Summary: A first person narrative sermon told by Philip. Based on Acts chapter 8
Title: "Oasis in the Desert." Philip – in the first person
Situation; it’s been quite an exciting season around Jerusalem…
We’ve been waiting so long for the messiah to arrive. Then, Jesus of Nazareth came – through his teaching and his love and his miracles, people started to realize - yes!!! Finally – our long awaited messiah had a arrived. Not only for the Jewish people – but the messiah is for all the world!!
Then Jesus was arrested and crucified. It was ugly…
Peter denied even knowing him
Judas another disciple sold him out
All the disciples abandoned Jesus and ran for their lives
But then 3 days later Jesus rose from the dead … “he is risen – just like he said.” When Jesus Rose from the dead – that clinched it. The romans and the high priest and the Sanhedrin thought they had everything under control. They never anticipated him getting up out of the grave – he even folded his grave clothes before exiting the tomb!
Then, 40 days of thrills -- 40 days of Jesus “showing up.”
Then the 12
Then Thomas the doubter saw and believed!
Then the 2 - while walking the road to emmaus
Then…500 of us at one time.
it was no mistake – he was alive.
Jesus ascended to heaven – but promised a special gift would follow – the Holy Spirit.
He told the 12 to wait in Jerusalem – the gift would be delivered there.
It happened on Pentecost (a Jewish holiday – 50 days after Passover) – the time we always remember the gift of the law – now a new gift -- for a new era.
There were languages and flames. We knew some of the symbolism – fire has always been associated with God’s presence – like at the burning bush and like on MT Carmel – fire came from heaven
Then Peter preaches this amazing sermon – yes- Peter the same one who denied even knowing Jesus… now look at him… preaching like he’s Jeremiah or john the Baptist
Everyone was in awe.
3000 people believe!!!
Our burgeoning movement of Jesus followers is capturing everyone’s attention. Then, just a short time later the number of Jesus followers reaches 5000.
Complication; But we were so poorly organized in those days – just riding the wave so to speak… the Holy Spirit was on the move.
“we had the fire – but we had no fireplace” – we needed leaders and we needed to get organized. For example…. The widows among us had to be fed… Jesus always had compassion for the poor and as Jesus followers we would do the same. The 12 apostles were overwhelmed and feeling stretched… They decided the preaching of the gospel had priority – but what about the hungry?
Physical food or spiritual food? Must we choose? So… they decided to appoint 7 deacons to care for the “foodbank.” It was a daily task… every day more people came – every day we had to find food … and fairly dispense it – making sure the Hebraic Jews and the Greek Jews were treated the same…