Acts 3

Thursday Evening Bible Study

September 19, 2013


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision Is the church loved?

The book of Acts takes up where the gospels leave off. Jesus died on the cross for our sins, rose on the third day, and just before He ascended into heaven He told the disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the promised Holy Spirit.

It was about a week later, on the day of the Jewish feast of Pentecost, that the Holy Spirit was poured out on the disciples.

There was the noise of a mighty rushing wind. They spoke with other tongues.  A crowd began to gather because of the commotion.  Peter got up and preached to the crowd, explaining what was happening.

Three thousand people believed and were baptized that day, the birth of the church.

We saw certain practices begin to develop in the daily life of the newborn church:

(Ac 2:42 NKJV) And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.

3:1-10 The Lame Healed

:1 Now Peter and John went up together to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour.

:1 Peter and John


Buddy System

Peter and John are buddies, like the dynamic duo
They were both fishermen, even partners in the same business (Lu 5:10), and had both been called by Jesus around the same time.
They were both part of the “inner circle”, the ones closest to Jesus (Peter,  James, and John).
We’re going to see them doing a lot of things together as a team in the book of Acts.
The pattern I see in the book of Acts is for ministry being done as a “team”.
Peter and John are a team.
Paul and Barnabas are a team.
Paul and Silas are a team.
The Bible says:
(Ec 4:9–10 NKJV) —9 Two are better than one, Because they have a good reward for their labor. 10 For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, For he has no one to help him up.
Jesus taught them to practice the “buddy system”
(Mk 6:7 NKJV) And He called the twelve to Himself, and began to send them out two by two, and gave them power over unclean spirits.
At one point, Paul has a whole group of men around him, traveling from town to town.

In addition to his regular buddies, Silas and Luke –

(Ac 20:4 NKJV) And Sopater of Berea accompanied him to Asia—also Aristarchus and Secundus of the Thessalonians, and Gaius of Derbe, and Timothy, and Tychicus and Trophimus of Asia.

Most of the miracles you’re going to see are done as a team.
Yes, God will use one person in particular.
But rarely will you see a lone ranger out there to change the world by himself.  Even the Lone Ranger had Tonto.

:1 to the temple

The early church was still Jewish.  They not only gathered in each others’ homes, but they worshipped God at the Temple in Jerusalem.

:1 the hour of prayer, the ninth

This is the time of the evening sacrifice, around 3:00 pm

It is also called the “hour of incense”.  We see a sample of what happened during this time of day when John the Baptist’s dad (who was a priest) had an encounter with God

(Lk 1:8–12 NKJV) —8 So it was, that while he was serving as priest before God in the order of his division, 9 according to the custom of the priesthood, his lot fell to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. 10 And the whole multitude of the people was praying outside at the hour of incense. 11 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar of incense. 12 And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.


When people pray

God seems to be at work when His people pray.  Have you noticed that?
It’s interesting to see what kinds of things just “coincidentally” happened during these times of prayer –
On the day of Pentecost, the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit at the third hour (Acts 2:15)
The lame man here is healed at the ninth hour (Acts 3:1)
Peter is praying at the sixth hour when God gives him a vision, showing him that Gentiles can be saved (Acts 10:9)
Cornelius was praying at the ninth hour when an angel tells him to go get Peter, leading to the salvation of the Gentiles (Acts 10:30)
It’s as if we’re a little child playing with a gun.
We look at it, we throw it up in the air, we look down the barrel, we make pretend noises “bang, bang, bang”.
But we’re never really serious about aiming and pulling the trigger.  After all, it’s just a toy.  We think.
Sometime when we pull the trigger, nothing seems to happen.
But something does happen.  And some of the things that we’re praying for can take about twenty or thirty shots before we see the full answer.  But you’ll never see the answer if you don’t fire the first shot.

:2 And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms from those who entered the temple;

:2 lame from his mother’s womb

We find out in the next chapter that he’s over forty years old.

