Summary: The big question is "who exactly is the ’who’" that is expected to be a part of "changing lives"
Changing Lives for Time and Eternity – “Who?” #5
(The Powerpoint can be found at http://www.hueytownbaptist.com/pastorspage/sermondownloads.html)
> Changing lives for time and eternity, “what a grand idea!” Yet it is not just an idea, it is a divine expectation. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “if anyone is in Christ, he is a NEW creation, old things are passed away, all things are new.” This is a changed life. Then Jesus tells us that He is all about building His church. The way this is done is by the ‘changed life’ & the group He calls to do it is the church.
> For 5 weeks we have looked at this concept of “changing lives”. When reporters are trained to develop stories, they are taught 6 basic discovery questions: who, what, where, how, why, & when. We have answered 4 of these questions. Today, we get personal PERSONAL.
> Turn to Acts 1. (Read) Please notice the personal pronoun “you” is used 3 times in the one verse which contains our marching orders. YOU. But why you (me)? I am just a common person. Exactly who is it that has the call? (4)
1) The Person who has been REVIVED –
> What does the word revive mean? In the dictionary we’re told that it means to restore from the depressed state or brought back to life in consciousness, or to give new energy and life. We have meetings which we call a revival. The hope is that spiritually we will be brought back to life, be restored from a depressed state, & that will be given new spiritual energy.
> Here are 2 examples of the person who has been revived;
> The date was November 2, 2003, the congregation of the Hueytown Baptist Church had gathered for worship. In the crowd were three couples of interest. A man named J. T. Barger and his wife sat slightly in front of his son, Donald Ray and his wife. A younger couple, Eddie and Kelly Gordon, sat in an unusual place, one row behind J. T. and his wife. Kelly had previously known through CPR training. His brother Billy stood to preach Mr. J. T. slumped over In a heart attack. Seeing his dad slump over, Donald ray, who had just recovered from heart problems, jumped up to assist his father. When Donald ray jumped up, he was stricken with just pain and lay out on the floor. Meanwhile Kelly, saying the elder Barger slumped over, literally jumped the pew and proceeded to administer CPR. Brother Billy stopped preaching, dismissed the services, and the church began praying. Kelly continued the CPR until paramedics arrived. The way I know this is that I had only been Pastor at the church for about two weeks when Mr. Barger told me the paper clippings about the event. Without hesitation or reservation, he proclaimed, “Kelly saved my life. “
> When someone “saves” your life, you have no problem telling it.
> In John 11, there is also a story of a life being revived. It is the story of Lazarus. This young man had two sisters, Mary and Martha. This family was a friend with the lord Jesus. The chapter opens with a boy becoming sick. In fact, he was so sick his sisters were concerned about him surviving. The sisters became so concerned that they sent word to Jesus that his friend was sick & to please come quickly. The story has many facets that would require much time to sort out but suffice to say the Jesus waited two days before he began the journey to Bethany. During that time Lazarus died. By the time Jesus arrived the boy had been dead and buried for four days. The sisters said “Lord, if only you’d been here, you could have saved a brother. “ (This is another message for another time.) Getting to the crux of the story, Jesus said, “Show me where he is buried.” The sisters said, “he’s been dead for days and the stinks.” But Jesus offers a prayer, looks to the grave, and says, “Lazarus, come out.” And the most incredible thing began to happen. The corpse came to life. Then Jesus said, “Loose him and let him go.” I wonder why Jesus had to say this. But here is the kicker. Look with me in the next chapter at verse 9. “Then a large crowd of the Jews learned he was there. They came not only because of Jesus, but also to see Lazarus the one he had raised from the dead. Therefore the chief priest decided to also kill Lazarus, because he was the reason many of the Jews were deserting them and believing in Jesus.”
> Here’s our truth: Lazarus never held an office like disciple, apostle, deacon, or Pastor; additionally, he never wrote anything or is there any record of him preaching sermon nor performing a miracle. Yet, many Jews were being brought to faith by his testimony.