Don’t Miss the Ministry That Is All Around You
August 23, 2015
Message, Robby Gallaty, Senior Pastor
The title of the message today is “Don’t Miss the Ministry That Is All Around You.” Don’t miss the ministry that is all around you.
There is a story that is told of a time during the Renaissance when Thomas Aquinas, St. Thomas, one of the great Fathers of the Church, was walking with one of the Cardinals. And they were walking through Rome and they saw this man on the roadside begging. The Cardinal reached into his pocket, took out a silver coin and handed it to the man and he said, “No longer can we say as Peter said, Silver and gold have I none.” And Thomas looked at the Cardinal and said, “That is true. But neither can we say today in the name of Jesus, rise and walk.”
And what Thomas was saying is, the first response for the church at that time and I believe it is the response for the church today, is that when we see a blind man or we see a beggar or we see a lame man on the side of the road asking for money, our first response is to give them some.
In the book of Acts, the first response to them when they saw a man begging was to give them Jesus. And I want to show you today, Church, don’t miss this, that God works in your life thorugh transformation to give you a platform for proclamation. Do you see that? He works in your life through transformation so that you would have a platform for the proclamation of the gospel.
If you have your Bibles, and I hope you do, turn with me to Acts Chapter 3. Acts Chapter 3 and we will consider Verses 1 and following. When you get to Acts Chapter 3, say “word.” We get excited at Brainerd to study the Word. That is why we say “Word.” We believe it is the Word that changes our lives and not cool stories, not funny illustrations, not my sense of humor. If you came for that, you won’t get much of it, but you will get the Word of God. Amen? And so lets get into the Word until the Word gets into us. The Word of the Lord.
“Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. And a an lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate to ask alms of those entering the temple. Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms. And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, ‘Look at us.’ And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, ‘I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!’ And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. And leaping up he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. And all the people saw him walking and praised God, and recognized him as the one who sat at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, asking for alms. And they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.”
If you are taking notes today, I want you to write down first of all, the healing at the gate. I want you to see the healing at the gate. And we are going to divide this up into two different sections in order for us to digest it today.
And the first thing I want you to write down is this: We see a dismal situation. We see a dismal situation. This man is begging by the temple. Now the question we have to ask is this: How long has this man been at the temple begging? Well, if we turn over to Acts Chapter 4 and Verse 22, Peter will tell us when he is interrogated by the religious leaders. Look at Verse 22.
“For the man on whom the sign of healing was performed was more than forty years old.” Because of his tenure around the temple, this man has worked his way up to have a prime real estate spot for begging. Much like a man with a magazine shop sets up shop on the corner of a well trafficked area to sell newspapers, this man, because he has been there for most of his life if not all of his life, has worked his way up to a prime spot for asking for money.
Now let me put it in perspective how long this man has been there, because it says over forty years. He may have been there when Jesus’ parents brought Baby Jesus as an infant to the temple to dedicate Him to the Lord. He could have been there. He may have been there when Jesus, at twelve years old, went to the temple with His family and was in the temple questioning and answering questions with the religious leaders. He definitely was there when Jesus came through the first time in John Chapter 2 and He turned over the tables of the money changers. And we know for certain he possibly was there for sure when Jesus came in on that triumphal entry on the back of a donkey.
Now when Jesus came in that time, I don’t know if you know this, He actually healed people, the text says, who were blind…watch this…and lame. If you have your Bibles, I want you to see it. Turn with me to the book of Matthew, Verse 21…chapter 21 Verse 12. Matthew 21 Verse 12.
When you are there, say “Word.”
“And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and He overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. He said to them, ‘It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers.’ And the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple and He healed them.”
And so the blind and the lame approached Jesus. Now the problem with this man is, he cannot walk from birth. Now if you understand beggars, I had to visualize this week as I was thinking about it, it is important for us to visualize exactly what is happening here.
When I was raised in New Orleans, we would walk through the streets of the city and beggars were everywhere. And to be honest with you, what they would do is, they would intersect our path and they would pester us. And if you have ever been around people begging, the most successful beggars are those who disrupt your life the best, right? And so they would intersect our path. They would tug at our clothes. They would grab at our pockets. And they were hoping that we would have something to give to them.
