I’d like to begin this segment of the study of the Book of Acts off by saying a few things about me. First and foremost; I’m not educated. I often define my formal education by making this statement. I graduated from High School with a seventh grade sducation. Most people my age will understand what I am saying. I only study and teach the ( King James ) Bible. Don’t misunderstand, you have a God given right to read and study any book you choose to. Another saying I have is that people have a right to use a catalog and call it God’s word, if that is what they choose to do.
Another point I’d like to make here is that common sense would say that every Church that is led by a pastor should stand and teach a specfic book that they consider to be correct. If you, as a pastor are going to place your confidence in ( New International Version ) of the Bible then ask your people, everyone of them, to that version with them to Church. They have a right to study any book they choose but, at least; at Church you all will be reading the same thing.
The Bible says that ( God is not the author of Confusion ) 1 Corinthians 14:33 ) For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all Churches of the saints. If we leave that verse in context, I understand what he’s speaking of but, as far as I’m concerned, confusion is confusion, makes no difference what the confusion is about. I’m actually writing this whole segment in our study because of this statement in ( Acts 2:42 ) And they continued stedfastly in the Apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
Now, let’s look at some things about this verse. Again, starting with me. I was born again in an Independant Baptist Church. However, I am not pushing anything about the Independant Baptist. In other words, if we look back at the verse: ( I am not ( stedfastly continuing ) in the Independant Baptist Church ). If you consider confusion, consider this: when someone is lost without Christ today, any person; as they ride down the average street in any town or city, what do they see? They see all kinds of Churches with different denominational names on them. Now, if they go into any of these Churches, every person, to some degree will even argue about what book they should be studying or reading.
At a time in my life; I was one of those people. I normally don’t point out denominations but, I will here. As a child. we went to a Methodist Church. My dad didn’t go. He was what they call around where I live a Primitive Baptist. They believed; as they say ( what will be, will be. ) They live on the concept that if God wants to save you he will, if he wants you to go to hell, you will, you have no choice in that matter. Actually, that’s not exactly what that denomination teaches but, since there is very little actual teaching in that denomination then, that is what their people say. I also had members of my family, cousins, Uncles and Aunts that went to Southern Baptist Churches.
How in the world does anyone find truth in all of this? On the Sunday morning that I asked Christ to come into my heart; no person came to meet me at the alter, no one. Basically, I consider that now, to be a very good thing. The only person that mattered that morning did meet me at that alter. By yhe power of the Holy Ghost, Jesus Christ met me at that alter and saved my soul. If any other person would have came that morning, I might have been confused by man.
Basically speaking my friend, ( the apostles’ doctrine ) is no different than the ( independant Baptist doctrine ), ( the Baptist doctrine ) , ( the methodist doctrine ) or any other doctrine you can name, they are all made by man. All doctrines; made by man have parts of them that are correct and, parts that are not. When Jesus Christ looked at Peter and said: ( upon this rock will I build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it ). What name did he put on that Church or doctrine?
Look at these verses: ( Ephesians 4:3-6 ) Endeavouring to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. ( 4 ) There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; ( 5 ) One Lord, one faith, one baptism, ( 6 ) One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
With that group of verses in mind; what do we have to conclude? We must understand that, if we are truly born again, we are all lead by the self same ( ONE ) and, we must all seek that ( ONE ) self same truth. I feel that here, we need to understand a point made by Jesus Christ himself and, time. Let’s see: ( John 16:7 -14 ) NeverthelessI tell you thr truth: It is expedient for you that I go away: For if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you: but if I depart, I will send him unto you. ( 8 ) And when he is come, he will rerprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: ( 9 ) Of sin, because they believed not on me: ( 10 ) Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more: ( 11 ) Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. ( 12 ) I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. ( 13 ) Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. ( 14 ) He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.
Jesus Christ was, shall we say, the second part of the Godhead. Jesus Christ didn’t come to build or to teach the Chruch; his responsibility was to offer himself as a perfect sacrifice for the Chruch that was to come. Here in theses verses he is explaining that to the people. When the Spirit is come being, the third part of the Godhead, he will teach you all things. Now, where does that spirit live? Does he not live in the heart of every believer? Look at what he says: HE WILL NOT SPEAK OF HIMSELF, BUT WHATSOEVER HE SHALL HEAR, THAT SHALL HE SPEAK. Doesn’t that make it the responsibility of every believer to only speak what the Spirit of God tells him to? The people that were speaking on the day of Pentacost and, for a while after could only speak what they new but as they grew in knowledge, it became their reponsibility to hear the spirit within them and, to yield to that spirit.
