Summary: Part 9 of "Being the Church," focusing on how only Jesus can fill our deepest needs.
Being the Church
Part 9: God’s Answer for Your Spiritual Hunger
Scripture: Acts 13:14-52
“There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus.”
Intro: I just got back from a 10 day missions trip to Peru. I preached there a couple of Sundays ago to a small congregation of about 60 people. The average salary of those workers there is 1200 dollars per year. I gave a very simple message on God’s love. I didn’t think it was anything special. It probably would have scored pretty lowly in any seminary preaching course. It was a simple message on the love of God…and how God desires an intimate relationship with every one of us.
-After 30 minutes that I felt were utterly futile, I gave a simple altar call for response. The whole congregation came forward. Grown men, hardened by years of back-breaking work, were weeping. Mothers knelt with their daughters, seemingly oblivious to their poverty, and prayed.
-What I saw from the people there in Peru that morning was so pure, was so real, that I began to wonder what was wrong with me. Why didn’t I experience the kind of connection with God back home? Many of the people who were on the work camp with me resonated the same feeling. “What’s wrong with us in America that we don’t see the same thing happening in our lives?”
-But you know what else I saw in those people around the altar that morning in Reque, Peru? I saw that really, we are more alike than we realize. You see, what I saw in their faces, and felt in their hearts was this: hunger. Spiritual hunger. And I see it on the faces of people here in the states every day. The only difference between the people in Peru, who seemed so pure in their pursuit of God, and us…is how they satisfy their spiritual hunger as opposed to how many of us do.
-The spiritual hunger of human beings is ancient and universal. We all have it, deep down. We all yearn for…well, something, in the deepest recesses of our souls. It was no different 1900 years ago for the Apostle Paul and the people he preached to.
-We’re a little over halfway through our series on the book of Acts, and there’s a shift happening in our teaching series and in the book itself. In the first half of the book, we read mostly about Peter and his work with the early Church. From here on out, the book is almost exclusively about Paul and his missionary work in taking the Gospel to places it had never been before.
-Thus far in our teaching series together, we’ve focused extensively on what it means to be the Church corporately. What a healthy church looks like. What a healthy church does. How a healthy church serves others and shares the Gospel.
-From this point forward, we’re going to focus extensively on what it looks like to be the Church on a personal level. What does God want for you as you’re seeking Him? What does God promise to those who follow His Son? How can you deepen your faith and your walk with God?
-So, to begin this “home stretch,” I want us to talk about that Spiritual hunger we all have. I want to share with you from Acts 13, and how Paul builds his case for Jesus to unbelievers here. Because in Paul’s presentation of the Gospel, he hits on all 4 ingredients that are needed for us to feel spiritually significant in life.
(Read Acts 13:14-52)
4 Essential Ingredients for Spiritual Fullness
1. Be aware that God’s initial prescription for your spiritual hunger is the hunger itself. (Vs. 15)
Illustration: Hungry men have always run on both sides of my family. And when we’re hungry, we eat. Sometimes, that hunger gets the best of us. (Brad – “Ding-Dongs” story). “Have another! Have another!”
-That never happens to me. LOL. No, I’ve got to tell on myself, too. But my intentions are always noble when I pig out. A little while back, we had a missions fundraiser here at our church, and I paid a ridiculous amount of money for some of Bernice Clemmon’s special cookies. I got into a bidding war with her husband, Wendall. It wasn’t the hunger that drove me to it. It was because I knew that if I didn’t get them, Wendall would take them home, eat them all and have a heart attack that afternoon.
Questions: Has physical hunger ever gotten the best of you? Have you ever just been so hungry that you ate too much of something that you knew would make you feel sick later on?