Summary: As Christians we are bound to fail. Peter and John walked by one man laying near the gate called Beautiful countless times. In time they provided for the man physically and spiritually.
28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
If you were here a couple of weeks ago you heard me preaching somewhat hard concerning the poor job done by Christians as a whole in completing the Great Commission given to us by Jesus. As Christians we all fall short of the glory of God. Our righteousness, according to scripture is as dirty rags. Though we may try, we will fail.
We will upset people and treat them wrongly, we will withhold the truth that Jesus has revealed to us. In short, we will in fail Him and sin. But God is an awesome God who can use all things to work for good, because God is good. Say that to someone near you, “God is good!” Folks that is an exclamation at the end not a period. Try again, “God is good!”
Today I want to look at a small portion of scripture that tells us that we are not alone in this failure. A message that will show us that from the beginning Christians have missed the mark and failed God. Some Christians who were nearest to Jesus Himself, upon occasion failed.
We find this account in Acts 3:1-10. Turn there with me if you will.
3 Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being 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 of them that entered into the temple;
3 Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms.
4 And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us.
5 And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them.
6 Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: 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 And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.
9 And all the people saw him walking and praising God:
10 And they knew that it was he which sat for alms at the Beautiful gate of the temple: and they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him.
In our account we are told in verse 2 that this man was carried daily and laid at the gate of the Temple to beg for alms. This was a common practice for the sick and poor to come to the gates of the Temple to beg in this manner. There is a certain amount of giving that is expected from every Jew, but better than that, many of these Pharisees and Seduces would jump at the opportunity to look especially holy by giving alms in front of their friends.
This man represents all of mankind prior to salvation. His need was great. Everyone in this world, who does not know Jesus, has a need that is greater than anything in this world. There are some who require an organ transplant, or who are dying from cancer, or who have just received a terrible wound through a tragic unforeseen accident. But even if these needs are met, one day these people will die. Then eternity will begin for them. Either in Heaven or Hell.
This man is outside of the temple; separated from God. He could not approach God or seek His face because he never had an audience with him. As he lay outside the temple, he did not even realize that he needed Jesus. He knew that his need was great. He just did not realize exactly how great it was, or what would ultimately provide the help that he needed.
Being outside the temple, this man is exactly where we will find people who need God, outside the temple; outside the walls of this church. This is not to say that none who are occasionally here, or are even present now are not in need of the saving grace of God. Or even that all those outside these walls are without Jesus. Only that being outside the temple, is a good place to start looking for those in need of the healing touch of Jesus.
This man was like all people without God, he was poor. He had to go daily to beg for alms in order to just survive. We are all poor just as this man was poor. None of us could have paid the price that was required for our salvation. There is simply no amount of worldly wealth that could purchase salvation for us.