January 24th, 2016 – Acts 3:1-12
January 24th, 2016 – Acts 3:1-12
|Out of the 365 days we have in any given year, few are what we would call epic.Think back on your life – depending on how old you are, your birthday, graduation, wedding day, birth of children, among a few others, are exceptional, highlighted, joyful, memorable days in your life. The rest, the majority, are what we would label “ordinary”. Work, school, eat, run errands, take care of the normal stuff of life. Check off the box sort of things.
But what if I were to tell you that going forward from here you could have more epic days than ordinary days? What if we could flip that statistic around in your life? What if epic became the norm? No more majority ordinary days. This is not only possible, but expected as we become Holy Spirit dependent and empowered people.
Now, what Jesus asks us to do is impossible. In Matthew 10 He tells His us to heal the sick, raise the dead, cast out demons – you know, the big ticket, over the top, out of our league sorts of things. The fact is, we cannot do these things or really ANYthing of lasting significance for God in our own power. That’s why He included in His instructions saying, “Freely you’ve received, freely give.”
But what have we freely received? What has Jesus given us that will help us effectively do what He’s called us to do? The answer – capacity beyond ourselves. The ability to exceed! He knows we have a severe capacity issue, just like our smart phones. But where we max out the Holy Spirit exceeds. That’s all part of the “greater things” Jesus was talking about when He said, “Greater things will you do because I go to My Heavenly Father.”
In Acts 3, we see a day starting out for Peter like any other day, but this ordinary day turned into an epic day because the Holy Spirit had a plan to exceed beyond Peter’s natural ability, and Peter was a willing partner in allowing it to happen.
Here’s the steps from ordinary to epic that Peter experienced – First, His ordinary turned exceptional – Peter didn’t look away or ignore the crippled man, but looked straight at him. (v.4) This is the key, being sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit and making yourself available.
Every morning when you get up, pray, “Holy Spirit, make me sensitive and available to You today.” See what happens. That’s a prayer that will take your ordinary day and make it exceptional.
As Peter allowed the Holy Spirit to exceed through him, the crippled man was healed and thousands of people were filled with wonder and amazement at it. What could the Holy Spirit do through us as we make ourselves sensitive and available to Him?
Second, Peter’s exceptional day turned strategic “When Peter saw this…” V. 12 Peter didn’t stop there. He didn’t just go on his way. He continued to allow the Holy Spirit to exceed through him and began to preach Jesus to the gathered crowd.
The Holy Spirit is very intentional. We can trust Him. He has a strategy to glorify Christ. He’s just looking for sensitive and available partners like you and me.
There’s three things we can see in this strategic sharing – 1.He spoke with authority – He didn’t mince words, but spoke under the anointing of the Holy Spirit. We have the authority given to us by Jesus through His Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:18 – “All authority has been given to Me (Jesus)…”)
2.He spoke with clarity – He clearly laid out what God’s Word said about Jesus and His Lordship. 2 Tim. 4:2, “Preach the Word, be prepared in season and out of season. Correct, rebuke, and encourage, with great patience and careful instruction.” We don’t know what we’re gonna say, but the Holy Spirit does. Yield your tongue to Him and watch what happens.
3. He spoke with compassion – He didn’t belittle or berate, but lovingly conveyed the message without alienating them (3:17 – “Now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance…”) Jesus was asked what was the greatest commandment. He said, “Loving God and loving others.” These two greatest commands, when authentically lived out in true community, effectively reaps a large harvest.
Finally, Peter’s strategic day turned epic. In Acts 2 we see 3000 added to the Church. In Acts 4:4 we see 2000 more. We’re up to 5000 in just a short time. These people added to the Church that day heard the message of Jesus Christ powerfully, clearly, and lovingly.
The message hasn’t changed, “Repent AND turn to God” (3:19) We can’t have one without the other. We must first repent, turn from our wicked ways. But we can’t do that without also turning TO God. We can’t expect to be saved on Sunday and live the way we always have Monday-Saturday. We must turn away from those ways of unbelief and fleshly living and grab hold of God and His ways. That’s what the 2000 did that day Peter preached.
Listen, too many people repent with their mouths but not with their actions. Today Church, Bride of Christ, truly repent by relinquishing your hold on earthly things and turning with your whole heart to Jesus Christ. Give Him everything. Let Him make everything new. Don’t be just a Sunday morning Christian. That won’t cut it with God. He’s not going to share you with anyone or anything else. He’s not going to inhabit a compromised, divided heart. Truly live it out in 2016.
Let’s exceed where we are by allowing the Holy Spirit to empower us and let’s live a life completely dependent upon Him. No more majority ordinary days. Let’s flip it around. Let’s swap ordinary for exceptional, and watch the exceptional turn strategic, and watch the strategic turn epic!
It is possible. The Holy Spirit is just looking for a willing partner through which to exceed. How about you today? Won’t you be a willing partner?