When I was growing up in the late 70’s and thru out the 80’s there seemed to be an abundance of what we would now call televangelists
And while many of them were legit and did amazing work in the name of Jesus – many of the names that were swirling around at that time seemed a bit off – not much substance and a lot of show
And that is saying a lot from me because I like a show
But this was a show when a show wasn’t appropriate but what was needed was truth and authenticity and humility and transparency
A lot of them were doing healings – I remember one who I used to mimic as a kid – would shout “get the nicotine out” – and he would hit them on the head with the heel of his hand and people would fall to the ground – most of the time when I saw these things it made me feel sick
Fun fact: When I was a kid, I did a very good impression of one of the more dramatic televangelists.
As I watched them it felt to me that it was way more about them than it was about Jesus or even the people that they were healing – the spotlight was clearly focused on the personality on the screen not the savior in heaven – and then as time went on and we found out that a lot of them were frauds – stealing money from people – particularly vulnerable people – making false claims – doing really immoral things – and somehow in my young mind I associated them and their “healing” with lies and deceit – that it wasn’t real and it never could be – they were part of my credibility gap with the church and Christians and it made me doubt that healing/deliverance in the name of Jesus was real or could happen at all
I had a sense from that time on that those types of healing could only happen in the time of Jesus – but it wasn’t anything that could actually take place today
And if there were any Christians around me that said it could happen – it made me distrust them and in turn Jesus
And there are many in this room or at fishers or watching online that it went beyond just distrust – but there are people that actually experienced abuse at the hands of Christians that forced their “healing” touch upon them
But as we continue in our series today “how it started, how it’s going” we are going to see that healing in the name of Jesus was very really when the church started and it is still very real today
This whole series is focused in the book of Acts
Luke wrote Luke one of the earliest accounts of Jesus life – continued the story with the book of Acts –
Luke really followed the whole life of Jesus – in Luke it’s an account of Jesus ministry on earth and Acts is what Jesus continued to do after his resurrection
The book of Acts begins with the disciples hanging out with Jesus and still learning about his upside-down kingdom
Then He tells them to stay in Jerusalem until they receive a new kind of power
And once they receive that power they will begin in Jerusalem – and then into Judea and Samaria and the ends of the earth as Jesus instructs them in Acts Ch. 1
Then they see Jesus enthroned as King
And then they wait
The fire comes and makes us little mobile temples where God now dwells – mini Jesus’
The temple of Jesus begins with people - all depending on each other
Nothing can stop Jesus’ kingdom
Then and now – when I read the book of Acts I am always overwhelmed that we are still a part of all of this – all of what was happening with the coming of the HS and what transpires after – the healings, riots, thousands coming to faith, Paul’s conversion – we are a part of that history – we are called to continue that history
And where we pick up the story today in Acts chapter 3 – Peter and John are just coming off of the Pentecost – and they must be reeling at this point – if they weren’t reeling from the fire – then they probably were shocked at Peter and his sermon that he preached (I think he was shocked) and then how people were being saved and joining their fellowship
What they’ve discovered at this point as Barry pointed out last week – and what applies to us today
The spirit is real
The spirit is powerful.
Thru the spirit we can heal and restore this broken world – even as we are restored and healed in the process
Be prepared for the movement of the spirit as we continue to move our transforming selves into a broken world to bring restoration and healing and as God continues to bring that brokenness to us
And now we are looking at what happens starting in Acts chapter 3 verse 1 and we’re going all the way thru to almost the end of chapter 4
And there are really 4 parts to this story
Starting with Healing
3 Peter and John went to the Temple one afternoon to take part in the three o’clock prayer service. 2 As they approached the Temple, a man lame from birth was being carried in. Each day he was put beside the Temple gate, the one called the Beautiful Gate, so he could beg from the people going into the Temple. 3 When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for some money.
4 Peter and John looked at him intently, and Peter said, “Look at us!” 5 The lame man looked at them eagerly, expecting some money. 6 But Peter said, “I don’t have any silver or gold for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene,[a] get up and[b] walk!”
