Wednesday, December 30, 2009



1Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the ninth hour, the hour of prayer. 2And 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 gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, in order to beg alms of those who were entering the temple. 3When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he began asking to receive alms. 4But Peter, along with John, fixed his gaze on him and said, "Look at us!" 5And he began to give them his attention, expecting to receive something from them. 6But Peter said, "I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene-walk!" 7And seizing him by the right hand, he raised him up; and immediately his feet and his ankles were strengthened. 8With a leap he stood upright and began to walk; and he entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God.

Like most of us, this man who had been lame from birth, was confused about what he really needed. He wanted something from them-money-that was not going to bring healing to his core problem. He was willing to "settle" for something less than he needed. Yet God had a different idea as He always does. The Lord used Peter and John to bring real healing to his problem.

9And all the people saw him walking and praising God; 10and 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.

NOTE when all the people saw the lame man walking and praising God, they recognized him as being the same man who had sat at this gate, begging for years! They were in shock over it all.

Even though the people were impressed with what had happened through Peter and John, Peter made it clear that this was not done by their own man-made power: 11While he was clinging to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them at the so-called portico of Solomon, full of amazement. 12But when Peter saw this, 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?

Then Peter clearly declares that this healing occurred by faith in the NAME of Jesus, 16And on the basis of faith in His name, it is the name of Jesus which has strengthened this man whom you see and know; and the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect health in the presence of you all.

NOTE that the power for this miraculous healing came through the NAME OF JESUS. I like the song we sing: Jesus, Jesus, Jesus;There's just something about that name! Master, Savior, Jesus, Like the fragrance after the rain; Jesus, Jesus, Jesus; Let all heaven and earth proclaim; Kings and kingdoms will all pass away, But there's something about that name!

There is something about that name and we're going to see the power of the name of Jesus unfold throughout this book study. In the meantime, do everything you can to embrace the teachings and principles of Jesus. His name will become more real and dynamic to you as we walk through this book.



The disciples of Jesus waited in Jerusalem as they were directed to do. They were waiting for the Spirit to come upon them to give them power for bearing witness of Jesus throughout the world. Well, the Spirit showed up alright with an undeniable presence! He showed up with a loud, rushing wind and tongues of fire appeared to them and the disciples began speaking in other languages. It caused such a stir that a great crowd gathered to see what was going on. Then, they not only saw, but they heard the disciples speaking in the many languages of the people gathered there. You see, this was the first world-wide witnessing event, all set up by God to bear witness to the business "executives" of the world. From that event the message of Jesus spread naturally through these business leaders of the world.

When the disciples were accused of being drunk so early in the morning, Peter stood up and articulately presented the message of Jesus to the crowd. He said, 22"Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know" Peter points out the miracles Jesus performed that authenticated Him as from God and notes that his audience were eye- witnesses of these works.

23"this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. 24"But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power." He tells them, "You effectively put Jesus to death, BUT GOD RAISED HIM UP AGAIN, putting an end to the stress of death."

Peter then sums up his message with: 36"Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ-this Jesus whom you crucified." 37Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Brethren, what shall we do?" Their response was amazing. They were persuaded by Peter's explanation of the day's event and asked, "What shall we do?"

Now NOTE the results of this powerful event and Peter's message: 41So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls.

NOTE the 12 evidences of their faith in Jesus: 42They were continually devoting themselves to the (1) apostles' teaching and to (2) fellowship, to the (3) breaking of bread and to (4) prayer. 43Everyone kept (5) feeling a sense of awe (feeling the presence of God among them); and (6) many wonders and signs (there was evidence of things that only God could do among them and they noticed the "God-things" among them) were taking place through the apostles. 44And (7) all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; 45and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need (they were sensitive to the needs of one another and operated as a family, taking care of each other). 46 (8) Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple (they were doing life together, day-in and day-out), and (9)breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart (they enjoyed themselves thoroughly as they learned to hang out together for dinners and parties in their homes), 47 (10) praising God (they were careful to give God the credit for what was going on and were grateful to Him) and (11) having favor with all the people (this was a remarkable effect where the masses of people were attracted to the light and the love of the fellowship they observed) (12) and the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.

