Summary: Dealing with a number of issues at EBC led me to a series by Pastor Jerry Shirley which God has graciously allowed me to revise and use to speak to our congregation.
Chapter 3 begins with Peter and John going to the temple for the 3pm time of prayer. Peter and John are seen together quite often in scripture.
In Luke 5 we see they were partners in the fishing business before they gave their hearts and lives to Jesus.
Luke 22 has them together as they prepared the Last Supper in the upper room.
In John 20 they’re running together to the empty tomb on that 1st Easter morning.
In Acts 8 they are ministering together to the Samaritans.
These two seemed to always be together yet they were somewhat opposites of one another. Peter was outgoing and always had something to say. He never hesitated to give his opinion. Many times, it looked as if the only reason he’d open his mouth was to change feet! Peter was possibly the most outspoken of all the disciples.
John, on the other hand, was thoughtful and tender. John seemed quiet and reserved.
These two didn’t always get along either and because their personalities were so different they often rubbed each other the wrong way.
But now that Jesus has ascended and filled these men with His Holy Spirit, they come together…and here they enter the temple together…not competing for greatness or focusing on each other’s faults, but striving to work together for God’s glory, never allowing anything like petty disagreements or hurt feelings to come between them or hinder the building of the Lord’s Church.
I want to look at 3 things this morning and I pray that God will use this message to speak to your heart today. Prayer...
1. The man: Look @ verse 2
In verse 2 we see a man who was born with a crippling birth defect.
Most likely his parents knew something was wrong and he’d always be different. While the other kids played in the streets, all he could do was watch. His parents carried him as a toddler. They carried him as a little boy, as a teenager and even as a man he had to be carried everywhere he went!
He couldn’t get job and in those days there was no such thing as rehab or even a wheelchair…all he could do was to beg for a living. Now he’s in his 40s and his parents are possibly dead or at least out of picture. With no other family to care for him, his friends would lay him by this gate where people had to pass by, and he would beg. “Alms for a poor man?” [hoping for a few coins to purchase his daily needs]
• His physical condition is an illustration of our spiritual condition. He was born that way and you and I were born spiritually crippled by sin.
[Psalm 51:5 NLT] “For I was born a sinner--yes, from the moment my mother conceived me.”
Secular psychology says that man is born neutral at worst, and at best, with a spark of divinity!
That’s not Biblical nor is it logical!!
How many of you had to teach your kids to say “mine!” or throw tantrums when they don’t get their way?
Wrong comes natural to human beings and right must be taught and disciplined.
• This man reminds us of the fact that sin cripples all it touches. Let sin get into your home and it will cripple that home. Let it find its way into the church and the Body becomes crippled. It’s the same for the individual believer.
This man couldn’t walk. He couldn’t work and he couldn’t worship.
Jewish law prevents anyone like him from entering the temple because he is ceremonially unclean! He’s not good enough to come inside. He’s not worthy of being in the presence of God’s holy people…
So he sits outside the door and listens. Aren’t you glad that because of the blood of Jesus the worst of the worst can come inside and be made clean? Jesus isn’t waiting for you to clean yourself up. He’s waiting for you to come to Him and HE’LL clean you up!
• In verse 2 we see that the entrance where the man is placed is called “The beautiful gate”…historians tell us this was the eastern gate, made of Corinthian brass, overlaid with gold and silver…the sun would rise over the eastern mountains and this entrance to the temple was a sight to behold! This entrance gate was worth a fortune but lying right there against it is man who is flawed, a man who is disfigured, distorted.
Lying against this beautiful gate was an outcast of society. This gate is treasure and this man is considered trash. Loveliness verses lameness and that’s a picture of me, of you and Christ Jesus. Because of sin I have become an outcast, yet I’m resting against the beauty of Christ. I’m ugly because of sin, yet I’m covered by His beauty.