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August 3, 2008 AM


ACTS 3:12-15 & 4:4

INTRO: I would like to have seen the temple in Jerusalem. From an architectural point of view it must have been a splendid place. Solomon's porch was a very large area on the east side of the temple and was the place the teachers and rabbis would be found teaching. For a while it was a gathering place for Christians, and the incident surrounding our text for this study began there. While we may not think of the events of Acts 3and part of Acts 4as involving preaching in our sense of that word, there was nevertheless notable preaching which resulted in the belief, and, I assume, the obedience of 5000 men. What began as a benevolent act resulted in a great harvest of souls!

    1. The disciples has not yet become unwelcome at the temple
      1. Peter and John went to the temple at 3 p.m. - hour of prayer
      2. remember that the temple and synagogues were places the apostles often went to preach Christ - until they became unwelcome there
    2. The lame man of the text?
      1. lame from birth, he was daily laid at the Beautiful Gate to beg
      2. Acts 3:3-7 - the "alms" which Peter and John gave him
    3. What happened?
      1. Acts 3:8 - entering with them, he walked, leaped, praised God
      2. Acts 3:9-11 - their wonder led them to run to Peter and John
    1. Acts 3:12 - He and John took no personal credit for this miracle
      1. notice, though, Acts 2:43 and Acts 1:8
      2. also relevant is Heb 2:3,4
    2. Notice how Peter "convicts" the hearers
      1. God had glorified Jesus - cf. Jno 17:4,5 - Acts 2:33,36
      2. they delivered up Jesus and denied him before Pilate
      3. they denied the Holy and Just in favor of a murderer
      4. they killed the Prince of life - since the event of which he spoke occurred only weeks, they would know of the cross and crucifixion of Jesus!
    3. The great news ... the cross was not the end ... only the beginning
      1. God raised the one they killed from the dead
      2. and Peter and John were living witness of the risen Christ
    1. The blotting out of sins is now possible (Acts 3:19)
      1. in the connection I like to recall Heb 8:10-13
      2. what was not possible under the first covenant is now possible!
      3. "repent" - simple definition: change of mind leading to change of life
      4. "be converted" (turn) - here is the change of life toward God ... which begins in the obedience of baptism (note Acts 2:38 and the parallel)
    2. Anticipation of the Lord's coming (Acts 3:20,21)
      1. so, the declaration in the Lord's supper - 1 Cor 11:26
      2. then, a fuller explanation - 1 Thes 4:13-17
      3. although they may not have fully understood, the expectation of the earliest Christians was the Lord's return
      4. Rev 22:20 - "Even so, come, Lord Jesus"
    1. Acts 4:1-4 - The offense? preaching the resurrection
      1. Sadducees did not believe in resurrection
      2. their thought in crucifying Jesus was to end such "nonsense"
      3. but the apostles could not preach the cross without the resurrection
      4. from this event there came about 5000 men who believed
    2. Acts 4:7-10 - The defense? healing by the power of Jesus
      1. notice how Peter identifies healing was by the name of Jesus
      2. and he adds, "Whom ye crucified" - the cross again
      3. but the cross was not the end ... "whom God raised from the dead"
      4. the risen Christ: their worst "nightmare"!!!
    3. Acts 4:11,12 - The rejected "stone"
      1. Peter quotes from Ps 118:22 - well know words to Jewish people
      2. notice that he says, "...set at nought of you builders..."
      3. he concludes by affirming that salvation is only possible through Jesus
      4. question: how many today reject Jesus and seal their eternal fate?

CLOSE: What began as a simple trip to the temple at the hour of prayer and  burning of incense concluded in a wonderful exhibition of the power of God and His word. We must not forget, however, in considering this miracle that it provided an opportunity to preach the cross of Christ!

Cecil A. Hutson

03 August 2008

God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)