Acts 020 – Instantaneous HealingActs 3:1-12 • Dr. Andy Woods • April 26, 2023 • Acts
April 26, 2023
Dr. Andy Woods
Well, good evening, everybody. If you could take your Bibles and open them to Acts Chapter 3- which means we’re not in Acts 2 anymore. I thought thirteen weeks was enough in Acts 2. We’re moving on this evening to Acts Chapter 3. So in this chapter, you’ve got two things happening. You’ve got a miraculous healing, verses 1 through 11. And then you have Peter’s second sermon given in the Book of Acts. Of course, his first sermon, as you know, is back in Acts 2, and that was a pretty good sermon. 3000 people got saved. The church started, as we’ve talked about. And notice, if you will, the miraculous healing. The first part of the chapter, verses 1 through 11, followed by Peter’s second sermon verses 12 through 26. So let’s take a look at this evening, if we could, at this miracle. And if time allows, we’ll be getting into Peter’s second sermon. So you have the occasion for the miracle, Acts 3:1. It says, “Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the ninth hour, the hour of prayer.” So when it talks about the temple, this is talking about the second temple in the nation of Israel. There’s a lot of sort of scholarly activity today called Second Temple Judaism. And basically, they’re talking about the temple that the returnees from the exiles rebuilt. And then that Persian time period was followed by Greece, was followed by Rome. And so that temple was still standing during the time of Jesus Christ.
In fact, it was refurbished by Herod. I think, John 2, I want to say around verse 20 talks about it. So when it talks about Peter and John going to the temple, that’s the temple that we’re dealing with, the second temple that was destined to be destroyed by the Romans in AD 70. So you notice that Peter and John, the leaders of the new church, have no problem going to the temple to worship. Arnold Fruchtenbaum says of this verse, “The occasion of the events of Acts 3 and 4 is given in verse 1: Now, Peter and John were going up into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour. Those two Jewish believers in the Messiahship of Yeshua,” which is the Hebrew name for Jesus. “Peter and John, did not see a contradiction in attending the Temple service. The verb in the Greek text is in the imperfect tense, emphasizing continuous action in the past and reaching into the present. It was a habitual practice for Peter and John to go to the Temple to pray.” So this is very interesting. They didn’t say, let’s get out of here. Let’s stop doing all this Jewish stuff. We got to start some independent churches. We need some stained-glass windows. They didn’t need some steeples. They didn’t do any of that. They just kept, even though they were believers in Jesus, they kept meeting in the temple because they didn’t see a contradiction between being a believer in Jesus and what Judaism was pointing to.
In fact, they saw Jesus as the fulfillment of Israel. Jesus is the fulfillment of Judaism. You know, they never saw any discrepancy between believing in Christ and being a Hebrew, in other words. Because a lot of people will do that to you. They’ll say, “Well, what religion are you?” And I usually say, Well, I don’t believe in religion. Religion is man’s way to get up to God. Christianity, God reaches down to man, and that usually ends the conversation because it scares them to death that I said something like that. But when it comes around that I’m a Christian, they’ll say- and if they’re Jewish- they’ll say something like this, Oh, well, I’m Jewish. Oh, you’re a Christian? Well, I’m Jewish. And my reaction is, Well, fantastic. Jesus was Jewish, too. In fact, Jesus is the fulfillment of Judaism, Jewishness, being a Hebrew. So Jews today that don’t know Jesus Christ, I think it’s fair to call them incomplete Jews because they’re missing the point that all of the Old Testament is pointing to Jesus Christ. So Peter and John never had any ambition to start some kind of independent movement of Christianity separated from the institutions of Judaism. They saw Jesus as the fulfillment of everything that God had said and done through the nation of Israel.
So we made this point, you might recall back in Acts 2:46, where it says of the early church, every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They took bread in their homes and they ate together with glad and sincere heart. So the early church is meeting in the temple. Here’s Peter and John at the time of prayer, going to the temple. And they don’t see any disharmony between belief in Yeshua and continuing on as a Jewish person. It says here that they went to the temple at the ninth hour. I think that that would be about 3:00 in the afternoon if I have that right. It was the time of the daily sacrifice. And they habitually went to the temple- end of verse 3- to pray. That’s one of the things that you see about the early church is they were very strong believers in prayer. When you go back to Acts 2:42 of the early church, it says, “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” So it’s kind of interesting that they’re not sitting around, you know, kind of mapping out their strategy for world evangelization. They’re not running statistics. How can we get our church to grow? They’re not coming up with some kind of marketing plan. They’re just giving themselves to prayer and waiting upon God. So it’s at this visit to the temple which they habitually done, that they encounter this man who was a lame man.
