WALKING – LEAPING – AND PRAISING GOD

Acts 3:7-10 – Peter held out his right hand to the crippled man. As he pulled the man to his feet, suddenly power surged into his crippled feet and ankles. The man jumped up, stood there for a moment stunned, and then began to walk around! As he went into the temple courts with Peter and John, he leapt for joy and shouted praises to God.

When all the people saw him jumping up and down and heard him glorifying God, they realized it was the crippled beggar they had passed by in front of the Beautiful Gate. Astonishment swept over the crowd, for they were amazed over what had happened to him.

The Bible literally pulsates with the power of signs and wonders. From the first moments in the upper room with the tongues of fire to the miracle services that were held daily in the temple courts, in those early days Jerusalem was ablaze with miracles. If you think about it what else could you expect? From those first days with Jesus healing lepers, paralytics, and the blind – what else could you expect? The same amazing miracle power that was working through Jesus was now on the apostles. In today’s story Peter and John were going about their daily routine, they were headed to morning prayer at the temple. A man who had been at this location for many years grabbed their attention. Before you knew it he was walking, and leaping, and praising God. That should be the expected norm in church; signs, wonders, miracles and of course – walking, leaping and praising God. Here are some comments from the Passion Notes on today’s story.

“the gate called Wonderful in Aramaic. It is difficult to ascertain which of the many gates of the temple this might have been, and there is varying speculation with no certain conclusion. However, this Beautiful Gate points to Jesus Christ, who is the gate or entrance into the sheepfold of God. Furthermore, it hints of Ezekiel’s temple, which has a river flowing out from the threshold through the gateway of the temple. This river was first measured to be ankle deep. This man, lame in his ankles, was healed by the spiritual “river” that flowed out the “Beautiful Gate” of Christ. The gateway opened up and the river poured out of Peter and John, bringing healing to the lame.”

Have you been to the wonderful gate lately. I hear that Jesus is there like always- you too will be walking, leaping, and praising God.

RENEWAL AND REFRESHING

Acts 3:19 – Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;

This promise became from precious to me during an unusually difficult season in my life. I had been pastoring Victory Fellowship for a number of years and had experienced favor and blessing on everything from family to church and in my personal spiritual experience. The body of Christ went through a season of very unusual difficult times in the late 1980’s and the blowback from that was effecting every part of my life. I was feeling it with family drama, financial and ministry problems, and my spiritual condition was not the best. These problems brought me to a place of spiritual hunger and thirst, times of refreshing began to break out in my life. I love the Amplified Bible’s rendition of this verse. “So repent (change your mind and purpose); turn around and return [to God], that your sins may be erased (blotted out, wiped clean), that times of refreshing (of recovering from the effects of heat, of reviving with fresh air) may come from the presence of the Lord”. Here are some thoughts from the Life in the Spirit Commentary.

“To urge them to turn from sin to faith in Christ, Peter said that “Times of refreshing [will] come from the Lord.” For years the Jews have been expecting the messianic age, the golden age of blessings. The prophets themselves spoke about the coming of spiritual strength and blessings. This new age has dawned with the coming of Christ. Peter’s “times of refreshing” is one way of speaking about the baptism in the Spirit. The people can now experience the renewal or “refreshing” of their souls through the joys and the power of the Holy Spirit. As a result of their repentance, not only will their sin be forgiven and they will receive relief from their guilt, but they will also experience spiritual renewal through the Holy Spirit.”

So maybe you are feeling a little exhausted and out of breath by the adversity that we all face in this life. Living in this world guarantees resistance and exhaustion. We can take courage from this incredible promise, the Lord send times of refreshing again and again from the presence of the Lord. The Lord is faithful to His people, spiritual hunger and thirst is a sure sign that renewal is well on the way.

THERE IS POWER IN THE NAME OF JESUS

Acts 3:16 – And on the basis of faith in His name, it is the name of Jesus which has strengthened this man whom you see and know; and the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect health in the presence of you all.