(Ac 4:22 NKJV) For the man was over forty years old on whom this miracle of healing had been performed.

People know who this guy is.  He’s been at the temple begging for years.

:2 the gate … Beautiful

There is a question as to which gate this is. Neither the Jewish historian Josephus nor the Talmud use this term to refer to any of the gates.

When you stand on the Mount of Olives, you look across the Kidron Valley and the Temple Mount is to the west of you.  The mosque of Omar sits about where the Temple used to stand.

When the common person of ancient days entered into the Temple they would enter up the steps on the south and come up into the courtyard of the Temple in the court of the Gentiles.  Then you’d make your way around towards the east side of the compound where there were a series of gates that led you into successive courtyards.  First you go into the court of the Gentiles where anyone could enter.  Then through the eastern gate, you enter the court of the women, where only Jews, men and women, were allowed.  Then through the Nicanor gate you enter the court of Israel, where only Jewish men were allowed.  Then there was the building itself where only priests were allowed.

Some suggest the Beautiful gate is the eastern gate, the one that leads from the court of the Gentiles into the court of the women.

Others suggest it refers to the much more ornate Nicanor gate, which was overlaid with Corinthian bronze.  It is the gate that separates the court of the women with the court of Israel.

:2 to ask alms

almseleemosune – mercy, pity – it’s money given out of compassion or pity on a person.

The word “alm” comes directly from this word for “mercy”.

Giving alms was eventually considered by the Jews as a type of “righteousness”, almost the same as performing a sacrifice for God.

Some people made a big show of helping others, making sure that people would notice.

That made this spot in the Temple probably one of the better spots to be asking for money.

Jesus confronted this practice when He taught:

(Mt 6:1–4 NKJV) —1 “Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven.
“Charitable deeds” – it’s the word for “alms”.
2 Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 3 But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.

:3 who, seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, asked for alms.

:4 And fixing his eyes on him, with John, Peter said, “Look at us.”

:4 fixing his eyes on him atenizo – to fix the eyes on, gaze upon

For some reason, of all days, this fellow catches Peter’s eye.

Some of us don’t tend to make eye contact with people who are begging for money.  They’re going to expect you give them something. 


Hearing the Spirit

Peter’s probably seen him before.  This isn’t Peter’s first time at the Temple.
Jesus might have seen him as well.
Yet today, something is different.
Why didn’t Jesus heal the man years ago?  Why didn’t Peter do something before?
My only guess is that this time the Lord prompted Peter to pay attention to this fellow.
The Job Applicant
Back when the telegraph was the fastest method of long-distance communication, a young man applied for a job as a Morse Code operator. Answering an ad in the newspaper, he went to the office address that was listed. When he arrived, he entered a large, busy office filled with noise and clatter, including the sound of the telegraph in the background. A sign on the receptionist’s counter instructed job applicants to fill out a form and wait until they were summoned to enter the inner office.  The young man filled out his form and sat down with the seven other applicants in the waiting area. After a few minutes, the young man stood up, crossed the room to the door of the inner office, and walked right in.  Naturally the other applicants perked up, wondering what was going on. They muttered among themselves that they hadn’t heard any summons yet. They assumed that the young man who went into the office made a mistake and would be disqualified.  Within a few minutes, however, the employer escorted the young man out of the office and said to the other applicants, “Gentlemen, thank you very much for coming, but the job has just been filled.”  The other applicants began grumbling to each other, and one spoke up saying, “Wait a minute, I don’t understand. He was the last to come in, and we never even got a chance to be interviewed. Yet he got the job. That’s not fair!”  The employer said, “I’m sorry, but all the time you’ve been sitting here, the telegraph has been ticking out the following message in Morse Code: ‘If you understand this message, then come right in. The job is yours.’ None of you heard it or understood it. This young man did. The job is his.”
I’ve been asked, “Does the Spirit really still speak today like He did in the book of Acts?”  I’d like to suggest that He speaks more than we realize.  We just aren’t listening.

