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News for Monday, May 19, 2014

Sunday School Lesson — Bible Studies for Life
May 25: Hope Shared
By Alec Cort
senior pastor, Bethel, Greenbrier

Focal Passage: Acts 3:1-10

Jesus met the spiritual needs of people by first meeting their physical needs. His acts of healing and miracles were an inroad to the revelation of Himself as Messiah. Ultimately all Christians come to understand that the healing we need is not so much physical as what takes place on the inside when Jesus becomes Lord of our lives. At our church we have food and hygiene items closet, daily bread food ministry to the homebound, cooperation with a pregnancy center, assistance for families at Christmas, and many other ministries that meet the physical needs of people. Each ministry provides the opportunity to share the gospel and invite families without a church home to accept Christ and become part of our church family. 

In Acts 3:1-4 Peter and John were going to the temple to worship and to witness. They encountered a lame beggar, most likely strategically placed there to garner sympathy and generosity from those who had come to worship God. The man was helpless and without hope.

Many today feel hopeless. Some, like the lame beggar, suffer a physical handicap. For others it’s an addiction to a substance, lust, or unhealthy relationships. What do you do when the troubled circumstances of life seem insurmountable? Is there a way out? 

The lame man saw Peter and John and asked for help. He asked for money but what he got was something else. Peter and John may have been the first in a long while to actually acknowledge the man. Even passersby who put a coin in his hand likely paid him little actual attention. The beggar must have been shocked when Peter said, “Look at us.” They were confident in their ability to help this man because they’d learned from the Master. 

People will realize that there is a way out from under their problems and addictions when Christians care to notice them and help them at the point of their need. When someone cares, hope returns. Let us be confident that with God’s help, we can meet needs and care for lost souls. It is not our task to solve all of their problems but we can lead them to the One who will. 

As I read Acts 3:5-10 I see the lame man as a representation of the many people who come to the church door each week for help. They want money, food, clothing, gas, bills paid, etc., … but it’s rare that they ask for prayer or spiritual guidance. I had to replace wires on my lawn mower several times until I realized that a mouse was chewing through them at night. The mouse was the source of my problem. When I got rid of the source the problem was solved. Giving people food and money is like replacing the wires. It helps for a time but since the source of the problem still exists it won’t be long before more help is needed. If we are not careful we will enable these folks instead of actually helping them. 

Peter said, “I don’t have money.” The lame man didn’t have time to be too disappointed before his ability to walk was returned to him as Peter said, “In the name of Jesus get up and walk.” What was once a hopeless, crippled beggar was now a man walking, leaping, and praising God. The man began to understand that it was not money he needed, but the power of Jesus Christ in his life. People who bore witness to this event were filled with awe and astonishment and Peter seized another opportunity to witness (Acts 3:11-26). When people realize that it is not money but Christ that they need, salvation will abound.

May we use every ministry opportunity as an inroad to sharing the good news. 

— Cort is senior pastor of Bethel Baptist Church, Greenbrier.

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