Drop files to upload.
Faithlife Corporation

Five Things that a Spirit filled church does

Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
· 1 view
Notes & Transcripts

Five Things that a Spirit-Filled Church Does

  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

(400 ratings)

rate this sermon

Acts 3:1-3:10 (NIV, NIRV, TNIV, KJV)

Sermon Series: Study of the Book of Acts

Keywords: (Suggest Keywords)
none

change font size:

A Study of the Book of Acts
Sermon # 6

“Five Things that the Spirit-Filled Church Does!”
Acts 3:1-10

Luke has described the early church by saying, “Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles.” (Acts 2:43). In Acts 2 Luke does not give us any indication what those miraculous signs and wonders may have been. But now, when we come to Acts 3, we have an account of at least one of them, the story of the lame man who was healed at the Beautiful Gate of the Temple.
Evidently Dr. Luke has selected this one from a number of miracles, which occurred then, in order that he might teach us something significant. So we need to give it careful attention. Why did Luke choose to chronicle this one particular miracle? I believe that the answer is two-fold; (1) because it was the occasion for a second sermon by Peter, which Luke wants us to hear, and (2) because the miracle and sermon were the cause of the first persecution of the church. This miracle laid the groundwork for the increasing tension between the infant church and the Jewish religious establishment in the coming weeks. This tension will reach full flower with the arrest of Peter and John and the death of Stephen, the first Christian to give his life for his faith.
On the Day of Pentecost, power from heaven came down. The power of God turned despairing doubters into dynamic disciples. They had received the promise of the Holy Spirit and were clothed with power from on high. But power for what? Did they receive the power of God simply so they could feel good about themselves? Did they receive the power of God to keep it to themselves? No! They received the power of God to energize them to be witnesses to Jesus Christ in a secular society. The power of the Holy Spirit was for people; to enable the disciples to reach out and touch human need and share the liberating truth of the Gospel of Christ. It’s all about personal caring for people. We must never be content to sing "Standing On The Promises" while all we’re doing is sitting on the premises. Pentecost is to enable us to reach out and touch others.
In our text today, we see the power of God healing a human life. We see people who have been touched by the power of God touching others. It is the story of the lame man who begged by the gate called Beautiful. In this passage we see a real example of the power of God to heal. This man was healed physically, but the message of this text is not limited to physical healing in any way. This passage deals with human healing on every level. Here, we will find valuable lessons which I pray will motivate us to find opportunities to minister to hurting people.
“Now Peter and John went up together to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. (2) And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms from those who entered the temple; (3) who, seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, asked for alms. (4) And fixing his eyes on him, with John, Peter said, “Look at us.” (5) So he gave them his attention, expecting to receive something from them. (6) Then Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” (7) And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. (8) So he, leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them—walking, leaping, and praising God.” Acts 3:1-8 (NKJV)

What we see before us is a human tragedy. The Scripture tells us that this man was crippled. But more than that, this man was crippled from birth. Think about the tragedy of that. He had never been able to stand and walk, to run and play like the other boys. I’m sure many opportunities were denied him because of his affliction. Now, he’s a grown man and every day friends must carry him to the Temple so he may beg for a living. We can only speculate concerning what effect this must have had on his heart. He could easily have been bitter. There had never been a day in his life when he had not been a burden to somebody. He could not walk; he could not work. All he could do was beg, sit there, and hope that people would have pity on him.
The healing of this man is both literal and symbolic. It is literal in that for over forty years (4:22) this man had suffered from an ailment which made him lame. He was born that way and he had never known the freedom of going anywhere with having to ask others to carry him there.
It is symbolic in that what we see in the life of this man is a picture of the tragedy of the human condition. This man symbolizes for us the reality of tragedy in life. As we look at him, we are reminded of the fact that everywhere we look there is human hurt, human suffering, and human tragedy. Sometimes it manifests itself through a physical affliction such as this man had, but more often it goes unseen to human eyes. For every one who is crippled physically, there are literally tens of thousands who are crippled emotionally. And there are hundreds of thousands who are crippled spiritually. The message of this man is that there are needs to be met in human lives everywhere. And those needs exist in lives that can seem outwardly wonderful.
This lame man sat and begged at the gate called "Beautiful." From historical accounts, we know that this gate was indeed an impressive sight. Much of it was made from Corinthian bronze. It was inlaid with ornately decorated gold. As the sun would shine upon it, its glistening brightness could be seen for miles. Yet, sitting under its magnificent beauty was a suffering human being.
How many of our co-workers or friends or neighbors appear outwardly to be doing OK, yet inwardly they are struggling? They are over-extended financially. They don’t know what to do with their children. Their marriages are falling apart. Their job is hanging by a thread. They’ve lost all self-esteem. They’re guilty and depressed and don’t know where to turn. Behind every door there is human need. Every person has a story to tell. We’ve all been hurt, we’ve all been used, we’ve all failed, and we all need healing. We need Jesus—and that’s the biggest need that anyone has. People need a heavenly touch from God.
What this man needed, indeed, what all people need is a heavenly touch from God. He needed the power of the Holy Spirit made available to him. But how was he to get it? Every day he came to the Temple. Every day he sat and begged. He wasn’t in the group at Pentecost. He didn’t know what was going on. He lived his life out of the main stream. He was oblivious to the good news of God. He couldn’t get to church, and I’m not sure he would have gone if he could. Why should he go? What was there for him?
Unfortunately, this is the attitude of many people today. They hurt, but they hurt in silence, not being willing to share their intimate hurts with anyone else. And the church is the last place they want to go. Many of them view the church as a judgmental society of self-righteous hypocrites anyway. But even if they have a good view of the church, there’s not much to motivate them to drag their tired bones out of bed on a Sunday morning in order to come alone to one of its services. This crippled man may have been like that. Who would bring him a heavenly touch? It is the emissaries of a spirit-filled church that must share the heavenly touch.

