First Presbyterian Church of Blackwood
21 E. Church Street
Blackwood, NJ 08012
Sermon Notes (Sunday, May 30, 2021)
Rev. Dr. Mouris A. Yousef, Pastor
“Our True Need!”
Isaiah 35:3-6; Acts 3:1-10
We all have needs. Deep down in your heart there is something that you think your life will be much happier if you get hold of it. Some of us would identify money as our need. We need a job, or a raise, or help paying off our debt, or mortgage, car payment, or medical bills. We would identify our need as financial.
Others would identify relationships as their need. They may be having marriage problems or family issues. They may have a problem with a parent, a sibling, or a coworker that they don’t know how to fix. They may need reconciliation or another try or to feel loved and accepted. In this case, we would identify our need as relational.
Some people would identify time as their need. We’re just too busy with our schedules, our jobs, our kids’ sports, and many activities. We don’t have enough time to get things done. If only we had more time, everything would be easier. Those people would identify time as their need. I’m sure we can easily identify so many other needs—medical needs, emotional needs, and social needs.
Today we kick off a new sermon series from the book of Acts. Acts gives us a glimpse of the early Church’s life. It also offers a detailed account of the challenges the early followers of Jesus had to face; where they found strength and how they were able to share the good news of Jesus with their friends and neighbors. Through our summer months, we will be featuring some of the key passages in Acts and highlighting some of the wonderful lessons for our life today.
As we open our Scripture lessons this morning, we encounter a God who truly cares for the needs of His people. Peter and John, two of Christ’s disciples, are going to the temple for a 3:00 pm prayer meeting, and as they’re walking into the temple compound, they encounter a man who has never walked. He was born lame and has had to depend on the generosity of others his entire life, to be transported to the temple, maybe to get into his bed, eat, and go to the bathroom. As we reflect on the story of this lame man today, please allow me to underscore two things:
First: We Underestimate our Need
The first thing that we see in our story is a person whose need was great. His need was obvious. His need was enormous. Yet, for our surprise, the lame man actually underestimates his need and so do we oftentimes. The lame man didn’t ask the apostles for healing. He didn’t have a clear perception of his need. Instead, he asks them for money. “If I can just have more money, it will solve all my problems, or at least most of them.” Have you ever told yourself that? This man became so locked into a way of thinking he couldn’t imagine what God might do. You and I also can become so locked in a way of thinking we can’t imagine what God can do.
This lame man thinks he needs silver and gold. He thought what he needed the most were shelter and food. But Peter and John looked at him and said man, you don’t know what the Lord got in store for you today! Listen to these words from Acts 3:6-7, “But Peter said, “I have no silver or gold, but what I have I give you; in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, stand up and walk.” And he took him by the right hand and raised him up; and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong.” Our need is bigger than food and shelter. May we never underestimate our need. But there is a second truth we see in our story today and it has to do with the source of our true satisfaction.
Second: Only God Can Satisfy our True Need
The lame man thought he needed silver and gold, but God knows our true need. Peter and John knew the lame man needed God Himself. He needs God to reach down into his life and touch him and that’s what we need. The apostles knew only God can satisfy our true need. Neither silver nor gold can satisfy our true need. God always has greater things for us.
The lame man received God’s healing. I like how Luke describes this man’s response in Acts 3:8, “Jumping up, he stood and began to walk, and he entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God.” A whole new world unfolds before him; from that moment on, this man lived his life with new perspectives.
He jumps up and begins telling everyone how good God is! He has encountered the life–giving power of God. When God meets our needs, let’s tell others. When God keeps providing for you month after month even though the budget is tight, tell others. When God gives you peace in the midst of loss, tell others. When God is there for you at your darkest moment, tell others! We think our need is one thing, money, relationship, time, health, but in reality, our need is so much bigger. We need God Himself.
Friends, I think the question we should ask now is where do we go from here? I would suggest, especially as we embark on this new journey together in the book of Acts, I would suggest examining our hearts this week. What would you identify as your biggest need right now? What’s taking up your mental energy? If you were to imagine what God sees as your biggest need, what do you think God would identify?
As you wrestle with these questions, may we always remember that our true need is more of God in our lives not more of the stuff of this world. May we always remember that only God can satisfy the deep desires of our hearts. When we do so, the Prophet Isaiah reminds us in Isaiah 35:5-6, “Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy.” In the Name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen!
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