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Spiritual Sickness – Its Condition and Cure

07/11/2019

Spiritual Sickness –

Its Condition and Cure Demonstrated in the Lame Man

Text: Acts 3:1-19. Esp. V6.  

A well known story!  As children we sung a song about it in children’s meetings…. Peter and John went to pray; they met a lame man on the way. He asked for alms and held out his palms, and this is what Peter did say: “Silver and gold have I none, but what I have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” He went walking and jumping and praising God, walking and jumping and praising God. “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.”  Well, that just about sums it up for us!  But let’s think about this poor man…

 

1 The Man’s Condition.  

His condition is an analogy of our own spiritual condition, of the general nature of man and women who are sinners, out of Christ and without a Saviour, and bound for a lost eternity.

  1. Afflicted from birth to adulthood.  2 And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried,  His condition is a mirror image of the sinner’s condition.  Born in sin, we are helpless, unable to walk with God, – this man seems to have had no family, no acceptance in society,  And now he is an adult, a MAN, – his condition has not improved as life progressed.  It has simply taken over his life and is leading him inexorably towards death. 
  2. Left in ruins.  Unable to fend for himself or work for a living he would have been reduced to begging to earn a few scraps of food.  3 Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms.  Almsgiving was a moral obligation in Judaism.  Sin makes a beggar out of us.  We are all beggars.  Sin leaves us poor and wretched; it kills and it shames and it ruins lives.  Look at how pathetic he is.  Peter has to ask the beggar to look at him – this man was so damaged by life, so full of shame that he couldn’t even raise his eyes to plead for help.  V.
  3. Yet there was hope!  He had two things in his favour.
    1. He is still alive.  That might seem obvious!  But its important, for while there is life there is hope!  Isn’t it better to speak to a person while they are alive, in the hope that we might share something of the gospel with them before they die; rather than to just attend their funeral or visit their grave when they are gone?  And doesn’t death come upon us so swiftly, and sometimes so unexpectantly?
    2. He had some friends.  They were good friends, who cared enough about him to take him to the place where he could seek alms, and that day their ministry would be even more vital, for they would bring him to the place of salvation.  How can we be such a friend to others?  Remember that while the man’s cure was all of Christ, God used his friends, and Peter and John as human instruments to bring his healing about.  

So this man is in an awful dilemma.  A man who is helpless, and whose life is in ruins, who has been nothing but a beggar from birth to manhood, a miserable state. 

begging-1922612_1920.png

Almsgiving – a religious and moral duty in Israel

It is so when he arrives at the temple gate that day to begin reaching out to the visitors who are coming to worship there.  Among them are two of the disciples of Jesus, Peter and John, going up to the temple to pray.  

 

2 The Man’s Cure.   

Now he is going to receive a gift that is far better and more efficacious than any monetary charity.  His whole life is about to be transformed by Christ.  He will be cured.  His cure…

  • Was entirely divine in origin!  Peter and John did NOT cure this man.  They had no financial help to give.  They too were paupers, for they said, Silver and gold have I none;  Thats the only way to preach to sinners, as a dying man to dying men, as a sinner to sinners, as wretch to wretches…. This healing was not their work, it was the work of Jesus.  Peter adds, In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.  Salvation is only in the name of Jesus – only because of Calvary.
  • Was instant.  7 And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.  The forgiveness of ins is instantly effective.  To the repentant thief on the cross, Jesus said, ‘This day shalt thou be with me in paradise.’ – When He said, ‘They sins e forgiven – they were forgiven, right away.    There is a moment in time when a sinner passes from death unto life. 
  • Was freely given and received.  This man was a beggar.  He had nothing to offer, neither could he earn his cure, nor could he reward the human instruments of his cure.  He had absolutely nothing.   Thankfully God’s grace is always free!  Rev 22:7  
  • Was totally effective.  It was real and it was visible and it was joyful!  What a wonderful thing it is when the Lord Jesus touches a life! V 

There is a cure for sin!  It is a dive cure, an instant cure and an effective cure.

 

3 The man’s Changed Life.    

His cure, his healing that day:-

  • Had a profound effect on the sufferer.  
    • He was changed physically. He stood up and he walked!  Don’t underestimate the significance of this. Sometimes after an accident or illness, a person will need to learn to walk again, and that will require a lot of patience and a lot of physiotherapy, even for people who have walked for most of their life.   This man had never walked at all – he’d been crippled for his whole life – and in an instant he is walking and leaping!
    • He has new companions!   11 And as the lame man which was healed held Peter and John, all the people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon’s, greatly wondering.  He ‘hold on’ to the disciples and he goes with them to worship!  He has a new family, new friends, a whole new life.
    • He has spiritual life! The physical effects were great, but how much greater were the spiritual effects.  Now restored to health, his very first act is to go with the disciples into the temple to worship the God who had rescued him.  How applicable to us, saved sinners, we are lifted up by the hand of God from the prostration of sin, and walking in God’s ways, we joyfully rejoice, uniting together with God’s people to praise him for his salvation.  
  • Had a profound effect upon observers. The people who had witnessed this healing glorified God, and it became an opportunity for Peter to present the Gospel, and our proper response to it.  19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.

So, in this account from Acts we can see illustrated the lostness and helplessness of men in their sin and misery, that our only help in in the Lord, and that obtaining that help profoundly changes the life of the sinner and of those around him.   

© BobMcEvoy November 2019

From → Acts, Bible Study

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