Summary: This continues in my expository series through the book of Acts.
There’s no getting around the fact that today’s text contains a part that strikes us as humorous, and the fact of the matter is that sometimes, we can do some funny things in church.
A preacher was completing a temperance sermon: with great expression he said, “If I had all the beer in the world, I’d take it and throw it into the river.” With even greater emphasis, he said, “And if I had all the wine in the world, I’d take it and throw it into the river.” And then, finally, he said, “And if I had all the whiskey in the world, I’d take it and throw it into the river.” He sat down.
The song leader then stood and announced, “For our closing song, let us sing Hymn #365: ‘Shall We Gather At the River.’”
And then, of course, there are those wonderful church bulletin bloopers typed by well-meaning church secretaries:
The pastor will preach his farewell message, after which the choir will sing, "Break Forth Into Joy."
During the absence of our pastor we enjoyed the rare privilege of hearing a good sermon when J.F. Scubbs supplied our pulpit.
Irving Benson and Jessie Carter were married on Oct. 24 in the church. So ends a friendship that began in school days.
Low Self-Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 to 8:30 p.m. Please use the back door.
Weight Watchers will meet at 7:00 pm at the First Presbyterian Church. Please use the large double door at the side entrance.
The eighth graders will be presenting Shakespeare’s Hamlet in the church basement on Friday at 7:00 p.m. The congregation is invited to attend this tragedy.
Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our church and community.
Let’s hope there aren’t many who are sick of our church and community…
When we left Paul, he was in the process of eluding some who would have taken his life had they the chance. He learned of a plot against him, hatched by the Jews, and took evasive action, heading to Troas instead of to his original destination. And thus Troas is where we find him, a place he’d been before, where several years earlier he’d experienced a vision of a man in Macedonia saying, “come over here and help us”. And help Paul did, opening up Greece—and Europe, an untouched continent—to the gospel of Jesus Christ. And thus after running his misdirection play, Paul arrives in Troas, a reunion of sorts with a group of men from different parts of the world, but whose bond in Jesus Christ transcended cultural differences; we read their names and hometowns in verse 4. A week of ministry together ensued, and the time then came for Paul to continue his trek to Jerusalem, and thus, the church gathered together before Paul’s departure.
I. The Church Comes In to Worship & Fellowship - :7a
7 On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread…
Now we might be tempted just to run right on by this, because it doesn’t strike us as unusual, but there are some things to note:
• “First day of the week”
FF Bruce says this is “the earliest unambiguous evidence we have for the Christian practice of gathering together for worship on that day”. Now there are some friends who want to judge the contemporary church on the basis that we are, in their minds, breaking God’s law by not worshipping on the Sabbath (Saturday). I hear from these folks from time to time, either on my blog or through other means. So let’s answer, very briefly, two questions:
Why Sunday worship?
Why not Sabbath worship?
As I’m sure I’ve said enough times that you’re tired of hearing it,
• Worship at all times!
Though we rightly set aside times to worship corporately, our lives ought to be lived as acts of worship.
• Worship whenever!
There is nothing inherently wrong with gathering to worship on Saturday, Sunday, or Tuesday at 3:30 in the afternoon, for that matter. Some folks get all worked up about the “rules”, but as I’ll suggest in a moment, there’s a point to the Sabbath—and it’s not the Sabbath itself! But if folks truly worship Jesus on Saturday morning, that’s fine, just as those who worship on Saturday evening are fine, just as…you get the picture. When Jesus was asked about worship logistics by the woman at the well, He steered her away from the ritual and the ceremonial, and instructed her as to the true meaning of worship (John 4).
• Worship celebrates Jesus!
It seems clear that the early church’s determination to worship on Sunday was based upon the resurrection being on a Sunday; i.e., Sunday is a day of celebration. If, then, I have not celebrated the fact that I serve a risen Savior, when I gather with God’s people, then I’ve missed the boat somehow. Ray Stedman quotes Justin Martyr, who writes from the 2nd century: