Nepaug Bible Church - http://www.nepaugchurch.org - Pastor's Adult Sunday School Notes - http://www.nepaugchurch.org/bb/bb20080706.htm
THRU THE BIBLE EXPOSITION
Acts: The Continuing Earthly Ministry Of Our Lord Jesus Christ
Part V: The Ministry Of The First Local And Universal Church, Acts 3:1-8:3
A. Christ's Work To Create An Outreach In Jerusalem
Lesson: When the Apostles (1) sought to excel in godly living in the ordinary realms of daily living, (2) and when they used their spiritual gift to address a need that crossed their paths in life, (3) Christ used their efforts to gather an interested crowd so that Peter could evangelize, (4) in turn attracting the attention of Israel's leaders (5) in a way that gave Peter time to prepare an effective witness unto them!
- Many efforts exist in Christian churches and organizations today to create witnessing opportunities, or to guide people to try to make an effective witness, or to tell them how to witness their faith to the lost.
- In contrast, Christ predicted that as a result of the Holy Spirit's coming to indwell them, His followers would be witnesses in Jerusalem, Judaea, Samaria and the ends of the earth, Acts 1:8; John 14:16-17. Acts 3:1-4:4 reveals how God orchestrated events to USE believers like this, and it is worth our review:
- Christ's Work To Create An Outreach In Jerusalem, Acts 3:1-4:4.
- Peter and John were used of Christ for outreach (Acts 1:1-2) as they tried to excel in everyday activities:
- Peter and John intended to participate in the godly worship of the regular evening daily sacrifice commonly observed by devout Jews, Acts 3:1; Ryrie Study Bible, KJV , 1978 ed., ftn. to Acts 3:1.
- Thus, they began to go up to the temple along with other devout Jews to worship God, Acts 3:1.
- As a man with a need crossed their path, Peter and John met his need with the gift God gave them, 3:2-7:
- The Apostles met a man who had been born lame and who daily asked alms at the temple, Acts 3:2-3.
- When they were asked alms of him, Peter and John stopped to explain that as seen by their ordinary clothes, they did not possess silver and gold to give the beggar, Acts 3:4-6a.
- However, Peter claimed he did have something to give the man, so he used his Apostolic gift that included the ability to heal to make the man born lame completely normal, Acts 3:6b-7.
- God used their effort to meet this man's need to attract an attentive audience for the Gospel, Acts 3:8-11:
- For a man who had been born lame, such a healing was a life-changing event, and he followed Peter and John, excitedly walking and leaping and praising God in the temple complex, Acts 3:8.
- All who once knew this man as a beggar noticed his unusually healthy activity, and marveled, 3:9-10.
- As news of his healing spread, people rushed together in the court of the temple, wondering what had caused this man who was born lame to be so wonderfully healed, Acts 3:11; Ibid., ftn. to Acts 3:11.
- Peter used the obvious opportunity this consequent gathering offered to explain the Gospel, Acts 3:12-26:
- Peter explained to the crowd that there was nothing humanly outstanding in him and John that could have made this man who had been born lame to be healed, Acts 3:12.
- Rather, this healing came from Israel's God who had glorified His Son, Jesus whom they had crucified, and Who had given them the power by the Holy Spirit thus to heal this man, Acts 3:13-16.
- Peter claimed that he realized his listeners through ignorance had crucified Christ (Acts 3:17), but then he told how their Old Testament Scriptures predicted Christ to be their Messiah, Acts 3:18-26, so they had need of changing their minds about Him to be saved, Acts 3:19-20, 25-26.
- Such a gathering and witness at the temple attracted the attention of the priests and ruling Sadducees, and the latter, who had crucified Christ and who did not believe in the resurrection, were especially upset that the Apostles preached through Jesus, of all men, the resurrection from the dead, of all beliefs, Acts 4:1-2!
- Since it was late, the Sadducees put the Apostles in prison until they could try to address their teaching the next day, and five thousand people at the temple made professions of faith in Christ, Acts 4:3-4!
- This way, the Lord arranged for an effective witness to the people at the temple and to Jerusalem's leaders all in fulfillment of Acts 1:8a,b, and for an overnight time for Peter to prepare to answer Israel's leaders!
Application: May we AIM to EXCEL in GODLINESS in our DAILY LIVES, and in GOD'S POWER to MEET the NEEDS that COME OUR WAY, and see CHRIST make us effective DISCIPLERS!