Have I None . . .
The Curse of
"...And he gave heed unto them, expecting to
receive something of them. 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 3:2-6
FELLOW CHRISTIAN, what was it that Peter gave the lame man, who, at the gate of the temple, asked alms of all them that entered in? More importantly, what would we have given?
Peter could have easily kept walking while explaining how sorry he was that he had absolutely nothing to give.
However, the scope of what he could offer was not limited to material things: money, food, clothing, or a ride to the local Salvation Army.
There are things many of us would be quick to offer, and be done with it.
In Peter's mind, the greatest thing he could offer was the fruit of his walk with God--"fruit," because it was not Peter's own power that cured the lame man--it was the power of God, the only resource Peter had at his disposal. It was a power that Peter knew he could count on.
Ask yourself . . .
Under similar circumstances, can you and I offer someone the same life-changing power? Could we confidently offer effectual prayer on that person's behalf? Could we, like Peter, pray, "In the name of Jesus Christ[,]" fully trusting that God will answer?
[God may not be producing the same outward, on-the-spot, healing manifestations of the Holy Spirit during this age of grace, but He will still heal someone--as well as healing lost sinners of their spiritual death--through prayer.]
Is the fruit of our walk with God such that our humble prayers are readily transformed into something powerful and life-changing?
Could we have said, "Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, I'll pray that He meets your need," and be assured of positive results? A sobering thought, indeed.
Peter wasn't self-sufficient . . .
There is something else we notice from Peter's encounter: Peter didn't have money. How did he survive?
We can't imagine roaming about the streets without "Silver and gold[.]" Many of us would be wallowing in self-pity, so preoccupied with our desperate financial state, that the last thing we would think of is someone else's need.
Peter wasn't depending upon himself; he didn't have any "self-acquired" resources to fall back on. God was his primary resource. Is He ours?
Our present day prosperity makes us so self- sufficient that we won't know whom to lean on if, and when, the famine comes.
"Blessed are all they that put their
trust in him." Psalm 2:12
greatest thing he
could offer was
the fruit of his
WE ARE OFTEN too self-sufficient for our own good; in the end, it can easily become a curse.
In fact, self-sufficiency ushered in the first curse upon mankind: "And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and YE SHALL BE AS GODS, knowing good and evil." Gen. 3:4-5
Since that day, man has strived toward godhood. His acquired knowledge is often used toward achieving god- like attributes. For instance, through the Internet, man strives toward being all- knowing. By traveling faster and faster, he strives toward being all-present.
And by harnessing increasingly efficient forms of energy, he strives toward being all-powerful.
Mankind's goal is complete self-sufficiency, a complete independence from God. But self- sufficiency is as self-defeating as it is a curse.
We need God. We need what only He can provide, beginning with salvation from a devil's Hell: "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ." 1 Pet. 1:18-19
If you are saved, you know all too well that salvation does not come about through your own efforts, "For when we were yet WITHOUT STRENGTH, in due time Christ died for the ungodly" (Rom. 5:6). Yet, how sad that many
who are saved don't practice the same dependency upon God after salvation, when it comes to living the Christian life.
ye can do nothing . . .
In John chapter fifteen, we find Jesus Christ teaching the principle underlying Peter's encounter with the lame man.
Jesus taught, "Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit OF ITSELF, except it abide in the vine; NO MORE CAN YE, EXCEPT YE ABIDE IN ME." John 15:4
Peter had no fruits of his own to offer. His own efforts could never produce the kind of fruit the Lord would have any of us produce. Left to ourselves, we are dried up branches, void of any spiritual fruit.
We must abide in Christ, allowing Him to abide in us.
Then, and only then, can we produce something worth offering someone else.
In the same chapter, Jesus went on to say, "I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same BRINGETH FORTH MUCH FRUIT: for WITHOUT ME YE CAN DO NOTHING" (John 15:5). Self-sufficiency is fruitless. Even worse, the totally self-sufficient person has no part in God's economy. "If a man
only God can supply. . .
1 "God is love" (1 John 4:8). Man needs un- conditional love, some- thing only God can provide. For while human love tends to address the needs of those worthy of love, only God's love is unconditional, providing for the undeserving.
