Tod Kennedy, July, 1999
Applications or “So what?” from Acts 3
- Spiritual health is more important and of greater value that physical health.
- Christ’s resurrection validates our assurance of salvation and confident expectation of our eternal future.
- God no longer gives temporary spiritual gifts, but each of us has a permanent spiritual gift and opportunities for service to him.
- The people of Old Testament times anticipated that their Messiah would come. The people of the New Testament time missed him because they were not listening to the prophets.
- Peter and John had lately participated in very wonderful events: Christ’s resurrection, Pentecost, more than 3000 people believing unto eternal life, and the healthy growth of the young church. Now as they walked to the temple at 9:00 AM, a congenitally lame man asked them for some money. Peter did not give money; instead, he used this opportunity to drive home a spiritual truth by healing the man in the name of Jesus Christ—the truth that Jesus Christ is God and therefore the Messiah. Peter redeemed the time—exactly what Paul wrote about in Ephesians 5.16 and Colossians 3.17 and what we should do (Acts 3.1-7).
- Peter used his temporary spiritual gift of healing, a supernatural sign gift, to heal the lame man. The miracle got the man’s attention; he praised God, the source of his healing. The miracle also got the attention of the people in the temple area; they gathered around Peter, John, and the now-healed lame man and were ready for Peter to speak (Acts 3.8-11).
- Peter saw that he had an audience, so he began with the incident they had just seen—he took advantage of their frame of reference—and said that Jesus was God’s Messiah. They had crucified Jesus but God raised him. Peter identifies the resurrection of Jesus as the work of Israel’s God, while the arrest, unbelief, and crucifixion were Israel’s works (Acts 3.12-15).
- Jesus Christ healed the man in response to the man’s faith in Jesus as the Messiah. Peter clearly proclaimed that Jesus is God and therefore Israel’s Messiah. Even though the Jewish people and their rulers had not believed that Jesus was the Messiah, God’s prophets had clearly announced what would happen to him (Acts 3.16-18).
- What did Peter tell his audience to do? He told them to repent—to turn from their sins of rejecting the message of the prophets and therefore rejecting Jesus, the Messiah—and return to the prophets’ inspired message about the Messiah and his kingdom. If they do not believe the prophets’ and Peter’s message, they will not participate in the future blessings promised to Israel—the Kingdom or Millennial blessings. Those who do believe the message will later be resurrected and share as church age saints in the blessings of the coming Millennial Kingdom (Acts 3.19-21).
- Moses, the leader and lawgiver who lived about 1520 to 1400 BC, precisely predicted that God would send the Prophet-Messiah. Samuel, who lived about 1080-1017 BC, and the other prophets also announced that the Messiah would come. The Jews of Peter’s day had no excuse for missing him. Peter later wrote in 1 Peter 1.10-12 that the prophets studied to know when the great event would happen, for they were convinced that the Savior would come (Acts 3.22-24).
- The Messiah, Christ, came first to Israel. They were God’s chosen priest nation. Now they had crucified Christ, but God had raised him. The only right conclusion for the Jewish audience is to believe in Jesus Christ, their Messiah, the one in whose name and power the lame man had been healed (Acts 3.25-26).
Doctrine Summaries, Definitions, and Descriptions
- Temporary spiritual gifts are supernatural sign gifts (supernatural abilities) that God gave to certain believers for a limited period of time so that they could authenticate their ministry and message about Jesus Christ; the primary purpose was not to cure physical or social ills. These gifts were operational only during the transitional first century. The following are the temporary spiritual gifts: differentiating spirits, faith, prophecy, tongues, word of knowledge, word of wisdom. The principle of temporary spiritual gifts is found in Hebrews 2.3-4, 1 Corinthians 13.8-11, 2 Corinthians 12.12, and Romans 15.18-19. Paul, during his first Roman imprisonment in AD 60-62, was not able to heal Epaphroditus even though he had healed Publius’ father and others on the island of Malta two years earlier (Acts 28.7-9; Philippians 2.25-27). Paul could not heal him because God had withdrawn the gift of healing.
