Daily Bible Studies
|Series Theme: Acts Studies|
Chapters 2 & 3
Chapters 2 & 3
Chapter: Acts 2
Passage: Acts 2:1-13
A. Find Out:
1. What manifestations occurred on the day of Pentecost? v.2,3
2. What happened to the disciples? v.4
3. Who heard what? v.5,6
4. What was their reaction and why? v.7-11
5. What did this lead them to ask? v.12
6. But what did others say? v.13
Pentecost was the celebration of “first fruits”. How apt therefore that God brings the first fruits of the new church into being, a Spirit filled community. When Jesus had spoken he said they would be “baptised” or immersed in the Spirit. Here there are “filled”. When you immerse a vessel in water it is filled. So it is with the Spirit.
Observe some of the details. First there is HEARD the sound of great POWER coming. Then there is SEEN the sign of HOLINESS coming. When the Holy Spirit comes upon a person He comes with power from on high. Note also that He “enabled” them to speak in other languages. They didn't have to, but as He prompted them they responded, and He then enabled them to do what was naturally impossible. Not only that, the language given was to enable them to witness to and praise the Lord.
Now look at the response in the onlookers (and we assume the disciples spilled out of the house into the area round about). The general response is amazement, for they recognise the impossibility of what is happening. Then there are two reactions. The first is to wonder about the significance of what is happening. There will be those who are seeking and thoughtful. The second response was to mock, and there will always be those, not willing to think, who will mock and deride what is happening.
1. The activity of the Holy Spirit
2. A need to know?
A. Find Out:
1. To whom did Peter speak? v.14
2. In what twofold way did Peter refute the mockery? v.15,16
3. On who had God said He would pour His Spirit? v.17,18
4. What did He say would happen to them? v.17,18
5. What signs had He said would be seen? v.19,20
6. And what further would happen? v.21
Peter, presumably under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (although it doesn't say it) stood up to respond to the mockery that was coming from some of the onlookers. Notice that he doesn't chide them but simply gives a reasoned argument. No, they can't be drunk, it's too early in the morning for that. (Note in passing that they had come together to pray and had presumably come together some time before, so we have the first recorded “early morning prayer meeting” here!).
No, he continues, this is a prophetic fulfilment of what Joel had said. (Note in passing that this fisherman knows his Old Testament and is using it - see also 1:20 ). First, note that Peter says that this is the fulfilment of Joel's prophecy, so we ARE in the “last days” now. They started at Pentecost.
Second, note the characteristics of these days:
1. They are days of the Spirit, when He would come bringing revelation.
2. They will be times of signs and wonders at the end of the last times.
3. They will be times of salvation for all who call on God.
4. They will end with the coming of God for judgement.
Challenges for the church today? Yes, consider below.
1. Holy Spirit revelation?
2. Holy Spirit salvation?
A. Find Out:
1. How did God confirm who Jesus was? v.22
2. How did man and God work together in Jesus' death? v.23
3. But what did God then do? v.24
4. What had God said about His Holy One through David? v.27
5. Why couldn't it have applied to David himself? v.29
6. So what was Peter's conclusion? v.31,32
With amazing understanding, in few words, Peter reveals the mystery of the plan of God. It had been God's intention to have Jesus die on the Cross for our sins, and He achieved that by stirring up wicked men so that they would act against Jesus' goodness and destroy him.
God knows just how far He can nudge and how He can nudge men into bringing about His overall goals. Then when they do what only they can do (for He cannot sin), He does what only He can do (for they cannot undo what they have done, only He can!).
Again Peter calls on the revealed word (Scripture prophecy) to show that this was all God's fore-ordained plan. God makes no mistakes but instead relentlessly pushes ahead with His plans, using the free will of man to His own ends, even our wrong use of it!
If we are ever thinking of building or establishing a new church we must remember He is the Lord and it's His plans that matter, not ours. Once He has decreed a new plant-out we can rest that it is more on His heart to achieve it than it is on ours. He will even take our mistakes and use them for His purposes. What a great God!
