Acts 3 Practical Ministry
Read Acts 3
- Perspective vs. 1-4
- Practical Needs vs.5-7
- Praise vs. 8-10
- Power Proclaimed vs. 11-16
- Prophetic Fulfillment vs.17-26
- Perspective vs. 1-4
Have you ever been going about your normal routine and found that God gave the opportunity for you to share the gospel? Let me get a little more personal, do you have the perspective to see these opportunities? Are you praying for them? In our text today we see here at the opening that Peter and John are at their normal schedule. They are going to the temple to pray at 3pm in the afternoon. Here a lame man is in their path. (vs.2) This lame man was carried daily to the gate of the temple. Those who had infirmities and disabilities would often sit in these public places and thereby be supported by the community as the Romans were not known for their humanitarian efforts especially that of the Jews.
Naturally, this man asks Peter and John for a handout. (vs. 3) Peter and John tell him to look at them (vs. 4) notice the perspectives going on. Vs. 3 mentions that the beggar “sees” them, and then Peter directed his gaze at him as did John and then they ask him to look at them. Perspective, do we look out for the opportunities that God brings our way or do we dismiss them as a distraction to our schedule? Did you ever consider that in God’s sovereign purpose He may have us at right places at the right times? This is practical ministry church. We are His people first and the Great Commission and His glory ought to be our priority?
So the beggar sees, Peters directs his gaze and then requests that the beggar look at them and then the beggar fixes his eyes and attention on them expecting something from them.
So we have seen the perspective of both Peter and John and this beggar and now we see the practical needs of this man in contrast to his deepest need.
- Practical Needs vs.5-7
Vs. 5 This lame beggar reminded of his disability daily thinks that as with other days he will beg for the support that will help him live yet another day. It is within this that God desired to meet his deepest need, not money but Him. He was expecting something from them and indeed he received it. Healing. Vs. 7 Peter takes him by the right hand and raised him up and his feet and ankles are made strong! The whole reason this man begs daily is his disability and yet Christ heals him of that which takes up every day of his life! Christ always meets the deepest needs. Perhaps if given the same opportunity we might say that our deepest need is something other than Christ Himself. Indeed if we have Christ we have all we need, for He Himself has said,
“Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matt. 6:33
So we have seen the perspective of Peter and John and the lame man and seen his practical need versus his deepest need for Christ Himself and now look at his response.
III. Praise vs. 8-10
Read vs 8-10
This man had never walked a day in his life! He not only starts walking but leaping! He is praising God for this amazing act of grace upon his life. Notice that others are seeing this and recognize him as that beggar they see everyday as they enter the temple. They are left in wonder and amazement at what had happened to him. Here before us we see that when Christ meets the deepest needs of our hearts there is no response other than praise, for The person of Christ has met with us! Do we see this? Is Christ your sufficiency? Is He your boasting or something or someone else? Have you allowed Him to touch your deepest need, that is a need for Him on the deepest level to be delivered from the power of sin and Satan? Do you, like the lame beggar continue to cry out day after day for whatever you think is your need rather than Him. Notice that Peter, John and this beggar are not the only ones affected by this miracle but now we see Peter proclaim Christ’s power once again in verses 11-16.
- Power Proclaimed vs. 11-16
The beggar is clinging to them (vs. 11) all the people gathered around Solomon’s Portico. It is at this point as the bewildered people gathered (similar to Acts 2 after the coming of the Holy Spirit) that Peter addresses the crowd. Notice his question: “(vs. 12) men of Israel, why do you wonder at this, or why do your stare at us, as though by our own power or piety we have made him walk?”
How does Peter answer this question? “God”, isn’t that the best answer? How do miraculous things happen? “God” Look a vs 13 He identifies whom He is talking about lest any be confused. This is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, this God sent His Son whom you delivered over and denied in the presence of Pilate.
Again, when God works and people gather, Peter confidently stands up addresses the people present and points them to God and His Son Jesus Christ.
But notice that Peter is again preaching to Jews present in the temple who experienced these events just a couple months prior to this.
Read Vs. 14-16
Peter continues to recount that they denied the Holy and Righteous One and asked for a murderer (Barabbas if you remember) they killed the Author of Life, who God raised from the dead. Is that not powerful language? How is that possible? Only the Author of life could allow Himself to be killed that others be saved. Amazing. Peter proclaims that they are witnesses of these things, just as Jesus said they would be. This man therefore, by faith in Christ’s name was made strong in perfect health after he was healed.
