Summary: In this sermon, we see the third key to discovering God’s purpose for your life: community. It’s in community that we experience the presence of Jesus and God’s purpose for our lives.
Find It Together
Acts 9: 1-10
A man was having difficulty communicating with his wife and concluded that she had become hard of hearing. So he decided to conduct a hearing test without her knowing about it. One evening he sat in a chair on the far side of the room. Her back was to him and she could not see him. Very quietly he whispered, "Can you hear me?" There was no response. Moving a little closer, he asked again, "Can you hear me now?" Still no reply. Quietly he edged closer and whispered the same words, but still no answer. Finally, he moved right in behind her chair and said, "Can you hear me now?" To his surprise, she responded with irritation as she answered at the top of her voice, "For the 4th time, yes!" It’s funny how we often accuse God of not hearing what we say when in fact, it’s really us who have difficulty hearing God. Perhaps one of the most challenging things to hear from God is the purpose of your life.
Saul unknowingly experienced that in our Scripture today. Saul was very well educated., trained by Israel’s best rabbi of the time and he was the star pupil. He knew the Old Testament from cover to cover but to the prophecies about the Savior and the identity of Jesus, he was deaf. Saul thought he was being faithful to the Law and the will of God by persecuting Christians because they were speaking blasphemy and worshiping a man rather than God. In a sense, Saul could see the physical but spiritually he was blind to what God was doing. He thought he knew God’s purpose for his life but was sadly mistaken.
In this series, we’ve been talking about discovering God’s plan for your life. We learned the first way to do that is to follow Jesus into God’s work in the world. You just can’t sit there and try to figure out your purpose. You have to get off the bench and get in the game, by getting out to serve and your life purpose will begin to emerge. Last week, we learned that we are meant to grow in our faith but if you stay a child in the faith, you will never come to grasp or understand the greater things of God, including God’s purpose for your life. But how? We learned five disciplines for spiritual growth: daily devotions with God, lifelong learning, investing in key relationships, visioning for the future and eating and exercising for life.
In our Scripture today, we see the third key to discovering God’s purpose for your life: community. It’s in community that we experience the presence of Jesus and God’s purpose for our lives. Saul is greeted by Jesus on the road to Damascus, who asks him, “Why do you persecute me?” At the end of the conversation, Saul is blinded and thus in need of help. He is instructed to go to Damascus where he stayed for three days when a Christian named Ananias is sent to heal him and fill him with the Holy Spirit. And something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes. I want you to notice that this is not just a physical healing but it is a spiritual healing as well. The moment that his sight returned, Saul got up and was baptized into the faith and then “Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus. At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God.” It is in community that we can experience the full presence and the purpose of Jesus for your life.
It is in community that we experience the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. Up until the resurrection, the full Spirit of God lived in the body of this man named Jesus. But, the miracle of Jesus in the world was limited to space and time. Jesus could only be in one place at a time. When Jesus was resurrected, he promised that we would not be alone but rather the Holy Spirit will dwell in this community. Wherever the community of Jesus is, there will be the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. A spirit without a body can do nothing! It is in community that we will experience the power of the Holy Spirit and the presence of Jesus, not just individually but corporately. We will experience that when we are together. “Together” is the most important word we read in the book of Acts. “They all joined together constantly in prayer.” Acts 1:14 “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.” Acts 2:1 “All the believers were together and had everything in common.” Acts 2:44 “Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts…” Acts 2:46 “The apostles performed many signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet together.” Acts 5:12 “On arriving there, they gathered the church together and reported all that God had done.” Acts 12:27 It is only when we come together as the body of Christ, which is the church, that we can experience the spirit of Christ and the purpose of Christ flowing through our lives.