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The Shadow Of Peter Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
August 15, 2022 1:00 am

The Shadow Of Peter Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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August 15, 2022 1:00 am

All of us would like to be a positive influence, giving people help and direction. In Acts 5, people brought the sick to Peter, now transformed by Jesus, so his shadow might fall upon them to be healed. In this message, we visit three different instances where his shadow—his influence—was profound, going into eternity. What kind of an impact are we having?

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Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. Those who say, I can't change, need to look at Peter, a man Jesus changed from timid fisherman to bold proclaimer. His transformation was so complete that even his mere presence caused the sick to be healed. From the Moody Church in Chicago, this is Running to Win with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line. Pastor Lutzer, even Peter's shadow was a mighty instrument when used by the Holy Spirit.

You're right, Dave. The very presence of Peter brought healing to many. And when you read the book of Acts, you discover that there were all kinds of miracles done by the apostles. And we may ask ourselves, why aren't those kinds of miracles seen today? Well, the answer may be found in 2 Corinthians chapter 12, verse 12, where the Bible says the signs of an apostle were done. God gave special gifts to the apostles to authenticate the Christian message. Later on in the history of the church, those kinds of miracles died out, but the power of the gospel continued to transform lives. I'm so glad that you have joined us today, by the way, to listen to the ministry of Running to Win.

And it's because of people just like you that we can continue. Would you consider becoming an endurance partner? Endurance partners are those who stand with us regularly with their prayers and their gifts. Here's what you can do to just find out more info. You can go to That's

And when you're there, click on the endurance partner button or call us at 1-888-218-9337. And so we turn to the scriptures to see how God changes a life. But I'm going to speak to you today on the topic of influence, because all of us would like to live lives of influence, wouldn't we? When I talk about influencing others, I don't mean that we want to have power over them. Whenever you meet someone who wants to have power and authority over others, you know that you've encountered someone who is a little bit like the devil, because that's what he likes. He likes to control. Satan loves to keep people under his thumb.

And there are some people like that. But I'm talking about positive influence, the kind of influence that enables us to give people direction, to give them help, to impact their lives forever in the right direction. We'd all like to have that kind of influence, and by the power of the Spirit, we can. Those of you who have been with us regularly know that this happens to be number 11 in a series of messages on the life of Peter. I'd like you to turn to Acts 5 today. Acts 5, at least as the beginning passage of Scripture, and we're going to link together several different episodes in his life.

Every one of these episodes would be worthy of another sermon, but I've decided to end the series with 13, so we have to group certain instances in his life together. But before we do, notice in Acts 5, it says that not only was Peter able to speak in tongues, as we learned last time, he and the other apostles were doing this as proof that the gospel was going to the Gentiles. That's the way in which Paul interprets it, and that's why all genuine speaking in tongues is always an actual human language. But also, God gave them the ability to do miracles, particularly Peter. Acts 5, verse 12, and at the hands of the apostles, many signs and wonders were taking place among the people, and they were all in one accord. Verse 14, and all the more believers in the Lord, multitudes of men and women were constantly added to their number to such an extent that they even carried the sick into the streets and laid them on cots and pallets, so that when Peter came by, at least his shadow might fall on them.

I've entitled this message The Shadow of Peter. We're not sure whether or not all those who had Peter's shadow fall on them. We're not sure that all of them were healed.

It does not say so, but it seems to imply that. Certainly, many were healed because it says in verse 16, and also people from the cities and the vicinity of Jerusalem were coming together, bringing people who were sick or afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all being healed. The Shadow of Peter. What I'd like to do now is to take three different instances in his life and show you how that his shadow, his influence, was profound and, in effect, lasts forever. First of all, I want you to notice that sometimes the Shadow of Peter meant that he had a healing touch. Acts chapter 3, turn back just a couple of pages in your Bible. Acts chapter 3, you remember the story of a man who was a cripple, and as Peter and John were going to the temple to pray, it says in verse 2, a man who had been lain 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. If you know anything about the city of Jerusalem, this was the eastern gate.

If you walked through that gate, you walked through the Kidron Valley to the Mount of Olives. And here's this man sitting here every day, hoping that as people come out of the temple, after all, if people are religious, they're generous, aren't they? Hoping that he would receive something. And Peter and John looked at him in verse 4 and said, look at us, and he began to give them his attention, expecting to receive something from them. Peter said, I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you in the name of Jesus the Nazarene, walk. And seizing him by the right hand, he raised him up, and immediately his feet and his ankles were strengthened, and with a leap he stood upright and began to walk, and he entered the temple with them, walking and praising God. And all the people saw him walking and praising God. What an incredible miracle. I wish I had the gift of miracles. Some people today think that they do, and sometimes we're a bit disappointed when upon closer examination we discover that it wasn't a gift of miracles at all, it was a gift of illusion of some sort.

But this was the real thing. What is it that Peter saw? He saw a man who was lame, crippled, who was expecting to receive some money. What did he give him?

