Leaping for Joy

Leaping for Joy

At the end of each year a prominent Christian researcher, George Barna, releases a summary of his finding concerning the church in America. Some of his research this past year has been encouraging. For instance, an estimated 22 million adults have been added to the church in America in the last decade. America’s youngest pastors are more aware of and responsive to the battle for the minds and hearts of children. Most Americans, nearly two-thirds of them, continue to give significant amounts of money to churches and houses of worship, and the number of adults involved in small groups has jumped from twelve percent to twenty percent since 1994. These are all blessings to the church; however, many of Barna’s findings grieve us as we read them. First, there seems to be a consistent degree of attrition of men in the Christian faith so that the numbers of men who are unchurched are rising rapidly. Only one-half of all self-described Christians describe themselves as “absolutely committed” to the Christian faith. Faith seems to have a limited affect upon behavior, upon moral choices, convictions, and practices.

For instance, only eight percent of teenagers consider music piracy to be morally wrong; taking a cd, copying it, using it, and distributing it to others to be any problem at all.

Again, born-again Christians and adults who attend churches are more likely than atheists, agnostics, and non-church goers to buy lottery tickets. They are more to buy them. Only seven percent of born-again adults tithed this past year and hardly any of them were people forty and under. Most all of those were forty and older. Furthermore, just half of all Protestant senior pastors meet the criteria of having a biblical world view; that is to say they believe in a Sovereign God, they believe in Jesus Christ who is sinless and God come in the flesh, that Satan is real, that salvation is received through faith in Jesus Christ.

What these finding tell us is something that many of us already intuitively know: the church needs a fresh wind from God to blow a fresh breath of life into our soul. The church needs a fresh fire from heaven to burn us with a zeal for holiness and a passion for God’s glory.

We can be of great cheer because God loves to send His Spirit upon His people. That is what He does. God’s part is to graciously give the gift of His Spirit and our part is to earnestly yearn for His actively presence, to yearn for His Spirit inside of us, working actively to change us to be more like Jesus and to do the work that Jesus called us to do.

At Christmas time if children rightfully look in hopeful joy for that gift under the tree, the gift of a bicycle or a doll or a video game, how much more do we as believers rightfully yearn, rightly long for the gift of God’s Spirit to be active in our hearts, in our lives, and in our church.

The whole of the Book of Acts teaches us of the presence and power of God’s Spirit at work in and through ordinary people like you and me. Acts instructs us of this Spirit’s work, not only through objective precepts and principles, but also through the colors of story. All through Acts we will see story after story of this truth. One such story is found in Acts 3. This is the story of a crippled man who would leap for joy. God intends for this lame man to help us to awaken to the power and the joy of being filled with God’s Spirit.

There are three ways this lame man pushes us toward joy in our Lord. First, the lame man encourages us to biblical compassion. Apart from biblical compassion we cannot have biblical joy. Secondly, this lame man testifies to the power of Jesus’ name. It is through the experience of the transforming power of God’s grace in our lives that we find joy. Finally, this lame man illustrates for us authentic salvation.

Let us first look at this lame man’s encouragement to biblical compassion in Verse 1:

One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon.

Peter and John have a team ministry. They had been together as fishermen and all throughout the time they were with Jesus and we still find them working together and worshipping together and serving together in Acts 3, once the church began. They were going up to the temple, which is interesting, because it was in the temple, whose leaders had just a month before crucified the King of Glory, and yet they didn’t have the attitude, “Look what happened at that place. I am never going back there again.” They recognized that they still needed to connect with God even though the leadership of the temple was not respectable and was not following God.

We don’t know what day of the week this way. We only know the time: it was three o’clock in the afternoon. It was the time of prayer. They had a regular habit, perhaps a daily habit, of going up to the temple for the sole purpose of prayer, of calling out to God in humble dependence upon His mercy, upon His provision, and upon His help.

If we read Psalm 55, we read that the Jews identified three specific hours of the day that were committed to prayer: one around nine o’clock in the morning, one in the afternoon at twelve, and one in the evening at three o’clock. This one in the evening was the one that had the most people coming. It was a time, also, of sacrifice. We find Peter and John going up to the temple for prayer. The application is not hard to find – these believers in the early church in order maintain joy, in order to have an effective witness, and in order to continue to serve God, still recognized their need to depend upon Him through prayer; not just individual prayer but corporate prayer – coming together. It is essential that the body of Christ know the joy of the Lord and that we would commit ourselves to the dependence upon God and prayer.

