Study 5: I will give you what I have – Acts 3
One day Peter and John were walking to the Temple. I wonder what the conversation must have been on that day. Was it still the amazing way that the Holy Spirit had come to them? Was it the three thousand new believers at Pentecost? Was it an admin conversation – what are we going to do when we run out of room at the Temple? It is interesting speculation, and nowhere is it recorded, but I am sure of one thing – they were not expecting what happened next.
They had been this way many times before; they had seen the man every time they had been into the Temple that way, because that was the customary place for that man to be. Perhaps it was a lucrative begging position, perhaps not, but the fact was that man had no other way of scratching a living. He had been lame from birth and today he was being carried to his usual post when he saw Peter and John about to go into the Temple through the Beautiful Gate, Acts 3:1-5
These days, people beg for all sorts of reasons just as at that time, and for this man it was just another day. When you beg for a living, all days are just another day. There is no day off. This man could not get up and walk to the shops, go into the Temple, or go for a coffee. He just couldn’t go anywhere unless somebody carried him.
You can imagine the situation, and here were just two more prospective donors, so he called out to them as he expected to do to others for as long as he sat there that day. But today was not just another day – either for him or for Peter or for John.
When you beg, people either give you eye contact or they don’t. If they don’t, then you can expect nothing from them. From the vast majority you get no eye contact and you receive nothing. If they do, then you can expect at least something – it may be sympathy, maybe some scraps of food or it may be money. If it is money, it may be just a few coppers, but it might, just might be more so that he can help feed his family or at least contribute a little. But these two men gave him eye contact, so his hopes immediately rose. There was something different about these two men. Perhaps he recognised them from previous encounters at this gate, but there was definitely something about them.
‘They looked at him intently, and then Peter said, “Look here!” The lame man looked at them eagerly, expecting a gift’. Acts 3:4-5
What do people expect from you?
What do your words give? Life or death? Do they expect anything? This man’s expectation was more than fulfilled. When you expect a handout, even a big one, it could never reach such a high level as that received by this man. ‘But Peter said, “We don’t have any money for you! But I’ll give you something else! I command you in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk!” ‘ Acts 3:6
Peter had learned many lessons while he had been with Jesus. He had learned about his authority as a follower of Jesus Christ, and this was a good opportunity to put it into practice. When we start to talk to someone who claims to be in need, we should look to see what their need really is. It may not really be what they say it is. Take time to listen to find out what is under the surface request.
We often need to be bold when we pray for people to be healed. Peter didn’t just speak to the man, he took his hand and pulled him up. And it wasn’t until he had the courage to put his full weight on his ankles that he discovered that he was well! When you pray for someone’s healing, get them to do something they found difficult in the past that will prove to them that they are healed and their faith will rise for the completion of the miracle. As this man’s faith rose, he didn’t just walk, he leaped and praised God. He didn’t then remain at the Beautiful Gate, he followed them into his new life, Acts 3:7-11
When God does amazing things in someone’s life, he and others will be excited by it. They will have noticed the situation that looked hopeless in the past and they will see the difference after the miracle. This will always provide an opportunity to explain faith in Jesus. Peter was not slow to recognise this, Acts 3:12-17.
This is all we need to understand that the power for healing is in the Name and any born again believer has the authority to use this Name of Jesus and can expect to see the same results that Jesus saw when He was on this earth. When things such as this happen, we must recognise that it is Jesus who has done the work and not man. People will look at us as if it is us who have been responsible, but we must always point them to Jesus. God will not share His glory with anyone else.
Peter used his opportunity to preach the Gospel to the crowd. He was very bold knowing how the crowd had turned on his Master!! He made what he said relevant and appropriate. He did not make what he had to say soft on his hearers. Today we try to help people avoid condemnation when it can be the very thing that causes them to come to faith in Jesus.
Peter went on to explain the mitigating circumstances, Jesus had to suffer. It had been prophesied long before there was such a barbarous punishment as crucifixion that He would be nailed to a cross.
