June 14, 2020
AND THEY ALL LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER
Two weeks ago, we saw that just before Jesus went back to Heaven to be with God the Father, he encouraged the disciples to wait. Wait because the Holy Spirit would come after he left, and they would then understand things better. Last we saw the wait was over and seemed to be worth it to have stayed together and to have waited. For a few minutes this morning we are going to look at a few things that were happening after the Holy Spirit continued to be with the apostles. We are going to read from the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th chapters of Acts. For our call to worship we saw some of what was happening in the 3rd chapters of Acts. God through the Holy Spirit is using the apostles to continue confirming God’s incredible power. If we were to continue reading on in the 3rd chapter, we would see how blunt Peter was with those who saw what had happened to the crippled beggar. In the 14th thru 16th verses we read, “You disowned the Holy and Righteous one and asked that a murderer be released to you. You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this. By faith in the name of Jesus this man whom you see and know was made strong.” He went on to say more to all who were listening. How was the message received? Was it the beginning of a happily ever after story? In verses 1-3 we see what the Sadducees had to say. The priests, the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came to Peter and John while they were speaking to the people. They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead. They seized Peter and John and because it was evening, they put them in jail until the next day. But if we read verse 4, we see that those that received the message grew to about five thousand. We see while many accepted what the Holy Spirit was doing, not everyone did. But this was just an isolated case, right? Let us jump ahead to Chapter 5:17-18. “Then the high priest and all his associates who were members of the party of the Sadducees were filled with jealousy. They arrested the apostles and put them in jail.” (In the interest of time, we are skipping a lot of the details. I encourage you to read the 3rd through the 7th chapters to see everything that is going on and why.) Throughout all that is going on the apostles by the power of the Holy Spirit confidently spoke the truth of God’s word. Let us move ahead to the 6th chapter and see what is going on with Stephen. Beginning with the 8th verse, we read now Stephen, “a man full of God’s grace and power, did great wonders and miraculous signs among the people. Opposition arose, however, from members of the synagogue of the freed men-Jews of Cyrene and Alexandria as well as their provinces of Cilicia and Asia. These men began to argue with Stephen, but they could not stand up against his wisdom or the spirit by whom he spoke. Then they secretly persuaded some men to say we have heard Stephen speak words of blasphemy against Moses and against God. So, they stirred up the people, the elders and the teachers of the law. They seized Stephen and brought him before the Sanhedrin.” How can this be? The Holy Spirit is supposed to change the hearts of God’s people. But at least finally things were about to change, right? In Chapter 7, Stephen spoke a great deal to these important Jewish leaders. At least when he had finished speaking the Holy Spirit changed their hearts, didn’t he? Let us pick it up at the 51st verse and read through verse 60. But what was happening? After all Jesus said the Holy Spirit would change everything. I know it was the early stages of the Holy Spirit here on earth. It would take a while for the Holy Spirit to break through. We are now seeing the Holy Spirit changing everything in a positive way. After all those of you here this morning and those of you watching at home never have any problems, do you? You husbands and wives never disagree with one another and never have, do you? Moms and dads, your kids are perfect angels all the time. And kids, mom and dad are always easy to get along with, aren’t they? We never have had disagreements with bosses or employees. Every neighbor or person that we encounter in traffic are always kind and courteous. Are some of you saying that is not true? But the Holy Spirit is supposed to help us understand and get along. Well at least we have never had any conflicts in church, have we? What is going on? Jesus said the Holy Spirit would give power and make everything perfect, didn’t he? No, the reality is that was never promised. We were never told we would have Heaven on Earth. Remember what Jesus did say in John 16:3. He said, “I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world YOU WILL HAVE TROUBLE. But to take heart. I have overcome the world.” Jesus never promised the Holy Spirit would end all disagreements or even useless death. He never promised perfect health or finances. What he did promise is to provide peace in the middle of the storm. He promised the Holy Spirit would provide strength when we are running on short supply. And he promised there will come a day when all our pain and sorrow, all those difficulties we may feel will be gone. Just keep fighting the good fight. Try to see God’s hand in all the ups and downs of life. After all Jesus said, “Take heart, I have overcome the World.”
We will see you next week. Be safe. God loves you and we love you.
May the Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord make his face sine on you, and be gracious to you, the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.
June: We will worship in the sanctuary at 10:00 for those who feel comfortable coming. Physical distancing must be maintained and the wearing of face masks, please. We will also continue the facebook live service for those who wish to stay home. We have not started Sunday School yet.
July 1: Denominational Worship Gathering will take place virtually at 7:00 pm Central. It will center around the theme: “New World Coming!”
July 2: an online Church of the Brethren concert, also at 7:00 p.m.
Links for both of these will be in future announcements.
Graduates: Jordan Wright, Madison Warren, and Allena Vest graduate from CGHS.
Congratulations to all three and the rest of the graduates!
Daily Bread: June – August issue is available.
THANK YOU to the people who have been mowing!!! This chore is greatly appreciated.
First Sunday of the month: Food Banks
Food needs: boxes of cereal, boxes of prepared foods, such as soups, potatoes, rice, mac & cheese, peanut butter, jelly
This month please consider sending The Lord’s Storehouse a monetary donation. The address is PO Box 229, La Place, IL 61936.
Donation Box May and June: Vacation Bible School; we host in 2021.
Keep up on denominational happenings at www.brethren.org
Larry Traxler’s phone number: 217-454-2362
Keep in Your Prayers
Arnold Schultz; Steve Fansler; Clyde and Nancy Fansler; Shirley Clarkson; Mike Seidenstricker; Adiline Young; Barb Baker; Kim Lehmann; Dylan Junior; Doug Fansler; Liam Martina; Ali Bryant; Jeff Sawyer; Liza Yore; Candy Dobson; Anna Rose Larrick; Gary Jesse; Norm & Marge Starr; Shawn Cain; Robert Cripe; Mayo Hanaver; Zola Copeland and family; Jennifer Like; Patty Cripe; Lauren Gross; Stacie Warren; Nancy Gorrell; many unspoken requests; Coronavirus crisis; healthcare workers and first responders; Joe Martina’s cousin who has COVID-19; the 113,000+ people who have died from COVID-19; protesters; Elizabeth Skaggs family
Military and Other Services and their families
Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers
Prayers and cards of encouragement are requested for:
Zola Copeland – 214 E. Fitch St. Forsyth, IL 62535-9668
Anna Rose Larrick – C/O Evergreen Place #110
4825 E. Evergreen Ct. Decatur IL 62521
Shawn Cain – 208 West Wait St. Cerro Gordo IL 61818
Robert Cripe – 21 Park Street Danville IL 61832