Summary: Communion Meditation for June 4, 2006
how a worship service comes together as our service has today. As I considered this past week the various elements of today’s service, Janyce’s presentation about the community ministry of Common Grace which was scheduled back in February, Lindsey’s solo that again reminds us of the importance of remembering which was scheduled back in March, the time of year we are in with graduations, Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, and Father’s Day, and the fact that it is both communion Sunday as well as Pentecost Sunday, (And which of us can forget Joe Church and his Rocky like walk.) I began to see a link that only the Spirit could make happen. For all this, I thank the Lord for His movement through His Holy Spirit to make this happen.
(2) The title of my meditation for this morning is also a link to our summer sermon series entitled “Being God’s People by Serving, Obeying, and Giving.” We are going to walk through segments of the New Testament and look at the importance of serving, obeying, and giving as a way of fulfilling our vision of being a ‘fully following and faithfully functioning church.’
This morning though, we are going to spend a few minutes in Acts 2 and look at how serving, obeying, and giving became key values and key expressions of faith as the church came to life on Pentecost Sunday. However, an important first stop at Acts 1:4 and 5 needs to be made where Jesus said to the remaining disciples, “Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you what he promised. Remember, I have told you about this before. John baptized with water, but in just a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
What did the disciples do with this directive from the Lord? They waited! They obeyed! As we read the rest of chapter 1, we read that they came together and they thought about what needed to be done next and they did something very important. They strengthened their emerging leadership by picking a successor to Judas.
And in their waiting they did something else of vital importance – they prayed and they studied the scriptures that they had together and they obeyed what they read and pondered together in prayer, as evidenced from the second half of Psalm 109:8 that is quoted in Acts 1:20 by Peter, “let his position be given to someone else.” They followed through on some important things.
(3) A key value in becoming ‘a fully following and faithfully functioning church’ as well as evidence of our Pentecostal purpose is to be obedient to God’s direction and purpose for us. We discern this purpose and direction through corporate prayer and corporate Bible study as well as through corporate worship and corporate service.
As we pray together, read, and study the Bible together, we gain important insights and directions that we need to obediently apply. When was the last time we asked one another, ‘What have you been learning from your Bible study and prayer time?’
This period of waiting was essential and necessary for the disciples because as they obeyed Jesus’ command, they grew in their ability and desire to obey, which helped them move forward in the ministry and mission that God had for them.
As we prepare for communion, I would remind us that among Jesus’ last words to the disciples before His death and resurrection were these, “When you obey me, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father and remain in his love.” Our obedience comes out of our love for Christ.
(4) (4a)If then obedience is a foundational value that allows ministry and mission to occur as God intends it to, then (4b) serving is a motivational value that empowers our corporate ministry to move forward and outward beyond the walls of our building and fellowship and into our community.
When we read the gospel accounts at various places, we read Jesus’ emphasis on action in practical ways. The most notable being Matthew 10:42 where Jesus says, “And if you give even a cup of cold water to one of the least of my followers, you will surely be rewarded.”
There is also the Matthew 25 passage in which Jesus indicated that true believers will be identified by their practice of service and ministry to those in need. As Jesus would say in Matthew 25:34, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’