He had some kind of disability from birth. So notice, if you will, verse 2. It says, “And a man who had been lame from his mother’s womb was being carried along, whom they used to set down every day at the temple gate which is called the Beautiful gate-” And they set him down, the folks that went to worship set him down. It says there at the end of verse 2, “in order to beg alms of those who were entering the temple.” So this was a man who had a disability. And because he had a disability, the only way he had to make a living- a livelihood was to just sit. I mean, he couldn’t position himself because of this disability. He had to be carried. But he had his carriers set him down, you know, as the great throng of people would go into the temple, leave the temple. And he was just sort of there begging, asking for money and that kind of thing. The Book of Acts, 4:22, gives us the age of this man. It says in chapter 4, verse 22, for the man who was miraculously healed was over forty years old. So he had been in this condition his entire life. He didn’t know anything different. And he had been in this condition for forty years from birth.
His age is just a little over forty years. This whole situation is very, very similar to what you read in John 5:1-9. During the Ministry of Jesus, there was a man there at the Pool of Bethesda. He was a paralytic and he had been a paralytic for thirty-eight years. And it talks about how “an angel of the Lord went down at a certain seasons into the pool-” the pool of Bethesda- “and stirred up the water; whoever then first, after the stirring up of the water-” or whoever arrived first after the stirring up of the water- “and stepped in was made well from whatever disease with which he was afflicted.” You know, I’m of the persuasion that that was just some kind of tradition. I don’t know if it was true or not, but that’s what the people believed. An angel would stir the water and the first one in gets healed. And that’s a problem if you’re paralytic, right? You can’t move very fast. And it says John 5:6, “Jesus, upon seeing the man lying there, knowing that he had already been in that condition for a long time, said to him, ‘Do you want to get well?’ The sick man answered, ‘Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred, but while I am coming, another steps down before me.'” So he was a hostage to this sort of cruel tradition.
The first one into the pool gets healed. And obviously a paralytic can never be the first one into the pool. Jesus, John 5:8, said to him, “Get up, pick up your pallet and walk.” Verse 9 says, “Immediately-” That’s an important word- “the man became well, and picked up his pallet and began to walk.” John’s gospel portrays the seven signs of Jesus. The first was the Changing the water into wine at Cana of Galilee. The last was the raising of Lazarus from the dead and sandwiched in between those two, John 2 and John 11, are five or so other signs that Jesus did. And here we’re looking at sign number three. So Jesus, when He was on the earth, took pity upon people in pitiable conditions. Now, the reason I bring up this story about Christ relative to the early church is, is the thing to understand is that Jesus now has ascended back to the Father’s right hand, and He is continuing His ministry. He’s continuing His ministry from the Father’s right hand through the church, through the apostles, through Peter and John. And the point that’s going to be made here is that this miracle that is about to take place is going to come from the hand of God. That was Peter’s point back in Acts chapter 2 when the apostles began speaking in languages, known languages that they have never learned. Some in the crowd began to say, These people are drunk.
And Peter’s whole point in his sermon in Acts chapter 2 is they’re not drunk. This is the hand of God. Jesus was a miracle worker when He was in your midst. And the miracles that Jesus did while He was in your midst, He is continuing to do now that He is ascended. He’s doing those miracles through the apostles, through the church. He’s just doing it as the head of the church at the Father’s right hand. You’ll notice this expression here, “the Beautiful gate.” I wish I had had a little bit more time to research that. But you can just jot down Nicanor’s gate. N-I-C-A-N-O-R-apostrophe-S. Nicanor’s gate. These were actually, as we’re going to see, real gates around the city of Jerusalem. That’s what people believe the beautiful gate was. There’s going to be a reference a little bit later in this story to Solomon’s Portico. So the point that I want to make is that Luke, who is a first rate historian, who recorded all of these events by saying Beautiful Gate, Solomon’s Portico, these kinds of things, he wants us to understand that this is real history. These are events that really happened. The story in John 5 took place at the pool of Bethesda. And they think they know where the pool of Bethesda was. We have actually been there on one of our trips to Israel.
