Summary: I preach expository messages, and this is the sixth in my series on the Book of Acts.
Acts 3:1-10 5.27.07
There’s a running joke in the Harvey family. When we moved here, somebody told me that the intersection of Austell and the East-West Connector was the most dangerous one in Atlanta metro. After that, two or three times running, I made the mistake of telling my family this fact—each time. After I told them this several times, forgetting that I’d already said this, it became a pattern, so that now, no matter which family member is in the car, if we approach that intersection, one of them is bound to remind me, “hey Dad, did you know that this is the most dangerous intersection in Atlanta metro?” I honestly have no idea how a sweet guy like me managed to raise a family of smart alecks…
Intersections can be dangerous—but they are necessary to getting anywhere. It’s rare that we can go anywhere without taking turns at intersections to navigate our way to a particular place. Mapquest is a help to us—most of the time, helping us to navigate intersections. I say “most of the time”, because sometimes it is more confusing than it’s worth; try navigating past downtown Marietta on Powder Springs Road, and you’ll find out what I mean; it’s really more confusing than it’s worth!
I want to talk today about some intersections, not intersections of roads, but divine intersections. Let’s read today’s text together!
I want to set the stage for today’s ending Table Talk by giving it to you ahead of time, because I want you to be focused on these questions as we look together at today’s text: Talk about some “divine intersections” in your life, and the life of Red Oak. At which intersections do we see God working? At which intersections should we be more open to His work? How can we be more aware of these intersections? How can we be more effectively used of God at these intersections?
Be thinking about those questions as we look today at 5 intersections that we find in the text, and their importance for our own lives. Let’s pray together!
Luke began this book by talking about the commands Christ had given to His followers, and about the work that they would do in His name. In this passage today, we find both their obedience and an example of one of the many powerful works that they’d do in Jesus’ name. Note first:
I. Two obedient disciples & a helpless man :1-2
The disciples obeyed Jesus. They waited for the coming of the Spirit there in Jerusalem, and now they began the outreach ministry of the gospel right there where they lived, just as Jesus had told them to. Doing what God says always brings God’s approval. And now they understood a lot of things post-Pentecost that hadn’t made sense prior to the coming of the Spirit. It must have been like a fog had lifted; Jesus had so disrupted their expectations and mangled their paradigms that they’d been pretty confused at times—but in the light of Pentecost, so much began to make sense to them. Now, with greater understanding than ever before, and empowered by the Holy Spirit, they were ready to do some of the “greater things” that Jesus had promised them.
They didn’t change the form of worship that they’d known; they continued to worship in a significantly Jewish context. We sometimes get all wrapped up in particular forms of worship—and complain when they’re not what we’re used to (or conversely, get excited when they’re not what we’re used to!), but the truth of the matter is that the form of worship is never the concern of Scripture, but rather the object and the attitude of the worshipper. When Jesus met a Samaritan woman at a well, she tried to evade the subject of her own sinful life by talking about worship logistics. Jesus didn’t spend much time talking about logistics, but rather about heart attitudes, and folks, today we’ll have folks ask, “what’s your worship like?”, and by that they almost always mean, “do you play contemporary music or traditional? Do you sing hymns or choruses?” Logistics—and logistics aren’t really the issue!
About three in the afternoon, shortly after the evening sacrifice, Peter and John arrive at the temple, and their arrival coincides with that of a lame beggar, one crippled from birth, one accustomed to begging for a living from the pious who went there, and who thought that dropping a few coins into his cup would earn them favor with God—this was the teaching of Judaism.
A crippled child is one of the saddest things we ever see, isn’t it? This was the man’s experience; he’d never known the joy of running with all his friends—and he might not have had all that many for that very reason. He’d never kicked a ball; never held a job; probably never known married love, or so many of the things we take for granted.