‘I am surrounded by fearsome enemies, strong as the giant bulls from Bashan. They come at me with open jaws, like roaring lions attacking their prey. My strength has drained away like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart melts like wax; my strength has dried up like sun-baked clay; my tongue sticks to my mouth, for you have laid me in the dust of death. The enemy, this gang of evil men, circles me like a pack of dogs; they have pierced my hands and feet. I can count every bone in my body. See these men of evil gloat and stare; they divide my clothes among themselves by a toss of the dice. Psalm 22:12-18
Read and meditate on this to recognise a small amount of the horror of what Jesus did willingly for us all, even those who don’t want to know.
But the key element for these people was that they should change their minds and attitudes towards God. Some had seen what the religious authorities were doing and as a result had no desire for the things of God. Some did not want their lives to be re-arranged. They thought that following God was a series of external rules, whereas God had sent the Law to create the desire for change in people’s hearts.
When Jesus was asked what the most important commandment was, He said this:
‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. The second most important is similar: ‘Love your neighbour as much as you love yourself. All the other commandments and all the demands of the prophets stem from these two laws and are fulfilled if you obey them. Keep only these and you will find that you are obeying all the others.’ Matthew 22:37-40.
Nothing has changed today. This teaching of Jesus is still valid. It is only in recognising God’s love for us that we are free to love others. People today are as confused as those alive when Jesus was on the earth, but they are also still searching and if anything, they are more desperate to find the Truth today.
How could the people in the Temple on that day and those alive today turn their hearts towards God? They were to put their faith in Jesus, the Messiah whom they had crucified. When we turn to Him, He will wash away our sin, cleanse us and restore us to Himself, so we are free to have fellowship with Jesus.
‘So repent (change your mind and purpose); turn around and return [to God], that your sins may be erased (blotted out, wiped clean), that times of refreshing (of recovering from the effects of heat, of reviving with fresh air) may come from the presence of the Lord; Acts 3:19-26 AMP
Peter explained to them then, that they are included in the Promise of God as we are today, adopted into His family, all because the Jews didn’t recognise the long awaited Messiah.
We shall be with Him for eternity if we confess our sins, repent of our sins (that includes saying we are sorry and turning in the exact opposite direction from them), and finally asking Jesus to be Lord of our lives. We have to agree that we have tried to go our own way, to run our own lives and have failed miserably, as God always knew we would.
Being healed is not the root problem. Being separated from Jesus is. Let’s deal with the root problem and get healed at the same time. That has been God’s plan for us throughout the ages, and when Jesus came to earth, He often dealt with sin and healing flowed automatically. This man was healed for all to see but his heart change showed in that he went into the Temple courts ‘praising God’. This is so vital whenever we are praying for healing that there is a heart change as well as the healing of the body. What does it benefit anyone to have their body healed and still go to hell!! Healing is a wonderful way for people today to be challenged by the claims of Jesus.
Divine healing is healing for the Christian who wants to walk in the fullness of his privileges in Christ. Every born-again believer has the ability to grow up into spiritual adulthood. That is why the Holy Spirit came after Jesus had ascended and God gave His Word to the Church. The Word of God is spiritual food; it produces spiritual growth just like natural food nourishes the physical body, 1 Peter 2:2. We grow up spiritually according to the rate we feed our spirit the Word and obey it. It can really be the difference between life and death as to how much attention we have given to the Word of God and obeyed it.
There is very little point in not trusting God and speaking the Word for healing from a common cold or flu but then expect to be able to have victory over cancer. We need to know the Word works for us daily. As we feed on the Word we need to be totally committed to do whatever it tells us to do so we learn how dependable God is. If we don’t obey our spirit man becomes weak and spiritual activity ceases. Just like a muscle that is not exercised becomes dormant, the spirit will become weak. Likewise, when the spirit is properly nourished, there is no limit to how much it can grow. So the realm of the Spirit has no boundary.
God deals with us in the spirit realm. The spirit of man is that part of his triune being that has the ability to know God and fellowship with Him, John 8:44. Through Christ’s death on the Cross, God has provided for man’s spirit to be united with Him again. As we find out what has happened in our spirit through the new birth we can begin to allow the eternal life that is in our spirit to manifest itself in our mind and body. We become spiritually-minded and our thinking changes from what we perceive through the five physical senses to what the Word says about us, Romans 12:2. Living in the fullness of Christ comes through being spiritually-minded. This is thinking in terms of spiritual law. Everything that exists is controlled by spiritual laws.
