Thursday, May 22, 2008

Silver and Gold We Have

Acts 3:1-10: “One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer--at three in the afternoon. Now a man crippled 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. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, "Look at us!" So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them. Then Peter said, "Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk." Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man's feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. When all the people saw him walking and praising God, 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.”

Martin Luther was a Catholic monk who began reading and studying God’s word for himself. God convicted him of his sin and Luther’s life was transformed. The Reformation grew built upon the foundational truths of God’s word, the work of Christ, and the blood of the martyrs John Huss, John Wycliffe and others who came before.

One of the things that deeply offended Luther was the practice of the Catholic Church to sell indulgences. The program was that if you pay the church money, the priest would pray to get your loved one out of purgatory. If he needed more money, he came and asked for more money. Because of this practice, the Catholic Church became wealthy and powerful. A Catholic bishop was heard to say to his friend, “Now we’re not like poor old Peter; we have silver and gold.” His friend said, “We might have silver and gold but we can’t tell the crippled beggar ‘in the name of Jesus of Nazareth, walk’”…

The church today has silver and gold and we can’t tell the crippled beggar “in the name of Jesus, walk.” The truth is, we can do nothing to change ourselves or save ourselves. The only way we change is through the power of God.

We think we are rich (yes, we have silver and gold) but are we spiritual paupers, rich in the things of the world but poor in the things of God. We are in deep trouble and we could care less.

Come Lord Jesus, come. Amen.

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