Faithlife Sermons

What I Have, I Give

Acts: You Shall Be My Witnesses  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  40:01
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Acts 3:1–10 NRSV
1 One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, at three o’clock in the afternoon. 2 And a man lame from birth was being carried in. People would lay him daily at the gate of the temple called the Beautiful Gate so that he could ask for alms from those entering the temple. 3 When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked them for alms. 4 Peter looked intently 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 or gold, but what I have I give you; in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, stand 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 Jumping up, he stood and began to walk, and he entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. 9 All the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 and they recognized him as the one who used to sit and ask for alms at the Beautiful Gate of the temple; and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.

Business as Unusual

The Prayer Time—3pm daily at the Temple
This was their holy habit...
But this day a man begs money from them...
Peter tells the man “Look at us...” The man was probably used to this: oh, this is the part where they give me something but want me to pay attention. But unexpected words come out of Peter’s mouth.
“Silver and Gold we don’t have...”
They could not give out of what they did not have. Right? But did that mean they had nothing to offer this man? No. They were servants of the most high God. They were followers of Jesus. They always have something to offer.
But notice—this is all very ordinary. They joined in the community practice of prayer and worship. This placed them in a very ordinary moment of their day, but also a very extraordinary set of events.
So be sure to develop a habit of praying everyday. It leads to good things no matter where you are.
“In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” He named his savior. He named the unmemorable place Jesus was from, Nazareth. Very ordinary place. Very extraordinary events unfolding.
Ordinary, Mordinary. I can’t give you what I don’t have, but I can give you something...
Now this causes a big scene.
Acts 3:7–8 NRSV
7 And he took him by the right hand and raised him up; and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. 8 Jumping up, he stood and began to walk, and he entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God.
I love that the first thing he does is go to church with Peter and the gang. Affect someone’s life with unforeseen blessing and they will be interested in what made that happen.
Well he wasn’t the only one...
Acts 3:9–11 NRSV
9 All the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 and they recognized him as the one who used to sit and ask for alms at the Beautiful Gate of the temple; and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him. 11 While he clung to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them in the portico called Solomon’s Portico, utterly astonished.
People were watching and they wanted to see what happened next:
Here is a scale model of what the Temple area may have looked like at the time. The part on the right with the Brown roof was a covered area people could use to gather with some protection from weather. Maybe voices carried well under the roof. This may even be where Peter gave his speech at Pentecost.
Lots of people learned the full truth about Jesus that day. Just because a pretty regular guy kept to his normal pattern of prayer and stayed open to the opportunity Jesus put in front of him: a man in need.
There on Solomon’s porch Jesus became real to many people.
The powers that be weren’t happy about this:

The Sanhedrin gave them a hard time

No problem—just another fresh audience who got to hear the real difference Jesus was making.
Acts 4:7–10 NRSV
7 When they had made the prisoners stand in their midst, they inquired, “By what power or by what name did you do this?” 8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, 9 if we are questioned today because of a good deed done to someone who was sick and are asked how this man has been healed, 10 let it be known to all of you, and to all the people of Israel, that this man is standing before you in good health by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead.
The Roman leaders and their hand-picked Jewish leaders had tried to silence Jesus. Empires will always try. They want you to Respect and Enjoy the peace. They want you doing predictable stuff that keeps everything the same. Jesus kept preaching the truth and they tried to silence him but it just didn’t work.
Like the Priest in the classic book by Dostoevsky : The Grand Inquisitor. They tried to stop Jesus. Here is a summary of the book by Dan Boone--
The town is Seville. The time is the Spanish Inquisition. The Cardinal of Seville is the religious ruler of the city, and he rules with an iron fist. Heretics are burned daily at the stake to the glory of God and the satisfaction of the Cardinal. As Dostoyevsky tells the story, one day a stranger appears in the city square. He came softly, unobserved, but strange to say, everyone recognizes him. The people are irresistibly drawn to him. They surround him, flock to him. He moves silently in their midst with a gentle smile of infinite compassion. The sun of love burns in his heart, light power shines from his eyes. The Cardinal of Seville passes by, sees him, and recognizes the stranger. It is the Christ. He has the guards arrest him and take him to the prison of the inquisition. Later he goes down to the prison dungeon and stands there gazing at Jesus’s face. “Is it you? Why have you come here?” He charges Jesus with unsettling the people with his message of hope. The Cardinal has domesticated the people by bland religion. Their lives are ordered by his power. “Go!” the Cardinal commands, “Go and come no more, come not at all, never, never.” Then Jesus approaches the Cardinal of Seville and, in silence, kisses him on his aged, bloodless lips. The old man shudders. The power of Jesus threatens everything he possesses. The kiss has a new future in it, but the Cardinal clings to his ways.

Which Kingdom still moves you most?

The jewish leaders who no longer challenged the Roman rulers saw Jesus as a problem instead of their savior. The Cardinal of Seville literally sees that it’s Jesus, but doesn’t want him there messing up his perfect system. Year by year, slowly but surely, he stopped longing for the kingdom to come and gave himself to earthly kingdoms.

Which side would you be on?

Well we want to think we’d be on Jesus’ side, right? But really be honest. There’s a lot at stake.
Peter had a habit that led to a miracle. Could you even get into the trouble Peter got into? Does God have access to your ordinary time so he can do extraordinary things?
If a friend or a family member or a stranger spends time with you at your ordinary places would they know you came from church life? Would they want to follow you there?

God inhabits our ordinary moments with grace

I’m not promising you can take a lame man by the hand and God will make him walk. Maybe he will. But I promise you, God inhabits those moments of prayer, those ordinary conversations, those ordinary needs around you. Maybe you do have money and you can give. Don’t hold back. Maybe you have unique abilities and experience. Share them. Maybe you care enough to say to someone look at me: Jesus is gonna help you through me.
...walking and jumping and praising God. YES! Amen! May it be so in your life and mine. May we pray. May we obey. May we bless others out of what God is giving us. And he’s giving all of us so much...
Let’s pray…
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