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Devoted: Acts 5:12-42

12 At the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were taking place among the people; and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s portico. 13 But none of the rest dared to associate with them; however, the people held them in high esteem. 14 And all the more believers in the Lord, multitudes of men and women, were constantly added to their number, 15 to such an extent that they even carried the sick out into the streets and laid them on cots and pallets, so that when Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on any one of them. 16 Also the people from the cities in the vicinity of Jerusalem were coming together, bringing people who were sick or afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all being healed. 17 But the high priest rose up, along with all his associates (that is the sect of the Sadducees), and they were filled with jealousy. 18 They laid hands on the apostles and put them in a public jail. 19 But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the gates of the prison, and taking them out he said, 20 “Go, stand and speak to the people in the temple the whole message of this Life.” 21 Upon hearing this, they entered into the temple about daybreak and began to teach. Now when the high priest and his associates came, they called the Council together, even all the Senate of the sons of Israel, and sent orders to the prison house for them to be brought. 22 But the officers who came did not find them in the prison; and they returned and reported back, 23 saying, “We found the prison house locked quite securely and the guards standing at the doors; but when we had opened up, we found no one inside.” 24 Now when the captain of the temple guard and the chief priests heard these words, they were greatly perplexed about them as to what would come of this. 25 But someone came and reported to them, “The men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple and teaching the people!” 26 Then the captain went along with the officers and proceeded to bring them back without violence (for they were afraid of the people, that they might be stoned). 27 When they had brought them, they stood them before the Council. The high priest questioned them, 28 saying, “We gave you strict orders not to continue teaching in this name, and yet, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.” 29 But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. 30 “The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you had put to death by hanging Him on a cross. 31 “He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. 32 “And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him.” 33 But when they heard this, they were cut to the quick and intended to kill them. 34 But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the Law, respected by all the people, stood up in the Council and gave orders to put the men outside for a short time. 35 And he said to them, “Men of Israel, take care what you propose to do with these men. 36 “For some time, Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and a group of about four hundred men joined him. But he was killed, and all who followed him were dispersed and came to nothing. 37 “After this man, Judas of Galilee rose up in the days of the census and drew away some people after him; he too perished, and all those who followed him were scattered. 38 “So in the present case, I say to you, stay away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or action is of men, it will be overthrown; 39 but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them; or else you may even be found fighting against God.” 40 They took his advice; after calling the apostles in, they flogged them, ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and then released them. 41 So they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name. 42 And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they kept right on teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.—Read Acts 5:12–42


Isn’t this a remarkable passage? It ends with the phrase “in the temple and from house to house.” From the beginning, the church met in larger groups for corporate worship. But small groups also had a place in the life of the church. The apostles taught large groups and went from house to house, visiting small groups in homes as they prepared and made disciples. People met together in their homes to break bread together and to use the opportunity to encourage each other to live out their faith in ever greater obedience.

There were home prayer meetings like the one held while Peter was in prison, and Paul’s letters refer to “house churches.” (See Acts 12:12 and Romans 16:5)

Pastor Russell Johnson challenged us to receive God’s Word wholeheartedly and respond correctly to today’s message. In Acts 5, we saw three vastly different responses, and only one was correct. The Sadducees were hostile to the Apostle’s teaching, Gamaliel was passive, but the disciples were devoted. The people in the early church opened their homes and went to the temple to learn more – despite persecution. As your group unpacks today’s lesson, challenge one another to examine their lives. We receive rich Bible teaching at Faith Bible Church, but how do we respond?

Discussion Questions: Acts 5:12-42

Tell the group about the best sermon you have ever heard. What made it so memorable? Did it inspire you to respond in any specific way? What was the result?

  1. Which part of today’s message impacted you most? Why?
  2. Which of the highlighted adjectives above best describes you regarding God’s Word? Explain.
  3. Do you have a time and place for regular Bible study? Tell the group about your routine.
  4. How much of your day depends on prayer and Bible study? In other words, if you don’t pray and read your Bible, does it change your day?
  5. An angel released the Apostles from prison in verses 19 and 20. What happened next?
  6. Does Peter’s statement in verse 29 guide our daily lives? How do we know what God wants us to do – even in adversity?
  7. Would you study your Bible more if you thought it would lead you into more significant adversity? Has that ever happened to you?
  8. How did the Apostles respond to being beaten in verse 40?
  9. Verse 41 has a clue about how the people could live in obedience to their Christian faith. Can you find it? How can we learn from that?


Most people in our country are not beaten or imprisoned for obeying God. It can easily be argued that we have it much easier than in the early church. If true, when do we still struggle to obey our devotion? Consider that if we are weak, it might be because we are being fed but we are not regularly exercising our faith. Pray for each other.
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