It is good to get to the heart of a matter. For us today, we recognize the heart of the matter is Jesus. For when we find Jesus, we find what the sweetest thing in life is. When we have the sweetest thing in life, we turn from our ways. As we turn from our ways, we discover that God has refreshment for us.
As a teen, I was given the chance to strip sorghum. It is from sorghum that we get a type of molasses. The process of stripping the corn-like stalk is to slide a gloved hand down the stalk. After the sorghum is stripped, the stalks are cut down. The stalks are sent through a press, to get the juice extracted. After the sorghum juice is collected, it is stirred over heat, boiling away the water. When the scum is scraped off the top of the pot, all is left is the sweet goodness of a nice, sticky syrup – sorghum molasses. This molasses is used to make many concoctions. The sweet refreshment is good to enjoy.
How do we find this refreshment that God has for us? It all starts while we are worshipping God with others. For that is where Peter and John were heading when they came across the man who was born lame. For this is where the man born lame had wanted to be.
A. What happens on our way to worship? (3:1-10)
1. Peter and John were going to afternoon prayer
2. The man born lame couldn’t get into the Temple
3. So, he asked for alms, even from Peter & John
4. They told him they had no silver or gold, but what they have, they gave him
5. “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, stand up and walk.”
6. And did he ever! He walked and leaped with them into the Temple!
7. After Peter and John had been in and out of the Temple worshipping God, Peter and John were doing deeds of power. We see and know of people who have stopped coming to worship because they say that there is no use to worship. People say that church is not relevant in this world anymore. But I say to you that worship is useful and that church is relevant. For when we worship God, we can know more about Jesus Christ of Nazareth. When we continually go to church, we can find people along the way who need to hear about Jesus Christ of Nazareth. On our way to worship God, we can help people to stand up and walk. For once we encounter God, we find what we need for this life. How then do we respond to an encounter with God?
B. We turn from your wicked ways (3:11-26)
1. Peter speaks to the men in the Temple
2. It is not by their ability that the man is now walking
3. God has glorified Jesus by raising him from the dead
4. It is by faith in the name of Jesus that the man born lame now has perfect health
5. You were ignorant before, but now you are not
6. How do we respond?
a. Repent – sins are then wiped out, you are refreshed
b. God will send not Jesus until all things are restored
c. We must listen to the one who is a prophet like Moses
d. It is this descendant of Abraham who blesses all families
e. We find this blessing when we turn from our wicked ways
7. God is still working in this world. After Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection, God’s Spirit enabled the apostles to be the living church, the body of Christ in this world. Peter and John demonstrated this by speaking in Jesus’ name and having the man born lame to walk. This same Holy Spirit enables us to be the living church. For when our faith in Jesus’ name is known, then we can also speak and have the lame to walk! For as God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, so is Jesus Christ. God’ power is still at work in this world. Don’t we believe in Jesus Christ? Can we be so ignorant of our own faith?
It all starts by our paying attention to God. Worshipping God in church with other disciples of Jesus allows us to help the lame people whom we drive by, to walk. Maybe church is not relevant or useful, especially when we are not paying attention to God.
The same call from Peter is relevant for today. Repent. Turn from your wicked ways. Then you will know your sins are wiped out. Then you will know how God can refresh you. And we all start living as the living church, waiting for God to restore all things for Jesus Christ.
Here is a caution for us. We won’t find any blessing from God for this life or the next unless we obey Jesus Christ. The world around us won’t know the blessings from God, until we turn to and obey Jesus Christ. It is not good for us to be ignorant of our faith. Unless we turn to Jesus and away from our wicked ways, the lame people on the way to the church won’t know God’s blessings either.