Not for Ladies - Just for Men
“The Undeniable Truth”
Pastor Caleb Hanson
Caleb Hanson is the pastor of Midwest Baptist Church in Rochester, Minnesota.
“Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus. And beholding the man which was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it. But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves, Saying, What shall we do to these men? for that indeed a notable miracle hath been done by them is manifest to all them that dwell in Jerusalem; and we cannot deny it.” (Acts 4:13-16)
In Acts chapter three, we find the story of Peter and John making their way in the ninth hour to the temple at the hour of prayer. As these men made their way to the temple, they passed by the gate called “Beautiful.” A lame man had been there begging for about 40 years. He was carried every day to this location where he held a cup or bag, and he would call out, “Alms! Alms! Alms!” as those who were going to the temple would pass him by.
The Bible says that Peter and John stopped and said, “Look upon us.” Then, reaching down, they 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 3:6) Let me say, every child of God has something to give to the lost world. They said, “We don’t have any silver and gold, but we have something far greater than that, and that is Jesus Christ.” They reached down and picked him up, and at that moment, his feet and ankles received strength. This man was healed. Then he ran into the temple jumping and leaping, all the while praising God. Talk about a fanatical convert! He was half crazy and excited about what had just taken place in his life.
The Bible tells us in Acts chapter four about a priest, a captain of the temple, and the Sadducees that when they heard of this miracle, they came to discredit it. They came to say, “Well, this really didn’t happen. This can’t happen in the temple where we’ve served all these years.” They tried to get the people to disbelieve the miracle they had just seen, trying to get the people to doubt that Jesus Christ, the One who had just risen from the dead, still had power to change a life. These men gathered together and tried to bring up some kind of idea to keep it all quiet.
Let me say: I believe there are still individuals trying to suppress the miracles that God is doing in our day and age. I believe the Evangelicals try to discredit the value of separation. I believe the Calvinists try to discredit soulwinning efforts by God’s people. They say, “Aw, you can’t lead a person to the Lord that is already predestined to hell. You might as well just give up on soulwinning.” But we know better than that. The Jehovah’s Witnesses try to discredit the Holy Spirit and His work, saying that it might be a force that kinda floats in and floats out like Casper the Ghost. But, Oh! He is alive and He is working in our churches. There are some Reformed Baptists that try to separate or discredit the standards that we have been taught and given by the Word of God. But let me tell you that standards are still as good today as they were three decades ago. Hey, nothing’s changed.
You have the miracles of God that take place in Acts three and four, and you have a bunch of Pharisees and Sadducees and the captain of the church-house saying, “It don’t work anymore.” IT DOES WORK! There are some things you just can’t discredit.
As we look at this passage, we see they were trying to keep it all “hush-hush,” but in the latter part of verse sixteen, the Bible records them saying: “We cannot deny it.” One may ask, “Hey, why can’t you deny this?” The answer would be, “Well, you see, we have an issue here. There’s a guy standing right beside us, and we all know him. We all know the tone of his voice. We’ve all heard him ask for alms. We’ve all seen him begging and being carried before, and now he’s standing right before our own eyes. We want to deny it, but he’s standing here, and we can’t deny it with the evidence right in front of our faces.” The Bible says in verse fourteen, “And beholding the man which was healed standing with them...”
I’m excited to look around and see the miracles of modern Christianity. I believe that they’re still taking place, believe it with all my heart. I get excited about what took place in the 1970s and 1980s, but I also get excited about what God is doing in 2021. I get excited about the boys and girls who walked down the aisle this year. God is still doing miracles. I believe it with all my heart. You can have a naysayer come by and say, “Ah, that’s not really what’s going on.” But there are some things that are undeniable. I want to state four simple things that are undeniable truths:
1. God is still saving lost sinners.
The mission of God from the beginning of time, in the garden of Eden, has been the redemption of the souls of mankind. God has been looking to see if one man would turn his heart to Him, and He will save him. The mission has always been the lost. Let’s get the lost saved!
