1. COURAGEOUS CARE
a. When the conscience of the multitude was awakened as to who Christ actually was, what strong appeal did Peter immediately make—and how can it give us courage? Acts 2:38–40.
“We are not to cringe and beg pardon of the world for telling them the truth: we should scorn concealment. Unfurl your colors to meet the cause of men and angels. Let it be understood that Seventh-day Adventists can make no compromise. In your opinions and faith there must not be the least appearance of waverings: the world has a right to know what to expect of us. . . .
“The Lord desires His servants today to preach the old gospel doctrine, sorrow for sin, repentance, and confession. We want old-fashioned sermons, old-fashioned customs, old-fashioned fathers and mothers in Israel. The sinner must be labored for, perseveringly, earnestly, wisely, until he shall see that he is a transgressor of God’s law, and shall exercise repentance toward God and faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ.”—Evangelism, pp. 179, 180.
2. MIRACULOUS RESULTS
a. What amazing work was wrought through the Holy Spirit? Acts 2:41.
“Peter stood up among them and spoke with mighty power. Among those who listened to him were devout Jews, who were sincere in their belief. But the power that accompanied the words of the speaker convinced them that Christ was indeed the Messiah. What a mighty work was accomplished! Three thousand were converted in one day.
“The seed had been sown by the greatest Teacher the world had ever known. For three and a half years the Son of God had sojourned in the land of Judea, proclaiming the message of the gospel of truth and working with mighty signs and wonders. The seed had been sown, and after His ascension the great ingathering took place. More were converted by one sermon on the day of Pentecost than were converted during all the years of Christ’s ministry. So mightily will God work when men give themselves to the control of the Spirit.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 6, p. 1055.
b. Describe the attitude of the early church—and what we all need to learn from it. Acts 2:42–47.
“After the descent of the Holy Spirit the disciples went forth to proclaim a risen Saviour, their one desire the salvation of souls. They rejoiced in the sweetness of the communion with saints. They were tender, thoughtful, self-denying, willing to make any sacrifice for the truth’s sake. In their daily association with one another they revealed the love that Christ had commanded them to reveal. By unselfish words and deeds they strove to kindle this love in other hearts.
“The believers were ever to cherish the love that filled the hearts of the apostles after the descent of the Holy Spirit. They were to go forward in willing obedience to the new commandment: ‘As I have loved you, that ye also love one another.’ John 13:34. So closely were they to be united to Christ that they would be enabled to fulfill His requirements. The power of a Saviour who could justify them by His righteousness was to be magnified.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, p. 241.
3. THE MIRACLE AT THE TEMPLE
a. How did the Lord use Peter and John to perform a wonderful miracle at the Beautiful gate of the temple? Acts 3:1–10.
“With mighty power the disciples preached a crucified and risen Saviour. Signs and wonders were wrought by them in the name of Jesus; the sick were healed; and a man who had been lame from his birth was restored to perfect soundness and entered with Peter and John into the temple, walking and leaping and praising God in the sight of all the people.”—Early Writings, p. 192.
b. How did the people react to the miracle, and what did Peter declare to emphasize the actual source of it? Acts 3:11–16.
“Many ran together, greatly astonished at the cure that had been wrought.
“When Jesus died, the priests thought that no more miracles would be performed among them, that the excitement would die out and the people would again turn to the traditions of men. But lo! right among them the disciples were working miracles, and the people were filled with amazement. Jesus had been crucified, and they wondered where His followers had obtained this power. When He was alive, they thought that He imparted power to them; but when He died, they expected the miracles to cease.”—Ibid.
c. How did Peter kindly give his listeners the benefit of the doubt? Acts 3:17.
“ ‘I wot that through ignorance ye did it,’ said Peter; but this ignorance did not excuse the action; for they had had great light granted unto them. The statement is made that had they known that He was the Prince of life, they would not have crucified Him. But why did they not know?—because they chose not to know. They had no interest to search and study, and their ignorance proved their eternal ruin. They had had the strongest evidence on which to base their faith, and they were under obligation to God to accept the evidence He had given them. Their unbelief made them guilty of the blood of the only begotten Son of the infinite God.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 6, p. 1056.
