Acts 3: 1-10
One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer – at three in the afternoon. Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, ‘Look at us!’ So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.
Then Peter said, ‘Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.’ Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. When all the people saw him walking and praising God, they recognised him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.
SUMMARY OF SUNDAY’S MESSAGE
One ordinary, insignificant day, as Peter and John are going to the temple, their routine is interrupted, there is a divine diversion. If we will listen to the Spirit’s promptings, miracles can happen in the mundane moments of our lives.
At the gate they encounter a man who is being carried to his usual spot outside the temple where he sits every day begging. We’re also told that this man been lame or crippled from birth. He’s never walked for his entire life of over 40 years. It’s important to note that this miracle happens outside the church. That is still where God sometimes will do his greatest work. If we go out, He will show up.
This lame man lives out this monotonous existence day after day. He lives in survival mode, trying to make the best of a bad situation. His whole routine is built around his disability. He can’t even imagine that his life could ever look different.
Perhaps you’re paralysed by fear, addiction, insecurity, stress, anxiety. Maybe you’re stuck in a place of pain from your past, anger, hurt, loss, grief. Maybe your life revolves around your depression, lack of money, drowning in debt, maybe a physical illness. It could be anything, but you’re stuck in this rut of survival mode where every day is just the same, trying to get by, trying to scrape through. What was once nasty has become normal.
Notice the place he sits each day is called the “Beautiful Gate”. One preacher said this: ‘He was living an ugly life in a beautiful place.’ His surroundings didn’t match his circumstances. Similarly, you seem to have a good life to everyone around you, but you’re stuck, you’re just about surviving and you’re not sure it’s ever going to be any different.
As Peter and John are walking past, they’re just two more people who he assumes will probably ignore him like everyone else. He asks them if they can spare any change. They stop, give him their full attention, and Peter says: “Look at us”.
As well as trying to get his attention I think Peter is trying to get him to lift his head which is probably bowed low with shame and low self-esteem. Psalm 3:3 says:
“..you are a shield around me, O LORD; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head.”
God would say the same to some of us who are weighed down by shame, guilt, sadness or pain from your past: “Lift your eyes, lift up your head, I love you, you’re so precious to me, I see you, even though you feel no one notices you. Lift your eyes, expect more, because something is about to change.”
The man looks up, expecting to get a few coins from them. His expectations were low.
Peter starts: “Silver or gold I do not have….” That’s where most of us would leave this statement because we are much more aware of what we don’t have than what we do have. We find it more natural to focus on our lack and where we feel deficient than on the resources we do have.
However Peter keeps going: “I might not have money but I know what I do have and I think God just might be able to take it and use it.”
Instead of waiting for what you don’t have, why not start working with what you have? When we give it to God, He takes a little bit and turns it into a lot.
Peter was a very ordinary man. He had no education, religious qualifications or worldly power. But he knew who he was, whose he was, and he knew what he carried. He knew that he was a connector of the current of the power of Christ. So he says: “I can’t give you what you want but I can give you what you most need.” The man wanted some spare change but God wanted to give him a complete life change.
Peter takes him by the right hand he helps him up. It was God’s power but it came through Peter’s hand.
Once the man is on his feet, he can’t help himself. He goes into the temple and starts dancing, causing quite a stir. Everyone recognises him as the guy who used to sit begging. He looks the same, but something has clearly changed.
When you encounter Jesus, you might still look the same to all your old friends, but inside you know something radical and supernatural has changed, you’re different.
However, not everyone is as happy is the dancing man who was healed. Religious people don’t like change as much as God does and so Peter and John are arrested and brought before the exact same people same people who not long before this had sentenced Jesus to death by crucifixion.
There was a very strong chance that they were going to meet the same fate as their leader so one would think they’d tone it down a bit, maybe water down the message. Hardly.
Look at what Peter says in Acts 4: 10 and 12:
“It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed...Salvation is found in no-one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”
He boldly declares that Jesus Christ is the only way to God.
There is still power in the name of Jesus. Salvation, healing and freedom are found in no one else.
Beach Baptisms: Sunday 27th August, 9.30am & 11.30am @ CCV
Gather with us at 9:30 & 11:30 am to hear stories and celebrate with those taking the plunge this Summer. The Baptisms themselves take place on Portstewart Strand at 1.30pm, followed by a beach barbecue!
If you have recently become a Christian or have never had a chance to get baptised then we would love to encourage you to do so.
You can sign up online at: http://causewaycoastvineyard.com/baptisms
Registration for Baptism will remain open until Friday 18th August.
These Sundays are some of our favourite times together and this will be no exception!