We find the mission has grown to 7.9 billion people on this globe called Earth, and it is still growing. God still says, “I want to save the lost.” The good news is: He is still saving the lost today! What a blessing to hear Brother Darryl Cox say, “I led the clerk behind the desk at the hotel to the Lord.” God is still saving sinners. Absolutely!
You see, this lame man at the Gate Beautiful, for forty years, he sat there and asked the question, “Alms, please?” This man was doomed for the rest of his life to sit in that kind of condition with that kind of a need. He needed someone to make a difference in his life. It wasn’t going to happen by silver and gold. It wasn’t going to happen with a change of garments. It wasn’t going to happen with a new beautiful gate that was going to be his backdrop for begging. No! It wasn’t going to happen that way.
There was only one Person who could make that change, that difference in his life, and that Person was Jesus Christ. The disciples came by with Jesus! What a difference it made for that man! Jesus Christ has always been looking for the lost man. “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” ˆ He was saving souls back in the days of Acts three, and He is still saving in 2021.
Jesus Christ is still interested in lost souls. The Calvinist says, “If you’re marked as one going to Hell, there’s nothing you can do about it. Beg your pardon! Romans 10:13 still says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Oh, I thank God as I read the pages of the New Testament. I get so excited when reading about the great conversions of those saints back then. I think of the maniac of Gadara, how he saw the boat come across the sea and watched Jesus Christ step out on the shore. Jesus begins to make His way to that road that led to the tombstones behind which the man had been hiding. All of a sudden, the maniac comes leaping out and runs to Jesus. As he falls down at Jesus’ feet, the Bible says, his life was changed.
I enjoy reading the story about the thief on the cross turning to Jesus and saying, “Remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.” I enjoy reading in John 4 the story about the woman at the well. As Jesus was resting at the well, a woman came out from the city of Sychar. Jesus begins to share His heart with her, she realizes that she is speaking to the Messiah, and she gets saved.
My heart is stirred as I read about the story of the Ethiopian eunuch getting saved. The Ethiopian was riding in his chariot through the desert when Philip stopped him and led him to trust Jesus Christ as his Saviour.
Oh, my heart gets so excited and encouraged to think of those conversions in the New Testament, but I remind myself, “Hey! He didn’t stop saving in Revelation 22. No, no, He’s still saving souls today.” I get excited hearing about the Great Awakening and the Second Great Awakening. I get excited hearing about the 1970s and 1980s, but, let me tell you, Jesus Christ is still saving souls from hell today! It’s an undeniable truth that He’s still looking for lost sinners to bring to Himself.
A couple of weeks ago, I received a phone call from one of our Ethiopian men. He and his wife come to our church. He said, “Pastor, there was a death in the Ethiopian community. Can we use the church to hold the service? Can you preach the service?” I said “Yes, that would be fine.” So I asked, “How many people do you think will come?”
His answer was, “About 50.”
I said, “Okay, we’ll make food for about 50.”
On the day of the funeral, they started coming in, a few cars at a time. The ushers were ready and people were being seated in the auditorium. When about 50 people were seated, I said, “Is that about it?” He said, “No, there’s more.” I said, “Okay.”
When about 100 Ethiopians were seated in the auditorium, I asked, “Is that about it?” He said, “No, there’s more.” I said, “Okay.”
When about 150 Ethiopians came in (and you have to understand, our auditorium is not that big), I said, “Is that about it?” He said, “There’s more coming.” There were 200 Ethiopians in the auditorium, and he said there were more coming. By the time we started, people were sitting on the ramp headed out the door. The sound man, sitting in the back, had a bunch of Ethiopians filling the sound booth with him. He was having a time! There were 227 Ethiopians that filled the auditorium. We got up and gave the Gospel. Seventeen adults trusted Christ as their Saviour that day. Let me tell you, He is still interested in saving lost sinners. I get excited about souls getting saved in the past, but I get really excited about what’s ahead. Oh, the joy of seeing lost people saved!