It is prayer that gives us God’s eyes to see this world through and with. It helps us to see people the way that Jesus sees people. Prayer creates a deep compassion for people whom we would otherwise overlook.

Peter and John were in the habit of prayer and they were going up to the temple to pray and they came upon this man as we read on in Verse 2:

Now a man crippled from birth…

When we get into Chapter 4, Verse 22, we will find that this man was over forty years old. For forty years he had been crippled. He had been lame. He had never known what it was like to walk because he was crippled from birth. He was being carried because he was helpless to transport himself to the temple gate called “Beautiful”. This was one of the many gates of the temple and there

…he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts.

Having never walked a step in his whole life he was committed, necessarily so, to begging for his livelihood. You can imagine his plight can’t you: everyday from birth having to be carried everywhere. He didn’t have the modern medical conveniences to have a wheel chair to have some independence. He was totally helpless to get from his bed to anywhere that he wanted to go. He had to rely on others to carry him. There was no such thing as Social Security, public aid, and if you were to survive you sat day-by-day and called, “Have mercy upon me, a poor lame man. Please, alms for the poor.” Undoubtedly he gain an expectation that people would furtively glance and then turn quickly and not want look at him for very long because to look at a beggar for very long obligates one to go and talk and help.

Those who live in big cities know that. As you live in large cities where begging on the street is not uncommon, you recognize the people are constantly saying, “Give me some money! Do you have some money to help a poor man?” You get used to looking the other way and walking right on by.

Understand that Peter and John had often gone to this temple. This was a place of worship that they frequented. Undoubtedly, this man would have called out to them sometime in the past, but there is no indication that they ever stopped before. For over forty years he sat at the temple gate. We don’t know the ages of Peter and John, maybe in their twenty’s, but they never stopped. Why did they stop this time? The Spirit of God had gotten a hold of them and they had compassion and they saw with the eyes of Jesus.

Perhaps this beggar had seen Peter and John before and had asked them for money, as he had everyone who had walked by, but this time Peter looked straight him. Look at Verses 3 and 4:

3When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. 4Peter looked straight at him…

In looking straight at this man and his difficult plight, he is following his Lord Jesus. Luke is the author of Acts and Luke seems to love to point out how Jesus “looks” at people. For the first time, Peter and John looking, not with their own eyes, but they are looking with Jesus’ eyes at this man. We see this in Luke 19:5, and the story of Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector. He was very wealthy. He was the one who wanted to see Jesus. He never anticipated, or even thought, that Jesus would actually see him. It was so crowded that he couldn’t get near so he climbed up in a sycamore tree to get a glimpse of Jesus. He wanted to see Jesus. He had heard much about Him. He was curious and he wanted to see Him. He never imagined that Jesus would stop and see and look at him, but that is exactly what Jesus did.

5When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.”

Jesus sees people differently than we would in our own natural heart and in our own natural lives. Perhaps we would have seen a man in the midst of the crowd up in the tree and been curious, and if we knew who he was we may have said, “That is Zacchaeus. What is he doing here? He is a tax collector. He is wealthy. He has ripped off most of the people around us,” and walked right on by, but not Jesus. Jesus saw a man who needed Him and He stopped.

Let’s look at another story that Jesus tells in Luke 15:20. It is a very famous story; the story of the prodigal son. The prodigal has gone off into his rebellion and into his profligate lifestyle and he looses everything. He becomes despondent and he decides that maybe his father will take him back as a slave or as a servant. This tells us of the father’s response after the son decides to come home:

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.”

His father looked for him everyday to come home and when he did he immediately ran. He had compassion upon him.

The emphasis in Jesus’ ministry is, first, the way that Jesus saw people. He saw more. He saw deeply. He saw more thoroughly. He saw into the hearts of men and women. As a result, His ministry was radical in its power. Peter and John, for the first time, in Acts 3, saw with the eyes of Jesus and when they saw this lame man and when the lame man looked at them, they looked straight at them. He saw him.

If a church is to regain her joy she must begin to see with Jesus’ eyes; she must begin to this heart of compassion toward people.

