Acts 5:20
"Go, stand in the temple courts and tell the people the full message of this new life."
The Church's Mission to the WorldR.A. Redford Acts 5:20
The Theme of Themes: the Angel's ChargeP.C. Barker Acts 5:20
Arrest of the ApostlesE. Johnson Acts 5:17-26
Persecution RenewedM. G. Hazard.Acts 5:17-26
Persecution RenewedActs 5:17-26
The Activity and Bafflement of the PersecutorsD. Thomas, D. D.Acts 5:17-26
The Apostles PersecutedJ. Parker, D. D.Acts 5:17-26
The Imprisonment and Deliverance of the ApostlesJ. Bennett, D. D.Acts 5:17-26
The Priests and the PreachersC. S. Robinson, D. D.Acts 5:17-26
The Sanhedrin and the ApostlesS. J. Niccolls, D. D.Acts 5:17-26
Vain Efforts to Oppose the GospelChristian AgeActs 5:17-26
Three Things DivineW. Clarkson Acts 5:17-29
A Grand Victory for the Truth Along the Whole LineP.C. Barker Acts 5:17-40
Second Persecution of the ChurchR.A. Redford Acts 5:17-42
Angelic Interference and Apostolic WorkG. S. Rowe.Acts 5:19-20
Christianity a LifeH. M. Dubose.Acts 5:19-20
Christianity and the PeopleC. H. Spurgeon.Acts 5:19-20
Christianity, a Voice to the PeopleA. J. Morris.Acts 5:19-20
Distinguishing Properties of Spiritual LifeRobert Hall.Acts 5:19-20
Divine Idea of ChristianityW. H. Burton.Acts 5:19-20
Divine InterpositionC. S. Robinson, D. D.Acts 5:19-20
Ministers Must Preach the Whole GospelC. H. Spurgeon.Acts 5:19-20
Miraculous InterpositionWeekly PulpitActs 5:19-20
Preachers Must Reach the PeopleC. H. Spurgeon.Acts 5:19-20
The Burden of the Preacher -- Speaking in the TempleF. Ferguson, D. D.Acts 5:19-20
The Gospel MessageJ. Stoughton, D. D.Acts 5:19-20
The Proclamation and the Power of the GospelW. J. Henderson, B. A.Acts 5:19-20
The Religion of the PeopleJ. C. Shanks.Acts 5:19-20
Go, stand and speak, etc. Acts of apostles the model for acts of God's people always. Lessons on relation of the Church and the world. Gospel began to lay hold of the masses. Envy and hatred of the Sadducean party, because a religion which lifted up the people, they thought, would lower the wealthy and ease-loving. We must expect social difficulties as the kingdom of righteousness spreads, but the angel's message is the rule of all times; while opportunity offers, stand and speak, not your own message, but "all the words of this life." While we listen to the angel's words, we should keep our eye fixed on the unveiled secret of Divine strength delivering and protecting all true-hearted preachers of Christ's truth.

I. THE GREAT COMMISSION. "Speak... to the people."

1. Copy the example of the Master. "Common people heard him gladly."

2. Best on the adaptation of the gospel to the people's wants. They are deceived by false teachers, run after false remedies.

3. Take courage by the facts of the early history of Christianity. All moral prowess from the people. Illustrate in the course of Christianity in the Roman empire - from the cottage to the throne. In the Reformation, especially in England. Lollards. Luther. Preaching of the revivalists in the eighteenth and present centuries.

4. Note the events. The future in the hands of the people. Speak to them of Christ; for their power is great, and they may abuse it to the destruction of society. Babel-greatness must end in confusion and misery.

5. Consider the responsibility of Christians. Believe, and therefore speak; silence is shame. Activity is the hope of the Church, the cure of its strifes and the uprooting of its doubts.

II. THE GREAT MESSAGE, "All the words of this life."

1. Reality - life. Men's daily struggle is about life. Yet the world full of delusions about life. This life! That life! We invite the people to live the true life, Christ's life, the life that death cannot touch.

