Acts: Jesus at Work Through the Church – Part 3

Selections from Acts 3:1-4:31

Acts: Jesus at Work Through the Church  – Part 3

Jerusalem, Part 2 – A Clash Between Two Temples

I. The EMBODIED temple goes to the BUILDING. (3:1-26)
A. SHARING the divine LIFE. (3:1-10)
B. An EXAMPLE of being a WITNESS (3:11-26)
    1. HONESTY about the PAST. (3:12-15)
    2. An INVITATION in the PRESENT. (3:16-19)
    3. A HOPE for the FUTURE. (3:20-26)

The last two weeks we have seen how the temple, the presence of God among His people, has moved from a geographic location to the human heart. God has taken up residence in His people. That means He goes where they goes, he acts in and through them. The text today demonstrates just that.

1. Kid’s Question: What would it have been like to see that crippled man walk? How would you have responded if you had been watching?
2. Peter gives “what he has” to the crippled beggar. What do you have to give to those around you this week?

II. The CHALLENGE to the STATUS QUO (4:1-22)
A. The TRUTH will always DISTURB. (4:1-3)
B. The TENDENCY to SUPPRESS and CONTROL. (4:4-7,18)
C. What LIVES beneath the SITUATION. (v.8-22; Acts 1:8)

But this new embodied temple isn’t without its detractors. The religious power structures of the day, those embedded in the geographical temple, have gotten used to their lives of power and control. They will not give that up easily.

3. When has the truth of God disturbed you or upset your “status quo”? How did you respond?
4. On a scale of 1-10 rate yourself on the need to control situations in your life? How would your close friends rate you? How is that working for you?
5. What steps might you need to take to let go of control of your own spiritual journey and let God work to guide and direct you into new areas or ways of thinking and acting?

III. The RESPONSE of the EMBODIED temple. (4:23-31)
A. Deeply ANCHORED in God’s REALITY. (4:24-26; Rev. 11:15)
B. Understanding the PRESENT in light of that TRUTH. (4:27-28; Lk. 24:27,32)
C. A SURRENDER to EMBODYING the life of Jesus. (4:29-30; Gal. 2:20; Col.2:9-10)
D. The RHYTHM: Indwelt, EMPOWERED, witness. (4:23-31; Acts 1:8)

It’s interesting to see the response of the people (or the new temple) of God to this challenge. They don’t sense the need to overthrow the old way, because they see that it has already been overthrown. We can look at their response and find direction for our own lives today.

  1. What practices do you partake in to help anchor you “in God’s reality”? Is it helping? Are there other things that might help more?
  2. How do you practice being present to God and allowing the Spirit to live in you? How might you grow in that area?
  3. What does being a witness look like in your own life? In this coming week?

“To be a Christian means gradually, Sunday after Sunday, to be subsumed into another story, a different account of where we have come from and where we are going, a story that is called ‘gospel.’ You are properly called a ‘Christian’ when it’s obvious that the story told in Scripture is your story, above all other stories that the world tries to impose on you, and that the God who is rendered in Scripture is the God who has got you.”

— Will Willmon