Great Expectations

GREAT EXPECTATIONS

(Pastor Lee Jackson – FFWC)

1)    INTRODUCTION – AS WE ENTER INTO A NEW YEAR IT IS A GREAT TIME TO REFLECT ON WHAT GOD WOULD EXPECT FROM US AND WHAT OUR EXPECTATIONS SHOULD BE TOWARD HIM.  WE HAVE A TENDENCY TO MAKE GOD SO MUCH SMALLER THAN HE IS.  OUR EXPECTATIONS OF HIM AND OUR PERCEPTION OF HIS EXPECTATIONS TOWARD US AND FOR US ARE CORRESPONDINGLY SMALL.  GOD WANTS US TO UNDERSTAND THAT WE ARE HIS CHILDREN AND HE HAS GREAT EXPECTATIONS TOWARD US AND WANTS US TO HAVE GREAT EXPECTATIONS TOWARD HIM.   IN THIS CONTEXT EXPECTATIONS ARE JUST ANOTHER WORD FOR FAITH. ACCORDING TO Heb 11:1 NOW faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.  (NASB)  GOD WANTS US, TO EXPECT A LOT FROM HIM AND HE EXPECTS A LOT FROM US BECAUSE HIS SPIRIT IS IN US.   (TEXT ACTS 3: 1 – 10)

2)    PETER & JOHN GOING INTO THE TEMPLE AT THE TIME OF PRAYER

A)   THE TEMPLE IS A PLACE WHERE GOD DWELLS; WHERE PEOPLE GATHER TO WORSHIP GOD AND TO PRAY.

B)   PETER AND JOHN, EVEN THOUGH THEY WERE APOSTLES OF CHRIST; FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT FELT THE NEED TO GATHER AT THE TIME OF PRAYER WITH GOD’S PEOPLE.  SOMETIMES WE GET SO BUSY DOING GOD’S WORK THAT WE DON’T THINK WE HAVE TIME TO PRAY.   THIS IS A BIG MISTAKE.

C)   WHEN WE WORSHIP AND WHEN WE PRAY WE GET GOD’S ATTENTION, BECAUSE HE HAS OUR ATTENTION.

D)   ILLUSTRATION:  IN TAMPA WE ARE FAMILIAR WITH THE AWESOME POWER OF LIGHTING.  A LIGHTING STORM DISPLAYS THE POWER OF GOD.  DID YOU KNOW THAT BEFORE A BOLT OF LIGHTNING STRIKES THE EARTH A LEADER, A POSITIVE CHARGE, COMES UP FROM THE EARTH ATTRACTING THE LIGHTING, A NEGATIVE CHARGE, WITH MILLIONS OF VOLTS OF ELECTRICITY THAT IS ATTRACTED TO THE POSITIVE CHARGE SENT UP FROM THE EARTH.  THERE IS A SPIRITUAL LESSON THERE FOR US.  OUR EXPECTATIONS AND FAITH GET GOD’S ATTENTION AND CAUSE HIM TO RELEASE HIS POWER IN OUR BEHALF.  “WE MUST BELIEVE THAT HE IS AND HE IS A REWARDER OF THEM THAT DILIGENTLY SEEK HIM.”

3)    PETER & JOHN MEET A BEGGAR SITTING JUST OUTSIDE THE GATE BEAUTIFUL.

A)   THE MAN HAD BEEN CRIPPLED FROM BIRTH.  SPIRITUALLY SPEAKING WE ALL HAVE BEEN CRIPPLED FROM BIRTH.  WE INHERITED A DISBELIEVING SINFUL NATURE THAT CRIPPLES OUR FAITH AND TENDS TO REDUCE OUR EXPECTATIONS TOWARD GOD TO AN ABSOLUTE MINIMUM.

B)   HIS FRIENDS WOULD CARRY HIM EVERY DAY TO THE TEMPLE GATE WHERE HE WOULD BEG OF THOSE GOING INTO WORSHIP AND TO PRAY.

C)   HE HAD BEEN SITTING THERE FOR YEARS, GETTING JUST ENOUGH TO GET BY. HIS EXPECTATIONS WERE MINIMAL.

D)    HE WAS GETTING JUST WHAT HE ASKED FOR.  THE PROBLEM IS THAT HE WAS NOT ASKING FOR THE RIGHT THINGS, BECAUSE HIS EXPECTATIONS WERE SO LOW. THE ENEMY HAD BEATEN HIM DOWN TO THE POINT THAT HE WAS WILLING TO SETTLE FOR A FEW COINS.

E)   HE WAS ASKING WHAT HIS FAITH WOULD BELIEVE FOR.  HE WAS ASKING OF MEN INSTEAD OF ASKING OF GOD AND BELIEVING GOD FOR WHAT HE REALLY NEEDED.

