Acts 4 – There’s No Plan B

Pastor Dan Borgelt – AUDIO [36:03]
(Please forgive the echo sound quality in the first minute or so; a very human error of the ‘sound man’ of which I am and have done myself 🙂 )

Transcription:
“We come to our time now in the Ministry of the Word.

Let me start by just sharing with you an incident that happened in the Borgelt household, my family, just a week ago. It was actually last Saturday night, and some of you know that we live over in the church’s house, right next door to the church property–the Manse, or the Parsonage depending on what tradition you’re from; or what part of the country you’re from.

But we live over there and before we moved in we were able to make many updates in the Manse, and after we moved in one of the things we added to it was was an alarm system–a home security system because of the number of death threats that we’re receiving from people here at the church (LAUGHTER).

Actually more on that in a little bit… but anyway, so there we were, and we had installed it several months ago, and it was a pretty successful thing because we hadn’t had any false alarms or anything like that and so we were, “Oh, we did this right”… we did it ourselves, and everything was working fine.

And a we had discussed together about what would happen if the alarm did go off at night, like if there was an intruder, I mean how would we handle this. And apparently though we found out that we needed to iron out a few more of the details. 

So the other night, there we are Saturday night, and we had put the kids to bed, and we had just about gotten to sleep ourselves, and all of the sudden the thing in our home starts beeping… ‘beep… beep… beep.’

We have a keypad in our in our bedroom.  That means that the alarm has been triggered, and now you have so many seconds to turn it off.

security-alarm-2.jpg

So we’re like, “OK… someone’s in the house.”

First we look, and there’s the dog, the dog’s in the room; so it’s not the dog. And so we immediately just start you know jumping up and around. Amanda’s first thing was to take her hand and make sure I’m awake right now… you know, like “BAMM” (slapping her hand on his chest… LAUGHTER).

So I’m up and I’m immediately looking for something… I’m probably revealing too much about our home security defense system… but I’m looking for something in my hand, and I ended up with a with an iron that was on top of the ironing board right next to my bed; so I’ve got that… a big cord hanging down.

Amanda’s job is to… that would hurt somebody (the ‘iron’ LAUGHTER).

Amanda’s job is to get the kids… you’re not going to hear all the details, but that’s part of her thing. And so she’s getting the kids round up and barricaded somewhere else. And so I have the iron.

What happens is, you know if you’ve been in the manse, there’s a bedroom wing, and there’s a pocket sliding door that sort of closes off the bedroom wing from the rest of the house.  And so I decide strategically, I’m going to stand on the other side of this pocket door on the bedroom side and that way… I mean my goal isn’t to protect my stuff, it’s to protect the family; so the intruder is going to have to come down this hallway, and I’ll see him coming.

And so I’m staying there, and by now I’m thinking that our Golden Retriever, Brady, I’m thinking ‘He’s probably in the game a little bit.” Instead, I look over, and he’s passed out sleeping (LAUGHTER).

So I’m, “Brady… BRADY…” and he kind of lifts his head up and I say, “COME OVER HERE”.

And so he finally walks over and I… I’m sorry dog lovers, but I open the door, and I grab my dog, and I shove him down the hallway. (LAUGHTER)

How many else would’ve done the same thing? (LAUGHTER).  Alright.

So I’m figuring that if there’s going to be a gunshot the dog’s going to be the first recipient. And, maybe there’s no gun, but I figured that somehow a dog encountering this intruder… maybe he’d bark at him… or just be happy and I’d hear, and I’d know that there’s some sort of interaction…

Nothing… dead silence; the dog just disappears into the dark.

And so, as I’m standing there, unfortunately, also I had strategically placed a loud siren two feet above my head (LAUGHTER).

I was thinking that way we would all wake up, but this needs to get relocated because now the forty five seconds is up and now it’s going  off… IT_IS_BLASTING_IN_MY_EAR; but I’m standing my ground on the other side of the pocket door.

In fact I had to get this checked out, and the doctor said that’s why I was losing my hair on the sides there… because of the sirens. (LAUGHTER).

Transcriber Note: Actually he was cutting his own hair and neglected to use a “guide comb” to keep it from getting too close; so leaving the top longer, he had the rest cropped close to match 🙂

So Amanda yells out to me… and we had a little bit of bickering back and forth… we weren’t exactly on the same page about what we should do, and she yells out to me, “the police are on the way”, and I finally decided to be brave, and I ventured out in the home.

And as I got to the kitchen I exchanged the iron for a knife… and I kept moving throughout the house, and I expected to find Brady maybe cornering this person somewhere in the house. And instead, I get to the opposite end of the home, and Brady’s passed out over there… sleeping. (LAUGHTER)

So anyways long story short… I check out the house, there’s no sign of entry.  The police show up, and we determined that I had put a modem, an internet modem, up too high.  I had moved it that day, and it had activated the heat sensing motion of the motion detector.

