Teacher Notes

Bible Stories for Adults

The Apostles in Prison

Acts 4-5

Welcome and Announcements
    Next Week - Stephen (Acts 6-7)
    Bible Words to Remember:
      Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved. Acts 4:12

Opening Prayer

The Beginning of the Church (Acts 2)
    How many of Jesus' disciples were true believers after He ascended?
      Acts 1:15 = About 120
    What happened 10 days after Jesus ascended that empowered and initiated the growth of this group?
      Acts 2:1, 4 = The Holy Spirit filled these believers on the day of Pentecost
    How did this event significantly impact the spread of Jesus' gospel? = Visitors took gospel home
      Acts 2:5-6, 14, 47 = Jews from all over the world heard the gospel, 3000 believed
    How did the infant church operate?
      Acts 2:42 = Teaching (study), fellowship, communion (sacraments), prayer (worship)
    Where did the infant church meet? Did they quickly form a building committee?
      Acts 2:46 = Met in the temple (stayed in Jerusalem) and in homes

The Evil Deed (Acts 3)
    What horrible thing did two leaders of this faith do in last week's story?
      Acts 3:1-3, 6-8 = They healed a man who had been crippled since birth - in Jesus' name
    How do we know this wasn't a plant or an act? = Since it wasn't a festival, the people were locals
      Acts 3:9-10 = Everyone recognized this man as one who had begged at the gate for years
    How did Peter respond to the sudden attention for his miraculous power?
      Acts 3:12, 16 = He gave the glory to Jesus and presented the gospel to the people

Stopping the Evil (Acts 4:1-4)
    Besides the local worshippers, who else came to check out the commotion?
      Acts 4:1 = The priests & the temple guard (sagan - High priest's right hand man)
    Why did Luke identify that some of the priests who came were of the ruling Sadducee religious party?
      Acts 4:2 = Sadducees upset about unauthorized teaching & teaching of the resurrection
    What had Peter said about resurrection? = Sadducees didn't believe in heaven, angels, resurrection
      Acts 3:15, 21, 26 = Jesus had been raised from the dead and waits in heaven with God

    What did the Jewish leaders decide to do to stop this evil in the temple?
      Acts 4:3 = They weren't sure, so they threw Peter & John in jail overnight
    Had they stopped this evil act in time?
      Acts 4:4 = No, many more became believers in Jesus - Up to another 2000

The Court is Gathered (Acts 4:5-6)
    Who was gathered to determine how to respond to these trouble-makers?
      Acts 4:5-6 = The Jewish leaders - The Sanhedrin (4:15)
    What other meeting of this group had taken place just a few weeks earlier?
      Matthew 26:57-59 = They gathered to find a way to get rid of a trouble-maker named Jesus
    How did the previous meeting turn out?
      Matthew 26:62-66 = They found him guilty of blaspheme and worthy of death
    Did they see any connection between the earlier trouble-maker and these new ones?
      Acts 4:13 = Yes, they recognized that Peter & John had been followers of Jesus

The Charge (Acts 4:7)
    What did the Sanhedrin understand to be the purpose of this gathering?
      Acts 4:7 = To determine the source of power behind this miracle
    Why did the Sanhedrin feel this was the important question? = Satan can do miracles also
      Deuteronomy 13:1-3 = God had commanded them to test the source of miracles & teachings
    What were they to do with those who were found to be trying to lead people away from God?
      Deuteronomy 13:5 = Punishment for blasphemy was death - Purge the evil

The Defense (Acts 4:8-12)
    Did Peter and John have any warning that they would be treated like this for being Jesus' witnesses?
      Luke 21:12 = Jesus had warned them that they would be persecuted for His sake
    Why would God allow this to happen to the ones who would bring the message of salvation?
      Luke 21:13 = It would result in the message being spread further and more effectively
    Knowing this would happen, should Christians prepare answers to defend themselves?
      Luke 21:14-15 = No, Jesus will give us the words through His Spirit

    Did Peter and John remember this and respond with the Spirit's words as Jesus had instructed?
      Acts 4:8-10 = Yes, He spoke boldly in the Spirit; Didn't hold anything back - even resurrection
    Was Peter careful not to offend this group who could imprison him or even have him executed?
      Acts 4:11 = No, He said Psalm 118:22 foretold of their rejection of the Messiah
    Was Peter trying to accuse these men of murder, or did he remember the purpose of his persecution?
      Acts 4:12 = He witnessed to them and offered salvation through Jesus
      Note: Greek word for "saved" is same word used in v.9 for "healed"