It reminds me of what happens when we walk through Hamilton Place Mall with those people at the kiosks trying to give us cheap cologne and compliments on our hair, right? No offense to you if you work at the kiosks. You have got to make a living. I understand. But you get the point, right? They have to intersect your path to get your attention.
Now the problem with this blind man…I mean, this lame man, is that he can’t move. He is not mobile. He can’t go to Jesus. And so we assume that in Matthew 21 when all the men were approaching Jesus, this man missed out. That ship has come and gone. And so he believes now that he has missed the boat. The only way he even gets to the temple is if his friends bring him and the only way he gets back home every day is if his friends carry him back home.
So I imagine in my mind, when Jesus went to the cross, died for our sins and ascended into heaven, in his mind he probably thought he missed it. So we see a dismal situation.
But secondly, don’t miss this. We see a demonstration of grace. We see a demonstration of grace. Look at what the text says. They go up at 3:00. 3:00 is how the Jews counted the ninth hour. Now the question we need to ask ourselves is this: Why in the world is Peter and John…or why in the world are Peter and John going up to the temple after Jesus has already died, torn the veil in two and ascended into heaven. Why are they still going to the temple? Didn’t Jesus do away with the temple? Why are they still worshiping at the temple? Don’t miss this. They are going to the temple, folks, because it was a place of familiarity to them. It was a place of comfort ability to them. It was a holy place for them. They still went to the temple. It was a place of lot of memories to them and so they went and worshiped the Lord at the time of prayer. Now that is significant.
So as they are walking to the temple for the time of prayer at 3:00, their life is interrupted by the lame man asking for money. Now he probably sees these two unsuspecting prospects and believes in his heart that they are going to treat him the way that everyone else has treated him that day, ignoring him.
But Peter doesn’t ignore him. Look at what the text says. Peter stops and looks intently at him. And Peter says, “Look at us.” I love that. “And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, ‘I have no silver or gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!’”
You know, it is not by accident that Jesus Christ heals a lame man during His ministry. That Peter heals a lame man when he begins his ministry. And would you believe, the Apostle Paul heals a lame man in his ministry. And Paul uses the same terminology as Peter in Acts 14 when he says, “Look at us.”
Now you have to realize, the fact that this man believes who Jesus is simply by His name, is proof positive that he had some understanding of who Jesus was. You see, the man simply stands up and walks. And you have to believe the faith of this man. He just knows who Jesus is and he rises to his feet.
Now, what does it mean to rise up and walk in the name of Jesus? What does it mean to follow Jesus or to be baptized in the name of Jesus? Is that some kind of mantra? Is that some kind of formula that we can use to see a healing?
Dr. Dwight Pryor, many years ago, tells the story. He is a Jewish Historian and Scholar. He tells the story of how three Mexican evangelists had come into America from Mexico to hear Dr. Pryor speak in South Texas. And they had one question on their mind. And so after Dr. Pryor spoke, they waited in line and these men went up to him and said, “Dr. Pryor, we have a question. How do you pronounce Jesus’ name? Is it Jesu’s or is it Jesus?” Now Dr. Pryor was caught off guard. He said, “Now why are you asking this?” And they said, “Because this is the deal. We are traveling Mexican evangelists. We travel around Mexico. We cast out demons. We speak in Jesus’ name. We baptize in the name of Jesus. And we want to make sure we have the correct pronunciation.” Dr. Pryor said to them, “Men, you guys have it all wrong. The name of Jesus is not something ritualistic or a term of magic like a formula you throw out to heal people and set them free. To be baptized in the name of Jesus or to walk in the name of Jesus is to follow the ways of Jesus or the commands of a person. To walk after the Lord Jesus is to be obedient to the commands of Jesus. And, by the way, His name is not Jesus, it is Yeshua.”
I ran into this when I was a new pastor in Morgan City, Louisiana. The neighbor across the street from the church was a man named Dan who served as the funeral director/youth pastor of the Oneness Pentecostal Church in town. And Dan decided, I think by himself, that he was going to educate the new young pastor in town on the matters of systematic theology. And so every morning on Monday when I would pull into the parking lot, Dan was waiting for me with coffee in hand to debate theology with me. And that day, I will never forget, the conversation turned to baptism. And Dan made this statement to me. He said, “Robby, I want you to know, every person up to this point that you have baptized in any other names than the name of Jesus Christ alone is not recognized by God. If you don’t baptize in Jesus Christ alone, it is not valid.”
