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Giving Jesus

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Samuel Valencia, B.A. Biblical Studies

Sermon

October 26, 2008

Good Shepherd Community Church

TITTLE

Giving Jesus

MAIN PASSAGE

Acts 3:1-10

INTRODUCTION

            In the account of Acts 3 we see a man in need. He was placed at the entry way of the temple to beg for alms. On a particular day when Peter and John were going to the temple they met this man. This encounter changed his life. This story reminds us of the responsibility we have as Christians to carry out the great commission (Matthew 28:19-20).

Peter took a surprising action as the lame man asked for alms. Peter told him that he was not going to give him silver or gold. He was going to give him something more valuable. Peter gave him Jesus. That was the best gift the beggar ever received.

The lame man was healed. The people that witnessed this marveled and were asking how it happened. Peter takes the opportunity to explain to the people that it is all about Jesus.
As a result many people received Jesus.

            The discussion today is about the importance of us giving Jesus to those around us. There are needs, there are solutions to those needs, but the ultimate fulfillment to men’s need is Jesus. Our call is to give Jesus because Jesus is the answer! We as Christians have a commission to fulfill.  

I.                  THE NEED

Acts 3:1-3

 

A.    The Lame Man

1.      His Life

From reflecting on what the scripture says, this man had been lame all his life… Acts 4:22 tells us that he was over 40 years old. We can assume that as a little boy he was placed there, as a teen he was placed there and now as an adult he was placed there to beg. He had lived a life of suffering and privation.

He sat there by that temple day in and day out. Indeed it is a sad picture. The Believers Bible Commentary states “…The helpless condition of this man… is in marked contrast to the beauty of the architecture of the temple. It reminds us of the poverty and ignorance which abounds in the very shadows of great cathedrals, and of the helplessness of mighty ecclesiastical systems to assist those who are physical and spiritual cripples.” [1] All the religion in that temple could offer him no hope. He was hopeless.  

It reminds me of the little kids, teenagers, and adults that sell and beg at the Mexico/U.S. border crossing.

2.      His Need

He was lame. He was not fit for the social requirements of his day. His life support came from the alms given to him by those going to worship at the temple. The New American Commentary states that at the time Peter and John were going to the temple it was,

…the final stage of the daily temple worship… it was one of the two major periods of worship, and many would have come to the temple at precisely this time to express their devotion to God. It was prime time for receiving alms. The rabbis taught that there were three pillars for the Jewish faith—the Torah, worship, and the showing of kindness, or charity. Almsgiving was one of the main ways to show kindness and was thus considered a major expression of one’s devotion to God. With their minds set on worship, those who entered the temple for the evening sacrifice and prayer would be particularly disposed to practice their piety by generously giving alms to a lame beggar. [2]

The lame man took advantage of this to satisfy his need.

B.     The Outstretched Hand

As the lame man stretched out his hand little did he know that in that day he was going to receive more than he could have ever expected.

II.               THE NEED FOR A SOLUTION

Acts 3:4-5

The lame man was expecting to receive something material. Most likely he expected a coin, some food, a coat… something that would satisfy his need for that day. His eyes were on temporal things. His hope was only on the things that this world could offer.

How many handouts had this lame man received all his life? Yet he continued in the same situation. Also, how many other beggars were there by the temple? The Exposition Bible Commentary states “…No doubt thousands of people were near the temple (Acts 4:4), and perhaps scores of beggars… There were nine gates that led from the court of the Gentiles into the temple itself.” [3]

A.    Many types of needs

1.      Physical

2.      Material

3.      Social

4.      Psychological

B.     Satisfying our needs

We can see ourselves in that lame man. We want to satisfy our immediate need with whatever we can satisfy it with… We want that quick fix that will solve the problem momentarily. Everyone has needs no matter where they are in life.

III.           THE ULTIMATE SOLUTION

Acts 3:6-7

A.    The best gift

Peter and John took note of the lame man. A coin would have indeed helped him. Material things are necessary in life! But if Peter had given him just another coin the lame man’s need would only have been alleviated momentarily. No real solution would have taken place. As the lame man stretched out his hand, little did he know that he was going to receive more than he ever expected.

They had no silver or gold… But, they did have something more valuable. They had Jesus. Peter and John had in their possession the Gospel. The Gospel means good news and it is the one word that encapsulates everything Jesus did for us, i.e. His life, His death, and His resurrection! The Bible Exposition Commentary states “…money was not what the man needed most. He needed salvation for his soul and healing for his body, and money could provide neither. Through the power of the name of Jesus, the beggar was completely healed....” [4] This was the best gift this man ever received.

