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Acts 3:11-26

Cling to Jesus

  • Jean Marais
  • Sunday Night Messages
  • October 02, 2022

We need to cling to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. We will see in this text that we need to grow in faith in His finished work, His Name, and His promises. This results in a life of peace empowered by our relationship with God.

  • Sermon Notes
  • Scripture

Cling to Jesus
Acts 3:11-26
October 2, 2022

As we continue our study of the book of Acts, we see that Jesus has ascended to heaven and the Holy Spirit has come upon the apostles and all those with them. 3000 people came to Christ, and we have seen the birth of the church. From this we were able to discern the heart of God and what He wants the church to look like.
In chapter 3 we saw the great miracle of the lame man being healed at the temple. His expectation was for his immediate temporal need to be met, but he got much more than he was bargaining for. Peter said, “I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene—walk!” He seized his hand, raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were strengthened. He leaped up and began to walk praising God.
The people recognized that he was the man begging at the gate of the temple and they were filled with wonder and amazement. The man who was healed was clinging to Peter and John and all the people ran together to them full of amazement.
Immediately Peter shifted their focus. He was not the focus of the miracle. They should not be clinging to him and standing in amazement of him. The focus needed to shift to Jesus.
We are confronted with the same truth. What do we cling to in this world? There are many today who are very much like that crowd back in Jerusalem; they want to make this story about healing or how to be revered by others. But Peter wanted to make this story about the great miracle of salvation and draw people to a relationship with God through His servant Jesus Christ.
We need to cling to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. We will see in this text that we need to grow in faith in His finished work, His Name, and His promises. This results in a life of peace empowered by our relationship with God.
We need to cling to Jesus.
I. Adjust Your Focus
– It’s important to begin by asserting that I believe God still heals today. Having said that, it’s important to ask the question, why doesn’t God always heal?
– What does God want to teach us out of this story? What does He want us to take hold of? What does He want us to understand?
– Perhaps a good place to start would be to understand that our agenda, our priorities, and our desires; often do not line up with God’s and that we need to change.

