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Unexplained Power

Acts 5:21b-24

Jealous religious leaders had put the apostles in prison. It was an attempt to curb their enthusiasm about Jesus and to restore their own authority (Acts 5:17-18). But God had other plans.

Uncomfortable Power

Acts 5:25-28

It looked as though the apostles had escaped from prison. Instead of being locked up, awaiting the morning court session of the Sanhedrin, they were back in the temple, teaching about Jesus (Acts 19-21). Their joyful liberty mocked their forcible arrest the previous evening. So, with the admiring crowds around them in the morning sunshine, the guards fearing a riot did not manhandle them but asked them to walk with them to the court.

Unashamed Power

Acts 5:29-33

Peter's boldness did not come from arrogance or assertiveness, but from a confident assurance that Jesus Christ is Lord. The religious court accused the apostles of disobeying their ruling 'not to speak about Jesus'. But their reply was the same as the last time they were arrested (

Unashamed Wisdom

Acts 5:34-39

It is difficult to admit that we may be wrong. Until the time of this Council, meeting as a court to stop the Apostles speaking about Jesus, dissenters had been silent. We know that two members, Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea personally buried Christ's body (

Unashamed Witness

Acts 5:40-42

Gamaliel, the wise old rabbi, had spoken (Acts 5:34-39). He was not sure that Peter and the apostles deserved to be put to death. The important question was, were they authorised by God or not? Until that question was answered there was no point in punishing them; because if God had sent them, the Council would be fighting against God.

Growing Pains

Acts 6:1-4

Growth always brings challenges. It is not just about increased activity but the need to deploy people differently. Everybody's capacity to take on more work is limited, so it is usually more efficient for skilled workers to focus on work which they will do best, and for managers to coordinate different numbers of people or projects according to their ability (

Practical Wisdom

Acts 6:5-7

Wisdom discerns the right conclusion and the best way to achieve it. The apostles were faced with many human needs, and the believers wanted to help one another; but it was a massive task to coordinate it all.

Godliness Meets Opposition From Friends

Acts 6:8-11

Stephen was a godly and wise man. He had been selected to oversee the daily practical work of distributing food to widows (Acts 6:1-5). But he was not just practical.

Confidently Facing Lies

Acts 6:12-15

Stephen, a Greek-speaking believer, had upset Greek-speaking Jews by preaching about Jesus and doing miracles in His Name. They were furious, and arranged for some people to lie about what Stephen said in order for him to be charged with blasphemy.

God's Character Is Our Defence

Acts 7:1-5

Stephen had been accused of saying that Jesus would destroy the temple, and change the customs handed down from Moses. In fact, Jesus was speaking of the temple of His own body which would die (