Summary: Unity, Devotion, Joy, Awe
FOLLOWING JESUS INTO THE UNKNOWN 2018 - A Unity That Guides Our Steps
February 25, 2018
Acts 2:42-47 (p. 759)
When I was 6 years old my family took a trip out west…we traveled in a Dodge Van that converted into a little camper…5 of us crammed into this little space…but it was one of my favorite childhood memories. We stopped at the corn palace, tons of little places on route 66, we visited the Rose Bowl…but the two places that stand out in my memory are Disneyland and the Grand Canyon…Disneyland is a natural thing for a 6 year old to remember, but the Grand Canyon was indescribable…Dad got us all up at sunrise the morning after we arrived …I remember watching as the dark purple sky turned into a glorious golden canvas…and the canyon stretched out for as far as you could see…It was enormous…I'm sure I didn't know the word back then…but the word I would use now to describe the experience is “awesome."
SHOW GRAND CANYON PICS
Even at 6 I understood this was something huge and beautiful….something so big it just didn't fit into my little mind…that's what "being in awe" of something is all about. Your mouth drops open…there are no words to describe it…you just stand there admiring something way beyond your understanding.
It was just such a feeling which was going through the early church in Jerusalem…they were witnessing something so big, so majestic, so far beyond words…that the only word that Luke could use to describe it was “awe." It bound this early group of believers together with a spiritual glue that could not be broken.
It’s been less than 2 months since Jesus shared the Last Supper with His followers. It’s been less than 2 months since His crucifixion and resurrection…it’s been a little over 10 days since His ascension back into heaven with the promise of the Holy Spirit’s coming…and it’s just been a few hours since the Holy Spirit came upon them as a violent blowing wind and tongues of fire enabling them to speak in other languages.
Jesus followers knew their mission…to go and make disciples…and it would start with an awesome demonstration of God’s presence at Pentecost…This day is the birthday of Jesus’ church.
ACTS 2:5-13 (p. 759)
We can throw around the word amazing and awesome all we want…but there are very few things that really are…This event is so big that it’s beyond the ability of some to rationalize. “These guys have to be drunk!”
But they’re not…are they? Peter the Denier now became Peter the Proclaimer.
ACTS 2:14-24 (p. 759)
Peter gives them a biblical history lesson from Israel’s King David…these Jews from all around the world, gathered in Jerusalem for Pentecost…hear the gospel in their own language and at the end of his message Peter brings it home.
“Therefore, let all Israel be assured of this, God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” (Acts 2:36)
And the Holy Spirit broke their hearts…He cut them to the very core of their souls with conviction…so much so, they cried out…“What shall we do?”
Peter answered… “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ…your sins will be forgiven and you will receive the gift of His Holy Spirit.”
3,000 plus came forward to do just that. The Church is born with something so big and so powerful…only one word can describe it…“AWESOME.”
As these new believers began their journey to FOLLOW JESUS INTO THE UNKNOWN, two qualities consumed their live…A commitment to grow…and a crucifixion of self.
Let’s look first of all at their commitment to grow:
I. COMMITTED TO THE CORE FOUR
"They devoted themselves…" This was a conscious choice of priorities.
These early followers of Christ had to make a decision for themselves, about what would keep them on the right path…what will help them be the people Jesus wanted them to be and the church Jesus wanted them to be…and 4 things immediately became the glue:
1) The apostles’ teaching, fellowship, the breaking of bread, and prayer.
These believers didn't stop being husbands or wives, moms or dads, business owners or workers. Each of them still had the normal, everyday priorities of life…but now, Jesus changed everything…their belief in him was now wreaking havoc with their former priorities.
[I took 13 students and 4 adults on a mission trip to Haiti when I ministered in West Virginia. One of those adults was Ann Mills…"Miss Ann.” She was a VP at Beckley Savings and Loan. She was the individual who approved all the loan applications, while in Haiti, Miss Ann took care of all the babies…she held them, loved them, fed them…Some of the situations were heart breaking. When we got back to the states she had a hard time dealing with her emotions…when a guy came in to borrow 20,000 bucks for a new bass boat…the faces of those babies came back…she had a hard time not saying "How can you spend 20 grand on a boat when there are children dying…children I've held and loved…Haiti wreaked havoc on Miss Ann's priorities.]