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Bible Commentaries

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible
Acts 4

 

 

Other Authors
Verses 1-4

Acts 4:1-4. And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them, being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead. And they laid hands on them, and put them in hold unto the next day: for it was now eventide. Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand.

So that, though they could not tell there and then how many were converted, and though they could not baptize them at once, for they were taken away, yet, though there was no after-meeting, there were probably just as many saved as at Pentecost. Just as grand a result came of it. You cannot judge of the result of a sermon on the particular day that it is preached; it may seem as if that sermon had produced no effect, and it may be so; but, still, this time it was not so. Whenever you go home sad that you have not had an after-meeting, or you are interrupted, and cannot tell what good was done, though you do not know what has been accomplished, the record is in heaven, and God will reveal it by-and-by; and, peradventure, even here you will discover that you made a mistake, and that the service which seemed lost was one of the most blessed that you ever conducted. God grant that it may be so, for Christ’s sake! Now let as read Peter’s second Epistle, the third chapter.

This exposition consisted of readings from Acts 3:11-26; Acts 4:1-4; and 2 Peter 3


Verses 8-33

Peter and John were summoned before the priests to give an account for having healed the lame man, and for having preached in the name of Jesus of Nazareth. In the eighth verse we read: —

Acts 4:8-12. Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people and elders of Israel, if we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole: 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. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

Nothing can exceed the directness, the comprehensiveness, and the boldness of this statement. He not only declares the name of Christ to be the wonder-working name, but he charges them with his murder, re-asserts the resurrection; nay, further, he cuts at the root of all their ceremonial righteousness, and declares that they must be saved by this hated and despised name, or else perish fore ever. Under all circumstances, let the servant of God behave himself boldly. Let him remember that this is hour he ought always to speak, and that when the honour of his Master and the welfare of souls are concerned, it is not for him to withhold, but to speak out the truth.

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.

Where else could such holy courage have been learned? They spake in their measure just as the great Master did, of whom it is written: “He spoke as one having authority, and not an the Scribes.” They did not speak with the timid, hesitating manner of a preacher who seems to hold the balance of probabilities between the right and the wrong, the false and the true, but with the demonstration of a hearty conviction of the truth of the principles which they uttered. So Christ spoke, and, having learned of him, so spake his disciples.

Acts 4:14. And beholding the man which was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it.

Converts shut the mouths of adversaries. The good done by the gospel will always be a dumbfounding argument to the ungodly.

Acts 4:16-20. But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves, 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. But that it spread no further among the people, let us straitly threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in this name. And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. 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. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.

Like the vessel full of new wine, which must have vent or burst, so is the man who is filled with the knowledge of Jesus. He must speak. He must: —

“Tell to others round

What a dear Saviour he has found.”

It is no matter of choice with him, for, as Paul says, “Woe is unto me if I preach not the gospel.” As the old prophet hath it, “The word of the Lord was as fire in my bones,” and if it be the true word of God, it will soon burn its way out.

Acts 4:21-22. So when they had farther 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. For the man was above forty years old, on whom this miracle of healing was shewed.

Therefore, it was the more remarkable, forty years lame and yet healed! But how great is the grace displayed in the salvation of an aged sinner —forty years dead in trespasses and in sins — fifty, sixty seventy, or even eighty years, a faithful servant of the black tyrant and yet made to follow the new and better Master! What a triumph of grace is that which snatches the sere brand out of the burning when it is so fitted for the fire!

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.

You can always tell a man by his company, Had these people been ungodly, they would have done as the ungodly do when they come out of prison: they would have gone off to their old pot-companions. But they are believers, and they go to their own company.

Acts 4:24-28. 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: Who by the mouth of they servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. 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. For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determine before to be done.

How strangely this doctrine of predestination comes in just there! They are singing of the wickedness of men, and the triumph which God gets over it, and so this in the very sum and substance of the song, that when wicked men think that God’s decrees will be for ever put away by the destruction of his Son, they themselves are then actually doing what God had “determined before to be done.” The wildest discord makes harmony in the ear of God. Man may be in rebellion against the Most High, but he is still abjectly the slave of God’s predestination, and let man sin with his free will, even to the very extremest length of folly, yet even then God hath a bit in his mouth and a bridle upon his jaws, and knows how to rule and govern him according to his own good pleasure. The ferocity of kings and priests doth but fulfill the counsel of God.

Acts 4:29-33. And now, Lord, behold their threatenings and grant unto thy servants that with all boldness they may speak thy word. By stretching forth thine hand to heal: and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of the holy child Jesus. And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together: and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness. And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.

 


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Bibliography Information
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Acts 4:4". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/acts-4.html. 2011.

Lectionary Calendar
Friday, August 23rd, 2019
the Week of Proper 15 / Ordinary 20
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