"Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord."
Since this passage involves the controversial subject of supernatural healing let me share Ken Boa's teaching on the gift of healing which I believe to be scripturally correct. ["Virtually all believers are charismatic in the sense that they believe in the exercise of spiritual gifts (charismata). But in another sense, not all believers are charismatic; a primary distinction between Spirit-centered believers (SCBs) and Word-centered believers (WCBs) lies in their view of controversial gifts such as prophecy, healing, and tongues. While SCBs believe that all the gifts are still given today, many WCBs believe that the controversial gifts have ceased. Cessationists generally make a distinction between sign gifts and edification gifts. Sign gifts, they say, served their purpose in the first century by attesting to the authority of the apostles and their divinely-inspired message. Once the New Testament canon was complete, miraculous gifts were no longer necessary, and they gradually disappeared from the church. WCBs use Hebrews 2:3-4 , for example, to imply that signs and wonders had already ceased by the time of the second generation of Christians. Some also build a case for the cessation of sign gifts from 1 Corinthians 13:8-10. I was formerly a cessationist, but I have come to view these biblical and historical arguments as inconclusive and unconvincing. For example, concerning the time of the cessation of the gifts, a better case can be made that Paul's phrase "when the perfect comes" (1 Corinthians 13:10) refers to the second advent of Christ rather than the completion of the canon of Scripture. In addition, a closer look at church history shows a decline, but not a loss of extraordinary (controversial) gifts (e.g., Jack Deere, Surprised by the Voice of God), and that this decline was related to the replacement of ministry as charism by an institutional model of ministry as office. The teaching that miracles and words of knowledge are not valid for today is derived from theological axioms that cannot be demonstrated from the Scriptures. Our beliefs about these matters are shaped more by our environment, traditions, and teachers than we might suppose, and it is easy to conclude that certain gifts are inoperative if we have not personally seen them or if we only hear of how they are misused. The gift(s) of healing (1 Corinthians 12:9, 28, 30) is the ability to serve as a human instrument through whom God cures illnesses and restores health. The possessor of this gift is not the source of power, but a vessel who can only heal those diseases the Lord chooses to heal. This spiritual gift should not be confused with the signs and wonders performed by Jesus and the apostles, and it should not be discredited because of the abuses of grandstanding faith healers. Like other charismata such as teaching and evangelism, the gift of healing involves varying degrees of development and effectiveness. Healing prayer is not limited to physical disease, but can also extend to emotional, relational, and spiritual concerns. Thus, inner healing, or healing of memories, concerns emotional wounds such as repressed fears, anger, humiliation, and rejection." Conformed to His Image by Kenneth Boa] I know of no clear passage that teaches that the nine gifts of the Holy Spirit listed in 1 Corinthians 12 ceased at the end of the apostolic age. In fact, 1 Cor. 1:6-7 seems to say they will all continue until Jesus returns. "In this way [our] witnessing concerning Christ (the Messiah) was so confirmed and established and made sure in you (so) that you are not [consciously] falling behind or lacking in any special spiritual endowment or Christian grace the reception of which is due to the power of divine grace operating in your souls by the Holy Spirit], while you wait and watch [constantly living in hope] for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and [His] being made visible to all." And Paul exhorts us to understand and seek spiritual gifts seen in 1 Corinthians 12 though he corrects the wrong use of them by some of the Corinthians: 1"Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant. 1" Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy." (1 Cor. 12:1; 14:1) Now let's look at this section of Scripture in Acts 3.
Vv. 1-7 – Though Peter and John may have been going to pray out of habits formed in Judaism we must never underestimate the need and priority of prayer. (See Acts 6:4) Also remember that 3,000 new converts needed to be discipled and cared for and yet they were taking time away from this genuine need to pray first. (See Mark 1:35 for a similar example in Jesus' busy schedule.) Also, in the midst of thousands of people needing their attention, they took note of and responded to this one poor lame man. Obviously the Holy Spirit led them to notice him and directed Peter to be His instrument of supernatural healing. And though God may not call us to heal people this way (and yet He may) we need to be sensitive to the people we pass by in the midst of our busy schedules and even folks at church as this man was right outside the "church" (temple) door. Verse 16 says he received "complete healing" (NIV) and some think this means salvation – the ultimate healing. Whether it is broken legs, broken relationships, or a broken heart, God wants to heal us completely.
