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                   "CONVERSIONS IN THE BOOK OF ACTS"

                 The 2000 At Solomon's Porch (3:1-4:4)


1. In our previous lesson, we considered the conversion of "The 3000 On
   a. Precipitated by the outpouring of the Spirit - Ac 2:1-21
   b. Where Peter proclaimed the resurrection and exaltation of Jesus
      - Ac 2:22-36
   c. In which 3000 souls responded to the gospel commands to repent
      and be baptized - Ac 2:37-41

2. The next example of conversion in Acts is one often overlooked...
   a. Many charts listing examples of conversions in the Book of Acts
      do not include it
   b. Perhaps because little is said about those converted, other than
      "many of those who heard the word believed" - cf. Ac 4:4

3. But since our purpose includes looking at the sermons which led 
   people to Christ, we should certainly consider...
   a. Peter's second gospel sermon, proclaimed on Solomon's Porch in 
      the temple court
   b. A sermon that led 2000 more people to believe in Jesus Christ! 
      - cf. Ac 4:4

[As we did in the previous study, let's begin with...]


      1. Christians had been gathering daily in the temple - Ac 2:46
      2. Peter and John arrived at the "hour of prayer, the ninth hour"
         (3 p.m.)

      1. Who was left daily at the gate of the temple called
         "Beautiful" - Ac 3:2-3
         a. To ask alms from the people entering the temple
         b. Who asked Peter and John for alms
      2. Peter healed him in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth 
         - Ac 3:4-8
         a. The lame man expected alms
         b. But Peter offered him something much better than silver or
         c. The miracle was immediate and total!

   C. A CROWD HAD GATHERED - Ac 3:9-11
      1. Drawn by the scene of the man walking, praising God; one they
         knew had been lame from birth - Ac 3:9-10
      2. Amazed and wondering, they gathered in the porch called 
         Solomon's - Ac 3:11

[The similarity to the events in Acts 2 are apparent. A miraculous 
event occurs, it attracts the attention of the people.  As before,
Peter uses the opportunity to proclaim Jesus...]


      1. Peter explains the true source of the miracle - Ac 3:12-16
         a. It was not by the power or godliness of Peter and John 
         b. It was through faith in the One whom the people killed!
            1) God's Servant, Jesus...
               a) Whom the God of their fathers had glorified!
               b) Whom they had delivered up and denied in the presence
                  of Pilate!
               -- Calling Jesus God's "Servant" may be an allusion to
                  Isa 52:13-53:12
            2) The Holy One, The Just, The Prince of Life...
               a) Whom they denied, asking for a murderer to be 
                  released in his stead!
               b) Whom God raised from the dead, as seen by witnesses!
               -- Calling Jesus by these terms emphasized His true 
                  person and power
         c. It was through faith in His name that the lame man was 
            healed; note, however...
            1) It was Peter and John's faith in Jesus, not the lame 
               man's faith
            2) For the lame man had not expected a miracle, but silver
               or gold
      2. Peter acknowledges their ignorance, but still calls upon them
         to repent - Ac 3:17-26
         a. He recognizes that they and their rulers acted in ignorance
         b. That what happened was...
            1) Foretold through God's prophets
            2) Fulfilling God's predetermined plan - cf. Ac 2:23
         c. Yet ignorance is no excuse, so they must "repent and be
            converted" - Ac 3:19
         d. Several reasons to so respond are given - Ac 3:19-26
            1) That "your sins may be blotted out"
               a) Alluding to the ancient practice of erasing mistakes
                  made on papyrus
               b) I.e., another way to describe the remission of sins
                  through Jesus' blood
            2) That "times of refreshing may come from the presence of
               the Lord"
               a) Here is a positive counterpart to the remission of 
                  sins (Stott)
               b) God provides more than just remission of sins, but
                  refreshment for our spirits (Stott)
            3) That God "may send Jesus Christ" (a reference to His 
               second coming)
               a) Who was preached to them before (via the prophets)
               b) Whom heaven must receive until the times of 
                  restoration of all things (of which the prophets of 
                  God had also spoken)
                  1] As an example of the prophets who had spoken, 
                     Moses is quoted
                  2] Others since Samuel have likewise told of these 
            4) They were "sons of the prophets, and of the covenant"
               God made with their fathers
               a) A covenant made with Abraham, to bless the world in 
                  his seed
               b) A promise fulfilled by God through His Servant Jesus,
                  Whom He raised
                  1] Who was sent by God to bless them
                  2] To bless them by turning them away from their sins

      1. A negative response by the religious leaders - Ac 4:1-3
         a. They were greatly disturbed, because in preaching Jesus, 
            Peter preached the resurrection of the dead
         b. The Sadducees in particular denied the idea of a bodily 
            resurrection - Ac 23:6-9
         c. So they had Peter and John placed in custody for trial the
            next day
      2. A positive response by many who heard - Ac 4:4
         a. Many who heard the word "believed"
         b. As many as two thousand men accepted the preaching of 

[The power of the gospel to convict the hearts of men continues to be 
seen, though with some the effect appears to be a hardening of their 
hearts.  As we focus on the sermon and its response, what can we glean
from this example of conversion?]


