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Jumping for Joy

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
July 5, 2023 12:00 am

Jumping for Joy

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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July 5, 2023 12:00 am

Lame men jumped for joy. Blind men could see. Deaf men could hear. The work of God through the Apostles was evident. The church was growing by the thousands, so what does spiritual revival look like? Listen to the full-length version or read the manuscript of this message here: https://www.wisdomonline.org/teachings/acts-lesson-9

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The city of Jerusalem was filled with beggars and disabled people, sick people, people who had died. Why not bring them all back to life? Why not heal all the sick?

Why? Because behind every display of power was a divine purpose to undeniably prove they were God's apostles. You say, Stephen, why are you taking the time to expound us? Are you afraid of the miraculous? No, I'm not.

But I am afraid for you. And I will warn you, just as the elders in Ephesus were told by Paul to warn the flock because false teachers and deceivers will come in to woo people away from the truth. When you read about the early church in the book of Acts, you learn that the apostles occasionally healed the sick.

God gave them supernatural power to prove the validity of their ministry. Today, we're going to look at one of those accounts, the healing of a lame man. As Stephen Davey expounds on that story, you'll also learn how you're supposed to relate to miracles today. This is wisdom for the heart. And today's lesson from our vintage wisdom library is called jumping for joy. Let's rejoin Stephen Davey with today's Bible lesson.

Here he is. As a college student in a small town, I was confronted by a beggar. He smelled of the streets and he came up to me and he said, son, do you have a dollar?

Now for a college student to have a dollar is a minor miracle. And I didn't have one, but I didn't tell him that. And I just said, well, sir, I don't, but I have something much better than that. And I proceeded to share with him the gospel and he seemed interested and listened. And so I pulled out all the stops and gave everything I could to him and worked him through the four laws and the Romans road and just about everything else I could think of. And he seemed very interested in what I had to say. Got to the end of the presentation of the gospel to him and I said, sir, is there anything that would hold you back from receiving Christ right now? And he said, no, I don't think there is.

And I thought, this is a little too easy. So there were some steps right next to the sidewalk that led up to a park area and I said, would you kneel with me here at these steps, the first stair, and pray? And he said, I sure will. So we knelt and people were coming down the stairs and walking on the sidewalk and sort of working their way around us and looking rather strangely, I'm sure, at us. And I led him in a very simple prayer to receive Christ as his Savior. I could hardly wait to get back to the dorm.

I was just so excited about this. And we got up off our knees and he said to me, now, about that dollar, do you have any money? I said, no, I don't, but there's a mission related to the church I go to that can help you take your first few steps with the Lord. And without blinking an eye, he cursed at me using the Lord's name in vain. And he stomped away, frustrated that he had spent his 20 minutes going through what to him was nothing more than a scam. He was a conversion con artist, though telling how many times he'd been saved before that with other college students who'd met him on the street. I'll never forget that. With great delight, I take you to a story in the book of Acts, a story of a beggar who is brought to faith, and this is not a trick.

This one is for real. It is the story of a man who is in desperate need, and he's going to receive something far different than what he's asking. His story begins in the third chapter of Acts where we pick up our story and study through that book. And it will weave its way through chapter 4.

In fact, it will become the incident that is the catalyst for the first persecution of the leadership of the church in this new covenant day. Let's start with chapter 3, verse 1. Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the ninth hour, the hour of prayer, and a certain man who had been lame from his mother's womb was being carried along, whom they used to set down every day at the gate of the temple, which is called beautiful, in order to beg alms of those who were entering the temple.

Now in just one verse, verse 2, we're told several things about this lame beggar. First of all, you notice that Luke says he was lame from his mother's womb. What that means is that he was not lame because of an accident or something tragic that had happened to him. He was lame when he was born. It had occurred as he was fit together in her womb. He was born disabled. Now if you skip down to verse 7, Luke, the medical doctor, will give us a clue, although it's in the Greek language.