I. THE SPIRIT FILLED CHURCH IMPARTS
EXPECTANCY vv. 3-5
It was the ninth hour, or three o’clock in the afternoon, which was the usual hour for prayer for the Jews. But it has special significance to the Christians, because it was the very hour on which Jesus had died on the cross, the hour at which he had cried, “it is finished.” (John 19:30)
Peter stopped and said to him, “Look at us!” Accord-ing to verse 5 this man expected to receive something from Peter and John. He did not know what he was going to get, obviously thought it would be money, but his faith was quickened by Peter’s words. This is very necessary to receive anything from God. You must expect something from him.
“One of the reasons why there are people in our (FBC) congregation who have been coming here for years, but whose lives are hardly any different than when they first came, is that they have never given their attention to God. There are not many -- almost everybody has been changed as we have met together here with God -- but there are some. They have never expected to receive anything when they came. Unfortunately there are those, young and old alike, who turn off their minds when they get into a church service. They start thinking of all kinds of other things, start taking mental trips and playing mental games. …But unfortunately, the life-changing truth that goes out from the Scriptures misses them, passes right by, and they can sit here for years and never be changed.”

II. THE SPIRIT FILLED CHURCH IMPARTS
HEALING vv. 6-7
The minute that Peter had this man’s attention he did two things; First, he admitted his bankruptcy in material things. “Silver and Gold have I none.” It was not that they were opposed to giving to the poor, but they could not give what they did not possess. And then, he demonstrated his amazing adequacy in the spiritual realm. “In the name of Jesus of Nazareth, arise and walk.” Because the disciples were “partakers of the divine nature” (1 Peter 1:4) they could impart the power of Christ because they were full of Christ. He could only give what he had. And so it is with us. If we do not possess a living relationship with Jesus Christ, we will never be able to impart a heavenly touch to others. You can only impart what you have. It is important that we take care to develop our own spiritual life if we would impart spiritual life to others.
We must be careful not to let the things of this world get in the way. There is an oft-told story of Thomas Aquinas when he visited Pope Innocent II and found him counting a large sum of money. "Ah, Thomas," said the Pope, "the church can no longer say, ‘silver and gold have I none.’" That is true, Your Holiness," said Aquinas, "but then, neither can it now say, ‘Arise and walk.’" The apostles didn’t have silver and gold, but they had the power of God. What we need are not possessions, but power: Power to touch people’s lives with the presence of the living God; power to reach out to people and lift them up out of their tragic circumstances and give them hope and healing, friendship and fellowship. This was the ministry of the emissaries of the spirit-filled church and this is our ministry as well.
Dr. Luke is very careful to make sure that we get the total impact of what happened next. Verses 7 tell us, “And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.”


