Agents of Restoration

Acts  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  34:01
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Agents of Restoration: The Spirit-filled church imparts what it has

The Fourfold Gospel of Jesus

According to the Christian and Missionary Alliance, Jesus is:
Acts 4:12 ESV
12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
Jesus is the only one who can save rebel sinners. We have already hit on this as we watched Peter boldly proclaim who Jesus is during his Pentecost sermon.
1 Corinthians 1:30 ESV
30 And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption,
We have not yet discussed this in detail. As we live our daily lives, we make decisions… all which culminate in our looking more like the world or more like Christ. The Spirit that lives within us points us in the direction of righteousness and it is the work of both the Spirit and of Jesus who, bit by bit, conforms us into Jesus’ image. That is what it means to be sanctified.
Coming King
Acts 1:11 ESV
11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”
We saw this as well when the Angels at Jesus’ tomb encouraged the disciples to stop starring up into the sky, slack-jawed, because Jesus will return just as he ascended.
James 5:15 ESV
15 And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.
Jesus is our healer. He cares for our physical, temporal state, just as much as he does our spiritual, eternal state. Jesus is our healer. All authority in heaven and on earth are his. It is well within his power to restore.
This is the first healing miracle recorded in Acts and a representation of the signs and wonders performed by the Apostles mentioned in Acts 2:43.

Outline & Passage

Went out
Acts 3:1–11 ESV
1 Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. 2 And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate to ask alms of those entering the temple. 3 Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms. 4 And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” 5 And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. 6 But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” 7 And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. 8 And leaping up, he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. 9 And all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 and recognized him as the one who sat at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, asking for alms. And they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him. 11 While he clung to Peter and John, all the people, utterly astounded, ran together to them in the portico called Solomon’s.

I - Went out

Location. Remember, the story takes place in Jerusalem - the epicenter of activity. Acts 1:8 says the disciples were to go from Jerusalem, Judea & Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. So, we are on step one...The starting point of the Great Commission. In the previous chapter, we left off with a beautiful picture of how the first-ever christian
Non-exclusive. First off, notice how the early church didn’t stay exclusive, protecting the fellowship that they had built. That is the natural inclination of our protective hearts. When we built something special, we want to protect and preserve it. That cannot be the case for our christian fellowship. The door must always remain open to all who want to come and partake.
They were on mission. Rather, Peter and John where out to the temple. They were there at the hour of prayer, which was 3:00 pm… the time of the evening sacrifice (which was also the time where Jesus died to make all this possible. Coincidence? Not a chance). This was a custom and habit for the Jews and we see these two Apostles continuing in their daily routines. They are Jews in search of Jews to point them to the Messiah in the midst of their normal patterns and rhythms of life. They were on mission at the very beginning of the story.
Enter the lame beggar. While they were out , a man who was lame from birth was carried out. This man was over 40 years old according to Acts 4:22 and he was there daily. There was no mistaking who this was and that his handicap was real.
Gate called Beautiful. Likely the East Gate which divided the court of the Gentiles from the Court of Women, but we really don’t know for sure. According to the Historian Josephus, this gate was massive and covered with Corinthian brass. It would have been a main point of entry into the Temple, and because charity to the poor and lame was considered a virtuous and pious act by the Jews, it would have made this location a lucrative place to beg.

II - Looked

The lame man asked for alms. We all ask for what we think we need. This man had never walked. Ever. He had no craft that would enable him to earn a wage, so he had to live off the charity of others. This was the only reality he knew. Certainly money is a need and to say otherwise would be to turn a blind eye to the basic needs of this world, but that was not the only thing this man needed.
Peter and John saw him. They actually made eye contact. In our day and age, we would purposefully avoid eye contact, or go out of our way to avoid a beggar altogether. We wouldn’t want to be inconvenienced, especially if we were on our way to church to worship the Lord. How sad!
Thankfully, Peter and John didn’t react that way. Instead, they intentionally made eye contact to get the man’s attention and said, “look at us!” Their mission wasn’t to get into the building to sing “How Great Thou Art” and chat with their buddies before service. They were fishing and here was a big fish that couldn’t swim away! I bet this also took the man by surprise. Some likely did avoid eye contact. Others would have tossed some coin into his beggar’s cup, but rarely would someone have intentionally stolen his attention. So, in doing so, I’m sure Peter and John had his attention in full.
The nature of the miracle. This also speaks to the nature of this particular miracle. In Jesus’ earthly ministry, most came to him with the desire to be healed, or he would go to them and ask. But this is different. This man didn’t ask for, nor did he desire the restoration of his lame legs. It’s important for us to see two things at this point in the story.
The intentionality of Peter and John. Being filled with the Spirit, they were searching and had already made the decision to command healing over this man. Just like Jesus did, they were doing as they saw the Father directing, so despite any level of faith this man had, the miracle would take place. This shows the man-centered responsibility we all carry.
This was God’s doing. In His sovereign plan, this man was going to be healed. Period. God’s grace is unstoppable and isn’t dependent on man. It’s solely dependent on his Love and Decree, because it is through Him that we will and act according to His good pleasure. It is His power at work through his people and we must see both of these truths.
And once these two guys captured the lame man’s attention, he was expectant. Of course, for him, we was expecting a bigger payday than normal, but as he would soon find out, he would be exactly right in a way he would have never expected.

