This morning’s worship was led by evangelist Ian Middlemist, who preached from Acts chapter 3 verses 11-19. Here, the congregation before Peter were ready to give him all the praise for healing the crippled man. However, there were incredibly wrong to do this in three ways: they tried to give glory to men, not God, they rejected Jesus, they wanted to stick to their own principles.
The first act of ignorance was to try to give Peter the credit for the healing which had taken place. We need to give all the credit to Jesus. Peter asked them why they were surprised the man had been healed. No one should be amazed because in Jesus’ world this is what happens. The crowd were ignorant in giving glory to the men. People today give honour to human icons, crowds give praise to men. This can also happen on a spiritual level (John 12, verse 43), when men prefer the praise of others rather than God’s praises. Praise belongs to the Lord and the Lord only. Give the glory to God.
The second act of ignorance was rejecting Jesus. In contrast to the honour the Lord gave to Jesus, we see the great dishonour shown by the inhabitants of Israel. They denied the holy, righteous one. They killed the author of life. But no-one could over-throw the Prince of Life, who is risen again. The author of life suffered on the cross; it is by His Grace we are here today.
The third act shows the people being persistently ignorant. Christ’s death was no accident, it was always in the eternal plan and purpose for the Son to be crucified. God is in total control. Those who caused the death of Jesus did it in ignorance. Many people believe they cannot be held accountable. Peter is not giving them an excuse; every person who walks on this planet knows of the existence of God. No-one has an excuse to reject Christ.
Peter calls for their repentance. Forgiveness is necessary. Everything that happened to Jesus was foretold. Wrath is coming, judgement of God is coming. Stop making excuses. Repent. Start again. Don’t try to fix things yourself, turn to Jesus. What men planned for evil, God planned for life.
The cross brought resurrection. We can have newness of life because we are forgiven. Forgiveness is not for all. We must repent then blessings will flow – sins will be wiped out, Christ will come and complete the work He began.
The crippled man praised God, we too should praise God for the wonderful Salvation He has given us. Look to Jesus, He who deserves the praise.