"For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth [PROVED!] his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Rom. 5:7-8
2 "God is light" (1 John 1:5). Man strives for knowledge--one of the things that caught Eve's attention: "And when the woman saw....a tree to be desired TO MAKE ONE WISE, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat" (Gen. 3:6). And yet, man's insatiable hunger for knowledge can only be satisfied by the One who not only knows it all, but is perfectly willing to teach us!
In the Old Testament, the Psalmist was often heard saying "TEACH ME, O LORD."
(Psa. 119:33). Of Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, the Bible says: "And he TAUGHT DAILY in the temple." Luke 19:47
Even upon His ascension into heaven, God promised to continue teaching in the person of the Holy Spirit: "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, HE SHALL TEACH YOU ALL THINGS..." John 14:26
3 "God is a Spirit" (John 4:24). Man reaches out toward the Spiritual realm, in search of whatever lies beyond him. Once again, it is only God who can satisfy this need. For while man gropes in spiritual darkness through a 1001 man-made religions, Jesus Christ taught that the only way to establish a "spiritual connection" with God is through a spiritual birth. Jesus said:
"Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." John 3:3
"That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
Marvel not that I said unto thee, YE MUST BE BORN AGAIN." John 3:3
abide not in me, he is CAST FORTH AS A BRANCH, AND IS WITHERED; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned." John 15:6
We were created as needy, God-dependent creatures. But in our sin, we have strayed away from God, often trusting in our riches instead.
Jesus rebuked a certain church about that very attitude: "Thou sayest, I AM RICH, AND INCREASED WITH GOODS, AND HAVE NEED OF NOTHING; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked." Rev. 3:17
God also warned Israel about those who depend primarily upon their own personal resources: "Their silver and gold shall not be able to deliver them in the day of the wrath of the LORD: THEY SHALL NOT SATISFY THEIR SOULS, neither fill their bowels: because it is the stumblingblock of their iniquity." Ezek. 7:19
"[B]ut such as
I have give I thee..."
Child of God, Peter may not have had the prosperity and resources many of us have today, but he had something greater. He had the same thing our Lord and Saviour had during His earthly walk, the very thing Paul possessed as well. Regrettably, it is what most of us lack today.
For if it were us confronting the lame man that fateful day could we, like Christ, Peter, and Paul, offer him the fruits of our walk with God? Walking with God means, among other things, dependency upon Him. A walk with God is not
for the self-sufficient who feel they have no need of Him. Take a moment right now to reflect on where you stand. How dependent upon God are you? Who do you first turn to in times of need: God, or "silver and gold"?
Think about it. Peter had the fruit of his walk with God to offer, partly because he had nothing else competing with it. Can you and I claim the same thing?
No one is saying we have to sell all of our possessions, but if those possessions buffer us from needing God, what good are they? Nor can any of our personal resources change one life for the better--only the power of God can.
Ask yourself . . .
■ Do I readily thank God for what I have, acknowledging the fact that He provided it?
■ When I have a problem, who or what do I turn to? Is God the first One on the list?
■ I couldn't save myself, but do I now try running my life by myself?
"Thus saith the LORD; CURSED BE the man
that TRUSTETH IN MAN, AND MAKETH
FLESH HIS ARM, and whose heart departeth
from the LORD." Jer. 17:5
IF you were to die today, are you 100% SURE
you would go to Heaven? The Bible says
YOU CAN BE SURE (1 John 5:13).
BUT FIRST, you must realize that what keeps you from going to Heaven are your sins, because:
"...your iniquities [sins] have separated between you and your God," Isaiah 59:2.
In fact, in God's eyes YOU ARE A SINNER: "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" Romans 3:23.
SECONDLY, you must realize that there is NOTHING you can do to save yourself and earn Heaven: "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." (Eph. 2:8-9) Baptism, good deeds, church membership, self-righteousness are all examples of good works that cannot save you, because, "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he [Christ] saved us," Titus 3:5.
THE ONLY WAY you can get saved is through Jesus Christ. He said: "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6) THAT'S WHY: "...while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8-9
THEREFORE: You must REPENT (change your mind); admit that you are a Hell deserving sinner and can't save yourself. And call upon Christ, and Him alone, to save you. "if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus [REPENT], and shalt believe in thine heart [TRUST] that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." Romans 10:9
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