Here are three specific principles concerning compassion that we learn from this story. The first is that the ministry of compassion happens when you are not planning for it. If you are to be a minister of the Gospel, and all believers are called to be ministers of the Gospel, if you are to have this ministry of compassion, know that it happens when you are not planning for it.

Peter and John were going to this temple for the purpose of prayer. They weren’t going to minister to people. They weren’t going to the temple and say, “Let’s go to the temple and see if we can find some beggars to heal them.” This was not on their “things to do” list and they made it for the day.
Parents, in your homes, please note that some of the best times to minister to the souls of your sons and daughters will be the times when you are not planning for it and least expect it. It is good to plan for ministry with your children. Peter and John did that as well, but understand and open up your eyes and your schedules and your time and your energy and look for those great opportunities that God opens up. Call out each day and depend upon God, “Lord, help me to see with eyes and see the opportunities I have with my children, with my family, and with people around me.”

What is true in a family is also true in this church. There are some of you who come with a specific plan to minister in a specific way and that is wonder to plan for ministry. You plan to teach a Sunday school class. You plan to be in the nursery. You plan to usher. You plan to greet people at the door. You have a great plan for ministry. But, understand, some of the greatest opportunities for your ministry are those times when you are not expecting and not planning at all. It just happens.

Several months ago a man came to this church visiting on Sunday evening and one of the other men in church came up to him, introduced himself, shook his hand, and asked, “Where are you with the Lord?” A second man came up to him a separate time and asked him the very same type question, “What is your relationship with Jesus like?” That man brought him to me and said, “Ritch, I want to introduce you to so-and-so,” and we began to talk. I ask him the same questions and that night that man trusted in Jesus Christ as his Savior and about a month ago was baptized. I don’t think any of us went to church that night and thought, “We are going to find so-and-so. We are going to witness and share the Gospel with him and we are going to hope that he will become a believer.” This is what happens when eyes begin to be opened and if those two men’s eyes, who were just members of the church, who that night just wanted to come and enjoy a worship service, and if their eyes were not opened, I would have never talked to that person. Who knows? Beloved, we must keep our eyes open and ask God to help us to see opportunities for ministry and then take those opportunities.

The second principle of the way a man teaches concerning compassion is that compassion demands that we give what we have. Look at the story in Verse 6:

Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you.

Compassion demands that we give what we have. However, compassion does not demand that we give what we don’t have so that alleviates us from a lot of guilt. We are not called upon to solve the problems of the whole world. We can’t do that because none of us has the resources, the time, the money, the ability, but we are called to give what we do have. In this particular occasion Peter and John didn’t have any money because they had already given it all away. The Book of Acts tells us that they had already come across poor believers and they gave up their money. This wasn’t just a line to keep them from giving their precious money. They didn’t have any money, but he said, “What we do have we will give you.”

The cheerful disposition of those who receive the life of Jesus Christ to be givers and lovers, by this we know we have the love of God and that we love one another. Among the church there are no reluctant givers, not those who are least filled by God’s Spirit and by His life. When we give reluctantly it is because we are giving out of the flesh. There is no joy in that. The only “cheerful givers in God’s church” is when God is ruling and when the Holy Spirit of God is reigning as we yield to Him.

What do you have that you can give? Perhaps you do have silver and gold. God calls us to give it, doesn’t He? Perhaps you are like Peter and John. We can still give the Gospel. We can still give prayer. We can still give words of kindness and hospitality from our homes. Compassion demands that we give what we have.

Interestingly, the lame man wasn’t asking for that which Peter and John gave which indicates to us as well that compassion doesn’t demand that we always give what we are asked to give. They were asked to give some money and Peter and John said, “No, we can’t give you that, but what we do have we give you freely.”

The third principle behind compassion that we learn from this lame man is that compassion keeps the small picture in mind. This runs contrary to many principles in leadership and church growth today. Church growth exhorts us to keep the big picture in mind, to have that big vision, and to keep that vision always in mind and to move forward to that vision. It is true that God has a God-sized vision for His church so I don’t resist that idea completely, but in the midst of having this God-sized vision He exhorts us as believers to keep the small picture in mind. What is the small picture? It is the individuals whom the world would say that don’t matter that much; it is the beggars, it is the lame people, it is the sick, the widows, the poor, the orphans. That is why James says, “Do you know what true religion is, it is this: to care for the widows and orphans. This is true religion.”