Now, he had a problem obviously with the Great Commission where Jesus said, “Go therefore and baptize in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.” But I didn’t go for the low hanging fruit with him. I decided to go to top shelf theology with him at the time as I was thinking. And one of the things I realized about Oneness Pentecostalism is that they don’t believe in the Trinity. Did you know this? They don’t believe that is one God in three persons. They believe it is Jesus. And so everything is in Jesus’ name. And so they have a faulty understanding of the Bible.
And so I said to him, I said, “Dan, let me ask you a question. What name again are you baptizing people in?” He said, “The name of Jesus.” I said, “Do you know that Jesus is not His name?” He said, “What are you talking about, His name is not Jesus? It is in the Bible. His name is Jesus in the Bible.” I said, “That is the English Bible. His name is actually Yeshua, so therefore, everybody you have baptized, my friend, is not recognized by God either.” Now that was the last time I saw Dan, believe it or not. Unfortunately, Dan moved out of town two months later and I don’t know if it was because of that, but I do know this, friends, listen to me…to walk in the name of Jesus means to identify with the movement of Jesus. To stand in the name of Jesus means that you are going to walk in the power of Jesus. You are going to be a representative of Jesus Christ. It is not some esoteric formula that you can call down God as a utilitarian genie to meet your needs.
So Jesus’ name is pronounced and the man stands to his feet and the text says this…don’t miss this. “He leaps to his feet and he begins dancing and praising the Lord.” He jumps to his feet. Now this man has never walked before…40 years old, he has never walked…and I imagine the man does similar to the chicken dance. You know, he is trying to get sea legs. I am not going to do it. I did it last night and my wife said, “Please don’t do that again. Please don’t do that again.” And I said, “I like the chicken dance.” And she said, “
That wasn’t even the chicken dance. But anyway. I am not going to do it but you can get the visual. His legs, he is trying to walk like a new born deer or calf that just came out of the womb, trying to get his legs together. And then, all of a sudden, he starts jumping around and leaping.
Now that word “leaping,” get this, is an ancient medical term to describe the ankle locking with the socket. So in essence, what happened is this. This man had a medical miracle happen at that moment. What would have taken modern medicine years and months with prosthetic legs and rehabilitation and the process of treatment and drugs, God did in a moment!
Friends, do you know God can do more in a moment than man can do in a lifetime? And this man starts dancing. Now you and I both know, if this happened in many Baptist churches today, he would have been asked to leave a long time ago, right? Because he starts dancing. And you can’t blame him. He is excited. He has been healed.
And for those of you who are getting a little uneasy, let me remind you of the words of George Morrison, who says, “It takes a little time to find one’s feet after a great experience like that. Give the man ten or twenty years of city life and he will walk as sedately as any other citizen. First, they shall mount up with wings as eagles, says the Prophet. Then they shall run as children always do. And then when time and experience have wrought their sobering work, they shall walk and thank God, shall not faint. Do not object to preliminary leaping. Do not be hard on a little wild enthusiasm in the man who has really been healed by Christ. Time will convert that spiritual electricity into a driving an illuminating power. A motion will be translated by the years into the strength of action and of character.”
Friends, I think it is time for us to have a little excitement over the things of God, don’t you agree? I don’t think you heard that. I think it is time for us to get excited about the things of God, Amen? Friends, it is okay to clap in church. Praise the Lord! Maybe we need to get amazed again over salvation when God heals a soul. Maybe you need to be astounded again when God heals you miraculously.
This man was so excited, he was excited because God has changed his life. But I want you to see this. The miracle is not an end in itself. The miracle was a means to an end. You see, the miracle was never to boast in Peter or John or even in the man. The miracle was a platform to preach the gospel.
So we see the first instance of the text, if you are taking notes, the healing at the gate. Secondly, we see a platform for the gospel. A platform for the gospel. Look at Verse 11.
“While he clung to Peter and John, all the people, utterly astounded, ran together to them in the portico called Solomon’s. And when Peter saw it he addressed the people: ‘Men of Israel, why do you wonder at this, or why do you stare at us, as though by our own power or piety we have made him walk? The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified his servant Jesus, whom you delivered over and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release him. But you denied the Holy Spirit and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you.” He is talking about Jesus Barabbas, “and you killed the Author of Life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses. And His name – by faith in His name – has made this man strong whom you see and know, and the faith that is through Jesus has given the man this perfect health in the presence of you all.”