1. God's wisdom
2. Living in the Decreed Will of God
A. Find Out:
1. Where is Jesus now? v.33
2. How does Peter describe Jesus? v.36
3. What was the response of the people? v.37
4. What 2 things did Peter tell them to do? v.38a
5. What 2 things would they receive in return? v.38b
6. How many responded that day? v.41
There is an important sequence of events described here.
First, Jesus dies and is then raised from the dead, seen by many.
Second, he ascends to heaven, sits at the Father's right hand, receives from Him and administers what he receives (note in passing that the Son still only does what the Father shows him - John 5:19).
Third, he pours out from heaven the Holy Spirit upon his followers.
Fourth, as a result, things happen and the Gospel is preached and, fifth as a consequence, people respond and are saved.
This reveals Jesus first as Lord, because (under the Father) he is ruler over all things, seated next to his Father in a place of authority. It then reveals him as Christ, the messiah, the anointed one, the one sent with a task to redeem.
When this message is made clear, the people respond and that day thousands did respond. What was required of them was quite clear: they needed to repent (turn back to God totally) and be baptised (make a public declaration of it by symbolically washing their sins away and dying to their old lives - see 1 Peter 3:21 , Rom 6:4, Col 2:12 ).
What they would receive was equally clear: forgiveness and the Holy Spirit. This is the inheritance of a believer in Jesus: their past is dealt with and the present is empowered to ensure the future is different! Hallelujah!
1. Jesus rules!
2. Jesus saves!
A. Find Out:
1. What 4 things did the church do? v.42
2. What feeling was generally felt? v.43a
3. What did the apostles do? v.43b
4. How did the believers live? v.44,45
5. Where did they meet and what did they do? v.46,47a
6. What continued to happen? v.47b
In a time that must be considered equivalent to revival, we have here a snapshot of the church working at its best, when the Lord is powerfully moving and the believers are flowing with what He was doing.
First, note their PURPOSEFUL MEETING. They seemed to be a people who met regularly, and with a purpose: to learn, to worship, to pray and to remember Jesus. As they did this there was an awe among them in the awareness of the presence of the Lord, who led the apostles to perform the miraculous.
Second, note their CARING UNITY. Not only were they wanting to be together as much as possible but they were very much aware of each other's needs and they met each other's needs, even selling their own possessions if necessary to provide for one another. Note that it was “as necessary” and not a forced thing.
Third, note their COMMUNITY EFFECT. They were approved of by the local community, and as they shared about Jesus many more were being saved each day. There would come a time when persecution would come but for now they made the most of the peace that reigned, and saw much fruit. We need to make full use of our time of peace.
A. Find Out:
1. Where were Peter & John going and when? v.1
2. Who did they encounter? v.2
3. What did he ask and what did Peter reply? v.3,4
4. What did Peter say to him? v.6
5. What did he then do and what happened? v.7,8
6. With what result? v.9,10
In v.43 we read that signs and wonders were performed by the apostles and here is the first example of that, given by Luke. Peter and John were presumably going to pray with the other believers who used to gather at the temple. On the way they encounter this cripple. Now Luke doesn't give us insight into what was going on in Peter but it would appear that as Peter and John had their attention caught by this man, the Holy Spirit suddenly released faith in Peter to bring healing. Observe the process that brought about the man's healing.
First Peter calls the man to focus on them. For healing to come faith needs to be focused, our whole attention given to the job in hand!
The next thing that happens is that Peter simply speaks a word of faith, “walk!”. In this he is following in Jesus' footsteps. Again and again he had heard the Master speak single words of command (see Mt. 8:3, 8:13, Mk 4:39, 5:41).
Next Peter reaches out and helps the man up, just like he had seen Jesus do (see Lk 8:54 ). Sometimes the person receiving healing needs that little further encouragement to realise it is possible and is happening. The result? Glory is given to God. Hallelujah!
