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.
> The church is birthed in an awakening of our pride and pretense before the power of his love.
Everything flows from that realization and the crossroads it brings one to.
It cannot be created from outside by another person.
Too often I fear that Christianity has become associated with simply becoming more moral… through some commitment to moral rules. It is really about a more central change.
When they face the reality of their pride and God’s power, they ask…what do we do?
When we face the same… we will ask the same. Peter explains: ‘Repent and be baptized.’
As described last week… this means:
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.
He embodied living in the will of God. 
He explained to his disciples,
John 4:34 (NIV)
"My food," said Jesus, "is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.
As he faced laying down his life for our sins… we see this reach it’s hardest moment…
Luke 22:42 (NIV)
"Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done."
Whose will we give ourselves to defines everything. You may recall when Jesus’ family came to a crowed house asking for him… he gave this response:
Matthew 12:48-50 (NIV)
"Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?" Pointing to his disciples, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother."
The decision to give up our wills for his is something we must choose. This is not a hostile takeover of will. In fact God created us with the very nature of a will that is a choice. (It’s we who try to control the will of others… not God.)