Intro: For the past three weeks in our L.I.F.E. (Living In Fellowship Everyday) Lessons Class, I have been teaching a series on the Fruit of the Spirit. Scripture reveals the truth of Christ’s pure character and holy love; therefore, as believers in Christ’s salvation, we are to allow ourselves to experience the necessary change to our fallen nature that only God can bring to pass. God does the work of producing fruit in us, so his righteousness can be revealed through us; then, he receives the respect, honor, and glory. That means we must be open and let go of the selfish corruption of our human nature in order for God to bring spiritual regeneration; produce righteous fruit in our lives. We must stay connected to the Vine—Jesus—if we are going to benefit from the work of God to recreate us in the image of Christ (John 15:5).
Today we continue our passage that began yesterday as the apostles move forward to share the gospel message [Good News] of salvation. The apostles prayed and asked the Father to empower them to perform signs and miracles as a way to share the gospel of grace; a way to make the presence of God known. God answered their prayers and they began to bring healing, deliverance, and revelation to the people. Attitudes and lives began to changed; people wanted a relationship with this life-changing God. This spiritual growth empowered by God, angered the religious leaders who desired the credit for teaching and modeling authentic piety and holiness.
We see how fruitless religion can be as we witness the jealousy of these religious leaders in our passage; the leaders are hypocrites of the faith and they are afraid the people are beginning to see it. The apostles were given more respect than these leaders, because the purpose of the apostles was to help people connect with God and learn to live giving Him respect, honor, and obedience. The religious leaders wanted respect and honor for themselves; actually, they demanded it. Even though the apostles were not free from opposition or persecution, they made obeying and pleasing God their highest priority and fear did not stop them. They knew their part was to bear the fruit of the Spirit; love that would draw others to God. Truly, not only did God work miraculously through these men, he demonstrated His power to take care of them so they were able to fulfill the purpose God had for them. Make pleasing God your highest priority and allow the Holy Spirit to produce supernatural and righteous fruit in you. Others need the spiritual nourishment from the fruit you bear.
Acts 5:17-25 (NLT) The Apostles Meet Opposition
17 The high priest and his officials, who were Sadducees, were filled with jealousy. 18 They arrested the apostles and put them in the public jail. 19 But an angel of the Lord came at night, opened the gates of the jail, and brought them out. Then he told them, 20 “Go to the Temple and give the people this message of life!”
21 So at daybreak the apostles entered the Temple, as they were told, and immediately began teaching.
When the high priest and his officials arrived, they convened the high council—the full assembly of the elders of Israel. Then they sent for the apostles to be brought from the jail for trial. 22 But when the Temple guards went to the jail, the men were gone. So they returned to the council and reported, 23 “The jail was securely locked, with the guards standing outside, but when we opened the gates, no one was there!”
24 When the captain of the Temple guard and the leading priests heard this, they were perplexed, wondering where it would all end. 25 Then someone arrived with startling news: “The men you put in jail are standing in the Temple, teaching the people!”
Prayer: Father, thank you for being the Source of my salvation and righteousness. I yield to the work of the Spirit to make me grow toward maturity. Let the fruit of the Spirit be apparent in my life, so others will want you, too. In Jesus’ name. Amen.