Acts 3: 4-8
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.
Isaiah 55: 11
… my word that goes out from my mouth:
it will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
Hebrews 6: 12
…imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.
Hebrews 10: 23
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
The lame man we read about in Acts 3 was over 40 years old. He had never walked and so had to depend on the kindness or charity of others for almost everything. His whole life revolved around his disability. His world was limited by his weakness. Day after day his routine was the same. He would be carried to the gate of the temple, placed onto the ground, and there he would sit begging until it was time to be carried home. He lived with a mindset of survival, of just scraping enough together to get through another day. As Peter and John are passing, in verse 5 we read:
“…the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.”
What did he expect to get? At best, a few coins. That was as high as his expectation could go. Painful experiences throughout his life had caused him to set the bar very low.
So when Peter said: “Silver or gold I do not have….”, his heart probably sank a bit. What he thought he needed most wasn’t going to be given to him.
However Peter continues, essentially saying this: “I can’t give you what you want but I can give you what you really need most. I’m might not give you silver or gold but I will give you something that money can’t buy.” He declares the man healed in Jesus’ name, grabs him by the hand and helps him to his feet.
The best the man had expected was some spare change but God wanted to give him a complete life change. He wanted a little money but God gave him complete mobility. Why? Because our God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly, far above all we can ask or imagine.
Many of us start out in life, in work, in marriage, even in our walk with God, with great expectations and excitement for the future. We believe for great things and dream big dreams. But along the way we often encounter pain, disappointment, setbacks, discouragement and obstacles. That’s just part of life. However, if we don’t guard our hearts, over time we may begin to slowly and subtly lower the bar of our expectations. Our dreams shrink to the size of our experience. Our plans become more ‘realistic’ and ‘sensible’. And very soon, like the man in this story, we find our lives become predictable and routine.
Today, I believe God wants to remind some of us of the dreams He has placed in our hearts, of the promises He has spoken over us, of the prophetic words from our past which we have yet to see fulfilled. He wants us to recall them, declare them and believe them. The promise still stands because He who has promised is faithful. Raise the bar of expectation once again.
William Carey who lived about 150 years ago was the first missionary to India sent out by the Baptist Missionary Society. His motto was this:
Expect great things from God.
Attempt great things for God.
When we lower the bar in our lives and expect little, it says more about what we think of God than how we view ourselves. Expect more from God, believe Him for the seemingly impossible.
One of my great heroes is the 19th Century preacher C.H. Spurgeon. He made these statements.
“I make bold to assert that, in the service of God, nothing is impossible, and nothing is improbable. Go in for great things, brethren, in the Name of God; risk everything on His promise, and according to your faith shall it be done unto you.”
“It is proven by all observation that success in the Lord's service is very generally in proportion to faith. It certainly is not in proportion to ability, nor does it always run parallel with a display of zeal; but it is invariably according to the measure of faith, for this is a law of the Kingdom without exception, "According to your faith be it unto you." It is essential, then, that we should have faith if we are to be useful, and that we should have great faith if we are to be greatly useful.”
Don’t aim too low or ask for too little. Our God is a more than God. Don’t settle for anything less.
We look forward to seeing you this Sunday at 9.30 am and 11.30 am. Also, our Sunday evening gatherings recommence this week at 7.00 pm when Mark Marx will lead us in a healing service.