More Than Money!

More Than Money!

Acts 3: 1-10

The third chapter of Acts begins abruptly without giving us any idea of the amount of time
intervening between the incident on the day of Pentecost and the subsequent events.
Suddenly, Luke brings before us Peter and John going to the temple at the hour of prayer.
We have no complete record of all the wonders and signs that were done through the apostles
in the opening period of the new church, but we have this story of the lame man
who was head at the Beautiful Gate of the temple.

Evidently, Luke selected this particular miracle to give us in order to teach us
something very significant.
This was more than a miracle; it was a sign (4: 22) in which a picture was given in the physical
of what could be done in the spiritual.
Just as a man was made whole physically (4: 9-12), so in Christ one could also be
made whole spiritually.

Peter and John was going up to the temple at 3 o'clock in the afternoon.
This was the usual time of prayer for the Jews, and I'm sure that these apostles remembered
that Christ died on the cross at 3 o'clock in the afternoon.
As they were going into the temple, a man lame from birth, now 40 years old (4: 22) was being
carried to the temple that he might beg for money.

The verbs in the Greek indicated that the man asked Peter and John for money
while he was still being carried.
The first words of Peter must been disappointing to him.
"Silver and gold have I none..."
Why did they think he was coming to the temple day after day if it was not to receive silver or goal?
What else could he use to buy bread?
Fine speeches could not satisfy a gnawing hunger or clothe a man against the evening chill.
And what could these men give that would be better than silver or gold?

But Simon Peter said, "Look on us!"
This could indicated that the man's eyes were wandering and that his words were
mechanically addressed to them.
Look on us!
Peter's command surely aroused a sense of expectation from this lame man.
This man expected to receive something -- in all probability, money.

When Peter had the lame man's attention, he did two things: Walk!
This man couldn't walk.
He had never walked!
He was lame from birth, and had been lame for 40 years.
He had never walked!
When you tell a lame man of 40, who had never put his foot to the ground to walk,
you might as well tell a warm to fly.

The name of Jesus as used here was not a magic formula that Peter used to produce a miracle.
Rather, Peter was saying, "This is the power on whom I am depending.
I'm not reckoning on silver and gold.
In fact, money is not your greatest need -- you need something more.
I have said: 'In the name of Jesus,' so that when you walk, you will know to Whom
you owe your gratitude

Undoubtedly, this beggar didn't have a material need -- for food and clothing and other things.
But that is not what Peter offered him.
Instead, he offered him the power and healing of Jesus.
Peter said: "In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk."

Then without warning, Simon Peter took the beggar by his hand and pulled him to his feet,
"and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong."
In that very moment, this man who had never been able to stand or walk felt a strange
strength in his legs and feet; they actually supported him instead of collapsing beneath him.

There is no "if" or "maybe;" there is no process or slow mending.
We all know that even when legs are sound that it is difficult for any human being to suddenly
walk, leap, and jump when he has never done so before.
Walking must first be learned.
But this lame man doesn't need to learn; he walks perfectly from the very first instant.
Strength came into "his feet and ankle bones;" then he leaped up; then stood;
then walked; then entered the temple.

The man's body bounded with new energy, his soul was flooded with divine joy and praise.
His limbs were agile and active.
He was expressing his indescribable emotions.
Who can even imagine this man's feelings?
Remember, it was money for which the man was begging, but it was a miracle of healing
which he received.
He was only asking for some money for the day, but he received his legs for life.

Many years ago, I served as a counselor in a camp for juvenile delinquents.
This was a Christian camp, and every counselor was a pastor.
The juveniles were there because they had been in trouble with the law.
Their ages ranged from 8 years old to 16 years old.
Not one of those boys were Christians.
Many of the boys had already acquired many bad habits such as smoking.

I was the counselor for a young boy named Charlie.
Charlie was nine years of age, and was already addicted to tobacco.
There was an ordinance that prohibited smoking, so the boys were not able to smoke.
This created a problem for them for their bodies cried out for the nicotine.
So, it was decided that they could smoke on one of the buses and with permission
from their counselor.

On Thursday night following a worship service, more than 25 of these young men
trusted Jesus as their Saviour.
All the way back to our dormitory, Charlie asked me if he could go and smoke.
I told Charlie that he could go and smoke, but first, I would like to talk to him about something.
He agreed, and I told him about Jesus.

Charlie accepted Jesus as his Saviour, and after we had prayed and thanked God
for his salvation, I told Charlie that he could go and smoke.
Charlie said, "Now that I have Jesus, I don't need to smoke."

Charlie asked for a smoke, but he got so much more than he asked for.
Charlie got life eternal through Jesus Christ.
He received a miracle of new birth.

This man lame from birth and lame for 40 years ask for money, but he received so much more.
He received a miracle.
It is no wonder that it had such an amazing affect upon the people:
"And all the people saw him walking and praising God and recognized him as the one
who sat for 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)
The people were immediately convinced beyond the shadow of doubt that God was at work.

There is a lame, crippled, sick society lying at our door, unable to be the kind of men and
women and young people that God wants them to be.
And as the healing hand of Jesus Christ is laid again and again in our hearts and our lives,
we are being made whole, as God intended us to be.

This is the great message which we need to declare today:
"In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk, and be what God wants you to be."
In his name and by His power, the lame are still made to walk, the blind still receive
their sight, the selfish turn their wealth to world need.
The immoral find purity, and the lost are saved!

This lame, crippled, sick, lost of our world must see God at work in us.
Weak and helpless and hopeless mankind is in need of the transforming, healing, life-changing power,
which comes to those who place their trust in Christ.

And, we as a church must stretch out our hand in loving ministry, to offer relief,
and to express our love and concern, but we must do so "in the name of Jesus Christ."
We must inspire faith in Him alone who can heal and save.

"Life had only begun
When I gave Him my heart.
'Twas the dawn of the day,
It was only the start.

God's law was satisfied
By His Son crucified.
I was saved, was reborn
In my heart.

In my heart there is peace
Which the world could not give;
There is joy, boundless joy,
In each day that I live.

I can be what I ought
In each deed, in each thought.
It's not I but it's Christ who lives.

But there's more, so much more
Than that first sweet day;
More, so much more
Every passing day.

For the life I now live
God is living through me
In each word, in each deed,
Each day."

Sermon by Dr. Harold L. White