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How to Care for our Community

Text: Acts 3:1-10


1. Walk in the world


When the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit and became witnesses of Jesus Christ, the church grew rapidly. Nearly 3,000 people gave their lives to Jesus Christ in one day and others continued to be added to the body day after day. 


So, nobody could have blamed the church leaders if they had just decided to focus on taking care of this large group of believers, but we find evidence in this passage, that they didn’t just limit themselves to contacts with other believers. 


The early church did not isolate themselves from the world around them. 


John 17:18, “As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.”


When Paul wrote his first letter to the church at Corinth, he also made it very clear that those who followed Jesus Christ were not to isolate themselves from the world around them:

2. Look for the lost


In our passage here in Acts, it’s obvious that Peter and John not only saw the man, they choose to look at him:


Vs. 4, “And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us.”


There’s a big difference between just seeing something and choosing to look at it. 

As I read that verse this week, I had to ask myself the question, “How many times do I see a person in need, but I just choose to ignore him or her?” 


It would have been easy for Peter and John to just pass by that day. After all, they were on a religious mission. They were on their way to the Temple to pray. Peter and John didn’t let their religion get in the way of their compassion. 

3. Emphasize the essentials


In this passage Peter addressed his most essential need:

V. 6, “Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk." 


In many cases, what people think they need or say they need is not really what they need. In fact, sometimes if we give people what they ask for we can cause more harm than good. 


But how do I know what the other person really needs? How do I make sure I emphasize the essentials? Those questions lead us directly into our next principle:

4. Connect with the “contaminated”


When Peter addressed the man’s needs, he had to make contact with him. He had to get involved in his life.


Vs. 7, “And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.”


Peter had also learned from watching how Jesus ministered to people. Jesus wasn’t afraid to connect with the people he ministered to. Many of those people were the “down and out” of His day. But Jesus was never too busy to spend time with them, He was never to proud to be seen with them, He was never too worried about being contaminated to touch them. 


It’s not easy to connect with those who we would classify as “contaminated” in some way. But that’s exactly what the Bible commands us to do. 


·     Will we be inconvenienced sometimes? We sure will. 

·      Will we put ourselves in danger sometimes? We very well might. 

·      Will we need to move beyond our comfort zone? Almost certainly. But if we’re going to be a biblical church then we need to be willing to do that.

5. Give what we’ve got


Peter and John couldn’t meet every one of that man’s needs that day. But they did do what they could with what they had.


Then Peter said, "Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk." (v.6)


Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people…


Galatians 6:9-10, “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.”


THE RESULT OF THAT KIND OF CARING:


Look what happened when Peter and John were willing to care for their community:


Vs. 9-10, “And all the people saw him walking and praising God: And they knew that it was he which sat for alms at the Beautiful gate of the temple: and they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him.”


There are two distinct results of what Peter and John did:


• People take notice


When we serve the needs of others, people will notice. And people will naturally want to be a part of a group of people who selflessly serves the needs of others. That was one of the attributes of the early church. No wonder people were being added to the body every day.


• God gets the glory


When we serve people in the name of Jesus, it is God, not us, who will get the glory. Nobody praised Peter and John that day. They praised God for the work that he had done through them. That’s because a great church always directs people to a great God.


I want to give you a specific challenge to apply the things that we’ve learned here this morning. Here’s what I want you to do:


This week I want you to go out of your way to find someone in need. It might be someone at work, a family member, a neighbor, or it might be a complete stranger. And then I want you to connect with that person in some way – talk to them, invite them out for a cup of coffee, etc. 


When you do that your goal is to try to find out as much as you can about that person’s needs. Which means you have to listen. Then, figure out what resources you have to meet that person’s needs and take some action.


All of us have probably hundreds of opportunities to care for the people in our community each week, but we are so used to not looking for them that we never follow through with those opportunities.