We have been looking at some of Jesus’s Parables recently in church. Here is a look at The Parable of the Wedding Feast from Matthew 22. Hope you enjoy. I may add more later this week.
People are always watching. Some are watching to see what will happen. Some are excited by what they see. Unfortunately some are watching to fight the good God is trying to do.
It was about 1992 when my wife, Becky, and I attended a John Maxwell conference in Anderson, Indiana. I will never forget when he shared about being “fire lighters” or “firefighters”. Ian situation we can either fan the spiritual flam in someone’s life or we can douse them.
Ths account of Peter and John before the Sanhedrin shows how sometimes it’s those who are supposed to be spiritually in the know who sadly become firefighters. They get jealous of God’s new work, or worse they simply feel threatened by someone else bbeing blessed. For some like the religious leaders it may be a threat to their power.
So how do we stand when God is moving, but others are fighting us?
- Pray for others growth.
- Encourage their growth
- Ccelebrate their victories
- Guide their growth in love & mercy
- Forgive & help pick them up when they fall
May God help you help others on the journeywith Jesus today.
Peter and John do not just help a man back on his feet in Acts chapter 3. In fact they go far beyond merely helping him to walk. Their witness to the man obviously creates a new follower in Christ, as Chapter 4 indicates. It further attracts others to know more about Jesus.
Once we have had the opportunity to share Jesus with others, what can we do? How should we respond to their new found faith? Acts 3 gives us a couple of more things that we can learn about witnessing for Jesus to our world:
- Celebrate with New Followers. The Apostles could have healed the man and moved on. However, he went with them and they all continued into the Temple area. This let them share in the celebration of this man who was now excited to be healed and know who Jesus was. The excitement caused others to take notice, and gave a great opportunity to tell even more people about Jesus.
- Remember It’s Always for God’s Glory & Witness of Christ. When God does choose to move whether in a small or a miraculous way, we must never forget it is for His glory and not our own. The crowd became excited and they wanted to see who had healed this man. Peter speaks truth to them from the Scriptures. He then points them to Jesus as the real power of healing and the power they could all have in salvation.
May God bless you on your journey today.
Always Be Ready to Help & Share
We never know when or where opportunity will come to share our hope in Jesus to others around us.
Peter and John were going about their daily routine. They were headed for the Temple for daily prayer. There a man, who also was likely doing his daily routine, was about to have his world turned upside down with hope.
It’s likely that this lame man had been going to beg at the Temple for years. Maybe he had even waited years for such a prime location to beg. Here everyone hoping to earn personal points in their own minds would feel led to help a lame man.
Now imagine if someone came to you in such circumstances and said, ‘Look at me. I don’t have any money for you. I’m going to give you something else.’
Then Peter prays for the man to walk in “Jesus name.”
The miracle and the following witness to the crowds at the temple were only the result of Peter and John being ready to share. To share the hope and power they knew in Jesus.
Being ready at all times can at times be difficult. After all, non of us can be fully certain of who we will meet in each day. How can we be ready to speak and share with whomever crosses our path?
- Trust God to Help You: Part of the Holy Spirit’s role is to help us in witnessing to the world around us.
- The Spirit can help us to have the boldness to speak up about Christ to people we know may not fully understand right away. In many places in Scripture God sends messages to his servants to “be bold” or “be courageous.” I think most of need the Spirit to give us the internal courage to speak to others about Christ. We may feel alone when sharing with others, but we can know God is always with us.
- The Spirit helps us to understand Scripture, so that we can help others. Peter started with the heritage the crowd knew from their reading of the Old Testament prophets. He used this to connect and to show them about who Jesus was.
- The Spirit helps guide our words. Thankfully the God’s Spirit is there intervening in conversation. We may feel that what we say will not make sense or will not be the right thing to connect with someone. It is amazing how God helps us and connections are made that we didn’t think were possible.
- The Spirit is speaking to their hearts and opening the way. Most importantly we must remember it is God who calls people to salvation. He can use our weak and feeble work, but His Spirit is speaking to their hearts. I remember a sermon I preached where ten people came out thanking me for speaking on ten different things. The only thing is that I didn’t speak on any of those things. God also used that sermon to lead 4 people to pray for salvation.
I find it interesting that humanity has sought some semblance of utopia throughout history. Yet no society has ever came close to living it out. Sin always seems to get in and destroy the hope of the better hopes for life.
I wanted to Pause to remind us that Jesus came to restore God’s Kingdom to what it was created to be. This is what God has been doing since the fall of humanity.
Throughout the Old Testament we see examples of this and prophecy telling us that it is coming.
Perhaps Paul says it best in Roman’s 8:
We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. (Romans 8:22-23 https://bible.com/bible/111/rom.8.22-23.NIV)
All of creation waits for full restoration. However, God provides hopen and guidance of life in pursuit of the coming full restoration .
Sin separates us from God and causes broken relationships in our lives. God came to His chosen people, Israel to restore a piece of restoration within our world. The establishment of the Law in Exodus 20 and throughout the Torah (first 5 books of the Old Testament) rebuilds relationship with both God and with one another. It is best summed up when Jesus was asked the greatest commandment:
Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40 https://bible.com/bible/111/mat.22.37-40.NIV)
That utopia that the world sought was never a reality in human history. However, had the Israelite’s lived out their Law they would have been closer than any other civilization.
