Truth Baptist Church, Bremen, GA

What's Keeping You Outside?
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What's Keeping You Outside
Acts 3:1-11

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Intro: This man, who Acts 4:22 says, was over 40 years old had been lame from birth. He was carried and laid daily at the gate of the entering into the Temple where he sat and begged. He was an outcast, a scoundrel, a blight on the beauty of the Temple. I believe he was a bit disingenuous; he could have sat in the crowded market to beg, but he sat at the Temple thinking the religious people would feel sorry for him. Notice:

1.     His Problem:

a.     With Walk: he could not walk right. Every sinner has a problem with his walk.

b.     With Work: He was unable to do an acceptable work, as every sinner is.

c.     With Will: It seems that after all these years he is resigned to this life.

2.     His Place: At the Temple at the gate

a.     Right Place: If there was help to be found for this man, it was at the church.

b.     Regular Place: he was at church for every service. There are many crippled church members. Some are lost; others are simply living below their status in Christ.

c.     Restful Place: He was laid at the Gate. He seems to be satisfied with that.

3.     His Plan: Keep doing what he was doing! Another day, another dollar, another dime. Many are there. They keep asking for what they ask for, and they keep getting what they have been getting! He would have forever lived on scraps!

WHAT WAS KEEPING A MAN LIKE THIS OUTSIDE THE CHURCH? WHAT WAS KEEPING HIM FROM GETTING ALL THE WAY IN? THE SAME THING THAT IS KEEPING MANY FOLKS TODAY OUTSIDE:

I.      PEOPLE: This man might have told you, “I would go inside the church, but I just don’t like the people.” People had surely hurt this man, for people can be cruel.

A.    Discouraged Him: They said he would never be any better.

B.     Disrespected Him: They laughed at him, called him names, and pointed fingers!

He was surely hurt, but people should never keep you from the house of God! We don’t come for people; we come for God. Until you get your feelings off your shoulders, you will live a long and miserable life!

II.    PAST: He looked across his life and thought it would not be right for him to go in with his past.

A.    History Of His Condition: He was likely ashamed to go in. He did not feel worthy, and truthfully, he was not worthy... neither is anyone else! He makes us worthy.

B.     History Of His Experience: After all those years at the gate, he might have said, “I would go in, but you know, I remember this one preacher who took some money, went with another man’s wife, told a lie, hurt someone’s feelings...” If you let your past experiences keep you from getting all the way in, you will forever be a cripple outside the gate!

III.   PARENTS: I imagine that the first time he ever went to the Temple, his parents took him. He might have thought he was going to worship, but he was going to sit outside! Many kids have grown up at church sitting outside with parents. I can see him as a teenager sitting outside, and some good saint comes by and asks him to come on in. But he won’t. Others encourage him to get all the way in, but he won’t. Everybody wants him to get in all the way... except his parents. Maybe they even want it, but they stand in the way because they know it will cost him something. If he was to get all the way in his parents would have had to deal with some things in his life (music, attitude toward authority, his friends, his laziness), and his parents were not committed enough to do it. They would rather sit outside with him blaming everybody else for the trouble the boy was in!

IV.   PERCEPTION: This man would have gone in, but, you know, “there are so many hypocrites in there.” This may have been true, but you will stay crippled outside! Besides, if you will get all the way in, some of those you thought were hypocrites, when you get to know them, you’ll find them to be genuine Christians!

V.    PRESSURE: He stayed outside because of the pressure inside to do something or give something. There would have been demands for his time, his talent, and his treasure.

VI.   PURPOSE: He stayed outside, crippled, and begging, because he came to receive something natural. He shopped for a church like some shop at Wal-Mart. It was about what was most appealing, what he wanted, what would help him, but he never left satisfied. He never realized the real problem was not the churches, the Sunday School Teacher, the preacher... it was him! He was the cripple! You will never receive what you really need until you recognize your problem!

VII. POWER: He kept looking to the power of money and men, but he never realized that he sat at the gate of the place where there was power to help him all along!

Conclusion: As a sinner you can sit outside and criticize the church forever, but you need what we have. And God is ready and willing to save you. As a crippled church member, you can sit by and give a thousand reasons why you don’t go all the way with God, but until you do, you will never have the blessings you could. The decision is yours to make. What will you let keep you sitting on the outside?

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