Sr. Pastor Darrell G Vaughn
                                                          Faithfulness - A Key Step to Happiness
Apr 4, 2012:                      "The Danger of just being At Church!"  To Listen the Audio with this Great Sermon click"  "Here"
Wed PM Worship                                              

Text: Acts 3:1-13 (King James Version)         

  "Father, I am your servant, willing and desiring to be used to bless your people."

                                       The Fields are white and the laborers are few!
C.H. Spurgeon said, "If God does not save a man by truth he certainly will not save them by lies, and if the old gospel is not competent to work a revival, then we will do without the revival;"

 

Acts 3:1   Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour.

Acts 3:2   And a certain man lame from his mother's womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple;

Acts 3:3   Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms.

Acts 3:4   And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us.

Acts 3:5   And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them.

Acts 3:6   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.

Acts 3:7   And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.

Acts 3:8   And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.

Acts 3:9   And all the people saw him walking and praising God:

Acts 3:10   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.

Acts 3:11   And as the lame man which was healed held Peter and John,  all the people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon's, greatly wondering.

Acts 3:12   And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk?

Acts 3:13   The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go.

 

Let's pray. Father,  Open my eyes so I can see Your truth.  

Open my ears so I can hear Your voice.
Open my mind so I can understand Your Word.
And open my heart so I may receive all that You want me to receive. AMEN

 

After having read this portion of scripture, We don't know how much time had lapse between the events of Acts chapter two and the occurrences of Acts chapter three. In Acts chapter two, the Holy Ghost has fallen upon the church. The Day of Pentecost was fully come. The Disciples and others from across the earth were gathered together when came into the building a mighty rushing wind and there appeared unto them cloven tongues as of fire and fell upon each one of them And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost.

 In Acts chapter two, they became loud in their spiritual response. In Acts chapter two, they were falsely accused and falsely evaluated, saying, "These men must be drunk with new wine. Is that right?

But oh brothers and sisters, in Acts chapter two, there was one who had faded into the background. There was one who had denied knowing and ever even being with Jesus is now filled with the Holy Ghost and speaks out boldly. He preaches a sermon and says, no these men are not drunk as you suppose seeing it is but the third hour of the day..

He goes on to preach about the prophesy of the Old Testament by saying that in the last days, God will pour out His spirit upon all flesh. In Acts chapter two, after that sermon was preached, some three thousand souls were added to the church. All of that happen in Acts chapter two. In Acts chapter two the multitude is gather together rejoicing, shouting and praising God. But in Acts chapter three, the excitement has died down. Are you going to pray with me? In Acts chapter three, the crowd has dwindled away. In Acts chapter two, a large crowd was present. Three thousand converts was as one for the cause of Christ. But in Acts chapter three, we just see two men walking together, by the name of Peter and John.

I think that there were some folk in the crowd only there for the excitement. Some folk in the crowd are only there for the fact that something is different. They are there because the church has a new pastor. Not everybody in the crowd will last. Are you going to pray with me?

Now it don't make any difference to me if you say amen or not, because I'm bound and determined to preach. I'm going to preach just hard without you saying amen. I've learned to preach in season and out of season. I've learned to preach when you are running down the isle and I've learned to preach when you got icicles hanging on you. Can I get a witness? You understand. In Acts chapter three, there is only two men. Oh what a change has now taken place. There's nobody now but Peter and John who are walking through the market place. You got to understand that Peter and John really didn't have any great friendship with each in Acts chapter two. But now Peter and John were walking together.

Before the events of Acts chapter two, both seem to irritate each. They were so different in their personality, that one seem to get on the nerves of the other. Somebody knows about getting on folks nerve. You see Peter was a protester, but John believed in peaceful means of working out ones problems. Peter believed that violence was the answer to any problem, but John believed that talking it out was the best way. So they both irritated each other, but that was before the Holy Ghost fell. And now after the Holy Ghost fell in Acts chapter two, by the time we get to Acts chapter three, they are walking together.

 

My brothers and sisters, you ought to know that the Holy Ghost will put us together. The Holy Ghost will make us be as one. Peter and John are now working together as a team.

 

That tells me that Church work is not a one man job. Church work is team work. What you got to understand is that you're not the whole show.

Church work is team work. All of us working together for the cause of Christ. And let me serve notice on you. If you've been filled, and I use the preposition "if". If you've been filled with the Holy Ghost, you will work together. Now they are walking together. Look at them, shoulder to shoulder. Look at them, walking side by side. Now they are in the market place. They had to get to the temple because it was now the hour of prayer. But in route to the temple, they had go through by way of the market place. Oh brothers and sisters, we need to stop here and look at the market place. First of all I need to tell you what the market place is all about. The market is anywhere you feel that is beneath you. There were merchants in the market place. There were salesmen in the market place. There were peddlers selling their wares in the market place. There were also thieves in the market place. There were women of the evening strolling in the market place. Now Peter and John were on their way to the temple, but they journeyed through the market place. You understand me. My brothers and sisters, on our way to church, there's a job to be done in the market place.