It’s an actual real place near the Temple Mount area in the city of Jerusalem. So when you’re reading the Bible, you’re not reading, as I was talking to a brother a little bit earlier, not just a bunch of stories. You’re reading actual history. Actual archeology. Actual places that have been discovered. And so Luke wants us to understand that the miracles that happened are just as real as those places of geography. You go down to verse 3 and the man asks for money. Verse 3, “When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he-” That’s this man with this disability from his mother’s womb- “he began asking to receive alms.” That was his- That’s what he knew to do. This is how he survived. This is how he supported himself. And this now transitions into the healing of this man, verses 4 through 7, where he’s given a command. “But Peter, along with John, fixed his gaze on him and said, ‘Look at us!'” So he’s giving him a command. You know, he’s not responding as we’re going to see to his immediate petition for finances. I mean, you can give someone money and fix their problem for 24 hours or you can fix their body and fix their problem permanently. And so, they’re giving this man something far bigger than what he had even asked for or hoped for or probably even thought was possible. So keep that in mind when the Lord denies a prayer request of yours.
It could be that He has a much bigger answer in mind. Maybe He’s going to give you an answer that’s going to deal with the root of the problem rather than just the symptom of the problem. And then you look there at verse 5 and it says, “And he-” that’s this this lame man- “he began to give them his attention, expecting to receive something from them.” Oh, you want me to look at you because you’re going to give me money or finances. But he’s about to receive something a lot bigger than that, verse 6. “But Peter said, ‘I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have, I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth,” or “of Jesus Christ the Nazarene-” and he gives them a command- “walk!” So he takes this man and he basically changes his focus away from money to a healing. Now, it is kind of interesting here. It says, “But Peter said, ‘I do not possess silver and gold.” I think Peter did possess silver and gold. The reason I think Peter did possess silver and gold is because when you go back to Acts 2:44-45, the church was sharing all things in common. It says back in Acts 2:44-45 and all the believers were together and had all things in common; and they would sell their property and possessions and share them to the extent that anyone had need.
So apparently the church, and I’m thinking Peter is the leader, had money of some kind. So when Peter says silver and gold, I have none. I think perhaps what he could be saying is- he’s not saying I don’t have silver and gold. He’s just saying that silver and gold is not for you. Because Jesus, who is performing this miracle from the Father’s right hand, knows your greater need or your greatest need. And your greatest need is not more finances. Your greatest need is a healthy body whereby you can provide for yourself. Also, another possible understanding of this is when Peter says silver and gold I do not possess, maybe what Peter is saying is the church owns the money, but not me. And if that’s what Peter is saying, it makes Peter and John very different than Judas, who was an embezzler, remember? John 12:4-6 says, “But Judas Iscariot, one of His disciples, who intended to betray Him, said, ‘Why was this perfume not sold for 300 denarii and [the proceeds] given to the poor people?'” So when one of the sisters, I believe it was Mary, if I’m not mistaken, in John 12, begins to break that expensive alabaster and pour oil on Christ to worship Him, that upset Judas. And he kind of masqueraded it as we could have sold that, and it could be given to the poor.
But it goes on there in John 12:6 and it says, Now he said this not because he cared about the poor. Really important to understand. Not everybody who says they care about the poor really cares about the poor. But because he was a thief, as he kept the money box, he used to steal from what was put into it. So he was upset because this could be sold. And he’d have more money in the treasury to steal from. So this is why Judas had his own sort of personal loot. The fact that Peter and John say silver and gold, I have none, you know, shows us the integrity of Peter and John. The church’s money is the church’s. They weren’t in the business of embezzling funds like Judas had been in. And that’s important to understand because here at Sugar Land Bible Church, we’re getting ready to appoint the next set of deacons. The deacons have to handle money. And when the requirements for a deacon are laid out in First Timothy 3:8-13, it’s very clear that not just an elder but a deacon’s character must be free from the love of money. Because if his character is not free from the love of money, he’s going to be tempted to embezzle God’s money for personal reasons. So keep that in mind when you vote for deacons or nominate people for Deacon, it’s really a character issue.
