Welcome Home everyone
The centerpiece for our passage today revolves around the evangelistic nature/character of the early church.
If you have your Bibles today you can join me in Acts chapter 5, verse 16.
The apostles performed many signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon’s Colonnade. 13 No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people. 14 Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number. 15 As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. 16 Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by impure spirits, and all of them were healed.Acts 5:12-16
In order to help me share with you today, I have separated my thoughts into 3 sections or points of emphasis.
POINT #1: Identification
Meeting people at their point of need.
As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. 16 Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by impure spirits, and all of them were healed.Acts 5:15-16
Identifying with those in need is as much about being present and in the moment and in tune with the Holy Spirit as it is being led to a particular place and time. It’s about compassion and empathy. It’s about loving others despite their outward flaws. The reality is that once the door of relationship is opened the needs of the people are so great that they will begin to flood in and can seem overwhelming.
Once the word of hope began to spread the desperation of the people grew. They hoped the they could encounter even Peter’s shadow. And the Apostle’s demonstrated compassion under the leading of the Holy Spirit. Its my opinion today that when we cross faith with compassion, we begin to move the heart of God.
Identifying with the needs of others puts us closer to them and allows us to begin a rapport/platform in which one can then speak to their need.
Another emphasis of early church Evangelism is…
POINT #2: Power
Ministering in the power of the Holy Spirit.
The apostles performed many signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon’s Colonnade.Acts 5:12
Signs and wonders are the mysterious work of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit draws. The Holy Spirit convicts. The Holy Spirit works/signs. And the Holy Spirit transforms lives.
The Holy Spirit operates as He wills.
In all of this the Holy Spirit is offering you and me an opportunity to join in these efforts. An opportunity for you and me to find purpose and fulfillment in the plan of God. We do our part by entering into a relationship with Him. We do our part by spending time in His presence. In prayer and reading His word and by learning to recognize His voice and obeying His command.
I’ll move to my final point of emphasis.
POINT #3: Holiness
Expressing God’s disdain for sin.
No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people.Acts 5:13
Coming off of the difficult message of Judgment resulting in the deaths of Ananias & Sapphira demonstrated a level of holiness that set the tone in the early church. This caused the people to tread very carefully concerning God.
We have heard over and again how the Apostles were committed to prayer, worship, and ministry of the Holy Spirit through the word and signs of healings. We’ve heard about Peter’s bold obedience Delivering unpleasant messages to those lost in sin. This Holiness creates a framework that leads people into a place where a choice must be made. Some will keep their distance. Others will oppose the truth and reject you. While others still will turn from their sin and receive eternal life.
For you and me, we can take up our place in the kingdom of God and in his evangelistic mission. By the way this is not optional. Now God has not called each of you to be like Billy Graham, but every one of us is called to share what God has done in your life. To give a short testimony to a friend or family member who doesn’t know the Lord.
I’ll close with this.
We are all called to identify with the needs of others, responding with the power of the Holy Spirit and holiness.
But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.2 Timothy 3:1-5
Will you join me as we seek an authentic relationship united in Christ and each other? Rejecting division, embracing God’s reality in Jesus, and encouraging one another. It’s just between you and God. Here’s the thing, If we love God and abide in Christ we will find ourselves more and more loving each other. You will we more and you will love better. We will experience God in spirit and in truth and we will share that amongst each other. Share all the ways God has shown you mercy and grace. Will you allow the Holy Spirit to stir faith in someone through your testimony? Would you join me as the Holy Spirit moves on us to be unified in the spirit of Christ? These are the kingdom values. This is truly the work of God. The intentional actions of the body of Christ. Remember the devil seeks only to kill steal and destroy. Steal your freedom, kill your joy, and destroy your destiny for hope and love. But God has a plan! He’s stealing from your neighbor, your family, and your loved ones today.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.John 3:16
Jesus, He’s the Son of the living God, and we can receive from Him today His Righteousness, His purpose and His calling. Will you call on him today? Your salvation/forgiveness is just one prayer away. Will you trust in his ability to do what He said He would do? Will you believe today? Many of you need a fresh touch from God today. Is there some form of unbelief or a fracture of trust as it relates to God in your life today? God wants to redeem and restore those areas of your life? He wants to restore Joy and hope for you today. You’re hearing this now and the Holy Spirit has brought someone or something to mind. He wants to speak life into this today. He wants to bring healing in this area today. There are areas of deep regret when it comes to your relationship with God and you have rejected Christ as your savior …It’s not too late
It’s not too late to humble yourself before him today, hold out your arms and open your hands to receive from him today. Will you say yes to Jesus, today? Will you bow your heads with me? Some of you already know the Lord, but maybe he’s put something on your heart that you need to deal with, you need to ask his forgiveness today. If that’s you will you just acknowledge that to him today. This is just you and God here. Now someone here may not have that relationship with Jesus and today you’ve felt him tugging at your heart, you’ve been hurt, and you’re guarded, I know. Jesus is here and wants set things right in your life. If you’ll say Pastor, I want Jesus to be my Lord and savior. Remember, it’s just you and God here. Will you pray with me today, We’ll pray here as a family and you can repeat after me?
Jesus, I know that I’m a sinner. I ask you today for your forgiveness. I believe that you died for my sins and on that 3rd day, you rose from the dead. I ask you to come into my heart today. I trust and follow you as my Lord and savior. Guide me and help me to do your will. In Jesus’ name Amen.
“‘“The Lord bless youNumbers 6:24-26
and keep you;
25 the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
26 the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.”’