When Peter struck some unbelievers dead (5:1-10), why’d fear fall on the church (v.11)? They hadn’t lied to Peter. And why’s Paul say that we should fear God (II Cor. 7:1; Eph. 5:21; Phil. 2:12). Well, the psalmist said that God forgives us so we’ll fear Him (Ps. 130:3,4). Here it helps to know that the word “fear” can mean reverence (Ps. 89:7), which means respect—the kind we should always give God.
Jews in the kingdom will fear God’s goodness (Hos. 3:4,5) because they’ll think about the “many days” they spent rejecting God before the kingdom begins, and what would have happened to them had they died before returning to Him. It’s one reason we should fear God too!
We today can’t do miracles of healing like the apostles did here (Acts 5:12) because the Jews require a sign by nature (I Cor. 1:22). That’s because they stem from the miraculous birth of Isaac! God also taught them to look for such signs (Ex. 4:1-4). But salvation was of the Jews back then (Jo. 4:22), and God was using them to reach the Gentiles.
But God isn’t giving the Jews miracles any more to get them to believe and then reach the Gentiles. In the dispensation of grace, He’s giving the Gentiles “wisdom,” so that they can reach the Jews. That’s because Gentiles seek wisdom by nature just like Jews seek miracles by nature (I Cor. 1:22b). And God is abounding toward us in wisdom (Eph. 1:8) just like He abounded toward the Jews in miracles (Acts 5:12).
Solomon is mentioned again (5:12 cf. 3:11) because they were looking for the kingdom, the kingdom that would be a restoration of what the kingdom of Israel was like under Solomon (Acts 1:6) when Israel was at the height of her power and influence. But hanging around the Jewish temple proves the 12 weren’t starting the Gentile church of today.
You’d think they wouldn’t be “of one accord” (5:12) after Peter struck two Jews dead (cf. Num.16:41), but they were filled with the Spirit here (Acts 2:4) and made to live “of one heart and of one soul” (4:32) even when that happened.
Mention of the “rest” who didn’t dare join the church (Acts 5:13) shows that Satan was filling the hearts of a bunch of men to try to infiltrate God’s church (cf. Acts 5:3). They were planning to infiltrate the church so they could lead them astray as the Lord warned (Mt. 7:15). This is still a danger even under grace (Acts 20:28,29), a great danger (v. 31). The only way to guard against it is to be built up in grace (v. 32).
The Jews at Pentecost were right to magnify the twelve apostles (5:13), but we’re supposed to magnify Paul, as he himself did (Rom. 11:13). If you magnify the twelve instead, you’ll probably expect the kind of results they got (Acts 5:14), and we don’t see results like that today.
Pastors like to say that we could if we were as faithful as they were, but God predicted their growth (Isa. 44:3,4). You see, He planned to plant them in the earth to get the “city” of Jerusalem to believe (Ps. 72:16), and then use them to reach the world (Zech. 10:8,9 cf. Mark 4:30,31). He planned to make that tiny group of 120 disciples (Acts 1:15) into the greatest kingdom on earth (Mark 4:32).
So don’t be discouraged that we don’t see “multitudes” getting saved in one day like the apostles did. God’s not starting the kingdom today like He was then! They were simply in the right place at the right time.
Our dispensation will end with a departure from the truth, not growth (I Tim. 4:1). “Some” there probably means most (cf. Heb. 3:16). So what should we do about it? Paul told Timothy to take heed to himself and the doctrine (I Tim. 4:16) and so should we!
Peter’s shadow healing (Acts 5:15,16) fulfilled John 14:12, a taste of the kingdom (Isa. 32:1-3). Jews were always trusting in the wrong shadow (Isai 30:1,2), and someday will trust in Antichrist’s healing shadow as well (Judges 9:15 cf. II Thes. 2:8,9).
If modern “healers” can’t heal “every one” like Peter could (Acts 5:16), they must not have a God-given gift of healing like Peter did, because God can heal all diseases!
Video of this message is available on YouTube: The Fear of God – Acts 5:11-16