Recently I began studying the book of Acts in my study/quiet time. It’s a book that I am fairly familiar with but haven’t really studied for myself. One of the reasons I am drawn to this book now is that over the past couple of years I have been studying various books of the Old Testament where I have realized the rich truth of who God is. In studying the Old Testament books I have gained so much understanding of the history of God’s story of redemption. It’s been amazing and I continue to get excited as I see the importance of studying the history of Gods’ people and His purposes for all mankind.
So it only seemed natural to me to want to study the only book in the New Testament that gives us a picture of the early church. How can I understand what God’s purpose is today for His church if I haven’t understood why and how the church began? So its been with great excitement that I have begun studying the rich history of the beginnings of the church found in the book of Acts.
Today I was reminded again of Peter’s boldness. Peter, the one whom Christ would build the church upon, never hesitated to speak truth.
As I read chapter 3 I was challenged by the fact that Peter and John was not interested in what may or may not be “politically correct” in their day. They just stood up and spoke truth. For example when they healed the lame man (vs. 6-10)and all the people began to be amazed by it they made sure the credit of the healing went to Christ. (12) It was by faith in Christ that this man was healed. It was by the name of Jesus that this man was strengthened.
Then they shared THIS!
Just in case they had forgotten who Jesus was Peter reminded the people that He was the One “whom you delivered and disowned in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release Him.” He reminded them that they could have released Jesus but instead they disowned Him. They chose to disown the “Holy and Righteous One”. They “put to death the Prince of Life, the one who God raised from the dead,”.
Peter goes on the say that he knows that they acted in ignorance just as their rulers did. Peter reminded them that this was the purpose of God. For God, through the prophets, had said that Christ would suffer. He would suffer because of them. He would be turned over to be crucified for their sins.
He told them Jesus was the one that the prophets spoke of. He was the promise of the covenant God had made with His people. And as such they needed to repent of the sins. They needed to turn from their wicked ways and if they didn’t they would be utterly destroyed.
After looking at this chapter I thought, “Really? Did Peter pretty much just say to the people, God’s people, and say to them, it was you who crucified Jesus. Your wickedness put Him there. Did Peter really just tell them that if they didn’t repent they would be destroyed?” Oh sure it may not have been quite that blunt but it is what he told them. He didn’t candy coat truth. He didn’t say they just did bad things or try to justify their behavior. He called sin sin. He said they needed to turn from their wicked ways.
As I thought about this I could hear the objections of todays church. “Where is grace?” “We can’t call out sin that would be judging!” “Where is love?” And remember Peter wasn’t speaking to the unbeliever, he was speaking to God’s chosen people. He was speaking to those who were at the temple. (Acts 3:1)
So let me ask you a question. Is it not showing love if I come to my brothers or sisters who are living in sin (meaning continual sin) and remind them of truth? Is it not showing grace as I speak truth to them in order that they can see their sin and repent? Shouldn’t we want to warn the church of sin in a way that restores the body to one another?
Is it not love to discipline in order to restore? Of course it is!
If Peter didn’t love those to whom he was speaking then why warn them they would be destroyed if they didn’t repent? Yes we are to speak truth in love! Yes we are to give grace! But remember if I don’t love someone then I am not really going to care about their relationship with God.
Showing grace and love, in my humble opinion, IS caring enough to get involved in the messiness of one’s life in order to point them to Jesus.
Dear one, there is so much more in this chapter to see, to study, I would love for you to read and study it and share what God shows you.
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