【Bible Study】Acts 03: Miracles and Signs Will Follow You
Bible Study: Acts
When I first became a Christian, I thought that Peter spoke very well in this chapter. But as I developed my faith, it became worse and worse. Why? Because I realized that the level of miracles is quite low. Because they are at such a low level, you don't see Jesus explaining to everybody what he did. Jesus' explanations were very simple and he didn't do it often.
I noticed that Peter liked to talk. But his explanations were not very clear and easy to understand. When you compare the level of Peter and Jesus, they are completely different.
So do not think that these things are so great and high up. The filling of the Holy Spirit is a start, and miracles will follow you soon after, a very basic level of spiritual understanding. So what is a high level? Becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ, ready to sacrifice yourself. You are ready to serve him wholeheartedly, to give your life to him, and to follow him in the flesh. The Apostle Paul calls for Christians to understand God and have faith on a physical level.
When Luke wrote the book of Acts, he already chiselled out what Peter's spiritual level was. He purposely depicted Peter's low level in great detail.
Some people are so excited when they see miracles or healing. What? Do you think that you are very spiritual? Don't think that your spiritual level has automatically increased a ton simply because you were healed.
I began to notice a pattern: When you receive the Holy Spirit, you will be granted great power and will testify for God. But how high is that level? You must return to Jesus' teachings. And testify what? That Jesus is the Lord, and listen to his teachings. Listen to his words.
Peter followed Jesus for so many years, but he still didn't fully understand Jesus. If he did, he wouldn't have preached on and on, not knowing what he is talking about. I dislike people who talk on and on. They seem to say a lot, but if I asked a few questions, they would quickly fall away.
An intelligent person keeps things simple and to the point. I can quickly grasp what they are saying and won't challenge them, because I can understand their point. If I am reading a very long article, I will usually just skim it, because they don't understand the ideas. If your writing is not simple or clear, then don't even show me. Talking, but not knowing what you're talking about, is a very bad habit.
Miracles are acts of God. They have nothing to do with you because God did them.
This is still a preliminary level. God's plan is not to simply show miracles. I often talk from the viewpoint of a church, because God's view is through the church. The church is the body of Christ, and it testifies to the knowledge and power of God. The new earth and the new heaven are the body of Christ, the church. God's plan is in the church, He wants the church to return to him. Everybody in the church is the treasure of God, and there is no garbage at all.
God doesn't even limit his miracles, because they are the testimony of his Word. Miracles have dumbfounded pastors for a long time. At the start, they seem to be so spiritual, having videos of exorcisms and healings. But after a while? They decide to do sales instead. Is this building the church?
Don't get too excited about miracles. Don't think that you are something super special when God uses you as a vessel for his power. Even if you explain yourself so thoroughly, it still does not matter.
Over the past decades, the Pentecostal church has given us an important lesson. At first, healings and miracles were so common that they appeared every time they gathered. But later, it became useless. Why? Because there was no substance behind their actions. Miracles are not the purpose, building up the church is the purpose. Even the message was very superficial.
There are not a lot of people who would criticize Peter as I do. A long time ago, I was very hesitant about criticizing the Bible, but as I built the church, I began to understand the gospel more and more.
The gospel is great and powerful. But what is the gospel? It is not simply at the level of forgiveness of sins. It is to restore ourselves to God's image. Is your image like a devil, or God? Jesus' purpose is to restore in us the image of God. Salvation is not repenting and going to heaven, that is completely wrong.
What purpose do these miracles serve? The Israelites saw many miraculous signs. But how many of them were useful? I perform a lot of miracles, but I don't think heavily of them. I am not concerned with these things, nor am I concerned about explaining them. If I were to explain, I would tell you to love God!
Those who saw Moses' miracles all died in the wilderness as objects of God's wrath. Jesus also performed many miracles, but they still nailed him to the cross. The logic of humans cannot align with the logic of God. Miracles in itself are not very impressive. But if you love God, these things will follow you. I only have one interest: to love God.
"Do not rejoice because demons are afraid of you, rejoice because your names are written in heaven. (Luke 10:20)"
We need to look at what Paul and Jesus did. Then we will see what type of level Peter is at.
How did the apostle Paul look at these things? He said:
My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God's power. (1 Corinthians 2:4-5 NIV)
Although we should classify miracles and signs at a lower level, we should not discard them completely. It is simple, yet very important. It is a very key part of our belief but is at a very foundational level. So do not reject or ignore miracles, but understand that it is not very high-level.
He seems to be addressing the crowd by assuming a lot of things. Furthermore, he says:
When Peter saw this, he said to them: “Fellow Israelites, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our power or godliness we had made this man walk? The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go. You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this. (Acts 3:12-15 NIV)
I think this part is unnecessary. You don't understand the purpose of Peter's message. The real purpose of the gospel is to build up the church of God. Peter uses a lot of filler words when he speaks, but I encourage everyone to be as concise as possible.
He goes on to say:
By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has completely healed him, as you can all see. (Acts 3:16)
This is misleading. What does it mean to be granted faith by Jesus? People will find excuses, saying they haven't been "given" faith, when faith should come from yourself. You need to practice faith. Jesus never said that faith was given to anybody, but Peter invented it himself.
Now, fellow Israelites, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders. But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Messiah would suffer. Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus. (Acts 3:17-20 NIV)
Again, we don't understand what Peter is trying to say, or what message he is trying to convey to us. This type of writing is very complicated and unclear. Later on, I realized that anybody who was able to understand the book of James was a genius.
“Indeed, beginning with Samuel, all the prophets who have spoken have foretold these days. And you are heirs of the prophets and of the covenant God made with your fathers. He said to Abraham, ‘Through your offspring all peoples on earth will be blessed.’ When God raised his servant, he sent him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways.” (Acts 3:24-26 NIV)
Peter constantly writes and speaks about repentance and turning from your wicked ways. This is why he, nor his church, was able to go beyond the basic level of repentance. When one's mind is unclear, they are not able to explain things properly. He did not understand building the church but dropped God's standard to that of just repentance.
At Mingding Destiny, we give our lives as a living sacrifice to God. Don't try to fool around, but do practical things and sacrifice yourself to God. I understand the will of God and see that his will is not accomplished on earth. I see that His people are still living ignorant, carnal lives on this earth.
Many people don't understand that being a Christian doesn't mean that you should repent and be saved in heaven. Rather, God's will for us is to be victorious on this earth, while we are still living.
Miracles aren't the most important thing to focus on. Rather, focus on getting your name into the book of heaven. Somehow, Peter forgot the will of God. Jesus does not want believers, he wants disciples. Don't rejoice because of 3000, or 5000 believers. Rejoice for the one disciple. Brothers and sisters, understand that the requirements of God are very high.
The way we preach is to live out the will of God and to offer yourself as a living sacrifice to him. Fully give yourself to God, and you will receive incomparable glory. Listen to the Holy Spirit and the word of God.