Make every day count! Part 3

The very first followers of Jesus weren’t what you might expect. None of them had any seminary training. They didn’t belong to the religious elite or sit at the tables of governors and kings. They were common folk. Most of them had blue collars and calloused hands, and there’s no evidence that Jesus chose them because they were smarter or nicer than the guy next door. The one thing they had going for them was the willingness to take a step when Jesus said, “Follow me.” If you think you fit that description, then congratulations. God changes the world through ordinary folks like you.

In Acts 2, we witness the origins of a globe-changing movement called Christianity. This movement was propelled along by ordinary men and women who… 

  • relied on the power of the Holy Spirit
  • who related to the people in a way they could understand
  • who continually pointed the world to Jesus 

They knew that their lives mattered and that they could make every day count.

In Acts 3 we find the story of a beggar a seemingly insignificant man that thousands including perhaps even Jesus had passed multiple times on the way into the temple.

Let’s look at the story Acts 3:1-10

Peter and John went to the Temple one afternoon to take part in the three o’clock prayer service. 2 As they approached the Temple, a man lame from birth was being carried in. Each day he was put beside the Temple gate, the one called the Beautiful Gate, so he could beg from the people going into the Temple. 3 When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for some money.4 Peter and John looked at him intently, and Peter said, “Look at us!” 5 The lame man looked at them eagerly, expecting some money. 6 But Peter said, “I don’t have any silver or gold for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!” 7 Then Peter took the lame man by the right hand and helped him up. And as he did, the man’s feet and ankles were instantly healed and strengthened. 8 He jumped up, stood on his feet, and began to walk! Then, walking, leaping, and praising God, he went into the Temple with them.9 All the people saw him walking and heard him praising God. 10 When they realized he was the lame beggar they had seen so often at the Beautiful Gate, they were absolutely astounded!

From today’s story I have three more practical points to help us make every day count

  1. Share the work – we are not called to change the world alone.

Peter and John were going together. Jesus set an example for us through the disciples that we need each other. This is one of the of the lessons we learned in pre-school, kindergarten or first grade, called the buddy system….Jesus built a team of twelve disciples, then later he sent out 35 teams, 70 in all to share the Gospel across the nation. The people who followed Jesus were a mix of backgrounds, skill sets, ages, races, sexes and someway he got them all to work together.

We need each other… in my weaknesses you can be strong in in your weaknesses I can be strong. Our differing perspectives and understandings, frames of reference can cause us to be more affective in changing our world. If we are open and willing, we can even learn from each other. 

This is part of the reason we are working with different churches in Monessen. We don’t have all of the answers for the city and neither do they but together we can change the community for the good. None of us can do it alone but together we will grow Jesus’ church and bring hope to the community. 

The same is true on a global scale. Many of us are heartbroken by the distressing times in which we live. War, famine, and disease run rampant through many parts of the world. Thousands of children die every day from preventable diseases and malnutrition. If we can get to the place where all Christians are working together, we could literally change the world. If only 2% of the world’s grain was shared there would not be a hungry person in the world. If every Christian home in America were open, we would have more than enough homes to bring hope to every orphan in the world. If every Christian were to lead just one person to the Lord within 5 years to whole world would know Jesus.

  • See the wound

As Peter and John approached the Temple, they passed through a great garlanded gate. The gate was called Beautiful. The man sitting beside it was anything but.

He couldn’t walk. Instead, he dragged himself through the dirty streets on his knees. He spent his days sitting outside the Temple gate, begging for money as worshippers entered and exited the Temple. Peter and John were among them.

The needy man, saw the two apostles, lifted his voice, and begged for a donation. Peter and John didn’t actually have any money, but they stopped anyway and, the Bible says…

Acts 3:4

4 Peter and John looked at him intently,

I wonder how long it had been since anyone really looked at him. Of course, thousands had seen him sitting there but how many really took the time to look into his face and really see him…In another instance the pharisees were judging Jesus harshly for loving on a woman they despised…

Luke 7:44

Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Look at this woman kneeling here….”

It’s hard to look at suffering, rejection, brokenness in the face, it is so much easier to look away. To put our eyes on something that seems much more important but isn’t really…we would rather keep our eyes on our own little world that to see the world Jesus sees

The pharisee saw a prostitute, a woman of poor reputation, a woman who could add nothing to his life…. Jesus, saw a woman created in the imagine of God, a potential Child of God, someone that he was about to die for…

It is easy for us to look at people if they can do something for us, make us look good, but in order for the miracles to take place we need to really see people, see people the way Jesus sees them and allow Him to move us in the same way he was moved

Matthew 9:36

But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. (NKJV)

Jesus saw the multitude and it says he was “moved with compassion” this phrase means “to be moved as in ones bowels” in other words he felt kicked in the gut when he saw the people scattered and weary…

It is very hard to be prejudice, angry, frustrated, or to ignore someone if you are looking directly into their face, because if you do, you can really see someone

Let’s determine to be like Jesus; like Peter and John. Let’s be the people who stop at the gate. No hurrying passed or turning away. Let’s look at the face, until we see the person.

When we actively look around us we can see what the Holy Spirit is doing as we look through His eyes and as we do that miracles can and will happen

Share the work, see the wound next is

  • Serve the weak

Peter and John could have said, like so many who had gone before them, “we don’t have any money, let’s just keep on walking, we need to do our religious thing”….but the most important thing to the Lord is relationship they saw this man broken and rejected and he needed to know despite being outside the temple (where God was supposed to dwell) that God loved him too…so Peter said

Acts 3:6,7

But Peter said, “I don’t have any silver or gold for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!” 7 Then Peter took the lame man by the right hand and helped him up. And as he did, the man’s feet and ankles were instantly healed and strengthened.

A simple look turned into a miracle, a man who was outside the presence of God was now directly in his presence, seen, felt loved and valued and stood to his feet….how many people can we give a hand up to that would change their world…many want to be moved to move in the miraculous but aren’t willing to start giving people a hand up….a handout would have kept this man enslaved to begging more and more but a hand up set him free!

When we give someone a hand up it changes them for eternity, we can’t just talk about it, if you want to see the miraculous start performing the miracles right in front of you every day…how many meals did these disciples feed, how much serving had they done, how much running around for Jesus had they taken care of before the miracle happened Jesus little brother James said this 

James 2:14-16

What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? 15 Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, 16 and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?

Serving people is putting faith into action and also placing ourselves in another position…proving we can be faithful with little

Luke 16: 10-12 (ESV)

One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. 11 If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? 12 And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?

If you begin being faithful with a look, giving love, sharing the work, seeing the wounds then you will find you are making every day count…lives will be changed because you can see those live right in front of you…