Text: Acts 3:1-10, Title: Exaltation through a Miracle, Date/Place: NRBC, 7/8/07, AM
A. Opening illustration: In deep prayer on a California beach, a man asked for one desire… I can do it, but it is hard for me to justify your desire for worldly things. Take a little more time to think of another wish, a wish you think would honor and glorify me"…I want to understand women to better minister to my wife, what they feel, what they need… After a few minutes God said, "How many lanes do you want on that bridge?"
B. Background to passage: In Acts 2:43 Luke tells us that many signs and wonders were being done by the apostles of the early church. And for the next two chapters, he includes the account of one particularly significant one. This miracle not only stood as a sign pointing to Christ for the masses, but got the disciples into a lot of hot water with Jerusalem officials. The key verse in the chapter for our breakdown of it is verse 13, where it says that God glorified Jesus. This is the theme for the chapter, and over the course of the next three weeks, we will see three primary ways that God glorified Jesus, beginning with the miracle that begins the chapter. It’s 3pm, the third of the regular Jewish times of prayer, and at the gate lay crippled and lame and orphaned to gain provisions from godly people, b/c almsgiving was extremely godly.
C. Main thought: In our text today, we will see how God brought Christ glory through the miracle.
A. The Estimation of His Value (v. 6)
1. Peter and John were doing a little team prayer and ministry outing, when this needy man approached them. Peter told him to look at them, maybe with his pockets pulled out. You know that this had to be a downer for a guy expecting to get some money. The “but” begins the biggest comparison that you will ever see. He says, but what I have, I give to you. He implies here that what he is about to give the man is of far greater value. He was about to offer this man, not the healing of his legs as the thing of great value, but the person of Jesus Christ, who is infinitely valuable.
2. 1 Pet 2:4, 6-7, 2 Cor 4:4, Col 1:15-18, 27, 2:2-3, Eph 3:8,
3. Illustration: A story was told of a man who loved old books. He met an acquaintance who had just thrown away a Bible that had been stored in the attic of his ancestral home for generations. “I couldn’t read it,” the friend explained. “Somebody named Guten-something had printed it.” “Not Gutenberg!” the book lover exclaimed in horror. “That Bible was one of the first books ever printed. Why, a copy just sold for over two million dollars!” His friend was unimpressed. “Mine wouldn’t have brought a dollar. Some fellow named Martin Luther had scribbled all over it in German.” read the chorus to Prince of Peace, and the first verse and chorus of Champion of Love,
4. We all know the Sunday School answer that Jesus is more valuable than money or material things. But we must search the depths of our heart to determine if we really think about Him as being the most valuable of all things. We see that nothing, no one, no thing is greater. That His worth and value and qualification surpasses all above, in, and under the earth. He is our conquering warrior in life, our reigning king, the only one with the divine right to rule and reign, our strength, or shield, or refuge, our compassionate sin-bearing lamb. He is the fountain of living water, the rock of salvation, the holy and righteous Prince of life. He is the highest of high, greatest of great; no one could ever take his crown away. Do we really treat Him and think about Him in terms of the most valuable thing ever? Is that how we love Him, pray to Him, worship Him? So much more to say…if He is, then in tribulation…etc.
B. The Cost of Ministry (v. 7)
1. Christ is exalted by the lengths to which Peter will go to make disciples. Peter is not concerned about hygiene, finances, or status; He reaches out his hand in fellowship and brotherhood. Peter lifts him to his feet for the first time ever. And Peter walks with him into the temple. And then he walks home with him.
2. Illustration: share my concern about reaching those that are immediately surrounding us
3. Jesus says to make disciples. And discipleship costs us more than a benevolence fund or even a visitation ministry. To make disciples means to stretch out a hand, lift people up, and walk with them. It is a long-term process. You will get your hands and our pews dirty. It will cost you primarily time and effort as opposed to money. We must spend time with new believers to teach them God’s ways and truth. We must shield them from our bad habits and traditions. They need to be loved and cared for enough to pour out your lives into them, so that their finances, marriage, families, and jobs look Christ-like. Christ is glorified by what we sacrifice to carry out the ministry of the gospel that He has commissioned us with.
C. The Power in His Name (v. 6-7)
1. When you spoke of the name of someone, you were calling on the authority and reputation of that person to give credence or power to whatever you were saying. It was kind of a round about way to speak of the presence of that person when you called on their name. Peter was saying that because of the presence and power of Christ, rise up and walk. Again, remember, that this miracle is secondary to the salvation that this man was gaining in Christ. Then he stood, walked, ran, and leaped! No half-way with Jesus. Later the text speaks of him being made perfectly sound. The Name of Jesus invokes much power.
2. Illustration: Martin Luther: In 1540 he had an assistant and friend named Friedrich Myconius. Friedrich had become sick and was on his deathbed and wrote Luther a farewell letter. Luther immediately sent a reply, ‘I command you in the name of God to live because I still have need of you in the work of reforming the church…the Lord will never let me hear that you are dead but will permit you to survive me. For this I am praying because I seek only to glorify the name of God’. Friedrich, who had already lost the ability to speak, did soon recover and lived an additional six more years but then did die TWO MONTHS AFTER LUTHER HIMSELF HAD DIED. Ronnie talking about the tribesmen in the Amazon that would begin to weep at the name of Jesus even though they had never heard it before, Andrew Murray once said about this “Christ’s servants have the spiritual power to use the Name of Jesus only insofar as they yield themselves to live only for the interests and the work of the Master. The use of the name always supposes the surrender of our interests to Him whom we represent.”
3. Sometimes all we need to do is utter His name, and fears are calmed, doubts dispelled, and strength given. We are commanded to pray in Jesus name, be baptized in His name, speak in His name, gather in His name, sing in His name, give thanks in His name, bow at His name, do all that we do in His name, glorify His name, anoint the sick with oil in His name, believe on His name, go forth with the gospel in His name, fear His name, and to hold fast to His name! However, we must refrain from using His name like a magic charm. When we speak His name, we are doing so in accordance with His will, His authority, and His power, invoking His presence and assistance, so that He may receive the glory. We are his ambassadors that carry His reputation and power to the ends of the earth. We are commanded to use His name to bring Him glory, and we must.
D. The Results of Salvation (v. 8-10)
1. Finally Christ was glorified through the results of this saving encounter. Notice that this man leaped up. This was a medical term (remember Luke was a physician) that meant for the bones to suddenly jut out. Then Luke says that he stood, and then walked. He was made completely whole! And the first thing that he did was go into the temple leaping and praising God and telling everyone about what God had done for him. And of course, all the people knew this guy and saw the obvious miraculous healing, and they were amazed. God is glorified through the miraculous, whether in healing, salvation, deliverance, etc.
2. Luke 8:39, Mark 1:45, John 4:29, 9:9-11,
3. Illustration: Ronnie went to church for 40 nights straight after he got saved. One of the sweet Christians in church history was a little guy named Billy Bray. He was a Cornish miner. He had one of the most remarkable salvation experiences you ever saw in all of your life. Billy Bray was so happy — he shouted all the time. He bothered people. He had so much joy, just shouting all the time. And somebody said to him one time, “Billy Bray, why don’t you tone down some? You’re just too happy. You’ve got too much joy all the time.” Billy Bray said, “I can’t help it. God saved me and I can’t help it. When I put down one foot it says hallelujah, and when I put down the other foot it says glory to God.” On numerous occasions when people in our church in Maine were going to be away for the weekend (or if they moved), they would ask me to find them a church that they could go to during their time away, The tenth day we were getting ready to leave, but as I looked back on my time there, I realized that for the first time in my Christian life I spent a whole ten day block of time without telling anyone at least “Jesus loves you”.
4. Remember that we are all blessed simply to be here. Remember that it is a privilege to have strength an health to praise God. It is a good indication of true salvation, when new converts’ immediate desire is to be in church in the presence of God and to share their faith. God is glorified by our righteous desires. He is honored by a changed heart. Is there a desire in your heart to tell others about what Christ has done for you? Most everyone would answer yes, but then I must ask, do you do it? When you are away, do you make time for church? Or do you take a break from God? We must get back to the basics of simply telling others about what God has done for us. Others will never be saved if they can tell that you are so excited about what God has done for you that you keep silent about it.
A. Closing illustration: Henry Martyn set sail for Calcutta, India in July of 1805 at the age of 24 leaving behind Lydia (of whom he noted the entire time overseas that he thought of her incessantly) and a brilliant academic career at Cambridge University. He arrived and quickly learned Urdo, Persian, and Arabic, and thus began translating the NT into those languages. A Muslim scholar named Mirza Sayyid Ali was an assistant to him during this translation. One day Ali was telling him of a recent victory of one of the Muslim crown princes against the Russians. He said that so many Russian Christians were killed that “Christ from the fourth heaven took hold of Mohammed’s skirt to beg him to desist.” Martyn was “cut to the soul at this blasphemy.” And when Ali asked why he was so offended, he said, “I could not endure existence if Christ was not glorified; it would be hell to me if he were to be always thus dishonored.” He further explained, “If anyone were to pluck out your eyes, there is not saying why you would feel pain, it is a feeling. It is because I am one with Christ that I am thus dreadfully wounded.” Martyn died at 31 after the completion of the Persian NT, consumed with the glory of an incomparable Christ!
C. Invitation to commitment