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Bible Commentaries

Bell's Commentary on the Bible

Acts 3

Verses 1-11

  1. Intro:
    1. Ch.2 we are given an analyses of the church; Ch.3 we see the church in operation!
      1. In the book of Acts we are not confined to didactic teaching; it also tells stories; it gives examples & illustrations of all that it puts before us in instruction.
      2. Here we view the gospel/church in action, as something living & real!
      3. A “dead church” is a contradiction in terms.
        1. It may be a dead something, but not a dead church!
        2. The church is life, it is power, it is energy!
      4. Here is the church…in action! A church with Relevance!
    2. Relevant means: [1] connected: having some sensible or logical connection with something else [2] having social significance: having some bearing on or importance for real-world issues, present-day events, or the current state of society.
      1. Synonyms: Significant, important.
      2. My life, the church, the gospel,…Relevant today?
  2. SOME THINGS $ CAN’T BUY! (1-11)
    1. (1,2) Lame from his mothers womb – When they arrived at the temple gate, called Beautiful, a cripple man was in the process of being carried & placed there to beg for alms from those entering the temple.
      1. If being a cripple brought him to this exact place at the perfect time, do you think he’s up in heaven mad at God for making him a cripple?
    2. To ask alms – Picture him laying his hat on the pavement…another day! [40 yrs 4:22]
      1. Location, location, location - Those who entered the temple would be particularly disposed to practice their piety by generously giving alms to a lame beggar.
      2. Almsgiving was one of the main ways to show kindness, & thus was considered a major expression of a person’s devotion to God. (Shepherd’s Notes; pg.13)
    3. (3) Never be religiously too busy!
      1. They were on their way to prayer.
      2. Never too busy for individuals…just like their Master showed them.
      3. Never too busy in ministry for prayer!
    4. And their prayer times were very important to their culture.
      1. Ps.55:17 “Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, And He shall hear my voice.”
      2. According to one Talmudic source (B’rakhot 26b) the 3 prayer services were instituted after the fall of the 1st Temple to replace the sacrifices.
      3. Daniel did this during the Babylon Exile (6:11) “Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees 3 times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days.”
      4. The three services are called Shacharit (“morning”), Minchah (“afternoon”; the word means “gift, offering”) and Ma-ariv (“evening”).
    5. The man laying at the Beautiful Gate of the Temple is a picture of humanity in a state of sin. (he couldn’t enter)
      1. Unworthy for worship under the old religion of Israel, he now finds acceptance in the name of Jesus!
    6. [1] THIS MAN WAS BORN THIS WAY! (D.O.A.)
    7. He had never been any different!
      1. 1st great message of the Christian gospel is that every one of us was born in sin.
      2. Thus never forget Christian your humble beginnings. We are just "one blind beggar telling another blind beggar where to find bread".
      3. Jesus left heaven to come to earth precisely because men & women were lost, paralyzed, & helpless.
    8. [2] THIS MAN WAS PARALYZED! (4)
    9. Look at us – Ashamed, looking down, embarrassed.
      1. 40 years. Same spot. Only a view of the bottom half of humanity, lost his childhood, the wonderment of youth, missed out on simple love of early manhood, familiar with pain, relying on everyone else.
      2. He never expected anything higher than a little almsgiving.
    10. Fallen man is Paralyzed in the matter of knowing God.
      1. Can you by searching find out God? Job 11:7
      2. Man has a total inability to conquer the devil & temptation & sin.
      3. Q: Is there anybody who has never sinned?
      4. Q: Can you meet temptation & always defeat it?
      5. Q: Have you ever done the same thing again, even though you knew it was wrong?
      6. Q: Do you ever repeat an action that always leads to misery? (Martyn Lloyd Jones; pg.215.)
      7. Spiritual paralysis is being in the grip of sin which holds us down & cripples us!
        1. Incurably crippled; Begging for mercy; Barred from worship!
    11. [3] THE WORLD COULDN’T HELP THIS MAN!
    12. All it can do is give us alms!
      1. The world is full of activity…it can try to help politically, socially, educationally, even help entertain us during our misery.
      2. It could give him a little $ to buy food; a little drink to numb the pain.
      3. It can give temporary relief, but it can’t cure the man’s lameness!
    13. [4] THE CHURCH CAN HELP THIS MAN! (5)
    14. Expecting to receive something from them –
      1. But he was expecting the wrong thing.
        1. The church CAN & does provide food, clothing, etc. But it has so much more to offer!
      2. But, what I do have I give you!​​​​​​​
        1. ​​​​​​​The story is old of Thomas Aquinas walking with the Pope around the Vatican around the 12th century. As they walked the Pope pointed out the gold, silver, & ornate buildings & said, “You see, Thomas, the church can no longer say, Silver & gold have I none!” To which Thomas replied, “I do see, but I see something further. She also cannot say, Rise up & walk!”