And so anyways… no intruders were in the Borgelt household, and one of the things that hit me from that whole experience was, “We need to work on our plan a little bit better… like, “What are we going to do? And we probably should have a better plan A“… and because we’re humans, sometimes our plans fall apart… we should probably have a plan B“, and maybe even a plan “C” also.

exp_curvy

And here this morning friends, we’re coming to a topic of the Scripture where we’re being invited to see that when it comes to salvation–by that I mean,

When it comes to how we get to heaven, God only has One Plan.

But the thing is, His plans aren’t like our plans… they don’t fall apart… they’re not faulty–they’re perfect, in every way.

There is no plan B… when it comes to Salvation, there is only one plan.

I want to just ask you… “If you began to embrace that idea, more and more in your life this morning… how would that change the way you lived your life?  How would that change the way we did church … and we acted as a church, if we truly embrace, when it comes to getting to heaven, there_is_no_Plan_B.

points to ponder

I want to invite you to our passage of Scripture this morning, it’s found in the book of Acts Chapter four.

So if you’ve been with us you know that were preaching through the book of Acts together.  We did Acts Chapter One a one few weeks ago; then Acts Chapter Two, then Acts Chapter Three; and now here we are in Acts Chapter Four… we’re going to be looking at this first large section of this passage.

Acts Chapter Four is the continuation of an event that happened in Acts Chapter Three.

Some you may recall, if you were here last week, that Peter who was one of the early church leaders, is on his way with a man named John, another early disciple, they’re going to the temple to pray, when they encounter a man who was crippled, and asking for money.

Peter says I don’t have any money, but what I have I give you.  And he heals him in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, and the man begins the walk.

Now you can imagine if that happened, it produces a large response… all kinds of people come around: some doubters, some believers, and all these people gather around and Peter takes the opportunity in Acts three to preach to them, to tell them about Jesus Christ.

But now we see that a new group of people get involved.  And they’re a little more resistant.  Here’s what the Scripture says, Acts 4:1

 The priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees…

This is an important inclusion, the Sadducees, because the Sadducees were religious leaders who did not believe in the resurrection.

They came up to Peter and John while they were speaking to the people.  They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people, 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.

Alright… let’s pause there.

Have you ever set out to do something with good intentions only to have it completely backfire… “Like I didn’t think that was going to go that way.”

This had to be one of those moments for Peter.  I mean here he is, he heals a crippled beggar and by night he’s in prison for doing that.

Certainly, when he was faced with the opportunity to heal this person he never thought, “You know what, if I do this I might end up in jail tonight.”  But that’s exactly what happened.  He heals the crippled beggar, and now he ends up in prison. And he’s facing this sort of resistance as a result of it.

Focus

In this whole situation, what it does for me is call to attention this idea that if we’re going to start acting as a church, like the early church did, if you and I are going to start acting like early disciples did, and start living for the Kingdom of God, start embracing the idea that Jesus being God’s only plan to salvation is so important, it dominates our life–our life is built and centered around it…

…if we are going to start living that way, and functioning that way as a church, we are going to face resistance of some kind.

And that’s exactly what happens to Peter and John, they start to to face some resistance.

DividingLine_829d5babc99647ff972ae861ed33ab77

Now, in many ways the resistance was practical in its nature, right?  The Pharisees were bothered by this whole thing because Jesus, and the name of Jesus was becoming more popular than them. The Sadducees were bothered by it, and resisted it because it was the theological problem for them.

But ultimately, what we have to realize is that any time someone’s resisting the movement of the Kingdom of God, it’s really profoundly a spiritual resistance, not just a practical resistance.

When God’s people unite together and they start doing the things of God for the Kingdom of God and they face resistance, it’s spiritual resistance more than it is just practical.  And this is what these folks begin to experience.

And we need to realize that if we start to turn our lives around, and as a church, we start to focus on God’s Plan A, that this is going to happen.

If you left here today, and you said,

“You know what God…” and you committed to saying, “God I want to live for you tomorrow.  Starting tomorrow morning when I go to work I want to live for you like I’ve never lived for you before.”

You can almost guarantee, something’s going to go wrong between now and then to make sure that you show up to work in a bad mood… that you lose sight of that.  Because that is not what the evil one wants_to_have_happen.

And the same thing happens when churches start getting focused on God’s Plan A, they face resistance as well.

However, there’s some encouragement in this passage…

4 But, many who heard the message believed; so the number of men who believed grew to about five thousand.

Now as we’re reading the Book of Acts, we’re seeing these repeated check-ins as to the numerical growth of the size of the church.  It started off with around one twenty (120), and then I got about three thousand (3000) men, and now it’s about five thousand (5000) men. So with women and children it’s over ten thousand (10,000) strong now.

DividingLine_829d5babc99647ff972ae861ed33ab77

This really raises the question… you can’t go through the book of Acts without raising the issue of,

Church and numerical growth

and how we view that, and our different opinions and ideas about that. And what I’ve discovered is that churches, of course, get this wrong to both extremes.

There are churches out there that are utterly obsessed with numerical growth... that’s all they talk about, that’s how they evaluate all their ministries.

“Was it successful?
“I don’t know did we have a lot of people come?”
“Is it growing?”

There are staff people at churches who have all kinds of pressure on them to make sure that their area of ministry grows so that they can justify their existence there on staff–they focus on growth, growth, growth.