2. Announcement. "Words of this life." We proclaim facts, a Divine Person, a life that can be described by example, confirmed by testimony, studied in the written pages. Religion no dream of enthusiasts, no mere sentiment floating like a cloud in the air, no empty ritualism, but words of life translated into action.

3. Philanthropy. "All the words." Different from mere human teachers with their reservations and selfishness. Philosophers taught for money. Christ says, "Speak all to the people freely." Religion in the hands of priests has made the people enemies, but this new message in the temple would shake down the wails of superstition, prejudice, and pride, and build up a new humanity. In our message we must put so much heart that the people see we give them all that we have, because we love their souls first and their earthly interests as included in their spiritual welfare.

4. Aggression. "Go, stand in the temple;" "Be not afraid of their faces." Bold policy always the wisest in spiritual things. Special necessity that the desecrated temple should witness the faithfulness of Christ's messengers. False religion the great obstacle to progress of the gospel. People misunderstand the message; think of priests as their enemies; have reason to think so. The gospel does not reject what is good in other systems, but plants itself in the midst of the world as it is; finds in the temple of the old religion a standing-place from which to preach the new tidings. Every fresh instance of Divine interposition should embolden us. You are free now, go to the work again. In all fields of labor discouragement must be absolutely excluded. Follow the angels of God, and they will point to new platforms. We shall speak with fresh power if we refuse to be thwarted by opposition or put out of countenance by suffering. - R.

And kept back part of the price.
They desired to have all the credit the Church would give them for acting as generously as Barnabas did, and yet, while getting credit for unselfish and unstinting liberality, to be able to enjoy in private somewhat of that which they were believed to have surrendered. And their calculations were terribly disappointed. They tried to play the hypocrite's part on most dangerous ground, just when the Divine spirit of purity, sincerity, and truth had been abundantly poured out, and when the spirit of deceit and hypocrisy was therefore at once recognised. It was with the apostles and their spiritual natures then as it is with ourselves and our physical natures still. When we are living in a crowded city we notice not strange scents and ill odours and foul gases; our senses are dulled, and our perceptive powers are rendered obtuse because the whole atmosphere is a tainted one. But when we dwell in the pure air of the country, and the glorious breezes from mountain and moor blow round us fresh and free, then we detect at once, and at a long distance, the slightest ill odour or the least trace of offensive gas. The outpoured presence of the Spirit, and the abounding love which was produced thereby, quickened the perception of St. Peter. He recognised the hypocrisy, characterised the sin of Ananias as a lie against the Holy Ghost; and then the Spirit and Giver of life, seconding and supporting the words of St. Peter, withdrew His support from the human frame of the sinner, and Ananias ceased to live, just as Sapphira, his partner in deceit, ceased to live a few hours later. It may well have been that this incident was inserted in this typical Church history to correct a false idea which would otherwise have grown up. The apostles and their followers were now realising their freedom in the spirit; and some were inclined to run into licentiousness as the result of that freedom. They were realising, too, their relationship to God as one of pure filial love, and they were in great danger of forgetting that God was a God of justice and judgment as well, till this stern dispensation recalled them to a sense of the fact that eternal love is also eternal purity and eternal truth, and will by no means clear the guilty.

(G. T. Stokes, D. D.)

