Summary: Pentecost: Our witness takes place in a post church society... 2nd sermon of two.
In Jesus Holy Name May 31, 2009
Text: Acts 2:1-5 Pentecost - Redeemer
“God’s Vision For His Church, Part II”
“Telling the Good News”
What did Peter preach? Standing in the streets of Jerusalem, Peter spoke these words: “Men of Israel, listen to this Jesus of Nazareth …was put to death on a cross but God raised him from the dead … He has ascended to the right hand of God.”
When Billy Graham preached in London, England for twelve weeks in 1954, an Anglican clergyman came to him and said: “Mr. Graham, I attended every night for three months and you preached the same sermon every night.” Mr. Graham said later: “I thought I preached a different sermon every night, but I knew what he meant.”
One must proclaim the love of God, the cross of Jesus, the resurrection of Jesus. There has to be the fact of sin and man’s response by repentance and faith. All of this must be proclaimed by an evangelist in every message. There may be many different illustrations, different biblical stories but the gospel is the same.#
Rev. John Stott, in his book, “The Living Church” writes The “Church” is not an accident of history. On the contrary, the “Church” is God’s new community.”# We have been called out of spiritual darkness to declare God’s praise. Each congregation must evaluate the culture in which we find ourselves. THEN We are “to make known by word and deed the love of God displayed in the crucified and risen Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit, so that people will repent, believe and connect their heart and mind to Jesus as their Savior, then obediently serve Him in the fellowship of the local congregation.
“One of the most important questions facing Christians in every age and in every place is this: What values and standards are going to dominate our national culture? Most countries today are increasingly pluralistic in both race and religion. That is to say, Christianity, Islam, Secularism, materialism, ancient religions and modern cults all compete for the soul of our nation and for every human soul.
In yesterday’s Merced Sun Star there was an article entitled: “How a Black Woman Became a Rabbi.” Alysa Stanton of Cincinnati, began quenching her spiritual thirst discovering Judaism after a search that began at the age of 9. Alysa’s spiritual journey took her through Catholicism, Charismatic Christianity, several Eastern religions and finally Judaism.” In a post churched America she simply demonstrates the spiritual hunger. Jesus still gives every person a free will….but he depends on us to tell the story, it is the responsibility of the Holy Spirit to bring conviction and conversion.
Will Christians be able to influence their country so that the values and standards of the Kingdom of God permeate the whole national culture? What are Christian values and standards? Honesty, Truth, Love, and respect for human life, moral and bioethical issues, love and respect for stewardship and God’s creation. Respect for the sanctity of human life, including the unborn, the handicapped and the aged, victims of dementia, the homeless, those trapped in poverty, respect for a person’s reputation.
Psalm 45:7 tells us that God loves righteousness and hates evil. So God sends every Christian into the world to tell the story of His love, and to make disciples, to make our communities more pleasing to God by our good deeds. To be salt and light.
Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth. If the salt loses its saltiness how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out.
A city on a hill can not be hidden. People do not light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they place it on a stand and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men so they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in Heaven.
The message Peter preached in the streets of Jerusalem does not change. In the “churched” society , following WWII, we put “In God We Trust” on our coins. As a nation we added “one nation under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance. Proclaiming the resurrection of Jesus meant that you could build the “church building” and people would come.
In this, the 21st century, the culture has become pluralistic. Christian values and belief that Jesus is “the visible presence of the invisible God” is viewed as only one religion among many and Jesus as only one Savior among others. Peter’s pronouncement that “Salvation is found in no one else for there is no other names under heaven given by which we can be saved” is rejected as arrogant, presumptuous, exclusive and intolerant.