In the Name of Grace
There are many people who live their lives hoping to see a miracle similar to the one we just read about. No doubt about it, many so-called men of God have made a living feasting on this inner desire of mankind. They want to see a miracle, and are willing to do almost anything to experience it. Miracles are eye catching, captivating events that are not bound to the laws of time and space. They are not easily explained or understood. The Book of Acts is a transitional book. It is a book that covers the Apostolic age at its height, and chronicles the end of that age. When we say the Apostolic age, we are talking about the time of the Apostles. There are no Apostles today, and some of the gifts that were bestowed upon the Apostles aren’t in operation today—at least in the same fashion. Does God still heal and perform miracles? Of course He does. God may, with or without the prayers and faith of His saints, heal our infirmities according to His perfect will. The Apostolic age has come to an end, but there is another age that was in effect and working in conjunction it—The Age of Grace. The age of grace lives on this morning, and it happens to be one of my favorite subjects to talk about. As I was reading this text this week, the Lord kept on giving me a phrase, that I believe He wants me to share with you. Rise up and walk in the name of Grace. I am not trying to diminish the name of our lord and Saviour Jesus Christ this morning, but I want you to see that His name is synonymous with grace. It would have been ridiculous for Peter to say get up in the name of the Apostles, or in the name of the church. They would have been meaningless, powerless phrases. But to say to get up in the name of Jesus, there is something to a phrase such as that. One of the interesting ways I learned about grace was through the use of a mnemonic.
The Scriptural basis for that saying is found in
Ephesians 2:4-9 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
I want to turn your attention to the scene at the Temple in the shadow of the gate called Beautiful, as I preach a message called, “In the Name of Grace.”
1. The need of the lame man. A certain lame man. He was just a member of the general population. He was not able to walk for the time he was born. There was not a doctor able to help him with his affliction. Everyday he was carried to the Beautiful gate of the Temple. The Beautiful gate was an enormous bronze gate that separated the court of the Gentiles from the Women’s Court. Josephus says that it took 20 men to open and shut this gate. The Temple was the center of religious activity in Israel, and here the man would beg for alms. There were three popular places for beggars to assemble. 1the houses of the rich.
Luke 16:19-21 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.
The main highways.
Mark 10:46 And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging.
And the Temple. The Temple was one of the best places to receive alms because many of the Jews came to the Temple to show their piety. The OT is full of admonitions to consider the poor, so the Law reminded them to give.
If I could just very quickly explain to you how this lame man is a picture of the person without Christ, possibly you will see that this man’s greatest need is grace
Certain—none of us are special in the spectrum of mankind. God is no respecter of persons. From the time you were born, you had a need that no man could fix. For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.
We are separated from God by our very nature.
Ephesians 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
Colossians 1:21-22 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:
2. The heart of Peter and John. In order for someone to want to see another get a blessing of grace, the heart must be right. Picture the scene again. Peter and John were heading up to the Temple, it was 3:00, the time of the evening sacrifice, and one of the times of prayer. They had a mind to do what they had been doing since they were young men. Focused, and a cry rings in their ears, “Alms, would you gentlemen be willing to help a poor lame man?” Watch the words; Peter and John fastened their eyes upon him. In anger? No. In curiosity? No. Because they heard the cry of the needy, they fastened their eyes upon this lame man. If we would learn to use our eyes, our hearts might be right to see others receive a blessing of grace.
Lamentations 3:51 Mine eye affecteth mine heart because of all the daughters of my city.
Ezekiel 3:15 Then I came to them of the captivity at Tel-abib, that dwelt by the river of Chebar, and I sat where they sat, and remained there astonished among them seven days.
When was the last time you sat where they sat? When was the last time you remembered what you were before grace? I love what Peter says, “Silver and gold have I none, but such as I have I give thee.” I am willing to give you the very best of my possessions. It’s not silver and gold, I am poor just like you—materially. But rise up and walk in the name of Jesus. Experience the grace of our God and Saviour.
Ephesians 3:7 Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.
Peter and John had the right heart because they realized what a great gift they had received and possessed.
2 Cor 4:5-7 For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
3. The amazing work of grace. The man immediately stood up. It wasn’t a gradual change. He walked with them into the Temple. All those years he had laid by the gate, now he was able to go in.
John 10:9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. Our need for grace does not end at salvation, we need it every day, and we need it all the day long. Our lives should be a story of grace upon grace.
At the age of 11, John Newton began to live the life of a sailor. He became a well known slave trader and would make the trip from England to Wes Africa often. One trip, in the midst of a fierce storm, Newton called on Christ for salvation. He experienced his first blessing of grace. He left the slave trade and answered God’s call into the ministry. He was influenced by the preaching of Wesley and Whitefield. He was one of the pioneers in introducing hymns into church services. When he could not find enough, he began to write his own (289). When he was 82 years old, in one of his last messages he was quoted as saying, “My memory is nearly gone, but I remember two things: That I am a great sinner and that Christ is a great Savior!” What amazing grace! You may recognize this hymn that he wrote.
Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found;
Was blind, but now I see.
’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed!
Through many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
’Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.
The Lord has promised good to me,
His Word my hope secures;
He will my Shield and Portion be,
As long as life endures.
Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess, within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.
The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forbear to shine;
But God, Who called me here below,
Will be forever mine.
When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’d first begun.
A life of grace upon grace. What will you do in the name of grace?