:5 So he gave them his attention, expecting to receive something from them.

This fellow thinks Peter is going to give him some money.

:6 Then Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.”

:6 Silver and gold I do not have

I wonder if sometimes we mistake what people really need.

They are convinced they need more money.

Sometimes they convince us that they do need more money.  And sometimes that is what people need.

But sometimes money isn’t what a person needs.  They need Jesus.

Note:  No matter what some Bible teachers claim, Jesus and His disciples were NOT wealthy men.

:6 but what I do have I give you

Peter does know Jesus Christ.  He knows the power of Jesus Christ.

:6 In the name of Jesus Christ

As the representative of Jesus Christ, with the authority given to him by Jesus Christ, Peter now commands the man to get up and walk.


When Thomas Aquinas visited Rome, and was shown the gorgeousness of the papal palace, the pope, it is said, remarked to him, “Well, Thomas, the church in our day cannot say, Silver and gold have I none.”
“No,” replied Aquinas, “neither can she say, In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.”
I’m afraid that for those of us living in America it’s easy for us to get caught up in the quest for silver and gold and we find that as Christians we lack spiritual power.

:7 And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.

:7 lifted him up


Men of faith

I think this was the toughest part of what Peter and John did. It’s one thing to pray for a person, but Peter actually lifted the fellow up. What if it didn’t work? What if the guy fell to the ground?
Peter is exercising faith.
Real Life example:
(from Living Water, Chuck Smith, pg.123f)
Pastor Chuck writes this about the gift of faith – “Many years ago after a Sunday morning service, some young people wheeled their grandfather up the aisle to where I was standing.  They asked me to pray for him.  Since he was in a wheelchair, I assumed they wanted him healed so he could walk.  So I prayed, “Lord, you are a great God – you can do anything.  It’s nothing for you to help, whether we are weak or strong.  Help us, Lord.  We ask now that You would touch this man and that you would heal him.  I pray in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, the name above all names.”  While I was praying I had a very strong urge to lift the man up out of his wheelchair and to command him to walk.
“Now I admit that I had an argument with the Lord.  I thought, Lord, is that you telling me to do this?  Is it really you?  And I hesitated; I was uncertain.  I don’t normally go around lifting people out of wheelchairs.  Yet it was such a strong impression I finally did it.  The Lord gave me the faith to ask that the man be healed and then command him to walk.
“When I said, “Amen,” I lifted the man to his feet and said, “Now, in the name of Jesus, walk.”  And the man began to walk (much to my great relief!).  He walked up the aisle and then trotted back.  His grandkids got so excited they were almost doing handstands.  They exclaimed, “Oh!  He had a cold and we wanted you to pray that God would heal his cold!  He hasn’t walked in over five years!”  I was glad they hadn’t told me that before and I thought, Why weren’t you more specific?
Later that same week, on a Wednesday night, I was in Tuscon, Arizona, speaking in a church that I pastored years ago.  After the service a man came up to the front, pushing his wife in a wheelchair.  She had suffered a stroke and he wanted me to pray that God would heal her so she could walk again.  Of course, I immediately thought of the previous Sunday morning.  I laid hands on her and prayed that God would heal her.  I tried to pray the same prayer I had prayed on Sunday.  I wracked my brain, thinking Now, what did I say?  When I was through I patted her on the shoulder, encouraged her to continue to trust the Lord, and watched her husband wheel her out of the church.  My son, Chuck Jr., who had been with me the previous Sunday morning, asked, “Dad, why didn’t you lift her out of the chair like you did the guy last Sunday morning?”  And I replied, “Son, the Lord didn’t give me the faith to do it.”
“If the Lord doesn’t give you the faith to do it, I strongly recommend that you don’t do it.  The healing on Sunday was a gift of faith for that moment and for that situation.  Such faith doesn’t always come; it isn’t there in every situation.  And that is why you are able to recognize it as a gift of God.”
Warning about presumption – Peter did this because he believed this is what he should do. Some people do these kinds of things because … I don’t know why. But I’ve seen sick and crippled people devastated when someone comes up to them and tries to do this when God isn’t behind it.

