Summary: Fellowship is important
Lettuce and Fire Trucks
And when the Day of Pentecost was fully come, they were NOT all gathered together in one place. They had intended to be there but so many things interfered. Actually only 76 of the 120 could make it, and for some very good reasons too! Peter and his wife had bought a camping outfit so they could get away from the city on weekends, and they had gone to Lake Galilee.
John just couldn’t put off painting his backyard fence another day. Nathaniel needed to catch up on the books of his fig-brokerage business and Matthew was behind in his tax-collecting, having wandered around with Jesus for so long. Martha felt like she might be getting a headache and she needed to do some house-cleaning anyway.
James heard something that sounded like a rushing mighty wind, so he was afraid it might rain. So, you see, what with one thing and another, the crowd was just a bit sparse on that particular first day of the week. Of course, that really shouldn’t have hurt the church, because Philip, along with Thomas and Thaddeus and several others showed up and carried on valiantly. The multitude did recognize them as men who had been with Jesus and they did admire their devotion.
However, the multitude also noticed that there used to be a lot more besides these, but evidently, this Jesus wasn’t much of a Messiah since about half of his followers found other things more important than obeying his requests. Still, about 1700 people were baptized and, following the example of many of Jesus’ disciples, 941 of them continued more or less steadfastly in some of the apostles’ teaching and occasionally broke bread and prayed from time to time. A few even sold part of their possessions and gave them to the poor.
But a dispute arose about whether or not they ought to care for Grecian widows and Stephen, who had been a real leader for a while, got so disgusted that he applied for a professor of history position at the Univ. of Jerusalem. "The last I heard, O Theophilus, they’ve dwindled down to a total of 456, but this number is divided into 4 or 5 groups, none of which has anything to do with any of the others. I think Ananias is an elder in one group and his wife, Sapphira, teaches the pre-school class ..."
You may recognize this as a fictional account of the 2nd chapter of Acts. It’s how the story MIGHT have read if early Christians took their responsibility to assemble as seriously as some of us do!
Experts tell us that it is important for families to assemble for mealtime. It is good for the children and it is good for the parents. During this time of fellowship the events of the day can be shared, joys can be celebrated; concerns can be addressed, wisdom can be passed on, and strength can be shared both in the fellowship and the food.
Even the type of food is important in the overall scheme of these meetings. Dietary experts tell us that, if we eat right, our bodies gain from the nutritional value of the food that we ingest. So it’s important to eat healthy. No M & M’s and pop for breakfast. No candy bars in between meals. No pop tarts and chocolate milk for dinner. No Big Macs and super-sized fries, and a milkshake for supper and a bowl of ice cream smothered in chocolate syrup before you go to bed.
Empty calories. Not healthy. Not nutritional. Not gonna help us grow. How many of you have ever said or had your mom say to you, “Eat your greens”? An important part of any healthy meal is to have a salad. Start off your meal with a green salad made with some healthy lettuce.
And that’s what we’re going to do today. We have assembled for our family meal. We meet to be fed spiritually through our fellowship and worship of God together. And we’re going to have THREE helpings of healthy lettuce.
1. “Lettuce” approach with a true heart
2. “Lettuce” hold fast to the confession of our hope
3. “Lettuce” consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds.
We read in verse 12 that “…Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins.” And in verse 14, “…For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.” Then the author cites the Old Testament Prophet Jeremiah in verse 17, “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”
All of the Old Testament sacrifices, not even the 142,000 sacrifices Solomon offered in one day (1 Kings 8:63), ever took away a single sin. These were only symbols of the one Great Sacrifice that was to come.