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Acts 3:1-10 | "Power in the Name"

[Acts] The Church Empowered  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  26:05
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A name represents authority, and authority represents power. The power of God for salvation is available by faith in the name of Jesus.

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Public Reading of Scripture

Acts 3:1–10 ESV
1 Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. 2 And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate to ask alms of those entering the temple. 3 Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms. 4 And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” 5 And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. 6 But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” 7 And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. 8 And leaping up, he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. 9 And all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 and recognized him as the one who sat at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, asking for alms. And they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.
Prayer

Introduction

The early believers in Jesus devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers (Acts 2:42).
This devotion to the things of God was lived out every day. They attended the temple together every day (Acts 2:46). The Lord was adding to their number those who were being saved every day (Acts 2:47).
God is present every day. Not just yesterday, not only tomorrow, but even today. Every day belongs to God.
As a reminder of this, times of prayer were built into the Jewish schedule of worship at the temple.
The temple itself is known as a place of sacrifice and offerings, but it was a house of prayer — that’s how Jesus described it.
Do you remember when Jesus entered the temple courts and began to drive out those who were selling things there?
As he was driving out the merchants he quoted the Scriptures in Isaiah where, “It is written, ‘My house will be a house of prayer, but you have turned it into a den of robbers!” (Luke 19:45-46).
Prayer is important, and it remains an important daily practice of the early believers. Not only individually and in homes, but also together and in the temple.
Acts 3:1 ESV
1 Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour.
The hours were counted beginning at sunrise. The ninth hour was about 3:00 PM. It is called the “hour of prayer.”
And at this hour or prayer, a miracle is recorded — the first miracle performed by the apostles in the book of Acts!
Luke does this in his writing, often recording God’s activities at times of prayer.
The message is unmistakable: God’s power is available through prayer. God acts through prayer! God STILL acts through prayer!
As Peter and John are going to pray, they encounter what verse 2 presents as a contrast between:

I. Brokenness vs. Beauty

Acts 3:2 ESV
2 And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate to ask alms of those entering the temple.
We are introduced to a man who is lame — that means, he is crippled. He is disabled. He is unable to walk.
This wasn’t a later development in his life, for the scriptures say he has been lame from birth (lit. “from his mother’s womb”).
He wasn’t dropped as an infant. He didn’t suffer an accident as a child. This is no fault of his own!
He was born this way — He was born…broken.
This brokenness made for a very difficult and dependent life — dependent on the mercy of others to survive. For him, he was dependent on the mercy of the religious — of those who claim to worship the one, true living God.
We are introduced to this man as he is being carried by others, and laid at the gate of the temple where he would ask alms of those entering the temple.
Alms were gifts that were given to the needy.
He was our homeless man with the cardboard sign asking for money, work or food. This was his identity. This was his life.
This happened, verse two says, every day.
Brokenness vs. Beauty. The contrast of this man’s condition with the place where he was laid is vivid.
The temple court could be accessed by multiple gates, but the scriptures tell us this broken man was laid at the gate that is called “Beautiful.”
This was the main and largest gate, made of the most expensive bronze, located on the east, facing the sanctuary. As the sun rose in the morning just imagine how it would shine on this bronze gate and the east of the sanctuary. This sight would be especially beautiful. (IVP Background Commentary/Keener).
So it is, the Psalmist says:
Psalm 100:4 ESV
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!
But not this man! He was laid at the gate, and could go no further.
While others were inspired by Beauty, he was reminded that he was broken.
This brokenness for him, was a barrier for worship.
And not only was this man broken - he was also broke! (CCE). The only financial means he had was what he was given.
He begged for help from those passing by.
Begging in our culture is viewed as unpleasant. Begging in his culture was also viewed as unpleasant! (Keener).
Beggars had to beg boldly or stay poor. They could not be shy about their needs (Keener).
So he asks Peter and John for help.
Acts 3:3 ESV
3 Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms.
Now, Peter and John had been going into the temple every day. It is possible (and even probable) that they had passed by this man before. He was well known by the people there.
So what got their attention this time?
This man would have been there long enough that even Jesus would have been at the temple while this man was there. And yet, we have no record of Jesus interacting with this man or healing him before now.
So why now?
We can’t answer questions about God’s timing. But we do trust that what God does in his timing, he does for a purpose. God has a purpose, even for brokenness.
Perhaps it was for this very moment, that this man remained broken, so that he might be healed in Jesus’ name?
Perhaps it was to show how hopeless this man’s condition was? If Jesus had passed him by on his visits to the temple, Jesus would have been his only hope. So his only hope was gone. His only hope had passed him by.......or did he?
Our circumstances are every bit a part of our testimony. What we are experiencing now, be it trials or tribulations, are not evidence of God’s abandoning us, they are testimony builders for what God will do in His timing for his purposes.
This is not an insignificant miracle. This healing and its aftermath take two full chapters in Acts. It causes quite a stir, and it ultimately leads to the first opposition the apostles will face in their ministry for Jesus. It is certainly no accident that it is associated with the hour of prayer, as a reminder that all ministry, healing, and waiting is dependent upon God.
So what made Peter and John notice this man this time?
The answer is that this man reached out to them on the basis of his need (Keener). He asked. He asked for help.
What things do we not have because we have simply not asked?
In his asking, the text brings out a second contrast. That of:

II. Help vs. Health

For this man, there is a difference between help and health.
He asked for help. He is given health.
He asked to receive alms. He asked to receive money so that he might survive another day. But what he receives is health. Restoration. Healing.
Acts 3:4–5 ESV
4 And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” 5 And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them.
That word “expecting” is important.
Expectation is a companion of faith.
In this image of a broken, begging man, the scriptures give us a glimpse of faith. It is a small faith, but he expects to receive something that he asks for.
God is pleased, even with small faith. And this directly relates to our prayers (our asking God in prayer).
Jesus said:
Matthew 21:22 ESV
22 And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”
Expectation is a companion of faith. When we petition God for a request, we ask in faith expecting to receive what we ask for, if we ask according to his will.
This man expects to receive alms in the form of money. He receives much more.
Acts 3:6 ESV
6 But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!”
Not having what someone asks for, or not having what you think someone needs to help them, does not mean you have nothing to give.
Brothers and sisters, in Jesus Christ we have much to give. And we should help people if we have the means to help them, but if we don’t have the means, we don’t need to ignore them as if we have nothing to give. It may be that person asking you for help is creating for you an opportunity to be a witness for Jesus. To give them more than help, but health for their soul. It may be God has reserved that moment as a moment of salvation in Jesus’ name!
I imagine this man thinking: “I know the value of silver. I know what to do with gold. But what’s in a name that you can give me? What’s in a name that can do anything for me?”
And of all names, Jesus Christ of Nazareth!
Jesus, the Anointed, from Nazareth?
Being from a great city meant great honor. Nazareth was not known as a great city. (Keener).
John 1:46 ESV
46 Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.”
The disciples are not ashamed of where Jesus came from. It is this very Jesus Christ from Nazareth whom they have seen do great things - even rise from the dead! And Peter invokes Jesus’ name...
And in doing so, he draws attention to Jesus’ power. A name represents a person’s authority. Authority represents power.
If you listen closely, you can hear a boy named David all the way back in the Old Testament going to battle with an enemy of God. And the last words this giant hears coming from the mouth of David are these:
1 Samuel 17:45 ESV
45 Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.
David called on the name of the Lord, and the power of the Lord struck down the giant using only one small stone.
Peter is an apostle of Jesus, a special messenger of the person and work of Jesus. And so there will be no mistaking whose power heals this man, Peter commands him to rise and walk in Jesus’ name! By Jesus’ authority and power!
And this man received more than help, he received health.
Peter will explain this to the people in:
Acts 3:16 ESV
16 And his name—by faith in his name—has made this man strong whom you see and know, and the faith that is through Jesus has given the man this perfect health in the presence of you all.
Jesus has made this man whole. And this man receives this healing by faith and he learned that money helps, but this Jesus Christ of Nazareth has power to heal.
First, there was the contrast between brokenness and beauty.
Second, the contrast between help and healing.
And this leads into the third contrast in the text.
Now is the contrast between:

III. Seeing vs. Standing

Acts 3:8–10 ESV
8 And leaping up, he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. 9 And all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 and recognized him as the one who sat at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, asking for alms. And they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.
Jesus enabled this man to do something he had never done before in his life — to stand. And because he could stand, he could walk! And the beauty of it all is that now he could enter the temple with them, on his own feet! And praise God!
This is the testimony of Jesus and the power in his name! That even through his disciples, his name and power are still made known in all the earth. And it is a power that not only can heal the body, but a power that heals the soul. The power to forgive sins by faith. To carry on what Jesus began on the cross in the breaking down of barriers that kept people from the worship of the one true living God!
What Jesus offers to all humanity in his name is this kind of healing - the healing of the soul, by which all who repent of sin and believe in the name of Jesus will be saved.
Acts 4 says the priests, the captain of the temple, and the Sadduccees were “greatly annoyed” with the teaching of Peter in the name of Jesus. So they arrested Peter and John:
Acts 4:7 ESV
7 And when they had set them in the midst, they inquired, “By what power or by what name did you do this?”
Peter — if you did this by your own power, you tell us. If you did this by someone else’ power, in the authority of someone else’ name, you tells us who. And that is just the opportunity Peter needs, to tell them of not only the authority but also the power in Jesus’ name!
Acts 4:8–12 ESV
8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, 9 if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed, 10 let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well. 11 This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. 12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
The name of Jesus has the power to heal, and the name of Jesus has the power to save!
Jesus left the beauty of heaven so that he might be broken for our sin. In the name of Jesus, beauty may rise from the ashes of brokenness.
Jesus came to do more than help us in our need. He came to restore us to health by forgiving our sin and giving us a new and eternal life. In the name of Jesus, we are given more than help, we are given eternal health.
And this miracle ends with the people in the temple that day seeing this man walking and praising God (v.9). They recognized him. They knew who he was. They knew something amazing had happened to him but they did not know how or what had happened.
While the people were seeing this play out, this man knew, because he was standing. He was standing as a testimony to the power of the name of Jesus.
The greatest testimony for Jesus is not telling what you have seen God do for others, but showing what God has done for you. What has God done for you? What is your testimony?

Conclusion

This man begged from a position of powerlessness. He begged boldly.
As Christians, how much more boldly are we to proclaim Jesus’ name? Not from a position of powerlessness, but from a position of power. Because Jesus is present in his name.
And there is Power in His name.
As this man enters the temple courts praising God, I like to imagine what he might have been singing?
Acts 3:6 ESV
6 But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!”
Was he singing a testimony in the words written by George Beverly Shea:
I'd rather have Jesus than silver or gold I'd rather be His than have riches untold I'd rather have Jesus than houses or lands I'd rather be led by His nail pierced hands
Than to be a king of a vast domain And be held in sin's dread sway I'd rather have Jesus Than anything this world affords today
Was he singing:
What a Beautiful name it is! What a beautiful name it is! The name of Jesus Christ my king. What a beautiful name it is, nothing compares to this, what a beautiful name it is, the name of Jesus!
Acts 3:7 ESV
7 And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong.
Maybe he was singing: “Love lifted me. Love lifted me. When nothing else could help, love lifted me!”
He could have sung any of these songs, had they been written. I like to imagine he was singing a different song.
A song of his testimony, written by Charles H. Gabriel with these words:
1. I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene, and wonder how he could love me, a sinner, condemned, unclean.
Refrain: How marvelous! How wonderful! And my song shall ever be: How marvelous! How wonderful is my Savior's love for me!
4. He took my sins and my sorrows, he made them his very own; he bore the burden to Calvary, and suffered and died alone.
Refrain: How marvelous! How wonderful! And my song shall ever be: How marvelous! How wonderful is my Savior's love for me!
5. When with the ransomed in glory his face I at last shall see, 'twill be my joy through the ages to sing of his love for me.
Refrain: How marvelous! How wonderful! And my song shall ever be: How marvelous! How wonderful is my Savior's love for me!
There is power in the name of Jesus!
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