Summary: There will come a time when hope of Repentance is gone and life will be over, the time of opportunity to respond to the leading of the Holy Spirit will be gone.
I SINNED AND I AM DEAD
MAY 6, 2001
This epitaph adorns the grave of Ellen Shannon, twenty-six, of Girard, Pennsylvania: Who was fatally burned March 21, 1870 by the explosion of a lamp filled with “R.E. Danforth’s Non-Explosive Burning Fluid”
Epitaph of a dentist named John Brown: Stranger! Approach this spot with gravity! John Brown is filling his last cavity.
These words are inscribed on the tomb of a watchmaker at St. Petrock’s Church, Lyford, Devon, England: Here lies in horizontal position the outside case of dear George Routleight, watchmaker, whose abilities in that line were an honour to his profession—integrity was the mainspring, and prudence the regulator of all the actions of his life. Humane, generous, and liberal, his hand never stopped until he had relieved distress. So nicely regulated were all his movements that he never went wrong, except when set agoing by people who did not know his key; even then he was easily set right again. He had the art of disposing his time so well that the hours glided away in one continued round of pleasure and delight, till an unlucky moment put a period to his existence. He departed this life November 14, 1802, aged fifty-seven. Wound up in hopes of being taken in hand by his Maker and being thoroughly cleansed, repaired, and set agoing in the world to come.
Inscribed on the tomb of Mel Blanc, creator of the cartoon characters Bugs Bunny and Porky Pig: “That’s All, Folks!”
The epitaph of Benjamin Franklin: The Body of B. Franklin, Printer, Like the Cover of an old Book, Its Contents torn out, And Stript of its Lettering & Gilding, Lies here. Food for Worms, For, it will, as he believed, appear once more, In a new and more elegant Edition, corrected and improved By the Author.
TRANSITION THOUGHT: There will come a time, when time temporal for us is no more. Our text tells us of the out going of some in a manner not well desired. Carried off by young men and buried. Judged in this life and judged in the life to come. What might the Epitaph have read, “Here we lay, because we lied, had so much, but we had to die. I agreed with Her, He agreed with me, O Holy Spirit, let me be.” Our text affirms the work of the Spirit to call us into true obedience. What happened in the “Flow of the Spirit,” that caused this couple to depart? What is this text trying to teach us? I believe it is the simplicity of obedience to the Holy Spirit of God. Willing, or unwilling?
THESIS SENTENCE: There will come a time when hope of Repentance is gone and life will be over, the time of opportunity to respond to the leading of the Holy Spirit will be gone.
THERE ARE TWO POSSIBLE RESPONSES TO THE HOLY SPIRIT
I. THE RESPONSE OF A WILLING HEART (4:32-37)
A. A willing heart is at one in heart and mind with all believers (v. 32)
1. “No one claimed…” There was a spirit of humility.
2. No one needed to claim any possessions as his or her own? What on earth does that mean?
3. There was such a since of trust and love among all those that had excepted Christ, that each treated the other and deeply loved family and the “Me Cassia, Su cassia” became reality.
4. This must be, within certain bounds, the relationship between parent and child. The child enjoys all the possessions of the parent without the parent with holding any good thing. It must be like the relationship of a husband and wife, though one may work or, both work, either way, all possessions are shared in common!
5. There was no sense of selfishness, only SELFLESSNESS!
B. A willing heart shares the Gospel with power (v. 33)!
1. What enabled the Apostles to “Testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus” with great power?
2. When the Church acts like the church, when the body of Christ functions like it really is the “BODY OF CHRIST,” when we live out before others, what we say we believe, OTHERS WILL GET IT!!
3. If those around you see a difference in you, A GOD Thing in you, do you suppose they will want it TOO?
C. A willing heart is filled with GRACE (v. 33)!
1. The Apostles “Testified,” but ALL where filled with Grace
2. What was the quantity of Grace the people experienced? MUCH!
3. Do you want MUCH Grace?
D. A willing heart gives away money (vv. 34-35)!
1. No one had need!
2. Why? People sold stuff and gave the money to the Apostles!
3. The Apostles gave the money to those who had need!