:8 So he, leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them—walking, leaping, and praising God.

:9 And all the people saw him walking and praising God.

:10 Then they knew that it was he who sat begging alms at the Beautiful Gate of the temple; and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.

:10 they knew that it was he

All the regulars knew who this guy was.  It took them a few minutes to realize that it’s the lame man that’s walking and leaping and praising God.

Warren Wiersbe writes:

It is easy to see in this man an illustration of what salvation is like. He was born lame, and all of us are born unable to walk so as to please God. Our father Adam had a fall and passed his lameness on to all of his descendants (Rom. 5:12-21). The man was also poor, and we as sinners are bankrupt before God, unable to pay the tremendous debt that we owe Him (Luke 7:36-50). He was “outside the temple,” and all sinners are separated from God, no matter how near to the door they might be. The man was healed wholly by the grace of God, and the healing was immediate (Eph. 2:8-9). He gave evidence of what God had done by “walking, and leaping, and praising God” (Acts 3:8) and by publicly identifying himself with the Apostles, both in the temple (Acts 3:11) and in their arrest (Acts 4:14). Now that he could stand, there was no question where this man stood!

3:11-26 Peter Preaches

:11 Now as the lame man who was healed held on to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them in the porch which is called Solomon’s, greatly amazed.

:11 porch … Solomon’s

A row of columns that run along the inside of the eastern wall of the outer court.

It’s a place where large crowds can gather.

Play Acts 3 – Beautiful Gate Healing clip

:12 So when Peter saw it, he responded to the people: “Men of Israel, why do you marvel at this? Or why look so intently at us, as though by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk?

:12 as though by our own power


Giving proper credit

I think this is one of the subtle dangers of serving the Lord.
You are filled with the Spirit. You learn to pray. You learn your Bible. You grow in your faith. And you see God work in your life and in the lives of people you are praying for.

When God does a work, it’s okay to give God the credit.  Let them know that God answers prayers.

Peter knows clearly that he was not the one responsible for this man being healed.
Jon Courson shared this once 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 we’re patients, just like you, and maybe we’ve 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 doctor’s office is, and how to set up an appointment with the doctor.
Remember who the doctor is, it’s Jesus.
The best any of us can do, is to take you to the doctor.

:13 The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified His Servant Jesus, whom you delivered up and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let Him go.

:14 But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you,

:15 and killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses.

:13 whom you delivered up

Luke records that when Pilate had examined Jesus, he brought Him before the crowd and asked what they wanted him to do with Jesus.

(Lk 23:18–23 NKJV) —18 And they all cried out at once, saying, “Away with this Man, and release to us Barabbas”— 19 who had been thrown into prison for a certain rebellion made in the city, and for murder. 20 Pilate, therefore, wishing to release Jesus, again called out to them. 21 But they shouted, saying, “Crucify Him, crucify Him!” 22 Then he said to them the third time, “Why, what evil has He done? I have found no reason for death in Him. I will therefore chastise Him and let Him go.” 23 But they were insistent, demanding with loud voices that He be crucified. And the voices of these men and of the chief priests prevailed.
Now Peter reminds them that most likely some of them were in that very crowd.

:15 whom God raised from the dead

Notice again that Peter once again brings up the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.

We don’t tend to talk that much about the resurrection, do we?  Yet it is central in the messages that the apostles preached.

:16 And His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.

:16 through faith in His name

It was faith in Jesus that brought healing.


