Summary: God expects His people to make a difference in the world around them.
REACHING YOUR JERUSALEM
Intro: People have all kinds of expectations about how things should happen in life. Husbands and wives have different expectations of each other. Bosses and workers have different expectations. Kids & parents; Govt. officials and citizens, etc. Something happens when these expectations are not met. Frustration is the result of unmet expectations. Sometimes expectations are not met because they are unrealistic. However, quite often, expectations are not met because they have not been communicated clearly. People cannot read your mind; therefore, they do not know how to go about meeting your expectations.
-Our heavenly Father has certain expectations of us as well. He has done a fantastic job of leaving us a record of His expectations. Of course, if we never read about them in the Bible, then we will likely fail to meet them. That will result in frustration on our part, at the very least because we will be missing out on what He wants from us. His expectations are not burdensome; rather, they are helpful and will help us navigate the troubled waters of this life. Among the expectations God has for us, there is one I’d like to focus on today.
Prop: God expects His people to make a difference in the world around them.
Interrogative: How can we do that?
TS: Let’s look at 4 expectations that will help us make a difference in our Jerusalem.
I. God Expects His People to Believe Him for Miracles (5:12, 15-16)
12 The apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders among the people.
15 … people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. 16 Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by evil spirits, and all of them were healed.
-We have talked about miracles and the power of God a number of times in the past several weeks. I cannot get away from the idea that God wants to do a lot more than we have seen Him do in our lives and in His church. Yet, I don’t have any instant solutions to what appears to be a lack of the miraculous. I am not saying that nothing is happening, because we have people sitting right here this morning who can attest to miracles of healing and provision in their lives. Miracles are not always accompanied by inspirational music and the flash of a Rolex. Sometimes the greatest miracles occur in the most ordinary circumstances. We should celebrate these and not minimize them. However, I think you know what I am saying when I say that there must be more!
-When I read v.16, that “Crowds gathered from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by evil spirits, and all of them were healed,” I have to say that I have never seen anything like that. Yes, I’ve seen people healed, and I have been healed myself, but can you imagine seeing everybody healed who came to you for prayer? I’m not sure I’m mature enough to handle power like that. Yet I sense that the church of Jesus Christ should be operating on that level.
-Do you trust God to work miracles on your behalf? Do you trust Him to work miracles for someone else through your prayers? I believe He wants to, but He is waiting for us to step up to the plate and start swinging. If we miss, swing again. If we strike out, I’m sure He will help us learn from it and improve our swing. But if we never get into the batter’s box, we will never get on base. What am I saying? Take a risk. Be willing to lay hands on someone who is sick and let them know that God wants to heal them. Pray a simple prayer of faith, trusting God to do what He already wants to do. Instead of worrying about what will happen if the person is not healed, start thinking about what could happen if he or she IS healed! Pray for people who do not yet know Jesus. Ask God to heal them and show Himself to them. He is just waiting for someone to be bold enough to put their reputation (and His) on the line.
II. God Expects His People to Foster a Sense of Community (5:12b)
12b And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon’s Colonnade.
-Solomon’s Colonnade/Porch was a covered outer corridor lined with huge pillars on the east side of the temple. It was a massive area that could accommodate thousands of people. This meeting was probably one of the closest things we have to compare with our idea of “going to church.”