James Gray - Concise Bible Commentary
And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them,
So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding nothing how they might punish them, because of the people: for all men glorified God for that which was done.Acts 4:21-5:42
UNITY OF LOVE (Acts 4:31-37)
The quickening in the last lesson was associated with another outpouring of the Holy Spirit but not another “baptism,” and some who had been filled before were refilled, with results following: (1) courage in preaching (Acts 4:31); (2) unity of soul (Acts 4:32); (3) power in testimony (Acts 4:33); and (4) love in practical conduct (Acts 4:34-37). This last result has sometimes been quoted as favoring Christian communism, but it is to be remembered that it was voluntary in origin, temporary in duration, and limited in its application. Where such communism is the result of the work of the Holy Spirit on regenerated hearts, and accompanied by such fruit as it here revealed, no one need have any apprehension in regard to it.
PRIDE AND HYPOCRISY (Acts 5:1-11)
But there is mildew in every garden, and the opening of the next chapter shows its presence here. Notice in verse three the testimony to the personality and power of Satan, and the personality and Deity of the Holy Spirit. One cannot “lie” to an “influence” or a mere “principle of good.” Moreover, in verse five the Holy Spirit is identified as God. The penalty on Ananias and Sapphira does not necessarily involve eternal retribution, inasmuch as, notwithstanding their sin, they may have been in vital relationship to God through faith in Christ (1 John 1:8). But it is an illustration of God’s chastening His people on earth, paralleled by the cases of Nadab and Abihu and Achan in the Old Testament (Leviticus 10; Joshua 7), and the Corinthians in the New Testament (1 Corinthians 11:30-32). (Compare here 1 John 5:16.)
POWER AND PERSECUTION (Acts 5:12-42)
Note in passing, the continued growth of the church (Acts 5:14); the unusual nature of the signs wrought by Peter (Acts 5:15); the continued enmity of the Sadducees because the apostles preached the resurrection (Acts 5:17-18); the supernatural deliverance (Acts 5:19-24); the defense before the Sanhedrin (Acts 5:25-32); the unexpected advocate (Acts 5:33-39); the penalty (Acts 5:40); the effect on the apostles and the church (Acts 5:41-42).
1. What were the results of the filling with the Holy Ghost?
2. What are the distinctions between the charity of the early church and the modern communism?
3. What sin in the heart led to the open hypocrisy of Ananias and Sapphira?
4. How is the Deity of the Holy Spirit proven in this lesson?
5. Is there a distinction between the Divine retribution of the unbelieving and the Divine chastening of the followers of Christ?
6. Give some Old and New Testament illustrations of the latter.
7. Give in your own words the story told above under the head of “Power and Persecution.”