Can their character be trusted when they’re handling vast quantities of money? So Peter and John, apparently. Their character was pure enough where they weren’t personally embezzling like Judas. That’s one possible understanding of silver and gold, I have none. Another possible understanding is we as leaders of the church have money. But that money is not for you because money is not going to permanently solve your problem. Money is going to temporarily solve your problem, but it’s not going to personally solve your problem. So with all of that being said, here comes the healing in verse 7. “And seizing him by the right hand, he raised him up; and immediately-” see that word immediately? That is the same word that was used back in John 5:8-9. Actually, verse 9, the man at the pool of Bethesda, the paralytic for 38 years, John 5:9, says, “Immediately the man became well, and picked up his pallet and walked.” The same kind of thing is happening here. You’ll notice the word immediately at the end there of verse 7. “And seizing him by the right hand, he raised him up; and immediately his feet and his ankles were strengthened.” And this is how you can recognize a authentic miracle of God. When an authentic miracle of God occurs, it happens instantaneously. There’s none of this kind of stuff that you see on TV where, you know, the evangelist told me to go see my doctor, and I went to the doctor and I got a negative report.
But I went back later and the report was gradually better and then it got a little better. And, you know, praise the Lord. It’s a miracle. Not that God can’t work through doctors, but what we’re talking about here is authentic, divine miracles at the dawn of the church age. And they have this quality of instantaneous, immediate, where everybody in the vicinity knows that this has to be of God because it happens so fast. You know, it happened so quickly. This is what an authentic miracle looks like. It says, “immediately his feet and his ankles were strengthened.” Now, does anybody remember Luke, who wrote these words, what his occupation was? His profession? A doctor. Colossians 4:14 calls Luke the beloved physician. And so when you understand that, you understand the things that Luke is focused on. Feet and ankles strengthening instantaneously. Luke would understand that being a physician or being a being a doctor. Arnold Fruchtenbaum here in this quote is talking about a legend. So we’re not completely sure if it happened. But he says this, “There is a legend that has circulated for years about a discussion between Pope Innocent II and Thomas Aquinas. While counting a large sum of money,” a big offering came into the Roman Catholic Church, “the Pope said [to Aquinas], ‘You see, Thomas, the church can no longer say, ‘Silver and gold have I none,'” I mean, look at the money we’re bringing in here. Isn’t it great that we’ve evolved beyond the Peter and John days? We don’t have to say “silver and gold I have none.” And Thomas Aquinas gives his classic answer. “Thomas answered, ‘That is true, Holy Father, but neither can she still say, ‘Arise and walk.'” In other words, we’ve become so prosperous that we don’t even need God anymore. And when you become so prosperous, you don’t need God anymore. What’s left behind is the authority of God. The power of God. And we have to watch that very carefully because churches can get like that. You know, if you want an example of it, it’s the church at Laodicea. Where they’re having church in the Book of Revelation chapter 3. And Jesus is outside the door of the church knocking, seeking admittance. He says of the church at Laodicea. By the way, Laodicea is a compound word. Two words making up one word. Laos, people and dikē, to rule. It literally means the people ruling. And Jesus, critiquing the church at Laodicea, explains that you have wealth to such an extent that you’re saying to yourself, we have need of nothing. But really, you’re wretched, poor, miserable, blind and naked. In other words, they were having Christianity without Christ. Because they didn’t need Christ, because they were so wealthy. And this is what I call the curse of prosperity.
Everybody talks today about the blessings of prosperity, but there’s an actual curse associated with it. The wealthy have a very difficult time with Jesus because the wealthy are used to buying their way out of their problems. And if you have the resources necessary to buy your way out of your problems, you really don’t have much of a walk with the Lord and you haven’t cultivated dependency upon Him. That’s why Jesus says it’s hard for the rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. And that’s what this sort of quote here, this legend, assuming this happened between Thomas Aquinas and Pope Innocent II. That’s to me what it communicates. Yeah, we’ve got a lot of money now in Roman Catholicism, but we don’t have the power anymore to tell people to arise and walk. In other words, we’ve exchanged prosperity for power. Divine power that comes from God. So I guess if I had a choice between the two, would I rather be poor and dependent upon the Lord and a usable instrument? Or would I rather be so rich, you know, that I’m independent from God. I guess I’d rather be poor and dependent on Him than the other way around. I don’t want to end up like Laodicea. That’s why I really like what Agar says. I think it’s Proverbs 30. In the Proverbs, he said, Lord, Don’t make me so poor that I have to steal.
