Help Hurting People
Acts 9:32-35 (NIV): "As Peter traveled about the country, he went to visit the saints in Lydda.
There he found a man named Aeneas, a paralytic who had been bedridden for eight years.
'Aeneas,' Peter said to him, 'Jesus Christ heals you.
Get up and take care of your mat.'
Immediately Aeneas got up.
All those who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord."
Most of us know hurting people.
There are people hurting financially, physically, emotionally and spiritually.
It doesn't matter to what economic class you belong.
it does not matter what age group you are in.
it does not what color your skin is.
it does not matter whether you are male or female.
People do hurt!
In today's passage of Scripture, the apostle Peter has traveled to Lydda.
He has came across a man who was really hurting.
His name was "Aenas".
Aenas had been paralyzed for eight years.
This man was not just a little a paralyzed; he was really paralyzed.
The Scripture says he had been bed-ridden for eight years.
This meant that he was unable to get out of bed, or to walk, or to wash himself, or to dress himself,
or to feed himself, or to move himself, or to take care of his basic needs.
This man was really hurting.
And I would think that the people who are living in that house with him, those who were taking care of him,
were hurting just as much as he was, but in a different way.
So we have this passage of Scripture about a man who we know nothing about,
except for these few verses to teach the church how to help hurting people.
The church should be helping hurting people, and we cannot just wait for hurting people to come to us.
We must go to them.
"As Peter traveled about the country, he went to visit the saints in Lydda." (v. 32)
Peter's home church was in Jerusalem, but we don't see him just sitting there waiting for those
who are hurting to come to him.
Peter went to them.
He traveled the countryside.
He was 25 miles northwest of Jerusalem when he came across Aenas.
Do you think Aenas would have been healed if Peter just waited in Jerusalem for Aenas to come to him?
The obvious answer is -- "No"!
It is so easy for a church to want to think that we will just wait for them to come to us.
We will minister to them when they get here, but they first they must come to the church.
The person you drove past on the way to church today cutting his grass is not going to come to the church
-- until we first, go to him.
That person who doesn't know Christ at your workplace is not going to come to the church until you say,
"Let me stop by and pick you up."
That person who is hurting financially is not going to come to the church until the church
first shows him that we care.
Before something could happen in Aenas' life, something first had to happen in Peter's life:
"There he found a man named Aeneas, a paralytic who had been bed-ridden for eight years" (v. 33).
If Pentecost didn't happen in Peter's life, if he had not yielded to God, would he be traveling that road
and coming across this man who was paralysed?
I doubt it very seriously.
He most likely wouldn't have been traveling that road; he probably would be back at work on the sea
earning a living as a fisherman.
In a very real sense, we can say that in hindsight what happened to Aenas depended
certainly on what first happened to Peter.
Here is something to think about:
What may be happening in somebody's life in the future may be dependent on what is happening to me today.
If God is speaking to me today, and I am pushing Him away indicating that I don't want to hear this,
somebody may spend eternity in hell because I didn't allow God to change my heart -- to touch me;
and therefore, I did not touch someone else's life.
However, if I am listening, if I am hearing, and if I am obeying God so somebody's life in the future
may be changed by the decisions I make today.
The church, if it is to help hurting people, can do so by no other name than Jesus Christ.
There is only power in that name: "'Aeneas,' Peter said to him, 'Jesus Christ heals you.
Get up and take care of your mat.' Immediately Aeneas got up."
Peter didn't heal this man by the name of the church at Jerusalem.
Peter didn't heal this man by any denomination.
Peter didn't heal this man in his own name.
He called upon a specific name the name of Jesus for this man to be healed.
Jesus' work revolves around Jesus, and it is to bring attention to Jesus.
If what the church is doing is to bring attention to itself, then it is a church work -- not a work of Jesus.
If our association is doing a work to bring attention to our association -- it is a denomination work,
not a work of Jesus.
If what the pastor is doing in his ministry is to bring attention to himself and not to Jesus,
he is doing a self work, not a work of Jesus.
The power is in the name of Jesus.
Peter knew that: "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven
given to men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).
Jesus wants to use me right where I live to touch someone's life:
"'Aeneas," Peter said to him, "'Jesus Christ heals you. Get up and take care of your mat.
Immediately, Aeneas got up."
What Peter was telling Aeneas was to get up and make his bed.
Why make his bed?
Peter told him to make his bed because the people who lived in the house taking care of him
would see it, and would know that God had done something great, and also could change them.
It is always interesting to me that we want to be Christians somewhere else,
but Jesus is telling us to be the Christians we need to be right where we live.
The best Christian you need to be is in your home.
The best Christian you need to be is in your church, not just when you are visiting some other church.
The best Christian you need to be is on the job where you work every day.
If Jesus gets hold of you and changes your life, what Jesus did will be noticed by others:
"All those who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord." (Verse 35)
Once again, we are reminded that people are watching!
He didn't have to draw attention to himself; what Jesus did in his life was more than enough.
Not only did the people in Lydda hear about it, but people in the plains of Sharon also heard about it.
There are hurting people in the world, and the answer for them is Jesus;
and the church ought to be pointing them to Jesus.
This sermon was adapted from several sources by Dr. Harold L. White