A few weeks ago, I had a couple in my office. The man said, “Pastor, I don’t know that I’m saved. In fact, I know I’m not saved.” He put his head in his hands and just began to sob, “I’m on my way to Hell.” This is one of our Sunday School teachers saying, “I’m on my way to Hell. Pastor, I need to be saved.” He slid off his chair, hit the floor of my office and just started sobbing, “Oh, I’m on my way to Hell.”
I said, “Brother, you know what to do. Pray and ask God to save you.” His wife was crying. He was crying. He bowed his head and trusted Jesus Christ as His Saviour. When we got done, I was so excited. I said, “Brother, I’m so glad that you got this settled.”
He got in the van with his family and headed to his house. He said to his family, “I’ve got an announcement to make. Your dad just got saved!” Boy, the whole family rejoiced with him. Once they got home, his son came to him and said, “Dad, I’ve been battling conviction all day long. I said at the beginning of church this morning, ‘If I can just make it home, I’ll talk to my dad about getting saved.’ That same night, the son bowed his head and trusted Jesus Christ also.
God had begun to do a work in our church. On February 21, Dr. Gomez was scheduled to come and preach for us and talk about “Vision Unlimited” but he got stuck in Texas because of a blizzard (that Minnesota weather that they were having down there). That Sunday morning, I preached a message entitled “Professor or Possessor.” At the end of the invitation, God began to do a work. There was a young lady sitting down front, sobbing under conviction, who bolted towards an altar worker. There was an adult lady, one of our choir members, that came to the front. One of our teenage girls went over and found a young lady in the church. One of our young teenage men came to the altar and talked with one of our adult men. None of them knew why each other was coming, but they all trusted Jesus Christ as their Saviour.
One of the ladies came up to the front and just began to sob at the invitation. All of a sudden, the crying was louder than the piano. People were crying, “Oh, dear God!” Then one of the relatives of the lady that trusted Christ as her Saviour came out and said, “OH, PRAISE THE LORD! SHE GOT SAVED!”
I get excited about past conversions, but, let me tell you, it’s an undeniable truth that my Savior is still interested in saving lost souls today. Amen! He always has been and always will be. Oh, thank the Lord that we’ve had fifteen of our church members, bus workers, Sunday School teachers, choir members, and ushers get saved in the past few months. I believe that God is still interested in saving lost sinners.
#2 God is still using saved sinners.
The greatest thing about salvation is that it makes you eligible for God’s use. It makes you eligible for the service of the Lord Jesus Christ. This man was not only saved from his condition, but God also saved him for His use. God wanted to use this man. Let me tell you folks, new converts will stir things up in your church like nothing else! They will create some excitement in the auditorium like nothing else.
Shortly after I took the pastorate in Rochester, we had a Sudanese lady visiting. She got excited during one of the messages. In Sudan, they respond, not with “Amen,” but with “Ayiyiyiyiah!” Man, we hadn’t heard anything like that before! That Sunday morning, one of our very fine young ladies was sitting beside her. When this Sudanese lady began to get worked up, she shouted, “Ayiyiyiyiah!” and our stoic Minnesotan lady slammed her elbow into the lady’s side. It wasn’t planned. It was all just reaction from being startled. She turned to the Sudanese lady and said, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry!” It’s not the way to get a newcomer to come back, but it is a way to get things stirred up in the auditorium!
Can you imagine in Acts chapter three... You have all those people praying in the house of God in their “Minnesotan stoic” style of worship, and here comes this radical new convert. He’s just received strength in his ankles and legs. He comes through there shouting, “I’M SAVED! I’M GOING TO HEAVEN! WHEW! I GOT MY LEGS BACK. THIS IS AWESOME!” People start looking around, like, “What in the world is going on around here? This guy is half nuts!”