The resurrection changed just about everything. Jesus was raised from the dead for us, that’s why Paul called it firstfruits, Jesus was the prototype. One day all of us will be raised from the dead. When Jesus was raised from the dead all authority was given to Him by the Father as a man. That’s what changed everything, a human was given all authority over demons, sickness, and death. Jesus turned around and gave that authority to us. That’s what it means when we were given authority to act and pray in His name. In today’s verse Peter is used to heal a lame man in the Name of Jesus. I guess what all of us need to determine is this, have we too been given authority to minister in His Name and what would that mean. Here is how Maclaren describes it.

“The name of Christ, then, is the representation or embodiment of that which Christ is declared to be for us men, and it is that Name, the totality of what He is manifested to be, in which lies all power for healing and for strengthening. The Name, that is, the whole Christ, in His nature, His offices, His work, His Incarnation, His Life, His Death, Resurrection, Sitting at the right hand of God—it is this Christ whose Name made that man strong, and will make us strong. Brethren, let us remember that, while fragments of the Name will have fragmentary power, as the curative virtue that resides in any substance belongs to the smallest grain of it, if detached from the mass….yet in order to realize all that He can be and do, a man must take the whole Christ as He is revealed.”

So Peter made it very clear that day, that lame man was healed by the authority given to him to act in the Name of Jesus. In other words we have been given the power of attorney to act in behalf of Jesus. If that is true, it is not our resources that are important but the resources invested in the Name of Jesus.

UNUSUAL VISITATION

Acts 3:19 – Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;

It seems like everybody knows we need an awakening and many are calling for a Third Great Awakening in our land; I’m not sure everyone knows what they are asking for. Revival often gets quite messy, it never comes the way we think, and many times not in the way we want. The First Great Awakening found great resistance in the American colonies in the 1700’s. Jonathan Edwards published an account of its early beginning in his church called A FAITHFUL NARRATIVE. The folks in Northampton were quite surprised at the way many were effected when that revival began. Here is a glimpse into one woman’s experience.

“There is a pious woman in this town that is a very modest bashful person, that was moved by what she heard of the experiences of others earnestly to seek to God to give her more clear manifestations of himself, and evidences of her own good estate, and God answered her request, gradually gave her more and more of a sense of his glory and love, which she had with intermissions for several days, till one morning the week before last she had it to a more than ordinary degree, and it prevailed more and more till towards the middle of the day, till her nature began to sink under it, as she was alone in the house; but there came somebody into the house, and found her in an unusual, extraordinary frame. She expressed what she saw and felt to him; it came to that at last that they raised the neighbors, [for] they were afraid she would die; I went up to see her and found her perfectly sober and in the exercise of her reason, but having her nature seemingly overborne and sinking, and when she could speak expressing in a manner that can’t be described the sense she had of the glory of God, and particularly of such and such perfections, and her own unworthiness, her longing to lie in the dust, sometimes her longing to go to be with Christ, and crying out of the excellency of Christ, and the wonderfulness of his dying love; and so she continued for hours together, though not always in the same degree.”

What is being described in this account is what often happens when humans come in contact with divine glory; it is just too much to bare. Maybe a dose of this glory would help us move from man centered seeker sensitive services, into meetings where the glory of the Lord is welcomed. Do it again Lord.

FRESH OUTPOURING

Acts 3:19-21 – Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago.
Too many Christians have “settled”, they have settled for a lukewarm spiritual life reflecting on the good old days when “God was really moving”. It is quite disturbing to me when people reminisce on the “good old days at Victory Fellowship”. Don’t get me wrong, there were some great times in the past but I don’t live in the past, I need the Lord today. We need daily bread from heaven and the Lord is happy to give it. In today’s verse Peter was prophesying about times and seasons of refreshing that would continue to come from the presence of the Lord. We need daily renewal, yesterday’s mercies will never sustain me today. Check out the words to this song from Kim Walker-Smith.

Renew us in this day

Just like You said You would

Your Word is not in vain

Our hearts reaching heavenward
Fresh outpouring

Tear the fabric open

Come, Jesus come

Breath of heaven

Nothing left unshaken

We long for more

We need a fresh outpouring

Unleash a fresh outpouring

We need a fresh outpouring

Unleash a fresh outpouring
As temporary fades

Let glory invade this earth

Your power on display

Our eyes looking heavenward
Fresh outpouring

Tear the fabric open

Come, Jesus come

Breath of heaven

Nothing left unshaken

We long for more
We need a fresh outpouring

Unleash a fresh outpouring

We need a fresh outpouring

Unleash a fresh outpouring

There is fire, stirring in our bones

A shout is rising, rising up inside

Soak the earth, come and fill our hearts

Your voice is calling, calling us to life!

