Summary: How good are you at sharing your faith? We want to share Christ with others because we know what the benefits are but more often than not we convince ourselves that it isn’t the right moment or I can’t talk about that again because they are fed up with me
WATER IN THE DESERT Acts 4
How good are you at sharing your faith? How often does your conversation include discussion about Jesus Christ? For some of us it’s really easy and speaking up is very natural. But for others, we find it very difficult. We get tongue-tied and nervous. We even worry that we might say the wrong thing, yet we know we should say something. We want to share Christ with others because we know what the benefits are, we want to speak up because we love those of our extended family or those we come into contact with on a regular basis enough to want them to share eternity with us in Heaven. But more often than not we convince ourselves that it isn’t the right moment or I can’t talk about that again because they are fed up with me bleating on about their salvation. There can be some truth in that. Bible bashing people call it – But I want us to think about how we reach out, when we speak up and how often we should return to that conversation with those we see regularly – these are really important questions and it would be easy for me to stand here and give you the easy answer to them. The problem with me saying you need to tell everyone you meet about Christ that you need to use every conversation to extend Gods love to someone that you need to tell them unflinchingly they are eternally lost, is on the surface absolutely correct…..but I know if that’s what I encouraged you to do that you probably wouldn’t do it and I wonder how successful a strategy that might be anyway.
2 weeks ago I spent 5 days making some photographs in the Nevada desert. I’ve been in other deserts, the Sahara, the Afghan desert and they are difficult and lonely places. When I was on one of those long desert roads in that blistering heat I thought about the car breaking down, about not knowing how far it was to the next town, should I go back or forward if something went wrong. Would someone stop to help me if I broke down? If I ran out of water would anyone stop to share theirs with me? The lost, the really lost, the eternally lost are in the desert. It’s a spiritual desert where they are in need of Christ if they are to survive eternally. In a spiritual wilderness we are the ones who know where the water is. We have found water in the desert and it’s likely that someone led us there. Some people – I think of my Dad here as an exception actively searching and finding it for himself after maybe years of checking out places that promised water but were only a mirage, they looked right on the surface but didn’t lead to Christ. In such an ungodly and inhospitable environment we need to be guides. We need to demonstrate in how we live that we have something that is far better than what this world offers. We need to lead people to the water and if they have any sense they will get right in.
In our reading where Peter and John are brought in difficult circumstances before the Sanhedrin. ‘The priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to Peter and John while they were speaking to the people. They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead. They seized Peter and John, and because it was evening, they put them in jail until the next day.’
The next day when they are questioned in public v8 tells us that they were filled with the Holy Spirit and therefore had the confidence to explain that they had healed a man in an act of kindness and in the name of the risen Christ, the very one they had rejected he told them. V13 tells us that When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say.
But they decide that they don’t want this message spreading and order them to stop speaking about the risen Jesus but their wonderful reply in verse 20’ we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard."
Our second reading tells us what happened when they were released…they went back to the faithful to the church and they prayed together – what for? 29 ‘Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness.’