Acts 4-5
(You Will Not be Able to Stop Them)
November 12th

Produced by The Listening for God Ministry
Copyright 2016

Click here for a print- friendly version

Please refer to one or more Bible versions of your choice to read this section. We recommend that you read at least two versions for added understanding. For your convenience, we have provided six links below, each of which takes you directly to today's chapters in a specific version:

Key Verse

Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”

- Acts 5:38-39 (NIV)

Summary of Chapters

These two chapters are like Déjà vu all over again as the disciples acts of healing create the same type of tension with the religious leaders that Jesus had experienced.

Just like Jesus, Peter and John were brought before the High Priests of Annas and Caiaphus. These High Priests told Peter and John to cease teaching in the name of Jesus, but they responded that “ ‘we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard’ (Acts 4:20 - NIV).”

The Priests decided to let them go, so Peter and John returned to the others to worship and were blessed with the presence of the Holy Spirit as they recalled one of David's Psalms which had prophesized the current situation:

    After they were released, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them. When they heard it, they raised their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth, the sea, and everything in them, it is you who said by the Holy Spirit through our ancestor David, your servant:

    ‘Why did the Gentiles rage,
        and the peoples imagine vain things?

    The kings of the earth took their stand,
        and the rulers have gathered together
            against the Lord and against his Messiah.’ "

            - Psalm 2:1 (NRSV)

    - Acts 4 23-26 (NRSV)

The remainder of chapter 4 and beginning of chapter 5 describe the sharing of possessions among the believers and the consequences for those who were deceitful about their contributions.

The subsequent part of chapter 5 describes on-going acts of healing by the group now referenced as the Apostles. These acts of kindness and grace led to another arrest and imprisonment for the apostles, but an angel freed them. They were arrested yet again and some of the leaders wanted to kill them, but one of the Pharisees named Gamaliel advised against it. He said,

    "And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought:

    But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God."

    - Act 5:38-39 (KJV)

Therefore, the apostles received a flogging, but were let go and were told not to preach in the name of Jesus anymore. They left rejoicing and continued their ministry regardless of the warning.

Reflection and Application

When we feel emboldened by an urge to speak about what God has done in our lives, we can be heartened by the statement from Peter and John that “ ‘we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard’ (Acts 4:20 - NIV).”

When we recognize that our lives have been changed, it’s hard not to speak about it. When we buy a product that we really like or have a good experience with customer service at a store or on a web site we tend to want to talk about it, email about it, Tweet it, or Like it on Facebook. We should allow ourselves the same enthusiasm regarding speaking about our experiences with God.

It was a sure sign of success when the Apostles were arrested and faced false accusations the same way that Jesus did. Jesus had warned them that men would hate them because of his name, and they began to more fully understand this prophecy – not that they doubted it, for they had seen the persecution of Jesus by people who felt that their power and position were threatened by his arrival. In the same way, the religious leaders felt threatened by the work of the Apostles. They thought they had crushed the rebellion by crucifying their seemingly helpless leader, but it seems as if he has been replaced by the followers of Jesus.

One of the wiser Pharisees named Gamaliel began to get a glimpse of what was happening. He had said that if the purpose of these Apostles was of human origin that it would fail. If he was correct, then it must be reasonable to conclude that this Christian movement was not of human origin because it has persisted for over 2,000 years. Empires have come and gone, mountains have crumbled, species have become extinct, climates have changed, but Christianity has propagated.

If we are ostracized or criticized for our beliefs than we should take heart that our spiritual forefathers experienced the same or worse. We can also have faith knowing that because our mission is from God that it cannot be stopped.

Questions and Prayers for Further Reflection

    Related Questions
    1. What new product or service have you experienced lately that was so good that you have talked about or would like to talk about it with others?
    2. Have you ever been arrested or ostracized for talking about Jesus?
    3. What truths about Jesus are burning inside of you so much that you can’t help but talk about it?

    Recommended Prayer
    Father in heaven, we know that anything that is done in your name can not be stopped. Help us to be a part of your mission on earth.

    Prayer Concern
    Customer Service People

    Looking Ahead

    Tomorrow's reading: Acts 6-7 (Division of Duties)

    Comments and Questions
    Please add your thoughts to our Comments page or send your comments and questions to the author at or share your comments or question via the Listening for God Twitter account

    Click to follow Listening for God(@listeningforgod)