I'll try to translate it for you, but let's read together what is given to you. And seizing him by the right hand, he raised him up and immediately his feet and ankles were strengthened. That word in the Greek language literally could be rendered socketed. That is a medical term that only Luke would use, and we're grateful for it, because that gives us his condition. Hippocrates, another Greek doctor, used that word in some of his writings to describe a condition where a person had paralyzed feet. The feet, as it were, were the bones and the tendons, the nerves were unattached, as it were, to the ankle. And as a result, his feet were sort of appendages that were absolutely useless.

And because he couldn't walk, the muscles in his legs atrophied and he was unable to move about. Now the fact that this man was miraculously healed by the apostles of the New Testament church in the New Covenant day has created some questions. And I didn't really know where to insert our study, sort of a side study, along this area. But I want to clear up by giving you a biblical response or an answer to the whole issue of miraculous healing. And I want to do it in a way that will probably provoke more questions, so I'm hoping that you'll take this to your own study.

But I suggest you get out your notes. I want to give you four or five different thoughts, simply because there are a slew of men and women and ministries who parade about supposedly having the ability to heal or the conduit of supernatural power whereby they can heal those whom they put their hands upon or pray over. And I want to provide something of a biblical answer, simply because there's a lot of disillusionment in those movements as well as the movements that do not ascribe to that kind of theology today. In fact, the movement will involve in a way everyone in some sort of disheartening moment simply because everybody eventually gets sick.

I've never known anybody outside of accidents who died without having poor health have something to do with it. So I want to provide a few thoughts. Number one, the miraculous gift of healing was demonstrated in the Bible through the apostles only. It may come as a surprise to you.

I hope it shocks you into wanting to study more. But 2 Corinthians chapter 12 verse 12 is a reference you might want to jot into the margin of your notes where Paul said, I perform the signs of a true apostle among you with all perseverance with signs and wonders and miracles. See, Paul is proving to his audience that he is a legitimate apostle.

And what was the legitimate sign? The apostle had delegated power where they could say rise and walk, see, even come back from the dead. And so Paul is defending his apostleship by virtue of the fact that he had performed miracles. In the Old Testament, the miraculous errors were through the conduits of godly men called prophets. And the people of Israel didn't experience what the prophets experienced nor should they have.

No one ever saw Elijah, I'm sure, going to heaven in that fiery chariot and thought to themselves, well, you know, if God's fair, I ought to go up like that too. The truth is the early New Testament church did not experience as a body the things that the apostles experienced. And as you study the Bible, as you work your way through, you discover that these miraculous events occurred through the hands and the ministry of the apostles and their close associates. I want you to look back at chapter 2 verse 43 there in your Bibles and look at that verse. And everyone kept feeling a sense of awe and many wonders and signs were taking place.

How? Through the apostles. I pulled out an interesting paragraph from someone in my library who's written a book and his name is John MacArthur. He writes this interesting paragraph. Contrary to the teaching of many today, the early church was not a miracle working church.

Interesting thought. Rather, they were a church with miracle working apostles. There's a vast difference between the two, by the way. The gift of healing in the early church was limited to the apostles and their close associates in ministry. Second point, as the church in Acts developed, the miracle ministry of the apostles diminished.

You only need to prove your point so often. Eventually, the apostles were renowned for their miracle working ability granted to them by God. Therefore, the display of their power to prove their apostolic mission from God as he creates this new thing called the church becomes less and less important. And so that helps explain the confusion that might come to your mind when you read that Paul left Trophimus stick at Miletus. Why not heal him, Paul?

Are you withholding? Are you cruel, uncaring? Or Timothy, Paul's son in the faith, who had developed some intestinal disorder, some problem in his digestive tract, he had, because of his desire for a ministry of integrity that could never be questioned, he had abstained completely from any fermented juice. He was drinking straight water, which in that day was extremely dangerous. And Paul said to him, Timothy, drink a little wine for your stomach's sake. Well, why not, Paul, just say, Timothy, be healed? The apostles were part of a miracle era of confirming God's power through these new times. And as the record of Scripture continues forward, the healing ministry of the apostles ceases. Another point to note, the illustration of miracles in Acts, the book of Acts, were not primarily to heal the afflicted, but to authenticate the apostle.