Now, look at this verse: ( Acts 17:30 ) And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men to repent: According to what we see in secular history, this was written some twenty or thirty years after the day of Pentacost. He’s telling us that God allow ignorace, you might say, for a time but, at some point knowledge is revealed and we need to learn and move toward that truth.
If I go back to my days as an Independant Baptist, the day I was saved. It’s understandable that I was a babe in Christ. I truly appreciate all that denomination did to bring about my salvation but, that doesn’t mean I can depend on every word that they tell me, I must allow myself to be taught by God’s Spirit far beyond all that they might say.
The people that were listening to the apostles’ doctrine were revealed the truth as it was known at that time but they cannot stay there as the babes they were. It becomes the responsibility of each believer to grow spiritually and that not of just what a man might think or say.
If it’s any person that is still clinging to ( repent and be baptized, for the remission of sins, that ye might receive the gift of the Holy Ghost ) then, they are in ignorance of the very spirit they say they have and, God is not winking at that anymore.
The Apostle Paul again speaking in ( Hebrewa 6:1-3 ) Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, ( 2 ) Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. ( 3 ) And this will we do, if God permit.
( I believe ) the Apostle Paul wrote the book of Hebrews. He wrote it to Jewish believers that were struggling with the very concept I’m speaking of; clinging to something that is past and gone.
I can’t go back to the day of my birth. Both, my mom and dad lived to a ripe old age. It came a day within their lives that it became the responsibility of my sisters and I to look after both of them; now, I have exactly the same responsibilities as my dad had and, it happened many years even before he died.
Spiritually, we see the same picture and, that is what he’s saying here. I can’t go back to the day of my salvation. As we look at the doctrine of Christ or, the apostles’ doctrine, both had their purpose and were needed at the time but, think about this. Christ done his job and, is now seated at the right hand of the Father, The apostles were here after he had risen and, they did their job. Now, while I live and you live what is our responsibility? If I stayed as a child, I could never fill my dad’s shoes. If I remain a babe in Christ, I can never truly take on the respnsibility of being like Christ or his apostles.
Let’s move on to ( Chapter 3 ). Here in ( Verse 1 ) we see Peter and John walking to the temple together. Do you remember back in ( John 13: 23-24 ) Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved. ( 24 ) Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, that he should ask who it should be of whom he spake. ( I believe ) that this disciple was John. If you notice; Peter asked him to asked Jesus. Now, here in ( Acts 3 ) who do we see speaking? The Apostle Peter is with John but Peter is doing the speaking. This can be considered the second use of the ( Keys of the Kingdom ) that Jesus gave to Peter In ( Matthew 16:19 ). In this chapter, we see the second message that Peter preached.
Let’s start here by seeing what happened when these two men went up to the temple. There’s a man that is lame laying at the entrance to that temple. Someone brings him there for him to beg for help as people come into the temple, and he asked Peter and John for help. The Bible says in ( verse 4-5 ) And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us. ( 5 ) And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them. ( Verses 6-8 ) Then Peter said , 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.( 7 ) And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and angle bones received strength. ( 8 ) And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.
Why did this just happen? On the day of Pentacost, God used tongues to give Peter an opportunity to open a door. He got the attention of the prople there by doing so. Here, we don’t see tongues but, we see a miracle happen that drawed attention and, Peter preached another message. I want to point out something here that needs to be considered. Was this man saved? Although he was healed he still must acknowledge that Jesus Christ died and arose for his personal salvaion, if not then all he actually got was his ability to walk. Although this man was healed; that was not where the importance of that day needs to be placed and, it was not. The importance was on the message that Peter preached and the conviction that came to their hearts because of that message.
If we look at this whole process as we go through the book of Acts as a preacher and, a people that are maturing in the knowledge of Christ then, we can actually see that unfolding. Without going through each verse that we see here; let’s just pick out some growing points and points of Knowledge we can learn.
The Apostle Peter basically preached the same message here however, this time notice to whom he’s speaking. ( Acts 3:12 ) And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men Of Israel, why marvel ye at this? Or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk. If you notice in these verses he is speaking to ( men of Israel ). On the day of Pentecost there were people there from every nation under the heaven. On the day of Pentecost, tongues were used to get the message to all those different people but, here it’s not needed because they all speak the same language.
