Study No. 4. Chapter 3:1- 4:31 A miracle, a Sermon and an Invitation.
Discussion – 2:42-47
3000 added to the church.
This young church that has just begun to function without Jesus as ‘the Pastor’, is doing so without a written procedures manual or constitution and bylaws. They have no ‘mother church’ to supervise them as they get going.
So, as we start into this section we will read of many things that were done. It may be that they did everything right. Or we may discover that they had to learn as they went.
3000 were added. What did this mean in terms of teaching everyone? And what about the fact that most of these were from out of the province … will most of them be staying in Jerusalem instead of going home?
Apostles were the leaders. (42) They led in these areas:
- Teaching of doctrine
- Providing fellowship
- Breaking of Bread – either simply eating together … or communion.
Obviously the Apostles decided that they four areas were essential – at least for them at the time.
1Co 12:28 God has set some in the assembly: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracle workers, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, and various kinds of languages.
Ac 2:43 Then fear came upon every soul, Fear, meaning respect and awe … upon EVERY soul? The inquisitive residents have just witnessed a group of people who could speak in every language and had just witnessed 3000 people become believers. These are not mockers and if they were, they have stopped and are just looking on in awe.
This FEAR could also refer to the awe and respect of all of the believers as they see God invisibly moving right in their presence.
and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.
According to this it is only the apostles that seem to have this ability. Perhaps this is just God’s starting point. The verse referred to above says that miracle workers were added to the church later.
Notice that the church is together continually … daily. They have all things in common. This is something like what we call communal living. Several groups through the years have attempted to re-create this.
It is recorded that they were … continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, Ac 2:46
The large group could certainly all attend the temple at the same time if they wished … but the large group would not be together ‘house to house’.
They have had time to sell extra properties. They have developed some kind of a arrangement of living together. How much has the number grown within the first weeks? We are not told explicitly but in some following passages it states that the number multiplied. Multiply is greater than add. If we use the lowest number, two, then the size of the church is really getting up there.
Now comes Chapter Three. Peter and John are going together to the temple. I think we can assume this has become a regular thing. Perhaps we can also assume that, as large as the church has become, everybody was on their own when it came to going to the temple to pray. Nowhere does it say that they held their ‘church services’ on temple property.
We could pause here and ask, why would early Christians go to a Jewish temple?
Answer: Mr 1:15 and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel." gospel."
16 And as He walked by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen.
17 Then Jesus said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men."
18 They immediately left their nets and followed Him.
Mr 1:21 Then they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath He entered the synagogue and taught.
Why did they go to the temple? We could say, they followed Jesus there. Jesus said, Follow me. Where was the first place they followed him? To a ‘pool of fish’.
While the teaching and preaching were important, the fellowship was important, spending time praying was important … these things are necessary internal actions of the church to … equip it for mission. The mission is evangelism.
So it is important to note-
God miraculously empowered the church, then
He equipped the church.
Now we read about ‘mission’ v 2
A miracle is about to take place which will make way for a sermon. ( Mark 16:20 John 20:30 And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; :31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.)
A man, crippled from birth is healed.
The man hopes for money. Peter says to him that they do not have any.
This reminds us of Jesus’ mission, part of which states ‘the Spirit of the Lord is upon Me to PREACH THE GOSPEL to the poor.’
And He said with reference to Himself, ‘Lu 19:10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost."
Jesus was not a man of means, financially. Although he fed the multitudes on two different occasions we do not usually see Him feeding or clothing anyone. For the most part, He heals the sick and preached the gospel to them.
The early disciples had all things in common, but apparently Peter and John were not carrying any money on their person. How did Peter know he would be able to help this man? (See 2:45)
The cure was instantaneous and complete. Because the man was brought here daily he was recognized by many. (v8-10)
If we are using the analogy of ‘fishing for men’, the miracle can be seen as very attractive bait.
I have never fished at night with a waterproof light shining into a lake of fish, but I have heard that fish are attracted to the light. Perhaps this miracle was a little bit like that. At any rate … the people are ready for a sermon.
