We are continuing our walk through the book of Acts, and along the way we have learned some very important things.
· The Apostils were normal uneducated men before the Holy Spirit fell on them.
· The Holy Spirit changed them forever.
· They now had power, courage, and an incredible understanding of where they fit in the picture.
· They were healing people and preaching the resurrection of Jesus and this made them enemies of the leaders of the Jewish faith.
· When they healed a man at the Temple they were accused and arrested, but when the High Priest and his family realized they couldn’t punish them for doing good. And they realized they couldn’t deny that the healing took place, they warned them to stop talking about Jesus.
· The boldness of the Apostils grew and they basically told the High priest not on your life and off they go.
Last Sunday night we looked at the fact that when they were released they went and told their friends all about it and they asked God to make them even bolder and to continue to heal people. If we read the begining of chapter we see how God has not only continued this but even increased it.
Acts 5:14-16 (ESV)
And more than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women,  so that they even carried out the sick into the streets and laid them on cots and mats, that as Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on some of them.  The people also gathered from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing the sick and those afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all healed.
Notice they don’t actually give an exact number in fact they don’t even seem to be counting any more. They just use the word multitude, the church is exploding and they were all healed.
Now what is this new exploding church doing?
They were in agreement with each other.
Acts 4:32 (ESV)
Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common.
They were meeting together daily, they were praying together
Acts 2:42 (ESV)
And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
they were taking care of each other
Acts 4:34 (ESV)
There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold
and they were praising God.
Acts 2:46-47 (ESV)
And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts,  praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
So after looking at these verses (especially the last one about everyone praising God) does this verse make any sense to you?
Acts 5:17 (ESV)
But the high priest rose up, and all who were with him (that is, the party of the Sadducees), and filled with jealousy 18 They arrested the apostles and put them in the public jail.
They (The religious leaders) had a job to do, and that job was to get people praising God. They would recite the stories of God and His mighty hand and how He continually rescued the nation of Israel from their enemies through miracles and through people.
· The red sea.
All of this was their history and their history with God, it was told and taught over and over to the people so they could see what a loving God He was and so they would praise His name.
So when they hear that people are praising God why would they be filled with jealousy?
Because it wasn’t Gods plan they were after it had to be theirs. It wasn't about God’s ministry it was theirs. They wanted the people to praise them not God. There is an incredible warning here for the church and I have seen this kind of jealousy in the church. People get saved and we get angry and say things like (well you don’t know what I had to go through with them)
Well wasn’t that what Jesus was teaching.
John 4:36-37 (ESV)
Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together.  For here the saying holds true, 'One sows and another reaps.'
When Jesus was talking about this He was talking about working together as a team. Can you imagine what it would have been like if the religious leaders had actually listen to these Disciples and said "Yes these guy have the next step listen to them"? But they didn't because their hearts were full of jealousy and hatred because they weren’t in charge.
Acts 5:18 NIV
They arrested the apostles and put them in the public jail.
· They couldn't compete with the Disciples.
· They couldn't deny the power the Disciples used.
· They couldn't cope with the Disciples so they chose to use force.
Acts 5:19 NIV
But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and brought them out.
· The religious leaders did what they could do to stop them, but they weren’t really fighting the Disciples were they?
· It is interesting that Luke tells us about the arrival of the Angel without any expression of surprise or wonder almost like we should expect it. God was nowhere near done with these men, they had a mission and not a worldly mission but a heavenly mission.
Acts 5:20 NIV
“Go, stand in the temple courts,” he said, “and tell the people all about this new life.”
· Remember when these men prayed that God would make them bold?
· God had freed them because He loved them, and because he had a direction and job for them to do.
· And what He wanted them to do is exactly what He told them to do through the Angel. "Tell them about this new life.
· What about us? What has God freed you from? Why has He freed us? What does this new life look like?
“Anyone who belongs to Christ is a new person. The past is forgotten, and everything is new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17 CEV)
Can a butterfly go back into a cocoon after it’s come out as a caterpillar? Of course not. It can’t happen. Once the caterpillar becomes a butterfly, it is what it is -- a butterfly.
When you become a believer, you’re like that butterfly -- you come out of your cocoon. It may take you some time to fly spiritually, but once you become a new creation in Christ, you are what you are. You are a new creation.
The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Anyone who belongs to Christ is a new person. The past is forgotten, and everything is new” (CEV).
So what does it mean to become a new creation in Christ? The moment you believe in Christ, there’s a spiritual metamorphosis -- everything changes! This is a matter of faith and not sight.
The greatest step of faith we can take in our lives is to believe what God says about who Jesus is and accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior.
I believe the second greatest step you can take is to believe what God says about who you are. You are a new creation in Christ! The Bible says in Romans 6:14, “Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace” (NLT).
A true life, a better life, a wonderful life is only found in Christ. When you become a Christian, you have a new life in him.
Go tell the world about your new life.
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