By What Power Do You Do This?

Have you ever done something good and had it backfire? Have you ever done a good deed, some act of kindness, been extra generous, selfless, and had it turn out badly? Maybe you loaned something it came back damaged or broken, you gave some money and never got repaid. Or maybe you just got ingratitude in return, no appreciation or thanks. Have you ever done what is right and suffered as a result? Have you ever had a negative outcome from a positive intention? Some cynical people would say no good deed goes unpunished. One day Peter and John were walking through the temple to a prayer gathering and they saw a crippled man, they offered healing to him in the name of Jesus. And they end up in prison. Scripture teaches that the reward for doing good and for pursuing godliness and for living in a Christ-like manner is not fame and fortune and popularity, but persecution. Our allegiance to a suffering Christ will result in suffering.

When I talk with many of our senior saints one of the concerns or fears I hear expressed the most is basophobia. You didn’t know that did you. It is also call FOF, fear of falling. When we get older it is a legitimate concern. If you have fallen before it is an especially big concern. For some of us this fear is on our mind a lot, we worry about it, we take precautions, we use extra means to keep it from happening, like canes and walkers and removing obstacles. That’s wisdom. There is a parallel between our fear of physically falling and spiritually falling. We should treat them both in similar ways and be just as diligent with guarding against both. In fact, we should be more diligent in guarding against spiritual falling. What is more important, our bodies or our souls? Didn’t Jesus say,

A Sign and a Sermon

We return again this morning to chapter three of Acts where we are given a sign and a sermon. The sign is the miraculous healing of a man who was severely crippled from birth for over forty years. After walking, running, jumping, and leaping for joy, we are told he is now clinging to Peter and John. All the people came, they were amazed and astounded. God wanted to say something and He used this miracle to get everyone’s attention so He could say it, and not just to them, but to us here and now.

Peter's Second Sermon

A Sign and a sermon. In chapter three of Acts we are given a sign and a sermon, a miracle and a message. The sign is the miraculous healing of a man who was severely crippled from birth for over forty years. After walking, running, jumping, and leaping for joy, we are told he is now clinging to Peter and John. All the people came, they were amazed and astounded. A sign and a sermon. Which do you think is more impressive, which is more powerful, which is more important? Let’s imagine for a moment I went to Mary right now and said, “Mary, in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” Then immediately her leg grew back and strength returned to her legs and she stood up and started walking. In fact, even though it isn’t a very Dutch thing to do, she started dancing. After that, what would happen? People would start talking all over Lynden about this amazing thing Pastor Robert did and people would come flocking. Am I right? Who knows, it might even make the national news. Within months I would have a TV ministry, a mansion and a Lear Jet. And I would be a charlatan for cashing in on the miracle and using it for my own gain and glory. If I was wise I would do what Peter did and call time out and preach a sermon explaining what happened and why it happened and what it all means and what we should do in response to what happened. In other words, the miracle is not what’s most important, what’s most important is what it points to.

Things Hard to Understand

As we come to this final passage of II Peter I want to approach it a bit differently and focus on four phrases that stand out to me in the text. Next week I will wrap up the whole letter with a focus on the last two verses.