We need a fresh outpouring

Unleash a fresh outpouring!

We need a fresh outpouring

Unleash a fresh outpouring!

Make a way where, I see none!

Make a way where, I see none!

Let the waters rise in the desert

Let the waters rise in the desert!

Fresh outpouring
Fresh outpouring

Tear the fabric open

Come, Jesus come…

So maybe there is more for you than you ever thought. Yesterday was good but the Lord is here pouring out His glory today.

CONSTANT RENEWAL

Acts 3:19 Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord,

Whether we realize it or not, all Christians live in need of constant renewal. One way of saying it is that we all tend to leak. My need for refreshing reminds me of my daily, total dependency on the Lord. The life in the Spirit Commentary touches on how we can do this in their comments on today’s verse.
“Peter’s “times of refreshing” is one way of speaking about the baptism in the Spirit. The people can now experience the renewal or “refreshing” of their souls through the joys and the power of the Holy Spirit. As a result of their repentance, not only will their sin be forgiven and they will receive relief from their guilt, but they will also experience spiritual renewal through the Holy Spirit.”
This experience is even more critical in light of the world’s condition. Are you baptized in the Holy Spirit? If so, are you taking advantage of the benefits this blessing brings you on a daily basis? How can we do this? It’s really quite simple, stir up the gift of the Spirit in your life. Stir up the Spirit by extended times of worship. Stir up the Spirit by praying for long periods of time with your heavenly language. As you make this a daily part of your life, you will begin to experience these times of refreshing in your own life. Here are some comments from the Fire Bible on today’s verse.
“Throughout this present time and until Christ’s return, God will send “times of refreshing” through the outpouring and work of the Holy Spirit) to all who truly turn from their own way to follow God. Although difficult times will come before Christ returns and many will abandon their faith in God, he still promises to send times of spiritual revival, renewal and refreshing to encourage his faithful followers. Christ’s presence, spiritual blessings, miracles and evidence of the Spirit’s power will be a reality for those who endure opposition from the world, reject its evil influences and remain true to God during the difficult times ahead.”
Staying in a state of renewal is almost impossible if you are not consistently in fellowship with people who also love renewal. The church you attend and its view of the Baptism in the Spirit is critical for you to walk in the power of the Spirit. Renewal is available to you, step into His presence and begin to enjoy these spiritual blessings.

HEALING IN HIS NAME

Acts 3:16 And His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.

Healing is inseparable from the gospel of Jesus Christ. After all, He is the Sun of Righteousness that Malachi prophesied about. He has risen and there is healing in His beams. Everywhere Jesus went in His earthly ministry healing followed Him. From the paralytic let down through a roof to the healing of Blind Bartimaeus, Christ healed them all. This same miracle power continued after Christ’s death. The disciples moved in the same healing anointing that Jesus walked in. Their miracle ministry was introduced in today’s verse when the well known paralytic in the temple was healed. The name of Jesus was honored, the kingdom advanced, and and the compassion of Christ for the hurting was displayed. Here are some thoughts from Matthew Henry on this amazing miracle.

“It is done by the name of Christ, not merely by naming it as a spell or charm, but it is done by us as professors and teachers of his name, by virtue of a commission and instructions we have received from him, and a power which he has invested us with, that name which Christ has above every name; his authority, his command has done it; as writs run in the king’s name, though it is an inferior officer that executes them. The power of Christ is fetched in through faith in his name, a confidence in him, a dependence on him, a believing application to him, and expectation from him, even that faith which is by him, which is of his working; it is not of ourselves, it is the gift of Christ; and it is for his sake, that he may have the glory of it; for he is both the author and finisher of our faith. Those that wrought this miracle by faith derived power from Christ to work it, and therefore returned all the glory to him. By this true and just account of the miracle, Peter both confirmed the great gospel truth they were to preach to the world—that Jesus Christ is the fountain of all power and grace, and the great healer and Savior…”

Why should we not expect the same today? The Lord confirms His word as true with signs, wonders, and miracles. Maybe today the Lord will give you an opportunity to pray for someone who is suffering. As you lay your hands on them in faith, God Himself will begin to work. If you are sick, take courage. Jesus of Nazareth is still alive and I heard a rumor that He is passing your way.