Peter gives us, write it down, a message of salvation. Peter, once again, as the representative preacher for the apostles, has the platform and the center-stage for preaching. And Peter is not preaching felt need sermons, church, don’t miss this. Peter is differentiating between felt needs and real needs.
Now what do you mean, Robby? The man thought his greatest need was money. And Peter directs his attention to show him his greatest need is that he is spiritually bankrupt. You see, he thought his need was gold or silver or possessions. And what Peter says is, your greatest need is Jesus. And when you find Jesus, my friend, He is far more valuable than anything you can ever acquire.
Now I have preached in a lot of interesting environments and occasions. One time, when I was just meeting Kandi…in fact, this was one of the first sermons she came to hear me preach at. We were at a youth event in Ponchatoula, Louisiana. Bro. Tim knows where that is. And the lights went out. I am getting ready to preach. The place is packed. All the churches in the community are there, and the lights go out, just for no reason. The whole block. And we are in the dark. And so we make our way out and I am thinking, well, they are going to call the event. And the pastor says, No, we are going to go out on the front lawns of three homes in the neighborhood. And Pastor, can you just preach outside. And I said, yeah, definitely.
Well, the sermon got pretty hairy when all of a sudden, a pack or a few barking dogs were behind me. And all of a sudden, I tried to preach over the barking of dogs, fearing for my life at that moment. That was a hairy sermon, if you can imagine. But I believe this sermon takes the cake because the text says, look at it in Verse 11, it says that the man runs up to Peter and clings to his legs.
I have seen a lot of things, but I have never seen a man preach with another grown man on his knees holding on to his legs. And Peters says, well, there is an opportunity to preach and he preaches the gospel.
Now three things are happening here that I want you to see. Three reasons why I believe God heals this man. You can write them down. They are not on the screen. The first reason is this: God heals the man to display mercy to him. God extends mercy to the man.
The second reason God heals the man is because Jesus is showing us once again, God is showing us that the message of the gospel, the ministry of Jesus is being validated through the miracle. This is the first miracle after Pentecost. The first miracle we have recorded and it is the healing of the lame man.
And here is just a side note. You can think about this this week. How old was the man who was healed? 40. Forty is significant, right? How many years did they wander in the wilderness? Forty years, right? And Jesus Christ, after He begins His ministry, goes into the wilderness for forty days and comes out and begins His ministry. It is almost as if, and I don’t want to camp here too long, it is almost as if God is saying, the ministry is becoming a movement now. This lame man is healed and it is going to explode.
And then finally, the miracle was a platform for preaching. And so Peter preaches similar to what he has already preached. He basically says this. He says Jesus Christ is Lord and God. You guys murdered Him. You had a chance to let Him go, but you didn’t. But one day Jesus is coming back to judge the whole earth. Peter, you are doing very good at trying to win friends and influence people at this point, right?
Look at Verse 17, but he gives them hope. “And now, brothers, sisters, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets that His Christ would suffer, He thus fulfilled. Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that…I love this…the 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.”
What Peter does here is simply this. He says, repent and turn to God. That word “repent” is this idea of changing one’s mind but it is more than that. Friends, biblical repentance is not just changing one’s mind. It is more than even remorse. It is more than sorrow over sin. It is more than being caught for your wrongdoings. Repentance is…watch this…a change of mind that leads to a change of action. A person who says they have biblically repented and not has changed the course of their life in a different direction has not expressed repentance. They are displaying confusion.
And notice what he says. Repent and run to God. In the language of the New Testament, that word “run” is where we get the word “flee.” Now you are going to love this. That word “flee” is the idea of a city of refuge or a place that is comfortable.
You see in Israel, in ancient times, God had set up designated areas in the land for people who accidentally committed crimes to run to for refuge. They called the cities of refuge. You probably heard about this. And these people were given protection from the avengers of their crimes for a season of time. And when the High Priest at the time would die off, they could come out of hiding.
And I think Peter has this in mind when he says, Repent and flee to God. Why? Because God is your refuge. Can anybody amen to that? God is your protection. God is the peace that passes all understanding. God is your source. God is your sufficiency, if you will. He gives us the motivation for repentance when he says, so that your sins may be blotted out and that you may have times of refreshing.