      3. But that’s the Church’s commission! “But what I do have I give you; In the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up & walk.”
      4. Q: Do you go to church to get temporary relief, to forget your troubles, to feel happier for a moment. [Oh, it can do that…but there’s so much more!]
      5. No, the business of the Church is to deal with the problem of men & women, not to only give alms, but to offer a cure for the paralysis!
        1. This is the unique message of the church!
        2. It’s what differentiates it from all other institutions.
        3. The church is an expert on the soul! ☺
      6. The church deals with man’s central problems: They don’t know how to know God; they don’t know how to live; they don’t know how to die.
    15. [5] THE INDIVIDUAL BELIEVER CAN HELP THIS MAN! (6,7)
    16. I think it’s interesting Peter doesn’t stop to interview the man, or to prepare him emotionally for what was about to happen. He just did it.
    17. Faith’s outstretched arm! –Reach out to the individual!
      1. Pastor Eric started our “Reach Ministry” – It has to do with reaching into our own church family and reaching out to our community.
        1. Eric says on our Web Site, “I believe the life that God has given us, is not really being fully lived, until we give ourselves away.”
      2. Faith in the name of Jesus releases power so that lives are changed.
      3. As we reach out to the individuals, God will give us the opportunities for a bigger harvest. (Like in Jn.4:28. Women at well, then men of the city)
      4. Amy Carmichael, “It’s the individual touch that tells. He(Jesus) doesn’t love in mass but in ones.”
    18. So we want to REACH out, but not just to be social, but Missional!
      1. Missional is a helpful term used to describe what happens when you and I replace the "come to us" invitations with a "go to them" life!
    19. This verse is the heart of the message…Some things are more precious than silver & gold.”
    20. What to give & How to give it! – How to be a generous giver!
      1. What Paul tells the Ephesian church members, is 1 of the reasons for working? “Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.” (4:28)
    21. Give as you’re able – You as a Christian always have something to give!
      1. Let us be quick to ask, “What do I have to give to you!”
      2. Christians we have: Light, salt, kindness, goodness, prayer, a tender touch, compassion, a little time(Paul Amoy at beach)
      3. Let’s be generous givers.
    22. Give…in His Name! (not yours)
      1. To ask in His Name Means – “to ask, or act, on His authority.”
        1. Purpose? So He alone gets the glory!
      2. Not arrogantly, not self-importantly, not condescendingly.
        1. Be natural. “By the way I believe God has given us this appointment today to let you know…there is a God in heaven who loves you & cares very much for you!”
    23. In the Name of Jesus – Ch.’s 3,4 emphasizes the name of Jesus.
      1. [3:6,13,16,20,26; 4:2,7,10,12,17-18]
    24. He took him up by his right hand. {God desires to work through us!}
      1. Q: And how does He do that? – in the Name of Jesus Christ.
        1. Christ? – Yes, The Messiah, the promised Deliverer, God in the flesh, proved by the Resurrection, proved by the descent of the Holy Spirit…that Jesus Christ!
        2. He is the one, & all is found in Him!
      2. Peter acted as a channel between man’s helplessness & Divine power.
        1. Q: Have you been the link between Christ & a person in need, as Peter was that day? (Be the Link! - Priest means bridge – Be the connection!)
    25. [6] THE MAN FOUND HELP IMMEDIATELY! (7)
      1. The gospel doesn’t tell you start doing this & that; stop doing this that; come to church; & gradually you’ll be a Christian.
      2. No! It’s immediate, at once, w/o a seconds delay!
      3. It’s a picture of Justification by faith only!
      4. The invitation is all of Grace; it is the Gift of God!
    26. [7] THE MAN WALKED, LEAPED, & PRAISED GOD! (8-11)
    27. Note how far this miracle extends. He didn’t even have to teach himself to walk
      1. He’s never walked before!!! I picture a new born horse, awkward & clumsy. Not this man! Not just walking(keep balance) but leaping!