The same God that enabled the believers on the day of Pentecost to speak in tongues has now in ( Acts 3 ) caused a lame man to walk but, for the very same reason. Attention was drawn to the Apostle Peter that he might preach a message.
Do you realize that when the Apostle Peter preached the first message he never mentioned faith? However, here he does. We need to look at this very closely. First of all, notice the man that was healed. Why did he go to the temple that day? Did he go to get healed? No, he didn’t, as a matter of fact; that was probably the fartherest thing from his mind. I still contend that; this man’s healing had nothing to do with his salvation. With that being said, we can relate it to the salvation of almost every person that will ever be saved. For instance, the day of my salvation, I didn’t go to Church with that on my mind. I went to Church just to be going and, salvation came to me.It might be more to it than that and, it is but, the point is the Sunday morning I went to Church and got saved was just like every other Sunday morning I had ever been to Church.
Now, look at what the Apostle Peter is saying in ( verse 16 ). And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong,whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.
See if you agree with me. This man’s healing had nothing to do with any faith on his part. Peter and John had faith in the name of Jesus and, that translated to the healing of this man. On the day of my salvation, I was simply a hell deserving sinner. There were people, like Peter and John that had faith in the name of Jesus Christ and, the power of the Holy Spirit. They truly believd , by faith that by the blood of Christ I could be born again. Their faith in the name of Jesus translated into my salvation and granted me that very same faith in his name.
A sinner has no faith and, also has no ability to get or know that faith on his own. As we begin this journey through Acts we are seeing this knowledge as it unfolds. We see the maturity growing, even in the message that the Apostle Peter has preached here. We see he has mentioned ( faith ), something not spoken of in the message in ( Acts 2 ). We also see in ( verse 17 ) the word ( ignorance ). And,now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers.
Through ignorance and, the absence of God’s Spirit men build doctrines and denominations. For example: if we listen to and, build a doctrine or denomination what the Apostle Peter in ( Acts 2:38 ) then, are we also going to build a doctrine or denomination on what he is about to say at the end of this message? Every man, every person is ignorant, that is at least to the mind and works of God the Father through his Spirit. We must be taught those things by his Spirit and, there is no other way to know how God works.
Just by way of making a point. Can we get Church doctrine from anywhere we choose to in scripture, even the Old Testament? And, if not then where should we get Church doctrine? Can we use anything in Acts for the purpose of creating sound Church Doctrine?
When the Apostle Peter had finished the message he preached to these people; look at his invitational call at the end of the message. ( Verse 19 -21) Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord: ( 20 ) And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: ( 21 ) Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.
Repent and be baptized has been changed to repent and be converted. For the remission of sins has been changed to be converted that you sins may be blotted out. Not only that, but here, he doesn’t mention the Holy Ghost. We also can see that seemingly the return of Jesus Christ is not looked at as occurring as soon. He says ( whom heaven must receive until the restitution of all things ).
We see the working of the Spirit of God in the heart of the Apostle and those around him. They are learning to hear the spirit and their mindsets are changing and they are maturing in Christ as each day passes. That is actually how it’s suppose to work even today as a person receives that self-same spirit. On the day of our salvation, we hear the call of that Spirit and as the days go by from that day we learn to hear that spirit as he teaches.
In closing this segment, let’s build an hypothetical setting. We know that the day of Pentecost was fifty days after the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Seven sabbath s being 49 days and then the next day being again on the first day of the week. That’s when the Apostle Peter preached his first message. We see that he preached that message out of the book of Joel, revealing what Joel had said about those days.
So, what if we assume this message is one week later; still on Sunday morning. The Apostle Peter has continued to study God’s word and now he has learned, being led by the Spirit that is now, within him. This Sunday morning he brings a message about what the prophets, other prophets have said about the resurrection of Jesus Christ beginning with Moses.
If you read the verses: ( Acts 3:22-26 ) he is telling them about a a brother that he will raise up among you that you should listen to. He says in ( verse 23 ) that every soul that will not hear him will be destroyed from among the people. He has learned that many prophets fortold this. The also says in ( verse 26 ) Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.
Between the message he preached in chapter two and, the message in chapter three can you see this change and spiritual growth? Now that was in the Apostle Peter and we can assume the Apostle John.
In the next segment we will see the outcome of this message.
We will call it: ( ACTS 4 ) THE LEARNING AND CONVICTION CONTINUES.