Christian ministry is always about loving individual people. It is never about loving a crowd. Crowds are great and we get excited about crowds not just because they are crowds but because crowds are made up of individuals whose lives are being touched by the grace of God. That is what makes a crowd exciting.

Many believers ask today, “How can I get this joy of God in my heart. I have been a Christian a long time but I am not sure I have this joy that others talk about. How can I get the joy of God in my heart?” The answer is to ask God for a heart of compassion. I have yet to meet a man or a woman of compassion who is also a not a man or woman of joy. John and Peter were men of joy because they were being used by God in such a powerful way that they had compassion upon others.

Compassion for others always precedes joy and joy never comes by trying to get more joy for ourselves. It always comes as we yield ourselves over to God more fully because God is the source of all joy. The lame man encourages us towards biblical compassion.

The second lesson that the lame man teaches is he testifies to the power of the name of Jesus. We continue with Verse 6:

“Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.”

This was totally unexpected. The man was expecting to receive some money from them, but instead he hears them say: “In the name of Jesus of Nazareth, walk.” And then, in Verse 7:

Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up…

The man was stunned by these words even as he felt the strength beginning to take hold in his feet and in his ankles. So, Peter took him by his hand and helped him to his feet and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong and he began jumping up and down. Luke is a physician and he writes like a physician. Theses words that are used here are not common words used for feet and ankles and jumping. They are medical terms and no where else in the New Testament are these words found. These are medical terms that mean the bones are going back into their right place; a place of connectedness with the joints and the ligaments. Luke really love to describe these miracles because he is a doctor and he can say, “I don’t know how this happened but I do know the physiology of the human body and it amazing what took place in this lame man!” The emphasis is of course is on the suddenness and completeness of this miracle. Luke records that this man got up and walked in Verses 8 and 9:

8He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. 9When all the people saw him walking and praising God…

Luke doesn’t want us to miss the idea that this man was over forty years of age, who was born a cripple, born lame, was now was walking, whole, completely, and jumping up and down. He didn’t even need physical therapy in order to help him gradually recover. It was immediate, sudden, and it was complete.

Can you imagine the exuberance of this man as he experienced the pleasure of the name of Jesus? People who cling to Jesus’ name have their lameness turned to joy. Do you cling to the name of Jesus in your daily life?

Contrariwise, people who cling to their own name have their joy turned to lameness. There is a physical example in this. I was watching ESPN the other day and they showed sports most embarrassing moments. One of the most embarrassing moments was an Arizona Cardinals field goal kicker by the name of Bill Gramatica. Several years ago, in the first quarter, he kicked a field goal and after kicking the field goal he was exuberant with joy. He was making quite a show of himself. All of a sudden he stopped, pulled up and fell on the field lame and he was out for the rest of the year. In making a name for himself he became lame.

For us, when we are lame, we cling to Jesus and His name and our lameness turns to joy. Beloved, when Peter employs Jesus’ name in this healing he is confessing the provision of Jesus and he is confessing the authority of Jesus.

Perhaps some of you for Christmas received a gift in the form of a check. You signed your name on the back and the bank gave you money. Why did that bank give you money? Primarily, it was because of the authority of the name at the bottom of the check. If that person gave you a check and they didn’t sign their name to it the bank wouldn’t have given you any money, but you are using their name to get that $20.00 or $100.00, and the bank says, “I recognize, even though this person is not her, the authority of the name written on this check. That authorizes us to give you this money.” You are going in the name of that person who gave you that check and you are trusting the name of that person to be good. If the name of that person was not good, the bank would look at you and say, “This guy has no authority to write this check. We are not going to give you any money.” Furthermore, if you decided to take a check and write someone else’s name in there you would be arrested and if the bank found out that you had forges that check, they would not give you money.

Using the name of Jesus is not some sort of mantra or words that you can use and all of a sudden power is there. It is like forging a check; you have to have legal rights to the authority of Jesus’ name in order to use Jesus’ name effectively. How is it that Peter and John received authority to use Jesus’ name in this case. It is the same way you and I receive authority. It is through faith in Him when we become united in Him. As a result we are able to sign the checks with Jesus’ name, that is to say, we are able to go out an serve God in the authority and power of Jesus’ name knowing that we only use the name of Jesus, first, because of our connection to Him in faith, but also, secondly, in order to do His will and not our own. When we are about doing His will we can use His name confidently; that His authority, His power, and His provision will be behind that which we are doing. Joy is that Jesus authorizes us to use His name. With that confidence we will joyfully go out and serve Him and we will joyfully go out and minister in His name.