A. God weighs the motives
-The crowd gathered because of the miracle; a man born lame was now walking and leaping. But Peter also recognized that they were gazing at Peter and John as if they should be revered as something amazing.
-Peter could’ve fallen into the trap of enjoying the attention of the masses, convincing himself that maybe there was something special about him making this miracle possible.
-Many have fallen into this trap of pride before when being used by God, but not Peter. He knew that this had nothing to do with who he was but had everything to do with who Jesus was.
-Peter immediately corrects the crowd and seizes the opportunity to give glory to God and to draw them into a relationship with Jesus Christ.
-But we need to see how easily we get off track. People often focus on their own personal agenda and have one thing as their highest priority – their own personal wishes and desires.
James 4:2-8, You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures… He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us… Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.
-After Jesus had done the miracles of the loaves and fish, feeding the crowd of 5,000, that night He walked across the sea to the other side. The next day the crowd got into small boats and also went across seeking Jesus. He then spoke about their motive.
John 6:26, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled.”
-They were looking for God’s hand of provision but were not longing after His heart for a relationship.
B. Miracles are not enough for true revival
-Imagine the crowd that would gather if God made the whole thing about healing. Somebody might say, “Isn’t that good? Isn’t that the point?”
-No, people often seek a sign with the wrong motives. Some test God and say, “God needs to prove that He is God, or I will not believe.”
Matthew 16:1, 4, The Pharisees and Sadducees came up, and testing Jesus, they asked Him to show them a sign from heaven.… Jesus replied, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and no sign will be given it, except the sign of Jonah.”
-For God, it’s about revival. It’s about having the right relationship with God through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. It’s about the greatest miracle of all – eternal life. The greatest sign? The resurrection of Jesus.
Illus. – When Israel was in the desert those 40 years with Moses leading them, they saw miracles every day, but it wasn’t enough. God got their attention by parting the Red Sea and destroying the Egyptian army. He manifested Himself by a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. He then gave them manna every morning, but it wasn’t enough. They grumbled and demanded more.
C. Our greatest need is in the soul
-We all want to be physically well, and we all know someone who suffers physically in the body. We have great compassion and comfort for them.
-But these bodies are just a tent to dwell in, they are not going to heaven with us. In heaven, we will have glorified bodies that will not break down due to sickness or old age.
-But the soul is eternal, and the condition of your soul is the highest priority to God.
-If you look across time, you’ll see that God moved in the miraculous at times and seasons to fulfill His purpose for that time.
Illus. – In the time of Moses and Israel in the desert, God used miracles to sustain His people for 40 years in the desert and to confirm Moses as His prophet.
In the time of Elijah and Elisha, God used miracles to confirm His messengers, but also to draw that wicked generation back to revival, back to a relationship with God.
Jesus did miracles by the power of the Holy Spirit so the people might know that He was sent by God as their Messiah; that they might receive the words of eternal life. (Acts 2:22)
The disciples did miracles because they were witnesses of the resurrection and God attested to their message with these signs.
-But the heart of God is always revival, and you can see that in Peter’s message here in Acts 3.
-In Matthew 9, we see a similar miracle occurring. When the people brought a paralytic to Jesus.
Matthew 9:2 – 7, Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralytic, “Take courage, son; your sins are forgiven.” And some of the scribes said to themselves, “This fellow blasphemes.” And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, “Why are you thinking evil in your hearts? Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, and walk’? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—then He said to the paralytic, “Get up, pick up your bed and go home.” And he got up and went home. But when the crowds saw this, they were awestruck and glorified God, who had given such authority to men.
-With this miracle, Jesus connected the dots for them. He was telling them that He had the authority to forgive sins, and as proof of this and to confirm His authority, He healed the lame man.
-This set the stage for the miracle in Acts 3 where the opposite happens. This time, after the man was healed, Peter connects this healing to the name of Jesus and says that because he was healed in the name of Jesus, it also confirms that Jesus can heal the soul and forgive their sins.
-This miracle confirmed their testimony as a fact that Jesus has risen.
-Peter shows them that they rejected Jesus and asked for a murderer to be released to them and put to death the Prince of life. Many people do the same thing today. They reject the Prince of life and choose instead those things that cause death.
-Verse 19 – “Repent and return, that your sins may be wiped away….” As a result, 5,000 people came to faith that day.
II. Earnestly Desire More Faith
-In verse 16, Peter said that it is on the basis of faith in His name that the man was made well because it is the name of Jesus which has strengthened that man.
-Peter also said that faith comes through Him. This is something we need to understand and apply to our own lives because God wants us to have greater faith that comes through a greater relationship with Him.
A. Faith is ignited by the Holy Spirit
-When Peter speaks of faith in His name and then speaks of the power in the name of Jesus, he is calling them and us to have that faith. But where does faith come from? It comes from Him.
Romans 10:14, 17, How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him who may have not heard?… So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.
-The word of Christ is not just letters on a page, but the very power of God through the Holy Spirit sent to accomplish the purpose for which He sent it.
Ephesians 6:17, And take up the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Hebrews 4:12, The word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the very thoughts and intentions of the heart.
-The Holy Spirit moves upon the heart in many ways and is on the move even now in this place.
-Right after speaking about faith in the name of Jesus, Peter called them to repent and return. To repent is to say, “I change my mind about Him. I rejected Him, the Prince of life, but now I see that He is the one I need. I believe that in Him I have newness of life.”
B. Have faith in His Name
