Tonight we continue our study of the book of Acts. Remember we are using the Scriptural outline for the book found in 1:8.
(Acts 1:8b) "…Ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth."
Tonight we continue studying the development of Christianity in Jerusalem.
I. Christianity in Jerusalem 1:1-8:3
A. The risen Lord 1:1-26
B. Pentecost 2:1-47
C. The Healing of a Lame Man 3:1-26
D. The beginning of persecution 4:1-37
1. The persecution v 1-22
a. The arrest (1-4)
1) Here we have the beginning of religious persecution of the Apostles
2) The Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection of the dead
3) They were grieved that he was preaching resurrection especially through Jesus Christ!
4) The priests did not want to be indicted for the crucifixion of Jesus.
5) They came together and put Peter and John in custody until they could deal with them fully.
b. The trial (5-22)
1) The Sanhedrin - the highest Jewish council - assembled on the next day to deal with Peter and John v 5
2) In attendance at this important meeting was Annas and Caiaphas v 6
a) This same group had questioned the authority of Jesus Christ to teach.
Mt 21:23 And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority?
b) Caiaphas conspired with this group to murder Jesus.
Mt 26:3-4 Then assembled together the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders of the people, unto the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas, And consulted that they might take Jesus by subtilty, and kill him.
c) There was little hope for an honest and fair hearing before this crowd!
3) They asked Peter and John to explain in whose power and authority - this was an open door for Peter to preach Christ to them v7
4) Peter preaches v 8-12
a) He was filled with the Holy Spirit - any preaching done without the power and filling of the Holy Spirit will be fruitless
b) His preaching turns the tables on the council and puts them on trial
c) "By the name of Jesus Christ" - all power and honor is attributed to Him
d) "Whom ye crucified" - There is that unmistakable finger pointing right at them.
e) "Whom God raised from the dead" - Peter points out that God canceled out what they tried to do
f) And it was by His power (Jesus) that the man was made whole. (10)
Ps 118:22-23 The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner. This is the LORD'S doing; it is marvellous in our eyes.
g) Jesus had quoted this passage back in Mt 21, and the Pharisees understood! What He was saying. (11)
h) Peter goes on to declare that He - and He alone was the source of salvation (12) "...none other name ... whereby we must be saved"
5) The initial response of the council 13-14
a) They marveled - because these Apostles were not trained teachers or orators
b) They took knowledge of them that they had been with Jesus (another so-called 'unlearned' teacher with the ability to argue and mentally out maneuver the Pharisees)
c) They kept their mouths shut - because they realized they could not condemn Peter and John for doing such a good deed.
6) The council's official statement 15-18 
a) They sent Peter and John outside while they discussed the matter
b) In private they acknowledged that a great and notable miracle had been done by the Apostles
c) And that they could not deny it -
d) Their reasoning was based on the fact that all of Jerusalem knew of the miracle
e) They did not address Peter's charges that they had rejected and crucified God's Son
f) They did not address their teaching on the resurrection
g) They tried to stop them from any further teaching in the name of Jesus
h) Notice their thinking - in verse 16 they admitted that the miracle was known by all Jerusalem then in verse 17 they wanted to stop the news from spreading any further
7) Peter and John respond to the council 19-20
a) Once again they turn the tables on them and put the council on the spot.
b) They told them to be the judge of whether the Apostles should listen to God or listen to the council.
c) They said that they could only speak of that which they had seen and hear - definition of a witness
8) The council releases them 21-22
a) The council could find nothing to charge them with so they could not punish them.
b) The people would not have tolerated any action because they knew a work of God had been performed.
2. The Prayer 4:23-31
a. When the Apostles were released, they returned to the church and related what the council had said. v 23
b. They began to pray v 24-30
1) It was a prayer offered up in unity
2) It was a prayer of thanksgiving for the sovereignty of God
3) It was a prayer for more boldness in the face of persecution
4) It was a prayer for power and signs and wonders.
c. God answered v 31
1) The place was shaken
2) They were filled with the Holy Ghost
3) They received boldness to witness
3. The provision 4:32-37
a. Christian communism - "They had all things common" v 32
1) This was not compulsory but voluntary
2) This did not abolish the right to personal property, but simply was a way to eliminate needs.
3) This was in no way like communism of the 20th century and today
a) Christian communism says "what's mine is yours!"
b) Communism today says "What's yours is mine!"
4) They were of one heart and of one soul
b. With great power the Apostles witnessed of the resurrection of Jesus Christ
c. God gave them great grace and they gave willingly to all who had needs.
d. The Apostles made distribution to those who were in need. e. Here we have the first mention of Barnabas
1) His name means 'encouragement'
2) He willingly gave to meet the need of others.
3) He is contrasted here with Anaias and Sapphira who tried to deceive the Apostles with their giving
Next week we will see God deal with them, as He brings purging to the church from within and without.