We see now that not only was this lame beggar healed and how joyful he was but it was also for the glory of God and to bring the opportunity for Peter to preach Christ to address the real needs in these people’s hearts. Is this not how God works in our lives? Constantly life is happening around us. The world doesn’t stop! But in all these events God has given us the words of life to dying people. Are you merely meeting people’s practical needs, or are you looking at the opportunity that these practical or felt needs create?
Church, God knows your circumstances, glorify God in them whatever they may be. As we saw with the lame beggar, his need was not to just have the use of his legs restored unto him, but deeper His sinful soul needed deliverance from that which truly makes us lame toward God. Sinner, repent that Christ might deliver you as this beggar, and yet the very circumstances we may find ourselves in are simply Gospel opportunities. May we be bold to share as Christ brings these opportunities. We have heard the account of a beggar looking truly unto Jesus, Peter and John seeing a need to meet, we have heard of the response of praise in the beggar, we hear Peter proclaiming Christ as the whole reason this miracle happened and now our final point we see that Peter explains the prophetic fulfillment of these things.
- Prophetic Fulfillment vs.17-26
Peter acknowledges that they did not know what they were doing when they authorized the murder of Jesus, but reminds them that the prophets had foretold that Christ would suffer. As much as they thought they were in control of these things God revealed that it had been planned beforehand. Is this not true in our every human circumstance? Do we think we can accomplish anything without the Lord’s providence? We think by own wit we could lead someone to Jesus? Do we think by our hand that we can grow a business or have success as the world defines it in and of ourselves? Is it not God who allows these things? As James says in 4:13
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— 14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. 17 So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.
So, in light of these things revealed what does Peter ask of those in His hearing? Vs. 19 “repent”. Peter says the result of their turning and repenting would be that their sins could be blotted out. Peter has just informed them that they are guilty of murdering Jesus and yet how the grace of God is displayed here that those guilty of this are being given the gift of repentance and faith and the offer to have this of all sins “blotted out”. Because of our own sin we are guilty of the body and blood of the Lord Jesus but oh how His grace is extended even to us this morning. Have you repented of your sin? Have you known the thrill of understanding that you have been justified before God and your sins blotted out?
But that is not all look at verse 20 “that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord…” have you tasted the refreshment that comes from the hearing of the Gospel and the freedom found therein?
Peter continues vs. 21 Jesus will return but has gone to the Father until the time of restoring is to happen. Refreshing and restoration sum up what Peter is saying here. All things made right is God’s glorious plan of redemption. As Habakkuk 2:14 states,
“ For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.”
Vs. 22 Peter here quotes Moses as one who prophesied this restoration of all things would begin with a Person, A Prophet, the Messiah as foretold in Deut. 18. Even vs. 23 Peter says that those who disobey this Prophet would be destroyed. This also speaks to the final judgement and
“ that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,..” Phil 2:10
Vs. 24 Peter mentions the other prophets from Samuel on have also proclaimed these these days would come.
It is here that Peter makes the connection again that they are descendants of the prophets and therefore in covenant with God and that He made through Abraham and that through Him all the families of the earth would be blessed. This, speaking of Jesus as the fulfilment of the Abrahamic covenant desires to deliver the Jew first and then the gentile from their wickedness. Paul of course says the same in Romans 1:16-17
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
The Gospel displayed to the Jew is happening faithfully through Peter in the last 3 chapters and God is being glorified through their obedience to Him. As He commanded them to be His witnesses in Jerusalem. Peter is beginning to make disciples and many are coming to faith in Christ, but of course there are those who hate this message as we will see next week in Chapter 4.
What is your perspective? As with Peter and John are you looking out for the opportunities that Christ will give that you might boldly proclaim your faith in Jesus? Are you allowing for the practical needs of people to become avenues for the preaching of the Gospel to their deepest need? Are we praising God as this lame beggar did or have we somehow lost the joy of our salvation? Have we become calloused and hardened through the deceitfulness of sin or something or someone stealing the joy of knowing Christ and making Him known? Are we rejoicing at the work God is doing in others or do we sit back in jealousy as we see Him bring them into times of refreshing? May the refreshment be ours in Christ, are you enjoying Him? Are you proclaiming Him as Peter did? You need no formal training, but share the message in its entirety. God has a glorious redemptive story that will one day culminate in a great restoration when He returns. The prophets have spoke of it, Peter spoke of it, and today I have spoke of it. Respond to the Lord that He may be lifted up and that many be drawn to Him.
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