When God Uses Faith
Text: Acts 3
Proposition: God uses faith to catch people’s attention so that they can hear His invitation to come and find future with Him.
Introduction: God uses faith. He uses faith like we use wheels. He moves heavy loads with it, He carries things that couldn’t be carried otherwise with it. Sometimes the faith he uses is just like a single wheel, like a unicycle, awkward, moving backwards and forwards, almost impossible and yet in an act of balance it works. When you see someone on a unicycle you almost have to look at it because it seems so precarious. God uses faith in Jesus Christ to catch people’s attention so that they can hear His invitation to come and find future with Him. Let me show you what I mean by that, have a look at Acts 3.
I. When God Uses Faith to Move the Unmoveable, Power Occurs.
Unmoveable things are like a casket at a funeral, a soul broken by addiction, a cancer that reroutes your life around it or, in the case before us, a beggar born with feet that can’t move. The man in this gospelaccount had been unable to walk his whole life, every single day he had needed someone to be his legs. That’s how he got to the Nicanor Gate that day, someone carried him there. It was a beautiful gate overlaid in solid bronze and it shone in the scorching Judean sun. That’s where the begging was best, in beautiful places. Likely things would have continued like that for the rest of his life if it hadn’t been for the way that God delights to make the unmoveable move. He moved Pharaoh, He moved the Red Sea, He moved the walls of Jericho and He moved the great Stone from the sealed tomb… He moves the unmovable. Perhaps Peter and John had walked past this beggar many times, maybe even given alms from time to time. They come to the gate and as they hear him cry out for money they stop.  They look intently at him, they call him to look only at them. Was the Holy Spirit prompting them to see this faith waiting to be called out? Had this beggar heard Jesus as He had passed this way before, had he heard from a distance about forgiveness for sin and the love of God for all people? Is that where faith began it’s work in his heart? Whatever it was that Peter and John saw in this beggar it is evident that faith was present in all three men. “Then Peter said, "Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk."
Have you ever wondered what it was that Peter had that he now gave to this beggar? I think the answer can only be the warrant of power that comes from the authority which resides in Jesus. You know what a warrant is when the police come to search a person’s house. It’s a document of authority that carries in it tremendous power which must be handled with respect and responsibility. The power comes from the court, the officer exercises the authority entrusted to him.. The warrant of Jesus name is what Peter gives to this man. This power and  authority Jesus had given to the disciples and it is what now pours strength into this man’s immovable feet.  Peter stretches out his hand and as soon as the beggar reaches to take hold of it in faith, his ankles and his feet receive strength. I like what Matthew Henry said about how this miracle occurs, “As the bread was multiplied in the breaking, and the water turned into wine in the pouring out, so strength was given to the cripple’s feet in his stirring them and using them.” It’s faith not only to believe but also faith to move. God uses faith to move the unmovable and when He does, power occurs.
II. When God Uses Faith to Move the Unmovable, Greater Things Happen.
The man born lame stands on new legs, maybe he even takes a few steps to try out these new legs. Then he begins to jump and leap about, the legs are not going away, they’re not weak or just barely there. There is strength and balance and there is great joy in the way he can use them. I think this is a picture for the way we are meant to trust in God’s blessing, in that confidence that borders on an abandon to joy. He can walk, for the first time in his life all that he had dreamed this moment to be now was. So he hangs onto Peter and John, he tells everyone he sees, strangers included, what has just happened and God uses this joy to create a conspicuous opportunity. People start to gather, amazed at first about this man moving about before them who once had to be carried. But then their amazement turns to Peter and John, they look at them as though another miracle could happen at any moment. So Peter says, “Men of Israel, why do you marvel at this? Or why look so intently at us, as though by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk?” In other words, ‘It’s not us that’s amazing, it’s God!’ Crowds gather, curiosity is peaked, minds are opened and hearts are made ready to receive faith. When God moves the unmovable greater things happen. Here are some of those greater things:
1. Sin is exposed. Peter says that God, their God, the God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob glorified His Son Jesus. By this he means that the patriarchs had spoken about this Jesus and now here He was. Make no mistake this is the Messiah, look at the names Peter uses to describe Jesus…the Holy One, the Just, the Prince of Life. Here’s the catch, you killed Him! Even Pilate the pagan Roman wanted to set Him free and you would have none of it. It’s not the Gospel message we are so familiar with is it, the one about how Christ chose to die for us. No, this gospel message is about what sin does with God and with Jesus Christ the Son of God. In short it was as if Peter was saying, “Why do you resist this God whom even death cannot restrain?” The answer is implicit, it is because within us there is a self seeking glory that has no place for God. Within us there is a sin nature and until I get that truth and am wounded by it there is no need for remedy, no cause for surgery, no necessity for lame feet to be made whole. I will remain unmovable. First sin must be exposed.