That it was simply the sin of lying, is impossible to believe. He who calmly told them of their instant fate had himself lied most foully, and been forgiven. It is more plausible to maintain that their sin was something far worse than mere falsehood — that it was hypocrisy of the lowest type — that they could not endure to lack the praise of the noblest Christian conduct, or to make the necessary sacrifices — that they schemed to be considered the best, whilst they were, and knew that they were, very far below the best. All this is true and terrible, but does not satisfy us as an explanation of their awful end. I venture to suggest that Ananias and Sapphira suffered the extreme penalty, not as sinners, but as criminals; not in revenge for a flagrant insult offered to the Almighty, but as the due reward for a frightful wrong inflicted upon their fellowmen; not to accentuate the hideousness of a sin (for which purpose it had been unneeded and ineffective), but to mark the enormity of a crime which blasted the fairest prospect ever opened before the sons of men. It seems to me that they suffered death just as the dynamitards ought to suffer death, because in the recklessness of political hatred they destroy the lives of innocent people. Their crime was beyond all possible reach of human justice, therefore God Himself intervened to mark for once and all how great a crime, how vast a wrong they had committed in the sight of Heaven. Of what, then, were they guilty? What did they do? Before the deceit of Ananias and Sapphira communism was the rule within the Christian fold. It was practised freely as a natural, nay, a necessary part of a whole-hearted following after Christ. After the deceit of Ananias and Sapphira communism ceased to be the rule — apparently it ceased to exist. In the very next chapter we find, not communism, but "charity," with all its paltry greeds and grudges. Why was this? What became of the communism? I say that Ananias and his wife killed it. Such a state of things depends essentially upon mutual confidence, and they killed that confidence. The fatal blow had been given: and what had been an actual working system, perfect in its principle, and boundless in its promise, faded at once into a beautiful dream Co-operation in the labours of life does very well for beavers, for they do not deceive one another, nor does one desire to grow fat at his neighbour's expense, neither does another wish to take credit for having done what he has not really done. Why cannot Christian men he as true to one another, and to the society of which they form a part, as beavers? Ask Ananias and Sapphira. Before they began, there were no suspicions, no grudgings, no wealth, and no poverty, "neither was there any among them that lacked." When they had ended there were rich and poor, there was "a murmuring" of one class against another, there was the foretaste of those monstrous evils which we deplore to-day. They only "told a lie," but that lie gave a mortal blow to the mutual confidence on which any system of communism has to rest. If it is only to-day that we are beginning to face the social problems of advanced civilisation in their naked ugliness, if it is only to-day that we are in a position to estimate the results of unlimited competition, and the reign of universal greed; if it is only to-day that we are becoming thoroughly frightened at the hideous contrast between the professed principles and the existing facts of Christian society; it is for this very reason only to-day that we are able to appreciate the true moral of that tremendous and unexampled judgment. The socialism of the first believers was the fairest work of the Holy Ghost — it was the truest following after Christ — it was the loftiest faith and the broadest charity translated into that simple language of everyday life, which must be read and loved of all men. The "Magnificat" is the inspired hymn of gospel communism, it is the Marseillaise of the Christian socialist. Striking at once to the heart of the matter, rising at once to the principle of the new order, forestalling (like all inspired strains) the end from the beginning, it pronounces without mitigation, it exults without qualification, that "He hath put down the mighty," etc.

(R. Winterbotham, M. A.)

When Nineveh was burned under Sardanapalus, great quantities of treasure were known to bare fallen into the fiery ruins. Belesis, governor of Babylon, had been one of the conspirators against the dead king, and was aware of all the circumstances of the sack of the city. He told the other generals that in the midst of the fight he had at one time despaired of success, and then he had solemnly sworn to the immortal gods that, if victory were vouchsafed him, he would convey bodily all the ashes of the conflagration to Babylon, and deposit them in a vast temple which he would erect to receive them in honour of the propitious deities: he added that his tender conscience would not permit him to delay the fulfilment of his vow. No one could object to so pious a proposal; so Belesis set the whole army at work to gather up the remains of the fire. When the valuable mass reached Babylon he smelted the heaps in great furnaces, and enriched himself to a fabulous amount with the gold and silver that came forth. This he had understood all along; but he was neither the first nor the last man who has put forward his conscience to make gain out of godliness with a villainous deceit.

(C. S. Robinson, D. D.)

We read in French history that Louis XI. once proffered the entire department of Bologne to the "Blessed Virgin Mary." He drew up a deed, signed, sealed; he delivered it to the proper ecclesiastics of the Church. But with a peculiar perversity he kept all the revenues and taxes, appointing every year new collectors who might secure the income rigidly for himself without any peril of being tampered with by the priests.

(C. S. Robinson, D. D.)

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