Acts 3:11-26

Sunday Morning Bible Study

July 27, 1997

Introduction

Last week we began a peek at one of the early miracles that happened through the apostles in the early church.

Peter and John were coming into the temple for prayer, when they spotted a beggar, a man lame since birth.

When the man asked for money, Peter replied,

(Acts 3:6 KJV) Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.

When Peter lifted the man to his feet, he began walking, leaping, and praising God as he came with Peter and John into the temple.

Peterís Second Sermon

:12 And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people

The people are amazed Ö Peter sees it Ö Peter preaches.

This is the same sequence of events that took place a few days earlier, when the Holy Spirit first came upon the disciples during Pentecost.

Lesson:

Use the opportunities to share.

Twice now God has done things to get the peoplesí attention, and Peter has used those opportunities to tell them about Jesus.

Youíre going to have opportunities at home, at work, at school, where people are going to be amazed about certain things.

Perhaps God saves someoneís life, or someoneís job.

Perhaps itís the way you handle things.

Perhaps they wonder while you smile all the time.

I think we could learn from Peter, to tell people whatís going on.

But more than that, to tell them about Jesus, and about how to know Him.

:12 as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk?

Peter knows that heís nothing more than a fisherman.

The great power that has been displayed has been displayed by Jesus, and itís another proof to the people that Jesus is alive!

Lesson #1:

The power is in Jesus.

Jon Courson shared this illustration last week on the radio:

The church is a hospital, and we are all patients in that hospital. There is only one physician, the Great Physician, Jesus.

Sometimes those of us in certain positions, like pastors, get mistaken for the physician. People start to think that they are going to get healed through us. But weíre patients, just like you, and maybe weíve just been in the hospital a little longer than some of you.

We just know our way around the hospital better than others. We can show you where the gift shop it, where the cafeteria is, how to make the best of those gowns that are open in the back, where the doctorís office is, and how to set up an appointment with the doctor.

Remember who the doctor is, itís Jesus.

The best any of us can do, is to take you to the doctor.

In a way, our upcoming vacation will be kind of a test to see whether you really think that Jesus is the doctor, or whether you think Iím the doctor. Iíll be on vacation. Jesus wonít be.

Lesson #2:

The man God uses - humility

I think that if I were Peter, I might be tempted to say to the people, "Yes, I am quite an amazing guy to have healed this man like this Ö"

But Peter would have none of that.

Later, Peter himself would write:

(1 Pet 5:5-6 KJV) Ö Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. {6} Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:

If you want to be a person that God can use, youíll have to start learning that God prefers to use humble people.

God doesnít appreciate it when He does a great work, and we jump in to steal the credit.

Also, if you want God to use you, donít be surprised if from time to time something humiliating happens.

Thereís a reason. Maybe the humiliation isnít so bad after all, if it makes you a little more useful to God.

You can choose to be humble, or you can let God humble you. The choice is yours. If youíre a humble person, then itís impossible to be humiliated.

:13 The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob Ö

Peter is going to be using very "Jewish" language here.

The phrase "The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob" is the way that God described Himself to Moses (Ex.3:6)

The phrase "his Son Jesus" would actually be better translated "his servant Jesus", and is hinting at one of the titles of the Messiah, as the "servant" of Yahweh (Is. 42:1).

Lesson:

Know the people you minister to.

Peter knows who his audience is in the temple.

He has before him Jewish men and women who know their Scriptures.

Peter addresses them on their level.

We will see this later with Paul as well.

When he addresses the pagan Greek philosophers in Athens, he uses a completely different tact (Acts 17)

How do I get to know the people Iím to reach?

Hereís some practical ways Iíve found to better know the people you minister to.

1) Pray for them.

I think one of the most important things you can do before talking to a person or a group of people is to pray for them.

Lift them up before Godís throne, pray for their needs.

Even the Jewish High Priest had stones across his heart with the names of the twelve tribes written on them, the picture being that of having Godís people on your heart as you spend time in Godís presence.

Sunday School teachers, take time to pray for each of your kids by name before you start preparing your lesson.

2) Listen to them.

That means spending time with them. Find out their interests. Listen to their heart. Let them complain. Donít criticize too quickly.

I personally wonder how any pastor can correctly address the needs of his church when he never spends time listening, counseling, or just being with his people.

I think that if we have a heart for the people we work with or go to school with, we had better spend some time listening to them and finding out what makes them tick, what theyíre interested in, etc.

:13 whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate,

When Jesus was on trial before Pilate, the Jews denied that He was their king.

Joh 19:15 Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar.

:13 when he was determined to let him go.

Pilate tried several times to have Jesus released, but the Jews kept pressing to have Jesus crucified.

:14 ye denied the Holy One Ö and desired a murderer

Pilate tried to use the custom of releasing one prisoner on the Passover to get Jesus released.

He gave them a choice of Jesus, or a criminal named Barabbas (Mat 27:15-21; John 18:39-40)

The high priests had the people bribed to ask for Barabbas.

Lesson:

Where do you stand with Jesus?

Jesus said,

Mt 10:32-33 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. 33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.

There only seems to be two choices Ė

Confessing Jesus before others, admitting that you know Him and follow Him.

Denying Jesus before others.

There doesnít seem to be that third option that so many hope for which is "just keeping it to myself".

Iím not talking about having to be an obnoxious fool, always hitting people on the head with their Bible, and telling them theyíre going to hell.

