Sermon 9/22/19

Sermon 9/22/19

Reading: Acts 2:36-47 (Important!  Read this before reading the sermon)

You’ve all seen it and heard it.  The statement goes like this:  _______ is life. The rest is details.  With that in mind, let’s look at what the Bible says…

Jesus tells us in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father but by me.”  John 1 tells us that the Word, who is God, created all things, and in Him was life, and that life was the light of men.  The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it, or overcome it.

Paul told the Galatians, “I’ve been crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live. Yet not I, but Christ, lives in me; and the life that I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God who loves me and gave Himself for me.

God’s word in Philippians 1:21 says, For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. Colossians 3:1-3…  Since then you have been raised with Christ, keep seeking things above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not earthly things. For you died and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. WhenChrist, you is your lifeappears, you also will appear with Him in glory!

And on and on we read this in our New Testaments.  John 10 tells us of Jesus Christ, our good shepherd, who lays down His life for His sheep said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it abundantly!” So what are all these saying?  

Jesus Christ is the life of every Christian.  Is this true of you?  Is it true of me?  What does this mean?  It simply means that Jesus is my life. The rest is details.

Acts 2 presents us with the beginnings of the church on earth.  That Pentecost Sunday, God initiated the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy that the Holy Spirit would be poured out on all flesh.  John the Baptist had said, “I baptize you in water, but after me comes one who is mightier than I, the thong of whose sandals I am unworthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire!”  Acts 2 and Acts 10 are God’s record of the baptism of the Holy Spirit on Jews first and then on Gentiles.  The promise of the gift of the Spirit is for you and your children and for all who are far off, for all whom the Lord our God will call.  This gift is a gift of life.  He who lives in us, gives us life.  He is your life.

Is this a basic of Christian faith?  Go with me to Romans 8:1-11. 

There istherefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of lifein Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God didby sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who liveaccording to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh isdeath, but to set the mind on the Spirit islife and peace.Because the mind set on the flesh ishostile toward God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. And if Christ isin you, the body isdead because of sin, but the Spirit islife because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

When Christ is your life, how does that make you different from those to whom Christ is not their life?  

Acts gives us a great historical account of what those who put on Christ in baptism and received the Holy Spirit looked like.  We get to see what this did to them, and how they lived for Jesus Christ. Right after the gospels the book of Acts opens the doors to see the early devotion of the Church, her unity, her first love, her struggles, and her way of life.  There was great joy and generosity.  There was a constant sharing of Christ with others and a continual adding to their number of those being saved.  In fact, the word, “saved” powerfully describes their eternal condition in Christ!  Have you been saved?  When Jesus is your life you are saved!  Saved from sin by His blood, forgiven and set free from its bondage by His grace, rescued from its condemnation by His redemption, and sealed, indwelled, empowered and sanctified by His Holy Spirit.  The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death!  There is NO condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus!  Is Jesus Christ your life?  

For this first generation Church of Christ in Jerusalem, there was amazing joy and celebration.  They seem to have expected Jesus to return any minute and take them home to glory! But meanwhile, Jesus gave them a mission.  He commissioned them to not only seek His kingdom and righteousness, but to share the gospel and bring in a harvest of those who would be saved and claim Jesus Christ is my life, too!  

The Church is made up of people who needed guidance.  Jesus placed the keys of the kingdom into the hands of the apostles and they had special power to do miracles and signs, and were guided by the Holy Spirit to instruct and lead the Church into all truth.  

Just imagine! The church didn’t have New Testaments. They didn’t have church buildings and song books and nursery through adult Bible classes all divided up for the second hour of their Sunday morning services.  But they had everything they needed.  The apostles were their instructors and leaders.  How did it all work?  Thousands of new Christians with 12 men to lead them in the word of God.  What did their weekly schedule look like?  Do you think they spent their week watching TV and playing video games and hanging out with friends who didn’t know Jesus? When Jesus is your life, what does your life and weekly schedule look like?  Acts 2:42-47 gives us a picture.  Look again at verse 46.  This verse indicates that there was daily activity together.  They met together, they ate together… Hebrews 3:13 gives us a command about this.  It says to people who claim Jesus as Lord and Savior, “Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called today, so that you may not be hardened by sin’s deceptiveness.”  Hebrews was written some years later, when the church had been under persecution and the second generation church was slipping away from the first love focus of keeping our eyes on Jesus who is your life.

Is this not a danger we face today?  We have an abundance of spiritual supplies from God today that this early church didn’t have.  We have the gospels written for us, the New Testament instructions written down for us, the organization of the churches leadership with elders, deacons, preachers and teachers.  We have nice buildings to meet in for worship and prayer and fellowship together.  We are equipped with 2000 years of history and thinking on all that God’s word says. We live in a time and place of relative freedom to worship and share the gospel with others.  We’ve got it really good in many ways!  So, you’d think, wouldn’t you, that we would be even more unified and devoted to Christ than ever!  I mean, Jesus could, indeed come at any second!  Really!  

For us, we must always reclaim that first love faith and seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness afresh!  We too, still have the commission of our Lord to obey.  We are not called to sit in church where we sing songs of praise to each other, but leave and are silent about Christ in the world all week.  That does not describe a saved life, but a failed faith.  Christ is your life.  Jesus Christ, who died for you and rose again and reigns at the right hand of the Father, and is coming back to judge the living and the dead… this Jesus Christ is your life.  That’s a basic Christian truth.

Romans 6:3-4 tells us that when we are baptized into Christ, we are buried with Him by baptism into His death, so that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so also we are raised to walk in newness of LIFE! That’s God’s gracious gift to us, we must receive it in humble, obedient faith.