NEED AND EXPECTANCY
Acts 3/5. So he gave them his attention, expecting to receive something from them…
It’s the easiest thing in the world not to expect something. After all, haven’t we listened to thousands of sermons? Maybe from the same preacher – which makes it worse. If familiarity doesn’t breed contempt – for it certainly shouldn’t among Christians.
Then at least familiarity can breed mediocrity in the listeners. And of course when we come to church to listen to preachers we usually give them our attention – perhaps not a 100% – but pretty close, ‘cause we realise that’s what we are supposed to do. We learn that, from an early age at school – “Attention children please!”
But this man (in the story in Acts 3) was not responding to preachers – he gave them his attention because he was EXPECTING TO RECEIVE alms. He wanted money from them.
If he’d known they were preachers he’d have realised he should have been giving them money!! Or so a lot of preachers would have us believe!
‘Silver and Gold have I none…’ (Not much 21st century prosperity theology there was there?)
Not out of some sense of religious duty, but out of his need, this man was in a state of ANTICIPATION. Whereas sometimes in church we pay attention cause its our duty. But there is no sense of need. Seen it all before, nothing new to expect.
‘I know that! Yes, yes…’, – ‘…heard better sermons on that before’. Familiarity breeding mediocrity, killing off anticipation or ready response from the hearers.
Neither good or very bad that’s – mediocrity. Just in the middle somewhere. Mediocrity is a brother to lukewarmness. No anticipation of faith.
(Matthew 8: 23-27) Jesus in a boat with His disciples.
On one occasion the disciples were in a place of REST with Jesus. The place was called a boat. Jesus was asleep, and they were drifting along nicely. They weren’t ANTICIPATING anything unusual. When suddenly: …‘don’t panic, don’t panic captain Mainwaring!!’ (a line from an old comedy show, for those who don’t know).
A storm arose, and they suddenly payed a lot of attention to the preacher in the boat, they felt a sense of need all of a sudden.
II Samuel 11
When David, (a man after God’s own heart – who failed) committed sin with Bathsheba, and sent her husband to his death. It is easy to conclude that he had a deep deep sense of need, when the prophet exposed the magnitude of his sin.
If you are sinning, and don’t have a deep deep sense of need, then you’re in trouble. Big trouble. You need to get a sense of need.
In fact if as Christians we don’t have a sense of need. Then we too are in trouble. An old chorus goes: ‘I need you, oh how I need you – every hour I need you…’
And when you feel that sense of need, and you keep putting off your expectation of the forgiveness of God, he, who, being often reproved and who yet still hardens his heart is in danger of cutting himself off from the mercy of God..
He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.
A person who will not bend after many warnings will suddenly be broken beyond repair.
When you feel that sense of need – give God your UTMOST ATTENTION – for He wants to meet your need with Himself.
And because the church loses its sense of need – then God uses the storms that come against the church – to humble us and to prove us and to see what is in our hearts, and out of a renewed sense of need we seek The Lord in brokenness.
And when inclement weather (metaphorically speaking) comes our way we can either freeze or flex some spiritual muscle and become hot. But let’s not stay lukewarm. ‘I would you were hot or cold’. Cold but with a sense of need. (Revelation 3/16)
Or on fire, ready to give away what you have, like Peter and John, on the occasion referred to above.
The guy wanted something. And that’s ok. Its ok to want something when we go to church. Its also good to WANT to give something when we go to church.
“Look at us”. Notice – plural. Look at us. Not look at me. Rather – body ministry. (ie. more than one person involved) Peter did the speaking, Peter stretched out his hand and lifted him up. What was John doing?
After all – this man was expecting to receive something – (Acts 3 v5) – from THEM. He wanted something from both of them. Peter said ‘Look at US’ (plural). Is it not time you and I – the Body of Christ (the church) got their act together and started to say look at us?
He gave THEM his attention. Peter spoke, took his hand. But we read after he was healed he wouldn’t LET GO OF EITHER OF THEM. Where do you get that from? Verse 11…held on to Peter and John…
Do you think John didn’t play any part in this? According to scripture, he did. They demonstrated the unity of the faith. The body ministry aspect is even borne out in v 12 when Peter giving the glory to God says …”as though by OUR OWN power we had made this man walk?” He includes John in the word OUR.
Jesus working through His church – having gifts differing, let’s rejoice in God’s supply through His body.
In need of Jesus and His Grace and power, let’s together expect that same Grace to be sufficient for us all – made perfect in our weakness and sense of need.