F)    GOD IN HIS MERCY ARRANGED A DIVINE APPOINTMENT FOR THAT MAN WITH A COUPLE OF HIS KIDS, PETER AND JOHN.  PETER AND JOHN HAD BEEN ENDUED WITH POWER FROM ON HIGH.  THEY WERE FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT OF GOD, DOING THE WORKS THAT JESUS DID.  THEY HAD GREAT EXPECTATIONS TOWARDS GOD.

4)    THE CRIPPLED BEGGAR ASKED PETER AND JOHN FOR MONEY.

A)   SCRIPTURE SAYS THAT: And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us.

B)   THE MAN LOOKED AT PETER AND JOHN EXPECTING TO RECEIVE SOME MONEY.

C)   FIRST PETER FASTENED HIS EYES ON THE MAN WHO WAS BEGGING.  PETER LOOKED BEYOND HIS OUTSTRETCHED HANDS AND BEYOND HIS REQUEST AND SAW THAT WHAT HE NEEDED WAS NOT WHAT HE WAS ASKING FOR.  HE NEEDED A MIRACLE FROM GOD.  HE NEEDED HEALING.  HE DIDN’T NEED TO BE BEGGING OUTSIDE THE TEMPLE.  HE NEEDED TO WORSHIP IN THE TEMPLE.

D)   PETER DEMANDED OF THE BEGGAR THAT HE LOOK ON THEM.  PETER WAS SAYING “PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT I AM SAYING. IT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE. IT WILL CHANGE YOUR EXPECTATIONS.

E)   IS IT POSSIBLE THAT IN THE INSTANT THAT THE CRIPPLED BEGGAR’S MET THE GAZE OF PETER AND JOHN THAT FAITH WAS TRANSFERRED – FAITH THAT WAS NEEDED INSTANTLY RAISE THE MAN’S EXPECTATION AND RELEASE GOD’S POWER.

F)    Peter RESPONDED “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.” And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. AND he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.

G)   IT IS THE NAME OF JESUS THAT MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE.  PETER INVOKED THE NAME OF JESUS IN CONFIDENCE AND EXPECTATION FOR HE KNEW THAT THERE WAS POWER IN THAT NAME.  POWER TO HEAL, POWER TO SAVE, POWER TRANSFORM LIVES AND ALTER CIRCUMSTANCES.  PETER WAS EXPECTING A MIRACLE.

H)   THE PEOPLE IN THE TEMPLE WHO KNEW THE MAN WERE AMAZED AND QUESTIONED PETER AND JOHN: 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? PETER USED THIS OPPORTUNITY TO PRESENT THE GOSPEL.

5)    CONCLUSION – SOME OF US ARE SO MUCH LIKE THAT CRIPPLED MAN, BEGGING FOR THE THINGS THAT WE THINK WE WANT INSTEAD OF PETITIONING GOD FOR THE THINGS THAT WE REALLY NEED. OUR EXPECTATIONS OF GOD ARE SO SMALL, SO LIMITING TO GOD.

GOD WANTS US TO PROVE HIM, IN EVERYTHING, IN EVERY CIRCUMSTANCE, IN EVERY SITUATION HE IS STILL GOD.  WHEN MOSES STOOD BY THE RED SEA WITH THE ARMIES OF EGYPT CLOSING IN FOR THE KILL…HE WAS GOD.  WHEN SHADRACH, MESHACH AND ABEDNEGO WERE CAST INTO THE FIERY FURNACE BECAUSE THEY WOULD NOT BOW DOWN AND WORSHIP THE GOLDEN IDOL …HE WAS STILL GOD.   WHEN JESUS HUNG DYING ON THE CROSS-AND HIS ENEMIES THOUGHT THEY WERE FINALLY DONE WITH HIM…HE WAS STILL GOD.

GOD WANTS US TO QUIT BEGGING FOR THE THINGS THAT ARE PASSING AWAY AND BEGIN TO ASK HIM FOR THE THINGS THAT REALLY MATTER…FOR THE SOULS OF MEN…FOR SPIRITUAL GIFTS…FOR THE MIRACLES THAT WE NEED…FOR THE MIRACLES THAT WE NEED TO IMPART.  INSTEAD OF SITTING OUTSIDE THE TEMPLE BEGGING LET US ENTER INTO THE TEMPLE, INTO HIS PRESENCE AND BECOME WORSHIPERS, THEN WE CAN SAY WITH PETER “SUCH AS I HAVE I GIVE ONTO THEE”.  LET’S BELIEVE FOR AND EXPECT GOD FOR THE MIRACLES THAT ARE NEEDED.   LET’S STOP BEGGING AND BECOME WORSHIPERS SO THAT WE CAN GIVE JESUS TO SITUATION AND CIRCUMSTANCE  !

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