Summary: What does it mean to be a smart sheep? We know Jesus is the Good Shepherd but what kind of sheep are we? Let's look at what it means to be a Smart Sheep.
Title: Sheep Smarts
2:42 They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
2:43 Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles.
2:44 All who believed were together and had all things in common;
2:45 they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need.
2:46 Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts,
2:47 praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.
Grace and peace from God our Father and from Jesus Christ who came to take away the sin of the world!
All of our readings this morning are full of power, majesty and God's Glory. How do you improve on the identity, the mission and the message of the Early Church that we read in Acts 2:42-47? How do you improve on the reality that what we see here is the Church that Jesus envisioned becoming a reality through His Holy Spirit? Who wouldn't be drawn to such a fellowship? Talk about a Church in the Zone - as we heard that passage being read this morning did you catch all the wonderful qualities of this Early Church? Here are some of them:
+They were a learning and growing Church
+They were devoted to community
+They were a grace filled sacramental community
+They were prayer warriors
+They experienced supernatural events
+They shared with one another
+They worshipped together
+They were filled with joy
+They experienced a life of God's anointing and favor
Wow! When you read that passage you come away with the realization that the life this Early Church community was experiencing is the life that our LORD wants all of His churches to experience. When you read that passage you realize that this is what Jesus meant when He preached and taught about being Born from Above, the Abundant Life and Enjoying Oneness with the LORD GOD ALMIGHTY. The picture that Luke paints for us here in Acts 2:42-47 is one that needs to be multiplied a million times all over our world.
But how do we get to be that type of church/community? How do we hope in our present environment to be able to emulate or duplicate this same type of spiritual life experience?
Well, in some ways we can't. We can't turn the clock back and suddenly begin to be the Early Church. However, in saying that it does not mean that we cannot enjoy the same Spirit-filled, Spirit-anointed and Spirit-led lives that they enjoyed. Our times and cultures may differ from those we read about in the book of Acts but the eternal truths are the same. The community, the oneness and the agape love that they were able to experience is ours for the asking. What we read about in this passage was never to be a onetime event. Instead, the picture that Luke paints for us is one that all over the world as Christ followers we are experience, enjoy and encourage.
So, how do we do it? I am so glad that you asked, for that leads us to such passages as John chapter 10 and Psalm 23 where we discover what I want to call this morning - SHEEP SMARTS. Sheep that were smart enough to:
1. Know Jesus as their Shepherd
2. Listen and Follow Jesus
3. Live out the Life of an Abundant Sheep
A great deal over the years has been made concerning the lack of intelligence of natural sheep and even of spiritual sheep. Some of it no doubt has been well deserved. There are a great many sheep both natural and in the church that have exhibited behavior that has been less than idea. We have to admit that there are those sheep that don't live up to the intelligence and follow ability of good sheep.
However, the sheep that we read about in Psalm 23 and in John 10 are sheep that have a great deal of "Sheep Smarts". And it is those smarts that enable them to be very much like the people that we read about in Acts 2:42-47. Now, exactly what do I mean? Well, let's look at a few ways we can all be SMART SHEEP.
I. Smart Spiritual Sheep KNOW JESUS
You have to love the words that both David and Our Lord Jesus use in both of these passages. David starts his psalm off with letting everyone know that he enjoys this deep and wonderful personal relationship with the LORD. "Who is My Shepherd?" David answers - "THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD".