New Testament Christianity: Acts 3 & 4
“Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” – Acts 4:12
God still sits on the throne! Every man is mediocre, at best, next to Him. I’m undeserving of His good, patient, kind, and forgiving love.
I know it’s been a while since I’ve written. But, I’m so excited to be writing again. Thanks for continuing to stay with me along this journey. As always, I appreciate you!
We’re still in the book of Acts, discussing restoration of New Testament Christianity. In Acts 3, we see Peter and John meet a man who was unable to walk – and was likely paralyzed since his birth – sitting at the temple gate called Beautiful.
The man’s routine was to be carried to the temple gate and to be left there to ask for provisions from the people entering.
When the man saw Peter and John enter the temple to pray, he asked them for money. Note Peter’s reply: “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk” (Acts 3:6).
“And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. So he, leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them—walking, leaping, and praising God.” – Acts 3:7-8
It was like Peter was saying, “I’m sorry for the pain that you experience on a daily basis. I wish that I could, as my own, take it away. I don’t have money, but I will do whatever I can to help ease your pain, to make you comfortable, and to put a smile on your face.” And he did just that.
Peter commanded the man to get up and took his hand to lift him up. I think it’s noteworthy that the man had to stretch out his hand and give it to Peter.
Peter offered him a gift, just like God offers us salvation through His son Jesus. But we have to actively do something in order to receive it. Some people say that we don’t have to do anything to accept the salvation that God offers. That’s incorrect.
We have to obey God in order to receive salvation from an eternal death in hell. He wants us to believe that Jesus is the Son of God, repent of our sins, confess that Jesus is Lord, and be baptized for the forgiveness of our sins.
We must obey those commands, just like the man had to obey and stretch out his hand to take Peter’s in order to receive his healing. We can’t expect God to do amazing things for us if we don’t obey Him. Though, He still blesses.
It was not through Peter’s own power, but by the power of Jesus Christ that the man was healed. And people took note of it (Acts 3:11).
Peter then took the opportunity to teach the people present the gospel of Jesus Christ (Acts 3:12-26). And what he told them was the same thing that he preached to the Jews present on the day of Pentecost – 50 days after the resurrection of Jesus: repent and be baptized (Acts 2).
In order to restore Christianity to what it was in the New Testament, we need to preach that same message: repent and be baptized (converted). That’s the message that saves. 5,000 people heard the Word and believed (Acts 4:4). The church continued to grow.
Like many religious leaders today, the religious leaders who heard Peter and John preaching Christ and him crucified got upset at the message and threatened them to keep them quiet (Acts 4:1-21). They imprisoned them. That’s what people in power do when they are threatened by your mere existence: they infringe upon your ability to live a normal life.
“Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.” Acts 4:29-30
Peter and John’s response was basically that they couldn’t be stopped from speaking about Christ to others and that they would obey God instead of man and succumbing to their threats (Acts 4:18-20).
The religious leaders could tell that Peter and John had been with Jesus (Acts 4:13). When we spend time in prayer, in worship, and in study of God’s Word, it becomes evident to people around us, too.
Peter and John were bold in speaking the truth, even though it cost them their freedom for a time. The result was that 5,000 people were saved. And they prayed that God would continue to help them to be bold in proclaiming Christ (Acts 4:29-30).
“Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common.” – Acts 4:32
I hope and pray that we all can be like the Christians we read about in the New Testament:
- They served and helped others and gave due credit to the Lord.
- They used service opportunities as a means to teach the gospel of Christ and save souls.
- They spent time with Jesus, and it was noticeable.
- They were bold in their obedience to God. They boldly proclaimed the message of Jesus Christ – despite imprisonment and threat of harm.
- They were united – of one heart, one soul, and having everything in common.
May the Lord make us one.
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