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In the Name of Jesus

Date: 26 February 2023

Speaker: Ps Daniel Tan

Sermon Text: Acts 3:1-26



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TRANSCRIPT

Introduction

Blessed Sunday to everyone.


As a church, we are beginning our year long journey through the book of Acts.


There will be 30 sermons from Acts, and that would take us till the end of Nov. After today we would have accomplished 10% of our intended journey.


We have been attempting to preach through books of the bible for the past 16 years. I think we are nearing the 50% mark of the bible. Stick around for another 20 years and we should be able to finish 1 cycle through the bible.


Ps Luwin has helpfully summarised volume 1 & 2 of Luke into the following:

“The way God is fulfilling His plan to establish his upside-down, outside-in kingdom is through the Spirit-filled ministry of Jesus Christ, which continues through the Spirit-filled evangelisation of the church.”


I think it is good to always have this at the back of our minds, so that it can help us navigate each Sunday’s sermon by seeing how it contributes to the big picture.

On the Singapore Police Force’s website, there is an announcement about impersonation scams.


According to the website, one victim of this scam suffered losses of at least S$199,000 in October 2022.


In such scams, the victim will receive a call allegedly from a bank telling them that there were some financial transactions made on their cards.


When the victims reply that they did not make such transactions, the scammers would tell the victims that the call would be transferred to a police officer for investigation.


The call will be transferred to another scammer who will impersonate a police officer. After gaining the trust of the victims, the scammers would request confidential bank account information so that funds can be accessed and be transferred to the scammers.


These days, we have warning messages too, coming through other media such as radio, TV commercials and Mobile messages. We need to be vigilant; we must not open ourselves to scams.


To the people in Jerusalem, how do they know that Peter and John are truly apostles of Jesus? How do they know that Jesus is the divine son of God? How do they know that what is being proclaimed in the name of Jesus of Nazareth is authentic and trustworthy?


Are they ancient scammers?


Last week we witness in Acts 2 the Holy Spirit’s empowerment for the disciples to speak in a multitude of known but unlearnt language. It helped authenticate them as being part of the fulfilment of the promise that they will be witness of Jesus in Jerusalem, in Judea, in Samaria and to the ends of the earth.


Today, in Acts 3, through the miracle of healing the lame man, there is further authentication of who Peter and John are. They are legitimate disciples of Jesus of Nazareth, who is the Christ.


I’ve suggested for today’s sermon title, In The Name of Jesus, because the healing was done in the Jesus’ Name and Peter’s subsequent explanation focuses solely on explaining who Jesus is.


There is Healing (v1-v10)

Let’s begin our first of 2 segments today with exploring the thought that in the name of Jesus there is healing. This covers v1 to v10.


This whole healing incident actually ends in chapter 4 and v31. We will see that the explanation of who Jesus the healer is, led to Peter and John being taken into custody by the religious leaders and given a very stern warning not to teach or speak at all in the name of Jesus.


Acts 3 begins with Peter and John going up to the temple at 3 pm for prayer.


By their action, Peter and John displayed 2 things. Firstly, that following Jesus is not a separate religion from that of the Jews. Jesus is instead as we will see in Peter’s sermon, the fulfilment of all that has been spoken by the prophets of old.


So, to Peter and John, it is only natural that they continue to come to the temple in Jerusalem.


Secondly, they were fervent in prayer. Remember in Acts 2:46 Luke described that day by day, they attended the temple together and broke bread in their homes.


Prayer was one of the key pillars of the faith community and they did it in both the temple setting and in homes.


For Hermon, our temple setting equivalent is our online prayer meeting that is held on Wednesday at 8 pm. Peter and John had to walk daily uphill to the temple. For us we can log on via our mobile phones on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of each month.


What do we know of the lame man?


We see that he was lame from birth and was fully immobile, thus had to be carried to sit at the gate. He was there begging for alms so that he might feed himself. In Acts 4:22, we are told that he was more than 40 years old.


This tells us that he would likely have been a permanent fixture at the temple gate for he likely has been begging for alms for many years. His physical condition is well known to all the temple worshippers.


To the lame man’s expectant gaze, in this particular occasion, he would be graciously receiving a miracle from the Lord.


Ac 3:6 But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.


And as Peter took the man’s right hand, strength came into his ankles and legs and he leaps up, praising God as he followed them into the temple.


Remember Luke has written 2 volumes for Theophilus. The first volume is Luke’s Gospel and Acts is Luke’s second volume.


So to Theophilus and the first audience, the details of this miraculous healing would have echoes of a similar healing in Luke 5:17-25.


Let me give a summary for those of us who are unfamiliar.


Jesus was in a house, teaching. Some men, carried their friend who was a paralytic on a bed to have Jesus heal him. But because the place was so packed, they decided to go up to the flat roof and lower their friend to where Jesus was.


When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the bed-ridden man, your sins are forgiven.


To that, all the religious leaders were in uproar and questioned, who can forgive sin but God alone.


Jesus then replied, that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins, he said to the man, rise, pick up your bed and go home.