1. Faith for healing?
2. Focusing faith.
Chapter: Acts 3
Passage: Acts 3:11-16
A. Find Out:
1. What was the response to the miracle? v.11
2. What does Peter imply didn't bring about this miracle? v.12
3. What did he say they had done? v.13b-15a
4. Yet what had God done? v.13a, 15b
5. Why was Peter sure of this? v.15c
6. What had brought this healing? v.16
Word about the miracle quickly spreads and crowds come running to see for themselves. When Peter sees this he realises that this is a perfect opportunity to speak out and plunges straight in. Note the content.
First, he denies that this is any act of man. No it wasn't by their own efforts, or their power or even their goodness that brought this about.
Second, he points them to the Lord. Note how he describes God, as the God of history, that they knew about through the patriarchs.
Third, he focuses on Jesus, on what had happened to him, having been put to death but then being raised from the dead.
Fourth, he takes the opportunity to face them with their sinful unbelief: they had rejected Jesus and had him killed.
Finally, he says it is simply by trusting in Jesus that has brought this miracle about.
We see therefore, that as the Lord prompted Peter to bring a healing, it resulted in many people coming to hear the Gospel message being spoken. In this we see an exact retake of what used to happen to Jesus when he followed this exact same pattern.
1. Content in witness
2. Focus on Jesus
3. Bad News first
Chapter: Acts 3
A. Find Out:
1. How did Peter say they had acted? v.17
2. Yet what had God been doing through them? v.18
3. What did he tell them to do, with what 2 promised effects? v.19,20
4. When did he say Jesus would return? v.21
5. What had Moses & others promised? v.22,24
6. What two response options are given? v.23,26
As Peter continues to preach to the growing crowd, having faced them with the basics of what has happened, he goes on to explain WHY it has happened. Very simply, he says, all that I have been saying about Jesus coming, being rejected, crucified and raised from the dead, was a direct fulfilment of what God said would happen when he spoke through the prophets.
Moses had prophesied about another coming who would be a prophet who they must listen to. Many others had also hinted about this coming One in prophecy. Indeed it is said that there are over 300 prophecies in the Old Testament that refer to the coming Christ.
Having shown them this he, again and again, calls for a response: he requires that they repent (v.19), he warns they will be cut off if they don't listen to Jesus (v.23), and he calls them to turn from their old ways (v.26). Hearing the truth proclaimed will produce a response: either people will reject it and be rejected by God, or they will receive the good news about Jesus and be received by God.
People can never remain the same once they have heard the message. Peter appealed to Old Testament prophecy because these were Jews that he was speaking to, but we also need to ground the message in history and declare that the Gospel is Good News that came in time-space history. It happened! It is true!
1. The Facts of Christ
2. Jesus' second coming
In this second group of 6 studies we have seen :
The Lord fires the starting pistol, the Great Christian Race is on, and the power of God is poured out. It is a mystery how power is poured out on a human being; we simply say the Holy Spirit came. The result is dynamic! No longer can they be content to sit and pray, for their praying spills over and their praise and worship is seen and heard in such a way that a great crowd gathers.
Peter cannot hold back and pours out the truth of what has happened, concluding in a call to repentance, and suddenly there are another three thousand believers! The church is on the way. Then comes healing and another opportunity to preach. This is the pattern and it's the Lord Himself who is inspiring it all. If only we saw the same pattern working in the church today!
1. When the Spirit comes, He brings power
2. That power is to bring revelation and save souls
3. When the power comes we need to grab the opportunity to preach
4. The Lord will provide the power, we're to provide the mouths
Ask the Lord to help you believe these wonderful truths. Then pray for Him to come in power and use you.
PART 3 : "Stop" : The Church Opposed but Triumphant
In this next Part watch for how the religious establishment becomes upset by the activities of Peter and the other apostles, but see also how the church simply responds to that. Then watch for a second bout of opposition and again the attitude of the apostles to that. This early church has a lot to teach us!