Now, NOTE that the Lord added others to their fellowship daily. But that's not the insight here. Here's the key. How were these people added to the fellowship daily?

FIRST-There was no evangelistic program within the fellowship with training sessions and a variety of witnessing tools.

SECOND-The only thing that was done by the believers was to practice being together, learning to love one another.

THIRD-It was the Lord Who added others to the fellowship and only the Lord is able to do so. Any other "addition" is filled with hype and is, at best, man-made.

Again, we are faced with the most basic truth of all. ONLY GOD CHANGES LIVES AND BRINGS PEOPLE INTO HIS FELLOWSHIP. This is why we must continue to hang out with Jesus and His people!



For the next 28 days (7 days a week) I want to move back through the book of Acts. I suggest that you read the full chapter from whatever version each day and I will comment on a paragraph that seems to stand out to me out of that chapter. PASS IT ON TO FRIENDS AND FAMILY.

Don't be distracted away from this dynamic book of Acts. In a very real sense it's the 5th Gospel, specifically a continuation of the Gospel of Luke. I've always heard of Acts being a transitional book, but I see it differently in this season of my life. You've probably heard Acts called the "Acts of the Apostles", but I find it helpful to refer to Acts as the "Acts of Jesus." You see, although Jesus ascended into heaven, He is still quite active in our lives individually and as we gather in fellowship with one another. We grossly miss the point of the experience of walking with Jesus, if we don't see it this way.

Today in ACTS 1 check out verses 6-8: 6So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, "Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?" 7He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; 8but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth."

First NOTE their question. It's a little like "Jesus, are you going to unfold life and the world the way we've been taught and believed?" I've spent entirely too much time trying to figure out how God is going to unfold the world and bring it to some glorious conclusion. I've used the "signs of the times" to stir up people's interests and have been quite successful doing it. However, Jesus seems to relieve us of that knowledge or responsibility to know these things and points us to something far more important and strategic.

And He uses a big "BUT" to refocus our attention toward the most important things-the power of the Holy Spirit is to come upon Jesus' disciples and the disciples are to be Jesus' witnesses. FIRST, the power of the Spirit is to come upon Jesus' disciples. The way Jesus will remain active and powerful among His disciples is for the Spirit to do His work in us and among us. And, because the Spirit takes up permanent residence in those who believe, Jesus will have the opportunity to touch so many more lives than He could have. They were looking for political or organizational power. What Jesus wanted them to possess was a new kind of power-the transformational power of His Spirit for the spreading of the Gospel throughout the world. Jesus said that we would do greater works than He did and this is how it's done-with Spirit power!

SECOND, the disciples are to be witnesses of Jesus. We are not to be witnesses of a denomination or a cultural bent of Christianity. We are not told here to be witnesses of Bible doctrine or creeds or of the many teaching gurus. Literally Jesus says He wants His disciples to be "witnesses of Me" or My witnesses. The purpose for the power is to bear witness of Jesus, not Jesus plus anything, but JESUS PLUS NOTHING.

A question arises here. Why is it that we disciples are to bear witness of Jesus? It's because Jesus is all that is needed and nothing more. Jesus is the Good News in a bad news world. Jesus is the Gospel! The meaning of Jesus' name says it all. "God Saves!" Is there anything you can add to your witness to improve upon Him? No, there is nothing more to be said. It's all about Jesus!

Now NOTE the strategy for bearing witness of Jesus. We are to bear witness of Jesus to the remotest part of the earth. Also, NOTE that this witnessing has an order to it. You begin right where you live-IN JERUSALEM. Then be sure to witness of Jesus in your surrounding area. Now watch this--and in Samaria. Samaria is the place where you might not be invited, because they are not "your kind". in fact, the Jews believed the Samaritans were half-breeds and they didn't get along at all. Yet Jesus made it clear that this was a strategic part of the plan for bearing witness, even to the Samaritans. Then, Jesus' disciples are to bear witness of Him to the remotest part of the world. This begs the question, "Who or what is the object of your witness?" Is it Jesus or is it Jesus plus something else?