Acts 3:1-26 The Disciples Obey Jesus

Acts 3:1-26

The Disciples Obey Jesus!


Lest we think that Jesus builds his church through slick business models and human marketing ploys, Acts 3:1-26 should help to straighten that idea out.

The gospel of the Kingdom is powerful.

The gospel makes disciples because it is the power of God for salvation.

Disciples are to hear Jesus and obey Jesus in their domains of society. Think about the man Jesus released from a “Legion” of demons. He wanted to go with Jesus and the 12, but Jesus told him to go home and tell his family and friends and the whole Decapolis all that the Lord had done for him (Mark 5:1-20). (Side Note: Archaeologists have uncovered a very early, indeed first century, Christian community in the Decapolis area. It is attributed to this one man discipling his domain!)

Jesus builds his church from every domain.

We are going to see in Acts 3 Jesus continue to build his church as the disciples hear and obey.

We see in Acts this cycle of  what we call the “Radical Life”. It is the result of abiding in Jesus (John 15): Up (Communion with God) / In (Community) / Out (Collision with culture) lived out.

The people have been given Holy Spirit and their communion with God is set.

Followers of Jesus gather together in kingdom life, which is life covenanted with people in the church (we looked at that last week).

Now we get to see the community of the kingdom collide with culture as they hear and obey together in community.

Acts 3:1-26 shows us the collision with culture / the hear and obey component of discipleship. Chapter 4 is going to show us the aftermath of this collision as they hear and obey. But that’s for next week.

Remember, much of Acts is describing the work of the Spirit through Jesus’ disciples following Jesus. There are some passages that prescribe right practice. Most of Acts is describing how Jesus is advancing his kingdom through an obedient church.

We get to see such an example of disciples in the church hearing and obeying and the subsequent collision with culture in 3:1-26.

What do we see? Observation 1

1. The disciples obey Jesus’ instruction from Luke 9:1-6; Luke 10:1-12

9:6 “And they departed and went through the villages, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere.”

10:9 “Heal the sick in it and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’”

What does this mean?

1. Jesus gave us clear instruction on how we are to engage.

2. Healing what’s broken and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom are the two functions of local and global engagement. These are what we are sent to do.

What do we do with this?

1. We are to be reconciled to God and walk with Jesus by the Spirit (Up/Communion with God)

2. We are to be in fellowship (In/Community)

3. Ware to go out (Out/Collide with Culture)

4. Our collision with culture is to look like healing and proclaiming.

This defines our personal and corporate engagement locally and globally.

5. We should not seek to improve on Jesus’ strategy or fail to execute it!

What do we see? Observation 2

2. The disciples address the need for healing v. 1-10

I believe it is an error to draw a neat and clean line between “supernatural” healing and “natural” healing.

To say it another way, I believe it is a false dichotomy we make in “supernatural” healing and healing that comes from applied and learned means.

Is it any less miraculous if one deals with the demonic through thorough and disciplined counseling rather than a demonic confrontation? No.

Is it any less miraculous if one uses antibiotic ointment applied to a wound rather than laying hands on a person and seeing a wound made well? No.

Through common grace, God has given to mankind a multitude of kindnesses that help to restrain the fall. The discovery, through discipline and wisdom given by God, of good means to make well is miraculous.

Some common graces are applied by unbelievers because it’s God’s gift to his creation in love to restrain the curse and bless what is his by created right. Rain is a common grace. Rain is a miracle, by the way (read up on the science of how rain happens).

Common grace is as miraculous when used and manipulated by Spirit filled followers of Jesus as when Spirit filled followers of Jesus get to be direct appliers of special grace.




What we have in 3:1-10 is Peter and John simply following Jesus in the situation they providentially found themselves in as they followed Jesus.


You and I should aim to follow Jesus where he has placed us and obey him in the providential encounters he brings out way daily.

1. Peter and John are just going to pray in obedience to Jesus’ example of prayer.

2. Peter and John run into a need as they follow Jesus.

3. Peter and John have no natural means to help.

4. Peter and John do have the Spirit given ability to trust Jesus to heal (see verse 12, 16)

5. The healed man praises God. v. 8

6. Wonder and amazement fills those who see this healing.

What does this mean?

1. Obedience to Jesus provided opportunity for Jesus to be glorified in obedience.

2. Trusting in Jesus is powerful.

3. Natural means of healing are not less than supernatural.

The “Parable of the Good Samaritan” provides us with Jesus example of healing through loving God and loving neighbor.

4. Peter and John exercise a gifting of faith to be conduits of healing (see v. 12, 16)

There is a distinction in “saving faith” and “faith as a spiritual gift”.