He took him by the right hand and he said, I do not have any money, but in the name of Jesus, walk. What a gift that was much better than money. You know, there are some people who have absolutely nothing to give. They have no silver and no gold, and they have nothing beyond that within their personalities to give either. And then there are some people who have only silver and gold.

That's all they've got. But if that is all that you have and you do not have a generous heart, if you do not have faith and love and hope, very probably you will not give anyone your silver and gold. And then there are those who have something else. Like Peter, they don't have silver and gold, but they have faith and they have hope and they have love and they help people.

Now I want you to listen very carefully. Jesus Christ does not expect us to give to people something that we ourselves do not have. Peter said, I don't have silver and gold. He wasn't expected to give it, but what he had he gave, and that was authority to speak the word that this crippled man might walk.

Now let me ask you something. What is it that you have received from God that you can give? Freely you have received, freely you give. Those who receive the fullness of the Holy Spirit of God, they are the ones who have something to give to people. Maybe it is a listening ear.

There are multitudes of people today who need someone to listen to them, someone to bear those heavy burdens that seem to overcome them. Maybe your gift is the ability to pray, the ability to intercede and to call on God. If that's your gift, please add me to your prayer list and let me commend you because you have something important to give. Maybe it is a word of encouragement. Maybe it is the ability to have hospitality and to invite needy people to your home or to your apartment. Maybe it is the gift of friendship.

Whatever it is, we should give. Yesterday I was in a moment of despair. I called on the telephone to a friend of mine whose marriage is in deep trouble, and it has been for a long time. And I have prayed for him. We've done everything that we possibly could. It looks as if counseling doesn't help. And you cry out to God and you say, God, what is it that I have to give him? All that I had yesterday was a word of prayer over the telephone. Maybe there's more that I can give.

I know that there is more that I can give, but I want you to know this, that in every situation we should be able to give something. Sometimes Peter's shadow was a healing touch, the gift of life and the gift of faith. Now there's a second example, and that is sometimes Peter's shadow was also a stinging rebuke, a stinging rebuke. Acts chapter 5.

You know the story. As the Holy Spirit came to the early church, everyone suddenly became generous. You know, one of the marks of the Holy Spirit of God is the Word of God breeds an automatic spontaneous generosity in the lives of people. That's why it is often said that our financial problems may not be as much financial as they are spiritual because those who are filled with the Spirit enjoy giving.

That is one of the marks of the Spirit's fullness. And in the fourth chapter we find out that the believers were spontaneously, without being asked, they were selling their property and they were giving it to the apostles so that the apostles could distribute their property, the money that had been received to the poor. It says, for example, in chapter 4 verse 34, there was not a needy person among them for all who were owners of land or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sales and lay them at the apostles feet and they would be distributed to each as they had need. Nobody was required to do it.

Nobody is required to do it today. In the epistles that the apostle Paul wrote, he said nothing about believers needing to do this. Those who had property could have kept the property, they could have sold the property and given a part of it to the church and kept the rest for themselves, all perfectly fine. It was the work of the Holy Spirit that was making people generous.

But there was a man and his wife by the name of Ananias and Sapphira and one day at breakfast as they were having a bagel, they said to each other, you know, we would really like to pretend that we're spiritual. We'd like to be well-fought of. And so they said, here's what we'll do. We'll sell our property. Let's say that we'll sell it for a thousand dollars.

We'll give five hundred of it to the church and we'll pretend that we are giving it all so that we will be thought of as being just as spiritual as all these other generous people. And so they agreed and they said, why not? And in fact, it wasn't even so much as a lie, it was a white lie. And so they did that. And notice they kept back part of the price.

This is in chapter five and Peter knew about it in verse three. He says, Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back some of the price of the land? While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control?

You could have kept all the money. Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men, but to God. And as he heard these words, Ananias fell down and breathed his last and he was dead.

And when his wife walked in, she died instantly as well. The shadow of Peter causing a stinging rebuke. A couple of interesting comments about lying. First of all, a notice that nobody lies to men. You say, oh yes, I lied to my employer last week.

No, you really didn't. Everybody who lies, lies to God because he is the supreme law giver of the whole universe. And because God is the supreme one, when we are dishonest, we are dishonest to him. Second observation, notice that Satan is involved in lying because he is a liar and the father of lies.

If you tell a lie, you are standing on his side of the line. You are crossing over and you are saying, I'm standing with the devil. Now Ananias and Sapphira had no idea that while they were having this discussion over breakfast, that an evil spirit had put this idea into their minds. They would have been terrified if they had known that there was an evil spirit in their kitchen.

But what Satan does is he puts ideas into our minds that we think are our own so that we aren't afraid of those ideas and we embrace those ideas and we act on them not knowing that we are doing the will of the one who hates us, the devil. And God took the lying very seriously and they died. Now I know that I used that terminology, but yesterday one of my daughters is graduating this afternoon from high school, by the way.

