Sermon – January 12, 2020 – Epiphany 1/Stewardship 1
Printable PDF: 1-12-2020 Stewardship 1 Sermon
David R. Clark ~ January 12, 2020 ~ Stewardship 1 ~ Acts 2:42-47
The externally focused church in everyday life:
IT’S ABOUT BEING TOGETHER
42They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Those must have been exciting days! Tongues of fire! Different languages from unlearned men. The sermon no one will ever forget and 3000 baptized. But when it was over, then what? Pentecost was a Sunday. What happened on Monday? People who had gathered in Jerusalem went home, but what about those who still lived there? Perhaps it’s the same question we ask after the huge attendance at Christmas.
That’s what St. Luke tells us in these words. Pentecost, just like our Christmas celebration, wasn’t an end to itself. It was just a beginning. This new event, this new church, had meaning for their lives well beyond that first Sunday. You could sum up what it means with what Scripture says about it: IT’S ABOUT BEING TOGETHER.
- Growing together (verses 42-43)
42They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles.
If there is one thing that Pentecost showed is that people didn’t understand things nearly as well as they needed to. Just as they had heard Peter explain on Pentecost, they continued to come back and sit at the feet of the apostles. The apostles taught them things like the importance of being together regularly to share the Supper that Jesus had shared with them and to pray together. As they did, they grew closer to Jesus and to each together in awe of all they heard and saw.
Brothers and sisters, we also need to grow closer to Jesus and each other! We do this by learning the apostles teaching – we call it Bible study. We gather together to celebrate the Lord’s Supper and to pray together – we call it worship. Christmas was not enough! We need to continue to grow together.
- Celebrating together (verses 44-46)
44All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,
It would have been easy to go back home and watch their favorite sporting events or reality shows or post pictures of the event on Instagram, but what had happened filled their shallow lives with something much more meaningful. They kept coming back to the temple courts, the place where Pentecost had occurred, and gathered in their homes. A spirit of love and consideration caused them to celebrate together as a large group and in small groups, too.
And isn’t that what our lives have also become, a celebration of Jesus? We love to be together with other Christians both in a large group at church or in smaller groups in our homes. We rejoice together with other Christians over the way we have been blessed and continue to be blessed. In our rejoicing we help each other. That can be food, or clothing, or emotional support or whatever, but as we do it, we celebrate together. All of this in the name of a perfect Savior who not only gave us forgiveness and salvation, he gave meaning to our lives. That’s what we share with each other.
- Reaching out together (verse 47)
…praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
All of this changed behavior did not go unnoticed. The people of Jerusalem saw the way they gathered and celebrated together and supported each other. That made a big impact on them. When Christians explained who Jesus was and what he had done for them and that this was why they spent so much time together, others in Jerusalem were drawn to Jesus and to their fellowship.
We don’t have something as dramatic as that first Pentecost to point to today. That may make it a little harder for people outside of our fellowship to see that spirit among us. There are other ways we can do that. Be the best neighbor you can be and when the time comes, invite them. Get to know your neighbor, and after you share what you got for Christmas, share the joy of the Christmas service and how much worshiping your Savior, the baby Jesus, meant to you. Build bridges to people by taking an interest in them. That means do more listening than talking. And when there is an opportunity, explain your family traditions that show your Savior.
We might think if we only had something as dramatic as baptizing 3000 at Pentecost, it would all be easier. Maybe. But Jesus doesn’t need you to bring 3000 people. You can start with one other family or a Grace family who hasn’t been here in a while and invite them to gather together with you. Because that’s what being a Christian is all about. It’s about being together. Amen.