Summary: Mission. God wants us to reach out to ALL people. Even the ones we think are not good enough for church. Who are not intelligent enough. Smell badly. Don't dress well. Drink too much alcohol or take too many drugs.
He asked for alms and was given legs!
Over the next few months we will hopefully have some mission events taking place in the church. So this morning I thought I would speak about mission.
All around us are many people who are hurting for one reason or another.And God has given us the responsibility as Christians and as churches to reach these hurting people.
That’s mission. Very simple. The church above all else is a place for people who have problems. The church was designed for the single mother who has two jobs to support her kids. Church is for the drug addict who can’t stop his habit. Church is for the person who can’t stay away from pornography on the internet.
Church is for the young person who struggles with self esteem. The church is for the young couple who live together and don’t know it’s not the best way to build a home. The church is for the alcoholic who is ready to admit he needs help.
Church is for the person whose marriage has broken up or is not all that it should be. Church is also the place for the lonely. Mission can be found right through the Bible, for instance
Ezekiel 34:16 tells us, “I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. “
But you know the problem with so many of our churches is that we often pass by the hurting people in our world. We ignore them and in doing so we miss an amazing opportunity to lead them to Christ. Because it is often hurting people that make the best converts to Christ. They are broken and they have nowhere to turn and Jesus is the visible answer to their problems.
We need to be perceptive enough as Christians to notice the hurt in people and give them what they need, and that need is Jesus.
I. THE EXPOSITION
Acts 3 is an account of a disabled beggar who Peter and John met one day outside the temple in Jerusalem. This beggar was a hurting man. He had sat near the temple everyday of his life and no one really noticed him sitting there. To me this crippled beggar represents one of the kind of people the church should be trying to reach. Those who have been hurt by life’s circumstances. From this story I think we can learn some valuable lessons about how to minister to those people around our churches who are hurting like this beggar.
Acts 3:1 says
1One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon.
Let’s stop here for a moment and keep in mind that this is at the beginning of the church and so believers in Christ still went to the Temple to pray because there was nowhere else. . So it wouldn’t be uncommon to see Peter and John going to the Temple to pray because they were still probably observing many of the Jewish religious customs.
Acts 3:2 continues 2Now a man crippled from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts.
The temple gate called beautiful was one of the favourite entrances into the temple and thousands passed through it on a daily basis. That is why we see this disabled man being put there.
He knew exactly where the most people would enter the temple at one time. And the more people who entered, the more money he could get. This verse says that the crippled man was carried to the temple and left every day to beg. So he probably had family members who helped him.
We have beggars on the streets in Edinburgh. If a beggar finds a good spot on the street where a lot of people pass by, he can make good money. And this disabled man was a professional beggar like that.
He knew exactly what to say to get people’s pity. He knew exactly the best times to be at the temple.
We need to understand that the giving of alms, giving money, to the poor was an important part of the Jewish faith and so many Jews going to the temple would give to these beggars over and over again as a way of fulfilling their religious duty.
Verse 3 says, “When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter, said, ‘Look at us!’ So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.”