(A). The scope of Peter’s message: v12 – 26
Bring people to Christ, to repent of their sin in crucifying him (Ac 3:12-19), to believe in him now that he was glorified.
Don’t think that we did anything … it wasn’t us. Who was it? You want the short answer?
God. Oh wait. You need the long answer:
- the only true God – who glorified Jesus. (That is, put the focus on or put Him under a spot light) He is referred to as ‘servant’.
- You were there … you condemned Him. You chose a murderer over Him.
You killed Him – the Prince of Life.
- But God raised Him back to life. We saw it for ourselves.
- Faith in His name … is what raised up this crippled person.
o We dealt in a previous study with the phrase ‘in Jesus name’.
o Peter does not say whether it was his faith (and John’s) or whether it the faith of the crippled man that brought about
the healing. I say it was not the crippled person’s faith. I don’t think he had a clue what Peter was doing when he
reached for the man’s hand. Consider Peter’s faith for a moment –
He had experienced this ‘ability’ twice before.
· Mt 10:5 ¶ These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: "Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. … :8 "Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.
· Lu 10:1 ¶ After these things the Lord appointed seventy others also, and sent them two by two before His face into every city and place where He Himself was about to go. … :8 "Whatever city you enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you. :9 "And heal the sick there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’
· And actually, just recently he received this ability again. Ac 2:43 Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles.
So for Peter to reach out his hand to this man was a matter of faith … faith is believing someone or something. He believed he had the gift – it was a simple as that. Faith is believing God. When you reach out to do something for God, something you can’t do on your own … you do so believing God … has asked you to, or told you to, or empowered you to.
- You acted in ignorance – and God worked out His own plan through it all – but you still need to repent. Ignorance is not an excuse. Why not? Because ample evidence was available all around them – it was their choice to remain ignorant.
Repent. Judgment is coming. Jesus is coming. He is right on schedule. 18 - 26
(B). The result of this gospel message – preached in public
- the disciples discover it is ‘against the law’ to talk about Jesus and the resurrection on the Temple grounds.
- A large number of people respond to the message. 5000. One bible commentary says that this number included the 120, and the 3000 that were baptized on the day of Pentecost, making this an increase of 2000. Another commentary very strongly suggests that the number is now 8000.
- Peter and John spend the night in jail. (4:1-3)
- an inquisition before the Sanhedrin council. Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit begins to speak. Commentators say this was a fresh filling that happened at that very moment.
Mr 13:11 "But when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, or premeditate what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.
Lu 21:15 "for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist.
Words that the Holy Spirit gave to Peter: 9-12
(Verse 10 … is this the third time in Acts that we read of the apostles blaming the listener with killing Jesus? Do we have a right to say the same thing today?)
v12 … what a clear and exclusive statement regarding salvation!
v13 – In Acts 2:47 it says that the Lord added to the church ‘daily’. (Allow me to insert a story of a friend of mine, Gene Franklin… who went to Alabama after trying to go to Talent, Oregon, to answer an invitation to preach ‘in view of a call’)
-The ‘gates of hell’ could not resist the power of the God. The Sanhedrin was at a loss regarding what exactly to do with these men. (15-21) Mt 16:18 "And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.
- Sharing the good news with our own people. 23-31
This ‘reporting’ was done by Peter and John to either:
The original 120
The 5000 … or the 8000?
Or to a grouping of believers they came to see as ‘their own’. A group as large and growing as this early church was, had a need for the care and security of a smaller group. Such a large group had no building, was not welcome in the temple and would have separate into small groups. Ac 2:46 So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart,
After a (short?) debriefing – They turn to prayer.
They identify what is going on … with scripture
V28 they affirm their belief of God’s word.
They ask ‘according to the will of God’. V29-30
1Jo 5:14 ¶ Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.
Extra Study – please comment on the following verses.
1Co 10:11 These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfilment of the ages has come.
1Co 10:12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!