees), and filled with jealousy 18 they arrested the apostles and put them in the public prison.

      3. Resolve (v. 19-21; 25-26)

“But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out, and said20 “Go and stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this Life.” 21 And when they heard this, they entered the temple at daybreak and began to teach.”; 25 “And someone came and told them, “Look! The men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple and teaching the people.” 26 Then the captain with the officers went and brought them, but not by force, for they were afraid of being stoned by the people.”

“So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.” – 1 Peter 4:19

TAKEAWAYS: What are ways that God builds character in us?

  • Seek renewal by praying for God’s plan
  • Overcome rejection by embracing God’s Kingdom
  • Find resolve by remembering God’s presence

 

 “The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances!” — Elisabeth Elliot

GOSPEL: How do we live with a transformed character?

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33