WE HAVE TO MAKE THIS BETTER
S: Courage – Ministry
Th: Walk in Spiritual Courage
Pr: BELIEVERS COURAGEOUSLY MAKE A DIFFERENCE FOR CHRIST.
?: Where? Where does it happen?
TS: We will find in our study of Acts 3:1-10 four places where we can make a difference for Christ.
The _____ place is…
I. WHERE GOD IS ABIDING
II. WHERE GOD IS ANTICIPATED
III. WHERE GOD IS IN AUTHORITY
IV. WHERE GOD IS ADORED
RMBC 07 Sep 03 AM
ILL Notebook: Courage (Letter to Editor)
This letter in poem form was sent to the editor of a newspaper…
I’m writing this letter,
Quite frankly to say
I abhorred the column
You wrote yesterday!
It was weak and insipid
And words synonymous--
In short, it lacked courage!
Yours truly, Anonymous.
Have you ever had trouble showing courage?
When it comes to being a Christian, there are times that we struggle in demonstrating courage.
We find it to be easier to be anonymous.
Well, this month, we are staying with our theme of the year, “Brave Hearts,” discussing the importance of courage as believers in the Lord Jesus.
It is discipleship month and…
1. The theme of Discipleship Month is “Walk in Spiritual Courage.”
You know, it is important that we understand our roles as disciples and as disciple makers.
And one of the great places in Scripture to discover how disciples should act is the book of Acts.
It is in the Acts of the Apostles that we see the disciples in action.
You may remember that we studied the first two chapters of Acts two years ago during discipleship month.
This month, we are going to study the next two chapters, chapters three and four.
Before we get to chapter 3, we see at the end of chapter 2 that the church is behaving distinctly different than the rest of society.
Here is how it is described…
And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
The Holy Spirit has come as Jesus had promised and the church is already experiencing phenomenal growth.
So now as we continue into chapter 3, we are going to see that…
2. BELIEVERS COURAGEOUSLY MAKE A DIFFERENCE FOR CHRIST.
The question we want to ask is where?
Where does this happen?
Where do believers make the difference?
3. We will find in our study of Acts 3:1-10 four places where we can make a difference for Christ.
Perhaps, we should be bolder and say where we will make a difference for Christ.
Here is how our text reads…
(1) Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. (2) And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate to ask alms of those entering the temple. (3) Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms. (4) And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” (5) And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. (6) But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” (7) And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. (8) And leaping up he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. (9) And all the people saw him walking and praising God, (10) and recognized him as the one who sat at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, asking for alms. And they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.
I. The first place we can make a difference is WHERE GOD IS ABIDING.
As the scene opens up here, it has all the look of an ordinary day.
But what we find out quickly is that…
1. God makes ordinary days extraordinary.
Peter and John were heading for the temple.
It was about 3:00 PM, the usual time of prayer.
But though they were doing what was their typical habit, it was not going to be a typical day.
God was going to make this day a day that would not be forgotten.
2. God can do the unexpected through us because He is with us.
Do you remember what our theme verse is for the year?
It is Deuteronomy 31:8…
“It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”
Peter and John are about to experience this verse.
They are going to discover God at work.
They are going to find out that where God is, God works.
In other words…
3. God’s power is at work where God is present.
God’s power flows where God is.
So, where is God?
Peter and John may have been heading for the temple, but they did not need to go to the temple to find God.
The dwelling place of God is the believer.
We become the temple of God.
When the Holy Spirit came, the temple of God became accessible to all who would believe in Jesus.
So, as Peter and John headed for the temple, they did not go alone.
God was abiding with them.
God was with them.
II. The second place we can make a difference is WHERE GOD IS ANTICIPATED.
ILL Notebook: Expect
How does Janice like being pregnant?" Bob asked his friend John.
"Oh, she’s not pregnant," John replied, "she’s expecting."
"What’s the difference?" Bob pressed.
"Well, John explained, "She’s expecting me to cook dinner, she’s expecting me to do the housework, she’s expecting me to rub her feet…"
Well, we all have things we expect.
1. We all have things we need and want.
The next character we are introduced to is the man born lame.
He has lived with this congenital condition for over 40 years.
He is severely handicapped.
He has never felt his legs.
He has never moved them.
He has never run on them as a boy and never walked on them as a man.
To go anywhere, he had to be carried.
He was a man without hope.
The best he could expect was some coins everyday.
He was placed at what was called the Beautiful Gate.
And it was beautiful.
It was made of Corinthian brass, plated with gold and silver.
It was 75 feet high and 60 feet wide.
When the sun shone, there was a glistening brightness.
He was placed at a great spot.
People were going to the temple to worship and perhaps they would feel a bit guilty or be grateful for how well they were doing and help him out with a coin or two.
Now this man was not expecting what he really needed.
He was only expecting what he wanted, which were a few coins.
Nevertheless, his needs were about to be met, because two men had great expectations about God’s power.
2. God’s power is at work where He is expected.
You have to appreciate Peter and John here.
They don’t do what many of us do when we someone that is begging.
They didn’t pass by the far side of the gate away from the man.
They didn’t just drop a coin into his hands and wish him well.
They didn’t look away as they came near him.
No, they stopped.
They looked at him.
In fact, the text tells us that they looked at him intently.
Remember, God was with them.
And when God is present, we see people differently.
We understand their hurts and needs.
So, led by the Holy Spirit, they boldly say to the man, “Look at us!”
They anticipated God’s work.
In fact, they knew God was about to do something!
They had no coins to give the beggar, but they were more than willing to give what they had.