      1. Again we note the Christ-centeredness of Peter's preaching
         a. As in his sermon on Pentecost
         b. While explaining the miracle, he directs their attention to
            Jesus, not the sign
      2. Again Peter's main theme is the resurrection and exaltation of
         Jesus - Ac 3:13-15
         a. The One they killed, God raised from the dead
         b. The One they killed, God has glorified
      3. Yet Peter also introduces a new element...
         a. The coming of Jesus from heaven!
         b. Jesus is coming again! - Ac 3:20-21
      4. The sermon's climax is the call to "repent therefore, and be
         converted" - Ac 3:19
         a. From this we learn that repentance and conversion are not
            same thing
            1) Otherwise, Peter was redundant
            2) I.e., he would have been saying "repent and repent"
         b. Repent (metanoeo) means "a change of mind"
            1) True repentance is brought on by "godly sorrow" - 2 Co
            2) Such repentance then leads one to "salvation" - 2Co 
            -- Thus they were being called to change their minds 
               regarding Jesus and their sinful ways
         c. What is meant by "be converted"?
            1) The NKJV and KJV suggest a passive act, but the Greek is
               aorist active imperative, implying there is something we
               must do
               a) The key idea is to "turn" or "return"
               b) The NIV has "turn to God" and the NASB has "return"
               -- But how does one turn to God?
            2) Compare Peter's word's Ac 3:19 with Ac 2:38
               a) "Repent" (Ac 2:38) and "Repent" (Ac 3:19)
               b) "Be baptized" (Ac 2:38) and "Be converted" (Ac 3:19)
            3) Could Peter be referring to baptism when he says "be 
               a) When one submits to baptism, they so do with an 
                  appeal for a clear conscience - cf. 1Pe 3:21
               b) In baptism they are calling upon the name of the Lord
                  - Ac 22:16
            -- Therefore I believe the call to "turn" likely involved
      5. The blessings promised are similar to those found in the first
         a. There is the forgiveness of sins...
            1) Described as the "remission of sins" in the first 
               sermon - Ac 2:38
            2) Described now as having one's sins "blotted out" - Ac
         b. There is the positive counterpart to the remission of
            1) Described as "the gift of the Holy Spirit" in the first
               sermon - Ac 2:38-39
            2) Described now as "the times of refreshing...from the
               presence of the Lord" - Ac 3:19
            3) I understand Peter to refer to the same thing...
               a) I.e., the Spirit as a gift to the Christian - Ac 5:
                  32; Ga 4:6; Ep 1:13-14
               b) Whom Jesus promised as a refreshing blessing - Jn 7:
                  37-39; cf. also Jn 4:10-14
      6. In this sermon we find a warning
         a. In the first sermon Peter pleaded with the people to "be
            saved from this perverse generation" - Ac 2:40
         b. Now we find a reason why, with Moses' prophecy: "every soul
            who will not hear that Prophet shall be utterly destroyed
            from among the people" - Ac 3:23

      1. As mentioned in the introduction, little is said, other than 
         many "believed" - Ac 4:4
      2. Are we to conclude from this that was all they did?
         a. Did they not also "repent"?
         b. Did they not also "turn"?
      3. I think it fair to conclude that the term "believed" 
         encompassed more than simply an acceptance of the facts that 
         had been proclaimed
         a. That it involved a complete reception of the message 
         b. That it included an obedience to whatever conditions had 
            been proclaimed by the apostles (such as repentance, 
            turning, baptism)
         c. That just as faith was not explicitly mentioned in the
            first sermon, but is fairly inferred, so also with baptism

      1. When preaching the gospel...
         a. We must not lose the Christ-centeredness of our focus
            1) That includes preaching his death, resurrection and 
            2) That Jesus provides more than just the forgiveness of 
               sin; but as the Prince of Life, He is the source of 
               every spiritual blessing from above - cf. Ep 1:3
            3) That preaching Christ includes preaching His return from
               heaven, for He is coming again!
         b. The clarion call of the gospel is one of repentance!
            1) Faith and baptism are certainly important even essential
            2) Yet repentance was an important theme of preaching by:
               a) John the Baptist - Mt 3:1-2
               b) Jesus - Mt 4:17; Lk 13:3,5
               -- And now by the apostles - Ac 2:38; 3:19; cf. Lk 24:
                  47; Ac 20:21
      2. When people respond to the gospel, we should expect to see...
         a. A change of mind (repentance), brought about by "godly 
            sorrow" - cf. 2Co 7:9-10
         b. A change of life, as they "turn" from their sins and "turn"
            to God - cf. 2Co 7:11
            1) Implied by the word "converted" (turn)
            2) A process that involves their baptism into Christ, in 
               which they die to sin and rise to walk in newness of 
               life - cf. Ro 6:3-7
         -- All of which can be summarized as having "believed"!


1. With this example of conversion, Peter continues to fulfill the 
   commission of his Lord...
   a. To preach the gospel - Mk 16:15-16
   b. To preach repentance and remission of sins in His name - Lk 24:47

2. We saw that not all responded in the same way...
   a. Yes, 2000 heard the word and believed
   b. But some religious people with their preconceived ideas were 
      resistant to the gospel
   -- Sadly, many people today reject the apostolic preaching of the 
      gospel for similar reasons

I pray that such is not the case with you; that as we study the 
preaching of the apostles and responses to it, your heart will be open
to the Word of God.  Especially to this key verse in our study:

   "Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted
   out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of
   the Lord" (Ac 3:19)
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