Summary: As followers of Christ, we must embrace and share the story that God has penned upon the fabric of our hearts.
The members of First Church saw that they had a story to tell and they shared it with others wherever they went and whenever they could.
This morning I pray that we might see our life’s story as the members of the First Church saw their life story. I pray that we might celebrate the story that God has penned upon the fabric of our lives and share the theme of our story with the world.
1. Those who met Jesus.
The members of that First Church in Jerusalem went everywhere preaching and teaching Jesus the Christ at all times. No matter where they were or with whom they walked, they shared their life’s story.
A. Peter’s Story.
Peter was a man who worked hard in his life. He was energetic and passionate. Sometimes his hands and heart couldn’t cash the promises that his mouth made, but he was the kind of charismatic personality that attracts or irritates others. He worked at his nets with his brother Andrew trying to eke out a living for his family. And then he met Jesus, and his life was changed. He followed Jesus every day, walked on water, and declared that he would never deny Jesus. But that’s exactly what he did. He left the side of Jesus and went back to fishing. But then one day, God began to write a new paragraph in Peter’s life. Jesus, the Risen One, met Peter by a campfire on the shores of the sea. When Peter met Jesus Christ, the Risen Savior, his direction changed and God charted a new course in his life. He gave his life for Jesus.
B. James’ Story.
On October 21, archaeologists announced one of the most stupendous discoveries in biblical archaeology. They found a small limestone box, dated around 63 AD, which was inscribed with this statement: “James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus.” This is the box in which James the brother of Jesus was buried.
James grew up with Jesus. Can you imagine? The brother of the perfect son! When Jesus began His ministry, James and his brothers went to Jesus to take Him home. “C’mon Jesus,” they said, “you’re embarrassing us!” Then he met Jesus, the Risen One – the Son of God, and his life was changed! God began to write a new paragraph in the life of James. His purpose was changed! His direction was changed! He became the pastor of the church in Jerusalem. He gave his life for Jesus.
C. Mary’s Story.
Mary of Magdala grew up in an environment of suffering. She had been overwhelmed by evil in her life, possessed by the hosts of hell. And then she met Jesus and her life changed. He healed her and set her free from the bondage of suffering that she had carried for so long. She stood at the foot of the Cross and watched the One she had followed so long breathe His last breath. The suffering that she had known was coming back again. Then she went to the tomb with her Master’s mother. And she met Jesus, the Risen One, and her life was changed. God began to write a new paragraph in Mary’s life. She began to live each day filled by Christ through the Holy Spirit. She gave her life for Jesus.
2. What is the Common Thread?
Illustration: Tomorrow, we will celebrate veteran’s day. I love sitting at the kitchen table listening to my Grandfather’s stories as a gunner’s mate in Navy during WW2.
Church Interaction: Harvey Bird had a story for almost any occasion. His stories have become legendary. Charles Crowther’s stories take me through his life’s journey in Yazoo County. John Strange’s stories about his experiences in WW2 have even been published.
We all have different twists and turns in our life’s story. God is writing an eternal Masterpiece on our heart through our history and future. But for us this morning, for those men I have mentioned, the theme of our story is our encounter with Jesus Christ.
A. Our focus must be on the thesis of our story. Jesus Christ is the theme of our life’s story as followers of Christ.
Illustration: If someone were to write a biography of your life, how much of the book would stay true to the thesis?
The common theme for Peter, James, Mary and every other member of the First Church in Jerusalem is Jesus Christ. They all met Jesus and their lives were changed. Now, we hear their story told and re-told in Scripture. The theme of their lives was their encounter with Jesus Christ, the Savior and King. The theme of their lives was the salvation, forgiveness, purpose, and healing that Jesus brought to each of them as God’s pen moved across the parchment of their hearts. So, they went everywhere teaching and preaching Jesus the Messiah! He was their theme, and they couldn’t edit Him out of their story.