The Earlier Church was reestablishing holy living. Worshiping God together, living in unity, and helping one another out. The closest thing to heavenly living in a sin filled world. It was this kind of living that showed the different and more attractive in a sin filled world.
I wonder why most Christian’s today want to hide in their personal desires, judgment, and blessing instead of shining their light in a dark world.? We are not called to live like everyone else, but to stand out in our actions of love, justice, and mercy. May God help us to do better.
For thought & discussion
- What keeps many professing Christians from living out the fullness of Christlike living?
- How is the way the early church lived daily life a small glimpse of God’s restoration Kingdom?
- Do you think a person can truly claim to be a Christ follower, and be prejudice, judgmental, or ungenerous in their living?
- How can you or your church seek to show a part of God’s Kingdom to you community?
What did daily life look like in those early days of the forming Christian Church?
This passage gives us a view into the way they lived, encouraged one another, and served the mission of Christ to the world. By living such ways they were attracting others into the Christian faith. The result was that the church continually grew and thrived.
Many of us may look at the modern church and wonder if we still follow practices of the earliest followers of Christ. Others may look at this passage to see where we might grow and strive to do better in living daily in Christian community.
- Devoted to 4 Main Things: According to historical legend when Caesar finally landed troops in Britain, he led his soldiers to the Cliffs of Dover. When they looked down they could see their ships burning. There was no turning back. That’s the kind of devotion and high commitment the Apostles and Early church had. They were committed and not wavering. There were 4 core things that they were devoted to:
- To the Apostles teaching: The Apostles would have been teaching following Christ’s own example. This would mean expounding on the Old Testament teachings and using prophesy to show the truth of who Jesus was as Messiah. We see some of this demonstrated later in the book of Acts as we see Peter and Paul teaching in various places.
- To Fellowship: The Greek Word is “Koinonia” which means “fellowship”, “communion with”, or “unified with”. It is really the way in which the Early Church and all Christian communities (churches) should live. Living life in Christ together with one another. Sharing with one another and living in unity.
- To The Breaking of Bread: Breaking of Break can be interpreted as meals, which I think in the verse later is a great indication of its meaning. However, since it is closely tied to a more formal listing here of prayer and teaching I believe it is indicating “The Lord’s Supper”, “Communion”. The followed Jesus’ direction to participate in the Holy Meal as often as they could to remember the sacrifice and salvation they held to.
- Prayer: Prayer is a central part of everything the Early church did. Through out the Book of Acts prayer leads the people to do great things for God. Prayer also united them in a common focus and care for one another. Today people often turn to prayer as a last resort, but it really should be a part of daily life for all believers.
- They also Lived Together in Daily Life by:
- Remaining Unified on Their Common Ground Remaining Together & in Common: Unity is one of the strongest messages of the New Testament. People from diverse backgrounds and ethnicity came together to worship, share, live life, and tell others about the hope of Jesus. The unifying factor wasn’t their differences, but the common Savior- Jesus.
- Pooling Resources to help One Another: It said the sold their own things to help others who had needs. Often we struggle when we are on our own. However, when we pool ideas, plans, and physical resources we are stronger than we ever would be alone.
- Meet Daily for Worship & Spiritual Education: We must remember in this time the Temple grounds was for more than worship. Teachers gathered to teach any who would listen. The Apostles soon were there teaching about Jesus and the believers were all growing in their spiritual lives.
- Ate together: It is important to understand that “breaking of bread appears a few times in this passage. In the earlier verses it is tied with the formal actions of worship and prayer, likely indicating that it is “the Lord’s Supper” or “Communion” being referenced. The later time it appears it is talking about eating meals together in their homes. This was a time of fellowship that allowed growing unity, and it also allowed more teaching. We see Jesus doing the same thing with the Apostles as he is often seen eating with them and teaching them over the meal.
- They were Thankful & Praised God: We must never forget to give thanks and praise to God for what He is doing in our lives. The passage indicates that gratefulness and praise were a part of daily life in the Early days of the church. Likely this came in their formal times of prayer and worship, but it also would have been during those meals and sharing together. It’s always a joy to tell others and to hear from others about what God is doing.
Blessings of growth both spiritually and in number flowed out of their Christ centered community. Living in such unity and faith is an attraction to a world that is so often rejected. The church became the living example of God’s love.
We are still called to be God’s love and messengers of hope to a world that leaves so many people hurting.
Discussion & Thought
- What was most important to the Early Church? Do you think the central focus of the early church should remain important today?
- Where are you in relation to a community of believers right now?
- How can you help to improve the community of believers you’re a part of?
– May God bless you on life’s journey.
I wanted to pass along a great overview of the Book of Acts from the BIBLE PROJECT. These two video’s may help you in understanding the Book of Acts. The BIBLE PROJECT is an awesome resource. ( Source: https://thebibleproject.com/ )
I would encourage you to take time to enjoy learning from the BIBLE PROJECT as it has introductions to most books of the Bible, as well as some other study resources for studying the Bible.