They were confident that they could make a difference.
They were expectant.
They anticipated that God would work through them.
Which brings us to…
III. The third place we can make a difference is WHERE GOD IS IN AUTHORITY.
You have heard the phrase, “It’s who you know…”
The truth is…
1. We often use someone’s name to make a connection.
When someone says, “You can use my name,” you certainly hope it is a name worth using.
You hope they will say, “Oh, you are so-and-so’s friend…that makes a difference…”
But you know, if I were to walk into the White House, and give an order, nobody would pay much attention, because my name has no official authority behind it.
There is a name, however, that is above every name.
And the crazy thing about this is that we are given authority to act in this name.
Again, consider what Peter says to the lame man…
“I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!”
So note this…
2. God’s power is at work where He is in charge.
The use of the name of Jesus is not a use of arrogance.
Rather, the use of the name of Jesus is a demonstration of dependence.
And this demonstration of dependence was very powerful.
The lame man was healed.
But he was not cured by the power of Peter and John.
He was healed because they had a living relationship with the Lord Jesus.
But do note this…
The power was Christ’s, the hand was Peter’s.
And this teaches us a very important lesson.
We are the hands of Jesus.
We are His hands.
We are His feet.
And now let’s see…
IV. The fourth place we can make a difference is WHERE GOD IS ADORED.
The former lame man gives us a wonderful example…
1. We celebrate when God works.
The man will not resort to ordinary walking
It would be too humdrum.
He was leaping in the air.
He was jumping up and down.
He was finding out all that his new limbs could do.
And so we see that…
2. God’s power is at work where He is worshipped.
The man was full of praise.
He was giving praise to God.
You see, now that he could stand, there was no question about where he stood.
And because of this, God was going to do even more work (as we will find out next week).
ILL Notebook: Power (Aquinas)
Many, many years ago, Thomas Aquinas called upon Pope Innocent II when the latter was counting a large sum of money. “You see, Thomas,” said the Pope, “the church can no longer say, ‘Silver and gold have I none.’”
“True, holy father,” said Thomas, “and neither can she now say, ‘Arise and walk.’”
The church is always in danger of not making a difference.
This is why courage is such an important characteristic.
We need to rise up to the challenges that are before us.
To do this…
1. We need to be where the people are.
Once in a while, you will hear me say, “Ministry would be great if it weren’t for the people.”
Now I say that jokingly, but there is a thread of truth in it.
Ministering to people can be hard.
Ministering to people can be messy.
And so many times, it seems easier to avoid people rather than approach them.
But we cannot pass by the hurting people in the world, because we do have an answer to their needs.
Jesus is the visible answer.
And we are His hands.
Peter and John were not staying home.
They were out and about in their community.
And so should we.
And when we do so, we can do so courageously because where we go, God goes with us.
We take God.
God is present with us when we shop.
He is with us in school and at work.
He is there when we are at a restaurant or at a movie.
Wherever we go, we need to understand that we are there to minister to people.
But not only that…
2. We need to be willing to touch the unwanted.
We need to courageously stop and willingly be of help.
The beggar could have been considered an irritant, harassing people on the way to worship.
But Peter and John saw him differently.
The untouchable needed to be touched, encouraged and lifted up.
Can you imagine if they said, “Oh, we would love to help, but we are on the way to the temple to pray and worship”?
“We need to get on with our lives.”
“We have better things to do.”
We must ask ourselves the question, “Am I walking past God-given opportunities?”
We must courageously evaluate whether we are living for ourselves or for others.
ILL Notebook: Need (Great Rinaldi)
A man went to a psychiatrist because he was extremely depressed. The psychiatrist just could not get him to snap out of it. So he said to the man, “Tonight I want you to go to the circus in town because they have a clown called the Great Rinaldi. He is the funniest clown I have ever seen. Whenever I go to see the Great Rinaldi, it always lifts my spirits.”
The man responded, “You don’t understand doctor, I am the Great Rinaldi.”
Let this be a lesson for us as well…that
3. We need to be perceptive about the real needs of people.
Sometimes people are not what they seem.
They seem fine, but they are truly hurting.
We need to take the time and talk, getting to know them.
We need to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading so that we will be perceptive about their needs.
But note this, when people’s needs are met, God will be praised.
When He is praised, He does even more.
And the blessings continue.
BENEDICTION: [Counselors are ]
Courageously make a difference for Christ…because wherever you go, God goes with you.
Courageously make a difference for Christ…because when you expect God to work, He does.
Courageously make a difference for Christ…because when you minister according to and in His name, Jesus shows His power.
Courageously make a difference for Christ…because when He is worshipped, He does even more.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
If you know Jesus today, you are invited to share in the elements of the table.
You do not have to be a member of our church, but we do ask that you know Jesus and have a relationship with Him.
If you do not know Jesus, that is, you have not received Him as your Savior and Lord, or you are just unsure, just let the elements pass by.
Please wait until the time comes when you are confident that you do have a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus.
We practice “communion” because we are to remember the death of the Lord Jesus.
We take the bread to remind us that it was by the body of our Savior that our salvation came.
He died in our place.
He became our substitute.
We take the cup to remind us that it was by the blood of our Savior that our salvation came.
He died for our sins.
He became our sacrifice.
...will now come and lead us in prayer.
The apostle Paul writes, "The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me."
Let’s partake together.
___________________ will now come and lead us in prayer.
Again, the apostle Paul writes, "In the same way, after supper he took the cup saying, This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me."
Let’s partake together.
Deacon Offering during hymn.