Vv. 8-10 – Luke, being a medical doctor, describes the miraculous physical change the man was experiencing and his leaping, and walking and praising God which would remind these Jewish people of the OT promises of the coming kingdom when their Messiah would come: "Then the eyes of the blind will be opened and the ears of the deaf will be unstopped. Then the lame will leap like a deer, And the tongue of the mute will shout for joy." (Isaiah 35:5-6) This passage in Isaiah and many others in the OT describe the hope of the kingdom of God being restored to Israel – an earthly kingdom where Jesus reigns on the throne of David and all the promises of God to Israel will be literally fulfilled. Jesus offered this kingdom to the nation of Israel throughout His ministry as Peter does here in this chapter in vv. 11-26. But the religious leaders and most of the Jews rejected King Jesus and His kingdom. Yet it will come (Thy kingdom come) at the end of the Tribulation and for 1000 years on earth before the new heavens and new earth are created. ["Another reason there must be a Millennial Kingdom is because there are numerous passages, especially in the OT, which describe conditions which sound a lot like the eternal state, but contain elements which are incompatible with what we know about the eternal state. For example: "For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former shall not be remembered or come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create; for behold, I create Jerusalem as a rejoicing, and her people a joy. I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in My people; the voice of weeping shall no longer be heard in her, nor the voice of crying. No more shall an infant from there live but a few days, nor an old man who has not fulfilled his days; for the child shall die one hundred years old, but the sinner being one hundred years old shall be accursed." (Isa. 65:17-20) [emphasis added] In the midst of describing a time of tremendous blessing and restoration, Isaiah mentions two facts which are incompatible with the eternal state: death and sin (cf. Rev. 21:4+, 8+; 22:15+). It is obvious that this passage has never been fulfilled in history past. It most certainly doesn't describe history present. And it cannot describe the eternal state." http://www.spiritandtruth.org/teaching/Book_of_Revelation/commentary/htm/041103.htm]
Vv. 11-26 – In his second sermon Peter is calling the nation of Israel to accept Jesus as the promised Messiah and experience the promised kingdom prophesied throughout the OT as seen above. And although 2,000 more Jews (see Acts 4:4) join the 3,000 seen in Acts 2 and receive forgiveness of sin individually, the nation still rejects Jesus as Messiah (as is still true today). The church was born at Pentecost and consists of saved Jews and Gentiles and we as Gentiles will participate and enjoy the kingdom blessings promised to Israel. 17 "But if some of the branches were broken off (unrepentant Jews, and you, being a wild olive (saved Gentiles) were grafted in among them and became partaker with them of the rich root of the olive tree, 18 do not be arrogant toward the branches; but if you are arrogant, remember that it is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you." (Romans 11:17-18)
Replacement theology (that the promises of the kingdom God gave to Israel are now promised to the church since the nation of Israel rejected Jesus as the Messiah) is taught in many denominations today and it influences people toward ant-Semitism and against God's will to not divide the land of Israel as our president and many in government suggest we do. And as a democracy "we the people" are accountable to God for our elected leaders, many of whom are abortionists, anti-Israel and generally indifferent to God's will as revealed in Scripture. "I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat. Then I will enter into judgment with them there; On behalf of My people and My inheritance, Israel, Whom they have scattered among the nations; And they have divided up My land." (Joel 3:2) God will judge, has judged and is currently judging those nations and individuals who turn against His will for the nation of Israel. 7 "Come, O Zion! Escape, you who live in the Daughter of Babylon" 8For this is what the LORD Almighty says: "After he has honored me and has sent me against the nations that have plundered you-for whoever touches you (Israel) touches the apple of his eye- 9 I will surely raise my hand against them so that their slaves will plunder them. Then you will know that the LORD Almighty has sent me. 10 "Shout and be glad, O Daughter of Zion. For I am coming, and I will live among you," declares the LORD. 11 "Many nations will be joined with the LORD in that day and will become my people. I will live among you and you will know that the LORD Almighty has sent me to you. 12 The LORD will inherit Judah as his portion in the holy land and will again choose Jerusalem. 13 Be still before the LORD, all mankind, because he has roused himself from his holy dwelling." (Zech. 2:7-13)
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION AND APPLICATION
1. What is your main take away from the message and table discussion and how can you apply it to your life?
2. 1"Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant. 1" Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy." (1 Cor. 12:1; 14:1) Share your experience of supernatural healing that you have witnessed first hand, i.e., personal healing or for someone you know. Do you feel you are open to learn (versus "be ignorant" of) and even "eagerly desire spiritual gifts"?
3. Is prayer (both intercessory prayer for others and personal prayer for spiritual growth) a high priority in your life? From Peter and John's good example above do you see how prayer can make us more sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit and more ready to be used as God's vessel of healing and/or compassion for those people we pass by?
4. Whether it is broken bones, broken relationships, or a broken heart, God wants to heal us completely. What healing do you need in your life?
5. Do you understand the difference between the kingdom blessings promised to Israel (seen in the 1000 year reign of Christ on the earth) and the blessings of the new heaven and new earth seen in Revelation 21-22? Do you see how confusing the two can make you indifferent to Israel and God's promises to the Jews? For an in-depth study of this see the following web sites: