TITLE: RISE UP AND WALK
SCRIPTURE: ACTS 3:1-10
He had become a familiar site to Temple goers over the years. Every day his friends would carry him there and leave him by the Gate called Beautiful. All day long he would sit by the gate with outstretched arms begging for money from people entering the Temple. There was nothing wrong with this man in many ways.
• He could See
• He could Speak
• He could Hear
• He could move his Arms and his Upper Torso
There was just one thing wrong with him and that was he had no strength in his Ankles, Legs, or
Feet. According to VS 2, he had been in this condition since the day he was born. His parents had never experienced the joy of seeing him -
• Take his very first step or pulling himself up to a chair
• They never got to see him running with other children
• Or climbing a tree
• Or kicking a ball
• Or Playing Sports in High School
His Feet, Legs, were dead and totally lifeless. His whole life, he had been different than everybody else he was an -
• Social Outcast in many ways
In those days, there were no laws or government regulations that would require an employer to hire him and pay him a fair wage although he would have been very capable of doing a job that required skilled hands or a sharp mind. There were no schools that specialized in teaching you how to work with your disability and earn an income and become a productive member of society.
Simply because his feet and legs had no strength the Jewish society had forced him to become a
• Lowly Beggar
• Entirely dependent upon the Mercy and Compassion of others for his survival
The Bible calls to our attention, that one afternoon about the 3:00 o’clock hour, Peter and John approached the GATE CALLED BEAUTIFUL on their way to the Temple to pray. Not much is known about this Gate called Beautiful. It is the Gospel writer Luke as the only NT writer to refer to this gate by this unique name. According to Jewish historians, the Gate called Beautiful was in all likelihood the same as THE GATE OF NICANOR. If indeed they were one in the same, one can see why Luke would refer to it as the Gate called Beautiful.
I can tell you a little about this Beautiful Gate. This gate was --
• 75 feet high and 60 feet wide
• It was made of Corinthian Brass
• Beautifully ornamented with gold and silver platelet’s
• Because this gate was located on the East Side of the Temple, it would have radiated in Beauty with every brilliant Sunrise
• As a matter of fact, this gate was of such beauty, one would hardly even notice a lowly beggar sitting by the gate
But as Peter and John were about to pass through the Gate called Beautiful, this lame beggar asks them for some money. That is not unusual, for that is what beggars do. Now I want you to pay particular attention to VS. 4 -- Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “LOOK AT US!”
• The fact that this man was outwardly Crippled was very obvious
• But now we also see he was Inwardly Crippled as well
• In Mind
• In Heart
• In Spirit
Years of dependency upon everyone else. Years of begging had taken an emotional toll on this man’s self-esteem and sense of worth.
• This man has such a Low Opinion of himself
• He can’t even bring himself to look people in the eye when he begged for money
• So the very first thing Peter had the man to do was to Look Up and look him Squarely in the Eyes
Look again with me at VS. 5 it tells us at that point, this man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them. Here we see the “low level of expectation” of this lame beggar. He had sat by that Gate and begged for so long he had no expectation of ever rising above his situation. In his Mind - Heart - Spirit he had come to believe this was his lot in life. You know what they say --
• “Once a cripple, always a cripple.”
• “Once a beggar, always a beggar”
His greatest Hope - His greatest Expectation was that Peter and John would plunk a few coins in his cup so he could go on being what he had always been - a lowly, lame beggar! Peter fixed his heart on this fellow. The lame man’s expectations were raised. I am sure that he had seen people come and go that would not even look in his direction, or maybe laugh at him, or spit at him, or even worse. But this time, he saw that someone was interested in him. So the Bible states in VS. 5 that, "...HE GAVE HEED UNTO THEM EXPECTING TO RECEIVE SOMETHING OF THEM."
• Now he didn’t receive what he expected, but at least he was expecting
• It is sad that many Christians live today with no expectation
• They have never experienced God moving in their lives, so why should there be any expectation?
• And that is exactly how Satan desires that they think
• If he can keep a child of God trapped in low expectation, then he has achieved a great victory, for WITHOUT A VISION, THE PEOPLE PERISH
But now notice Peter’s response in VS. 6 -- Then Peter said, “SILVER OR GOLD I DO NOT HAVE, BUT WHAT I HAVE I GIVE YOU.” Peter was telling the Lame Beggar --
• I can’t give you what I do not have
• I can only give you what I do have
• I can’t give you Gold
• I can’t give you Silver
• I can’t help you go on being what you have always been!
