Summary: Every church, is, at least potentially, a Resurrection Central!
“Welcome to Resurrection Central”
By: Rev. Kenneth Emerson Sauer, Pastor of Parkview United Methodist Church, Newport News, VA
Many people are willing to accept Christianity as an explanation of life, but they are not yet prepared to accept it as a way of life.
It is clear—from a passage such as the one from Acts this morning---that Christianity has always been a way of life…a way from which certain explanations and inferences about life can be inevitably drawn.
“All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all.”
There is an inseparatable association between the apostles’ witness to the resurrection of Jesus and the life of the community.
It is as if the community itself was the demonstration of the Resurrection, like the corona of the sun.
In the Church the new power was at work, like the sun streaming through breaking clouds, not only to heal the sick but to transform self-centered individuals into self-sacrificing members of Christ’s Body.
It is of the utmost importance to notice this moral and spiritual change in the life of believers.
Every church is, at least potentially, a Resurrection Central…
…where into it come people who have been primarily concerned with their own affairs…
… and by it their horizons are changed.
They come to know the needs of other people.
They share what they have with those who have less or nothing at all.
Their own burdens are lessened as the shoulders of their brothers and sisters in Christ assume part of the weight.
And as a result, their own lives begin to throb with a new life…
…their old lives seem like a narrow and useless existence.
It has been the function of the Christian Church since the earliest days of its existence to help the individual find him or herself.
In this current day and age, when many people feel as if they do not ‘belong’ anywhere…
…when the breakdown of the family is so great…
…and when so many evil forces wrestle for our allegiance…
…it is very important for the Church of the Resurrected Lord to help individuals find themselves and be found by God by incorporating them into the life of the Christian Community.
Abraham, according to the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews, “was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.”
In the same way…
…many men and woman are looking for a community in which they can find meaning for their lives…
…where they can live together with others—working toward a common goal---without the hatred and discord which is so prevalent in the world today.
There is no room for intellectual snobbery within the Church of Jesus Christ.
There is no room for social superiority, no place for racial intolerance…no room for any of that… especially when the sole purpose for one’s existence is to “testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus”….
In Matthew Chapter 5, Jesus is speaking to us: the Christian Church when He says: “You are the salt of the earth…You are the light of the world…let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”
We are to be “one in heart and mind…as we continue to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.”
Saint Francis of Assisi once said, “Preach the gospel at all times. If necessary, use words.”
The inner change that has taken place…and is taking place within those of us who have been born of God through faith in the resurrected Christ is the main reason that God joins us together with others.
It’s God’s plan that whatever grace we have received from Him will be communicated through us to those we come in contact with.
Through the way we relate to others in the world…God wants to use us to serve as a barrier to the sin and corruption that is in the world.
It is our very nature…as the Church of Jesus Christ to season---as salt does---whatever is around us.
The divine nature of the resurrection experience is to be spread to whatever we touch…
…as salt, we are called to allow ourselves to be poured out into every relationship we have, and into every life that we come in contact with.
We are to taste different than the world.
As a young person, I was surrounded—a great deal of the time by Christians who were centered on allowing the Love of God to be seen through them.
Therefore, even though I had not yet given my life to Christ, I knew what the followers of Christ tasted like.