Summary: A New Testament model of the mssion of the church.
Theme: A Model of Worship for a Church That Sets the Captives
Text: Acts 3:1-10
1One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon. 2Now a man crippled from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. 3When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. 4Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, "Look at us!" 5So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.
6Then Peter said, "Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk." 7Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man's feet and ankles became strong. 8He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. 9When all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.
1. vs. 1 – “Peter & John” – worship has a relational dimension; it joins me to my brother. Peter & John were different, but they could worship & pray together. This speaks to us about unity of purpose in spite of our differences.
Peter: His profession – fisher; married. Peter appears always as the spokesperson for the 12 disciples, speaking more than the rest, both in the Gospels and in the book of Acts. Peter’s character appears to be one of impulsivity and reactionary, always with a quick and immediate respond. We find him with a wavering faith, even to the point of denying and abandoning the Master in His time of suffering, yet slowly maturing and developing a strong character and ultimately a firm faith. History says that he was crucified upside down, not feeling deserving to die the way that Jesus had died.
John: He is known as the beloved disciple. He’s the disciple that is described as the one that Jesus loved. He is the one that would lean on his Master’s chest and hear his heartbeat. It was to him whom Jesus entrusted his mother Mary at the time of his death. He died in and island close to Ephesus.
We can be different, but at the time of gathering for worship, we need to leave our differences aside. We can be:
• Republicans or Democrats
• Black or white
• Latinos or Anglos
• Mexicans or Puerto Ricans
• Citizens or Resident Aliens
• Rich or Poor
True worship is relational; it makes me relate to with my sister and my brother. A church that sets the captives free is a church that is intertwined with the brethren.
#2 – vs. 1 – “were going up” – they were going up together: worship also has a corporate dimension. Personal experiences are great, but there is no greater, transcending and satisfying experience than worshiping together with our brother. The psalmist said: “I was glad when they said unto me, le us go into the house of the Lord.” A church that sets the captives free is a church that experiences corporate worship.
#3 – vs. 1 – “up to the temple” – the temple is God’s idea. Some say that it is not necessary to go to church, but the bible says that we should not stop from gathering at the temple as others have grown accustomed to. We need to come into the temple to worship God. If we are going to be a church that sets the captives free, we have to be a church that comes into the temple to worship.
It’s true, because it’s biblical, that in this new covenant, WE are the temple of the Spirit. He abides in us. But there is a blessing when we come together as a body, in one place to worship and receive instruction and revelation from the Lord.
#4 – vs. 1 – “at the time of prayer” – It is said that a professional boxer once became a Christian and he retired and left the ring behind and dedicated his life to preaching the gospel. Once day, as he was on his way to preach at a street rally, he notices he was running a bit late and cut across a farm in order to save some time. Suddenly the owner of the farm appeared and cursed at him and challenged him to fight. Not knowing that this preacher had been a boxer at one time, he kept on challenging him to fight. The preacher kept on putting him off but finally he said to the farmer: “OK, you want to fight me, that am not a problem. But allow me to pray before I fight you, for I always pray before I do anything. Having said this, much to the amazement of the farmer, the preacher took off his Hat and knelt down to pray. And this is what he said: “Lord, you know I used to be a professional boxer, and you know how many times I took out the eyes of my rivals and to how many others I broke their noses. Lord you know how many ribs I broke, and how many had to be taken out in stretchers after I knocked them out. And Lord I remember the fighter that died after I punched him only once. So Lord, please don’t allow this farmer to die today, here in this lonely, quiet farm. Suddenly, the farmer interrupted the former boxer and said: “Enough, stop praying. There’s no need for us to fight. As a matter or fact, you can go through my farm anytime you wish. “PRAYER WORKS!”