- Sermon Notes
Times of Refreshing
In these early chapters in the book of Acts, the disciples are in Jerusalem, Jesus has just ascended to the Father, and the Holy Spirit has been poured out on the day of Pentecost.
Peter explained that all of this is the fulfillment of God’s Word - that He would pour His Holy Spirit out upon all mankind. He then spoke to the crowd about Jesus; that though he had been put to death at the hands of godless man, God raised Him up again so that God made Him both Lord and Christ.
They were then pierced to the heart and said, “Brethren, what shall we do?” Peter told them to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins and that they also would receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, because the promise of the Spirit was for them, their children, and for all who are far off as many as the Lord shall call to Himself.
3,000 came to faith in Jesus Christ that day and they were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship and to prayer. Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe.
The church was born that day and continued together praising God and having favor with the people as God continued to add to their number day by day those who were being saved.
In Acts chapter 3, we’re going to see the first public miracle of healing by the apostles as Peter and John are on their way to the temple at the ninth hour, the hour of prayer.
A great crowd gathered around Peter and John because they are astonished and amazed at what had happened. A man who was lame from birth was sitting at the gate Beautiful, begging for alms. Peter caught the man’s attention and said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give to you.” Peter took hold of the man and raised him up. Immediately he was healed and with a leap he stood upright and entered the temple, walking and leaping and praising God.
Peter saw the reaction of the crowd. They are amazed at Peter and John, they are astonished at this great miracle. But Peter seizes the opportunity to draw them into a relationship with God through Jesus Christ whom God raised from the dead.
Peter tells them to repent and return that their sins may be wiped away and that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord. He calls them to faith in the name of Jesus, because it was the name of Jesus which caused that man to be healed.
There are many today who are very much like that crowd back in Jerusalem; they want to make this story about healing or how to be amazing people. But Peter wanted to make this story about the great miracle of salvation and draw people to a relationship to God through His servant Jesus Christ.
I. We Need a Godly Agenda
- It’s important to begin by asserting that I believe God still heals today. Having said that, it’s important to ask the question, why doesn’t God always heal?
- What does God want to teach us out of this story? What does He want us to take hold of? What does He want us to understand?
- Perhaps a good place to start would be to understand that our agenda, our priorities, our desires; often do not line up with God’s and that we need to change.
- The crowd gathered because of the miracle; a man born lame was now walking and leaping. But Peter also recognized that they were gazing at Peter and John as if they should be revered as something amazing.
- Peter immediately corrects the crowd and seizes the opportunity to give glory to God and to draw them into a relationship to Him through Jesus Christ.
- But we need to see how easily we get off track. People often focus on their own personal agenda and have one thing as their highest priority – their own personal wishes and desires.
James 4:2-8, You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures… He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us… Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.
- After Jesus had done the miracles of the loaves and fish, feeding the crowd of 5,000, that night He walked across the sea to the other side. The next day the crowd got into small boats and also went across seeking Jesus. He then spoke about their motive.
John 6:26, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled.”
- They weren’t even seeking the miracles, they just wanted someone that could always give them food.
- This is the same crowd that saw Jesus perform the miracle of feeding the 5,000 with five barley loaves and two small fish and intended to come and take Him by force to make Him king.
- Imagine the crowd that would gather if God made the whole thing about healing. Somebody might say, “Isn’t that good? Isn’t that the point?”
- No, people often seek for a sign with wrong motives. Some test God and say, “God needs to prove that He is God or I will not believe.”
Matthew 16:1, 4, The Pharisees and Sadducees came up, and testing Jesus, they asked Him to show them a sign from heaven.… Jesus replied, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and no sign will be given it, except the sign of Jonah.”
- For God, it’s about revival. It’s about having a right relationship to God through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. It’s about the greatest miracle of all - eternal life. The greatest sign? The resurrection of Jesus.
Illus - When Israel was in the desert those 40 years with Moses leading them, they saw miracles every day, but it wasn’t enough. God got their attention by parting the Red Sea and destroying the Egyptian army. He manifested Himself by a cloud by day and pillar of fire by night. He then gave them manna every morning, but it wasn’t enough. They grumbled and demanded more; they wanted meat.
- A beggar named Lazarus and the rich man both died… The rich man was in torment while Lazarus was comforted in Abraham’s bosom. The rich man called out to Abraham and begged him to send Lazarus to warn his relatives…
Luke 16:31, “But Abraham said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.’”
C. Our greatest need is in the soul
- We all want to be physically well, and we all know someone who suffers physically in the body. We have great compassion and comfort for them.
