Ms. Carol Noeding hosted the Mineral Wells Wednesday Bible Study Club on Jan. 22, 2014, at the Black Horse Restaurant. Ms. Noeding also served as lesson leader for the continued study of the Acts of the Apostles, chapter three.
Ms. Noeding opened her lesson with a prayer that is included in her first edition copy of The Daily Study Bible by William Barclay. This treasured edition of The Daily Study Bible was given to her by her father-in-law. The prayer is from The Book of Common Prayer:
“BLESSED Lord, who hast caused all holy scriptures to be written for our learning: grant that we may in such wise hear, read, mark, learn and inwardly digest them, that by patience and comfort of Thy holy Word, we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which Thou hast given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ.”
In the third chapter of Acts, verses 1-11, Peter and John are on their way to the Temple at the 9th hour of prayer which was 3 p.m. The Jewish day of prayer began at 6 a.m. and so prayers were at 9 a.m., 12 noon, and 3 p.m. Peter and John had found a new faith, but they did not use that as an excuse to break the old laws. At the Temple they encountered a man who had been lame since birth. Each day he was carried to the gate to ask for alms. He asked Peter and John for alms. Peter told the lame man to look at them and tells the man they have no silver or gold, but they will give him what they have. And Peter commands the lame man, in the name of Jesus, to rise up and walk. And taking him by the right hand lifts the man up to his feet. Immediately, the man’s feet and ankles receive strength. Walking, leaping and praising God, the man accompanies Peter and John into the temple to the wonder and amazement of the crowd who follow them to Solomon’s porch.
Peter gives his second sermon in verses 12-26. Those who saw the lame man walk looked at Peter and John as though it was their own power that brought about the miracle for the lame man. Peter explains to them … why are you surprised at this and why do you keep staring at us as if we made the man walk by our own power or goodness? Peter continued to explain that the healing occurred by faith in the name of Jesus, God’s son; the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the God of their own fathers. This was the same Jesus whom they delivered up and denied in the presence of Pilate who was determined to let him go. Instead, they asked for a murderer to be granted to them in his place and so He was killed, but God raised Him from the dead as witnessed by Peter and John. It was through faith in the name of Jesus that made the lame man strong. Peter continued with a call to repent and be converted.
Acts, verses 17-23, follows the format that Peter has given them:
1. First beginning with a note of mercy and warning combined – it was through ignorance that the deed was done, but that ignorance is no longer possible and therefore there can be no excuse of further rejection. To not know is one thing, but knowing and rejecting is a sin in itself.
2. The obligation of knowledge is the obligation to repent and turn – to turn away from the old way and make a new start.
3. This repentance will have certain consequences: it will affect the past – sins will be wiped out. It will affect the future – it will bring refreshing times. Into life will come something which will be a strength in weakness and a rest in weariness.
4. Peter speaks of the coming again of Christ – it means that history is going somewhere with purpose.
5. Peter insists that all that has happened has been foretold and if they will search their scriptures they will find it there.
6. Peter reminds them of their national privilege – the Jews were God’s chosen people. That privilege brings a very special duty. It is the privilege not of special honor, but of special service.
The early preachers always stressed the power of the risen Lord. They never regarded themselves as the sources of power, but only as channels of power. They were well aware of their limitations, but were also well aware that there was no limitation to what the risen Christ could do through them and with them. Barclay says: “Here lies the secret of the Christian life. As long as Christians think only of what they can do and be, there can be nothing but failure and frustration and fear. But when a Christian thinks of ‘not I, but Christ in me’, there can be nothing but peace and power.”