    28. When God touches your life it isn’t a temporary relief but a cure.
      1. It’s a cure from? guilt, your past, sins, helplessness,…it’s absolute forgiveness. – But then He doesn’t stop there…
      2. We need life! – He gives us life indeedLife more abundantly!
        1. It’s a new birth, new life, new start, new beginning, new strength, new power, new might!
      3. Paralysis gone, its walking, leaping, praising God!
      4. And this sets up Peters next sermon, “and all the people ran together to them in the porch” (11)
    29. Q: This morning are you paralyzed? Are you hopeless?
      1. In the name of Jesus of Nazareth…today, Rise & Walk!

Verses 12-26

  1. PETER PREACHES ON THE PORCH! (11-)
    1. DON’T LOOK TO US! (11,12)
    2. Solomon’s porch – portico, colonnade.
      1. Columns, covered area, all around Temple mount.
      2. On Eastside (opposite side “Western Wall”)
    3. The people ran together…& were greatly amazed
      1. This helps to define & distinguish Christianity.
      2. Christianity is a phenomenon. It isn’t a teaching only (though there obviously is teaching there).
      3. Phenomenon (synonyms) - an occurrence, fact, experience, happening, incident, event.
      4. But Christianity is essentially something that happens - something that has happened, something that is happening, something that is going to happen. (Martyn Lloyd Jones; Authentic Christianity; pg.226.)
      5. People try to reduce Christianity to ethical or political teaching, or worse some kind of religious teaching.
        1. Confucianism, Buddhism, Islam is nothing but teachings. They do not claim to be anything else.
        2. They deal w/how people should live, philosophies that take religious form.
      6. Christianity is not to be in this category. Christianity is unique. It is historical. It is phenomenal.
        1. It is something that is done & then is followed by the teaching that explains what has happened.
    4. The OT was the same way – Take Moses for example. He didn’t sit down & read a book. He wasn’t meditating & ruminating on what life was about. Nor was he trying to come up with a philosophy of existence.
      1. Nope! It was in the middle of a most ordinary vocation(shepherd) he was suddenly confronted by something, a phenomenon, a burning bush.
        1. So President Bush was praying to God one day & asked if he could talk to Moses being that he had a lot of dealings with the Middle East crisis. God said he’d ask him to see if he wanted to do that. God came back & told him he didn’t want to. President bush asked why he didn’t want to talk to him. God said the last time he talked to a bush he spent 40 years in the wilderness! ☺
        2. Moses in seeing this burning bush said, “I will now turn aside, & see this great sight.”(Ex.3:3) He was about to investigate when the voice spoke. This was a meeting with God – a phenomenon!
      2. One becomes a Christian when one is confronted by something that is a phenomenon, something arresting, something shaking, something inexplicable/ incomprehensible.
        1. It is something that changes the lives of men & women.
        2. Nobody could understand it. No one could put a stop to it either!
          1. The Jews tried, the Romans tried.
          2. There were grievous persecutions that forced the church underground, yet they still went on.
        3. They murdered the Christians, the tried to murder all the leaders, but “The blood of the Martyrs was the seed of the church!”
      3. Read the book England Before & After Wesley & read of the degradation & vice & sin of the day(early 18th cent). And then after the revival how the gin shops closed & life changed throughout England.
        1. Something happened; a phenomenon took place; a mighty revival.
      4. Have you been confronted by something that made you stop & think?
        1. That’s always the 1st step in becoming a Christian.
      5. The beggar walked, something happened to him.
        1. But Peter quickly said you’re concentrating on the wrong thing. It’s not the miracle that is important, the vital thing is to which it points!
        2. Like Moses at the bush he was immediately told “take off your shoes. The place you’re standing on is holy ground!”
        3. You need to experience God in a way where you hear, take off your shoes!
      6. Every active Christian is faced with this dilemma - How do you get the attention on Jesus when you’re the one doing the good deed?
        1. When you do a good deed for someone how will they know if it’s from you, or because of what Jesus has done in you?
        2. How can we point it to Jesus w/o it being cheesy?
        3. Cheesy = “No, no, it wasn’t me it was Jesus!”
        4. Non-Cheesy = Pray exactly how you should make Him known.
          1. [Ex: Guy that needed gas I picked up. I had just filled my gas can for mower. He said, “most people won’t stop, but you did!” I explained I thought the Lord told me to stop & help him. Oh, are you a Christian…I used to be…]
      7. Peter helped them understand the true power behind the miracle.
        1. He explained it was not some inherent power in himself or John.
        2. Don’t look to us, look to the Father!
    5. DON’T LOOK TO US; LOOK TO THE FATHER! (13a)
    6. Here we are face to face with the authentic Christian message!
    7. Know your audience – (Ex: me with K-6th grade chapel)
      1. Peter knew his audience & thus doesn’t start with Jesus, but with the Father! [He is the God of Abraham, Isaac, & Jacob]
      2. Kosovo(Muslim, though nominal) – believers start with, “we also believe in one God!” {3 mono-theistic religions: Judaism; Islam; Chrisianity}
      3. Jesus must fit into God’s big picture!
    8. Sometimes in dealing with the Trinity I think it’s like taking 3 beautiful colors of play dough, & we work them so much together until they’re but one color.