Peter ministers not in his own authority and his own power but in the name of Jesus. This gave boldness to his witness and it gave power to the fruit of the work. So it does to us today for Jesus possesses all authority.

Look at Acts 3:15b-16, where Peter is going to be preaching, and we will study this further in the next sermon, but it says,

15 “…We are witnesses of this. 16By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see.”

When we began this study of Acts, in Chapter 1, Verse 1, tells us:

In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach…

Now, this chapter is a continuation of what Jesus continues to do and to teach through His people. Jesus says in Acts 1:8, “You are my witnesses. You are my servants. You are my feet. You are my hands. You are my body to do my will and you go out, not in your own name and in your own authority, but with my Name, my Authority, and my Power attached.”

The modern church needs to regain afresh to understanding where her power and where her authority to serve in this world lies. Our authority to serve in this world does not lie in our money. It does not rest in our buildings and in our numbers. It rests in Jesus’ name. Why is it true that Bethany might influence Peoria and the central Illinois area powerfully? The answer to that question is not because we have the most influential people in our congregation. The answer to that question is not because we are financially sound and we have some money to do things in our community. The answer to that question is not because we have great facilities. All of those things are great and wonderful to have, but that is not is where our power is and that is not the source of our influence. Where is it? It is in this: that we were poor beggars before Christ and He has made us rich. We are lame before Christ and He has made us to walk and to leap with joy. We now are called and commissioned by Jesus Christ to go out in His name. By healing in Jesus’ name, Peter is proclaiming the power and authority of Jesus over everything.

There is a great story from the renaissance period: Thomas Aquinas was a man who was a scholar in the mid-evil time and he was walking along the street with a Cardinal. The Cardinal notice a beggar and he reached into his pocket and he pulled out a coin and he put it in the beggar’s cap or cup. He turned to Aquinas and he said, “Well, fortunately we no longer have to say with Peter, ‘Silver and gold we have none.’” He was very proud of the money in the church. Thomas Aquinas looked at him and said, “Yes that is true, but neither can we say, ‘In the name of Jesus of Nazareth, walk.’”

Thomas Aquinas recognized that the church had begun to rest upon her resources, her money, and her influence in the world to make a difference. Once we do that, and sure we might be able to put money in a beggar’s cup, but we will never be able to say, “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, get up and walk.’” What kind of church do we want to be?

Why did God heal this lame man? Perhaps it was out of love for this man, but God could have healed this man earlier. He allowed this man to stay in his condition of lameness for over forty years. Furthermore, He didn’t heal all those who were sick and all those who were lame in the temple that day. Why did God heal this man on that day? The answer is that it was to glorify the name of Jesus; to life high the name of His Son. God desires for His Son Jesus to be lifted up and exulted as Supreme Lord, Ruler, and Savior.

There are a couple of principles from this. First, we must always remember that Jesus is the Main Thing of the church. Faith in the name of Jesus brings power to the church. Anything of significance that is accomplished by the church is accomplished only by faith in His name. The church will suffer when we move from the center of Jesus Christ and move toward other human things: seminars, new programs, and wisdom principles of this age. This is why the greatest message we have, protect, preserve, and proclaim is the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, for apart from the Gospel no one can be touched by the power of God.

Another principle we learn from this is: the power of the name of Jesus is that this name brings transformation and joy to the church. We don’t manufacture joy. We don’t say, “Let’s try a program where we will all get happy. Let’s try and create music and that will provide us with happiness.” Joy comes when Jesus name is advancing in us and then through us. There is no other path to joy, but joy automatically comes to the church that is tuned in to Jesus and His agenda and His glory. This is a joy that is deep. It is a joy that is permanent. It is a joy that is lasting; it is not dependent upon the circumstances of our lives.

The last principle we want to look at is that true never be accomplished in our own strength. We are often tempted to accomplish ministry in our own strength but we must not. It is true that God does His work through people, but it is people who have their eyes upon Jesus. Psalm 20:7 says,

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.

Is this true of us? The church, by trusting in chariots and horses, can do impressive things. We need to understand that. In our strength, we have some creative people; people with tremendous talents and resources. We would be able to do things that would cause others to say, “Wow! That was impressive.” But, we would never be able to cause lame men to walk. We would never cause dead people who are without Christ to turn hopelessness to have life in Him.