The healing of the Paralytic proved that Jesus is divine and the creator of life. The very similar healing of the lame man proved that Peter and John are legitimate disciples of Jesus of Nazareth.


And it is I submit not by chance that Jesus’ healing was about the authority to forgive sins. For that is what Peter will pick up in his sermon explaining the healing at the temple gate.


We see from both the miracles that Jesus has the power to heal both when He is present and through His chosen Apostles. And if Jesus is the same, yesterday, today and forever, Jesus continues to have the power to heal in our world today.


The implication for us today, is what happens when we seek healing (physically, emotionally or mentally) and it does not happen or it takes years to recover with medication?


In Acts, we will see that Apostle Paul also had the gift of healing, yet we know he suffered beatings and near drowning and had a torn in the flesh that God did not take away.


He writes in Romans 8:

Rom 8:18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. … 28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

The truth that Jesus can heal is to help us cope when we suffer. It is to say that when Jesus does not heal, even when He can, He does love me. He still cares for me. Why?


Because He has something better in store for me. All things are working together for my good.


There is a reason for my suffering. I may not understand and God may never reveal, but I can still trust Him through this challenging journey.


Now when we seek healing and God does grant healing, is it based on the quality of our faith?


Apostle Peter explains that it is not.


Acts 3:16 And his name—by faith in his name—has made this man strong whom you see and know, and the faith that is through Jesus has given the man this perfect health in the presence of you all.

When we are healed, it is the object of our faith that has healed us. Jesus is the one who has given the healing. We do not trust in our faith, but we put our trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.


See, if it depends on the quality of our faith, it then actually means we are depending on ourselves and not on the Lord.


So we should never say to one another, it’s because of your lack of faith that you have not recovered.


Healing does not depend on us, it is in the name of Jesus Christ that we are healed.


This same principle holds true also as we trust in Jesus for our salvation.


Luke records that the man entered the temple upon being healed, walking and leaping and praising God.


The entrance of the man into the temple was significant as we understand from 2 Sam 5:8 that the “The blind and the lame shall not come into the house.”. The blind and the lame were not permitted into the inner temple courts. There was segregation.


By this healing, Peter and John under the power of the Holy Spirit is restoring this man to the faith community. He can now participate in union with all.


Today, the physical temple with all its restrictions has been torn down. Today, Paul tells us our body’s are the temple of God. Today, we can reach out and foster unity with everyone regardless of ability or disability.


Finally, Luke records that all who were present at the miracle were filled with wonder and amazement. In contrast, Luke records the reaction of the crowd for the paralytic.


Lk 5:26 And amazement seized them all, and they glorified God and were filled with awe, saying, “We have seen extraordinary things today.”


The healing at the temple gate only tickled their senses. It did not turn them towards glorifying God. Is this perhaps an increasing phenomena today? Whatever dazzles attracts, but it does not lead to magnifying the Son of God in our daily lives.


And based on Peter’s subsequent sermon, that explains why the healing took place, we will discover that the ultimate goal is always for a right relationship with Jesus Christ. One that is centered on loving obedience to Jesus.


And to Peter’s sermon we now turn.


There is Salvation (v11-v26)

Came across an online report titled - Cure cancer, undo death: Punjab’s Christian ‘prophet, pastors’ offer miracles, dated 11 Jan 2022.


The article cites one Youtube video incident where the pastor is addressing a wheel-chair bound man. The pastor proclaims - “Jesus, touch him!” and then commands “Get Up!” The man then screams “Jesussssssss”, and stands.


On cue, the worship band comes on stage and the whole congregation bust into devotional praise.


The article ends by noting that several of these faith-healing churches are mired in controversy, not just because of their outlandish — and potentially dangerous — claims and ‘healing’ practices, but because of alleged irregularities in their financial dealings.


For the pastor cited in the video described, he is currently undergoing trial in a rape case.


What a stark contrast Apostle Peter is.


I have no silver and gold he has already told the lame man. And now to the crowd, Peter says “Men of Israel, why do you wonder at this, or why do you stare at us, as though by our own power or piety we have made him walk?


Instead of focusing the attention on himself, Peter turns their attention to Jesus. It is only in the power of the name of Jesus of Nazareth that the lame man is healed.

And because Peter has the attention of the crowd at the temple now, he takes the opportunity to tell them who is this Jesus.


And at the end, I submit when you know this Jesus, a more important miracle happens.


The miracle of the healing of the soul. That faith in the name of Jesus, gives salvation. And so brings with it, the forgiveness of sins, the refreshment of the Spirit and the certain hope of the restoration of all things at the last days.


Church, let us realize that when a soul is converted and places his or her trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, that is truly a miracle.


A miracle that is bringing a person dead in the trespasses of sin and transfers that person alive into the Kingdom of light.


Because Peter is addressing a Jewish audience, like his Pentecost sermon, he wants to help them see that Jesus is linked to their history. Following Jesus is not a deviant sect nor is it a tangent to the Jewish faith, it is a continuation.


So he begins by saying, the God whom the fathers of the Jews worshipped, have glorified His servant Jesus.


