Tom: In this our Understanding the Scriptures segment, we are in the Book of Acts 3, and, Dave, we’ll start right away with verse 1: “Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour. And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple; who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms. And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us. And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them. Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.”
Dave: “And he took him by the hand and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. And he, leaping up, stood and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.”
I remember, we had a little hippie song back in those days, and I used to meet with some groups of former hippies, I guess, who had come to Christ, and they enjoyed jumping and dancing and singing, walking and leaping and praising God. Well, there is nothing wrong with that, a little exuberance; and this man was exuberant, walking and leaping and praising God, because he had been healed. Well, there is a lot of interesting stuff here, Tom.
Tom: I’m going to interrupt, Dave, but I’m going to just jump in. Dave, so we were just talking about mystical worship of God, and under that umbrella, we find all forms of art—for example, dance. Do you have any problem with dance as a form of worship?
Dave: Well, this man had a reason to dance. He hadn’t even been able to walk, and he is just praising God. So, if you’ve got someone who is miraculously healed in a church service, let them dance. But…
Tom: But choreographing a worship service? What about that?
Dave: I don’t think that will go. I mean, go ahead and try it. But you see, what happens, Tom, is it’s a form of materialism, actually: they are trying to escape the material world; they’re trying to get into a mystical mode, but they are using material means. As you know as a Catholic, how many candles did you light, or your parents light, and so forth? So you use these physical things—“Oh, this little wafer is really the body and blood of Jesus,” and so forth. So, they become props. You have to have props in order to somehow get you in the mode. We want stained glass, we want organ playing, we want the lights down, we want, you know, the vestments on the priests…
Tom: Create a sacred atmosphere.
Dave: Right. That’s not what the Bible talks about.
Tom: Dave, isn’t at least one problem with that that it’s incredibly subjective? In other words, what about dance and movement and so on: what is that conveying? What is that communicating in terms of truth?
Dave: It isn’t communicating anything, and it’s like visualization—“Well, let’s visualize Jesus.” You’re creating it in your mind, and we’ve got to get back to truth, okay? So anyway, they are coming into the temple at the hour of prayer. Shouldn’t we have an hour of prayer? I don’t think so. This was a Jewish observance, but it was a time when there would be plenty of people there that Peter and John could minister to.
Tom: Right. Now, you’re not putting down prayer meetings, because remember a couple of weeks ago you said, “Where are they? Where are the people with regard to prayer meetings?” There’s a difference.
Dave: Yeah. These were probably Jewish people—followers of Judaism—who may not have even known Christ, had not believed the gospel yet, although I think many of them probably were new Christians. So it was a place to gather, and here’s this lame man—lame from his mother’s womb, so he has never walked—and out of pity they carry him and they sit him there every day. This is his routine, and he’s sat there or laid there at the gate called Beautiful so that people passing by could give him a little help.
Now this guy wasn’t faking it, he was genuinely lame, and he sees Peter and John coming by and he holds out his hand, you know: “Please help the poor lame man.” And they turn and look at him. You know, you’re walking by some beggar or whatever, some panhandler, you kind of avoid looking at them and just keep walking on. Some of them make a lot of money that way, Tom. But anyway, Peter and John, they “fastened their eyes upon him,” it says. So, he thinks, Wow! I’m going to get a gift from these guys that would help me, but they’ve got something far better. And I love the way Peter says it: “Silver and gold have I none.”
Now, I’ve heard preachers say, “Well, when you get to that point where you can say, ‘Silver and gold have I none. I don’t have anything but the clothes on my back,’ then you can do miracles.” Well, I think that Peter and John were taken care of; they had food to eat, they had houses to live in, so that’s not exactly what he is saying. There are some people who would take that to extremes. You know, the Catholic monks that you could tell us about, in the cave, and so forth—“Well, we are going to give up all earthly goods, and that’s the way we will somehow reach holiness.”
Tom: Take vows of poverty.
Dave: Right. It’s like Buddha: you can facetiously—well, it’s not facetiously—it may be a little bit humorous—but Buddha believed that the way to reach nirvana was to be released from all desire. Buddha’s major problem was the thing that he desired above all was to be released from desire. [chuckles] So he’s stuck, and we’re stuck with we have to use material things.
But what Peter is saying that, “Silver and gold, that’s not our God. That’s not what we need. In fact, we can do without it. We’re trusting God for our daily bread. But such as I have, give I thee.” So you don’t reach holiness by giving up everything, by dressing in sackcloth and ashes and sitting in a cave and meditating all day—you know, the Eastern meditation type, which is what the gurus in India do, the mystics, and so forth over there. But Peter is filled with the Holy Spirit; he is trusting what Christ had promised them, and this is the very beginning of the church.
Some people would say, “Well, how come we don’t see miracles like that today?” Well, you begin to get the picture—we’ll get into that as we come further in the Book of Acts—but certainly the power of God was with them at this moment, and he says, “In the name of Jesus of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” Wow! And he takes him by the hand, and the man stands up.
Now, this causes quite a scene, and I guess we have to wait until next week, but you’ve got a lot of people coming and running to see what’s going on, because they know who this man is; they know that he’s been there day after day after day; that he was born like this, and suddenly he is leaping and walking. And I love what it says at the end of verse 8—“and praising God!” He’s not praising Peter and John; he is praising God. He knows where his healing came from. He has not become a follower of men, but now he’s going to look to God; he becomes a follower of the Lord. And it’s going to give them an opportunity to preach the gospel—“We did this in the name of Jesus.”
Tom: Doesn’t it really grieve you that in many cases, con men—under the guise of being Christians and healers—they do such a disservice; they become such a reproach to God by their so-called ministries?
Dave: Well, Jesus tells us about them. Matthew:7:22,23: “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord,”—so they are calling Him Lord—“didn’t we prophesy in your name? In your name we cast out devils. In your name we did miracles? I will say, I never knew you, Depart from me.” So apparently, Jesus is saying there would be many who would pretend to be Christian leaders, who would pretend to do miracles, when in fact didn’t know Him at all. And I think we have some in that category today, Tom.
Gary: Dave and Tom will resume their discussion on the topic of salvation next week. We hope you can join us. This is Search the Scriptures Daily, a radio ministry of The Berean Call.
The Apostle John in Revelation 17 describes in detail characteristics of a beast which comes in the last days. Virtually all attention these days is focused on the coming Antichrist, but he is only half the story. Many are amazed to discover that that same passage reveals another mysterious character at the heart of prophecy: a woman who rides the beast. Who is this woman? John depicts her as a false church which will be a partner of the Antichrist. Tradition says she is connected with the Church of Rome, but isn’t such a view outdated? After all, today’s Vatican is eager to join hands with Protestants worldwide. We are told the Catholic Church has changed—or has it? In A Woman Rides the Beast, prophecy expert Dave Hunt sifts through biblical truth and global events to present a well-defined portrait of this woman and her powerful place in the Antichrist future empire. Eight remarkable clues in Revelation prove the woman’s identity beyond any reasonable doubt. Was John describing the Church of Rome? To answer this question, Dave has spent years in historical research, primarily from Catholic sources, and provides indisputable documentation. Video host, author, and lecturer Dave Hunt:
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