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Ready in All Seasons どんな時でも準備ができている

Acts 3 1. Peter Heals the Crippled Beggar 足の不自由な物乞いを癒すペテロ

In the senior youth group (‘senior’ youth – love it!) we’ve been working through a study on prayer and one of the sections was on what we might refer to – or what seems to be – unanswered prayer. We learned that God often does not give us what we ask for in prayer simply because our motives, or our faith or our timing is not in sync with God’s. 私たちが祈ったことを神が与えてくれないことはたびたびあります。それはただ単に私たちの動機、信仰、タイミングが 神のと合っていないからです。

We also discovered how very grateful we should be that God doesn’t answer our prayers in the manner that we first hope because that outcome would not be in our best interest nor would it glorify God. I know in my life, God has saved me from a lot of trouble and mediocrity by not answering my prayers as I’d first hoped.

Which brings us to the crippled beggar at the temple gate in Acts 3. He wanted money. He needed money. He relied on the kindness of strangers to survive and so he asked Peter and John for money. 宮の門にいた足の不自由な物乞いはお金を欲しがっていました。
What the beggar had lost sight of was that there was something far greater than money that he needed and wanted. He needed to be healed. Yet what he needed even more than physical healing (he could never have imagined this) was to be right with God. So here he was asking for money but God had so much more for him. (Perhaps some of us can relate to this very example.) この物乞いが見失っていたことは、自分が必要として欲しがっていたお金よりもはるかにすばらしい何かでした。彼は癒される必要があったのです。 彼はお金を要求していますが、神はそれ以上のことを備えていました。

At this point, let me refer to a problem that I raised in an earlier sermon. With this story, we read all about the miracle of the crippled beggar who was healed. What we don’t read about is all the other sick beggars at the temple gate who were not healed. Why was only one healed? We don’t know the answer to this but v 21 which we can jump to now offers some insight into this issue. 宮の門のところにいた癒されなかった病気の物乞いたちのことは書いてありません。なぜ一人だけ癒されたのでしょう?
Heaven must receive him until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets. (v21)

We are not yet in heaven. We are still in a sinful world and although the light of God pierces the darkness of this world and miracles happen, we still remain in what is a fallen sinful world. With miracles we get a foretaste of the full and complete restoration that God is to bring in the future. 私たちはまだ天国にはいません。 奇跡があると神がこれからもたらす完全な回復を先に味わうことができます。

The focus of this passage – rightly – is the miraculous healing. Not surrounding circumstances. Could it be there are times in our lives when God works a miracle but we’re too glumly looking at the as-yet-unanswered prayers or difficulties in our lives to celebrate the miracle or offer praise?

It says the people were filled “with wonder and amazement at what had happened”. (v10)
Let us live lives of wonder and amazement at the work God is doing in our lives and the lives of those around us.
2. Peter Speaks to the Onlookers 見物人たちに語るペテロ

It’s interesting that almost twice as much space given to the explanation of the miracle than to the miracle itself.

Peter uses this event to share the gospel. The Word is confirmed and the miracles are explained. And why not?! A miracle has happened. ペテロはこの出来事を福音を分かち合うために用います。
But Peter’s faith doesn’t only shine when the sun’s out. Right after – and because of – this healing, he and John are thrown into jail. They had every reason to grumble and complain. They had done the work of God faithfully and then they had being wrongly imprisoned and harshly treated. But whether from miraculous or treacherous circumstances – whatever the season – the gospel always comes first and Peter uses his circumstances to explain the gospel message. (Pierre does this.) 奇跡的な状況であろうと不実な状況であろうとどのような時であれ福音はいつも最優先し、ペテロは自分の状況を福音のメッセージを説明するために用います。

Peter pulls no punches when he speaks to the crowd. He lets them have it! He doesn’t let them off the hook, water anything down or bring false comfort. ペテロは群集に語るとき率直に言います。

* You handed him over to be killed
* You disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go.
* You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. * You killed the author of life (v 13-15)

Peter makes it very clear to these people that they are guilty of sin. (Do we ever make people feel guilty when we explain the gospel?) ペテロは彼らが罪深いことを明確にしています。

Many of us have a tendency to water down sin (and guilt) to make the gospel more palatable. There is a time and a place for this. When Jesus spoke with the Pharisees he was very harsh with them because they were proud and wouldn’t (or couldn’t) acknowledge their sin. When Jesus spoke with the woman caught in adultery, the woman at the well or Zaccheas in the sycamore tree, he was very gentle – they already knew their sin. The same with the Prodigal son. When he returned he was already filled with remorse.

Yet when teaching about sin, the focus is never left on the sin. The focus is on the cross and salvation from sin. In verse 15 we get the great “but God”. しかし、神は!

…but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this.By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has completely healed him, as you can all see. (v15,16)

After bringing the focus back to Christ, he strikes a more compassionate tone, saying:

“Now, fellow Israelites, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders.But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Messiah would suffer. (v 17,18)

Peter concludes with the challenge that must come with the sharing of the gospel:

Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord (v19).

Having preached about sin and the need for faith in Christ as the Holy and Righteous One of God, Peter teaches a 3-step process to activating this faith.

Repentance -> forgiveness -> refreshing
悔い改め 赦し 回復

One of the biggest problems we have in churches and our communities today is that people don’t want a three step process, they want a 1 step process (which isn’t a process). They want to skip repentance and by that, skip forgiveness, and just get straight to the refreshing. We could call this Christianity Lite – only it’s not Christianity at all. This is the 50% Christian, 100% nonsense that Michael shared with us last week.

If we want to be right with God, if we want to activate our faith in the Holy One, we need to start with repentance of sins and when we share the gospel with others we need to include this – sometimes gently, sometimes harshly. Then the reality of forgiveness can come upon the believer and then times of refreshing follow. There is no refreshing if there is no repentance and no forgiveness. 悔い改めと赦しがなければ、すぐに回復はありません。

Repent, receive forgiveness, be refreshed. 悔い改め、赦しを受け、回復されるのです。
Let’s spend some time in prayer and then let’s sing a song of refreshing and praise…