As we've just mentioned before, but here are some other references you might want to jot into your notes. Hebrews chapter 2 makes it very clear that the apostles in the past tense, those who heard him literally teach, that God confirmed through them the gospel, this so great salvation. How did he confirm it? Chapter 2 tells us by signs and wonders and miracles.

Past tense used to confirm that which we today have confirmed. Mark chapter 16 tells us that as soon as the Lord ascended, those, the apostles standing there watching him ascend and those in that apostolic community went everywhere, the Bible reads, preaching everywhere the Lord with them, confirming their word by the signs and wonders that followed. In other words, if we were living in the first century and I were an apostle, I'd preach a message and I might perform a miracle to prove the message I just preached was indeed from God.

Be kind of fun. Romans chapter 15 verse 15, Paul records that he preached the gospel as the apostle to the Gentiles with signs and wonders. This miracle era and the apostles who were part of creating miraculously this new thing we call, by God's grace, a new dispensation of grace. That foundation that they laid and proved as from God for only God could do the things they did. Even the rabbis taught that only God could heal.

And here are these messengers claiming to be God's messengers and they proved it. They healed. If the apostles, by the way, healed only because people were sick, you need to recognize the fact then that the apostles were extremely cruel men.

The city of Jerusalem was filled with beggars and disabled people, sick people, people who had died. Why not bring them all back to life? Why not heal all the sick?

Why? Because behind every display of power was a divine purpose. And so you see certain miracles selected, especially in the book of Acts, you'll see miracles selected that mirrored the miracles of Jesus Christ to undeniably prove they were God's apostles. You say, Stephen, why are you taking the time to expound us? Are you afraid of the miraculous?

No, I'm not. But I am afraid for you. I'm afraid for the church today. And I will warn you, just as the elders in Ephesus were told by Paul to warn the flock because false teachers and deceivers will come in to woo people away from the truth. And what better way to woo people away than some quote unquote miraculous experience?

Well, let's continue forward here. Here's another principle. The ability of Satan to counterfeit miracles of healing requires critical, careful thinking among Christians today. Did you know that Satan and his demonic hosts are capable of producing counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders?

The problem is they not only accomplish it under the guise of false religion, especially in America, a lot of it is accomplished under the guise of a pseudo-spirituality. You usually hear Jesus' name attached to what's done, which makes it even more deceptive. Listen to the words of the Lord from Mark chapter 13. You might write that reference in your Bibles. The Lord Himself warned that, quote, false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show signs and wonders in order to lead the elect astray.

That's why I give you the warning today. Second Thessalonians chapter 2, the Apostle Paul warned that the antichrist himself will come with signs and wonders, with miraculous power. Have you ever wondered how in the world the population of planet earth could get over all of the things that divide them? And you could take a Hindu and put him together with a Muslim along with a Baptist who's left here on planet earth during the tribulation, unfortunately. How in the world you could all put them together so that they would follow the antichrist? Well Paul tells you in Second Thessalonians chapter 2 that he will take the seat of God in the temple and with signs and wonders, he will perform counterfeit miracles and the nations will fall at his feet. And if we ever live in a day when the stage is set for people to buy into anything supposedly supernatural, it is today.

They will toss this away if you can hand them an experience. If you can show them a miracle, it doesn't matter what the word may say. Well, it's time to think critically. Satan is alive and well. Well, does this mean that God doesn't perform miracles today?

