Summary: The indwelling of the Spirit gives people a conviction to proclaim a truth even in the face of unrelenting persecution and pressure. In the heat of the pressure will you continue to proclaim truth in the resurrected one?
INTRODUCTION: Recently I have been reading a book titled The Speed of Trust. While reading this book I came across this interesting fact. I found interesting because it makes me think about the condition of the Christian church these days. I am trying to decide if people have lost trust in the church. Or if the church has lost trust in God. Either way it does not seem like there are a lot of people walking with the boldness and conviction that we see in today’s scripture reading.
Do you remember the LA Riots in 1992? Over 50 people were killed in those riots and approximately 2300 people were injured. Most of us can recall the images of Reginald Denny being dragged out of his truck and beaten. We also remember the quote from Rodney King, “Can’t we all just get along.” But did you know that during those riots, in the midst of everything that was happening. Not a single McDonald’s was touched. Over 1100 buildings were on fire or being destroyed, cars were being tipped over, windows were being smashed and stores being looted but not a single McDonald’s was touched.
People have asked how did the McDonald’s manage to get by untouched. The locals responded - McDonald’s had a reputation of supporting literacy initiatives and sports programs in the community. McDonald’s had always offered jobs to the youth in the area. What they were really saying, “We trust that McDonald’s has our back.”
When was the last time you heard someone from the community, not a member of this church, but just a random person from our community say, “We trust that First UMC has our back?”
Something happens when you come to a place of trust. In the midst of all the chaos and confusion trust allows you to see order and stability.
The disciples are walking in the midst of a firestorm. Jerusalem is getting ready to boil over with chaos and confusion. And God is positioning the disciples to be a source of trust and hope.
How about you? Do you feel like God is positioning you to be a source of trust and hope for someone in the midst of their chaos and confusion? Do you believe God is positioning our church to be a source of trust and hope for our community?
The religious leaders and the political leaders thought they had stopped the story of the resurrection, they thought they had terminated the talk of Jesus, but now in the very heart of the marketplace, in the wide open space for all the world to see - two disciples, Peter and John were talking about Jesus of Nazareth and no one was harming them, in fact, it appeared that the people were actually listening and believing them. It appeared that the people heard their story as a story of trust and hope.
BODY: The indwelling of the Spirit gives people a conviction to proclaim a truth even in the face of unrelenting persecution and pressure. In the military we have a saying - “What are you going to do shave my head and take away my birthday?” Meaning what else can you do to me that you haven’t already done. I have nothing to lose.