But on the other hand, the fact that you know and follow Jesus isnít something you should be able to keep to yourself.

People need to know where you stand. God wants to know where you stand.

:15 And killed the Prince of life,

Such irony, killing the Prince (or, Author) of life.

The picture is that Jesus is the source, the originator of all life.

And Him, of all people, they killed.

In a sense, we too fall into this category, as those who killed the Prince of life.

Itís our sins that separated us from God, and God decided to fix that problem by allowing Jesus to pay for our sins, dying in our place.

Itís our sins that drove Him to the cross.

It was His love that kept Him on the cross.

:16 his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong

We could translate this verse like this:

"And His name has strengthened this one whom you see and know; by faith in His nameÖ

Itís the name that did the strengthening.

Itís faith in the name that God used as the way to convey the healing with the name.

Remember what Peter said to the lame man?

(Acts 3:6 KJV) Ö Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.

Lesson #1:

The power of "the name".

Jesus said,

Joh 14:13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

Itís not some set of magic words, like "abracadabra"!

Heís talking about the authority that Heís given to us.

Illustration

If I gave my son one of my credit cards, along with a letter, Iíd be giving him the authority of "my name", to be able to purchase things in my place.

The key is Ė

We are to ask for the things Heíd ask for.

Illustration

Somebody recently obtained the information on one of our credit cards and started buying shoes to ship to someone in Los Angeles, doing it once in my name, once in Debís name.

We got a call from the stores, both times, because somehow the purchases didnít seem in character with us.

The purchase was cancelled. So is the credit card.

The more we get to know Jesus, the more we get to use His "charge card" appropriately.

We must ask for the things that are in character with who Jesus is.

Lesson #2:

The power of faith in the name.

A charge card doesnít purchase anything unless you take it out and use it.

The "name" doesnít work unless you use it.

Itís trusting the authority thatís been given to us that will open up the doors to see God do great things.

:16 yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.

Even the faith that Peter has used is "by Him", the ability to trust God for this miracle came from Jesus Himself.

Peter canít even really take any credit for his own faith, because even that came from Jesus.

(Eph 2:8-9 KJV) For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: {9} Not of works, lest any man should boast.

:17 through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers.

These people didnít realize what they were doing.

It seems to me as if Peter is kind of "easing up" on the people, so they are able to hear whatís next.

This doesnít take away their guilt, we can be guilty of breaking the speed limit even if we donít know what the limit is.

:18 that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled.

On one hand, the people were guilty of putting Jesus to death, on the other hand, He had to die, in order to fulfill Godís ancient plan:

(Isa 53:5 KJV) But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

:19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted

The solution to the problem of guilt.

repent Ė metanoeo - to change one's mind, i.e. to repent

Repentance means more than just feeling sorry. As a little girl in Sunday School once said, "Itís feeling sorry enough to quit!"

(Note: For those who say that you must be baptized to be saved Ö Peter doesnít even mention baptism this time.)

be converted - epistrepho - to return, turn back, to turn away from sin and turn toward God.

Lesson:

Itís not over yet, you can still turn.

Perhaps youíve been struggling as Iíve talked about denying Christ.

Peter doesnít leave the people in this condition of guilt, he shows them the way out.

You too can turn toward God, no matter how many times youíve turned away from Him.

:19 that your sins may be blotted out

The Bible says:

(1 John 1:9 KJV) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

When we admit that we are sinful, and turn away from our sin, God will forgive us.

:19 times of refreshing shall come

This is what itís like to have your sins forgiven and blotted out, itís "refreshing"!

(Psa 32:1-5 NLT) Oh, what joy for those whose rebellion is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight! {2} Yes, what joy for those whose record the LORD has cleared of sin, whose lives are lived in complete honesty! {3} When I refused to confess my sin, I was weak and miserable, and I groaned all day long. {4} Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me. My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat. {5} Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide them. I said to myself, "I will confess my rebellion to the LORD." And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone.

:20 And he shall send Jesus Christ

This seems to be referring to Jesusí second coming.

:21 Whom the heaven must receive

Talking about how Jesus has ascended into heaven, and will remain there until Ö

:21 until the times of restitution of all things

NIV - Ac 3:21 He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything Ö

Jesus will remain in heaven until itís time to come back and clean up the world.

:22 For Moses truly said unto the fathers Ö

Peter uses Scripture in his preaching (Deut. 18:15) to mention the great "prophet" that Moses predicted would come.

:23 every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed

Again, quoting Scripture (Deut. 18:19)

There is hope for those who turn to Jesus, there is no hope for those who reject Jesus.

Illustration

If youíre sailing across the Atlantic Ocean on a cruise ship, and you hit an iceberg, hopefully you will be offered a place in a lifeboat.

If you get into the lifeboat, you will be saved, if you donít get into the lifeboat, you are going down with the ship, and will be destroyed.

:25 Ö And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.

Once again, Peter quotes Scripture (Gen. 22:18)

Lesson:

The man God uses Ė filled with His Word.

Weíve seen over the last couple of weeks some qualities of Peter, the man God used (prayer, connectedness, eyes to see, faith, humility).

Here we are reminded that Peter was a man who constantly used Scripture to base the things he was talking about.

If you want to be used by God, in His way, you MUST spend time regularly in Godís Word.

:26 Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you

Jesus was sent to the Jews first.

They had the privilege of the Messiah coming from them and sent to them.

Later, the gospel would spread out to the Gentile world as well.