Acts 4:1: And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them, Acts 4:2: Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead. Acts 4:3: And they laid hands on them, and put them in hold unto the next day: for it was now eventide. Acts 4:4: Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand. Acts 4:5: And it came to pass on the morrow, that their rulers, and elders, and scribes, Acts 4:6: And Annas the high priest, and Caiaphas, and John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the kindred of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem. Acts 4:7: And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, By what power, or by what name, have ye done this? Here is a good example of why it is important to read and to pay attention. If we have done no more than listen to a few sermons we should be aware that the Pharisees believed in the resurrection of the dead but the Sadducees did not and that would be why they were so sad, you see! Now, with the bologna all sliced and served I should go back on task. In chapter 3 we saw Peter and John heal the man at the gate named Beautiful and though he had been lame from birth, when Peter told him that he was healed in the name of Jesus, he lept with joy. This is a remarkable accomplishment, in fact it is a miracle of God and Peter and John were the tools God used to do this with. There are more points to be draw here than I´ll get into in this lesson but one of great note that is still of concern today is the number of men tat began to listen to the teaching of Jesus by these servants of the LORD, five thousand! But just as it is today, many listened for a time and then fell away. The Gospels are full of good examples to parallel this passage and my favorite is Matthew 22:1-14 where the invited promised to come but when it was time, they were not found faithful nor were they true. Another good lesson from these seven verses is the truth I have been plagued with from the beginning of my ministry, when you teach the truth of the scriptures, you will make enemies and some of them, in high places. Many times I have been advised that if I would not be so narrow and so stiff in my teaching that I would grow a much larger following! This idea is a problem that has existed from the beginning of the Church Age though and I do not need nor do I wish to build a Bill Taylor following, I cannot get anyone any further toward Heaven than to the foot of the cross. This is how movements like Jim Jones and the Jonestown Suicides take palce and that must always be restricted. Acts 4:8: Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel, Acts 4:9: If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole; Acts 4:10: Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. Acts 4:11: This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Acts 4:12: Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. Peter and John were not arrested nor were they stopped until they began to offend the Sadducee Rulers but, their charge is for healing lame man. Here is a lesson every Christian that has chosen to follow Jesus must learn and learn to deal with. When we begin to teach the truth of the Word of God, our words will be twisted and distorted. It looks, from this accounting of history that Peter and John were arrested for teaching the resurrection of Jesus and yet their trial is entered on healing. Acts 4:13: Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus. Acts 4:14: And beholding the man which was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it. Acts 4:15: But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves, Acts 4:16: Saying, What shall we do to these men? for that indeed a notable miracle hath been done by them is manifest to all them that dwell in Jerusalem; and we cannot deny it. Acts 4:17: But that it spread no further among the people, let us straitly threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in this name. If, like Peter, we will refuse to be run down rabbit trails and will remain on task, we will displease people but not God. Our LORD, Jesus, has left us with both mission and testimony and it is this that we must teach. Acts 4:18: And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. Acts 4:19: But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. When we submit our will to the will of God and we allow the Holy Spirit to fill our being, we have a decision to make, will we quench the Spirit or will we obey? When we obey, we, like Peter and John, here, will be impowered to purseveir. Acts 4:20: For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard. Acts 4:21: 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 4:22: For the man was above forty years old, on whom this miracle of healing was shewed. These men conducting this trial are the same that sent Jesus to the cross, the difference between Jesus and the disciples then or the disciples today is that Jesus came to die on that cross! Now, get this right, I am not telling you that you will not die for Christ, millions have and others like John have been committed to things like being boiled alive in oil but lived! When you determine to follow Jesus, you will find trouble! But like millions that have journeyed before us, our bodies will die, one way or another, but our souls, our self, will not ever be touched when we trust God! Acts 4:23: And being let go, they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them. Acts 4:24: And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is: Acts 4:25: Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? Acts 4:26: The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. Acts 4:27: For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, Acts 4:28: For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done. Sovereignty! These verses council us of our future, when we are faithful but they also mark the absolute sovereignty of God! The subject can never be discussed, prayed over nor meditated on to much. To begin with, God is not the wicked, conceited monster of the Five Point Calvinist but neither is He the soft touch sentimentalist of the Armenian follower. When we read that a thousand years is like unto a day to God, it should tell us something, very, important. Further, when we read books such as ¨Heaven Is For Real,¨ we must check these against the absolute truth and that truth is the Bible, the God uttered truth! And when we find that all this child of four did in Heaven, during his four Earth Minutes of death is well within the purview of Scriptural truth, we must come to a more Heaven like understanding of the sovereignty of God! For God, there is no past and there is no future! Wow!! Did Bill say that? Yepppp! I did! The Time/Space Continuum is one of te creations of God for the benefit of man. It is for this reason that I tell you that both, opposing, camps are wrong about God's Sovereignty. Now, go back and read the first three chapters of the Bible, man is God's Crowning creation! To, actually believe that He, the true loving God, creates some for Heaven and most for eternity in Hell is to know nothing of God, period! So it is that, since God was and is here before the Earth was a swirling mass of water, without form, of course He knew, before hand, who would be saved and wrote their names in the Book of Life! Now, please, meditate on that and take it to your class and to your Pastor for discussion.