-Having faith is an interesting concept. One can describe someone as a person of great faith but that can be misleading. What does a person put his faith in? You can have a Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, or person of any faith and they can be called a great person of faith. Many can have great faith in themselves, trusting greatly in their own ability. The question is, who is worthy of your faith?
Illus. – When Elijah challenged the Baal priests on Mount Carmel, they were all great men of faith. After all, they were the priest of the highest order of their faith. Yet, their faith amounted to nothing. They had great faith, but it was misplaced. They had faith in someone or something unable to help them.
-This was part of the point Peter was trying to make in his sermon.
-Verse 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.
-In other words, he was telling them that because of what has just happened in front of their eyes in the name of Jesus, they can be absolutely sure that there is power in His name.
Matthew 28:18 -19, And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,
-This miracle attested to the fact that Jesus was whom He said He was and could do what He said He could do. Therefore, if you would place your faith in Jesus, you would not be disappointed.
Philippians 2:9 – 11, For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Illus. – If this were to be a schoolyard contest on who’s daddy is the strongest, a child would boast about how strong his daddy is. In the contest of all creation, the name of Jesus wins every time. In fact, there is no contest. Every other name or authority must bow before Him.
-Many people can be so focused on the greatness of their faith, that they start to put faith in their own faith. “I have enough faith to heal this person”, or “I have enough faith to work this miracle.”
-It is not about the size of our faith, but about Whom we put our faith in. One should not grow in your own faith, but grow in faith in the NAME and the FINISHED WORK of Jesus.
-This is why Jesus said that, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you can move mountains. He was actually saying that it is not about the size of your faith, but the important thing is putting your faith in Him. He does the miracle. He moves the mountain. Our only part in it is to look to Him.
-He is also the sustainer and the finisher of our faith.
Hebrews 12:2, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith.
III. Dwell in the Presence of the Lord
As you dwell with someone and spend time with someone, you get to know the person. In the Spirit, our hearts should be inclined to dwell with God, spend time with Him, and learn from Him.
Matthew 11:29, Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
A. Earnestly desire more of God
-In verse 26, Peter said, “For you first, God raised up His Servant, and sent Him to bless you by turning every one of you from your wicked ways.”
-God has sent His Son to you, God sent His life to you, but you need to earnestly desire more of God.
-Our part is to keep our focus on Jesus, clinging to him as the necessity of our being.
1 Corinthians 12:31, But earnestly desire the greater gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way…
1 Corinthians 13:13, But now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Matthew 22:36-37, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” And Jesus said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.”
-There is a desiring in love. God wants more of your heart; there needs to be a fire within us that desires more of God.
Illus. – Elijah had been powerfully used by God in calling down fire and other miracles and Elisha was moved with the great desire to also be a great man of God. When Elisha said to him, “I want you to stop at Gilgal.” Elisha responded, “As the Lord lives and as my soul lives, I will not leave you.” There was no stopping him. When Elijah wanted Elisha to stop at Jericho, he said in substance, “I am not stopping.” The man that stops gets nothing. When they came to the Jordan Elisha turned to him and said, “What is it that you want?” Elisha said, “I want a double portion of your spirit upon me.” Desire more of God.
B. Receive refreshing of the soul
-Verse 19 – Repentance and turning to Jesus bring times of refreshing.
Illus. – have you ever been in a room with many people but no airflow? The air grows stale and stuffy and many times one doesn’t even notice it. This can even be very dangerous. If left long enough, the carbon dioxide can build up to such a degree that the air can become toxic. You might sense that something is getting uncomfortable, but only when someone opens a few windows and doors and the cool fresh air blows in do you really notice the difference. It is refreshing.
-This is what happens to our lives when we repent and open up to Jesus. Without Him, life becomes toxic. When we open up to Him it is like fresh air moving on the soul. Our human tendency to control which leads to anxiety frustration fear and heaviness is replaced by His peace as we surrender it to Him and cling to Him in faith.
Psalm 24:9, Lift up your heads, O gates, and lift them up, O ancient doors, That the King of glory may come in!
-This applies to our lives. The King of glory wants to come in, but He will not force his way into your life. You need to swing open wide the doors of your heart so that times of refreshing can come.
-We need to cling to Jesus as the author and finisher of our faith, Him being the source of our salvation and all that we need.

Acts 3:11-26          NASB


11 While he was clinging to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them at the so-called [d]portico of Solomon, full of amazement. 12 But when Peter saw this, he replied to the people, “Men of Israel, why are you amazed at this, or why do you gaze at us, as if by our own power or piety we had made him walk? 13 The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified His [e]servant Jesus, the one whom you delivered and disowned in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release Him. 14 But you disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, 15 but put to death the [f]Prince of life, the one whom God raised from the dead, a fact to which we are witnesses. 16 And on the basis of faith in His name, it is [g]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.

17 “And now, brethren, I know that you acted in ignorance, just as your rulers did also. 18 But the things which God announced beforehand by the mouth of all the prophets, that His [h]Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled. 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; 20 and that He may send Jesus, the [i]Christ appointed for you, 21 whom heaven must receive until the [j]period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time. 22 Moses said, ‘The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet [k]like me from your brethren; to Him you shall give heed to everything He says to you. 23 And it will be that every soul that does not heed that prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.’ 24 And likewise, all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and his successors onward, also announced these days. 25 It is you who are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant which God [l]made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’ 26 For you first, God raised up His [m]Servant and sent Him to bless you by turning every one of you from your wicked ways.”


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