Hey! God wanted to stir some things up at His house. Amen! God was using a saved sinner! Anytime you and I have an opportunity to lead someone to Christ, God is simply using a saved sinner. That’s all I am -- a saved farm boy from Minnesota! God is willing to use saved sinners for His glory! Thank the Lord, this man was used of God to bring some revival to the House of God in Acts chapter three. And in Acts chapter four, he stirred things up.
I thank the Lord for how He stirred things up in the past. I’m excited about what God’s doing now and will be doing in the future, because there are a lot more lost sinners getting saved and saved sinners getting ready to serve Him.
I was getting in my car the other day, and my phone rang. A new convert’s voice was on the other end. We just recently finished discipleship and he got his certificate of completion. He said, “Pastor, I have another guy right beside me here. I’ve been talking to him, working him over. You know what? I just walked him through the Roman’s Road, and he just got saved!” Hallelujah!
I said, “Amen, brother! Man, that’s fantastic!”
He said, “Pastor, can he come down the aisle tomorrow in the Wednesday evening service?” I said, “That would be just fine! We would love to see him come.” Sure enough, he brought him the next Wednesday, and walked him down the aisle. You talk about a convert excited to be in church when he has another convert standing right beside him! All of a sudden, “Amazing Grace” becomes a whole lot sweeter to him. All of a sudden, “Victory in Jesus” is sung from the heart. Hey! God is still using saved sinners for His glory. Hallelujah!
Last Monday, I was talking to a new convert at our church. He got saved a couple years ago, but the last four months he has gotten locked in. What a joy it is to see the Lord working in his life. We were talking at 10 o’clock that night. I said, “Hey brother, how about we finish this conversation tomorrow night out soulwinning?”
He said, “You know, that would be great. I’ve been hoping that I could go out soulwinning with you.”
I said, “I’ll swing by and pick you up at 6:30.” So, I pulled the car up to his house and here he came out looking all spiffy.
He said, “You know, Pastor, I wanted to make sure that my shirt was ironed and I had my tie on. I’m representing the church and Jesus Christ tonight!”
I said, “Amen, brother, you are looking sharp.” At our first visit, we had three individuals lined up to come to church that next Sunday. What a blessing that was. The new soul winner was so excited.
At the next house, we were invited inside. I sat beside a couple on the couch, and my convert sat across from us. When we got into the conversation, he said, “You know, folks, I was just like you, but then I got saved and became faithful. You see, you just need to be faithful to the Lord. That’s your problem, you just need to be faithful.” I said to myself, “Let me just back out of this conversation. Go get ‘em, brother!”
They said, “Well, maybe we need to talk about this some more.”
He said, “When do you wanna talk? Thursday night?”
They said, “Sure.”
He said, “What do you like to eat?”
They said, “Noodles.”
He said, “All right, I’ll go get some from Noodles & Company and I’ll be here at 6:30.” I got a phone call that Thursday night, “Pastor, what’s their address again?” He had their noodles and was heading to their house.
Oh, I love it when God is using saved sinners. Amen! Hey, He’s still saving lost sinners, but He’s still using saved sinners. Thank the Lord for that.
3) God is still empowering yielded sinners.
The power that was demonstrated at the Gate Beautiful was not the power of Peter and John. It was the power of Jesus Christ. A man stood to his feet for the first time in 40 years. Can you imagine the gratitude that he had in his heart as he told them, “Thank you”?
Peter and John said, “Don’t thank us. It wasn’t through us. It’s through Jesus Christ.”
Look at this. The Bible tells us in Acts 4:9, “If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole...” “By what means he is made whole.” How was he made whole? “Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.” It was not the power of Peter and John but the power of Jesus Christ. Peter and John were yielded to Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ reached through them and touched that man.
Let me tell you today that any of us who are yielded to the power of God, He can reach through us and touch a life for the cause of Christ. He is still empowering yielded sinners.
My heart burns when I hear of the revivals of yesteryear. I can remember a class in college called “Great Preachers,” taught by Brother Guy Kelly. Sometimes in that class, it would get so heavy that he would just walk out of the class and the preacher boys would come to the altar and kneel and pray for God’s power. Boy, I love to hear those stories!
