Summary: How many times do we shun those who come into our fellowship... those who have difficulties in life, those who have had brushes with the law, those who have addictions and past histories and bad reputations that follow them... How many time do we shun the
Date Written: October 9, 2010
Date Preached: October 10, 2010
Where Preached: Oak Park Baptist Church (AM)
Series Title: Reaching Our Community – Sermon 2
Sermon Title: Encouragement – The life of the fellowship
Sermon Text: Acts 9:26-27 [ESV]
26 And when he had come to Jerusalem, he attempted to join the disciples. And they were all afraid of him, for they did not believe that he was a disciple. 27 But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles and declared to them how on the road he had seen the Lord, who spoke to him, and how at Damascus he had preached boldly in the name of Jesus.
The old man walked in off the street, smelling of whiskey and garbage. His looks brought the ire of all who saw him, and quickly murmurs spread throughout the church about this unsightly and smelly man who DARED to come to church.
The chairman of the deacons thought that he needed to do something because people were beginning to talk. He walked over to the man and gave him a half hearted good morning and proceeded to tell him that if he intended to come back, that he needed to pray about what he was wearing and ask God what would the appropriate attire be…
The old man was very respectful and sat the rest of the service in the back away from most of the sparse crowd. He quietly left after the service. The next Sunday the old man was back and he was just as unkempt as he had been the previous week. As he entered the church, the murmurs quickly became rumblings and before you knew it there were people outright disgusted by this man’s appearance.
The chairman of deacons went up to the man and ask him if he remembered what he spoke with him about last week… He asked this man if he had prayed to God about what was the appropriate attire to wear to this church… The man quietly answered the deacon. Yes, I did pray about it and God answered my prayer!
The deacon asked him, Well what did God say? What was His answer when you asked Him what the appropriate clothes were to wear to our church? The old man looked at the deacon with a solemn and sad face and said, “God told me that He had NO idea what the appropriate clothing was to wear to this church because He had not been there in 20 years!
Now I know that’s a silly story that you saw right thru… but it is an attitude that I believe FAR too many believers have when it comes to those who visit the church or those in our community that, look different, smell different, or dress different!
The place their focus on the exterior of the person, on what society has labeled this person to be, and they make their judgments based on TOTALLY superficial and outward appearances!
You may think that this attitude was something the modern church has perfected and carried on, but I want you to know that as long as there has been a ‘church’ to go to… there have been those who have looked down on others who did not fit into their neat and tidy little picture of what a believer or church attender should look like…
Today I want us to look at a situation that happened in the earliest part of the church of the 1st century… Turn with me to Acts 9 and we are going to look at the background to this situation… the situation itself… and FINALLY we are going to look at the solution to the situation…
First let’s look at the background for this situation… let’s look at the SETUP!
Summarize Acts 9:1-25
Saul was breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord
He gained permission to go to Damascus and imprison any believers he could find
On his way to Damascus – Jesus gets his attention
blinding light – knocks him to his knees and he is blinded
hears a voice from heaven – Saul why are you persecuting Me?
ME… not the church… not My disciples… but ME
Saul is confused… Who are YOU? Jesus tells him, It is Jesus, the One you are persecuting! Again, ME not the church, not His disciples, Jesus wanted Paul to know that his persecution was directly against Him
It is here Saul’s heart is convicted and converted as he asked Jesus, What do I do now? Jesus tells him to get up and go into the city and wait for instructions…
Jesus then sends a believer named Ananias to Paul…
Paul had had a vision of a man named Ananias coming to see him