Lynn graduates today and Lisa graduated on Wednesday. And yesterday we had an open house for them and someone, and I won't say who, but he is presently on the platform here at the church, and without being specific, may I say that he gave the announcements this morning, gave my daughter this politically correct dictionary. And sometimes, you know, those of us as preachers, we don't always say things politically correct. Now Ananias and Sapphira died, so I had to look up what dead means to be politically correct. For example, the word disorganized means non traditionally ordered.

A disruptive child is a child with an attention deficit disorder. But now we're back to the text of Scripture. Ananias and Sapphira were dishonest. What is dishonesty? It's not politically correct to use the word.

To be dishonest is to be ethically disoriented. Alright, they were ethically disoriented, but the word I really want is dead. That's politically incorrect. I mean, imagine how crass can you say it?

They died. So let's say it correctly. To be dead is to be terminally inconvenienced. That's what it says here.

In fact, it gives an example. It says William Casey is a terminally inconvenienced American. Alright, we're going to say it now politically correct. Ananias and Sapphira were ethically disoriented, and so God came and terminally inconvenienced them. Now, I want you to know today that sometimes our shadow is not a shadow that comes and touches people and blesses them. Sometimes our shadow has to be the shadow of a stinging rebuke.

Well, yes, my friend, despite the fact that we today are sometimes told that we have to speak politically correct, the simple fact, and let's not miss it, is this. On the one hand, Peter was able to heal people. On the other hand, his very presence brought death, the death of judgment, to Ananias and, of course, also to Sapphira. Both of them died. Now, God dealt with them very strongly because of their sin, because of their lie.

It's a reminder of the fact that God wanted the Church of Jesus Christ to begin with a sense of purity, a commitment to holiness, and Ananias and Sapphira were, of course, living differently than that through their deception, and they died. Let me ask you a question. When you listen to the ministry of running to win, are you challenged? Do you discover new truth?

Are you motivated to run the Christian life all the way to the finish line? If you're answering yes, it's because people just like you have invested in this ministry. Now, there are those who contribute to us regularly with their prayers and their gifts. We call them the endurance partners, and they aren't just givers. They are partners with us in the ministry.

They hold our hands. I like to speak about it as becoming a part of the running to win family. Now, to get more information, here's what you do. Go to That's When you're there, click on the endurance partner button. Or if you prefer, right now you can call us at 1-888-218-9337. It's time now for you to ask Pastor Lutzer a question about the Bible or the Christian life.

Lisa listens to running to win in Concord, New Hampshire, and she has this question. My husband and I have been married for 17 years. He is not a believer and does not work. My friends tell me I should get a divorce because he is holding me back. But I believe that divorce is a sin.

What should I do? Lisa, there are several things that I'd like to say to you about your situation, and I think that others who are listening are going to benefit from what I have to say. First of all, the Bible is very clear that if there is a wife who is married to an unbelieving husband, she should not leave him because he's an unbeliever. You remember the apostle Paul says, what do you know, old wife, but that your husband is sanctified by your relationship? And so you have, in the life of your husband, a very positive input. And as a result of that, the Bible makes it very clear that wives should stay with unbelieving husbands. And of course, the opposite would be true as well. A believing husband should stay with an unbelieving wife.

That's the first thing. Secondly, we need to always keep in mind that the Bible says that the wife is to win her husband over without a word. Now this is found in first Peter chapter three. Peter says that if there are those whose husbands do not obey the word, they may be won by the wife without a word.

That's actually a paraphrase, but that's what the text says. Husbands are notorious for not responding to wives who witness to them, who want to cajole them or to manipulate them into faith or going to church. They react against that. But the Bible says that through your conduct, it's there in the text, his heart will be affected by your life. Now I have to tell you that frequently there are Christian women who do not act Christianly towards their husband. I'm sure that you're not one of them, but that actually negates this promise of how God is going to win your husband. Now, of course, if there is abuse, of course you should leave.

You should run to get help. But just because a man is an unbeliever and out of work as your husband seems to be, that's no reason to leave him. Then I should also give a word about the importance of vows.

You know, the Bible says this, that the Lord honors those blessed are those who swear to their own hurt and yet do not change. You may look back in your life and regret that you married your husband. You may think to yourself, I should have married someone else.

Let me tell you, the minute you begin to go down that path, that path has many danger points along the way. You married this man. You're committed to him. You're going to be faithful to him. You are going to be silent in the sense that you aren't going to try to control him or manipulate him into faith. You're going to give him to God, trust God for him. And remember my sister, eternity is coming.

God rewards those who are faithful, even when faithfulness means sacrifice. Thanks so much for communicating with us. God bless you.

And I trust that you will have a very fulfilling marriage. You can write to us at Running to Win, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois, 60614. Running to Win is all about helping you understand God's roadmap for your race of life. We all leave a long legacy for others to follow. Peter left a mark so powerful that even his shadow caused the sick to be healed. Next time on Running to Win, Erwin Lutzer talks about the effect you and I have on the lives of others and why we too must live in the power of the Holy Spirit. Thanks for listening to our series on the life of Peter. For Dr. Erwin Lutzer, this is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-12 00:46:51 / 2023-03-12 00:55:34 / 9

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