The last principle is that he illustrates authentic salvation. Physical miracles are always given as a sign for spiritual truth, a sign that authenticates the message, and often it is a sign that illustrates the message as well. I believe that this miracle does both.

First, the lame man illustrates what God says about the condition of our hearts when we are born into this world. This man is man is born crippled. He is unable to move himself to the temple. Others can take him to the gate but no further than the gate. In that day a lame person was not allowed inside the temple. They didn’t meet the qualifications so this man couldn’t get inside the temple to worship God, and he was born in that condition. He never had been in any other condition and this is exactly what the Bible says about your heart and my heart. The Bible teaches us that each one of us is born in sin and we are born in rebellion. We are not born innocent. Psalm 51:5 will say:

Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.

This is the testimony of God upon our hearts. It is remarkable that anyone would dispute this when we look at children and the way we behaved in childhood. No one taught us to do wrong but we had a natural affinity bent toward that. As a result of being born in this sin, we are crippled. We can’t make our own way to God. We are not allowed to be in His presence. We are alienated from Him and separated from Him. We are paralyzed in this matter of knowing God. Job asked the question: “Can you by searching find out God? Is that possible by searching? Can you find out God?” The answer to that question is, “No, you are unable to move toward God. We are estranged from Him.” Furthermore, we are crippled in regards to overcoming sin and the devil. No one has been successful in resisting temptation time-and-time-again, day-in-and-day-out, for all of their lives. Everyone has been consumed and caved into sin. We are lame in reaching heaven. Death and our condition of crippledness and lameness will rob us of the opportunity to know God or to see Him.

I want you to also see how the world is unable to help us in this condition. The world can give us alms. The world can offer us things which will provide temporary happiness and many are satisfied with that; the happiness of pleasure, or money, or power, or whatever it is. The world is completely unable to help that lame man. This is the condition of our heart, but this lame man reminds us of much more than, simply, our problem.

This lame man also reminds us of the provision of God upon our soul. God healed the lame man solely by His grace. The man looked in faith and listened to the name of Jesus and he was made whole. This is a great picture of what it means to be “justified by faith in Jesus Christ”.

The greatest problem in the world today is that we, apart from Jesus Christ, do not know God. We are lame in our soul and we are dead in our trespasses. We don’t know how to live and we don’t know how to die. The church is given by Jesus Christ to tell this world what everyone needs to know: your soul can be redeemed. It can be made alive. It can be made whole. It can be put right with God. You can be set free from the imprisonment of sin and the peril of being spiritually lame and paralyzed.

Peter looked and said, “Listen to me now.” Why did Peter say that? He said it because he wanted this man to have his full attention arrested. What are beggars likely to do as they are begging? They know that they are not going to receive much from any one person, and as the person is coming to give, they are already looking to the next person who might be able to give something. But, Peter stops and says, “Look at us! I need your full attention. This is so important. You whole life will rest upon this conversation we are about to have.” Then he says, “In the name of Jesus, rise up and walk.”

Peter, in asking the lame man to look at him, was recognizing that they were not just any ordinary men. They were people who were coming to represent Jesus, God come in the flesh, the Redeemer, the Messiah, the One who offers life.

If you would know the benefits of Jesus Christ you must listen to the message the apostles gave. You must know that only Jesus Christ has the solution to your life’s difficulties and the greatest problem of being alienated from God. As Christians we must know and still look to Jesus Christ everyday because we have a bent in our soul that still seeks to walk away further and further. In the name of Jesus, we learn to walk day-by-day with Him.

I only have one reason of being a preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and that is that God has made me His ambassador when He gave me His life. As a result, my life is for the purpose of communicating this very message. It is not in the name of Peter or John or Ritch, or Billy Graham, or anyone else. It is in the name of Jesus. Have you looked to Jesus Christ so that you might be able to walk, so that you might be able to leap with joy.

Perhaps, for the very first time you are hearing a message of hope; that it is possible to walk. I urge you to look to Jesus. Perhaps you have walked before, and perhaps you have even leaped for joy before, but now you feel like you are sitting on that street corner, still begging, “I am not able to walk. What is happening? What has happened to my Christian life?”

In the name of Jesus let’s walk and let’s leap for joy!