Sermon in a nutshell: “Through your offspring all peoples on earth will be blessed.” (Acts 3:11-26)
Do you believe in miracles? That is great! Yes, there was a lame guy and he was healed and walked! However, do you know who made that man walk? Was it Peter or John? No, that is what Peter or John tried to tell us. Peter said to the crowd, “It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has completely healed him, as you can all see.” In other words, we need three factors in a miracle. First, we call on the name of Jesus. Second, we need faith in Jesus. Third, God should use us in that way. God can cure people through miracles like the man in the Bible. God can leave people in a challenged situation but still use them in powerful ways like Nick Vujicic, Helen Keller, or Roosevelt.
We already have shared the two things that God is doing (so the church is doing): (1) Direct Services and (2) Spiritual Ministries, including miracles. Sometimes (1) God feeds people (so do churches through offerings) but sometimes (2) God gives strength to people so that people can feed themselves (so do churches through Means of Grace– worship, prayer, Bible studies, fellowship, and small groups).
Let us reflect on how these two ways of God’s work transform our lives and church ministries. (1) Prevenient Grace: When we are fallen, we even do not know that we are sinners. Many people tried to have moral and ethical life through discipline. However, if we are really serious about the ethical and moral life, we will find out that we cannot live such great life! So many other religions stay there.
(2) Justifying Grace: However, the end of the discipline is frustration and despair. We can hear Apostle Paul crying, “So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?” (Romans 7:21-24). When we confess that we cannot save ourselves by good deeds, good works, and disciplines we seek help from outside of ourselves. There and then we meet Jesus! Apostle Paul confessed right after the cry, “Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:25). Here works the Justifying Grace! Paul continued, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.”(Romans 8:1-2).
(3) Sanctifying Grace: Once we are born again and freed from the power of sin and death, we start bearing fruits! The Bible promises that “through your offspring all peoples on earth will be blessed.” In this passage, our “offspring” is not our biological descendants but our “disciples.” Jesus said, “For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” (Matthew 12:50). Apostle Paul also emphasized that “the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who have the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all.” (Romans 4:16) So, our job is to make disciples of Jesus Christ so that the world should be blessed through them! They will learn from us and copy our behaviors. When we produce disciples, our mission is complete. May God bless us with this disciple making process!
* Who are your disciples in Christ?