Oh no. You didn't hear me say that. God performs miracles. In fact, one of the most common miracles that happens every day somewhere in the world is the miracle of regeneration, where somebody who is dead in sin comes to life in Christ. Does this mean, Stephen, that we can't pray for healing for those in our body? Oh no, I'm not saying that. We can and we do. Here's another principle, though, for you. While God's plan today may include miracle healing, miracle healers are not part of God's plan. That was for the apostles and that community as God established the New Testament Church Foundation upon which we have been building now for some 18, 1900 years. Well, back to our story.

Those are some things you can chew on and do your own personal study further. Verse 2 tells us that he was carried to the gate of the temple, which is called Beautiful. That's interesting because Josephus, the first century Jewish historian, informs us that this particular gate was impressive.

It was made of Corinthian bronze and then overlaid with gold and silver plates. This temple gate was so heavy that it took 20 men to open and close it. He wrote that when the sun shone on this gate, it shone with spectacular beauty.

I thought it was ironic that this gate, with all of its beauty, known as the Beautiful Gate, would be the daily post of someone so dirty and pathetic and hopeless. I think it's significant as well that of all the places this man could have chosen to beg, he chose a temple gate. He could have chosen anywhere in the city of Jerusalem, but he selected.

We don't know why. I don't want to read anything into it, but he chose to beg near the place where people would come to worship. And the text tells us that he specifically looked at the people who were entering the temple, not those who were leaving. I think he was shrewd in that they had money they were bringing for the offering. They were bringing things to give.

But yet I think there's more there. I think perhaps that these were the people that of all people should have been sympathetic to somebody who was hopeless and pathetic and poor, these people who would come who would be refreshed with the truth that God was a God of mercy. Maybe on their way in, they would show him mercy. So there he sat, day after day after day after day for some 40 years. Growing up around the servicemen center in downtown Norfolk, us missionary kids had a great opportunity to kind of run the streets. I'll never forget that old beggar who was always sitting at the same spot on the sidewalk at the bottom of the steps that led up to a large downtown department store. He had stumps for legs. He sat on a board with wheels under it and he would get around by pushing with his hands on the sidewalk. I remember he always was smiling and he'd look at the people who'd come in the shop with money hoping that they would give him some.

And I remember several times giving him everything I had, nickels, and putting them into his stainless steel cup. And he'd always smile and say to us kids, thank you. He was totally dependent upon the pity of people who had money, hoping they'd give him some. So here sits this beggar, I think, the same way in verse 2 tells us he's crying out to those entering the temple. He's begging that as he's verbalizing alms, he's shouting above the din and the noise, the movement of people, he's saying alms for a poor man!

Alms for a beggar! And when he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he began asking to receive alms. And Peter along with John fixed his gaze upon him and said, look at us. And he began to give them his attention, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene.

Walk. And taking him, seizing or grasping him by the right hand, he raised him up and immediately his feet and his ankles were socketed. They were joined. And with a leap, he stood upright and began to walk and he entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. And all the people saw him walking and praising God, being the one who used to sit at the beautiful gate. Now he's the man who used to sit there.

He used to sit at the beautiful gate at the temple to beg alms and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him. Can you picture this? He's walking and the restoration of atrophied muscles and the implanting in his brain of muscle memory, the connection of tendons. He's able here to immediately walk. Now it takes a child a couple of years to learn how to walk and we wish it took him longer. It takes even longer to learn how to run and jump. My little three-year-old girl is now in the kitchen.

Daddy, look. And she puts one foot up and she hops up and down. She's learned how to do that. That takes even longer. He's doing it all immediately. He's never walked a day in his life. This miracle is much more than strengthened muscles.

It is amazing. And he's doing all this of all places in the temple, where men with long faces are praying long prayers. People are quietly moving about fulfilling their ritual duties in what has at that moment become a dead religion. And suddenly they see movement, a blur, you know. You see this head periodically above everybody else's head as he's leaping. He's laughing. He's jumping up and down. He's breaking out into a hallelujah, yee-haw.

Another ancient Hebrew word. He's doing it all. Can you imagine in the temple? They'd never seen anything like this before.