1.      The Worth

The worth of Jesus can be seen through the “I am” statements found in the book of John. Jesus said,

1. I am the bread of life (John 6:35)

2. I am the light of the world (John 8:12)

3. I am the gate (John 10:7, 9)

4. I am the good shepherd (John 10:11, 14)

5. I am the resurrection and the life (John 11:25)

6. I am the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6)

7. I am the true vine (John 15:1, 5)

Many times we just focus only on the fact that Jesus paid for our sins. That in itself is big! But, in Jesus we have awesome blessings here in this life…

B.     The Result of the gift

Acts 3:8-10

1.      Physical healing and spiritual healing

The New American Commentary explains the result of the man receiving Jesus. It states that …

The man felt the new strength surging through his feet and ankles. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. With his increasing awareness of the miracle that had happened to him, he entered the sanctuary with Peter and John. Before, as the lame beggar, he sat in the court of the Gentiles at the gate to the sanctuary. Day by day he sat there at the threshold to the place of worship, but he could not enter. He was lame, blemished, and denied access to the inner courts (cf. Lev 21:17–20; 2 Sam 5:8). At this time not only had he received physical healing, but he had found spiritual acceptance as well. For the first time he was deemed worthy to enter the house of worship… Those who were rejected as unworthy for worship in the old religion of Israel found full acceptance in the name of Jesus, whether a lame beggar, an Ethiopian eunuch, a woman, or a Gentile… No wonder the man was filled with such joy. He began walking, jumping, and praising God. For the first time he could really praise God in the place of praise, in God’s house… [5]

2.      The response of the people

The people’s response was immediate… This was the man that they continually seen asking for alms. Perhaps many of them just ignored that man that sat there day in and day out. Yet, here he was! The man was walking and leaping… Indeed this was a miracle. It is no surprise that the Bible record states that the people were filled with wonder and amazement.

            When people change, others notice…. They want to know how? Our lives are open testimonies to those around us about what God can do!

3.      The Presentation of the Gospel

Acts 3:11-16

Peter takes the opportunity to address the curiosity of the people. He makes it plain that he does not posses any special powers. He gives the credit completely to God. The Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Commentary states, “The phrase ‘in the name of Jesus’ is not a magical formula used to give some affirmation or guarantee to a prayer. A person’s name represented that person’s authority and influence. The power in the name of Jesus comes from what the Holy Spirit will do because of that name.” [6] All the credit belonged to God, and Peter emphasized that. But, this event did open the door for the presentation of the Gospel and Peter takes the opportunity to offer Jesus to all these curious people.

            Peter goes deep in his presentation. He references the Old Testament. He reminds them of what they did to Jesus, their Messiah. Yet, the core of it all is that Jesus rose from the dead! Jesus is not dead. He is alive! It is through faith that Jesus must be received. The lame man was healed through his faith in Jesus.

            Faith is the key that opens the door to salvation. The door is the mercy and grace that God has provided through Jesus. None of our personal efforts, merits, or achievements can bring us into a right position with God (SALVATION). It is only through faith in Jesus.

Nothing in this world could have brought a true resolution to the lame man’s need. Only Jesus could, because Jesus is the answer. The same applies to men’s need today.

MAIN POINTS REVIEW

I. THE NEED

II. THE NEED FOR A SOLUTION

III. THE ULTIMATE SOLUTION

CONCLUSION

The Bible Exposition Commentary raps this story in this very fascinating application. It says,

It is easy to see in this man an illustration of what salvation is like. He was born lame, and all of us are born unable to walk so as to please God. Our father Adam had a fall and passed his lameness on to all of his descendants (Rom. 5:12–21). The man was also poor, and we as sinners are bankrupt before God, unable to pay the tremendous debt that we owe Him (Luke 7:36–50). He was “outside the temple,” and all sinners are separated from God, no matter how near to the door they might be. The man was healed wholly by the grace of God, and the healing was immediate (Eph. 2:8–9). He gave evidence of what God had done by “walking, and leaping, and praising God” (Acts 3:8) and by publicly identifying himself with the Apostles, both in the temple (Acts 3:11) and in their arrest (Acts 4:14). Now that he could stand, there was no question where this man stood! [7]

APPLICATION

            What is the need in your life? We all have needs, but the root need of every man can only be satisfied by Jesus. If you do not have Jesus, please read the invitation at the end of these notes.

            If you have Jesus, look outside. The world is in need. Jesus is the answer… We can give a thousand different things that will alleviate the need for a while. But, we have something more valuable than gold. We have Jesus. The best thing we can give is Jesus!

            As the church it is our calling to give Jesus to the world. It is the assignment that Jesus gave us! Our mission as a church is simple. Give Jesus. We can have an elaborate mission statement, but the bottom line is simple… give Jesus.

            The Good Shepherd Church congregation can be known for many things… but it has to be known as the place where you get Jesus, you get equipped for Jesus, and you are send out to give Jesus. That is the prime directive. That is the goal. That is the reason I believe God has brought us into this fellowship at this time. This is our purpose here at the Good Shepherd Church.


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[1]MacDonald, William ; Farstad, Arthur: Believer's Bible Commentary : Old and New Testaments. Nashville : Thomas Nelson, 1997, c1995, S. Ac 3:2

[2]Polhill, John B.: Acts. electronic ed. Nashville : Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2001, c1992 (Logos Library System; The New American Commentary 26), S. 126

[3]Wiersbe, Warren W.: The Bible Exposition Commentary. Wheaton, Ill. : Victor Books, 1996, c1989, S. Ac 3:1

[4]Wiersbe, Warren W.: The Bible Exposition Commentary. Wheaton, Ill. : Victor Books, 1996, c1989, S. Ac 3:1

[5]Polhill, John B.: Acts. electronic ed. Nashville : Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2001, c1992 (Logos Library System; The New American Commentary 26), S. 128

[6]Radmacher, Earl D. ; Allen, Ronald Barclay ; House, H. Wayne: Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Commentary. Nashville : T. Nelson Publishers, 1999, S. Ac 3:6

[7]Wiersbe, Warren W.: The Bible Exposition Commentary. Wheaton, Ill. : Victor Books, 1996, c1989, S. Ac 3:1

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