April 25, 2019

The Gift of Grace - Acts 3:17-18

"What would you do if I gave you a million dollar bill? Would you be pretty excited about that? Well, it's not a real one, but, uh, my grandkids had me get it for them the other day and I've got to put this in an envelope and send this to them." 

Family Discussions:

  1. When's the last time you shared Christ with someone?
  2. When was the last time you were in seat 34B? Described that experience, can you?
  3. Do you know anyone who's speeding towards hell right now?
  4. What's your strategy to help them slow down and to give their heart to Christ?

Transcription:

00:14 What would you do if I gave you a million dollar bill? Would you be pretty excited about that? Well, it's not a real one, but, uh, my grandkids had me get it for them the other day and I've got to put this in an envelope and send this to them. But, uh, I want to talk about the greatest gift of all. We're an Acts chapter three in verse 17 and 18. And, and just in context, Peter and John had just healed the first guy after they'd received the Holy Spirit. The power of God in them healed this man who had been crippled his whole life. Now you guys, Peter could have run for office that day. He could have, he could have taken the presidency. I mean, people were gathering around him and ready to proclaim him as God. But, uh, properly so Peter did what he should have done.

01:05 It says this, and 17. He said, "and now, brethren, I know that you acted in ignorance just as your rulers did also with the things which God announced beforehand by the mouth of all the prophets that his Christ would suffer. He has now fulfilled. All the things that were announced before that Christ would suffer. He has now fulfilled." Peter just proclaimed Jesus because to him it was more important than any title or office position in the whole wide world. You know, what? Of all the most exciting memories of my life or when, you know, God allowed me to do that. I was just thinking about one a minute ago. I was delayed on an air flight, was supposed to be flying from New York to my home in Missouri and, and we were, uh, sitting on a different plane through Orlando, Florida. And I knew in my heart that God had a reason for that delay.

02:03 Uh, even though it was going to be three hours out of the way. While I was in seat 34B. And sure enough, next to me in 34A, uh, there was a woman there, she was a business woman and she was a consultant. Brilliant lady. And she was on her way to consult for some businesses in Orlando. I just kind of started, uh, you know, reading this little Bible that I carry around with me. And, um, and somehow she became curious in what I was doing. I forget the question she asked me but I said, I said, do you ever think about spiritual things? And she started talking about her new age faith and how she was steeped in the new age faith that she was one with God and that you know, that everything was God and she didn't need Jesus.

02:43 And, and, and as she began to tell me her whole story, what happened was, was that when she was 12 years old, she went to her, uh, uh, church experience. And the guy who was leading the church, she kind of confessed your sins to this church leader. He said, you know what, if you sin before you return for your next confession time, he said, you know, you could die and go to hell. So be sure and come back next week. Well, it scared that little girl so bad that if she died between her confession times that she could go to hell. She went out on the front porch, that church to kill herself, but she was too afraid to do that. So she just ran from the church and ran into the new age philosophy. Well, all I did was just turned to this little verse in the Bible in Second Corinthians 5:21 and I handed my bible to her and she read this.

03:35 "God made Jesus who knew no sin became sin on my behalf, that I might become the righteousness of Christ in him." And then I turned to Ephesians 2:8-9 and I handed it to her and she read it. It said, "by grace you've been saved through faith and not of yourself. It's a gift of God that no one should boast." Now I turned to John 1:12. And I handed it to her and she read, "but to as many as received him to them, he gave the right to become children of God." And folks, 30 years of anger at God, 30 years of fear. Improper fear of God melted away in those three or four Bible verses. And that lady for the first time in her life saw the gift of grace. And you know what? I got to pray by that lady that day.

04:30 And um, you know what? Um, it's the greatest gift I could have given her and, and you know what you've got your seat34B. You're in seat 34B right now. You know, you're in class somewhere and you're in seat 34B and in 34A there's someone sitting right next to you that needs the gift of grace. You know, you're out there in the marketplace working. There's somebody in your company right now sitting in seat 34A and you, you get a chance to give them something that's a whole lot more than a million bucks. You get to give them the gift of eternal life. Go for it. Here's the questions for today. When's the last time you shared Christ with someone? When was the last time you were in seat 34B? Described that experience, can you? And then let me ask you this. Do you know anyone who's speeding towards hell right now? What's your strategy to help them slow down and to give their heart to Christ? And then here's a great thing to do today. Find somebody to share Christ with. Begin to pray for them and, and, uh, and ask God to give you the opportunity to share with him the greatest gift you could give them.

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