I spoke from Acts 2:14-41 Sunday night. Peter’s first sermon, on Pentecost. The day the Spirit came, the day the church was born. I love Acts 2, but for more than a simplistic love for my heritage. The last fews in the churches of Christ, all I have heard from Acts 2 is focus on v. 38, “repent and be baptized.” It dawned on me that point of Peter’s sermon is not baptism, but the story of what God has done in and is doing through Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Peter’s Pentecost sermon is all about Jesus. Baptsim is the faith response to Peter’s message of God’s working in Jesus. While baptism is not the point, it is certainly worth mentioning…This baptism that we undergo signals a new allegiance, life of total submission to God. Baptism re-enacts the story of Jesus, so when we go down into the water, we to are dying to our self-absorbed lives, we are buried and then we are arise out of the water reciepents of the Spirit of God to walk in the newness of life, and to begin sharing the good news of what God is doing in the world and has done in and through Jesus. Peter begins by telling the crowd that had gathered in the presence of strange rushing wind, and the hearing of their native tongues that the last days had dawned and that Jesus was the fulfillment of OT prophecy and all of our hope(qouting Joel, and Psalms 16 and 110).
I got to the end of this text, where it says, “With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation (v.40).” It occured to me that far often Christian people have been to quick to critique the culture and slow to proclaim the Christ. In our world today, before we can tell others about the dangers in our world we have to earn the right to speak into their lives, this is what Peter had done through the powerful manifestation of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. Also, people in our world today want to see if our message meshes with our lives. I think the example of Peter is clear, throughout the rest of the known details about his ministry in Acts he lived message he preached. He, and the rest of the early church were missional. Christianity in its infancy was a fringe movement, with the task of taking the story of Jesus to the world. It should come as no suprise that the earliest Christians lived the message they preached.
Jump ahead some 2000 years. We do church instead of living as the church. We hide in our buildings and have made church about attendance and appearance. We’ve forgotten the missional thrust of our faith, to take this message of Jesus and his hope into our broken world. We are called to be salt and light and offer healing and wholeness to our world. I believe we are saved to do good works (Eph 2:10). We are called to live the mission of Christ for the good of the world. We are to be God’s kingdom outposts, places of healing, places of shelter, places of refuge, places of hope. We are to be the hands and feet of Jesus in our world. I concluded the lesson Sunday night by sharing a question I think our community, and culture at large is asking of the church:
“what kind of neighbors are we going to be?”
I think we answer this question by building relationships in our community, and finding out what issues make the residents of our towns heart-sick, and we partner with them in these endeavors getting our hands and feet dirty for the kingdom of God.