The Acts of the Holy Spirit 2
Good evening! Well, tonight is our last Saturday night for the time being. Who knows about the future, but next week we will begin our new gatherings, as I like to call them at 10am on Sunday morning. We have had over a two run on Saturday’s but its time to change.
Next week we will be having a pizza fellowship with salad after service as we welcome in Pastor Milt and Peg Thompson along with their son Daniel, and others from Living Stones who will be coming along side us in our ministry to Kenosha, Racine, and the surrounding areas as the Lord has given us vision to do.
Exciting times! Please invite friends as we begin really what I see as a new era for The Furnace seeing God ramp things up here. Much intercession has gone into the mission that God has called us to, and now it is time to move through open doors to lead the children of God in this area back into Spiritual harmony with the Father. Intimacy that His children lack with Him.
That may be a bold statement, but as I continue tonight in Luke’s letter of the Acts of the Holy Spirit, there is so much connection between man and the Spirit that we today must regain. We must be locked into the knowledge of God because we have allowed the Spirit of God to bring us into alignment with Him because of our intimacy we have with Him as a close Father to His children.
Jesus knew what He was doing when He sent the Helper. He knew that when He was gone the Spirit of God in us would guide us in such truth that we would totally change the culture around us, and as we read, the believers in Acts did just that. Those early believers walked in authority because of intimacy. Intimacy with knowledge produces truth through love concerning the things of God.
Now as I get into the message, I’m not going to get into chapter one. We looked at it last week in the overview, or even chapter two I have over the past two years really got into that, so I want to start with chapter three. But I’ll quickly summarize the two chapters:
Chapter 1, Jesus lifts off after telling the disciples to wait for the Holy Spirit. They pick a new disciple because Judas is dead, Matthias. We then move into chapter two and the Holy Spirit is poured out on the 120 in the Upper Room. A pillar of fire appears, then splits into tongues of fire on every believer who are baptized in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in other tongues. People outside hear the roaring sound, rush to where it comes from and it leads into Peter preaching his first sermon and 3000 believe in Christ as their Savior and they added to the new congregation of Believers. Communities of believers are established; whose hearts were one together in Jesus Christ. That was the quick Bradley paraphrased version.
Now on to chapter three. Lets open it up…… but I am not going verse by verse here, I am going to be more conversational in my delivery.
As I lay out portions of this chapter, this is how I want us to view it. That what is happening in chapter 3, is happening today. Like we are in real time with the letter. As I said last week, Luke wrote his two letters by being told directly from an Apostle who was there with Jesus, or heard it directly from Jesus. Luke also saw it for himself. Luke was with the Apostle Peter as well as the Apostle Paul and other Apostles and leaders. So what we are reading in our Bibles is not far removed from the actual when you think of it. First person for Luke.
So in chapter three, probably right from the mouth of the Apostle Peter’s to Luke, we have Peter and John in Jerusalem walking to the Temple to pray. It was 3:00 in the afternoon; the Jewish ninth hour near the end of their day, which ends at 6pm.
Peter and John were following the Jewish traditions of praying three times during the day, which is morning, afternoon, and evening; traditions that we read that King David followed, and even the Prophet Daniel, that was nothing out of the ordinary here for Jewish men living in Jerusalem.
So Peter and John are walking to the Temple up to a large doorway or gate, they called Beautiful. This gate was a large entryway that opened from a large area called the Court of the Gentiles that was outside the temple into what was called the Court of the Women in the Temple structure. As they by this gate or doorway, there sat a man who was lame from birth who was over forty years old, he never walked. People dropped him off to beg at that gate because it had traffic going through it from morning to night. He was in a prime spot.
So Peter and John walk up on the man and see him, as he is right there at the entrance to the gate, and the man calls out to them begging for money. Peter and John did not do what so many people probably did that and other days, probably glancing at the man and walking by, or glancing at him and making some comment about his condition or his begging, but Peter and John went right to him.
It states in verse four that they looked right straight into the mans eyes and said, “Look at us.” The two had intent. What they were going to do did not require second-guessing. They knew what to do.
Why? Because they had been with Jesus and they were filled with the Holy Spirit.
Remember what Jesus had told them?
John 14:26, “But when the Father sends the Spirit of Holiness, the One like me who sets you free, he will teach you all things in my name. And he will inspire you to remember every word that I’ve told you.”
They knew Jesus, and what He would do. It wasn’t about second-guessing a situation, if a need presented itself; you intervene and take care of it.
John 14:12-14, "Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.”
It appears from what we read here, this was happening at that moment. The Holy Spirit was inspiring the two to act. It was inspiring them to remember what Jesus said to do in His name.
If we remember, not too many days earlier before Jesus ascended to be with the Father, He said when giving them the final commission, they should believe in His name, and lay hands on the sick and they shall recover. This could not have been far from their minds now with the inspiration of the Spirit.
The man looked at them thinking he was going to get some cash, but the two apostles had a larger gift in mind. They were probably cash poor anyway at the time and money wasn’t something they had, but they had the richest treasure on the planet at their disposal. Jesus.
They did something to that man that no one had ever done. They showed the love of Jesus that in effect was showing that man, that the Father in Heaven loved him. This is one of the reasons God sent His only Son to the earth. Set the captive free and experience the love of God.
So Peter said, “I don’t have any money to give you.” And I imagine for a second the man was confused because he probably thought, “what do you have then that will do anything for me?”