The Verdict (Acts 4:13-22)
    How did the Sanhedrin respond to these defiant words by these associates of the blasphemer Jesus?
      Acts 4:13-14 = They were taken aback & unsure how to respond to their courage
    What did they decide to do with Peter and John?
      Acts 4:15-18 = Afraid to upset public by punishing them, told them to be quiet
    Did Peter and John thank them for the "probation" and leave quickly before they changed their mind?
      Acts 4:19-20 = No, they said they'd be unable to be quiet about what God did through Jesus
    Did this cause the Sanhedrin to change their mind and take stronger action?
      Acts 4:21-22 = No, they were more concerned with pleasing the people than obeying God

The Believers Respond (Acts 4:23-31)
    How did the other believers respond when Peter and John told them what had happened?
      Acts 4:23-24a = They prayed to God
    Did they thank God for protecting Peter & John and ask for help to witness without getting caught?
      Acts 4:24-30 = No, they asked for even greater boldness in speaking His word
    How did God respond to this prayer?
      Acts 4:31 = He filled them all with the Holy Spirit and gave them great boldness
    Philip Brooks: Do not pray for easier lives. Pray to be stronger men and women. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for powers equal to your tasks.

Powers in Actions (Acts 5:12-16)
    Did God continue to provide His power to the believers and did they remain open in their ministry?
      Acts 5:12 = Yes, Spirit's powers were evident and they witnessed openly in the temple
    Did the trouble with the Sanhedrin and the power of God scare off any people?
      Acts 5:13 = Yes - the believers were highly respected for doing God's ministry
    Were all scared away so that the church stopped growing?
      Acts 5:14 = No, many were not afraid, heard the gospel and became believers
    Was this work only seen and known by the locals who frequented the temple?
      Acts 5:15-16 = No, word spread and people came from all over to be healed by God's power

Arrested Again and Again (Acts 5:17-26)
    How did the Sadducees feel about these trouble-makers preaching Jesus' resurrection in the temple?
      Acts 5:17-18 = They had all they could take and arrested the apostles again
    How did God intervene in a way that further challenged the beliefs of the Sadducees?
      Acts 5:19 = He sent an angel to released the apostles at night
    Were the apostles to leave town or stay in hiding since they would be fugitives?
      Acts 5:20-21a = No, they were to continue to preach boldly in the temple - They did

    Did the Sanhedrin find out about the escape soon after it occurred? = Jail locked but empty
      Acts 5:21b-24 = No, didn't find out until after sending for them in the morning
    Did they immediately sent out a search party with directions to recapture them by force?
      Acts 5:25-26 = No, they heard that the apostles were back teaching, brought them carefully

Another Trial (Acts 5:27-33)
    What charge did the Sanhedrin pose to the apostles?
      Acts 5:27-28 = Disobeying their command to be quiet and accusing them of murder
    How did the apostles respond?
      Acts 5:29-32 = Peter restated the story of Jesus
    How did the Sadducees respond to Jesus rising from dead, sitting in heaven & sending the Holy Spirit?
      Acts 5:33 = They were outraged and wanted to execute these blasphemers

Cooler Heads Prevail (Acts 5:34-39)
    What kept them from immediately taking these blasphemers outside and stoning them?
      Acts 5:34 = A Pharisee named Gamaliel, a leading member of the Sanhedrin
    Gamaliel was the most famous Jewish teacher of his time. Who was one of his students?
      Acts 22:1-3 = Paul had been trained as a Pharisee under Gamaliel

    What did Gamaliel want the Sanhedrin to consider?
      Acts 5:35-37 = He cited a couple of recent examples of false prophets
    Why did Gamaliel bring up the cases of Theudas and Judas?
      Acts 5:38-39 = Told them to let time show whether from man or from God
    Did his speech have any effect?
      Acts 5:40 = Yes, they released them with warnings, but punished them first

The Apostles Respond (Acts 5:41-42)
    Did the flogging help strengthen their point and deter the apostles from talking further about Jesus?
      Acts 5:41 = No, the apostles were thrilled that they had suffered for the sake of Jesus
    Did this arrest and flogging help get the apostles to quiet down about this Jesus fellow?
      Acts 5:42 = No, they continued to proclaim the gospel boldly and openly
    What guidance does Paul give us about how to be like Peter and the apostles?
      Colossians 4:5 = Make the most of every opportunity

Closing Prayer

Copyright © 1998 by Kurt Rosenhagen

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