October 4/5, 2014
We are sent. In our series so far, we have learned:
- The Church of Jesus is sent.
- We have learned that individually and corporately we are sent.
- We have been sent by Jesus – Matthew 28:16-20
- We have been sent with the Holy Spirit – Acts 1:1-9
- We are sent in power – Acts 2:1-13
- We are sent together – Acts 2:37-47
Today we focus on the fact that we are sent to bless others.
Our text today is the story of Peter and John’s encounter with a crippled beggar outside the temple that they were entering. These two individuals had a marvelous sense of partnership with God. In these passages we see that God has sent His church (you and me) to bless others. Here are some ways to bless others:
Do the right thing (verse 1)
God blesses others through us when we are doing the right things. Notice what Peter and John were doing. They were going to the temple to pray at three o’clock in the afternoon. This was their custom as well as their habit. Have you ever noticed that some people are never where the action is? They rarely seem to be used by God? They don’t seem to have God flowing through them? While at the same time others seem to
- be used by God all the time – their lives constantly proclaim the Gospel
- have a spiritual stride that takes them on great journeys – they bless others significantly
- have a faucet of God’s blessing flowing through them – they love others generously
The characteristic that will be found in the second category of people is faithfulness. They just do the right things over and over again. Day in and day out they follow a godly and biblical pattern of Christian living. They may not be doing the sensational things, nor the exciting things, or even the up-front things, but they just do the right things. And God sees their faithfulness and determines to use them to bless others.
Be willing to be interrupted (verses 2-3)
This experience of the “coming upon”, or “being clothed”, by the Holy Spirit was something beyond ordinary happy Christian living. The power that Jesus promised would come upon them is not something that was for only the first generation of Christians. We can seek this power from Jesus today. In the Old Testament “coming upon” or “being clothed” with the Holy Spirit always referenced extraordinary empowerment (Judges 6:34; 1 Chronicles 12:18; 2 Chronicles 24:20). What happens in Acts 2 makes it obvious that this was an extraordinary event – wind, sound, tongues of fire, miraculous languages, prophecy, exuberant praise, and 3,000 conversions!
I believe that the experience that the disciples would have on the day of Pentecost, (Acts 2:11 – “telling of the mighty works of God”) has happened again and again in the life of the church, and will extend the gospel to the end of the earth. “You will receive power…and you will be my witnesses”. This fresh vision of God is what Jesus meant by being a witness. You will no longer be merely advocates who can prove Jesus’ life and death like a lawyer. Instead, being under the influence of this power, you will speak with the unwavering assurance of one who has tasted and knows the reality of Jesus - that all of your doubt is gone. The Spirit baptism moves you from being an advocate of Christianity to being a witness of the living Christ.
The Holy Spirit’s empowerment will move you from sharing truths of the Gospel message to proclaiming them boldly as realities that you have experienced. This is the power and the witness that will take the gospel to the end of the earth.
Pay attention to needs (verse 4)
In verse 4, Peter and John were not only interrupted, they looked upon the man and perceived his needs. Peter and John replied, “Look at us!” They did not have wealth. They were in need themselves. They wanted this man to understand that they were in no position to help financially. Here is an important principle:
Sent people are not people with fewer needs than others. They’re just people who have decided that it is more of a blessing to give than to receive.
When you know that you are sent, you give out of your need - you don’t concentrate on yourself, you concentrate on others.
Inspire hope in others (verse 5)
The man gave Peter and John his attention, “expecting to receive something from them”. In life there are takers and there are givers. This is true not just financially. The sign of a person who lives with the reality of being sent is this; others want to be around them. You don’t have to be an extroverted person to have charisma, you just have to change your whole focus and begin to think about others instead of yourself. Inspiring, charismatic people walk into a room and ask,
- How can I make their day?
- What can I say to encourage them?
- What can I do to help them?
Use what you have (verse 6)
Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you”. Sent people find a way to bless. The amount of their resources doesn’t matter. They will find a way to reflect hope and love. They will
- send a note,
- say an encouraging word,
- call you on the phone, or
- say a kind word.
Givers will always find a way to give and a taker will always find a way to steal. People living with the Great Commission at the forefront of their minds will always bless others.
Realize that God is your source (verse 6)
“In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” God has the power. He has the provision. He waits for our partnership. This is how our partnership with God works – He has sent you and will use you to bless others.
- God supplies; man shares.
- God is the creator; man is the channel.
- God pours it in; man passes it on.
Try and trust God to do the rest (verse 7)
Verse 7 says, “And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong”. All Peter did was what he could. God uses people who will do their best and realize that God has to make up the difference. They believed that they could give more than they were able because God was a part of the equation. The Giver of all gifts would determine the final sum total!
We are sent to bless others!
This week, as you reflect on the message, utilize this section as an aid in discussions that may be planned or unplanned during your week. Think of friends, co-workers, neighbors, family etc., that you could meet with to have a time of mutual sharing and fellowship as you open God’s Word together.
Read Acts 3:1-10
As you read this story in the early life of the church, what are some results of this moment?
It is safe to assume that Jesus walked by this gate and saw this man several times, yet, in God’s sovereignty, God choose to work his power through Peter and John in this moment to bring him glory and save many people. Discuss the importance of understanding the sovereignty of God.
Take a moment to share of a time when your agenda was interrupted by someone else. What was your response?
When you think about your life, how do you purposefully live in the present? In what ways do you ask God to help you to be faithful to Him today? Sometimes, we can get very caught up in living in the future–of what things will be like–or in the past–what things used to be like–that we miss what God has for us today. How do you guard against this? In what ways do you wrestle with this?
Pray that you would be faithful to what God has for you today.