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November 10, 2019

Miracles and Message

Do we believe in miracles? Or is it the same as believing in Santa Claus? The book of Acts is filled with Miracles. Listen or read to find out why our lives are filled with miracles that we don't recognize.
Duration:35:10

Mike Gerhardt, 11-10-19, Miracle and Message, READ Acts 3:1-10. LOOK me in the eye. When have you heard this expression: From an angry father who just caught you using his favorite tools as lawn darts? From a boss who just asked you for a report that was due a week ago and you said the dog ate it? From a teacher who wanted to know why you are denying involvement in the black-eyed and bleeding nose of the boy in the nurse's office when you have a rip in your shirt and his blood on your hand? LOOK me in the eye. Now tell me the truth! Rarely do we hear that expression said with loving concern. Look me in the eye and see that I want to help you. This is what Peter said to the cripple man who was begging with his hand open and his eyes looking to the ground humiliated. Most religious Jews came to the temple three to four times for prayer 9 AM, noon, 3 PM and maybe a sunset. This temple gate was the favorite entrance to the temple court. This was a good place to beg and a good place to be seen giving alms to the poor. So, there were probably many beggars. The Miracle: The man crippled from birth emphasized his hopeless condition. & not the result of an accident. I believe it was a deformity and he was more than 40 years old (4:22). People had been carrying him there day after day so he could beg, so he wasn't faking it. I must admit when people younger than me tell me they can't help someone move because they have a bad back, or they are constantly in pain from a football injury; if I don't see surgery scars and I see them doing other things without pain, I begin to question their veracity. I think they're just faking it. This man wasn't faking it. And the healing was so powerful! READ verse 3:6. Jesus did miracles, now miracles are done in His name!  He jumped to his feet! Would that have been a kip-up or kick up? Walking and jumping and praising God! So, many knew the man, that when the authorities questioned Peter he asked: 4:9 Are we being tried for an ask of kindness? So, they confided together in Acts 4:16 What are we going to do with these men? Everybody living in Jerusalem knows they have done an outstanding miracle and we cannot deny it. The people were filled with wonder and amazement vs 10.

Peter assessed the situation and used it as an opportunity to preach. The Message included: an explanation, descriptive READ 12–16 & an exhortation, prescriptive READ 17–26. The opening is interesting: Why does this surprise you? Why do you stare? I don't know, maybe because a cripple for 40 years is jumping around and hanging on you. I think it would be hard to preach with someone hanging on you. Peter began by telling them that the healing power came from Jesus, here described as God’s Servant. This title Servant of Yahweh is from Isaiah 42:1; 53:11. The lowly Servant was glorified by the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Then Peter used a sledgehammer to drive home three flaws in the people’s conduct. This was not one of those feel-good sermons. First, he said the Jews demanded Christ’s death when Pilate had decided to let Him go. Second, the Jews disowned the Holy and Righteous One and demanded the release of a murderer. Third, the Jews indirectly killed the Author of Life, but God raised Him from the dead. Peter’s titles of Christ are His Servant Jesus, the Holy and Righteous One, and the Author of Life where the irony is strong: they killed the Author of Life, but He was raised from the dead! Before I get too far, I want to point out 3:16 that the man’s healing came because of his faith in the name of Jesus. 3:17–18 The people with their leaders had acted in ignorance in the sense that they did not recognize Jesus. Though He was crucified, the suffering of Christ fulfilled Old Testament prophecies. 3:19–21 Peter’s exhortation, as in his Pentecost sermon, was to repent and believe. This offer of salvation to God’s graciousness and to Israel’s unbelief. On the one hand, God was giving the Jews an opportunity to repent after the sign of Christ’s resurrection. They had refused the “pre-Cross” Jesus; now they were being offered a post-Resurrection Messiah. Peter’s words underscore the nation of Israel’s rejection. Israel’s repentance would have two purposes: for individuals, there was forgiveness of sins, and for the nation Israel, her Messiah would return to reign. 3:22–23 Here Jesus is portrayed as the new Moses in fulfillment of Deuteronomy 18. Christ will come not only with deliverance as Moses did, but He will also judge as Moses did. 3:24–25 All the prophets in one way or another wrote about these days, that is, the Messianic Age. The Jews were heirs of the promises to Abrahamic. The Jews would be blessed if they, like Abraham, believe. In fact, all peoples would be blessed through Abraham. 3:26 Jesus, God’s Servant, was sent first to the Jews. This chronological pattern was followed throughout the Gospels and Acts. The reason for this is that the establishment of the kingdom of God on earth depended and still depends on Israel’s response.

Here's what we can learn. When someone falls down, there are those who will criticize why they fell, chastise them, who will ignore and step over them, who will point and laugh at them, and finally, those who will get down with them look them in the eye and help them stand. Obey the Holy Spirit leading. Be bold to speak the truth in love. Be ready to give an answer to those who question. There are many who are spiritual lame, born deformed in sin who need your helping hand. I want to be around people who have a heart like that. How about you?

Some of you know that my three boys and I jumped TWICE out of a plane at 14,000 feet without a parachute and lived to talk about it. Of course, we were attached to someone with a parachute. Reminds me of a story: General William Westmoreland was once reviewing a platoon of paratroopers in Vietnam. As he went down the line, he asked each of them: “How do you like jumping, son?” “Love it, sir!” was the first answer. “How do you like jumping?” he asked the next. “The greatest experience in my life, sir.” replied the paratrooper. “How do you like jumping?” he asked the third. “I hate it, sir” he replied. “Then why do you do it?” asked Westmoreland. “Because I want to be around guys who love to jump.” I want to be around believers who want to jump in and help, to be bold to believe the impossible, to be willing to take a risk. That why I love this church at Parkside. Why not join us in doing miraculous things in the name of Jesus