But at the same time, don’t make me so rich that I forget about You. I want to be right there in the middle. And that’s a that’s a pretty powerful prayer request. So at any rate, this man now receives his healing. And what follows in verses 8 through 11 are three results of this obvious miracle that just happened. The first result is in verse 8. The second result is in verses 9 and 10. And the third result is in verse 11. Notice, first of all, the reaction of the man healed, himself. It says verse 8, “With a leap he stood upright and began to walk.” Now, this is a guy that hadn’t walked for his whole life, forty years. “With a leap he stood upright and began to walk; and he entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God.” So this man, when he started to praise God, is thankful to God for what God gave him. Not everybody that gets healed in the Bible goes back and thanks Jesus. Jesus actually told a whole story about this in Luke 17:11-19. It says, “While he was on the way to Jerusalem, He was passing between Samaria and Galilee. As He entered a village, ten men with leprosy who stood at a distance met Him; and they raised their voices, saying, ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!’ When He saw them, He said to them, ‘Go and show yourselves to the priest.’ And as they were going, they were cleansed.”
An immediate miracle. “Now, one of them, when he saw that he had been healed, turned back, glorifying God with a loud voice, and he fell on his face at His feet, giving thanks…And he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus responded and said, ‘Were there not ten cleansed? But the nine- where are they? Was no one found who returned to give glory to God, except this foreigner?'” The Samaritan. “And He said to him, ‘Stand up and go; your faith has made you well.'” So ten lepers get a cleansing, an immediate miracle, and only one- in this case, he wasn’t even Jewish or Hebrew. He was a Samaritan, which is kind of a hybrid race. Only the Samaritan went back and thank the Lord for what he had received. So we can get like that very easily. We ask God for something. We ask God for deliverance. We ask God for a miracle. We ask God for guidance, and then we receive it. And then we’re so busy moving on to our next issue or our next problem that we don’t take time to go back and thank the Lord for what we’ve received. So this this man who received this healing, he was not like the nine. He was like the one because it says there in verse 8, he was he was praising God.
So that’s a good example for us. And then the second reaction is you see the reaction of the people verses 9 and 10. See, you notice that when the miracles of God authentically take place, they’re immediate. They’re out in the open. Everybody could see it. It’s not one of these, you know, he said, she said things. Yes, a miracle happened. No, it didn’t. There’s no dissension about it. There’s no dispute about it. It’s obvious. In fact, when Jesus performed miracles in front of the Pharisees, like casting out demons and things of that nature and healing people, the Pharisees couldn’t- Matthew chapter 12- dispute the Miracles. They couldn’t say, Well, that never happened- because everybody saw it. It did happen. So the only thing left for the Pharisees to do was to attribute the miracle to- who? -to the devil. I mean, if they could explain it away, they wouldn’t have to resort to that. But they couldn’t explain it away. It happened. It was in the open. Everybody saw it. And so the Pharisees had to come up with another excuse. Well, you obviously did that through Satan’s power. Which is the turning point in the nation of Israel and God’s dealings with that generation. The offer of the kingdom is withdrawn at that point, Matthew chapter 12, because of the obvious nature of the miracle. And this is obvious where there’s this reaction of the people.
Verse 9, “And all the people saw him-” because he positioned himself in such a way that he was amongst the crowd or within the crowd, because the crowd was going back and forth from the temple. Asking them for money is how he made his living. So there’s an obvious crowd of people around. “And all the people saw him walking and praising God.” So he’s not one of these guys that just thanks God privately. He thanks God publicly. Like sometimes we get blessed and we just kind of want to whisper, you know, Lord, thank you for blessing me. Careful, someone might hear me. I’ll just talk under my breath. Lord, Lord, thank you for blessing me. Where we ought to say publicly, even if people ridicule us. Hey, I have that car because the Lord blessed me. I have that house because the Lord blessed me. I got a favorable health report because the Lord blessed me. I got that job because the Lord blessed me. I mean, why are we so secretive about everything? I mean, if you- if we believe the Lord helped us, why not- I mean, why hoard the blessing to ourselves? Why not let other people know about it? Well, I think we’re a little bit like that because they might think we’re weird. They might think we’re a little off. Or maybe we want to take a little credit for the new job. Yeah, the Lord helped me. But, you know, I do have a pretty good resume kind of thing, instead of giving the Lord the glory that He deserves.