What he is saying there is simply this. You will experience forgiveness. Do you know, unforgiven has crippled many Christians for much of their life? Do you know that? Unforgiveness is something that plagues probably many of you. Many of you may have been carrying this burden of guilt like a backpack of weight. Would you cry out to the Lord now, first of all, and ask God to forgive you of your sin? And if you have wronged anyone, I want to challenge you to go to them and ask them for forgiveness. Take the high road.
Instead of confessing your sins to the Lord, many of you have concealed them internally. You know, that will cripple you in the Christian life.
One medical doctor over in England told the great Anglican preacher, John Stott, “I could send half of my patients home tomorrow if only they could find forgiveness.”
So what is the result of this amazing preaching of Peter? What is the response? Write it down. Not only do we see the message of salvation, we see the movement of the Spirit. And I don’t have a lot of time, but I just want to show you one thing. I wrongly have discounted the impact of the disciple making movement of the apostles for many years because I have read that word 5,000 and thought this, much like you probably. That the movement went from 120 to 3,000 to 5,000. But that is not right. Look in Acts Chapter 4 Verse 4. “But many of those who had heard the word believed, and the number of the men (that is the key word) came to about five thousand.” Now the key word, the operative word there is men. How many women were there? Well, lets just say there was an equal amount of women. And we know that women are more receptive to the gospel and we know that women are more tender hearted, so lets just say for example, there were five thousand women. But how many children were there? We know in Acts Chapter 16 when Paul preaches to the Philippian jailer, it says, “He and his whole (what?) household got saved.”
So lets just say for example’s sake only two children are there. So we don’t just have five thousand people who are saved now, we have twenty thousand people who are saved. So the ministry now, get this, church, has become a movement. In just four chapters it has gone from 120 to 3000 to 20,000 people. The ministry has legs and now it has become a movement.
So, Robby, what do we do? Let me give you two walking points. Two points that you can walk home and apply in your life immediately. Write the first one down.
Transformation opens the door for proclamation. Transformation opens the door for proclamation. You see, not only is this an example of a man who has been healed for us, not only is it a platform for the preaching of the gospel, I believe this lame man as the first healing after the birth of the church, he is a picture of all lost mankind. I believe this man is a representative of us. And it show us just how marred we were before Christ. You see, his outward appearance is a picture of our inward sinfulness before the Lord. And so the fact that Peter gives him the opportunity to respond in faith shows us that any of us, if we repent of our sins and put our faith in Christ, can respond to Him, right?
And I believe this man had a testimony. It was his story that really God used to bring people to hear the message of the gospel. And it was this miracle, I believe, that God gave Peter the opportunity to preach from.
Now some people wrongly, I think, believe in what is called a cessationist view of the scriptures. It is just a technical term that means this: a cessationist view is the idea that after the death of the apostles, the gifts of miracles, the gifts of signs and the healings of God of the Old Testament and New have ceased to exist.
And friends, let me just share, if you believe in that, let me just encourage you to think through this. God is the same yesterday, today and forever, right? Who are we to put God in a box? It doesn’t matter what people’s dispensationalism believes or even man’s disposition believes about God. God can do whatever God wants to do, right? And I know that miracles are real because I have experienced them and I believe for you, you would agree, that the greatest miracle that we have ever seen is when God saved us. Do you believe that? The greatest miracle is that a good, holy God came looking for a sinful man and woman like you and like me. Aren’t you amazed by that?
You know, there was a time when I was so amazed by my testimony that I told anybody and everybody who would listen. Maybe you were like that at one time.
I will never forget when I was a new believer, I was a bachelor and I had a bunch of friends who were bachelors. And this is what we did on Friday nights for fun. We would go to my Grandfather’s house on Friday night around 7:00. My Grandfather lived with my parents, so the house was vacant. And we would get on our faces and pray to God to send us someone to share the gospel with. And after an hour of crying out to the Lord to send us someone, we would then load up in my 2003 black Cadillac CTS chrome rims, black tinted windows and here is the actual car. I found it. Tinted windows. And we would drive through Chalmette looking for unsuspecting lost people to share the gospel with. You could say it was the first drive by evangelism, if you will. We would drive through town and we would look for people to share the gospel with.