4. TIME TO FALL ON THE ROCK
a. Having presented the truth about Christ, what appeal did Peter therefore make to his hearers at the temple? Acts 3:18, 19. How does this same appeal echo down to us today with even greater urgency?
“The words should come to us now with impelling earnestness: [Acts 3:19 quoted.] There are many among us who are deficient in spirituality and who, unless they are wholly converted, will certainly be lost. Can you afford to run the risk? . . .
“If we would escape having a sickly experience, we must begin in earnest without delay to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. There are many who give no decided evidence that they are true to their baptismal vows. Their zeal is chilled by formality, worldly ambition, pride, and love of self. Occasionally their feelings are stirred, but they do not fall on the Rock, Christ Jesus. They do not come to God with hearts that are broken in repentance and confession. Those who experience the work of true conversion in their hearts will reveal the fruits of the Spirit in their lives. Oh, that those who have so little spiritual life would realize that eternal life can be granted only to those who become partakers of the divine nature and escape the corruption that is in the world through lust!”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9, pp. 154, 155.
b. How only can we experience the “refreshing” referred to in Acts 3:19? Isaiah 43:25; 44:3, 22; 57:15; 60:1, 2.
“As the ‘former rain’ was given, in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at the opening of the gospel, to cause the upspringing of the precious seed, so the ‘latter rain’ will be given at its close for the ripening of the harvest. . . .
“The great work of the gospel is not to close with less manifestation of the power of God than marked its opening. The prophecies which were fulfilled in the outpouring of the former rain at the opening of the gospel, are again to be fulfilled in the latter rain at its close. Here are ‘the times of refreshing’ to which the apostle Peter looked forward when he said, ‘Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out [in the investigative Judgment], when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.’ ”—The Great Controversy (1888), p. 611.
5. PREPARING FOR THE GLORIOUS EVENT
a. Who only will receive the “refreshing,” and what is the glorious result of it? Acts 3:19, 20; 2 Corinthians 7:10.
“These words should come to us today with impelling force. [2 Corinthians 7:10, 11 quoted.] This is genuine repentance. It will lead to a transformation in the life. It is the absence of this true sorrow for sin that makes many conversions superficial. Reformations are not made in the life. But when sin is viewed in the light of the law of God, and its true character is realized, it will be put away from the heart and life.
“True sorrow for sin brings the penitent soul near to the side of Jesus. There he may effectually plead for pardon, and obtain grace to conquer. There his darkened understanding may be enlightened, and the stony heart transformed into a heart of flesh. There the rebellious sinner is subdued, and his will is brought into conformity to the will of God.”—The Review and Herald, June 8, 1911.
“I saw that many were neglecting the preparation so needful and were looking to the time of ‘refreshing’ and the ‘latter rain’ to fit them to stand in the day of the Lord and to live in His sight. Oh, how many I saw in the time of trouble without a shelter! They had neglected the needful preparation; therefore they could not receive the refreshing that all must have to fit them to live in the sight of a holy God. . . . I saw that none could share the ‘refreshing’ unless they obtain the victory over every besetment, over pride, selfishness, love of the world, and over every wrong word and action. We should, therefore, be drawing nearer and nearer to the Lord and be earnestly seeking that preparation necessary to enable us to stand in the battle in the day of the Lord. Let all remember that God is holy and that none but holy beings can ever dwell in His presence.”—Early Writings, p. 71.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. How can I develop more courage to speak up for Christ as He does for me?
2. Why were the disciples so successful right there where they began working?
3. How does giving people the benefit of the doubt promote mutual respect?
4. Why does God bid us repent before entrusting us with latter rain power?
5. What are some besetting sins I need to overcome to receive the refreshing?