I mean, let’s be vocal about it. “And all the people saw him walking and praising God.” Verse ten, “and they were taking note of him as being the one who used to sit at the beautiful gate of the temple to beg alms, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.” So there’s like this atmosphere now within the temple of just amazement. I think that same atmosphere was taking place in the early church meeting in the prior chapter where it talks about miracles happening. And it says in Acts 2:43, “Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles.” So we have the reaction of the beggar. The reaction of the people. And then the people start to gather, verse 11 of Acts chapter 3, “While he was clinging to Peter and John,” Because they did say to him earlier, Take my hand, didn’t they? So he’s still clinging. “While he was clinging to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them at the so-called Portico of Solomon,” who reigned? -Solomon, a thousand years earlier. Solomon built the first temple, which was destroyed by the Babylonians. Then came captivity. When they came out of the captivity under Persia, they rebuilt the temple. That’s what the Book of Ezra is about.
That’s what the prophecies of Haggai and Zechariah- Zechariah that we’ve studied at this church revolve around that time period. That’s the temple that was refurbished by Herod. John 2:20. That’s the temple that was standing during the time of Christ. It’s the temple that Jesus went into as a child, as at the age of twelve, confounding the religious leaders with His wisdom. It’s the temple that Satan took Jesus to the pinnacle of and said, Throw Yourself off. It’s the temple that all of the disciples were calling attention to because of its beauty. And yet Jesus says it’s going to be destroyed stone by stone because of what the Romans are going to do in A.D. 70. That’s the second Temple Judaism that we’re speaking of here. So looking again at verse 11, it says, “While he was clinging to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them at the so-called portico of Solomon, full of amazement.” Arnold Fruchtenbaum says of the Portico of Solomon, “When the people saw this, they recognized who he was and began running together to a place known as Solomon’s Porch, which was located at the eastern end of the Court of the Gentiles.” And I’ve had a chance to visit that as well. “It was called Solomon’s Porch because it was built on the remains of the ancient foundation of the Solomonic temple.” You know, beautiful gate, Solomon’s Portico. Luke, a first-rate historian, gives us all this information because he wants us to understand that this is not Veggie Tales and Jack and the Beanstalk.
This is history that really happened. And the miracle that just happened to this man is just as real as these historical sites. So now that this great throng of people are around in a state of awe, maybe even in a state of expectation, this now provides the opportunity for Peter’s second sermon. You remember his first sermon in the book of Acts chapter 2. When you go back to verses 5 through 13, you had all of these people that were visiting on the day of Pentecost. In fact, all of their places of origin are given there. I think I said verses 5 through 13. Really verses 9 through 13. That’s why Peter had an audience in Acts 2. Why does Peter have an audience in Acts 3? Because the crowd just gravitates to what God has done with this miracle. So the miracle then, is an opportunity for a proclamation. So now comes verses 12 through 26. Peter’s second sermon. And the sermon has two parts. The first part is in verses 12 through 18, and the second part is in verses 19 through 26. What Peter says in Part one is, Israel rejected her Messiah. Not that individual Jews can’t be saved in the church age. He’s not dealing with that subject. We know individual Jews can get saved in the church age.
His first sermon resulted in 3000 conversions. What he’s saying is nationally, Israel had it wrong. The leaders were wrong in attributing Christ’s miracles to Satan. The leaders were wrong in illegally rushing Jesus through the judicial system to get Him handed over to the Romans, to get Him killed as fast as possible. The whole nation had it wrong. What they should have done is receive Him as their Messiah and they didn’t. And so Peter explains that in verses 12 through 18. Verses 12 through 18 is sort of the circumstances that Israel is in nationally in terms of blindness, having rejected what was obvious in front of them. Their own king, who they never enthroned as king. Now, if Peter was teaching replacement theology, which is the idea that God is through with Israel, as most churches by way of denominational affiliation teach, as most Christians by way of denominational affiliation believe. Most Christians are sitting in churches that teach replacement theology and they may not even know that’s what they’re being taught. But they’re basically being taught what’s called supersessionism. Supersessionism is a heresy. And I call it a heresy because it’s an attack on God’s character. God can’t keep His promises unfulfilled as of now to Israel. And if He can’t keep his word to the Jew, how in the world can you trust Him to keep His word to you? There’s no promise in this book that makes any sense to us, it’s not even worth the paper it’s written on if God doesn’t have a plan in mind to keep His word to Israel.
So Supersessionism is the idea that the church has superseded Israel. It’s a heresy really codified formally by Augustine in the fourth century in his book The City of God, which is the classic treatment on Amillennialism. There is no kingdom for Israel because the church has taken Israel’s place. And so all of the kingdom promises for Israel are sort of allegorized to make it sound like the church is the main act now. The church is the new Israel. All of Israel’s promises have been transferred to the church, allegorically. Supersessionism. Replacement Theology. Amillennialism. Augustinian Amillennialism. And if Peter had been teaching replacement theology, he would have left off verses 19 through 26, the second part of the sermon. Because after he explains that first century Israel rejected her Messiah, verses 12 through 18, he then explains verses 19 through 26, what Israel has to do to make it right. So the first part of the sermon is Israel’s rejection. The second part of the sermon is Israel’s responsibility. Israel has to do something for the kingdom to come. And what she has to do, Acts 3:19 ,is repent. She must nationally change her mind about who Jesus is. And only when that happens will the times of refreshing and restoration come to the earth.
You say, Well, what are the times of refreshing and restoration? That’s the kingdom. That’s what Jesus was talking about in Matthew 19:28, speaking to his disciples when He said at the regeneration of all things. You who have followed me will sit on twelve thrones judging the or governing the twelve tribes of Israel. The regeneration of all things is the kingdom. It’s the times of restoration and refreshing that are spoken of, oh, around verse 19, 20 and 21. And the times of refreshment, regeneration of all things, restoration, what we call the 1000-year kingdom, will not come to planet Earth. It doesn’t matter how successful the church is in fulfilling the Great Commission. The times of refreshment, restoration of all things, regeneration of all things will not come to planet Earth until national Israel repents of her sin of rejecting Jesus Christ nationally in the first century. So all of these ministries, all of these groups that are running around today saying we’re building the kingdom, we’re bringing in the kingdom, we’re advancing the kingdom- that whole mindset- where does it come from? It comes from Augustinian Amillennialism. They’re being influenced by that. Dr. Toussaint, in class at Dallas Seminary, said it in a way that I don’t think I will ever forget. He said, Look, the whole world could get saved. But if tiny Israel remains in unbelief, the Kingdom of God cannot come to planet Earth. Conversely, the whole world can reject Jesus.
And if tiny Israel nationally accepts Jesus as Savior, then the kingdom comes. So the whole Kingdom program, whether it comes to the Earth or not, is riding on Israel’s response to a tragedy that she committed back in the first century, rejecting her Messiah. And so Peter is articulating the responsibility of future Israel to change her mind about what first century Israel did. Then the kingdom will come. So first, he explains Israel’s rejection of her Messiah, 12 through 18. Then he explains Israel’s responsibility in terms of accepting her Messiah so that the times of refreshing, the restoration of all things, can come to the Earth. Notice as we start here, just very briefly, the first part of the sermon. Let’s just do verse 12 and then we’ll call it an evening. It’s the occasion of the sermon. It says when Peter saw this, that’s this big crowd of people. “he replied to the people, ‘Men of Israel, Why are you amazed at this, or why do you gaze at us, as if by our own power or piety we had made him walk.'” So it’s almost like this crowd is crediting Peter and John for it. And Peter says, Well, what are you so fascinated with us for? It wasn’t my piety, my spirituality, my personal holiness, my personal walk with God that made this man walk. It wasn’t my power that made this man walk. It was the power of God.
So Peter here is asking two questions deflecting attention away from himself, to God. And what a great habit to get into. Paul the Apostle is going to heal a man in Lystra in Acts 14. And it says there Acts 14:11, “When the crowd saw that what Paul had done, they raised their voices, saying in the Lycaonian language, ‘The gods have become like men and have come down to us.’ And they began calling Barnabas, Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, [because] he was the chief speaker.” Acts 14:14, “But when the Apostles Barnabas and Paul heard about it, they tore their robes and rushed out in the crowd, crying out and saying, ‘Men, why are you doing these things? We are also men of the same nature as you, preaching the gospel to you to turn you from these useless living things to the living God who made the heavens and the earth and the sea and everything that is in them.'” In other words, don’t worship us, worship God who did the miracle. Deflection. John the Apostle in the Book of Revelation was so enthralled by the vision that he had seen, presumably coming to him from God through an angel. It says in Revelation 19:10. “Then I-” That’s John- “fell at his feet to worship him. But he-” that’s the angel “-said to me, ‘Do not do that; I am a fellow servant of yours and your brothers and sisters who hold to the testimony of Jesus; worship God.'” And so John learned his lesson, right? No, he didn’t, because a few chapters later he does the same thing. Exact same thing. Revelation 22:8-9. “I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed me these things. But he-” that’s the angel- “said to me, ‘Do not do that. I am a fellow servant of yours and of your brethren the prophets and of those who [need] the words of this book. Worship God.'” Speaking of elder selection, Paul in First Timothy 3, I think it’s verse 3 says, Do not put a novice into a position of authority in the church. Lest he fall into the condemnation of the devil. What is the condemnation of the devil? It’s in Ezekiel 28 and Isaiah 14. It’s Satan attracting some of the glory to himself. Just a little bit off the top. God gets most of it, but I get a little credit. And we know how that ended for him- Right? First comes pride, then comes a fall. That’s why Satan fell, because of his pride. And someone that’s a new Christian, when they’re appointed to some sort of office within the church, they’re likely to take credit for the work of God. And they’ll fall into the same condemnation of the devil because the church laid hands too hastily. Yeah, but, Pastor, we’ve got a bunch of slots we got to fill.
I understand that. But the Bible says do not lay hands too hastily. Make sure the person that you’re laying hands on has the right character to understand the condemnation of Satan. Because the new convert thinks, I’m responsible for anything good happening in this church. And woe to the man or to the woman or anyone for that matter, that starts to think that way. They’re headed for the condemnation of Satan. This is what Peter and John are dealing with here. All these people are just thrilled with this miracle, as if Peter and John did the miracle. And Peter and John very beautifully deflect attention away from themselves and back to God. Daniel 5:23 of Belshazzar. When confronted Belshazzar, it was said of him. God speaking through Daniel, “…But the God in whose hand are your life- breath and all your ways, you have not glorified.” This is the end of- you remember- the handwriting on the wall. The end of Belshazzar’s kingdom. Why did God take the kingdom away from Belshazzar? Why was he slain that very night? Why did the Persians overthrow the Babylonians just like the handwriting on the wall said? Because he did not glorify God. Even though his very next breath was dependent upon God. You know, just going to the knee doctor, it’s enough to just make you want to just praise the Lord.
When they take out that complicated model of what a knee looks like, and they tell you that: this little part here prevents you from falling over. If this little part here, the patella is not working, you’re just going to fall over. And you say to yourself, How can an atheist look at that, just the knee- I mean, forget the eye and the DNA. And how can an atheist look at that and say God doesn’t exist? I just don’t get it. I don’t understand it. The human body is so intricately designed. You cannot have that without a designer. That’s obvious. And yet people will study these models and these x-rays and this patella, or whatever it is, their whole lives and they won’t glorify God when their very next breath is dependent upon God? And that’s why God said, you’re done, Belshazzar. And so you see Peter and John here. you see Paul later on in the Book of Acts, glorifying God. It’s kind of funny. John the Apostle, at the very end of First John says, Little children keep yourselves from idols. And yet he himself became an idolater twice. Because he worshiped the angel instead of the God who made the angel twice at the end of the Book of Revelation.
So when God starts to use you, people are going to come up to you and say, You’re great. You’ve changed my whole life. Now, not everybody says that. The people that say other things, you wish they would just keep their comments to themselves. But they’ll heap all this praise on you. Oh, you’re wonderful. And human nature is such that we say, You know, I realize God used my sermon, but I was up pretty late working on that and I put my effort into it. The best approach is just to say, Praise the Lord. Because that way you’re just attracting attention back to where it belongs and you’re not putting yourself under the condemnation of Lucifer. So read through this sermon for next time and we’ll pick it up next week.