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August 2014 Issue

The Book of Acts: Mission through Church and Spirit

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Devotion for Sunday, Aug. 3, 2014

Preaching in the Temple

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Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord. Acts 3:19

Mother Teresa once said, “Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty.” Perhaps the lame man in today’s reading could relate. Left alone daily at the temple gate, he begged for help from unnoticing strangers. Then Peter and John came along, stopped to look at the man, and gave him the great gift of healing.

Notice that the physical healing was only a prelude to spiritual healing. The lame man leaped for joy and, on his newly strengthened ankles and legs, entered the temple with the Apostles, praising and glorifying God. Such a commotion soon attracted a large crowd, and Peter used that opportunity to proclaim the gospel to spiritually lame people as well.

Peter’s first point was that the power behind the lame man’s healing came from Christ. The One who had been betrayed, crucified, and raised from the dead was the One whose power now raised the lame man to health. There is great victory and joy in Christ’s resurrection power. But there is also great conviction: Peter repeatedly emphasized the people’s rejection of Jesus. The “Holy and Righteous One” came, and they enacted great evil upon Him. The “author of life” arrived, and they put Him to death (vv. 14–15). The preaching of the gospel begins with bad news; spiritual healing starts with conviction of sin.

With the people’s guilt laid before them, Peter then proclaimed an even more powerful truth— the offer of forgiveness! “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord” (v. 19). Jesus was the promised Messiah; all that was happening then was a fulfillment of God’s plans. Now was the time to turn to God for healing, life, and restoration!

Apply the Word

Today’s offer of forgiveness by turning to God also came with a warning: refuse Christ and “be completely cut off from [God’s] people” (v. 23). A choice about Christ is a choice between life and death. If you have never turned to Christ in repentance for your sin and given your life to Him, make today that day! Choose life.

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