7 Then Peter took the lame man by the right hand and helped him up. And as he did, the man’s feet and ankles were instantly healed and strengthened. 8 He jumped up, stood on his feet, and began to walk! Then, walking, leaping, and praising God, he went into the Temple with them.
9 All the people saw him walking and heard him praising God. 10 When they realized he was the lame beggar they had seen so often at the Beautiful Gate; they were absolutely astounded! 11 They all rushed out in amazement to Solomon’s Colonnade, where the man was holding tightly to Peter and John.
We were told chapter 2 of Acts that we many signs and wonders were done thru the disciples and right here is an example of this
This lame man just wanted to be supported in his condition – silver and gold to survive – but what he truly needed and what he got thru the HS in Peter was a complete transformation – as always God had something better in mind
Peter looked intently in his eyes
And said I don’t have any money, but I do have the authority in the name of Jesus to heal you
Silver and gold don’t matter to Jesus – but His people using their gifts in the Spirit to bring healing – that matters a lot.
Peter knew he could do this – he’d been trained by Jesus
9 One day Jesus called together his twelve disciples[a] and gave them power and authority to cast out all demons and to heal all diseases. 2 Then he sent them out to tell everyone about the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick. Luke 9:1-2
They wanted to transform his life by the power of the risen Jesus Christ. Just like Jesus had taught them
“It is not the Church’s business in this world to simply make the present condition more bearable; the task of the Church is to release here on earth the redemptive work of God in Christ.” (LaSor)
Peter and John didn’t want the man’s life to just be more bearable – they wanted it to be transformed
Peter gave this man power in the name of Jesus but only because Peter already had that power in his own life
Remember from last week’s message:
Thru the spirit we can heal and restore this broken world – even as we are restored and healed in the process.
And then Peter being filled at the moment with the gift of faith – took the man’s hand and lifted him to his feet
This wasn’t something Peter did on a whim or as a promotional event; he did it under the specific prompting of the Holy Spirit. God gave Peter the supernatural ability to trust Him for something completely out of the ordinary.
Then the man did 3 things:
1. He attached himself to the apostles (entered the temple with them).
2. He immediately started to use what God had given him (walking, leaping).
3. He began to praise and worship God (praising God).
Ok so that just happened – I’m sure Peter and John themselves are stunned at what the HS just did thru them and now there is a crowd – so Peter takes the opportunity
The second part of the story – Preaching
12 Peter saw his opportunity and addressed the crowd. “People of Israel,” he said, “what is so surprising about this? And why stare at us as though we had made this man walk by our own power or godliness? 13 For it is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—the God of all our ancestors—who has brought glory to his servant Jesus by doing this.
God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: By opening with this reference to God, Peter made it clear that he spoke to them about the God of Israel, the God represented in the Hebrew Scriptures.
This is the same Jesus whom you handed over and rejected before Pilate, despite Pilate’s decision to release him. 14 You rejected this holy, righteous one and instead demanded the release of a murderer. 15 You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. And we are witnesses of this fact!
16 “Through faith in the name of Jesus, this man was healed—and you know how crippled he was before. Faith in Jesus’ name has healed him before your very eyes.
17 “Friends,[c] I realize that what you and your leaders did to Jesus was done in ignorance. 18 But God was fulfilling what all the prophets had foretold about the Messiah—that he must suffer these things. 19 Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away. 20 Then times of refreshment will come from the presence of the Lord, and he will again send you Jesus, your appointed Messiah. 21 For he must remain in heaven until the time for the final restoration of all things, as God promised long ago through his holy prophets. 22 Moses said, ‘The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from among your own people. Listen carefully to everything he tells you.’[d] 23 Then Moses said, ‘Anyone who will not listen to that Prophet will be completely cut off from God’s people.’[e]
The Jews of Peter's day were aware of this prophecy of Moses (recorded in Deuteronomy 18:15, 18-19), but some thought that the Prophet would be someone different than the Messiah; Peter makes it clear that they are one and the same.
