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Sermon 05 - Acts 3,1-10

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INTRODUCTION:

1.      ((illus)) One day a local pastor friend came into my office with a funny grin on his face.

a.    I asked him what was new.

b.    He told me he had just preached his first sermon for a dog.

c.    I told him “that was a lame excuse for a sermon.”

d.   He told me that:

i)        A neighbor’s dog had died and the neighbor had requested this pastor’s services.

ii)      He told the neighbor that as long as there were no restrictions on what he could say, he would be glad to hold the service.

iii)    They met at a local pet cemetery and laid their friend to rest.

iv)    I have since rethought my attitude and agree with my pastor-friend. As long as I’m not restricted in what I can say, I’ll go just about anywhere if invited.

2.      We met another preacher today who literally had a lame excuse for a sermon.

a.    It was the occasion where the apostle Peter preached a sermon because a lame man had been healed.

b.    Acts 4:22 tells us that he had been lame for 40 years – since he was born (3:2)

c.    Literally, this was a lame excuse for a sermon.

d.   But it was a great sermon because 4:4 tells us that the number of the men alone who were saved was 5,000!

3.      Read Acts 3:1-10

1 Peter and John went to the Temple one afternoon to take part in the three o’clock prayer service.

- The ninth hour, the hour of prayer would be three in the afternoon according to the Jewish reckoning, which counted the hours from sunrise. 

-  The ninth hour was also the time of the evening sacrifice, when the daily temple crowds would be at their peak.

2 As they approached the Temple, a man lame from birth was being carried in. Each day he was put beside the Temple gate, the one called the Beautiful Gate, so he could beg from the people going into the Temple.

- The Beautiful gate is supposed to have been the door which led from the court of the Gentiles to the court of the women.

-     It was of massive structure, and covered with plates of Corinthian brass

3 When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for some money.

4 Peter and John looked at him intently, and Peter said, “Look at us!”

5 The lame man looked at them eagerly, expecting a gift.

6 But Peter said, “I don’t have any money for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, get up and walk!”

7 Then Peter took the lame man by the right hand and helped him up. And as he did, the man’s feet and anklebones were healed and strengthened.

             -   Since the author is Dr. Luke, a physician, it is not unusual for him to write such detail.

8 He jumped up, stood on his feet, and began to walk! Then, walking, leaping, and praising God, he went into the Temple with them.

9 All the people saw him walking and heard him praising God.

10 When they realized he was the lame beggar they had seen so often at the Beautiful Gate, they were absolutely astounded!

4.      This 40 year old lame man appears to have had this “beggars corner” for some time.

a.    Since the people coming for prayer were earnest worshippers and knew that in the best Jewish tradition it was considered honorable to give alms, this man had the best spot.

b.    In the early days of the church, Jewish believers continued to meet in the temple area, now understanding the symbolism of the activities there.

c.    Here Peter and John, along with other believers were going to meet for prayer and study and witness.

5.      I think that we can take away from this occasion some very significant lessons for the church today.

A LAME EXCUSE FOR A SERMON

Acts 3:1-10

 

1.      THE CHURCH’S MISSION - Cripples

a.    I think it’s important to note from the story that there is a sudden shift by the author from 5,000+ people to a single individual.

i)        Here is the first miracle performed through the church and it is to an individual - I believe this is not by accident.

ii)      We are being reminded that our mission starts with the individual.

iii)    God may bless us with a crowd, but at the core are individual people.

iv)    We reach the community one person at a time.

v)      God is interested in you and me as individuals.

¨      He does not have an assembly line process in his kingdom.

b.    Let’s also not forget that Jesus, though ascended, is still at work

i)        And at work through His body – the church; that’s you and me.

ii)      ((illus)) There is an organization in St. Pete called D&D Missionary homes which allows missionaries to spend one year, rent free in one of their homes, when available. A missionary who stayed there told me that along the sidewalks in this complex are little signs with the same message - “WATCH GOD WORK.”

iii)    That attitude of expecting God to work - an expression of faith, was in the early church and is ours to inherit.

c.    As we said before, Dr. Luke records this to set up the occasion for a sermon to be preach.

i)        But also to give an explanation for the first persecution that follows.

ii)      In addition, it graphically reminds us to our MISSION as a church.

d.   This man was out begging for alms.

i)        He thought that all he needed was money to solve his immediate problems.

¨      Isn’t that the attitude of many today?

¨      Throwing money seems to be the first and last approach to solving social and/or spiritual problems.

ii)      We throw money and then, feeling our duty is done, we hurry on about our own business.

iii)    Peter and John had a peculiar advantage. They had no money to throw!

e.    But the Bible teaches us that while man looks on the outward appearance of someone, God looks at the heart.

i)        God’s mission for the church today is like this first miracle of the church – to touch those who are CRIPPLED, who are spiritually lame.

ii)      As we look at him, we are reminded of the fact that everywhere we look there is human hurt, human suffering, and human tragedy.

¨      Sometimes it manifests itself through a physical affliction such as this man had, but more often it goes unseen to human eyes.

¨      For every one who is crippled physically, there are literally tens of thousands who are crippled emotionally. And there are hundreds of thousands who are crippled spiritually.

¨      The message of this man is that there are needs to be met in human lives everywhere.