- Permanent spiritual gifts are the gifts that we in the church age now possess. A spiritual gift is the special ability that God gives to each believer for ministry within the body of Christ. The permanent spiritual gifts are the public communication gifts (pastor-teacher, teacher, evangelist), church operational gifts (leadership, administrations, service), individual gifts (helping, showing mercy, encouragement), and giving. We must be walking by the Holy Spirit if we want to properly serve, participate with God in the ministry, and spiritually benefit from the use of our spiritual gift (1 Corinthians 12.4-7; 1 Peter 4.10; Romans 12.6-8; Ephesians 4.11).
- Redeeming the time is specifically taught in Ephesians 5.16. To redeem the time means to purchase or buy time, actually points of time or opportunities that are available to us as believers. God wants us to use the time and the opportunities for service to him, while Satan, who is the temporary ruler of this world system, tries to prevent us from doing so. Peter did a good job of using the opportunities that he had. “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men” (Colossians 3.23), is another way of commanding us to redeem the time.
- The Millennium is the one thousand-year reign of Jesus Christ, the Messianic-Theocratic King, over the entire earth. In that time the Abrahamic, Palestinian, Davidic, and New Covenants will be fulfilled. The Millennium begins with the second coming of Christ to the physical earth; it will end with the final rebellion of Satan followed by the Great White Throne Judgment; and the Millennium will then become the eternal kingdom. Jerusalem will be his capital; Israel will be his special nation; righteousness will be his platform. God promised this golden age to Israel when he called Abraham and then through Moses formed the Israeli nation. It will be a time of physical and spiritual blessing called a time of refreshment (Genesis 12.1-3; Deuteronomy 30.1-8; 2 Samuel 7.12-16 Jeremiah 31.31-34; Isaiah 2.2-4; 11.1-11; Daniel 2.44; Zechariah 13.9, 14.1-8; Matthew 24.29-31; Acts 3.19-21; Revelation 20 and many others).
- We are witnesses for Christ. Peter witnessed to the Jewish crowd; they had gathered as a result of the miracle (Acts 3). Peter was a witness for Jesus Christ. He began with the current event that they had seen and used that to move into a message to persuade them that Jesus Christ was the Messiah. He said that to return to the message of the prophets and believe in Jesus Christ would bring blessing, but to reject Jesus Christ would bring judgment. To witness for Christ, then, is to clearly communicate the good news that Jesus Christ died for our sins, that he arose, and that whoever believes in him as savior will be given eternal life. Witnessing for Christ, along with teaching and learning Bible doctrine, is the mission of believers between his first and second comings. The believer gives the gospel, the Holy Spirit convinces the unbeliever and at faith regenerates, indwells, baptizes, seals, and gifts the new believer, and the Father sets in motion his plan for that believer (Matthew 28.18-20, 2 Timothy 3.15; John 16.8-11; Romans 1.14-16; 2 Corinthians 5.11-21).
- Repentance means to decide to turn from one’s sin; it is not a condition of salvation; faith in Christ as Savior is the only condition for salvation (John 3.16; Acts 16.31; Ephesians 2.8-9). Both unbelievers (Matthew 12.41) and believers (Luke 15; Acts 19.18-20; 2 Corinthians 7.7-10; Revelation 3.19) repent. When unbelievers repent, it does not mean that they have become believers. An unbeliever’s repentance may hold off God’s judgment or prepare him to listen more closely to the gospel. In the case of the believer, repentance may prepare for a confession of personal sin and return to fellowship; at times, it includes the confession of sin as illustrated by the Prodigal Son in Luke 15. Jesus and John the Baptist told Israel to repent. This was not a call to eternal salvation, but instead a call to return to the national relationship with God for which God had prepared them. The call to repentance was to prepare them to believe in their Messiah (Matthew 3.1-3; Luke 3.3, 8-9). Jesus also told the Jewish people to repent from their rebellious political and religious activities; if they did not repent, temporal judgment, including physical death would result (Luke 13.1-9). In summary, the command to repent is a call to the unbeliever or the believer to turn from one’s sin. Repentance has a wide scope; on one end it can be a broad call for a nation to return to her heritage and on the other end of the spectrum it can be a precise call for a believer to confess specific sin and return to fellowship with God.