Sermons

Summary: The real component in the success of the first century Christians lies not in external tactics but with their internal values … their Christ-like character.

Welcome and Call to Worship

Good morning. We are so honored you have chosen to worship with us today.

Did you see the news item a few days back about the lady who was arrested on Highway 11 in Tulsa? It appears she was driving the wrong direction; she was headed eastbound in the westbound lane.

Sometimes I see people who have never experienced Christ’s love and forgiveness and I feel like they are headed the wrong direction; the impending crash seems so avoidable. As we look at week #3 of our series on Evangelism we will see the need to experience a transformation from the inside-out. This not only puts us on the right road but also gives those in our network a model to follow.

Listen as I read 1 John 2:1-6.

1 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. 3 And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 5 but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: 6 whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.

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Responsive Prayer For Mission

Leader: Here in this sanctuary, we remember, O God, your gift of life to each of us;

People: And we seek to carry it to the streets-

Wherever there is death and violence

Wherever there is grief and loss.

Leader: Here in this sanctuary, we remember, O God, your invitation to belong and find shelter;

People: And we seek to carry it to the streets- Wherever there is loneliness and rejection Wherever there is homelessness and people displaced.

Leader: Here in this sanctuary, we remember, O God, your reign of justice and righteousness;

People: And we seek to carry it to the streets-

Wherever there is lawlessness or tyranny

Wherever there is corruption and oppression.

Leader: Here in this sanctuary, we remember, O God, your sacrifice of love and mercy;

People: And we seek to carry it to the streets-

Wherever there is hatred and evil

Wherever there is hopelessness, regret, and guilt.

Leader: Here in this sanctuary, where we remember all that you have done for us, O God, we remember also your call to live what we sing and pray.

People: And so we commit to ourselves again to carry our worship from the sanctuary to the streets.

AMEN. COME LORD JESUS!

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Giving needs no more apology than does praying. In the Bible there are 1,539 passages that reference giving, while there are only 523 that refer to praying.

Anonymous 

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BRIDGES AND DITCHES: THE BOOK OF ACTS FOR TODAY**

SOME THINGS NEVER CHANGE

ACTS 4:13

Big Idea: The real component in the success of the first century Christians lies not in external tactics but with their internal values … their Christ-like character.

Supporting Scripture:

Malachi 3:16-18 (Responsive Reading)

Luke 9:23-26

1 Peter 2:1-10

1 John 2:1-6

INTRO

Do you mind if we return to a passage in Acts I mentioned last week? It’s Acts 4:13, “When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled and ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.”

“They took note that these men had been with Jesus.” I like that! That’s one of those little sentences it would be easy to read over and keep going but for me it touches a visceral chord. If there was something I want to people to be able to say about me it’s that they can tell that I have been with Jesus.

I know you do too.

Even though these first generation Christians were “ordinary” the accompaniment of Jesus had made them into something “extra-ordinary.”

One Christian historian says it like this:

It was a small group of eleven men whom Jesus commissioned to carry on his work, and bring the gospel to the whole world.

• They were not distinguished

• They were not well educated

• They had no influential backers.

• In their own nation they were nobodies.

(“Evangelism in the Early Church”, p. 39)

If these first Christians had stopped to weigh up the probabilities of succeeding in their mission their hearts would most surely have sunk. The odds weighted against them were enormous! It is almost impossible to exaggerate the obstacles that lay in their way. Yet, in spite of the “ditches” these first Christians had to jump they succeeded! In spite of the bridges that had to be built to share the Gospel they were successful.

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