¨      And sometimes those needs exist in lives that are outwardly wonderful.

f.     Let’s be honest, the truth is, things are not always what they seem.

i)        The down-and-out and the up-and-out have at least two things in common:

¨      They are both human and they both have deep needs.

ii)      Inside every one of those nice houses sitting on their manicured lawns are people who hurt, people who have unmet personal needs.

iii)    Many of those people have their own story of human tragedy which they could tell, and every one of them needs a touch from God.

g.    Luke 4:18-19 (NLT) 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has appointed me to preach Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the downtrodden will be freed from their oppressors, 19 and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.”

h.    And today we live in a society that is lame and broken.

i.      How many of our co-workers or friends or neighbors appear outwardly to be doing OK, yet inwardly they are struggling?

i)        They are over-extended financially.

ii)      They don’t know what to do with their children.

iii)    Their marriages are falling apart.

iv)    Their job is hanging by a thread.

v)      They’ve lost all self-esteem.

vi)    They’re guilty and depressed and don’t know where to turn.

j.      Behind every door there is human need.

i)        Every person has a story to tell.

ii)      We’ve all been hurt, we’ve all been used, we’ve all failed, and we all need healing.

iii)    We need Jesus—and that’s the biggest need that anyone has.

iv)    People need a heavenly touch from God.

THE CHURCH’S MISSION - Cripples

 

2.      THE CHURCH’S GIFT - Healing

a.    6 But Peter said, “I don’t have any money for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, get up and walk!” 7 Then Peter took the lame man by the right hand and helped him up. And as he did, the man’s feet and anklebones were healed and strengthened.

b.    GCC is to be a giving church and it is.

i)        ((illus)) I reminded one of our own this past week that, financially, we were just about two weeks to two months from extinction.

¨      Everything He gives us is to give away.

¨      But first we must receive it.

¨      Each one here who has trusted Jesus has received some kind of healing.

(a)    Salvation - spiritual healing

(b)   Healing from fear, anger…

ii)      And we share this just like Peter and John did.

c.    For some we will give:

i)        The gift of listening

ii)      A helping hand

iii)    A simple touch

iv)    A good word

v)      The words of life – Jesus

d.   Scriptures do not tell us that this man trusted Jesus at this moment, but I somehow think he did.

i)        Instead of lameness, there was leaping – good sign of life.

ii)      Instead of asking for alms, he was praising God.

iii)    ((illus)) Vance Havner said, "Some dear souls think themselves dignified when, really, they are petrified. We have lost our leap." Well, we need to get it back.

e.    We must give that which cancels spiritual disability

i)        That communicates ability.

ii)      That creates worship as here.

THE CHURCH’S MISSION - Cripples

THE CHURCH’S GIFT - Healing

 

3.      THE CHURCH’S METHOD - People

a.    I look at these two – Peter and John

i)        They are the diff. Between night and day.

ii)      Peter was the doer/ John, the dreamer

iii)    Peter was more hands-on & practical/ John, the dreamer

iv)    In the Gospels (John 21) they irritated each other.

v)      Now, there is a team, they have realized that they are complimentary

b.    We need each other – we must learn to appreciate each other in our giftedness and accept each other’s limitations.

c.    How does God use people? - Acts 3

i)        Our witness does not usually begin with an explanation.

ii)      We don’t just send everyone out with literature to hand out.

iii)    The normal pattern is to let God do something, and then explain it to people.

¨      First God does something to you, and then, as people see that, they ask you what happened.

¨      This is why Peter says, "Always be ready to give an answer to every man who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with gentleness and courtesy," {1 Pet 3:15 KJV}. That is what witnessing is.

(a)    For some of you there may be a healing and that will raise good kinds of questions.

(b)   For many, there will not be a healing, and that will also raise questions

d.   Because God is seeking to do something within.

i)        This many asked for the lesser and got the greater.

ii)      He asked for money and got his legs.

iii)    Is it possible that what God wants to give us is greater than what we are asking for?

THE CHURCH’S MISSION - Cripples

THE CHURCH’S GIFT- Healing

THE CHURCH’S METHOD - People

 

4.      THE CHURCH’S ATHOURITY – Jesus

a.    6 But Peter said, “I don’t have any money for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, get up and walk!”

b.    Peter could not give him silver and gold because he had none.

i)        He could only give what he had. And so it is with us.

ii)      If we do not possess a living relationship with Jesus Christ, we will never be able to impart a heavenly touch to others.

c.    You can only impart what you have.

d.   It is important that we take care to develop our own spiritual life if we would impart spiritual life to others.

5.      THE CHURCH’S MESSAGE - A risen Christ

 

CONCLUSION:

 

THE CHURCH’S MISSION - Cripples

THE CHURCH’S GIFT - Healing

THE CHURCH’S METHOD - People

THE CHURCH’S ATHOURITY – Jesus

THE CHURCH’S MESSAGE - A risen Christ

Look around you. See the needs.

  - Ask yourself, "What are the needs of this person and what can I do to minister to those needs?"

  - Of course, the goal is to lead people to Jesus. But we must first reach out to them in a way which touches their need.

  - We must give them what we have—our time, our friendship, ourselves. As we do, their ears will be opened and their hearts receptive to hearing about the Good News—and when they receive that, like the man who was healed, they will be walking and leaping and praising God!

  - People need what you have.

  - Will you take the time to share with them? May God give us people to touch with the power of God.

 

Prayer:

Our Father, we thank you for the name of Jesus. It has lost none of its power. It is still transforming men and women, as it always has -- and not only spiritually, but occasionally physically. We thank you for those demonstrations of your power yet today. We know that you heal. We know that you can change a sick and ailing body and make it well and strong. But also you can take a sick and ailing spirit and make it well and strong, whole, wholesome, easy to live with. And Lord, some of us who are sick and lame and blind, weak and oppressed, now look to that precious name and ask the Lord Jesus, in his power, to set us free. We thank you for the results -- in his name. Amen.

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