In the Steps and Power of the Lord

Friday: Serving Jesus Until He Comes

Acts 9:32-43 In this week’s lessons, we see how God works through Peter.
Serving Jesus Until He Comes

Let me give a few observations on Peter’s story. The first is how fast the Gospel had spread in these early days. It was not very long into what we call “the Christian era,” but already Christianity had spread south to Ethiopia, north to Samaria and Damascus, and now west to the coast of the Mediterranean. Moreover, Paul had gone back to Turkey and had undoubtedly begun to preach there. 

Why was this happening? It is because the Gospel spreads. It is like perfume. If you take the stopper out of a perfume bottle, the odor of the perfume soon spreads throughout the room. You can’t stop it. The Gospel is the sweet smell of true doctrine, a Gospel centered in a gracious, loving God, who sent His Son to die for our salvation. A message like that just can’t be bottled up. If that message is bottled up in you or your church, it is because you do not really understand it. You have not actually entered into it. These people had, and it was spreading. Here in Lydda and Joppa, there were Christians who were already worshiping and serving Jesus Christ. 

The second point is how practical the Christian Gospel is. Dorcas had been doing so many good deeds—she was known for them—that many people were weeping and crying because they had lost her. She was valuable as a Christian and as a human being. 

One thing preachers hear again and again is that they are always up in the clouds or that they have no contact with things practical. But exactly the opposite is the case. A person can escape being practical in different areas or callings of life, but not in Christianity. Christianity has a Gospel of salvation from sin, and flowing from that is a practical calling to help and serve other people. Yes, Christianity calls people to turn from sin and respond to Jesus Christ in saving faith. But if they have done that, it then calls them to serve others also.

Before the coming of Jesus Christ there were no hospitals in the world. But where Christianity came, the light of medicine followed and hospitals were founded everywhere. Before Jesus Christ came there were no orphanages in the world. There were no leprosariums in the world before the coming of Jesus Christ. There were no disaster relief organizations in the world before the coming of Jesus Christ. There were not even any great schools in the ancient world. It is Christians who have gone into the cities of the world and have hunted out the poor, the young, the sick, the uneducated, and have brought them into schools to train them and give them skills that enabled them to be something other than destiny would seem to have chosen for them. 

This is just biblical religion. And here was Peter, a poor fisherman, doing exactly that. 

There is only one more thing I need to say about this passage, and that is that although Peter had followed in the steps and power of his Lord for many days, his journey was not over yet. In fact, in the very next chapter Peter is going to be sent to Cornelius, the Gentile, and by this means God is going to use him to open the door of the Gospel to those who were not Jews. God was working in his life, but God had not finished working. 

God is not finished with you either. It does not make any difference where you have come from or what you have learned or how far you have come or have not come in your Christian life and walk. If you are alive and know Jesus Christ as your Savior, God has not finished with you. You are to keep on learning, doing, serving, and loving.  So keep on keeping on… until Jesus comes again.

Study Questions
  1. What two points does Dr. Boice make about the passage in Acts and what it reveals about the Gospel?
  2. How did Christianity change the world in a practical sense?

Application: If it can be said of you that the Gospel is bottled up in you or your church, pray that you will truly understand and receive the truth. Then take steps to “uncork” the bottle.

Prayer: Pray that you will keep on learning, doing, serving, and loving in the example of Peter.

For Further Study: Download for free and listen to James Boice’s message, “Why Miracles?” (Discount will be applied at checkout.)

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