III. THE SPIRIT FILLED CHURCH IMPARTS
JOY v. 8
“So he, leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them—walking, leaping, and praising God.”
The man who had never walked in his life stood up with a leap and he didn’t quit leaping. Look at the metamorphosis of the man. There was a metamorphosis as a result of this miracle. The man was changed. Not only was he healed, but joy flooded his soul. The Scripture says, "Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God." Because someone cared enough to reach out to him in the name of Jesus, his life had been transformed.
What did this mean to him? It meant now that he could walk. It meant that he could work. It meant that he could live a full life. But it meant more than that—much more. It meant that somebody cared. It meant that God loved him. Now he could live in communion with God every day. He had been healed in more ways than one. How could he help but rejoice? And that is precisely what he did. He was walking and leaping and praising God. I’d say he was excited. And so should we be. It’s OK to be excited. Vance Havner said, "Some dear souls think them-selves dignified when, really, they are petrified. We have lost our leap." Well, we need to get it back.
“Erma Bombeck tells how she was sitting in church one Sunday when a small child turned around and began to smile at the people behind her. She was smiling, doing nothing else, not making a sound. When her mother noticed, she said in a stage whisper, ‘Stop that grinning – you’re in church’ gave her child a swat, and said, ‘That’s better!’ Erma concluded that some people come to church looking like their deceased rich aunt left everything to her pet hamster.”
In his book The Crisis in the University, Sir Walter Moberly tells professing Christians, “If one tenth of what you believe is true, you ought to be ten times as excited as you are.” It would not hurt if once in a while our hearts were ablaze with such joy and excitement over Christ.

IV. THE SPIRIT FILLED CHURCH IMPARTS
WONDER 3:9-10
“And all the people saw him walking and praising God. (10) Then they knew that it was he who sat begging alms at the Beautiful Gate of the temple; and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.” Acts 3: 9-10 (NKJV)
There was an immediate two-fold effect. The people were convinced that it was God at work, and that this miracle had been done in the name of Jesus. The people saw it and were convinced that God was at work and, and they were prepared to listen to the explanation. That explanation is Peter’s second sermon and it occupies the reminder of the chapter.

V. THE SPIRIT-FILLED CHURCH IMPARTS A
WITNESS.
As we have already noted what this man needed, indeed, what all people need is a heavenly touch from God. What this lame man needed was the power of Holy Spirit made available to him. But how was he to get it? He lived his life out of the main stream. He was oblivious to the good news of God. He couldn’t get to church, and I’m not sure he would have gone if he could. Why should he go? What was there for him?
Unfortunately, this is the attitude of many people today. They hurt, but they hurt in silence, not being willing to share their intimate hurts with anyone else. And the church is the last place they want to go. There’s not much to motivate them to drag their tired bones out of bed on a Sunday morning in order to come alone to one of its services. This crippled man may have been like that. Who would bring him a heavenly touch?
We have in this story a compelling motivation for witness and a remarkable pattern for witness. But how do you share the Gospel to people in an upwardly mobile, secular society, especially those who appear to be self-sufficient? Doesn’t it seem easier to share the Gospel with people who seem to be in desperate need—someone who has hit bottom, a wretched sinner who has nowhere to turn, who’s flat on his back? It seems easier to share with that kind of person than those who live in our neighborhood, who are upwardly mobile and affluent, who seem to have everything they need. The kind of people I’m speaking of all have nice houses, manicured lawns, at least two nice cars, fine clothes, children who are doing well in school, great jobs, and plenty of money. What more could they need?
The truth is, things are not always what they seem. The down-and-out and the up-and-out have at least two things in common: They are both human and they both have deep needs. Inside every one of those nice houses sitting on their manicured lawns are people who hurt, people who have unmet personal needs. Many of those people have their own story of human tragedy, which they could tell, and every one of them needs a touch from God.
You say you want to be a witness? Well, how do you witness for Christ? You do not witness by learning a certain set of facts about Christianity and going out to peddle these, as though you were selling encyclopedias, or were trying to get so many subscriptions to the Christian faith. Unfortunately, that is what many people think witnessing is. But it is not. True witnessing always follows this pattern:
1. First God works: God does something. God changes a life. God does something that only God can do, that man cannot do at all.
2. And then man explains what God did: The person to whom it happened says what happened to him. That is what witness is.
3. And, as a result of it, God works again: And another ground of witness, another explanation, is given. And that is the successive pattern of witness, all through the ages.
But, you see, witness does not begin with an explanation. Too often we have sent out people with the Four Spiritual Laws or some other device, and have said, "Now tell people what God is going to do." That is not witnessing. It may sometimes have an effect, but it is not the normal pattern. The normal pattern is to let God do something, and then explain it to people. First God does something to you, and then, as people see that, they ask you what happened. This is why Peter says, "Always be ready to give an answer to every man who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with gentleness and courtesy," {1 Pet 3:15 KJV}. That is what witnessing is.

Conclusion
Are you like this lame man? Perhaps you have been lying at the gate looking for help, and you don't expect any more than a friendly hand, or a little help along the line. But God has so much more to give you -- so much more -- if you will hear that amazing name, the name of Jesus -- all that God has, wrapped up in that one name and made available to you.

RELATED MEDIA
See the rest →
Get this media plus thousands more when you start a free trial.
Get started for FREE
RELATED SERMONS
See the rest →