Sermon on Demand at https://youtu.be/ilQz1Zwg55s
I am delighted to share a recap of the lesson we explored during our worship service on July 18, 2023. Today, let us reflect on the resounding voice of God and how we, as His children, can amplify His voice in the world. The sermon was part of our summer series, "The Summer Worship Playlist." We delved into the lesson found in Acts 3:1-11.
The sermon's title and theme were inspired by the hymn "To God Be the Glory," written by Fanny Crosby. Fanny's life story is remarkable. Despite being blind and an orphan a century ago, she became a prolific hymnist, writing over 8,000 hymns and gospel songs, impacting countless lives. Fanny's accomplishments are awe-inspiring, but what truly mattered to her was her faith. She once said, "It seemed intended by the blessed providence of God that I should be blind all my life, and I thank him for the dispensation. If perfect earthly sight were offered me tomorrow, I would not accept it. I might not have sung hymns to the praise of God if I had been distracted by the beautiful and interesting things about me." Her faith shines brighter than her achievements.
Let us pay attention to the lyrics of "To God Be the Glory – Let the Earth hear His voice." Let's reflect on Fanny Crosby's faith journey and compare it to other inspiring examples, such as the unwavering trust of the Roman centurion in Jesus (Matthew 8:5–13). Today, we will dive into the story of Peter, John, and the man begging for money at the gate in Acts 3:1-11. May this invigorate us and encourage us to give all the glory to God for the wonderful things He has done and will continue to do.
Now, let's talk about those who ask for tangible things, whether sight (which Fanny never asked for), healing for someone else, or, as in Acts 3, money.
Just last Friday, I encountered a man whom I'll call Matt, who asked me for a dollar. At that moment, I didn't have any cash to give him. However, later, I saw him near his car at the gas pump and realized that he needed gasoline. Fortunately, I could help him through the Benevolence Fund, generously provided by our congregation. This experience made me reflect on the incredible generosity of our church and its positive impact on various ministries, like Let's Get Physical and our involvement in cooking for a back-to-school event.
In our exploration of Acts 3, I focused on verses 1, 4, and 5, where Peter and John go to the temple to worship and come across a lame beggar seeking their help. This encounter shifted their perspective and reminded us that the fulfillment of our mission as a church does not depend on material wealth but on the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling within us.
Then, we moved to verse 8, which reveals the ultimate outcome for those who believe in Christ as Lord and Savior. It promises that, after we die, we will have the opportunity to walk towards God. Verse 7 becomes significant as it describes how Peter helped the lame beggar rise to his feet, instantly healing him. This act physically restored the beggar and allowed him to participate in the community. I emphasized that Christ's sacrifice on the cross offered something far more significant than silver or gold—it granted us the gift of eternal life. Verse 6 explains the reason behind this miracle of healing, showing us that even when we might not possess what someone is asking for, we still have something to offer by the grace of God, which may be more important and life-giving. Finally, verse 3 reminds us that everything begins with a request, but God often provides more than what was asked because that is the nature of the God we serve. While we may ask for tangible things, God provides something far superior—eternal things that never fade away.
Church, let us remember that God is "always cleaning on the inside." Why does He focus on the inside? Because, as Matthew tells us, "For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander" (Matthew 15:19).
So, what can we do? We can trust and be confident that God will invigorate us! As the Psalms proclaim, "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me" (Psalm 51:10).
In conclusion, I reminded the congregation that our spirits will rise to meet the Messiah when we pass away, and our bodies will be transformed. I encouraged individuals to pray for more than just material blessings, recognizing that God offers something of more excellent moral value. I urged the congregation to open their eyes to the work of God around them, to seek a clean heart, and to embrace the right spirit. The sermon concluded with a call to give glory to God and proclaim His voice so that the earth may hear His message.
May we continue to reflect on the powerful lessons from Acts 3 and Fanny Crosby's faith journey. Let us embrace a spirit of generosity and gratitude, knowing that God always provides abundantly. Together, let's amplify God's voice in the world and give all the glory to Him for the marvelous things He has done and will continue to do.