Last week Brian spoke about the healing of the beggar at the Gate Beautiful; about how Peter looked at the beggar and saw the hand of God on him. Today we are going to look at the story once again as there are a few more gems for us in this passage.
Let us read Acts 3:11-26 and see what the Word of God has for us this morning.
11While the beggar held on to Peter and John, all the people were astonished and came running to them in the place called Solomon’s Colonnade. 12When Peter saw this, he said to them: “Men of Israel, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? 13The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go. 14You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. 15You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this. 16By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see.
17″Now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders. 18But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Christ would suffer. 19Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, 20and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus. 21He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets. 22For Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you. 23Anyone who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from among his people.’
24″Indeed, all the prophets from Samuel on, as many as have spoken, have foretold these days. 25And you are heirs of the prophets and of the covenant God made with your fathers. He said to Abraham, ‘Through your offspring all peoples on earth will be blessed.’ 26When God raised up his servant, he sent him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways.”
While there is a ton of good stuff in this passage, there are three things that I would like to dwell on today.
- It is not our godliness, but His righteousness
- Faith in Him and through Him
- God wants to us to be willing vessels
It is not our godliness, but His righteousness
Let us re-read verses 11 and 12:
While the beggar held on to Peter and John, all the people were astonished and came running to them in the place called Solomon’s Colonnade. When Peter saw this, he said to them: “Men of Israel, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk?
The people of time thought that Peter had healed this beggar through his own power; that somehow by being ‘holy’ or ‘godly’ he could tap into the supernatural and heal this guy. When Peter heard this, he immediately turned the attention to Jesus by saying that it was not by his or John’s godliness but by the power of Jesus that this man was healed.
Yet, sadly, there are a lot of people who continue to believe that it is by their godliness that folks are healed. Granted it they usually re-phrase the statement to the following:
“There is no way God can use me. I’m not righteousness enough. I know that I have done and what I haven’t done…I mean, I don’t pray hard enough or read my Bible enough…if folks here only knew what I was thinking last night, they would throw me out of the church right now. No. I’m sure God can’t use me. I’m not godly enough to be used by Him.”
Come on. Let’s be honest – without raising your hand – how many of us have said that to ourselves?
I was bound by the chains of guilt. For years I heard that to be a ‘good’ Christian I had to read my Bible and pray every day. I had to share my faith with everyone I met – shoot, I was constantly graded on how many people I a) brought to church or b) led in the ‘sinner’s prayer.” And if that was not enough, I was told that I better not listen to secular music (garage in; garage out), watch certain movies, drink alcoholic and a host of other stuff.
It hurt. Many a night I laid in bed with a sorrowful heart at my failure to be a ‘good’ Christian. I was sure that I had disappointed God; that He was up there looking down at me and shaking His head.
“You know Peter, that Josh Hopping – yeah, the red headed one. I’m up to here with him…yeah, I know I’m supposed to be longsuffering, but that kid that used up all my patience. Just last week he was telling me how much he loved me and wanted to follow me with his whole heart, soul, mind and strength. Now he is…well, I would tell you Peter, but I can’t. It is too terrible to mention. Yeah. It is that bad…sigh… and I had great hope for him… what was that? I’m supposed to forgive 70 times 77? Well, ok, I guess we can keep his name in the Book of Life this time.”
Let me tell you something: guilt is a tool of the enemy. It is not from God.
Did you get that? Guilt is not from God; it is from satan. He is the great accuser – reminding us of all the crap we have done even though we have been washed by the blood of the Lamb. There is NO sin too big or too gross or too old that God will not forgive. All we must do is follow the words of the fisherman:
19Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,
Now some of you may be saying:
“I agree with you Josh. God can and has forgiven me of my sins. But just because I’m forgiven doesn’t mean that He will use me like He did with Peter. That is reserved for those holy people who pray an hour each day and live godly lives. I’m just happy to be here today.”
NO! NO! NO!
It is not our godliness but His righteousness that counts. We are children of God – joint heirs with Jesus Christ. It is not about how ‘holy’ we are – or how much we pray or read our Bibles (both good things). It is about Him. It is about what He wants to do.
6 So he said to me, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty. 7 “What are you, O mighty mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become level ground. Then he will bring out the capstone to shouts of ‘God bless it! God bless it!’ ” 8 Then the word of the LORD came to me: 9 “The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this temple; his hands will also complete it. Then you will know that the LORD Almighty has sent me to you. 10 “Who despises the day of small things? Men will rejoice when they see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel.
If you have bowed your knees to Jesus, then you are eligible to be used by God. Period. God has no grandchildren; just children. And as children we have the right to enter into the Holy of Holies and climb into His lab.
This brings up to our second point: faith