Summary: Glorifying God with our lives.

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Giving Glory to God

(Acts 3:1-10)


“A newspaper ad read: ‘Lost – One Dog. Brown hair with several bald spots. Right leg broken due to auto accident. Rear left hip hurt. Right eye missing. Left ear bitten off in a dog fight. Answers to the name, ‘Lucky’” (Michael Hodgin, 1001 Humorous Illustrations for Public Speaking (Zondervan: Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1994), 216).

There’s definitely something in a name. As we’ll find out today Peter and John were very well aware of this. Let’s refer to our passage of scripture again today found in…

Acts 3:1-10 (NLT)

Peter and John went to the Temple one afternoon to take part in the three o’clock prayer service. [2] As they approached the Temple, a man lame from birth was being carried in. Each day he was put beside the Temple gate, the one called the Beautiful Gate, so he could beg from the people going into the Temple. [3] When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for some money.

[4] Peter and John looked at him intently, and Peter said, "Look at us!" [5] The lame man looked at them eagerly, expecting a gift. [6] But Peter said, "I don’t have any money for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, get up and walk!"

[7] Then Peter took the lame man by the right hand and helped him up. And as he did, the man’s feet and anklebones were healed and strengthened. [8] He jumped up, stood on his feet, and began to walk! Then, walking, leaping, and praising God, he went into the Temple with them.

[9] All the people saw him walking and heard him praising God. [10] When they realized he was the lame beggar they had seen so often at the Beautiful Gate, they were absolutely astounded!

I know I’ve mentioned this before, but when we call someone by name, there are several things that come to mind about that person. We cannot disconnect the emotion from the act of speaking someone’s name. We cannot disassociate the flooding thoughts and memories of a person when we mention their name. It’s like playing a word association game… when I say “green” you say “bean.”

Peter and John understood the power of a name… especially Jesus’ name. Theologian Richard N. Longenecker writes that, “In Semitic thought, a name does not just identify or distinguish a person; it expresses the very nature of his (or her) being. Hence the power of the person is present and available in the name of the person. Peter, therefore, does not just ask the risen Jesus to heal but pronounces over the crippled beggar the name of Jesus, thereby releasing the power of Jesus (cf. 3:16; 4:10). And the power of the risen Jesus, coupled with the man’s response of faith (cf. 3:16), effects the healing” (Richard N. Longenecker, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Vol. 9 (Zondervan: Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1981), 294).

Why didn’t Peter and John take this healing of this crippled beggar into their own hands and do this in their own power and in their own names? Why did they refer to Jesus for the healing that this beggar needed?

I say it’s because their motive wasn’t to bring glory to themselves, but rather to glorify the One who had empowered them to heal others in the first place.

Wiersbe says, “If our motive for serving is anything other than the glory of God, what we do will be only religious activity and not true Christian ministry” (Warren W. Wiersbe, On Being a Servant of God (Baker Books: Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1993), 19).

So today the question presses, “How do we really know that what we’re doing is glorifying God?” I think there are three ways to understand this…

1. When people see God and not the servant, and when we’re concerned more about God’s image than our own.

Matthew 5:13-16 (NLT)

You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it useful again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless. [14] You are the light of the world—like a city on a mountain, glowing in the night for all to see. [15] Don’t hide your light under a basket! Instead, put it on a stand and let it shine for all. [16] In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.

There are those out there in Christian ministry that shine like lights to the world around them, but the light they emanate is only to glorify themselves and their good deeds. Though they may thank God verbally in the public arena, the reality is they are more concerned about getting recognition and praise for their noteworthy efforts of service and ministry.

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