Saving faith is the work of regeneration that results in salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9).

The gift of faith is the work of the Spirit to see and know and trust God beyond the natural situation at hand (1 Corinthians 12:9). This is what Peter and John experience here.

5. Healing accompanies the coming of the kingdom  and glorifies Jesus as people rejoice in Jesus

Isaiah 35:4b-6a

“…Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy…”

The language used here is straight from the Isaiah passage.

The coming of the kingdom breaks the curse of sin.

The gospel of the kingdom, in part, is that Jesus fixes and makes straight what the curse made crooked and those who receive the kingdom leap and rejoice! 

What do we do with this?

1. Obey and seize the opportunities Jesus provides.

This requires discernment and “body life”.

Obedience gets tested as we have fellowship with one another through accountability and learning when we fail.

Obedience gets tested as we share with each other how we thought we heard and tried to obey and got “licked”.

Obediences gets affirmed as we obey, experience God’s grace and power, and then we share how the power of God was evident when we obeyed.

This kind of obedience also teaches us how we hear the Lord and his patterns of working in and through us.

Others learn how to hear and obey as you share your experiences.

Illustration: One of my favorite RL groups in recent history is all in the group talking bout how we know we have heard the Lord speaking to us. It was encouraging to hear that this group knows the voice of the Lord and that the Spirit engages each of us as we need him to.

Faith increases as we see the work of the Spirit.

2. Be a person full of wonder and amazement at the grace of God.

It seems that it’s just in vogue to have a a nominal walk with God full of drudgery and barely holding on. We call it “being real”.

I’m not sure of the diagnosis of what causes it all, though I have some hunches, but it’s ok to be filled with wonder and awe as you follow Jesus.

It’s like those kids who are “too cool for school”. When someone enjoys the education process they become the “nerd” or the “outcast”.

If someone is excited about Jesus, the “too cool” are going to drag them down to being marginal as “being real”. “Being real” is not all it’s cracked up to be.

I want to be in awe and wonder as I observe the mighty grace of God.

What do we see? Observation 3

3. The disciples address the need for the gospel v. 11-26

1. Peter and John boldly preach Jesus v. 11-18

2. Peter and John are winsome in their refusal to lay Jesus’ death on the people’s rejection and the leader’s pre-meditated actions v. 17

3. Peter and John offer the opportunity to repent v. 19-21, 26

4. Peter and John use their context well v. 22-25

These apostles understand their context and know how to speak so that the hearers will be able to understand.

Since Peter and John are Jewish men they appeal to the other Jewish people’s knowledge of the Scriptures and point them to Jesus.

Now, this is easy for them because it was their Scripture, but they put the message in context well so that those present can understand.

5. Peter and John use the global Abrahamic covenant as a part of their preaching the gospel v. 25-26

They provide a vision of God’s purposes and the hearer’s role in those purposes.

This is good evangelism.

What does this mean?

1. We must preach Jesus and not be afraid to be bold.

Bold does not mean jerk!

Bold does means that you have nothing hidden and there is no alternative agenda.

Bold does not mean loud.

Bold does mean that you do not sacrifice what you believe for the sake of a “fake” peace.

2. We must know our audience and how to be winsome.

3. We must know our context and how to speak so that people can hear.

This takes much work! This is intentional.

We must be a people who strive to know where we are, how people hear and how to speak so that people can hear.
“For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self- control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” (1 Corinthians 9:19-27)

Don’t start by assuming a person’s questions and answering questions they don’t have. Learn a person’s questions and worldview and answer those questions in a truthful way in words they can understand (See Acts 17).

4. Peter and John offer purpose and vision regained from transformation by the gospel to those who would repent and believe.

What do we do with this?

1. Be honest about who you are and what you believe.

  • Operate in the light not the dark
  • Be clear

2. Be kind and love people who need to believe the gospel.

3.Offer purpose and vision regained from transformation by the gospel to those who would repent and believe.

Appeal to the created purpose of man and help to lift people’s vision from their immediate view to a global vision they were made for.

Peter and John appeal to the first installment of the Great Commission in giving the people a global mission in the Abrahamic covenant.

The people hearing this would be reminded that the intention of God’s call on Abraham was to be a blessing to the whole world not their little existence in Jerusalem.

We often get caught up in our little local existence and miss the fact that we were created to be part of global glory.

It is not sin to come to Jesus because Jesus’ way is better!!!

4. TRC, obey Jesus. Heal. Preach. Do this glocally. You will not waste your life.

5. Praise

Psalm 147:1 “Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting.”

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