Summary: This message shows the powerful witness of Peter and John and the lame man who was healed at the temple gate. I am making 3 points in this message: (1) No matter what people do to you, they cannot stop your witness. (2) No matter how many people rej

“The Power of a Changed Life”

Acts 4:1-12

In many advertisements in magazines especially if you’re reading a magazine on physical fitness, you will see what is refereed to as a before and after picture. Sometimes it will be a picture of someone who may have been overweight and lost a lot of weight or someone who has really been out of shape and they got into shape. Or television shows us programming where someone has a make over. They will usually take a someone, usually a woman, looks like she hasn’t brushed her hair in several days, no makeup, perhaps she is wearing the worst looking outfit she has in her closet and then they bring her out onto the stage. Then they take her back stage and they proceed with the make over-she gets a new hairstyle, some professional makeup, new outfit, just the right color and they bring here back out and everyone just says wow! Amazing. What a difference! What a change! And sometimes you can hardly believe it is the same person.

I witnesses something similar to this years ago and I have many times since that was even more dramatic. Years ago I met a man names David Phillips who came into our church looking for help. This was 25 years ago but I still remember the change that took place in his life. When I met David he was flat broke, had no food, his only transportation was a bicycle. Unshaven, frankly he was filthy. Our church reached out to him. We saw to it that he got a good meal and that he had regular meals. We bought him soap, a a haircut for him and even got him a suit and some other clothes as well. In all of this he saw our compassion and a wonderful thing happened. David Phillips gave his heart to Jesus Christ as His Lord and Savior. He was completely changed.

On his 1st Sunday in church after all of this had taken place i remember our senior pastor almost didn’t recognize him and he looked at me and he said David i can’t believe it-he looks so good-there is not only a new suit on that man-there is a new man in that suit! When this kind of thing takes place, the difference is very powerful. Your testimony is obvious-people notice immediately-it is the power of a changed life.

Remember this healing of this man who had been crippled all of his life. The Bible tells us he was over 40 years of age.

V. 1-3 Peter and John were there speaking to the people- now even though the nation was under Roman rule, the Saducees held most of the power over what took place at the temple. And they are very distressed/bothered because Peter and John were preaching about the resurrection. You see it was one thing to say Jesus was born, it was acceptable to say that Jesus was crucified but when you say he arose from the dead, this changed everything.

In Rome as in most places there was a huge power struggle taking place. The (1) Pharisees were legalistic, taught the law instead of grace and as a result they were bitterly opposed to Jesus and his teachings. It is safe to say they hated Jesus and they hated his teachings. This was one of the power groups. (2) There were the Saducees; all of the Saducees were priests. 2 things to know about them. First of all they did not believe in the resurrection. And next they did not believe in an afterlife. Hell of heaven. So they were sad-u-cee? Then there were the Essenes. Very private group. Weren’t allowed to talk about their beliefs. They were a secret group. Most of the Jews were divided among these people and each one was fighting for control.

Now all of this to explain the arrest of Peter and John. Peter and John were teaching something that (1) they didn’t believe and (2) questioned their authority. So what do you do when someone questions your authority-throw them in jail. People react out of fear-it’s a control issue. Which brings me to my first point.

1. No matter what people may do to you, how much they might hurt you or what they might say or do; listen they cannot stop your witness. It is the power of a changed life that will always continue to speak. We see the results here of their preaching, of their teaching and the resurrection and the results of the changed that took place in this lame man’s life.

* the church started with 120 people.

* chpt. 2. 3000 were added. Now 3120.

* now another 2000 are added. Now about 5000.

5000 are now a part of the church. One man’s life is changed and 2000 are added to the church. This is the power of a changed life.

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