Summary: We must turn around (‘repent’) from the depth of our self-will… and give ourselves…immerse ourselves (‘be baptized’) in the life of Jesus…now risen and ruling and revealing God’s will.
Gathering to Grow
Brad Bailey – October 16, 2011
I want to begin by asking a question: Why are you here? Why are we here together?
It’s always good to stop and consider WHY we are doing something… what the purpose is. Because when we loose clarity on purpose we lose everything that matters.
(When you don’t know the purpose of something, it is likely to be misused, or abused.)
That is what this series we’ve titled ROOTS is all about. It’s about recapturing the life of Jesus in us… by looking at the roots of that experience in the Book of Acts. Today we want to recapture the essence of why we gather. Today God tells us about the first gathering of what we call the church. To grasp the purpose of such gathering, it’s important to capture the calling that they were responding to.
The Book of Acts begins as Jesus prepares his disciples for the big transition… in which they will go into the world embodying his life… his message and mission. (“You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." – Acts 1:7-8)
When we become his living body…
we become a people of mission… ‘a missional community.’ and you will have the power of God at work with you.
Then in Acts chapter 2, the Spirit comes upon them… and they are surrounded by a crowd of lives … Peter explains what is at hand and the central act of the Divine drama that changes everything: the life, death, and raising of Christ… now the exalted king and ruler.
That crowd was filled with those who witnessed these events… and they now face the reality.. that they have been on the wrong side. They had claimed to be good religious people… but they had actually opposed God. So as we read last week:
When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?" Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. – Acts 2:37-38
They were ‘cut to the heart’…‘pierced’ in the heart… it is a sudden realization. You see.. the crowds had been excited about Jesus…. Many believing that he was the Messiah… the One sent by God. He spoke with an authority unlike any human teacher… he moved in the power to heal and overcome demonic oppression as only God could. He was finally coming into Jerusalem. But the people had sought a military leader to over throw Rome… so when he was arrested… beaten… the crowd turned on him. He didn’t serve their pride and desire for power. And now they must face their reality of the human pride and pretense. This was God suffering for the sins of the world… now risen and ruling. He represented the will f God… and they we’re on the wrong side.