The God of Abraham the patriarch, is very pleased with Jesus.


Acts 3:13 The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified his servant Jesus, whom you delivered over and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release him. 14 But you denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, 15 and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses.

In using the description ‘his servant Jesus’, Peter brings to mind for the first audience, the suffering servant of Isaiah 53.


Is 53:5 But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.

Jesus is also Holy and Righteous as He is the Son of God. Thus, He can be the perfect spotless lamb of God, that can be sacrificed to take away the sins of the world.


Jesus is the Author of Life. John says He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. He is creator and sustainer. In Him is life everlasting.


And we observe that Peter does not mince his words. Informing his audience of the terrible sin they did to Jesus. He attaches it to every description of Jesus.


Peter said they delivered over and denied Jesus in the presence of Pilate. Pilate who found no wrong in Jesus, yet 50 days ago, they cried ‘crucify him, crucify him!’

They ‘denied’ that he is holy and righteous and instead asked for the murderer Barabbas to be pardoned.


And by releasing Barabbas, they sentenced to death the Author of life.


But thanks be to God, Jesus has the last say, not death. He has been vindicated because God has raised him from the dead.


Therefore, Peter and his fellow disciples can stand boldly and testify to the truth of everything, for they are eye witnesses.


To support further the truth that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, Peter will put forth that everything that has happened in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus has all been foretold by the prophets.


Acts 3:22 Moses said, ‘The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers. You shall listen to him in whatever he tells you. 23 And it shall be that every soul who does not listen to that prophet shall be destroyed from the people.’ 24 And all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and those who came after him, also proclaimed these days. 25 You are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant that God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed.

He will cite Moses, who prophesied that Jesus the greatest prophet will come. He will cite Abraham that Jesus will be the Seed that will bring God’s blessing to the whole world. He will cite Samuel who pronounced God’s covenant with David.


By giving all these descriptions of Jesus, Apostle Peter is highlighting key portions of the Old Testament. He is saying to the first audience, at the very heart of your faith, it points to Jesus of Nazareth.


Jesus is the one all the prophets was telling you to look out for.


This makes understanding the Old Testament so meaningful right?

Behind each description of Jesus is so much of the history of God’s relationship with Israel.


It means to understand the Old Testament, we need to read it with the lenses of the New. The Old cannot be fully comprehended without the insights of Jesus found in the New Testament.


It shows that whatever is happening now in Acts, did not catch God by surprise, instead it is the unfolding of God’s sovereign plan for the redemption of the world.


Peter continues, now, I know you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. You did what you did, because you did not understand the whole picture. But now, you have been given the complete picture. Now there is no more excuse.


The appropriate response for Spirit-filled believers is therefore to repent and turn away from sin and towards God.


Similar to Acts 2, I submit, it is significant to see that in the context of the miraculous healing, Luke provides more than double the space to Peter’s very logical teaching of who Jesus is.


The healing just authenticates that Peter is the disciple of Jesus and so provides the platform for the Gospel presentation.


Peter tells us, there will be three positive blessings we will receive when we put our faith in Jesus and one warning if we don’t.


Acts 3:19 Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, 20 that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, 21 whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things…. 23 And it shall be that every soul who does not listen to that prophet shall be destroyed from the people.

Remember, Jesus’ miracle of the paralytic, answers the question who can forgive sin. And Peter says, our faith in Jesus will result in our sins being blotted out.


When we put Acts 2:38 side by side with Acts 3, we get the picture that times of refreshing comes with the indwelling of the Holy Spirt. It will be refreshing because He is our comforter and our advocate.


Finally, the blessing of a certain future where Jesus will restore all things. At His second coming, Jesus’ Kingdom will be fully complete. Church, we can look forward to a new heavens and new earth, to a glorified body that will last us for all eternity.


For those of us who have yet to put our faith in Jesus, do take heed also of the warning. All who do not listen to Jesus, will be destroyed from the people.


Luke described previously this terrible place for unbelievers:


Lk 13:28 In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God but you yourselves cast out.

In the name of Jesus, there is salvation. Outside of that, there will only be eternal torment.


Thanks be to God that Jesus came so that salvation comes first to the Jews and then to the Gentiles. He is the seed of Abraham who will bless the nations.


Salvation to the Gentiles is not plan B after Israel had rejected Jesus. No, God’s plan right from the beginning was that through Israel all nations will be blessed.


Church, every one of us is beloved of God, chosen before the foundation of the world.

You and I are part of Jesus’ local family in Hermon because He has loved us and sought us to be His bride.


Conclusion

As we close the sermon, we want to thank God that Jesus has the power to heal us physically, emotionally and mentally. May this truth be our comfort as we patiently trust God through the trials, He bids us bear.


But most importantly, let us reserve our greatest praise and adoration for His ability to heal us spiritually.


The wages of sin is death. The lame man though healed, died. But because He put his faith in Jesus, yet shall he live.


Church, there is a glorious future that awaits us when Jesus comes again.


Church, since we are already recipients of the grace of God found in Jesus Christ.

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