Some of us turn up our noses while we are going through the market place. You know what I'm talking about. I'm Sister So and So. I'm Brother So and So. I'm Missionary So and So. And we turn our nose up and don't want to brush up against anybody in the market place. Don't want to talk to anybody while we are in the market place. But my brothers and sisters, there's a job for the church in the market place. The church's job is not between these four walls. Our mission is out there in the market place. Are you going to help me here? If you got so much religion, you ought to be talking to somebody, witnessing to somebody, testifying to somebody, not in the church, but in the market place. Can I get a witness? Notice here that they were journeying through the market place. They weren't there to stay, but they were going through. They weren't there to take part in what was going on, their destination was the church, but they had to go through the market place. Oh brothers and sisters, so many times we pass the mission of the church on our way to church. With choir robes on our arms, we pass folk who need to hear a good song in the market place. Sometimes with Sunday School books and Bibles under our arms, we pass folk who need to hear a Bible lesson in the market place. We want to preach and teach each other.

We want to fellowship with folk who already know Christ and by-pass our mission which is in the market place. But oh brothers and sisters, Peter and John after the Holy Ghost has fallen, can now be seen making their way through the market place on their way to the temple. And on their way into the temple, they pass the gate of the temple which was called Beautiful. And there at the gate was a wretch of a man, who was sitting at the gate. The Bible tells us that while Peter and John was going into the temple, the man sat there and no doubt with my imagination working with me, with a cup in his hand asking for money. He was asking for alms of those who went into the temple.

Now Peter and John had come at the ninth hour on their way to the temple and they found this man sitting there at the side of the gate. Oh brothers and sisters, what a tragic thing it was. Look at him with his cup rattling asking for a hand out because he was lame and couldn't walk. The record is he was lame from his mother's womb. He was forced to be abandoned and to live on hand outs of those who entered in to the temple. I think I ought to tell you that it's sad not that this man was cripple. It's not the fact that he's lame, but what's sad is the fact not how he is, but where he is. Are you going to help me. Look at him. Bro. Preacher where is he? He's at the temple. Not in the temple. Maybe y'all are not reading this. He was not in the temple, he was at the temple. That was the worse part of his problem. It was not how he was, but where he was. He was at the temple but not in the temple. He was brought there daily and laid daily at the side of that gate.

Surely, the folk who laid him at the temple, it would have been just as easy to put him on the front pew in the temple. But he's not in, but at. And oh brothers and sisters, that seems to represent so many modern day church folk who are always at church, but never in church. At choir rehearsal, but never in the rehearsal. At Sunday School, but never in Sunday School. At Bible Study, but never in Bible Study. At Mission meetings, but never really in mission meeting. Some of you this morning are at morning worship. That's why some folk look and act so dead, because they are not in morning worship. You understand what I'm talking about. And if by chance I make you mad, I hope it makes you mad enough to do something about it. Always at church, but never in church. Never in church in terms of interest. Never in, in terms of caring. Never in, in being a part of what's going on inside the church. Sitting on pews. but never in the worship. Dressed up to kill, but never in the worship service. Put good money in the church, but never the concern of the church. Singing in the choir, but never in.

Working on the Usher Board, but never really in. Oh brothers and sisters, I need to tell you how you can tell when you are at church and not in church. When you can leave church the same old way that you came, you were only at church. When you can leave church doing the same old thing, acting the same old way, going to the same old places, you were at church and not in church. When you leave church never any stronger and when you come to church and never feel the Holy Spirit, nothing never moves you, nothing never gets next to you, nothing never stirs you up, you keep that same old prim and proper look, you are at church and not in church. Somebody knows what I'm talking about. When your habits never change, when your ways never get any better, when your lifestyle never gets any better, when you can leave and keep on peeping and hiding, slipping and tipping, hugging and bugging, you are at church. The tragedy of this man was not how it was, but where he was. He was at church when he ought to have been in church. Oh brothers and sisters what a tragedy. How tragic it was to be so close, but yet so far. How tragic it was to be so close to the reading of the scripture, but never hear them read. What a tragedy it was to be so close, but yet so far away. He was at, but not in.

Now Peter and John walked up to him on their way in to the temple. And the Bible says that the man lifted up his cup and asked them for a donation. You know the story. Peter and John looked upon him. And the Bible said that Peter fastened his eyes upon him. My brothers and sisters, there's something that bothers me in this world. Anything that you value as important, you ought to look at it. I don't want anybody to talk to me while they got their head down. I want them to look at me when they are talking to me. Because where you look determines what you value. Peter fastened his eyes upon him. And John said unto him, Look on us. They told the lame man to look on us. Now I think I ought to tell you that everybody can't say that to a lame humanity.

Everybody can't tell the spiritual lame, look on us. Some of us can't tell them, because we are afraid of what they might see in us. Can you say to your son or daughter look on me? And when they look on you what will they see? Will they see a father who sets the proper example? Will they see a father who is devoted to his family and to Christ, the head of the church? Will they see a mother who is a Christian woman and sets a Godly example? Can we say as church members to a little girl or a little boy, look on us? Are we living in such a way before society that we can say to men and women, girls and boys, if you want to know what a child of God looks like, look on us. And let me tell you something. Let me get all this monkey off my back. Because there are some folk who are always looking at the preacher.