    9. DON’T LOOK TO US; LOOK TO JESUS! (13b-16)
    10. Peter doesn’t allow an idle curiosity, or simply an intellectual approach, or to be a spectator, but instead they have to consider their condition, that they’re under judgment, & realizing it affects their soul & their eternal destiny.
    11. (15) On one occasion Michelangelo turned to his fellow artists and said with frustration in his voice, "Why do you keep filling gallery after gallery with endless pictures on the 1 theme of Christ in weakness, Christ on the cross, and most of all, Christ hanging dead?" he asked. "Why do you concentrate on the passing episode as if it were the last work, as if the curtain dropped down there on disaster and defeat? That dreadful scene lasted only a few hours. But to the unending eternity Christ is alive; Christ rules and reigns and triumphs!"
      1. Michelangelo was right. Even though the cross is vitally important because of the redemption Jesus accomplished for us there, we must not emphasize His death to the exclusion of His resurrection victory. We should think of Him now in His glorified state in heaven.
    12. Source of blessing (16) - His name. (This is not a magic word)
      1. It is not just a name, but everything that the named individual is and represents—his work, personality, power, authority and reputation.
    13. Channel of blessing Faith in His name.
      1. Man’s is simply a channel/conduit linked to the Divine supply line.
      2. (www) “Ministry takes place when divine resources meet human needs through loving channels to the Glory of God.” (Warren Wiersbe; On Being a Servant of God; chapter 1.)
      3. So…Reveal the Source; & Be the Channel!
    14. Faith - the confident reliance on God that generates holy actions, as opposed to mere mental acknowledgement of facts and ideas.
    15. IGNORANCE, BUT NOT INNOCENCE! (17,18)
    16. You ca be ignorant but not innocent.
      1. Example: 1 of our pastors found this out coming off the 15 frwy at our exit (Cal Oaks, from Tem.) at the end of the off ramp you must turn into the 1st lane & NOT go around the little white plastic poles into the 2nd or 3rd lane. [He was ignorant of the law, but not innocent because it was a law, & thus received a ticket ]
    17. THINK AGAIN! (19-21)
    18. Peter knew many of them wanted to get in touch with the power of Jesus that they had seen with their own eyes. (see 4:4)
    19. Repent – change one’s mind, think again!
      1. Repent of killing the Messiah, even though you may have been ignorant of what you were doing at the time.
    20. Be converted – turn to God. (The Greek word is in the active voice, implying, as always, “a very definite move on the part of man towards God”)
    21. 3-Fold result of repentance:
      1. [1] Sins blotted out – They wouldn’t have understood the depth of this yet but there would be no more need for an annual day of atonement.
        1. Can you still commemorate the Day of Atonement sure, but understand He has taken away all our sins!
        2. Example: Every year I pay $35 for a Fishing License. But if someone offered to pay for a lifetime license ($575) wouldn’t I be foolish to refuse it?
      2. [2] Times of refreshing.
        1. It will come from the presence of Jesus in your life.
        2. I’m still being refreshed by the Cross of Christ each time I learn more about it, or just bask in its simplicity.
      3. [3] Enjoy 2nd Coming of Christ.
    22. A PROPHET LIKE ME! (22,23)
    23. (22) Was Jesus “a prophet like Moses”? - Yes, and more.
      1. A prophet speaks for God; but Jesus also spoke as God.
      2. He spoke what the Father gave him to say, as did all the prophets; but He and the Father are one.
      3. Moses explained the sacrificial system for atonement; Jesus was the final sacrifice for sin.
    24. (23) Destruction for all who will not believe.
    25. ALL THE FAMILIES! (24,25)
    26. This quote from Gen.12:3 is the Great Commission in its Old Testament version.
      1. Turn to & see notes.
      2. Peter remembered that he was given power as promised (from 1:8) not just to heal lame beggars, but also to be effective witnesses to the uttermost parts of God world.
    27. TO BLESS YOU! (26)
    28. How? In turning away every one of you from your iniquity.
Copyright Statement
These files are the property of Brian Bell.
Text Courtesy of Calvary Chapel of Murrieta. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Acts 3". "Bell's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/acts-3.html. 2017.