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Summary: The Essential Christian Life: 1. Our going. 2. Our gathering. 3. Our giving. 4. Our God. 5. Our goal.

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The Essential Christian Life

Acts 9:32-43

Sermon by Rick Crandall

Grayson Baptist Church - Revised March 5, 2017

INTRODUCTION:

*The average person breathes about 12 to 18 times a minute. Of course, we do that all the time. And if you're like me, you almost never think about it. But when it comes to our physical health: What could be more essential?

*Years ago, Alan Jackson had a popular song called: “Way Down Yonder on the Chattahoochee.” That song reminds me of home, because the Chattahoochee is a real river that runs through Atlanta, and that’s where I almost stopped breathing 47 years ago.

*The Chattahoochee has a few rapids, so it’s fun to go down in a tube or a rubber boat, and we used to do it when I lived in Atlanta. But one of those times I got trapped under a huge rock. The rushing river was pushing me deeper and deeper under the water, and I couldn’t get my breath. I almost drowned, and I believe that I would have drowned, if God hadn’t helped me get free.

*For a few moments, I didn’t think I was going to make it. What a terrible feeling it is to be running out of air. Breathing is essential in life. And today's Scripture shows us some things that are just as essential in Christian life.

1. The first essential today is our going.

*Peter shows us this vital function in vs. 32: "Now it came to pass, as Peter went through all parts of the country, that he also came down to the saints who dwelt in Lydda." Peter was going for Jesus Christ, and God wants us to go.

[1] We cannot follow Jesus' example without going.

*In Mark 1, Jesus was doing a great work in Capernaum, but vs. 35-38 say:

35. Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed.

36. And Simon and those who were with Him searched for Him.

37. When they found Him, they said to Him, "Everyone is looking for You.''

38. But He said to them, "Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also, because for this purpose I have come forth.''

[2] We can't follow Jesus' example without going. And we can't follow the Lord's teaching without going.

*In Mark 16:15, Jesus told His disciples: "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature." And in John 20:21, Jesus said to them: "Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you."

*Somehow, we have got to go for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! But understand that going is more about passion and purpose than it is about a place. Lord willing, four of our youth will get to go on the youth choir mission trip to Cincinnati this summer. And the rest of us will get to help send them on their way.

*But Pastor Duane Brooks said we should look at every day of our lives as a short-term mission trip for the Lord. We can be on mission at work, in school, at the ball park, or at the grocery store. (1)

*One way or another, we can be on mission for the Lord everywhere we go. And Peter is a great example for us. But there is another great example of going in today's Scripture: It's the two nameless men who went after Tabitha died. Please listen to this part of the story vs. 36-39:

36. At Joppa there was a certain disciple named Tabitha, which is translated Dorcas. This woman was full of good works and charitable deeds which she did.

37. But it happened in those days that she became sick and died. When they had washed her, they laid her in an upper room.

38. And since Lydda was near Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent two men to him, imploring him not to delay in coming to them.

39. Then Peter arose and went with them. . .

*In vs. 38, those two faithful men walked the 6 to 10 miles to Lydda to find Peter. They didn't have a miraculous gift of raising someone from the dead, but they found the man who did. Tabitha probably would not have been raised from the dead without the help of those nameless, faithful Christians. They were on the go to help their hurting friends. -- And God surely wants us to go for the cause of Jesus Christ.

2. One essential in Christian life is our going. -- Another essential is our gathering.

*God’s Word reminds us of this truth in vs. 32, where Peter "came down to the saints who dwelt in Lydda." Peter gathered with the saints. He gathered together with God’s people. And that is something all followers of Jesus Christ need to do!

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