Summary: If your life is walked in obedience to God, you can expect great and marvelous events to unfold.
What are your expectations in life? How do you reach the place in your walk that God desires you to be? Would it surprise you to know that obedience is the key?
Today, I want us to look at a text in the Bible where without obedience, the power of the Gospel would not have been manifested, a man would still be lame, and the truth would not have been shared. Turn in your Bibles to the book of Acts, and lets pick up our reading at the beginning of chapter three.
As I read this passage, one theme over and over keeps playing in my spirit. No, it is not healng. No, it is not faith. No, it is not apostolic power. It is obedience. And this morning, I want to show you in the Word four definitive reasons why you should be walking in obedience to God and His Word.
I. In obedience, you create an atmosphere for which God can provide opportunities.
Peter and John, in obedience, created an atmosphere where God could move in this lame man’s life. First we see they were walking in obedience - "Now Peter and John went up together into the temple..." What would have occured if they, like many Christians today, laid out of church that day? Again, God’s power would not have been manifested, a man would not have been healed, and a testimony would not have been shared. But because Peter and John was obedient and went to the temple according as God had commanded, they were able to create the atmosphere where God could perform a miracle. Hebrews 10:25 states, "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is..." It is extremely sad today that many Christians today neglect the simple pleasure of attending church regularly, and then are puzzled as to why God is not moving mightily in their lives. Simply, because in disobedience, they are not creating an atmosphere where God can manifest Himself.
We also see that that Peter and John were obedient in walking according to God’s timing. Look at the text -"...at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour." They knew it was church time, and they knew that when church time arrived, they should be in church. There was a specific time set aside for corporate temple prayer, and Peter and John had set about to go. Sadly, when many churches hold "mid-week prayer meetings" usually that service contains the smallest crowd of the week. God set the prayer time, and knew that in obedience Peter and John would be going to the temple at this time. So in His soverign purpose, He placed this man in their path. If they would have possessed a careless attitude and said, "Well, we went last week, it’s legalistic to think we have to go this week." or "I’ll wait till the second service. It’s too early or the crowd will be smaller.", then God’s marvelous grace and mercy would not have been manifested in the lame man’s life.
II. Unless the path of obedience is walked, you will miss the opportunities that God has placed there for you.
Verse two tells us that this man was laid daily at the gate of the temple. In order to benefit this man, Peter and John had to be at the temple. There was no other path that they could have walked that would have caused them to come in contact with this man. I am reminded of the parable Jesus related in Luke 10 about two men who deviated from their paths in order to not be a blessing. That was the parable of the good Samaratian. Before he arrived on the scene, two others who were walking down the same path had a wonderful opportunity to be a blessing to a man who was beaten, robbed, and left for dead. But we see that these men lacked compassion, changed their path, and walked by on the other side. However, the Samaritan kept on the straight and narrow. He refused to be disobedient, and God provided for Him an opportunity to be a blessing.
III. In obedience, you can boldly expect God’s miraculous outpouring.
Peter and John never doubted for a moment that this man would be healed. Four things quickly I notice here. First, their hearts were affixed on this man. Unlike our previous story where two men crossed the street so not to be involved, Peter fastened "his eyes upon him." He didn’t look away. He didn’t think that his problem was too great. He didn’t say that this was just another bum looking for a handout. No, Peter fixed his heart on this guy.
Secondly, the lame man’s expectations were raised. I am sure that he had seen throngs of individuals come and go that would not even look in his direction, or maybe ridicule him, or even worse. But this time, he saw that someone was interested in him. So the Bible states in verse five that, "...he gave heed unto them expecting to receive something of them." Now granted he didn’t receive what he expected, but at least he was expecting. It is again sad that many Christians live a life of the mundane simply because they have no expectation. They have never experienced God move in their lives, so why should there be any expectation? And that is exactly how Satan desires that they think. If he can keep a child of God grounded in the mire of low expectation, then he has achieved a great victory, for without a vision, the people perish.