• But I can give you something of far greater value and worth
• In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk!
Let me footnote here and tell you that you must be careful who you allow to lay hands on you because what they are saying in essence is “what I have, I am giving to you” by the laying on of my hands.
• You can’t let everyone lay hands on you
• You can’t jump up in just any body’s Prayer Line
• If they have a Foul or Evil Spirit
• If they have a Whoremonger Spirit
• If they have a Lying Spirit
• If they have a Complaining Spirit
• If they have a Gossiping Spirit
• They will transfer that to you
• Such as I Have
• Four days in Hospital last week
• I didn’t let everybody coming in the hospital room lay hands and pray for me
• Go ahead and Pray, that’s ok
• I didn’t let everybody lay hands on me however
• I have sense enough to know that not everybody wants me well
• I have sense enough to know that not everybody wants me in the pulpit at FBC
• I have sense enough to know that not everybody wanted me off my sickbed
My question to you this morning FBC -- WHAT DID THESE APOSTLES HAVE THAT WAS BETTER THAN SILVER AND GOLD? We have to look at PSALM 19 in an effort to help understand what they had. God’s Word tells us His Words are more precious than gold. Look at the first half of PSALM 19:10 “THEY ARE MORE PRECIOUS THAN GOLD, THAN MUCH PURE GOLD.” The word translated “Precious” is a word that means desirable, something that a person takes great delight in. God’s Words are more precious, more to be desired than Gold, than much Pure Gold.
You do know there are different kinds of gold, and the word translated “Pure Gold” is a word that speaks of the fines, most purified gold of all.
• Today we measure Gold in Carats
• 9 Carat Gold is 37.5% Pure Gold and is the most affordable kind for jewelry
• 18 Carat Gold has twice the gold content 75% Gold and much more expensive
• 22 Carat Gold gets you up to 91.6% Gold
• 24 Carat Gold is the purest and most expensive of all at 99.9% Gold – that’s as high as a scale goes
• That’s what the word “Pure” Gold means
God’s words are more precious than Gold, and not just any kind of gold, but Pure Gold, and not just pure gold but much pure gold
• So we go from Good to Better to Best
• From Gold to Pure Gold to Much Pure Gold
• God’s Word still comes out on Top
VS. 7 says -- Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and legs, and ankles became strong.
• For the first time in his life, he had Life and Feeling in his dead feet
• For the first time in his life he Stood Up on his own two feet
• For the very first time, he did what all his childhood friends likely did by their first birthday he took his very first step in life
• And then another and another and pretty soon he wasn’t just Walking he was Jumping and Praising God!
Here is something we oftentimes overlook in this text, we often read right by it -- not only had his feet been healed but so had his spirit. For the very first time in his life he had a whole new outlook on life. His heart was overflowing with Joy and Gladness! Now that he could walk.
VS. 8 tells us his feet took him to a place he had never been before. he went into the temple courts! When the people inside the Temple area saw this man, they didn’t see a lowly crippled beggar they saw the man who “used to be” a lowly crippled beggar they saw “an ex-lowly beggar.” But now by the transforming power of Jesus Christ this man had been made whole in Mind, Body and Spirit!
Yes my brothers and sisters, this crippled man had been made whole. But the truth of the matter is that all of us are crippled and in need of healing. Paul tells us in ROMANS 3:23 says “ALL OF US HAVE SINNED AND FALL SHORT OF THE GLORY OF GOD.” ISAIAH 53:6 – ALL ARE LIKE SHEEP WHO HAVE GONE ASTRAY, WE HAVE TURNED, EVERY ONE TO THEIR OWN WAY.
• We are dead spiritually and the words of Jesus recorded in ST. LUKE 13:3 state “UNLESS WE REPENT WE WILL PERISH”
Like the lame man at the gate, we are helpless and POWERLESS, SPIRITUALLY CRIPPLED WITHOUT CHRIST. Salvation is our most basic need. Our society is crippled too, with its crippled morals, marriages and relationships.