- But these bodies are just a tent to dwell in, they are not going to heaven with us. In heaven we will have glorified bodies that will not break down due to sickness or old age.
- But the soul is eternal and the condition of your soul is the highest priority to God.
- If you look across time you’ll see that God moved in the miraculous at times and seasons to fulfill His purpose for that time.
Illus - In the time of Moses and Israel in the desert, God used miracles to sustain His people for 40 years in the desert and to confirm Moses as His prophet.
In the time of Elijah and Elisha, God used miracles to confirm His messengers, but also to draw that wicked generation back to revival, back to relationship to God.
Jesus did miracles by the power of the Holy Spirit so the people might know that He was sent by God as their Messiah; that they might receive the words of eternal life. (Acts 2:22)
The disciples did miracles because they were witnesses of the resurrection and God attested to their message with these signs.
- But the heart of God is always revival and you can see that in Peter’s message here in Acts 3.
- Peter shows them that they rejected Jesus and asked for a murderer to be released to them and put to death the Prince of life. Many people do the same thing today. They reject the Prince of life and choose instead those things that cause death.
- Verse 19 - “Repent and return, that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.” As a result, 5,000 people came to faith that day.
II. Earnestly Desire More Faith
- In verse 16, Peter said that it is on the basis of faith in His name that made the man well, because it is the name of Jesus which has strengthened that man.
- Peter also said that faith comes through Him. This is something we need to understand and apply to our own lives because God wants us to have greater faith that comes through greater relationship to Him.
A. Faith is ignited by the Holy Spirit
- When Peter speaks of faith in His name and then speaks of the power in the name of Jesus, he is calling them and us to have that faith. But where does faith come from? It comes from Him.
Romans 10:14, 17, How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him who may have not heard?… So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.
- The word of Christ is not just letters on a page, but the very power of God through the Holy Spirit sent to accomplish the purpose for which He sent it.
Ephesians 6:17, And take up the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Hebrews 4:12, The word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the very thoughts and intentions of the heart.
- The Holy Spirit moves upon the heart in many ways and is on the move even now in this place.
Illus - Before Jordi and I had ever met we lived in two different cities. One day, as she was praying, her soul became troubled for her future husband. Her youth leader told her to pray because her future husband was in trouble. This was exactly the time when I was in fact deeply in trouble. God was on the move.
Illus - Several years before that, I heard the message of Jesus and an invitation to come to faith. My heart was burning within me, but I didn’t respond at first. God was on the move. Next week I did respond.
- Right after speaking about faith in the name of Jesus, Peter called them to repent and return. To repent is to say, “I change my mind about Him. I rejected Him, the Prince of life, but now I see that He is the one I need. I believe that in Him I have newness of life.”
- In verse 26, Peter said, “For you first, God raised up His Servant, and sent Him to bless you by turning every one of you from your wicked ways.”
- God has sent His Son to you, God sent His life to you, but you need to earnestly desire more of God
1 Corinthians 12:31, But earnestly desire the greater gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way…
1 Corinthians 13:13, But now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Matthew 22:36-37, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” And Jesus said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.”
- There is a desiring in love. God wants more of your heart; there needs to be a fire within us that desires more of God.
Illus - Elijah had been powerfully used of God in calling down fire and other miracles and Elisha was moved with the great desire to also be a great man of God. When Elisha said to him, “I want you to stop at Gilgal.” Elisha responded, “As the Lord lives and as my soul lives, I will not leave you.” There was no stopping him. When Elijah wanted Elisha to stop at Jericho, he said in substance, “I am not stopping.” The man that stops gets nothing. When they came to the Jordan Elisha turned to him and said, “What is it that you want?” Elisha said, “I want a double portion of your spirit upon me.” Desire more of God.
Acts 3:1-26 NASB
1 Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the ninth hour, the hour of prayer. 2 And a man who had been lame from his mother's womb was being carried along, whom they used to set down every day at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, in order to beg alms of those who were entering the temple. 3 When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he began asking to receive alms. 4 But Peter, along with John, fixed his gaze on him and said, "Look at us!" 5 And he began to give them his attention, expecting to receive something from them. 6 But Peter said, "I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene-walk!" 7 And seizing him by the right hand, he raised him up; and immediately his feet and his ankles were strengthened. 8 With a leap he stood upright and began to walk; and he entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. 9 And all the people saw him walking and praising God; 10 and they were taking note of him as being the one who used to sit at the Beautiful Gate of the temple to beg alms, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.