Power in the name

Jesus said,
(Jn 14:13 NKJV) And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
It’s not some set of magic words, like “abracadabra”!
He’s talking about the authority that He’s given to us.
We are His representatives and we are asking for what He’d ask for.
I’ve been reading a biography of Harry S. Truman.  In 1948, the United Nations was taking up the issue of what to do with the Jewish people.  The British were about to pull their troops out of Palestine and there would soon be chaos between the Jews and the Arabs.  The Jews displaced by WWII wanted to resettle in Palestine.  The Arabs didn’t want them.  Harry Truman wanted to see a distinct nation established for the Jews in Palestine.  But his representative at the United Nations wanted to support the Arabs.  When the U.N. representative came out with a speech in support of the Arabs, Harry was very, very upset.  The representative wasn’t properly acting in the President’s “name”.  He would be fired.
By the way – a few weeks later, President Truman was the first international leader to recognize the new state of Israel.
Here’s the bottom line:
We must ask for the things that are in character with who Jesus is.

There is power in His name, when we ask according to what He wants us to ask for.

We are to ask for the things He’d ask for.

:16 perfect soundnessholokleria (“whole” + “lot”) – of an unimpaired condition of the body, in which all its members are healthy and fit for use

This man wasn’t just feeling a little better.  He was completely healed.

:17 “Yet now, brethren, I know that you did it in ignorance, as did also your rulers.

:18 But those things which God foretold by the mouth of all His prophets, that the Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled.

:19 Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord,

:19 Repentmetanoeo – to change one’s mind; to change one’s mind for better, heartily to amend with abhorrence of one’s past sins

:19 be convertedepistrepho – to turn to; to the worship of the true God

:10 refreshinganapsuxis (“again” + “breath”) – a cooling, refreshing

from anapsucho – to cool again, recover from the effects of heat; to recover breath

There ought to be a sense when we draw near to the presence of the Lord where we find times of refreshing.

We can “catch our breath”.
We can catch His breath (the Spirit).


Refreshed from repentance

It comes from changing your mind and changing your direction.
Change your mind about your sin.
Stop walking away from God and walk towards Him.
This is what salvation is all about – and it comes from “repenting” and “being converted”.
(Note:  For those who say that you must be baptized to be saved … Peter doesn’t even mention baptism this time.)

:20 and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before,

:21 whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.

:20 He may send Jesus Christ

Peter is hinting at the Second Coming.

:22 For Moses truly said to the fathers, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear in all things, whatever He says to you.

:23 And it shall be that every soul who will not hear that Prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.’

:22 Moses truly said

Peter is quoting from:

(Dt 18:18–19 NKJV) —18 I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him. 19 And it shall be that whoever will not hear My words, which He speaks in My name, I will require it of him.

:24 Yes, and all the prophets, from Samuel and those who follow, as many as have spoken, have also foretold these days.

:25 You are sons of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’

:25 saying to Abraham

(Ge 12:3 NKJV) I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

:26 To you first, God, having raised up His Servant Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities.”

:26 to you first

The promise of God to Abraham actually involves the whole world (“all the families of the earth”), yet the gospel would go out first to the Jews.

Eventually the gospel will go out to the Gentiles as well.  The concept of Gentiles actually getting saved isn’t actually going to be thought about by the apostles until Acts 10, but Peter seems vaguely aware of it.


Man of His Word

One of the qualities of the person God uses is a person who is in the Word.
We talked about how the Holy Spirit can “teach” us and bring God’s Word to our remembrance.
Notice that Peter’s message has references to Scripture.
The New Testament wasn’t written yet, so Peter is quoting from the Old Testament.  There is still much value in the Old Testament.  Learn to read all of the Word.
(2 Ti 3:16–17 NKJV) —16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

:26 turning away … from your iniquities


Time to change

Make no mistake about it.  God wants you to change.

Coming to Christ is not just about finding forgiveness, it’s about changing the direction of your life.

If you are stuck in your sin, things need to change.  God wants to help you change.  It can happen.