The Goods

     

  Acts 3 portrays the miracle of Peter healing the crippled beggar at the gate of the Temple.  The man, lame from birth, was apparently well known to those who were regularly in the vicinity of the Temple.  Asking for money from Peter and his companion John, Peter told him that, "I don't have any money for you, but I'll give you what I have.  In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, get up and walk."  Peter then extended his hand and the man "jumped up."  He then began to "walk, leap, and praise God."  Scripture records of the onlookers that, "They were absolutely astounded......everyone stood in awe of the wonderful thing that had happened."
    T. Austin-Sparks asks of us 3 pointed questions as to this event and how it applies to our walk in Christ.  He wants to know first, are we, through the witness of our lives in Him, "closing the mouths of the scoffers?"  Surely in the crowd were many who had heard of the move of God that was happening in Jerusalem, of the relaying of the news that Christ had truly risen, and that those who were His followers, had boldly come forth and were ministering in His name.  Just as surely there had to be many who were at best, cynical, and many more who likely "scoffed" at the whole story.  With what Christ did through Peter, their mouths surely were closed.  They could do nothing but stand in awe of the witness of Christ in the lives of two men who they knew to be of very humble origins, yet who walked in the power of Christ.  Do we walk in the power of such a life?  Do we embody the resurrection life of Christ?  Do we, as Sparks puts it in his second question, "have the 'goods'?"  Are our lives much more than just words, information about Him, correct doctrine and theology, or, do we truly move in His resurrection life and power?  Do we indeed "have the goods?"
    This was a very great miracle done in His name by His people, but I think, particularly in our day, that there is an even greater miracle to be done through us, and this brings us to Sparks' third and final question.  "Do we embody, in our day to day living, His rest, peace, and strength?"       In a culture and world desperate for all three, do they see these in us?  Do they see us living from a place of deep rest in Him.  In a world in chaos, do they see us in living in and from His rest?  Or, do they witness men and women just as stressed out, anxious, fearful, and weary as they are?  Do they see in us, emanating from us, a peace that passes all understanding?  Lives that are not dependent on everything around them being at peace, but that live in undisturbed peace in the midst of a very disturbed world.  Do they have from our lives, the sense of His mighty strength showing forth through us?  Though not immune from the cares and struggles of life, they witness in us a power and strength that enables us to be overcomers in the midst of all of them.  The scoffers and cynics have no answer for those who live such lives.  Their mouths are closed.  They may refuse to believe, but they cannot deny.  Those they see truly have "the goods."
    How do you and I answer these 3 questions today?  One way or another, we will answer them.  Either by the closing of their mouths, or by giving "proof" to the attitudes of the scoffers and cynics.  Only the life truly living and abiding in Him will close mouths, and bring forth awe. Living in any other place will only feed the attitudes of the unbelieving.  I want to live with "the goods"  How about you?

Blessings,
Pastor 
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