The shock waves spread among the people. Hey, hey, this is that lame beggar, isn't it? He's the one who sat out by the gate. Now, he's the one leaping and shouting and praising God.

What's going on? So the text tells us that with this man clinging on to Peter, Peter begins to preach. And in the next few verses, he's going to explain that this man is an illustration of the power of the Messiah, whom they disowned and crucified. He is the king of a kingdom, he says, where the prophets have already declared that it's going to be a totally different way of living. One of those prophets, and Isaiah was in chapter 35 verse 6, said that living when the king comes with the kingdom on planet earth, Isaiah said, the lame will leap like a deer.

Look! Here's a living illustration of that truth. Can you imagine preaching of a promise while the foretaste of that promise dances around you? Periodically interrupting the sermon with a hallelujah.

Amen. Well, what can we apply to our story? Let me give you a couple of thoughts here. First of all, like the beggar's condition, our situation, or the condition of humanity, is helplessly crippled, unable to walk spiritually.

One author made an interesting comparison. He said, look, this man was born physically lame. We are born fallen. We are born spiritually crippled, unable to walk. Here's a man who was poor, unable to survive, except by the pity of others. And so humanity is unable to live spiritually without the mercy of Jesus Christ. This poor beggar was outside the place of worship, so to speak, and this author makes the point that we, no matter how close to the door we get, no matter how religious we look, no matter what we do, apart from Jesus Christ, we are outside the family of God.

The poor man was healed by the grace of God, and so we are saved by grace through faith. It is the free gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast. Secondly, like the beggar's cure, our spiritual healing is available to those who will then simply ask. It really depends on where you ask and of whom you ask, where you beg. Humanity is begging.

It is born begging, asking for satisfaction and for help. Depends upon which well you drink from. Maybe you drink from the well of business or materialism or sensuality or power or popularity or whatever, but those wells will leave you thirsting for another drink. It is only Jesus Christ who was able to say, you drink of me and you will never thirst again. But humanity, no matter how good they look or how much they have, ultimately will reach the end, and that broad path will lead to destruction. But for those who have received him, for those who begged life from him, to them he gave the right to become children of God. And one thing a parent never does is forget their children. Turn over quickly to chapter 4 verse 13 and look there.

I love this. This is too good not to show you now on the heels of our study. Now is they that as the religious leaders observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men. They were marveling.

Let's stop just quickly. They're hauled into prison because of this miracle and the Uproar creates and then the Sanhedrin has a meeting and calls Peter and John to stand before them and give an explanation about what they're teaching and preaching. And so here they stand and they're recognizing they're uneducated and untrained men. They're marveling and they began to recognize them as having been with Jesus and here it is, and seeing the man who had been healed standing with them they had nothing to say in reply. He might have still had on his street clothes. They recognized him. Why they had walked past him for decades in and out of that gate.

Maybe they had even put some coins in his stainless steel cup. Now here he stands. I imagine jumping every once in a while. Grinning from ear to ear he recognizes them too. Perhaps he said aye fellas, isn't this exciting?

I can walk. Isn't this great? Isn't the Son of God good? And they could say nothing. Warren Wiersbe wrote, now that this man could stand there was no question where he stood. So we like that beggar who have come to life in Jesus Christ may we stand and declare, look we can walk. We're alive spiritually.

We have the answer. We have the well from which you're to drink and never thirst again. It's found in the person of Jesus Christ, our living Lord. Thank you for joining us today. I hope this time in God's word has encouraged you. This is Wisdom for the Heart and we're working our way through a vintage wisdom series from the book of Acts called, The Harvest Begins. If you'd like to dive a little deeper into this study, we have a companion study guide with the same name. We're making it available during this series at a special rate. Please give us a call at 866-48-BIBLE so that we can give you information about this study guide. And be sure and join us tomorrow for our next Bible lesson here on Wisdom for the Hearts.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-05 02:41:28 / 2023-07-05 02:51:54 / 10

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