Summary: How a Spirit-filled church conducts itself.
A Study of the Book of Acts
Sermon # 6
“Five Things that the Spirit-Filled Church Does!”
Luke has described the early church by saying, “Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles.” (Acts 2:43). In Acts 2 Luke does not give us any indication what those miraculous signs and wonders may have been. But now, when we come to Acts 3, we have an account of at least one of them, the story of the lame man who was healed at the Beautiful Gate of the Temple.
Evidently Dr. Luke has selected this one from a number of miracles, which occurred then, in order that he might teach us something significant. So we need to give it careful attention. Why did Luke choose to chronicle this one particular miracle? I believe that the answer is two-fold; (1) because it was the occasion for a second sermon by Peter, which Luke wants us to hear, and (2) because the miracle and sermon were the cause of the first persecution of the church. This miracle laid the groundwork for the increasing tension between the infant church and the Jewish religious establishment in the coming weeks. This tension will reach full flower with the arrest of Peter and John and the death of Stephen, the first Christian to give his life for his faith.
On the Day of Pentecost, power from heaven came down. The power of God turned despairing doubters into dynamic disciples. They had received the promise of the Holy Spirit and were clothed with power from on high. But power for what? Did they receive the power of God simply so they could feel good about themselves? Did they receive the power of God to keep it to themselves? No! They received the power of God to energize them to be witnesses to Jesus Christ in a secular society. The power of the Holy Spirit was for people; to enable the disciples to reach out and touch human need and share the liberating truth of the Gospel of Christ. It’s all about personal caring for people. We must never be content to sing "Standing On The Promises" while all we’re doing is sitting on the premises. Pentecost is to enable us to reach out and touch others.
In our text today, we see the power of God healing a human life. We see people who have been touched by the power of God touching others. It is the story of the lame man who begged by the gate called Beautiful. In this passage we see a real example of the power of God to heal. This man was healed physically, but the message of this text is not limited to physical healing in any way. This passage deals with human healing on every level. Here, we will find valuable lessons which I pray will motivate us to find opportunities to minister to hurting people.
“Now Peter and John went up together to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. (2) And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms from those who entered the temple; (3) who, seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, asked for alms. (4) And fixing his eyes on him, with John, Peter said, “Look at us.” (5) So he gave them his attention, expecting to receive something from them. (6) Then Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” (7) And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. (8) So he, leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them—walking, leaping, and praising God.” Acts 3:1-8 (NKJV)
What we see before us is a human tragedy. The Scripture tells us that this man was crippled. But more than that, this man was crippled from birth. Think about the tragedy of that. He had never been able to stand and walk, to run and play like the other boys. I’m sure many opportunities were denied him because of his affliction. Now, he’s a grown man and every day friends must carry him to the Temple so he may beg for a living. We can only speculate concerning what effect this must have had on his heart. He could easily have been bitter. There had never been a day in his life when he had not been a burden to somebody. He could not walk; he could not work. All he could do was beg, sit there, and hope that people would have pity on him.