HERE WE GO AGAIN

HERE WE GO AGAIN

Acts 3:19-21 Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.

The Lord promised that there would be seasons of renewal in preparation for His coming. It seems clear that the season just before His return could be characterized as “the best of times and the worst of times”. It is the worst of times because of the birth pangs of creation itself and the increase of demonic activity as the end of this age comes upon us. Of course it is the best of times because The Lord has saved His best wine for last. The days just before the Lord’s return promise to be filled with a great move of the Holy Spirit. Of all the times of refreshing throughout church history these times will be the best. Here is some commentary from the Life in Spirit Commentary.

“…Peter mentions two additional benefits. “Times of refreshing [will] come from the Lord.” For years the Jews have been expecting the messianic age, the golden age of blessings. The prophets themselves spoke about the coming of spiritual strength and blessings. This new age has dawned with the coming of Christ. Peter’s “times of refreshing” is one way of speaking about the baptism in the Spirit. The people can now experience the renewal or “refreshing” of their souls through the joys and the power of the Holy Spirit. As a result of their repentance, not only will their sin be forgiven and they will receive relief from their guilt, but they will also experience spiritual renewal through the Holy Spirit.
The second benefit of turning from sin to Christ is the return of Jesus from heaven. God appointed Jesus beforehand to be the Messiah of the Jews. Peter reminds his hearers that as Jesus taught, his second coming will not take place immediately. A period of time must lapse before his return to this earth. Until that day Jesus makes his home in heaven. But when he comes again, God will “restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets.” Then will take place the fullness of renewal—the restoration of all things.”

The baptism in the Spirit evidenced by the heavenly language has fallen out of popularity in our new version of 21st Century modernism. Slick programs, short services, and cute cliches have replaced altar calls, speaking in other tongues, healing, and casting out of demons. I think that is about to come to an abrupt end. Another generation is coming forward that has never seen a true time of refreshing from The Lord. The spiritual storm clouds have gathered on the horizon, the wind from another world has begun to blow, times of refreshing from the presence of The Lord are upon us.

REFRESHED

TIMES OF REFRESHING

But those things which God foretold by the mouth of all His prophets, that the Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled. Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.
Acts 3:18,19

Have you ever been exhausted? I am not talking about physical exhaustion, rather I am speaking about being spiritually exhausted. It was 1994 and I had had enough. I was tired of church, I was tired of people’s problems, I was tired of preaching and studying, I felt like I was finished. I needed refreshing but did not know how to get it. Honestly, I didn’t know that it was even available. I had been going on my own strength for so long, and then, I was just tired.
During that time in my life I began hearing about revival. Too me, revival was just an extended series of meetings, it made me tired to just think about that. I had know idea that revival, or refreshing, was an actual move of the Holy Spirit. This is what I needed, I needed an encounter with God. Reluctantly I went to the “revival”, not expecting much. Was I ever in for a surprise. I walked right into an encounter with God, the winds of refreshing began to blow into my life.
This word refreshing is the word anapsuxis in the greek new testament. This is what the greek lexicon says about this powerful word.
anapsuxis – properly a recovery of breath, that is, (figuratively) revival: – revival properly to cool off, that is, (figuratively) relieve: – refresh

That is exactly what I needed; a recovery of breath, a cooling off period. That is exactly what I received. The Holy Spirit began to blow His fresh breath into my life, the wind of His Spirit began to blow into my life. I was being restored.

Maybe you are tired. Tired of the religious rat race, or even tired of the human rat race. Living on your own talents and strength can be exhausting. We all finally come to the end of our strength. Many times, this is when His wind begins to blow. There is a refreshing, a total recovery from the struggles of life, available to you. We live in those “times of refreshing”. Where can I find it? Only one place, these winds of refreshing are flowing from the presence of the Lord.