“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you,
and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea
and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
As we come to Acts chapter 3, let’s take a minute and see all that has transpired since the beginning of the book. In chapter 1, Jesus promises the baptism of the Holy Spirit and his ascension to Heaven. Chapter 1 closes with Matthias replacing Judas as one of the twelve apostles. Chapter 2 opens with on Pentecost as they gathered in the upper room and God fills them with the Holy Spirit.
In this chapter, Peter’s sermon gives understanding and prophetic historical relevance to what this event represents. Peter finishes his sermon by boldly proclaiming the gospel, and God added three thousand to their number. Chapter 2 concludes with the saints gathering in homes, having all things in common (sharing material goods) and devoting themselves to the apostles teaching.
So, by the end of Chapter 2, we see the church empowered and equipped; they gather together fellowship, participate in the Lord’s table, baptize new converts and serve one another in love. If we break down what constitutes the ‘bare essentials’ of a church; it is fully functioning here. We observe recognized leaders, preaching of the Word, worship, discipling, and sharing the Lord’s supper. Much transpires quickly in this young church, but the power of the Holy Spirit orchestrates and directs every action!
And when Peter saw it he addressed the people:
“Men of Israel, why do you wonder at this, or why do you stare at us,
as though by our own power or piety we have made him walk?
Acts 3 opens with Peter and John meeting a lame beggar as they walk to the temple to pray. The beggar gets much more than he bargained for when he asked for alms (money or goods for the poor). Peter responds, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk” (Acts 3:6). The lame beggar received much more than money can buy. He was made whole, leaping and giving praise to God! We are seeing an empowered and equipped church engaging the community, proclaiming the gospel and sharing the love of Christ to those lost; all the while giving glory to God.
So, how do we apply Acts (chapters 2 and 3 specifically) in our daily lives? Peter lays a good foundation in his epistle:
So put away all malice and all deceit and
hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants,
long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation-
if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. As you come to him,
a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious,
you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house,
to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices
acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 2:1-5
Working in the ‘stone’ industry for 26 years, I appreciate stone and its valuable building properties. When crushed, mixed with cement (which is a stone product) and water, it is a strong building material used in the most extreme conditions for foundations. As the church (living stones), God builds us into a spiritual house created in Christ for good works (also see Eph. 2:10). As a holy priesthood, created for good works, let me encourage us to approach each day as one with many opportunities to love people. You never know what trial the person next to currently faces. In my time, I’ve seen about everything from terminal diseases, divorce to even suicide (twice). As an empowered and equipped people, engage those who are around you. Listen and share the love of God found in the glorious gospel of Christ! It doesn’t have to be complicated, just think back to Acts and the first church on a mission!