2. Christ is revealed. It was faith in the name of Jesus that healed this man. That’s faith in the Jesus of today, the Jesus who is alive and has all power and authority entrusted to Him by God the Father. Before you didn’t know about who this Jesus is and what this Jesus can do and how far this Jesus will go for you. Now you do and if you get that, change your mind, repent. Be converted, with faith turn your life from resisting God to a life that seeks God, seeks His will, seeks your obedience to what He will show you. When Christ is revealed we see where the power comes from and we see what the power can do. He is God and He has been revealed on the cross as the Just, the Holy One, the Prince of Life. His resurrection endorses everything that He had spoken, it underwrites every promise he had made as being completely trustworthy. Christ is revealed.
3. Christ is coming, get ready. Did you catch what Peter said in verses 19, 20… “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.” Do you see that phrase ‘times of refreshing’, that is a reference to how your spirit is made alive now,  how your sins are blotted out forever. At the same time it infers a much greater time of refreshing to come. Peter refers to that as ‘the restoration of all things’. I’m telling you, you want to be part of that, you need to repent of your sin and be converted, stop resisting Him now. Seek Him and He will be found by you. Get ready, Christ is coming.
I had said that when God moves the unmovable greater things happen. The beggar’s feet changed that day but greater things happened as a result of that. Christ was glorified and over 5000 people not only heard about Jesus, they repented and were converted. You see I am like that beggar by the gate, you too are like him. We have paralysis and deformity and inability. This morning there is a sure and strong right arm reaching down to take yours. The action of faith engages when you seek to stand in faith on things that have always crippled you. The work that Jesus does in making the unmovable move does not just stop with you, He uses that change in you to reach thousands more. There is power in the name of Jesus and if you are willing, “in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.’
When God Uses FaithText: Acts 3Proposition: God uses faith to catch people’s attention so that they can hear His invitation to come and find future with Him.Introduction: God uses faith. He uses faith like we use wheels. He moves heavy loads with it, He carries things that couldn’t be carried otherwise with it. Sometimes the faith he uses is just like a single wheel, like a unicycle, awkward, moving backwards and forwards, almost impossible and yet in an act of balance it works. When you see someone on a unicycle you almost have to look at it because it seems so precarious. God uses faith in Jesus Christ to catch people’s attention so that they can hear His invitation to come and find future with Him. Let me show you what I mean by that, have a look at Acts 3.I. When God Uses Faith to Move the Unmoveable, Power Occurs.Unmoveable things are like a casket at a funeral, a soul broken by addiction, a cancer that reroutes your life around it or, in the case before us, a beggar born with feet that can’t move. The man in this gospelaccount had been unable to walk his whole life, every single day he had needed someone to be his legs. That’s how he got to the Nicanor Gate that day, someone carried him there. It was a beautiful gate overlaid in solid bronze and it shone in the scorching Judean sun. That’s where the begging was best, in beautiful places. Likely things would have continued like that for the rest of his life if it hadn’t been for the way that God delights to make the unmoveable move. He moved Pharaoh, He moved the Red Sea, He moved the walls of Jericho and He moved the great Stone from the sealed tomb… He moves the unmovable. Perhaps Peter and John had walked past this beggar many times, maybe even given alms from time to time. They come to the gate and as they hear him cry out for money they stop.  They look intently at him, they call him to look only at them. Was the Holy Spirit prompting them to see this faith waiting to be called out? Had this beggar heard Jesus as He had passed this way before, had he heard from a distance about forgiveness for sin and the love of God for all people? Is that where faith began it’s work in his heart? Whatever it was that Peter and John saw in this beggar it is evident that faith was present in all three men. “Then Peter said, "Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk." Have you ever wondered what it was that Peter had that he now gave to this beggar? I think the answer can only be the warrant of power that comes from the authority which resides in Jesus. You know what a warrant is when the police come to search a person’s house. It’s a document of authority that carries in it tremendous power which must be handled with respect and responsibility. The power comes from the court, the officer exercises the authority entrusted to him.. The warrant of Jesus name is what Peter gives to this man. This power and  authority Jesus had given to the disciples and it is what now pours strength into this man’s immovable feet.  