I love to hear about churches being filled. I love to hear about the buses being packed out. I love to hear powerful preaching. I love to hear of cities that are shaken for the cause of Christ. I like to hear about the all-night prayer meetings and the Spirit of God coming down in a special way. My heart burns about those things.
I refuse to believe that the power of God is dead. I believe that I am stubborn and that I’m the one that hinders the power of God. But God is not dead, and His power is not weak, and His arm is not slack that He cannot save. Absolutely not! I believe that He is still there.
Hey, Sunday School teacher, the power of God is waiting for you! Hey, bus captain, the power of God is there for you! Hey, usher, the power of God is waiting to be manifested in your life! I believe it’s still alive today just as it was in yesteryear. I believe that God still empowers yielded sinners.
4) God still visits weary sinners.
Resisting the evil men made these men of God weary in the fight; not OF the fight, but IN the fight. In verse three, they laid hold on them. In verse twenty-one, they threatened them. Kinda sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Boy, I thank the Lord for the men who have fought the battles for years and years. Pastor Anglea, I’m so thankful for the battle that you have fought. This didn’t happen by accident. The church in Bourbonnais, thank you for the fight. Dr. Corle, you’ve kept Revival Fires revived and exciting with Spirit-filled preaching.
These men have gone before us and handed down something so precious to my generation. I don’t ever want to change one position. I’ll never forget the first time I had an individual in my office saying, “Why don’t you change your position just a little bit for this activity, so we can still sing in the choir?”
I said, “No, I can’t. Listen, I have a pastor that has given me something that’s so precious. How can I go and change it and still say that I worked under Pastor Anglea, and then go off and do my own thing?”
I’m so thankful for the men who have gone before and forged the way for my generation. I don’t ever want to desecrate what God has given me. But the way sometimes gets wearisome. When God shows up, though, the fatigue of the battle diminishes and His joy becomes our strength.
I was thinking about Douglas MacArthur, the US commanding officer in the Philippine Islands. He received word from the President to abandon Corregidor and flee to Australia. On March 11, 1942, he left his safe place in Corregidor and traveled thirty-five hours to Australia. Once he got to Australia, he gave a speech and said these words, “I came through. I shall return.” For the next two years, there were 90,000 Filipino-American soldiers that were abandoned. They were low on supplies. They were low on food and resources. MacArthur said, “I came through. I shall return.” During those two years, two death marches took place. The death ships pulled away from those islands and made it over to the Japanese prison camps. They were prisoners of war.
But then, on October 20, 1944, Douglas MacArthur left the ship that was anchored off shore and waded through the water to the beach and said these words, “I have returned.” The troops began to rally themselves and took courage. “He’s back! He’s back!” For the next nine months, they fought the battles with so much more intensity, fervor, and zeal because their commander had come back and joined them.
Sometimes it gets wearisome, but He is always willing to come and join us in the way. He is always willing to come to visit the weary sinner. Oh Pastor, after that difficult visit on a Sunday night, when a family shares with you some heartbreaking news and you pour out your heart and counsel them, only to have it rejected. As you watch the taillights of their car leave the church, you hop in your car and begin to drive that lonely trip home. It seems like you’re all by yourself. Let me tell you, “YOU’RE NOT!” There’s One that opens up the passenger door and gets inside the car with you and whispers, “Everything’s all right in my Father’s house.”
I like that song: “I come to the garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses, and the voice I hear, falling on my ear, the Son of God discloses. And He walks with me, and He talks with me, and He tells me I am His own.”
He says, “It’s gonna be all right. You are NOT alone. I will visit you in the darkest hour of the night.” Child of God, take courage!
Oh, I thank God that He is still saving lost sinners, still using saved sinners, still empowering yielded sinners, and He is still visiting weary sinners. There are some great days ahead, and I can’t wait to live them. Let’s stay in the battle until He returns!