But Peter did say, “I give you this.” “By the power of the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, stand up and walk.” Now the man didn’t instantly move. He was probably looking at the two men thinking, “I’ve been this way for over forty years, and you want me to walk?” But I believe Peter knowing this put out his hand and the Word says, “pulled the man to his feet, and the power of God surged through the man and healed his crippled feet and ankles.”
So what does the man do? He stood there stunned.
Yes, he was standing, amazed at what had just happened. Then he did something he had never done before, he walked. That was supernatural too because usually you crawl then you walk, right?
After this event happened, Peter and John walk casually by the Beautiful Gate towards what is called Solomon’s Porch on the other side of the Temple structure, with the man jumping praising God. Yes, jumping, something he had never done before either.
It states when the people saw the man who used to be crippled, people who knew him as a cripple from passing him day by day, it says they were astonished, and amazed. In my version it states they were dumbfounded, and so much so they ran to Peter and John.
What did this act of kindness and love do produced by an authority received through Christ due to belief? It not only fulfilled why Jesus came by setting a captive free from a physical ailment, it opened the door for the Gospel to be preached. The love of God would be spoken to the people there.
The Apostle Peter spoke to the people and asked them. “Why are you so amazed at this healing?” I chuckled at this statement because if this happened today out in the marketplace, the same reaction would take place.
Looking back as well as looking at today, this isn’t something that is seen. If you were lame, you died that way. If you were sick, well in those days, it was good knowing you, or you would just suffer in your sickness. But wow! A man who had known to be lame for over 40 years is hopping around in praise to the Lord. How can this happen?
Well it was Jesus shed blood that opened the door for all of us. He opened the door for us if we belief that in His name like he said, we could do what He did. Peter and John became the living examples of that to those people who saw this miracle. I loved what Peter said.
Acts 3:12, “Why are you staring at us? Do you think we have some power of our own? Do you think we were able to make this man walk because we are so religious?”
It wasn’t religion. By no means. A religious person can do nothing. It was belief in Jesus Christ as their Savior that sealed them with a promise. It was by being Baptized in the Holy Spirit that gave them boldness and power. And it was Intimacy with God that gave them authority. Because authority only comes from intimacy. The Apostle Peter goes on to say.
I love verse 16 of Acts 3, “Faith in Jesus’ name has healed this man standing before you. It is the faith that comes through believing in Jesus’ name that has made the crippled man walk right in front of your eyes!”
So the Apostle Peter preaches his message about Jesus and tells the crowd to turn to God. Give up your sins and be forgiven.
At the Beautiful Gate an act of love opened the door. Knowledge of the Holy One Jesus through the infilling of the Holy Spirit moved these men to do what they did. They did not have to think about it. They just did it. It was their life. They were consumed with Christ; He reigned in their hearts because they had an encounter with the Son of God through the Holy Spirit.
I think I have talked about the Apostle Peter enough for us to know that he could be any of us, and Luke shows us that in his first and second letter. Peter was a fleshly man, and even after being with Jesus for those three or so years and seeing what he saw, and the experiences he had, was not ready until the bomb was dropped on him and the others in the Upper Room.
It was the encounter, it was the heart stretching move of the in filled Holy Spirit that took a common man with just belief in Jesus Christ for his future life, to be a man who would operate in a supernatural faith in the current life, who would display God’s love with power. Peter would be common no more. He would not be just a mere man anymore, as the Apostle Paul would say.
Are we just mere men and women? Most of us or maybe all of us here tonight in this room have been baptized in the Holy Spirit. But what have we done with that baptism? Here we have an account of a man who had been with Jesus, who only became what he was by having an encounter with God through the Holy Spirit. Luke the writer of this letter right out of the gate telling us that Jesus said wait, and get ready to receive, and the people did, and when the Spirit was poured out, not only did it transform their lives, they were part of a Holy Spirit explosion that caused transformation everywhere they set foot.
They showed us what an encounter with a Holy God does to a person. They showed us that when you tarry, or wait on the Lord to meet with you, He will. He gave us His Spirit so that an intimate interaction could take place so He would empower us in confidence of His Word, and have faith to do what Jesus instructed us to do.
This is an Act of the Holy Spirit.
The Apostles Peter and John were not moved with emotion to heal the man, they were moved by truth revealed by the Spirit, because they knew God. The believed in what Jesus said, and we read time after time Luke stating that “Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit” spoke something or acted on something because that was what moved him to do what ever he did at the moment.
We have the ability like Peter and John to act on a situation that we walk up on because the Spirit will lead us to situations that will present themselves. There may be a time that the Holy Spirit tells us to go somewhere because of a situation, but in this instance with Peter and John in Acts 3, they were going to prayer and they walked into the future event. But then without hesitation because this was life for them, they just processed the commission that Jesus gave all believers and did what they needed to do.
This was to be heaven on earth normal.
Look at the church in Acts 2:40’s they were just living life and this new life in Christ was happening all around them. They lived the reality of what Jesus spoke of that the Kingdom of Heaven was at hand. It was. This new group of people were making it a reality.
Well the Spirit is calling us out to make a Kingdom Reality here, now, too.
We have to break off the spirit of religion that has zero power and authority and walk in a heavenly realm of the Spirit through our intimacy with God. Us find that knowing God, and knowing Him well because His word really becomes truth because time spent with Him, we find that we will boldly go where most people have never gone before.
Because again, Intimacy opens the door for authority. Not ours, but God’s. Peter and John knew it, and used it to glorify Jesus and His Father in Heaven.