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"The Kingdom of God Invades Our Reality" - Charles Stanley

October 17, 2021 Preacher: Charles Stanley Series: Acts

Topic: God's Faithfulness, Gift of Faith, God's Gifts, Family of God, Community, God's Sovereignty, Faithfulness, Acts Passage: Acts 3:1–21

The Kingdom of God invades our reality

Acts 3:1-21
Charles Stanley
Infusion Church 10/17/2021

I’m going to step back to last week’s text for a moment to set up our story for today.

Acts 2:42-47  42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.  43 And awe(1 )came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles.  44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common.  45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.  46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts,  47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

This young church had begun to settle in to a rhythm of going to the Temple day by day and then to each others’ homes for dinner. During these first century potlucks, their friends and relatives were coming to know Jesus as Messiah over dinner. It was the first disciple-making movement. This was the new rhythm of life for the church.

It’s time to use our sanctified imaginations. What do I mean by that? Picture what the scene is with me.

Every day the people were called to the Temple to pray at 3 PM. Just a short time before 3000 people were added to the church and with the new rhythm people were being added to the church day by day. And, the rhythm was to go to temple day by day.

Acts 3:1-21  ESV Acts 3:1 Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour.(1)  2 And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate to ask alms of those entering the temple.  3 Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms.  4 And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, "Look at us."  5 And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them.  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!"  7 And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong.  8 And leaping up he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God.  9 And all the people saw him walking and praising God,  10 and recognized him as the one who sat at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, asking for alms. And they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.  11 While he clung to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them in the portico called Solomon's, astounded.  12 And when Peter saw it he addressed the people: "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?  13 The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified his servant(1 )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.  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(1 )has given the man this perfect health in the presence of you all.  17 "And now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers.  18 But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer, he thus fulfilled.  19 Repent therefore, and turn again, 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 about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago.

The gate beautiful. All the other gates to the temple were covered with gold and silver. This gate was covered with corinthian bronze and was considered to be more valuable than the doors covered with silver and gold. The doors were so heavy it took 20 men to open and close them.

The lame man was laid at the gate daily. Picture him like some of the homeless beggars we see around Escondido sitting on the ground leaning against the building beside the drive through line at McDonalds. He is holding his begging sign with his head slumped on his arms sleeping. A look of total dejection. Will someone please give me some money? This beggar was probably in a similar situation. He was a daily fixture and how many people would walk by without even noticing him, including Peter and John?

Where is there any hope for this man?

But then something happens in the heart of the lame man. For some inexplicable reason, he believes that he can obey Peter’s command to stand and walk. How did that happen? What enabled him to believe something so preposterous?

Peter is thinking, “Another great set up to preach the gospel.”

This work of power demonstrated God’s power, compassion, and love. It set up the opportunity for a gospel presentation by Peter. This is why some refer to this kind of power work as a sign-gift. It is a sign that points to Jesus.

Should we read stories like this with the thought that God does this today? If so…

How do miraculous power works happen? How does the miraculous invade our life experience?

The Sunday School answer is “Jesus.” In this case, it is the example of how Jesus did these kinds of things and shows us the pattern.

Let’s take a look at Jesus’ pattern.

John 5:19   19 So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father(1 )does, that the Son does likewise.

John 12:49-50  49 For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment - what to say and what to speak.  50 And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me."

John 14:10   10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works.

Jesus never operated independently of the Father and the Spirit. Jesus never stopped being fully God, nor fully man while he functioned on earth as a man. He was still God. However, he chose to only act as a man under the same conditions that we as humans operate other than the fact that he had no sin. Sin is what ruined and does ruin our communications with God. Jesus didn’t have that problem.

When Jesus performed miracles, it was because that is what he saw the Father was doing and he entered into the Father’s works with him. When Jesus taught the people, he only taught what he heard the Father teaching or speaking. Jesus lived in obedience to the Father and empowered by the Spirit.

This is what it is like to live a Spirit-filled life. Jesus is the ultimate and perfect example. If you want to know how to walk in the Spirit, watch how Jesus did it.

Are you saying that I am supposed to hear the voice of God?

YES, I am saying that. God made us for communication with him. But let’s see what Jesus said about this?

John 10:1-18  ESV John 10:1 "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber.  2 But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.  3 To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.  4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.  5 A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers."  6 This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.  7 So Jesus again said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.  8 All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them.  9 I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.  10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.  11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.  12 He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.  13 He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.  14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me,  15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.  16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.  17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again.  18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father." 

Without getting into Peter’s sermon, the point of this story is that the Kingdom of God is invading our life’s experience now while we wait for the restoration of all things. We have the kingdom now and the kingdom prospect.

It matters that we walk in the Spirit because people are broken, and Jesus came not only to forgive us of our sins, but to restore all things to his original intent. If any person is in Christ, they are a new creation.

“And his name - by faith in his name - has made this man strong who you see and know, and the faith that is through Jesus has given the man this perfect health in the presence of you all.”

The triune God equips his people with what we need for ministry to the broken of this world when we need it.

1 Corinthians 12:4-11  4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit;  5 and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord;  6 and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.  7 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.  8 To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit,  9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit,  10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.  11 All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.

These gifts or manifestations are not perminant gifts that once received you always have them to use as you will. We don’t control the manifestations of the Spirit, he does. These gifts or manifestations aren’t give as permanent possessions, but are fleeting. The Spirit is likened to the wind. You feel it and see the effects of it, but you can’t see it or control it. So, it is with the manifestations of the Spirit.

Then, the Lord gave the lame man the gift of faith to believe what he was being told and stood and received the miracle.

So, what are we to do?

Be filled with the Holy Spirit, abide in Christ, intentionally pursue the promptings of the Spirit, and immediately obey the voice of the Lord.

It matters because broken people for whom Jesus died will be made whole. And you will have gotten to work with God to redeem another human being. And your actions will always glorify the Lord.

What do we do with this truth that God is still invading our life experience with the Kingdom of God as we said for the restoration of all things?

  1. If we have been unbelieving in God’s ability and desire to supernaturally invade our life experience, repent and trust God. Believe the Scripture, with God all things are possible.
  2. Pursue the Spirit-filled life. How do I do that? Well, this is another whole sermon, but here is the quick outline. The acronym is SWAP

Submit yourself to God’s will and God’s word

Wait on God

Avoid sin and confess your sins

Pursue the promptings of the Spirit