24 “Starting with Samuel, every prophet spoke about what is happening today. 25 You are the children of those prophets, and you are included in the covenant God promised to your ancestors. For God said to Abraham, ‘Through your descendants[f] all the families on earth will be blessed.’ 26 When God raised up his servant, Jesus, he sent him first to you people of Israel, to bless you by turning each of you back from your sinful ways.”
Just as the lame man was hindered by expecting something from God, but expecting the wrong thing, so it was with the Jewish people at this time. They were expecting the Messiah, but not the right kind of Messiah. They were looking for a political Messiah, not one to turn every one of you from your iniquities
This could have been testimony by the healed man but Peter sees the gathering crowd and knows this is an opportunity to share the good news/the gospel with them – the man doesn’t know enough to share that yet so Peter seizes the opportunity – the healing is a way to lead people to salvation in Jesus – the healing in itself is not the answer – Jesus is the answer
And unlike some of the healers I used to see on TV that gave the impression that healing happens because they are so spiritual, so close to God, or so godly. Peter knew that it was all of Jesus and nothing was of him. The Holy Spirit – this sermon is all about Jesus
“Through faith in the name of Jesus, this man was healed…”
When God’s people really do good in this world, they do it through faith in His name. The temptation is always to do things trusting in something or someone else.
· To trust in good intentions.
· To trust in talents and gifts.
· To trust in material resources.
· To trust in reputation and prior success.
· To trust in hard work or smart work.
Instead, we must always trust in and do good through faith in His name.
reminds them of what they did to Jesus – calls them to repentance
the healing had a greater purpose – to point the healed and everyone around him toward Jesus
well this was not going to go over well –
Part 3 – Persecution
So starting in Acts Ch. 4 – we see that the religious leaders arrest Peter and John – of course – they thought they did their job – they got rid of Jesus but they are seeing that what Jesus started is continuing thru His followers – and although there was a lot of opposition to Christianity from a lot of different groups it was continuing to spread and grow – the leaders were scared of this – the kingdom could not be stopped
They demand to know in whose name and thru whose power have peter and john done this healing
And Peter says – verse 8
“Rulers and elders of our people, 9 are we being questioned today because we’ve done a good deed for a crippled man? Do you want to know how he was healed? 10 Let me clearly state to all of you and to all the people of Israel that he was healed by the powerful name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene,[g] the man you crucified but whom God raised from the dead. 11 For Jesus is the one referred to in the Scriptures, where it says,
‘The stone that you builders rejected
has now become the cornerstone.’[h]
12 There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.”
Jesus had told his followers that the Spirit would give them the words to say when they needed them and 2 times in this story – Peter – the most unlikely public speaker had the words to say
He referred to Psalm 118:22 when describing Jesus as the cornerstone, or capstone that they, the builders of the nation of Israel, had rejected. Jesus referred to Himself using the same quotation, recorded in Luke 20:17.
Again, the followers of Jesus doing and saying what they had learned from their teacher – from Jesus – and Luke records all of it
So, the members of the council are amazed by the boldness of Peter and John
They couldn’t deny the healing – what could they do
They ask them to leave so they can confer – verse 15
…conferred among themselves.
Luke probably found out what the Sanhedrin discussed among themselves because a member of that Sanhedrin later became a Christian: Saul of Tarsus. Acts 26:10 gives us reason to believe Paul (Saul) was a member of the Sanhedrin to cast his vote against the early Christians.
If this is true, we can say that Peter and John had no idea they were preaching to a future apostle and the greatest missionary the church would ever see. It is an example of the truth that we have no idea how greatly God can use us.
After conferring they ordered the men to never speak or teach in the name of Jesus again.
And Peter and John said in verse 19
“Do you think God wants us to obey you rather than him? 20 We cannot stop telling about everything we have seen and heard.”
The leaders tried to threaten more but ended up letting them go – people had seen the miracle – verse 21
For everyone was praising God 22 for this miraculous sign—the healing of a man who had been lame for more than forty years.
This whole situation started out looking pretty bad. Peter and John were on trial before the same court that sent Jesus to Pilate for crucifixion. It was meant for great evil, but when it was all over, see what God did:
· 2,000 more people came to believe on Jesus.
· Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit again.
· Peter got to preach Jesus to the leaders of the Jews.
· Hostile examiners confirmed a miraculous healing.
· The enemies of Jesus were confused.
· Peter and John were bolder for Jesus than ever before.
· God was glorified.
Which leads us to part 4
In chapter 4 verse 23 – Peter and John return to the other believers and tell them what happened with the leading priests and elders – and immediately the whole group of believers lifted their voices together in prayer – quoting God’s words thru David long ago from Psalm 2:
‘Why were the nations so angry?
Why did they waste their time with futile plans?
26 The kings of the earth prepared for battle;
the rulers gathered together
against the LORD
and against his Messiah.
Realizing that these words were still holding true – they were still battling against the Lord and the Lord’s people and so they prayed for courage in the face of this persecution
And now, O Lord, hear their threats, and give us, your servants, great boldness in preaching your word. 30 Stretch out your hand with healing power; may miraculous signs and wonders be done through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
They wanted to continue moving into the brokenness – to continue what Jesus had taught them – to heal the world in His name
Isn’t that what we still want today?
And then verse 31
31 After this prayer, the meeting place shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Then they preached the word of God with boldness.
They are filled with the spirit again – this is the third time it says this about Peter – being immersed in the spirit is something we continually do – yes we receive the Holy Spirit when we surrender our lives just as they did at Pentecost but there is a continual renewing of the spirit – asking for his teaching or empowerment – his reminders when we need the spirit for specific things – in this case boldness, courage
Jesus said this to them in John 14:26
26 But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.”
The Holy Spirit was with them – the room shook, and they went and boldly preached the word.
This story has it all.
Luke must have been astonished as he saw all of this unfold – he had witnessed and recorded all of these same things happening with Jesus healings – he wrote them down in the gospel of Luke and now he was seeing these things happen again by his friends – those that loved Jesus and learned from him and now were filled by the HS that he promised and healing the world in His name. And that is all recorded by Luke in the book of Acts.
What does that mean for us? You and me?
We are part of this history. We are an extension of this story. We are a continuation of this narrative.
The spirit that was given to them is available to us. The power that the spirit gave them is our power as well.
If you’ve surrendered your life to Jesus – the Holy Spirit resides in you
And what Barry said about the Spirit last week
The spirit is real
The spirit is powerful;
Thru the spirit we can heal and restore this broken world – even as we are restored and healed in the process
And I’ll take it one step further this week
Through the Spirit we have power to bring healing in the name of Jesus.
We are part of this story – of peter and John and soon to be Paul and steven – we have the same fire power that they did
Are we going to access it and put it to use?
Are we going to restore this broken world thru that power?
I know for some of you this sounds crazy – but that’s what they thought about Peter and John – and you think it can’t happen, but I can tell you for certain it can
I saw it – of course – because I’m preaching on this – God was like let me open your eyes to this
Fun Fact: If you want to hear more details of this deliverance story. Just ask me. I will never forget it.
Don’t do it alone
People with different gifts - Body of Christ
Love with power
And the focus is always on Jesus – never about you
Fun Fact: If you want more information about how to go about healing and deliverance prayers. I have a wonderful guide sheet that one of our amazing prayer team members put together.
We have been called to heal and restore broken places but all of it points back to the main place of brokenness in this world – separation between God and man – all of the healing that occurs should always point back to Jesus – should always put the focus on him – should always glorify him – should always lead people to him
This song has been running thru my head all week
There is power in the name of Jesus
To break every chain
And then it goes on to say
There’s an army rising up
To break every chain
Can we be that army Grace church?
Breaking the chains of separation and pain and decay and injustice and hatred and isolation
In the name of Jesus
Filled with the Holy Spirit
With power and love
Through the Spirit we have power to bring healing in the name of Jesus
1 Peter 2:9
9 For you are a chosen people. You are royal priests,[a] a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.
Church – let’s show the world the goodness of God and usher them out of the darkness and into His glorious light!