September 20, 2021
When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he began asking to receive alms. But Peter, along with John, fixed his gaze on him and said, “Look at us!” And he began to give them his attention, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, “I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene—walk!” (Acts 3:3-6)
When we are filled with God, by His Spirit's indwelling, we begin to understand the purpose for our lives on this earth. On Pentecost, tongues like fire fell along with God’s Spirit on the fledgling believers. They immediately began to speak of Christ in languages they did not know. And, by God’s design, the place was filled with people who were hearing the gospel in their native tongue.
It is obvious the purpose of the Holy Spirit for us. When we are filled with His Spirit we will see and seize opportunities to share the gospel with others.
The third chapter of Acts shows us, not by accident in its placement, two disciples who do exactly that.
THE GOSPEL TO A SINGLE, NEEDY MAN
Peter and John had walked into the temple every day, no doubt, for the normal Jewish times of prayer and probably never noticed a man who was lying there, lame from birth. But this time, they saw him through the eyes of Christ. Moved by God, they gave him their full attention and then were used of God to heal him.
This man, lame from his mother's womb, had his feet and ankles strengthened with such power that "with a leap he stood upright and began to walk." It must have been like he was jet-propelled
The people who now observed him "walking and leaping and praising God" were filled with amazement.
THE GOSPEL TO A CROWD
It is here that Peter who "saw the amazement among the crowd" used the moment for another, broader witness. He took the opportunity to tell them who had done this miracle and pointed all the attention to Jesus. But he described Jesus in a particular way.
"Jesus, the one whom you delivered and disowned in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release Him. But you disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked for a murderer to be granted to you but put to death the Prince of life, the one whom God raised from the dead...it is the name of Jesus which has strengthened this man....therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord..." (Acts 2:13-19)
When we are filled with God's Spirit, several things happen ...
We SEE people.
We do not walk past a needy individual or a wondering crowd without seeing their ultimate need. We may not know their needs fully, but the Spirit within us does. If we will intentionally listen to Him, He will tell us how to meet their most pressing needs.
We TELL people.
We don’t miss the opportunity to share the most important news in the world, the gospel of Jesus Christ which can heal and restore and change their lives for eternity. We point them to Jesus.
We HELP people.
The Spirit in Peter was not only concerned about this man’s eternal need, but his immediate need. God’s willingness to heal immediately erupted in joyous praise as it proved to him God’s goodness.
We give CHRIST all the glory.
When people began to exalt Paul, he quickly deflected all the praise to Christ. “It is the name of Jesus which has strengthened this man.” The Spirit was given to glorify Christ. If we are filled with the Spirit, our mouths will be the channel for this glory to be given.
If you are filled with yourself, instead of God’s Spirit, these things will never occur. But for those who gladly surrender the control of their lives every day to the Spirit, this life’s work will be incredibly natural and eternally fulfilling.
Father, fill me with Your Spirit today. Give me eyes to see those around me who are in bondage to the Evil One and the courage to speak Your word to them. And then, give me the wisdom to give You all the glory!
March 29, 2023
As a pastor for the last 55 years, I have had the joy of being encouraged and blessed and prayed for by so many people. It is what carries you in your task of shepherding people. As I look back over five decades of ministry, their love has dramatically enriched my life.
But also, a pastor leads. And when anyone leads, there are almost always some who disagree.
March 28, 2023
March 27, 2023