Tuesday, June 14, 2011

My Witnesses in Jerusalem

Acts: My Witnesses in Jerusalem 6-12-11
John 4:21-24, Acts 2:1-14, 15-41

Today, is Pentecost, the Birthday of the church.

The church is made of believers in Jesus Christ, the Lord and Savior.
Jesus dies, rises, ascends. Before he ascends, he tells the disciples, you will be my witnesses.
In Jerusalem, in the Holy City
In Judea and Samaria, the surrounding villages and area
To the Ends of the Earth.

I remember reading that it is Seattle that is the farthest city in the world from Jerusalem. So the United States is really a fruition of the Lord’s promise that the gospel would go to the ends of the earth.

Before the ends of the earth, before the good news went to Judea & Samaria, it was in one city: Jerusalem.

Jerusalem had been the center of the Jewish faith. It was the home of the Temple, the dwelling place of God. Jesus came to Jerusalem, to die and to work the miracle of salvation. After he rose, he gathered with his disciples. As he ascended, he promised his disciples, that in a few days, the Holy Spirit would come.

Jesus had talked before his death and resurrection about the coming of the Holy Spirit, with the Samaritan Women at the well. He told this women, an outcast of society some amazing things about God.

  • A time is coming where one holy mountain won’t claim sole worship (the competition between Jerusalem and Samaria for the presence of God)

  • True worshippers will worship God the Father in spirit and in truth.

  • God the Father seeks worshippers in spirit and in truth, for God is Spirit and God is the truth.

Spirit: breath, an animating or vital principle held to give life
Christians believe in the Holy Spirit, God’s breath, God’s vital and animating life-giving force.

Spiritual: relating to sacred matters & matters that affect the spirit

After Jesus ascends, the disciples know that the coming of the Holy Spirit is near…they don’t know how it will look, or when it will come, but that it will come.

The Bible Starts in a Garden and ends in a city. Before the final Holy City, there was a major turning point in the story that happens in the city. The church is born in Jerusalem. God comes by Holy Spirit, powerful and unpredictable. People speak in tongues they have not known. People are asking: What is going on? For the Feast of Pentecost had gathered Jewish believers into Jerusalem from all over the world: Libya and Rome, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Before peoples from many nations, Peter stands up to say this is the Spirit promised by Jesus. This Spirit is here to empower us to proclaim the Lordship of Christ. This Spirit calls us to repent and believe the good news of the gospel. And this Spirit calls us together, to be witnesses in the world, for the world, by the power of God.

We are a long way from Jerusalem, but I hope we are not a long way from what happened in Jerusalem the day the church was born. Acts 2:42-47 describes some of the amazing things that happened to the church when it was close to the Spirit of Pentecost.

What Does It Mean to be Saved?

What does it mean to be saved?
Isaiah 43:1-13, John 4:39-42, Titus 3:3-8

What does it mean to be saved?
I think I have bit off more than I can chew for this sermon.

Part of our answer is found in what PREPOSITION you use.

for eternal life
from our sin and its effects
by the grace of God
in Christ
for good works
by the power of God
through the power of the Holy Spirit
among peoples from every race, tribe and nation

Is it an experience? Or is it a relationship? Or can it be both?

Can I be saved if I cannot point to a conversion experience. Yes--salvation belongs to God.

Must I be converted? Yes, but the Lord is the one who converts. And conversion doesn’t have to happen suddenly and drastically.

John: The Word Gets Out
because of the woman's testimony many believed
because of the words of Jesus teaching, many believed
the people believed because of the the testimony from the woman and by their own experience.
After hearing and seeing Jesus, we know this man really is the Savior of the world.
The word “world”: from a samaritan point of view (exile)

Titus: Fleshing Out the Answer
What does it mean to be saved?
acknowledges that without God, we are foolish, disobedient, deceived, enslaved, and display malice, envy and hatred.

what does it mean to be saved?
the kindness and love of God our Savior appears, he saved us.
salvation is not the righteous acts we have done.
Salvation is the mercy of God.
Salvation is the washing of rebirth
salvation is the renewal by the Holy Spirit (poured out onto us through Christ our Savior)
salvation is being justified by God's grace
salvation is being called a heir of the hope of eternal life

What does it mean to be saved?
it means to be careful to devote yourselves to doing good: in response to that kindness of God.
it means that what is excellent and helpful and beneficial to everyone comes into the world.

Story of the Rich Young Man:
The Disciples asked: Who then can be saved?
For humanity this is impossible, but nothing is impossible with God

Isaiah: The God of all power and love
With us in troubles:
Fire, waters, floods, For I am God, Your Savior
With us, his chosen ones:
Everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory whom I formed and made
Apart from God there is no Savior.