• Our society is crippled by Perversion
• Abortion continues to claim innocent lives
• Pornography continues to destroy homes
• Sexual sin is a way of life for millions
• People are crippled by alcohol and drug abuse
• People are crippled with negative attitudes, anger, hate, resentment, bitterness and unforgiveness
• Only Jesus Christ can bring the healing we need
Not only is Society Crippled, but many in the Church today are still crippled. But you know something? One doesn’t have to have lifeless, dead feet in order to be crippled. There are many things that “Cripple” us in this life. Have you been “crippled” by --
• A Painful Childhood?
• Did you grow up in a dysfunctional family?
• Did your Parents divorce when you were young?
• Did you grow up with an alcoholic parent?
• Did you grow up in an abusive situation?
Or have you been “crippled” by Guilt ?
• Are you still haunted by some of the “skeletons in your closet?”
• Have you never been able to forgive yourself or accept God’s forgiveness for some of the things you have done in your past?
We are not able to RISE UP AND WALK until we firstly allow the Holy Spirit to work these issue out in us. Until we learn to release our Pains to the Lord. Until that happens we will never be able to Rise Up and Walk in our Divine Spiritual Calling. In obedience, we allow God to provide opportunities. Peter and John, in obedience, were where God could move in this lame man’s life. They were WALKING IN OBEDIENCE - "NOW PETER AND JOHN WENT UP TOGETHER INTO THE TEMPLE..." WHAT WOULD HAVE OCCURRED IF THEY DIDN’T FEEL LIKE GOING TO CHURCH THAT DAY?
• God’s power would not have been manifested
• A man would not have been healed
• A testimony would not have been shared
But because Peter and John were obedient and went to the temple as God had commanded, they were used by God to perform a miracle. HEBREWS 10:25 states, "NOT FORSAKING THE ASSEMBLING OF OURSELVES TOGETHER, AS THE MANNER OF SOME IS..."
• It is extremely sad that today many Christians neglect the simple pleasure of attending church regularly
• Then are puzzled why God is not moving in their lives
God is not moving in their lives, because in disobedience they are not allowing God to bless them.
We also see that Peter and John were obedient in walking according to god’s timing. Look at the verse -"...AT THE HOUR OF PRAYER, BEING THE NINTH HOUR."
• They knew it was time for church, and they knew that they should be in church
• There was a specific time set aside for worship and prayer, and Peter and John were on their way
• Sadly, when many churches hold "mid-week prayer meetings" usually that service contains the smallest crowd of the week
• God set the prayer time, and knew that in obedience Peter and John would be going to the temple at this time
So, in God’s sovereign purpose, he placed this man in their path. If they would have possessed a careless attitude and said, "WELL, WE WENT LAST WEEK, DO WE NEED TO GO THIS WEEK?"OR "I’LL WAIT TILL THE SECOND SERVICE. IT’S TOO EARLY OR THE CROWD WILL BE SMALLER." then God’s marvelous Grace and Mercy would not have been manifested in the lame man’s life.
• Unless the path of obedience is walked, you will miss the opportunities that God has placed there for you
• This man was laid daily at the gate of the temple
• In order to benefit this man, Peter and John had to be at the temple
• There was no other path that they could have walked that would have caused them to come in contact with this man
If there is something that has “Crippled You” you can do one of two things --
• You can remain “crippled” for the rest of your life
• Or in the Name of Jesus Christ, you can “RISE UP AND WALK!”
You see, when we are “crippled” emotionally or spiritually, there comes a time when we have to assume some personal responsibility for our lives.
• There comes a time when we must stop making excuses
• Stop feeling sorry for ourselves
• Stop blaming everybody else for our problems and “RISE UP AND WALK”
There comes a time when we must decide, “I DON’T WANT TO BE A CRIPPLED BEGGAR THE REST OF MY LIFE.” PHILIPPIANS 4:13 “I CAN DO ALL THINGS -- I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST WHO GIVES ME THE STRENGTH.
--There are millions of people in the world that are in the same position as the man who laid at the gate called Beautiful
--Each one thrusts his or her hand out with the hope of receiving a bit of money that will get them through another day
--But like Peter and John, we have something much more valuable than all the riches in the world
--The blessings that we can give people won't just get them their next meal, it will feed them until the Coming of our Lord Jesus!