‘For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death,’ Romans 8:2.
The law of sin and death was the result of Adam’s high treason, Romans. 5:17. When sickness or disease tries to attach itself to the spiritually-minded Christian, we can operate in spiritual power, our faith, that is on the inside of us because we know that we have already been made free from Satan’s dominion. We will go to the Word of God which states that we have been redeemed from the curse (Galatians 3:13) and that we have been translated out of the realm of darkness (Colossians 3:13). We will speak the Word and combat the sickness with our spiritual weapons of warfare (2 Corinthians. 10:3-5).
What to do when healing does not come.
We need to recognise that God has not failed – healing virtue leaves when anyone calls on Him but it is not always received. The disabled man at the Pool at Bethesda when Jesus spoke to him asked ‘if he wanted to get well’. This seems like a silly question after all he had laid there for 38years. The sick man immediately told Jesus the problem not focussing on the answer which was in front of his face, Jesus.
We need to be determined to make a demand on the power of God. We need to take a stand against the enemy and put the Cross against the problem. After all it is the Cross where the disease was paid for so there is no need to suffer it again. Be determined to persevere until we have a positive outcome every time. Seek God’s face to hear from Him about the delay. What about Naaman’s leprosy having to dip in the river Jordan seven times. Through being offended his pride nearly lost him his healing and so the nation, 2 Kings 5:1-19!!
There are many reasons why healing does not manifest straight away and we just need to seek God’s face to find out for our own situation. Look first at our heart and ask what are our motives for holding on to sickness, for attention; keeping control of husband or children; paying someone back who has hurt us; many deep reasons that the Holy Spirit can shed His Light on and so set us free from the sickness.
– Lack of knowledge and vision Proverbs 29:18
– Inability to receive due to poor sense of value.
– Lack of discernment of the Lord’s Body at the Communion Table 1 Corinthians 11:23-32.
– Failure to keep the commandment of Love, John 13:34
– Guilt from past sin especially like secret abortion, producing condemnation and feelings of unworthiness.
– Failure to forgive Mark 11:25-26
– Lack of integrity Psalm 25:21
Prayerfully consider any of these points or anything you think the Holy Spirit may be showing you for a blockage and pray. If you are concerned ask a spiritually mature person to pray with you and confess your faults to them, James 5:16. Healing will come. Jesus died for every sickness and disease so we need to receive this healing so He didn’t die in vain and His gift becomes worthless.
If you or a friend has any healing needs read the following promises three times each day until the Word becomes more real than the symptoms you are experiencing. If the doctor gave you instructions with medication you would not hesitate to take it to the letter of the law and also expect that as a result you would recover. So it is with the Word of God it is so powerful, Hebrews 4:12. Also as a recommendation we would take vitamins these days to prevent and protect us from many forms of illness. Likewise these precious promises can be spoken out to prevent illness and protect us as symptoms come on our body but we are already prepared with the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God to rebuke these signs.
Promises for Healing:
*Exodus 15:26. “If you will listen to the voice of the Lord your God, and obey it, and do what is right, then I will not make you suffer the diseases I sent on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord who heals you.”
*Psalm 103:3. He forgives all my sins. He heals all my diseases.
*Psalm 107:20. He spoke, and they were healed – snatched from the door of death.
*Proverbs 4:20-22. Listen, son of mine, to what I say. Listen carefully. Keep these thoughts ever in mind; let them penetrate deep within your heart, for they will mean real life for you and radiant health.
*Isaiah 53:5. But he was wounded and bruised for our sins. He was beaten that we might have peace; he was lashed – and we were healed!
*Jeremiah 17:14. Lord, you alone can heal me, you alone can save, and my praises are for you alone.
*Jeremiah 30:17 I will give you back your health again and heal your wounds. Now you are called “The Outcast’ and “Jerusalem, the Place Nobody Wants.’
