2017-11-29 / Religion

Put your faith in Christ Jesus

Sunday School Lesson
Rev. James Temples

Acts 3

Before Jesus Christ of Nazareth ascended into heaven, he gave a command to the gathered group, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Mark 16:15. There were probably over five hundred people gathered at that place. See 1 Corinthians 15:6.

These people, also, heard him give the promise, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you, and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” Acts 1:8.

Divine assurance had been given to the Eleven, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.” John 14:12.

In the early part of the ministry of our Lord, he sent out the twelve with a directive — “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.” Matthew 10:8.

By the time these men were sent on this mission, they were accustomed to witnessing miracles.

The church, the “called out ones,” was established on the Day of Pentecost, a feast day, after the resurrection of Jesus. Luke recorded, “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord, one place.

And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Acts 2:1-4.

This initial evidence of the infilling of the Holy Spirit in each life came as fulfilment of the words of Jesus, “but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.” Acts 1:5b.

There was no question in the minds of the hearers regarding the supernatural power that came upon these individuals. Acts 2:6, 7, 11, 12.

The apostle Peter gave the scriptural explanation of that which the crowd witnessed “But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel.” Acts 2:16. Luke tells us that Peter preached that day, and, “there were added unto them about three thousand souls.” Acts 2:41b.

Continuous worship became part of the lifestyle of these people. This action was expected during this time of feast celebration. The group continued to increase in number, “And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” Acts 2:47b.

Even though grace and faith had been experienced by these believers, they did not forget the personal and national call to worship. Even though Jesus Christ came to fulfil the Law (Matthew 5:17), the rituals remained in place. Luke tells us, “Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour (i.e., three o’clock).” Acts 3:1.

The scene which thy witnessed was not out of the ordinary, “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 of them that entered into the temple.” Acts 3:2. The action of the beggar was that which one would expect, “Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms.” Acts 3:3.

The response of Simon Peter must have been a shock to the beggar, “And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us. And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them.” Acts 3:4, 5. Many who entered the temple at that time were pilgrims, having come from great distances for obedience to the law. The expectant beggar heard words that he had never witnessed, “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.” Acts 3:6.

Faith and works are both very important in the divine plan. The record declares, “And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up.” Acts 3:7a.

Luke, the beloved physician (Colossians 4:14) gave no explanation nor details of that which this lame man witnessed. However, the result was that “immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.” Acts 3:7b.

This physical change in the condition of the man allowed exuberant actions, “And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking and leaping, and praising God.” Acts 3:8.

These kinds of great outward actions were not common in the temple. “And all the people saw him walking and praising God, And they knew that it was he which sat for alms at the beautiful gate of the temple, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him.” Acts 3:9, 10.

The physical response to the two faithful preachers drew the attention of the crowd, “And as the lame man which was healed held Peter and John, all the people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon’s, greatly wondering.” Acts 3:10.

As the curiosity-seeking crowd assembled, Peter recognized this as a place for the Gospel to be declared. Here, in the temple, the apostle was able to, again, declare the mighty works of God. Peter pointed these hearers to the man, Jesus Christ of Nazareth, “the Prince of life.” Acts 3:15. He proclaimed, “And his (Jesus’) 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 perfect soundness in the presence of you all.” Acts 3:16

The apostle challenged all of these hearers, “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.” Acts 3:19.

Please positively respond to the appeal of the apostle. Your life, too, can be changed by the power of Jesus Christ. John 3:16.

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