Summary: Who have you been with this week? Last week we talked about what our purpose was here at South Coast, and now I’m asking you, who have you been with?
WHO HAVE YOU BEEN WITH?
Who have you been with this week? Last week we talked about what our purpose was here at South Coast, and now I’m asking you, who have you been with?
The first recorded miracle of the church takes place in chapter three of the book of Acts. Here is one of the most familiar stories of the New Testament, the story of the healing of the lame man at the gate of the temple.
Peter and John had just been in the upper room where the baptism in the Holy Spirit was poured out on the 120 who were there praying. From this place of power and the manifestation of the very presence and majesty of God, they walked out into the world of suffering and shame that they lived in. A phrase struck me this week, ... they took note that these men had been with Jesus. Acts 4:13
I know that they wanted to stay in His presence, in that place of blessing and power, but life doesn’t leave us in those places. Sooner or later we must face the realities of everyday life with all of its struggles, troubles and problems.
I can’t help but think that Peter and John would have wanted to live in that place of peace, but that’s not why the Holy Spirit came into the upper room.
God has called us to do a work for Him and to reach out to the lost at every opportunity.
Peter and John weren’t always like they were this day. Turn with me to Matthew chapter 26, Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, ‘Sit here while I go over there and pray. He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, ‘My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.’
Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.’ Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. ‘Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?’ he asked Peter. ’Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.’
He went away a second time and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.’ When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing. Matthew 26:36-44
Several years ago I heard a message on this passage that left a deep impression on me. It is the story of Gethsemane, and the three circles of association around Jesus.
The first circle is those Jesus simply told to pray. They weren’t ready to go any further.
Peter, James and John went further with Jesus, the second circle, but they fell asleep.
The core, the inner circle, had only one, Jesus.
I have always wanted to be a part of that inner circle with Jesus. Not part of the eight, or even the three, but with Jesus in the inner place.
What circle are you in? Where is your relationship with Jesus. Who have you been hanging out with? Let me draw you a picture as we travel through these circles.
The circle of the converted
Jonathan Edwards, the great early American preacher said, there are only two kinds of people in the world; members of the company of the condemned, or members of the company of the converted.
The church in our day has placed a great emphasis on being saved. Saved is a wonderful word, but it should never be used by itself to describe the initial Christian experience.
The emphasis shouldn’t be just on getting a ticket to heaven. Salvation also means, repentance, belief, confession, and conversion.
Salvation cannot be divorced from conversion. If you are truly saved, then you will truly be converted.
What does that mean? In the New Testament, conversion is a word which means to turn, to turn around. It means turning away from something to something else.
Paul describes it well, ...They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God. 1 Thessalonians 1:9
When you’re converted you start on the road to becoming a new person. If you were stealing, lying, cheating, you no longer do those. If you were living with your girlfriend, you immediately change.