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Faith Reaches Out

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James 2:17 NIV

In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

The sermon delves into the essence of a living faith, highlighting that genuine faith compels us to take action and make tangible differences in the lives of others. It draws inspiration from James 2:17, which emphasizes that faith without action is dead, and reflects on the life of the Apostle Peter, particularly his healing of a lame beggar as told in Acts chapter 3. This act of faith by Peter and John exemplifies the outward focus that true faith should embody.

Acts 3:1-10 NIV

One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon. 2 Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. 3 When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. 4 Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” 5 So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them. 6 Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” 7 Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. 8 He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. 9 When all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.

Firstly, there is a hurting world out there, where many people carry a brokenness that is the by-product of living in a fallen-state world. That does not mean that, as disciples, we need to give them something we do not have. Increasingly, the world is asking for grace without truth, love without holiness, and salvation without repentance, but we can’t give them this. 

Peter and John wanted something greater than supporting the man in his condition. They wanted to transform his life with the power of the risen Jesus Christ.

“It is not the Church’s business in this world to simply make the present condition more bearable; the task of the Church is to release here on earth the redemptive work of God in Christ.” (William Sanford LaSor)

Secondly, as disciples, we are often too preoccupied with what we do not have rather than what we do have. Throughout scripture, God uses what you do have, no matter how insignificant,  for the benefit of others and to His glory.

  • Joseph only had a dream
  • Moses had a staff
  • David had a sling
  • Gideon had an army of only three hundred
  • A boy in a crowd of five thousand had five loaves and two fish 

Discussion Questions

1. Reflecting on James 2:17, how can we ensure that our faith is not simply an idle belief but an active force in our lives? Discuss ways to live out your faith in practical terms within your community.

2. In Acts 3, Peter and John heal a lame beggar in the name of Jesus Christ. How can this example inspire us to use what we have, no matter how small, to make a difference in the lives of others? Share a personal experience where you witnessed a small act of faith having a big impact.

3. The sermon highlighted the concept of "God plus one is a majority," as demonstrated by the missionary Mary Slessor. Discuss how this principle can empower us in our individual efforts to serve and influence our world for Christ.

4. Considering the pairing of grace with truth, and love with holiness, how do you think maintaining the integrity of these biblical principles is essential for genuine transformation? Discuss examples from Scripture that demonstrate the importance of upholding these pairings.

5. Reflect on the significance of Peter and John giving their full attention to the beggar at the Beautiful Gate. How does this story challenge us to be more attentive to the needs around us, and how can we practice this attentiveness in our daily lives?

6. In what ways can we embrace and share the transformative power of Christ in our personal interactions, keeping in mind the "God plus you is a majority" mindset? Discuss the potential impact this can have on those we engage with.