We’ve been in the book of Acts this summer. And maybe you’ve noticed – the book of ACTS is all about the ACTS of the Apostles. The Twelve guys that Jesus spend three years teaching. In Acts, Jesus had gone to heaven. The Apostles are going around preaching and teaching all by themselves.
And up to this point – over 3000 people believed their message. Amazing!
But not everyone believed.
Because sure, they like that Jesus guy.
Sure, they knew this Jesus guy was something special.
And yes, the disciples had been with Jesus…sure.
But…they weren’t Jesus.
So…was God still with them?
Was God’s power still with them?
Was their message the same?
Today we are going to answer that very question – which is SUPER important for us today, because the Apostle’s Teachings are what we have recorded in the New testament of the Bible. Before we begin our study, a prayer: Lord, strengthen us by the truth; your Word is truth. Open our eyes to see what you want us to see; our ears to hear what you want us to hear and our hearts to believe what you would have us believe. Amen.
I. Same Power.
The lesson in Acts 3 seems takes places days after Pentecost. By this time, the news about the Apostles had started to spread. News about the incredible events at Pentecost – that there was a tornadolike sounds emanating from the middle of a house, the apostles had something like fire on top of their heads and could speak in languages they had never learned – had spread.
People were interested.
The disciples kept preaching.
The disciples kept teaching.
But at the start of Acts 3, that’s not what they’re doing.
The Apostles are just living their life.
True story – even today – pastors don’t always work. (It’s true.) I don’t just preach and teach and counsel all day long. Sometimes I go to Food Lion to pick up deodorant. Sometimes I stop by the gym to workout. Sometimes I go to Home Depot for advice on Lawn Care Supplies.
The Apostles were doing the same thing.
Peter and John were heading into the temple.
Not to preach.
Not to teach.
But simply to pray.
The temple was rather large. It was so large that it had a bunch of different entrances that one could use to get into it. Each entrance had a specific name. (It might be like the PNC Arena – and the different entrances that they have).
One of the entrance was simply called BEAUTIFUL. It called to mind the notion that God and worship of God was Beautiful.
But at entrance of the gate.
Right under the incredible archways and the beautiful jewel studs.
Was something – not so beautiful.
A dirty middle-aged man.
A dirty middle-aged man sat on the ground.
A dirty middle-aged man sat on the ground and begged.
This man was paralyzed. He had never been able to walk a day in his life. Because he couldn’t walk, he also couldn’t work. (There weren’t a lot of desk jobs back in the day). The only thing that he could do was hold out his hand, ask for money, or ask others to grab some food for him.
And that’s what he did:
Sir, could you spare a few dollars?
Ma’am, do you have some extra money?
Friend, could you help me? Anything will do.
And as he asked, undoubtedly people responded in a lot of different ways:
Sorry bud. I don’t care cash on me.
Give you something? Why don’t you get a job?
Honey, please look the other way. Who knows where that guy has been!
Here you go – I suppose – Here’s a $10 – but I’d like 9 dollars in change please.
This was his life.
He was “the Paralyzed Beggar at the Gate called Beautiful.”
All the time.
And that was what he was doing as Peter and John walked by on their way to the temple for prayer:
“Good sirs! Do you have some money? Can you help a brother out?”
And the disciples stopped.
And the turned to the Paralyzed Man.
And the man got excited. Maybe they’d give him a dollar or two.
And Peter looked him straight in the eye.
And he said this, “Silver and gold, I do not have. But what I have, I give you. In the name of Jesus, WALK.” (v.6)
And the man looked at Peter.
Was Peter serious?
The man had never walked in day in his life.
If Peter didn’t have any money, he could just say so and get on his way – why did he need to rub it in like this?
But…then again…he looks sincere.
And I do really want to walk. It’s all I’ve ever wanted.
To do what I’ve never been able to do.
The man reached out his hand.
He took a hold of Peter’s
And instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. (v.7-8)
Because notice Peter didn’t give him some kind of pill to swallow.
He didn’t inject him with some kind of steroid.
He didn’t affix a robotic leg.
He spoke, and the man walked.
And he did much more than walk! Because check out verse 8, “He went with the disciples into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God!”
He wasn’t hobbling around.
It wasn’t like he took his first step and then sat down for a rest.
He was instantly walking and running and jumping and skipping and doing cartwheels and practicing his breakdancing!
This was amazing!
What’s the point?
This is a miracle.
A miracle that only God could do.
A miracle that Jesus had done on more than one occasion a couple of years earlier.
That meant this:
The disciples weren’t doing their work on their own.
God’s power had to be with them.
And if you’re skeptical, remember – this happened in the middle of the temple courts.
Surrounded by thousands of people.
And when people saw this formerly paralyzed man walking around – they recognized him as the paralyzed man who sat at the Gate called Beautiful!
And when they asked what happened and they heard what the Apostle’s did – it became absolutely, 100% certain of what happened.
