Summary: Peter and John were committed to sharing the Gospel, and thousands were saved.
COMMITTED: PETER AND JOHN – COMMITTED TO SHARING THE GOSPEL
Text: Acts 3, 4
Just before Jesus ascended up to Heaven after His resurrection, He gave the disciples some instructions. In what has come to be known as the “great commission,” Jesus ordered the disciples to go and spread the good news of what they had witnessed first hand. He said, “Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.“(Matthew 28:19, 20) The disciples must have thought, “How do we do that?” After all, they had just recently joined together again after running for their lives when Jesus was arrested. They had difficulty believing the reports that Jesus had indeed risen from the dead. Jesus had gathered them together, confirming the stories that they had heard. Now he was about to leave them again. Jesus knew that they were apprehensive and overwhelmed, but he spoke words to reassure them and to focus them on their mission. “…you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8).
According to a legend, when Jesus returned to heaven following his death on the cross and resurrection from the tomb, the angels gathered in amazement. They gazed at the wounds in his hands and feet, and shuddered to recall his suffering. Finally Gabriel spoke: “Master, you suffered terribly down there. Do they know and appreciate the extent of your sacrifice?” “No,” said Jesus. “Not yet. Right now only a handful of people in Palestine know.” “Then what have you done to let everyone else know?” asked Gabriel. “I’ve asked Peter, James, and John, and a few others to spread the news. They will tell others who will tell others until the message spreads to the ends of the earth.” But Gabriel, knowing the nature of human beings, asked, “What is Plan B?” “I have no Plan B,” replied Christ. “There is no alternative strategy. I’m counting on them.” Twenty centuries later, he still has no other plan. He’s counting on you and me. (Nelson’s Complete Book of Stories, Illustrations, and quotes.)
Think about it. If those original disciples had not been committed to spread the word about Jesus, you and I would not be followers of Christ today. We are the proof that they took this mission seriously and were committed to sharing the Gospel.
The scripture I want to look at tonight is found in the book of Acts chapters 3 and 4. Peter and John are going about their business, on their way to the three o’clock prayer service at the Temple. As the approach the temple, they hear a lame man begging for money. The man had sat there for years, begging for money, carried there by his friends or family. He thought that this would be just any other day, and it was, until Peter and John heard his cry. They stopped for a moment, looking at him, having compassion on him. Finally, Peter says, “I don’t have any silver or gold for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!” (Acts 3:6)
The Bible records the following: “Then Peter took the lame man by the right hand and helped him up. And as he did, the man’s feet and ankles were instantly healed and strengthened. He jumped up, stood on his feet, and began to walk! Then walking, leaping, and praising God, he went into the Temple with them.” (Acts 3:7 – 8)
When the crowd saw this man walking and heard him praising God, they were amazed! They had seen this same man laying there begging for money for years. They knew him well, and easily recognized him. They knew that a miracle had taken place!
Because Peter and John were committed to sharing the Gospel, they were willing to take the time to help someone in need. Notice that Peter and John weren’t just wandering around aimlessly…they were on their way to church to pray. But they realized that BEING the church was more important than GOING to church, and they took the time to stop and help someone that couldn’t help themselves. Peter and John had no money, but they had something way more valuable…they knew Jesus. They could have gone on to the Temple and asked the leaders to take up a collection for the man, but they knew that would only be a temporary solution to the problem. They could have gone on to the Temple and asked others to help them pray for the man. Instead, they introduced the man to Jesus, and called upon his power to help the man. Their prayer was answered instantly, and Peter and John suddenly had a new friend to go to the Temple with them.