Acts 1:7

 

Fellowship 3 Weekend was last weekend – who participated?   Get involved next time.

“I don’t know anyone” – you must put yourself out there.  Sign up for the next one.

 

At Christmas, we raised $2,500 to buy four Water Buffalos.

Part of our funds went to Cambodia to help a leper colony.  The animals will help them survive from the byproducts of crops and livestock.

Part of our funds went to India.  The water buffalos will help provide income for the poor in the villages, as well as a leper colony.

 

Last week Jeff Johnson shared his testimony of how his life has changed since he committed his life to Christ. He said he had always believed in God and had even repented of his sins but he had never been immersed into Christ and so had never received the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

Following God’s plan of salvation is what made the change.  Belief, repentance, confession and immersion.  Now he is able to be faithful to Christ because God the Holy Spirit is living in Him and teaches him and convicts him and strengthens him.

 

If you are a Christian you have been changed too. You have God the Holy Spirit living in you so you can remain faithful also.

 

We have all experienced a changed life – some more than others depending if you were raised in church or not.  Some of you went from very wild to serious; a party animal to a servant of Jesus.  Keep changing, keep growing.  Be so different that at your next class reunion people will be shocked at how “religious” you are.

 

Your life changed the day you were immersed into Jesus.

The old man died? (Romans 6:1-10)

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

 

You became new, you were changed!

 

1 Peter 4:2 As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. 3  For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do–living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry.

 

Are you living for earthly desires or the will of God?

Because of the resurrection of Jesus, we should be changed.

We should desire to do the will of God and not our own will.

 

Because of the resurrection of Jesus, the Apostles lives were changed.

Because of the resurrection of Jesus our lives have been changed.

 

If you were not a Christian where would you be right now? Golf course, lake, bed, work

Where would you have been last night?

If you were not a Christian how would you spend your money, how would you spend your time?

 

As Christians our lives have changed to be servants and givers. As Christians, we focus on the needs of others and strive to live according to God’s will.

 

How were the Apostles lives changed by the resurrection? They went from fear to boldness.

John 20:19  On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”

 

The disciples, even Peter was hiding behind a locked door out of fear.

If someone was looking to kill us we might hide also. Have you ever hidden from someone?

Back in the 90’s I was in charge of the teens at Hillsboro Family I had an older man looking for me because I had been playing that rock and roll music (Michael W. Smith videos, like before worship).  I kept my head down and he never did found me.  I don’t think Hokey was looking to kill me.  (Kidding, I don’t think it was Hokey.)

Little kids hide from their parents when they are in trouble and husbands hide from their wives, so I have been told.

 

The Jews had just killed Jesus 3 days earlier and maybe they were going to hunt down Jesus’ followers and kill them too. The disciples were in grief, they didn’t know what to do and in a high anxiety situation they were more susceptible to fear, so they hide.

It was just four days earlier they said they were willing to die with Jesus. But that commitment did not last very long, sounds like some of our commitments.

 

Matthew 26:31 Then Jesus told them, “This very night you will all fall away on account of me, …33  Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.” 34  “I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” 35  But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the other disciples said the same.

 

(A few hours later the mob came and arrested Jesus. – Matthew records what he and the other disciples did.)

Matthew 26:56 …Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.

The disciples were brave until it really counted. I don’t blame them I would have ran too.

(That is why I have so much respect for our military. I know some of you here ran into danger not away.)

 

Mark tells us how desperately the disciples fled.

Mark 14:50  Then everyone deserted him and fled. 51  A young man, wearing nothing but a linen garment, was following Jesus. When they seized him, 52  he fled naked, leaving his garment behind.

 

Mark, (John Mark) became the first streaker, he wiggled out of his linen garment and ran.

 

Would you be willing to die for Jesus?

It is estimated that 100,000 people around the world are killed every year because of their belief in Jesus.  That is a person dying every 5 minutes because the claim the name of Jesus.

(Since Sunday School about 20 of you would have died – about the whole back row, or left side)

 

ISIS jihadists bombed two churches on Palm Sunday in Egypt – slaughtering dozens as they worshiped. In Syria, they are crucifying Christian kids. In Iraq, they are burning Christian girls alive. Syria’s Christians – 66% decimated. Iraq’s Christians – 82% destroyed or displaced.

 

Aren’t you glad you live in America?

Remember Cassie Bernall, she was killed in the Columbine High School massacre 18 years ago.  It was reported Eric Harris, one of the shooters, asked Cassie if she believed in God. She said, “Yes” and he killed her.

 

Remember Umpqua Community College in Oregon back in 2015.  The gunman asked the students in the room, “Are you a Christian?”  “If you are a Christian then stand up.”  The he said, “because you are a Christian you’re going to see God in about one second” and then he shot and killed them.

 

How would you answer?  How would you answer after you saw 1 or 2 or 3 of your classmates murdered because they answered yes to being a Christian?

 

The disciples were not willing to die for Jesus three days after He was crucified but they were willing to die for Him 50 days later.

On the day of Pentecost the Apostles began preaching boldly in public; they were not hiding behind any locked doors.

Acts 2:14  Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say.

 

Even accusing the Jews of killing Jesus.

Acts 2:36  “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

 

What made the difference? What happened in the mean time?

What was so special about those 47 days to make the disciples so bold and willing to die?

They saw Jesus alive, they knew that His resurrection was true, they ate with Him and Jesus gave them an assignment and a promise.

 

Acts 1:7  [Jesus] said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8  But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

 

The apostles received the outpouring and power of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost (that is different than the indwelling of the Spirit they and we received at baptism). Jesus promised His presence and His Spirit (John 14:26).

 

Matthew 28:19  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20  and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

 

They had a mission and we have a mission – Go and teach. Be peacemakers, be ambassadors and reconcile the world to Jesus.  You don’t even have to really get out of your comfort zone.  I have seen the same statistics for the last 30 years – 75% of people who become Christians is because a friend invited them to church.  Invite and teach them what you know and how Jesus has changed your life.  It is that simple.

 

2 Corinthians 5:14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15  And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

 

Do you understand how much Jesus loves you – His love compels us not to live for self but for Him.

 

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 18  All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19  that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20  We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.

 

We are new – we have been changed because of Jesus’ love and forgiveness. We have been given the assignment of reconciliation.  We are ambassadors – God is speaking through us.   The message we are to give is Be reconciled to God.

 

Make peace with God – Jesus died on the cross to take away God’s wrath. Jesus took the punishment we deserved for our sins.  All you have to do is accept His grace.

Christian, you have received His grace – share that good news of God’s grace with your friends and family.

If you have not been immersed into Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins and been made new then come today and be reconciled to God.