Summary: This sermon explains a few lessons about how a changed church can change the world
* Change: to make the form, content, future course, etc., of something different from what it is or from what it would be if left alone; a transformation or modification; alteration
* Change is often resisted in the church. Yet one could sum up a church’s purpose with one word: change
- We must change ourselves: transformed into Christ’s image
- We must aim to change the world (Acts 1:8)
* Text: Peter, John, and other disciples have been changed with the arrival of the Holy Spirit and have become transformed people (chapter 2); now they embark on a journey to change the world
* The example set for us: (1) we experience change personally; (2) we then get serious about changing the world and impacting culture
* Lessons about a changed church that changes the world...
Lesson #1: The opportunity to change lives will occur only after we have been changed ourselves (v. 1)
* Peter: the difference in him from the Gospels to Acts = he has changed
* Peter and John are being faithful to change into the image of Christ: "going up to the temple at the time of prayer"
* God cannot use us to change others and our communities if we do not allow him to change us first
* God always changes his people first, then uses them to change others
Lesson #2: The opportunity to make an impact in a person’s life will sometimes occur unexpectantly (v. 1-5)
* The purpose of their trip to the Temple was to pray; they were not expecting to heal the begger
* Their openness to God’s leading enabled them to make an impact in the beggar’s life, even when not expecting to
* What if they had not been sensitive to God’s prodding?
* Our challenge: be sensitive to God’s leading and ask God to open our eyes to those unexpected opportunities to change a person’s life
Lesson #3: We can change lives when we give what we have (v. 6)
* What the beggar was looking for was not what Peter had to offer, nor was it what the beggar really needed
* What Peter had, however, was just what the beggar needed.
* What Peter had that the beggar needed (what the church has that the world needs)...
A. Faith... that God is in control; that God can forgive sin; that God can transform lives
B. Hope... that the future can be brighter; that present failure isn’t final; that God can make all things new
C. Healing... of homes, of shattered dreams, of sin
D. Life... abundant life; eternal life; new life
* It is not our job to convince the world, but to simply offer the world what we have in Christ
Lesson #4: Our attempt to change lives must be done for the right reasons (v. 6)
* "In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth..." = not in Peter’s or John’s name
* Peter’s goal was for God to use him so that he could give all the glory and honor to God
* The temptation we face is to begin to seek praise, glory and honor instead of giving God his due
* WHAT we do is not only important, but WHY we do what we do is also important
Lesson #5: The potential impact we can make in the world demands that we make it a priority (v. 7-10)
* The impact of Peter’s actions (same type as ours):
A. Christ can change a person’s life instantly (v. 7)
B. Christ can change a person’s life completely (v. 8)
C. When a person’s life is changed, it is a testimony to those who have yet to be changed (v. 9-10)
* The potential impact we can make only occurs when we are first changed as a believer and as a church, and then when we attempt to change the world
"The world has yet to see what God will do with a man fully consecrated to him." (Henry Varley)