Summary: It can be discouraging when we compare the raw faith and power of th first century church with what the church has become. Have we traded power for "silver and gold"?
Passage: Acts 3:1-10
Intro: We look at a passage like this and sigh..
1. great that Jesus healed people, great that the apostles did.
2. we’ve concluded the day of miracles is over, that God no longer works this way.
Il) a Pope once said as he showed a visitor the splendor of his palace, “We can no longer say, “Silver and gold have we none.” “Correct”, said the visitor (alleged to be Thomas Aquinas), “but neither can we say, ‘In the name of Jesus, walk!’”
3. Frankly, physical miracles of healing are not as powerful as the spiritual miracles of transformation.
4. the principles we can glean from this passage work whether God is doing something physical or spiritual.
5. we have seen in Acts that we are called into a partnership with God.
6. we are the witnesses of Jesus’ power to transform lives. Acts 1:8
7. and as those transformed lives are demonstrated and explained, God does wonderful things.
8. here’s an example of those lives being lived in everyday life and what God can do through them.
9. God is still in the miracle working business! Let’s learn our part and do it!
I. Practice Spontaneous Availability.
1. I know this will bug many of you, but there is no evidence of a human plan in these verses
2. “one day” Peter and John taking their normal stroll up to the temple to pray.
3. the Greek tense in v2 indicates that their walk was at the same time a man who had been crippled from birth was being dropped off by friends.
4. we might call it a coincidence or luck that Peter, John and this handicapped individual arrived at the gate to the temple at roughly the same time.
5. but our God orchestrates the details!
Il) Bernard Shaw, missionary to Africa, forbidden to preach in Capetown. Loaded the wagon and he and his wife went into the interior. 300 miles later, camped near a group of native Africans heading for Capetown to find a missionary. (Paul Lee Tan’s “Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations”)
6. someone has called these “divine appointments” Google that phrase!
7. certainly this passage reveals a divine appointment, because the plan of God was huge!!
8. Peter and John, filled with the Holy Spirit, were going about their normal business when God called.
Il) Phil Morgan points out in his sermon on this passage on Sermoncentral.com that the temple veil was torn in two not only to invite us into the temple, but “to signify that God’s presence is no longer veiled in secuusion, but now He has come out and lives in His new dwelling place…We are the vessels of God”
9. each of us, as we walk in our world and rub shoulders with people, are the very carriers of the Holy Spirit of God into the world. The light of the world!
10. He has taken up residence within us, and impacts the world through us.
Il) that’s why we are called “the body of Christ”
11. did the Holy Spirit plan and initiate this meeting? Absolutely!
12. could Peter and John have quenched the plan of the Spirit by ignoring His promptings or hurrying on because talking to this man was not part of their “plan”? Of course!
13. we need to prayerfully practice being available to the mysterious plan of God.
14. God can use our plans, but He is not limited by them!
II. Practice Spiritual Vision
1. its reasonable to assume that they had seen this beggar before.
2. he had been born with this condition, and was forty years old
3. since he was brought there “every day”, he had seen Jesus and had not been healed!
4. so here they are, and they are compelled to do two unusual things.
5. one, to look at him when he asked them to money.
6. and secondly, to command him to look at them.
Il) you know how it is when we see the panhandlers at the corner. We avoid looking at them unless we are going to give.
7. people have tried to find faith in this beggar, but it wasn’t here yet!
8. he was staring at the ground, talking to the feet of those passing by. Peter said “Look at us!”
9. but Peter and John were seeing him now in a different way.
10. they saw past his disability to his humanity.
Il) “When the Spirit of God has shed abroad the love of God in our hearts, we begin deliberately to identify ourselves with Jesus Christ’s interests in other people, and Jesus Christ is interested in every kind of man there is.” Oswald Chambers
Il) In 1979, my mother-in-law, as soon as she discovered that he had confessed to the crime, sent an evangelistic team to share the gospel with the young man who had murdered her daughter!