Peter stretches out his hand and as soon as the beggar reaches to take hold of it in faith, his ankles and his feet receive strength. I like what Matthew Henry said about how this miracle occurs, “As the bread was multiplied in the breaking, and the water turned into wine in the pouring out, so strength was given to the cripple’s feet in his stirring them and using them.” It’s faith not only to believe but also faith to move. God uses faith to move the unmovable and when He does, power occurs. II. When God Uses Faith to Move the Unmovable, Greater Things Happen.The man born lame stands on new legs, maybe he even takes a few steps to try out these new legs. Then he begins to jump and leap about, the legs are not going away, they’re not weak or just barely there. There is strength and balance and there is great joy in the way he can use them. I think this is a picture for the way we are meant to trust in God’s blessing, in that confidence that borders on an abandon to joy. He can walk, for the first time in his life all that he had dreamed this moment to be now was. So he hangs onto Peter and John, he tells everyone he sees, strangers included, what has just happened and God uses this joy to create a conspicuous opportunity. People start to gather, amazed at first about this man moving about before them who once had to be carried. But then their amazement turns to Peter and John, they look at them as though another miracle could happen at any moment. So Peter says, “Men of Israel, why do you marvel at this? Or why look so intently at us, as though by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk?” In other words, ‘It’s not us that’s amazing, it’s God!’ Crowds gather, curiosity is peaked, minds are opened and hearts are made ready to receive faith. When God moves the unmovable greater things happen. Here are some of those greater things:1. Sin is exposed. Peter says that God, their God, the God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob glorified His Son Jesus. By this he means that the patriarchs had spoken about this Jesus and now here He was. Make no mistake this is the Messiah, look at the names Peter uses to describe Jesus…the Holy One, the Just, the Prince of Life. Here’s the catch, you killed Him! Even Pilate the pagan Roman wanted to set Him free and you would have none of it. It’s not the Gospel message we are so familiar with is it, the one about how Christ chose to die for us. No, this gospel message is about what sin does with God and with Jesus Christ the Son of God. In short it was as if Peter was saying, “Why do you resist this God whom even death cannot restrain?” The answer is implicit, it is because within us there is a self seeking glory that has no place for God. Within us there is a sin nature and until I get that truth and am wounded by it there is no need for remedy, no cause for surgery, no necessity for lame feet to be made whole. I will remain unmovable. First sin must be exposed.2. Christ is revealed. It was faith in the name of Jesus that healed this man. That’s faith in the Jesus of today, the Jesus who is alive and has all power and authority entrusted to Him by God the Father. Before you didn’t know about who this Jesus is and what this Jesus can do and how far this Jesus will go for you. Now you do and if you get that, change your mind, repent. Be converted, with faith turn your life from resisting God to a life that seeks God, seeks His will, seeks your obedience to what He will show you. When Christ is revealed we see where the power comes from and we see what the power can do. He is God and He has been revealed on the cross as the Just, the Holy One, the Prince of Life. His resurrection endorses everything that He had spoken, it underwrites every promise he had made as being completely trustworthy. Christ is revealed.3. Christ is coming, get ready. Did you catch what Peter said in verses 19, 20… “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.” Do you see that phrase ‘times of refreshing’, that is a reference to how your spirit is made alive now,  how your sins are blotted out forever. At the same time it infers a much greater time of refreshing to come. Peter refers to that as ‘the restoration of all things’. I’m telling you, you want to be part of that, you need to repent of your sin and be converted, stop resisting Him now. Seek Him and He will be found by you. Get ready, Christ is coming. I had said that when God moves the unmovable greater things happen. The beggar’s feet changed that day but greater things happened as a result of that. Christ was glorified and over 5000 people not only heard about Jesus, they repented and were converted. You see I am like that beggar by the gate, you too are like him. We have paralysis and deformity and inability. This morning there is a sure and strong right arm reaching down to take yours. The action of faith engages when you seek to stand in faith on things that have always crippled you. The work that Jesus does in making the unmovable move does not just stop with you, He uses that change in you to reach thousands more. There is power in the name of Jesus and if you are willing, “in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.’

 

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