But you ought to know that you are responsible for the life you live in order that folk can see something worthwhile in you. Are you going to pray with me? Did you carry yourself in such a way last night wherever you were that you wouldn't mind a little boy or girl looking on you. This is a mirror type sermon. There is a looking glass in front of each one of us so that we can ask ourselves some important questions. Am I in such a way that the world can see Christ in me. Peter and John said look on us. And the Bible said that they said to the man, the man who was lame looked to them expecting to receive some money from them. Oh my brothers and sisters, the lame society is expecting something from us. Lame humanity is suspecting something worthwhile, something important, something significant, something Godly from the church. The Bible said that he held out his cup expecting to receive something. Somebody came to church this morning expecting to receive something from the church. Can I get a witness? Yes, Peter and John was looking upon him.

Conclusion:
* As I hurry on to a close, Peter and John addressed him and said in essence to him, I know what you are expecting. I know what you've been looking for. Down through the years, people have been dropping silver and gold in your cup, but yet your condition is still the same. Down through the years, people have been dropping money in your cup, but by ways and action, you're still in the same old situation. So silver and gold haven't done you much good. You're still lame and you're still unable to move yourself from one place to the other, but yet you keep on asking for something that has not done you any good. And they said, in essence to him, we know what you've been asking for, but we want to tell you, that silver and gold have we none. But we want to offer you somebody who can make a difference in your life. You've been asking for silver and gold, you've been asking for something that will never do you any good. But we want to offer you something this morning that money can't buy. That silver and gold cannot acquire. Silver and gold have we none, but such as we have we give unto you. And they went to tell him, "In the name of Jesus." Can I get a witness here? "In the name of Jesus, rise up and walk." Rise up and walk. And the Bibles said that they extended their right hand to the lame man and they lifted him up. And you know that is the job of every child of God and that is to lift somebody up. They stretched out their right hand and that lame man took hold to their hand. And the Bible said that straight way, strength came in the ankle bone. Down through the years this lame man had seen other folk use their ankles, but he never used his own. Down the years, he had seen other folk use their feet and legs, but he's never been able to use his own. But that blessed day when Peter and John called on the name of Jesus, the Bible said straight way strength came into his ankle bone.

He stood up on his own two feet. Now that's what God does. He's able to stand you up on your two feet. He's able to make a man of you. He's able to make a woman out of you. He'll stand you up on your own two feet. Look at him walking around. All of his life he had been lame, but look at him now leaping and jumping. Look at him, shouting and rejoicing. Look at him. He started out at the temple, but when Peter and John got through with him, he ran on in the temple. I'm going home when I tell you that I asked to Lord to save my soul. I asked the Lord to give me good religion. Make me a pure Christian and not somebody that pretend to be one thing and act like another. I didn't want to be at church, I wanted to be in church and I wanted the church in me. You know it was one Thursday when I was at church, but I wasn't in church. I was at church but I wasn't in. I was sitting on the pew, but that was at church and not in church. But somebody prayed for me.

If y'all don't mind let me preach here for a minute. I thank God that even though I was at church, I thank God one Thursday, the power of the Holy Ghost fell on me. Saved my soul and gave me a listening ear. I was no longer at church, but now I'm in church. I came on the Lord's side. Now that I'm in church and not at church, I can love those who hate. Now that I'm in church and not at church, I can bless them who curse me. Now that I'm in church and not at church, I can pray for them who despitefully use me. Now that I'm in church and not at church, I pray in the morning, pray in evening, pray in the midnight hour. Now that I'm in church and not at church, I can stand still and let the Lord fight my battles. Now that I'm in church and not at church, I can go on to sleep at night, because that God of mines never slumbers nor sleep. He's watching over me all night long. Now that I'm in church and not church, I've learned not to let my heart be troubled, but the believe on Him who able to help me.

Now that I'm in church and not at church, the Lord is able to look beyond my faults and see my needs. Now that I'm in church and not at church, I'm able to look to the hills from whence cometh my help and now that I'm in church and not at church, I've found out that all of my help comes from the Lord. Is there anybody here that knows for yourself you are in church and not at church? Is there anybody here that knows for yourself that God has saved and freed your soul? If you know that you are in, you ought to stand to your feet. If you know that you are in church, reach out and take somebody by the hand and tell them, "The Lord saved my soul. The Lord sho saved my soul." I don't about you, but there was time when I wasn't fit to live and too stubborn to die, the Lord step in my life. Ain't He alright? Ain't He alright? Have you tried Him? Have you tried Him? Have you tried Him? If you tried Him and know for yourself, you ought to wave your hands. I tried Him. I tried Him. I tried Him. I tried Him until He loosed my stammering tongue. I tried Him until He picked me up and turned me around. I tried Him. Oh, I tried Him. He's alright. He's alright. Yes, He's alright.