III - Spoke

I don’t have this, but I do have that. Peter then replies with the famous words: “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I DO HAVE, I give to you.” If you want to point of this sermon in a nutshell, this is it. As a believer, you can only give out what you have.

There is a story from the Renaissance period that I have come across in several different versions. It may or may not be true. In any case, the version I like best goes like this: St. Thomas Aquinas was in Rome. He was walking along the street with a cardinal. The cardinal noticed a beggar. Reaching in his pocket, he pulled out a silver coin and gave it to him. Then he turned to Aquinas, the great doctor of the church, and said, “Well, Thomas, fortunately we can no longer say, as Peter did, ‘Silver and gold have I none.’ ”

St. Thomas replied, “Yes, that is true. But neither can we say, ‘In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.’ ”

The Core Idea. Brothers and sisters, the consistent message of Acts up to this point is an exhortation to be filled with the Spirit. Not only will this help us to avoid gratifying the desires of the flesh (as Paul will go on to tell the Galatian believers), but it will also be the way in which we bless others. And this cannot be done outside of a saving relationship with Jesus, because if he is the author of creation, then it is in His name that any created thing is restored to its original design.
You simply cannot give what you do not have.
If you do not have a thriving relationship with Jesus, you can show it to others.
If you are not in step with the Spirit to know the gifts He has given you, you cannot exercise those gifts.
If you do not pursue sanctification, you cannot display the fruit He brings to bear in His people.
If you do not develop eyes to see the needs around you, you will never meet them.
If you are not filled with the Spirit’s power, you will never experience it nor can you bless others with it.
For the man, he asked for what he thought he needed (money), but instead, he was given what he really needed (restoration). I could just end my sermon here! How often do we chase after wants instead of needs? What want are you pursuing? Do you think it will really satisfy in the long-term? Why not rather pursue the only thing that will perpetually satisfy a hungry and thirsty soul… Jesus!
In speaking to the man, Peter demonstrated his willingness to give what he had... Restoration. Next, we will see that Peter goes beyond well-meaning intensions and acts on that intention.

IV - Took

Peter took him by the hand. Peter didn’t just talk a good game. He backed his words up with action. Notice the order of events, because this is important.
Peter showed significant confidence in God’s plan to restore this man’s legs.
First, Peter took the man by the hand and raised him up.
Second, the man’s feet and ankles were made strong.
Peter wasn’t about to just stand there and watch the beggar doubt. He heard from God that this man was to be healed, or he wouldn’t have said what he said. So, what did he do? He yanked the guy up from his mat and before the full load of his weight came to bear on his emaciated legs, they were made new. This is not the time to quabble about whether or not it was Peter’s faith or the Beggar’s faith that brought this about. We know Peter had full confidence and expectation that this would happen. Whether the beggar had faith enough to try and stand while Peter assisted, we just don’t know.
What matters is this:
Peter will go on to say in verse 16 that it was faith… IN JESUS that brought about the restoration. This is a confirmation of who Jesus is and His nature as Healer.
Peter tells them (and us) in verse 21 that there will come a time where all things will be restored. If not now, there will be a point in the future where all things will be set right, just like this man’s legs. It speaks to God’s ultimate care for his people.

V - Result

The beggar’s progression. When picked up, the beggar stood, walked, leapt, praised, and clung. First, he was carried in (unable to help himself). Then, he was challenged to trust in Jesus’ restorative power. As a result, he stood. He trusted enough to stand or at least allow Peter to pull him up. And when the miracle happened, what did he do? He walked into the Temple with them. He immediately wanted to draw closer to God and as he walked toward God (represented by the Temple), he not only walked, but leapt like a deer and praised God while doing it. This has a direct parallel to Isaiah 35:5-6, which says:
Isaiah 35:5–6 ESV
5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; 6 then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy. For waters break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert;
And, can we acknowledge that the fact that this man, who has never stood on his own two feet ever in his life, not only has the strength in his legs, but also has the balance and coordination to walk and jump? Amazing!
Lastly, when the beggar was finally overcome with the magnitude of the situation, he clung. He clung to Peter and John, knowing that this Jesus, the one who restored his physical body, was so much more. He had to know more. He would not allow Peter and John to continue on without him.
Use the beggar as a mirror. Can you see yourself in the actions of this lame beggar? Do you remember what it was like before accepting Jesus as Lord?… how dark it was… how sad, empty, and purposeless your life was? And do you remember the moment you stood up in faith to receive Jesus as Lord and Savior?… How regenerating, new, and alive you felt? You were a new creation that day, brought from death to life! Did you leap like he did? Was your mouth filled with praise like his was? Did you cling to Jesus with white-knuckled fists like he clung to Peter and John? Are you still?
Agents of Restoration. In closing, I cannot finish our time together without highlighting our responsibility as Believers in Jesus. While we relate to the Beggar, we must act like Peter. In 2 Corinthians, we are called Ministers of Reconciliation and Ambassadors of God himself. Here in Acts 3, we are unofficially named as Agents of Restoration, because what we have, we can give. Notice what the result of Peter’s actions were:
Healing (over, physical healing - a restoration of a broken creation. God is a God of restoration. Jesus is our Healer.)
Joy (the substance of God’s presence)
Wonder & Amazement (the only appropriate response to God’s work)
Praise (from the people and the beggar, the one thing we can give back to God in response)
That is what Spirit-filled followers of Jesus produce. Now, take an honest look at your actions. Are you?
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