*Malachi 4:2. “But for you who fear My name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in His wings. And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture
*Matthew 8:8,9. Then the officer said, “Sir, I am not worthy to have you in my home; and it isn’t necessary for you to come. If you will only stand here and say, ‘Be healed,’ my servant will get well! I know, because I am under the authority of my superior officers and I have authority over my soldiers, and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my slave boy, ‘Do this or that,’ and he does it. And I know you have authority to tell his sickness to go – and it will go!”
*Matthew 9:35. Jesus traveled around through all the cities and villages of that area, teaching in the Jewish synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And wherever he went he healed people of every sort of illness.
*Mark 16:15-18. And then He told them, “You are to go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone, everywhere. Those who believe and are baptized will be saved. But those who refuse to believe will be condemned. “And those who believe shall use my authority to cast out demons, and they shall speak new languages. They will be able even to handle snakes with safety, and if they drink anything poisonous, it won’t hurt them; and they will be able to place their hands on the sick and heal them.”
*Luke 6:19. Everyone was trying to touch Him, for when they did, healing power went out from Him and they were cured.
*Hebrews 13:8. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
*James 5:14-16. Is anyone sick? He should call for the elders of the church and they should pray over him and pour a little oil upon him, calling on the Lord to heal him. And their prayer, if offered in faith, will heal him, for the Lord will make him well; and if his sickness was caused by some sin, the Lord will forgive him. Admit your faults to one another and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous man has great power and wonderful results.
*1 Peter 2:24. He personally carried the load of our sins in His own body when He died on the cross so that we can be finished with sin and live a good life from now on. For His wounds have healed ours!
Healing Promises related to the tongue
* Proverbs 10:11; The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but violence overwhelms the mouth of the wicked.
* Proverbs 12:18; Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
* Proverbs 13:3; He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin.
* Proverbs 15:4; The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.
* Proverbs 16:24; Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.
* Proverbs 18:21; The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.
* Psalm 34:13-14; Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies. Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.
* 1 Peter 3:10-11; For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it.
Study 5: I will give you what I have – Challenge Questions
Read the Notes and the Bible Verses referred to in them.
1. Highlight the points that ‘speak’ to you
Read Psalm 22:12-18
2. Which part of what Jesus went through do you find hard to imagine and why?
3. What do you feel about loving neighbours as you love yourself?
Read the whole section on ‘healing’.
4. Do you believe that Jesus included healing in His salvation package? Why or why not?
5. Looking at reasons for why healing does not come yet, which do you find easy to identify with and why?
Read Acts 4:1-22
6. In your opinion, what is the cost of following Jesus in today’s world? Why is there very little cost evidenced in our churches today?
7. What was the cost of their commitment for Peter and John? Were they concerned about this? What opportunities do imprisonment, beatings and torture for your faith give? Could we expect this sort of treatment from people in positions of religious authority today?
8a. When confronted by the elders, did Peter restrain himself so far as what he said was concerned?
. b. Paraphrase in two sentences what Peter said to the rulers, elders (those charged with spiritual oversight of God’s people) and scribes (religious lawyers) Acts 4:18-22
9. Why do you think it was important for the religious leaders to understand that salvation only comes through Jesus? Can we apply that to today’s Christian Church? If so, how?
10. The disciples were instructed by the Sanhedrin neither to speak nor teach in the Name of Jesus again. What was the reason behind this instruction?
11. What was the response of Peter and John? What would you do if you were faced with similar restrictions about reaching out to others?
Read Acts 4:23-31.
12. Verses 29-30 state that Peter and John went back to their fellow believers where they rejoiced and referred back to the Word of God. They also prayed for some things. What were they?
13. What was the result of the disciples’ prayers? Why do you think each of these three things happened?
14. Should we expect the same results to our witnessing and prayers to happen today as happened in the days of the early Church? Explain your answer, and be prepared to share your explanation.
15. Has reading the Book of Acts Chapters 1 to 4 changed your view of Christianity? Be prepared to share your answer.
16. Has God challenged you in your walk with Him from the events in Acts Chapter 4? Do you plan to change anything in your life as a result of reading this Chapter?