Summary: The book of Acts shows us our DNA as a church.
We're Only Human - September 20, 2015 - Acts 14:8-18
We’ve been paying close attention to the Book of Acts for the last number of months, with some breaks.
But we’ve been, hopefully, learning a fair bit about the early church, which as I’ve mentioned, is really our early, early history as a church.
Every Christian church in the world today traces its origins back to the experience of the people that we’ve been discovering in these pages, the pages of the Book of Acts in the Bible.
Origins are important, because they impact the present and they impact the future.
When scientists want to learn about humans in general, and humans in detail, they spend a lot of time learning about our DNA.
What’s in our DNA determines how we grow as people from infants to maturity.
It acts as a molecular code that ultimately determines how we look and how we grow.
It determines what sex we are, what our hair and eye colour is, it determines things like if we have ADHD, it determines if we’re morning people or night people (that surprised me as I researched this).
It determines if we’re going to be sensation-seeking and impulsive in our character, it determines our body mass type - are we skinny, average or larger.
Our DNA determines things like our likelihood of getting certain diseases, like Huntingtons disease, certain cancers, cystic fibrosis. All of our DNA can be thought of as a blueprint for us as human beings.
DNA matters. Where we start matters. Where we start in life matters. Beginnings matter.
And so as we think about origins, even origins of the church, we’re thinking about the DNA of the church, the blueprint for what we are.
Now, every modern church is unique and every church has its own DNA. Church at the Mission is unique in that it has 2 origins; Church on the Street and Cabbagetown Community Church.
Church on the Street began as a church designed specifically for youth on the streets of Toronto who were at risk, and it was located at Evergreen, Yonge Street Mission.
It was created as a place where people who didn’t care much for the normal idea of church, or who couldn’t find a place in other churches, could still find a place to worship and belong and grow as disciples of Jesus.
Cabbagetown Community Church, the other church we were formed from, began as a community-based church designed to be useful to and engaged with local people in this area, which at that time, before the new Regent Park, was mixed but generally not well off.
That’s some of our DNA, and that’s why we as a church are deeply a part of this community, why most of you come from this neighbourhood as opposed to driving in from somewhere else.
And it’s also why we specifically welcome people who might not comfortably fit into church elsewhere.
DNA matters. Origins matter.
They help to explain things. They help us to accept and understand why things are the way they are.
It's also important to know where you've come from in order to vision for the future, in order to be grounded in the good of what God has done in the past so that we can enter the good of what has planned for our future together as a church.
And so in the Book of Acts we have the beginning of the church. And in our passage today we see Paul and Barnabas, both apostles in the early church, both passionate about Jesus, committed to spreading the gospel of Jesus among the gentiles, those who were not Jewish.
And we’re going to unpack 3 things here that are evident in the life of the early church which are a critical part of the DNA of the Church as a whole, including this local congregation of Church at the Mission.
#1 The Miraculous
in the passage today that _______ read, a man is healed. This is not unusual to find in the book of Acts.
There were many unusual signs and wonders done by God through the Apostles, and each occurrence generated a unique response by those that witnessed it.
Here, in this account, the Apostles are in Lystra, an important outpost city in what is now Turkey.
Lystra is mentioned five times in the New Testament. Lystra was visited several times by the Apostle Paul, along with Barnabas or Silas.
It was there that Paul met a young disciple who would become an important leader in the church: Timothy.
A man known to have been crippled since birth, who had never walked, was in the habit of listening to Paul speak.
Paul looks at him and says to him loudly, "Stand up straight on your feet." The man leaps up and walks about.