And I will never forget this night, we were driving through town and we saw two men walking in the parking lot of the high school. I whipped that CTS around the median, I made a U-turn. I pulled up into the parking lot at a high rate of speed. The four doors opened up as the men in the car got out. It looked like a Cops episode as we began to chase after these two men. The two men, thinking they are about to be assaulted, look over their shoulders and take off running. We follow them. One man was so scared, he crossed over on-coming traffic and got stuck on the median which was good for us because we surrounded him and were yelling the whole time, “We come in peace. We come in the name of Jesus.”
Thankfully, the man, we were able to woe him back to the parking lot. We talked to him and he got saved! The man got saved! It was crazy! I will never forget what the man told me before he left. He said, “Robby, I have seen a lot of things, but I have never seen Jesus roll up in a Cadillac before.” So I will never forget. He remembered that day forever.
Now listen to me, that is not probably the best way to share the gospel, but don’t miss this, church. Don’t miss this. You need to have some way that you are sharing the gospel.
Hey, listen. Let me just be honest with you. Was there a time in your life when you used to speak about the things of God all the time to people? I know there was a time in my life. Was there a time in your life when you used to share about the goodness of God to anybody and everybody who would listen? What happened? Listen to me. What happened? God hasn’t changed. Hey, listen, people need to hear your story. People need to hear the story of healing that God healed you with. People need to hear the story of salvation. People need to hear the story of miracles in your life. Why don’t you tell somebody that?
Friends, God transforms our life as a platform for the proclamation of His Word.
Secondly, let me give you the second walking point. Not only does transformation lead to proclamation, but lets this week take advantage of the opportunities that are all around us. And you would agree with me, there are opportunities that are all around us.
Peter and John, now get this, Peter and John are walking to the temple for a time of prayer. They are going to a holy service. They are going to a spiritual exercise, here. They are going to pray. And I have asked myself an honest question this week, if you were walking with some of the deacons at your church, would you guys have stopped and given this man the time of day? And I have to be honest with you, I would hope I would, but there are times in my own life when I look at these interruptions as obstacles.
But friends, don’t miss this, the interruption was an opportunity to share the gospel. Little did they know this man’s healing would be the platform for 20,000 people to come to faith in Christ. And what if they would have missed it? Hey, man, we would love to hang, but we have got to go pray. And I am not discounting prayer, but don’t miss this. We have got to go pray and we don’t have any time for you. And who knows what could have happened in the providence of God.
Don’t look at interruptions as obstacles. God may be interrupting your life as an opportunity to share the word.
It reminds me of the little girl who was there one day in a large crowd and there was this man speaking. It was one of those old-time Salvation Army open field preaching events. Do you remember those where guys would get up on a platform and they would preach the gospel to anyone who would listen. And that day there was a large crowd there. And this man was preaching to the crowd how he was once a drunkard and he was an alcoholic and how he lost everything and come home and he would take advantage of his wife and he would yell at his children. And how God had changed his life and he met Jesus Christ and he was a new man. And in the middle of that message, a cynic in the back yells out, “Why don’t you sit down and shut up. You are only dreaming. You are just dreaming!” The little girl walked over to his coat and tugged on it. The man looked down and he saw the little girl and she was a beautiful little girl. And she was more mature than her age and she said to him, “Sir, that man right there is my Daddy.” She said, “My Daddy used to be a bad man. He was a drunk. He would drink all day and come home at night and he would yell at me and he would beat my Mommy.” And she said, “Right there is my Mommy. But she is here today and because of Jesus, my Daddy is not the same man.” She said, “My Daddy loves Jesus now and so does my Mommy. My Mom is happy now and he doesn’t drink anymore and I have clothes to wear and I have shoes to go to school with. Look at these shoes,” she said. “Jesus changed my Daddy. And she said, You know what? He may be dreaming, but whatever you do, please don’t wake him up.”
I pray for us this week that we would be as bold as that young girl to see the opportunities that God has given us and seize them. Because Friends, you would agree, they are all around us, right?
Now maybe you are coming to Brainerd for some time and you are saying, Pastor Robby, the opportunity that is before me today is not just to proclaim the gospel to a lost world. The opportunity for me is to accept the gospel because I am lost. Friends, do you know what the Bible says? Today is the day of salvation.
What is the best day to give your life and heart to Jesus Christ? Today. And if you have never done that, I want to encourage you even now to cry out to the Lord in repentance and faith and say, Jesus, save me. I have turned from you. I am a sinner and I desperately need your grace.