It's important that we never forget our primary objective is that. We have a tendency sometimes to get too comfortable in what is safe for us. We fall back on what we know and don't want to change. It's ok, it's human nature. That's what I love about Methodist itinerancy. I can't get too comfortable because God works through our appointment system. God has a plan for using me as a pastor and when he wants me somewhere, he puts me there, despite me.
I'm sure you've all noticed that things are different this morning. The room is different, the way I read the scripture passage is different, even the way we did the beginning of the service was different. Be prepared, because communion will be slightly different too. For those of you who are ready to share your unhappiness, all I ask is you save it for Tuesday, then I'm happy to have a cup of coffee and talk about it with you.
Hear me out first. What Peter did on his way to the temple was different. He not only brought Shalom, peace, and healing, to the crippled man, he then walked with him into the temple. The three men, Peter, John, and the crippled man, walked into the place that had been closed to that man his whole life. Peter journey with him. Peter included him and made him feel safe and comfortable.
When Peter made the crippled man comfortable though, he made the established church uncomfortable. After trying to stop Peter and John from talking about what God did in this man's life, after trying to imprison them, the Jewish leaders were stumped. Listen to them when they realized they couldn't deny what Peter and John did:
“What should we do with these men?” they asked each other. “We can’t deny that they have performed a miraculous sign, and everybody in Jerusalem knows about it. But to keep them from spreading their propaganda any further, we must warn them not to speak to anyone in Jesus’ name again.” So they called the apostles back in and commanded them never again to speak or teach in the name of Jesus.
Peter and John are excited about what God is doing in their life, and in other people's lives. They have just witnessed God using Peter to heal this man and restore him to the community of faith. They have just seen him experience church for the first time. Through his healing, thousands of more people have come to know Christ.
They are disrupting the established church. Now, I'm not saying that my rearranging of the room is as dramatic as Peter and John's actions. What the Jewish leaders were feeling was the need to protect what they hold dear, the Jewish faith. They didn't understand Peter and John's actions because they didn't understand their mission.
I think it's that same feeling of wanting to protect what we hold dear, that causes us to get upset when things change. I don't blame anyone for that feeling because it means that you love your church and you consider this service to be something you're invested in. My challenge to you this morning is that we all be like Peter and John.
When the Jewish leaders came to them and told them to not speak or teach in Jesus name, their response was,
But Peter and John replied, “Do you think God wants us to obey you rather than him? We cannot stop telling about everything we have seen and heard.”
The 5th key for us to remember for the Kingdom of God is that we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard. We must be like Peter and John and be bold. We must be bold as individual people, as a service, and as a church.
God has done amazing things for us. He has loved us, provided a way to repair our relationship with us, and he wants to make us into a new person. If you've ever met someone who just discovered God's forgiving grace, they probably can't stop talking about what God's done in their life. We should all be that excited about God's goodness.
Read Acts 4:8-12.
What does salvation mean to you?
Reflect on the first time in your life when you felt God's love for you.
When did you really comprehend the depts of God's forgiveness?
Read Acts 4:12-15.
When have you been bold, speaking up for what God has done for you?
When have you been afraid to tell others about God?
Do you have things in your life that act as proof of God's healing presence?
Read Acts 16-20.
When have people tried to discourage you from sharing what God has done in your life?
Have you listened to them, or do you follow God's guidance?
How do you tell others of what you have seen and heard?