God did a miracle.
God’s power was with the Apostles.
And that’s important to note.
II. Same Message.
I am working out a CrossFit Gym. And sometimes at the CrossFit Gym – people that I work out with tend to give me advice. There was a guy a few months back who started critiquing my clean and jerk method. He told me to get my shoulders up, to hold it close to my body and shift my weight onto my heels.
And as he said it, I started thinking, “Whatever dude. You’re just some guy like me trying to do this. What do you know? Why should I listen to you?”
Then we started the workout. And he was able to do about 150 more pounds than me.
Turns out – he knew what he was talking about.
This miracle was proof that the Apostles knew what they were talking about.
They would not have been able to do that miracle without God’s authority.
Which means if they have God’s authority to do miracles…
They have God’s authority to teach his message.
And we better pay close attention.
Look at what at that message:
Fellow Israelites, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? (We didn’t. We couldn’t. This was obviously God!) The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers (the God in the Old Testament, the God who does miracles, the ONLY God) has glorified his servant Jesus. You handed him over to be killed and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go. You disowned the Holy and Righteous One. You killed the author of Life…
Do you see what he says about Jesus?
God glorified Him!
He was the Messiah.
He was the Savior.
He was God himself.
You handed him over to be killed.
You disowned him.
You killed Him.
You killed the Author of Life.
You killed God.
But what could the crowd say?
Peter had just healed that paralyzed man that no one had been able to heal for over 40 years.
His message had to be sponsored by God – as divine truth.
Now…Peter’s words were directed at the crowd that had gathered.
However – they have been recorded.
We are reading them right now.
And in other parts of Scripture the Bible says:
“Jesus was pierced for our transgressions.” (Isaiah 53:5)
“He was delivered to death for our sins.” (Romans 4:25)
“Jesus bore our sins in his body on the cross.” (1 Peter 2:24)
In other words:
You handed Jesus over to be killed.
You disowned Jesus.
You killed Him.
You killed the Author of Life.
You killed God.
Again – we did not do this actively.
We didn’t swing the hammer.
We weren’t even alive back then.
But that doesn’t make it less true. Your sins are the reason that Jesus died. In fact, the miracle that occurred right before Peter did this, proved that this message is true.
And if you’re offended by that message, realize that it doesn’t’ make it any less true. You might not want to think of your sins as killing Jesus, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t.
Listen to Peter’s, God powered, approved message with a humble heart.
Your sins killed Jesus.
And then, listen with a heart ready for some good news.
Your sins killed Jesus, But God raised Jesus from the dead. (v.15)
That means sin didn’t kill him.
Jesus killed sin.
Sin didn’t overpower Jesus.
Jesus overpowered sin.
Your sin did not defeat Jesus.
Jesus defeated your sin.
And again. The disciples knew what they were talking about. Peter says, We are witnesses of this! (v.15)
And they were! Literal witnesses. They had seen Jesus alive after his death.
They touched his hands.
They touched his feet.
The saw the nails marks.
They could confirm that Jesus was alive.
And the miracle of the lame man walking could confirm that they were not lying.
Not to the crowds.
Not to you.
Jesus rose from the dead. It’s truth.
Turn to God.
Your sins will be wiped out. (v.19)
Think about that. Your sins will be…
Put your faith in Jesus and you’ll be witness to a miracle even greater than what happened with the Paralyzed Beggar at the Gate called Beautiful.
You’ll have God’s grace.
You’ve have sins forgiven.
You will be free of guilt.
You will have the promise of heaven.
And if you do believe.
Let me switch the language.
You have God’s grace.
Your sins are forgiven.
You are free of guilt.
You have the promise of heaven.
III. What Now?
1. Think Bigger
Because too often we think like the paralyzed man. When he saw the disciples, he thought – maybe they can help. Maybe they can give me a dollar – a few coins – a sandwich – or a Starbucks gift card. But what the disciples offered was so much greater! The ability to walk.
But even then, that wasn’t it. If we think that’s the extent of God’s grace, we’re wrong. Because he offered the man something greater than the ability to walk on earth – he offered him the ability to walk in heaven.
So often we think too small.
So often we think too ‘now.”
If only God could take this cold away.
If only God could get me that 1% raise.
If only God could help me find the right guy.
If only God could keep the sun out this morning.
But God has in mind to give you something much bigger.
Something that lasts much longer.
Something that is beyond your wildest imagination.
Absolute God authorized forgiveness of all your sins. Think BIG, Think ETERNAL. Think DIVINE in your prayers and have confidence God will give it.
2. Praise God!
We’re here today at the picnic and we are celebrating.
Celebrating good weather.
Celebrating a year of learning at Precious Lambs.
Celebrating fellowship at church.
Celebrating new members.
Celebrating good food.
And that’s great.
But– those aren’t the main reason for our celebration.
Our main reason for celebrating is the incredible news of our sins being wiped away.
Celebrate God’s goodness.