And I think we can all hear that and say, “That’s doesn’t sound right.”

07052012figure_j

But then there are also churches are in the opposite end of the spectrum who they don’t seem to care about numerical growth at all.  I mean someone new walks in the door, it’s like… big deal.  Have you ever visited one of those churches?… like you were no big deal at all.

Or… they’ve been declining in attendance for ten or twenty years, but nobody really seems to be that fired up about that because, “Hey, it’s not about numbers.”

 You know how many lame excuses, pious excuses I’ve heard from churches for not getting serious about God’s Plan A because it’s not about numbers?

I’ve gone into church sessions, I say, “Hey guys let’s talk together about how we might get more people to come to church here.” And they say, “Well pastor, it’s really not about numbers.”

OK…. “Hey maybe we should talk about how we would increase the likelihood that if someone does visit, they would want to come back again.”  “Well pastor, it’s really not about numbers… you know.”

We have all kinds of pious reasons for why we don’t care about numbers, and that doesn’t seem right either.

Shouldn’t the answer be somewhere in the middle?

DividingLine_829d5babc99647ff972ae861ed33ab77

One of the things I’ve discovered is that I used to label, as a small church pastor, I used to have such a negative opinion about the large churches…. thinking they were all the ones that got it wrong; they were the ones who were too fixated on numbers.

And God has done a work in my life, as I’ve gotten to know some of the staff people at various large churches, and I’ve realized, “You know what?… Some of these people are just Godly people who love the Lord, and love people… maybe that’s why they grew… maybe that’s it.”

Maybe they grew because they were a part of a church that started focusing on God’s singular plan–Jesus Christ

Maybe that’s why they grew.

Then I started also to discover that

for many small churches,

growth is such a huge issue they can’t stop talking about it.  They’re actually more obsessed about it than the large churches because they’re so focused on, “If we just had more people here would be better.”

And so we see this — both ends of the spectrum and certainly the answer is somewhere in the middle isn’t it?

DividingLine_829d5babc99647ff972ae861ed33ab77

What I’d like to call to our attention is that, as we read through the Book of Acts, I think it’s appropriate to say this general statement, that in general,

If we become a church, or are a church that is focused on God’s singular plan through Jesus Christ.  And we start being missional in our individual and our lives as a church as well together, then we should expect that more likely than not we will grow numerically.

Not guaranteed.  But that is I think a reasonable expectation for a church that is focused on loving God and loving people

So then the Scripture continues.  And says this,

5 The next day the rulers, the elders and the teachers of the law met in Jerusalem.  Annas the high priest was there, and so were Caiaphas, John, Alexander and others of the high priest’s family.  They had Peter and John brought before them and began to question them: “By what power or what name did you do this?”

Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people!  If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame and are being asked how he was healed, then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. 11He is... Jesus is

Now this “he” is not a reference to the crippled beggar; he’s now talking about someone else. He is now talking about JESUS. “He is…” and he’s quoting from Psalm 118:22

“‘He (Jesus) is the stone you builders rejected,
    which has become the capstone.’[Psalm 118:22]

Now… I’m not a I’m not an architect, or a contractor, or really into building stuff, but I do grasp that what they mean here by capstone, some of your translations will say cornerstone… and there will be a footnote that tells you it’s the other way.

Well, in many ways there are very different, but in many ways they mean the same thing.

So a cornerstone… by the way, our last song, “In Christ alone… Cornerstone”, just could not fit better with this passage.

In many ways, Cornerstone is the Keystone in the foundation of a structure.

So with that mindset, you’d be thinking of Jesus as the foundation, which we believe the church was built upon Him; our lives are built upon him; and so in that sense it kind of makes sense; He’s the cornerstone. It’s all built upon Jesus.

Or maybe we understand that, because this is a quote from Psalms, that this is a PSALM of DAVID… it’s speaking about David initially, and this is a promise through David’s line, that God is building something, is doing something through David’s line.  And when Jesus shows up, He’s not going to be just one of many kings to come, he is the final piece of the puzzle–He is the final one… the Capstone; there aren’t any kings that need to come after Jesus.

So either way we see that’s a really important piece of the structure.  And listen to the indictment of the religious people that the Scripture tells us.  It says, you are that the builders who rejected this stone. 

The stone you builders rejected.

 So he’s basically saying,

~“Religious people, you’re like a builder of a structure; you’re responsible for how this whole thing goes down.  And when God sent you the most important piece you missed it.”

 What an indictment.  “Here it is the most important piece as a religious leader, and you missed it”, he says.

And why then does he call Jesus the Capstone or the Cornerstone?  Why is Jesus elevated so high? … because of verse twelve.  The Scripture tells us, “because…

12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which_we_must_be_saved.”

Do you hear what the Scriptures telling us here… that Jesus is God’s Plan A… and there is no plan B; that Jesus was God’s Plan A–salvation is found in no other name besides Jesus.  And there is no plan B.

So I just want to ask you, for those of you are here in this room, who believe this already… who believe it theologically and intellectually.

fasten seat belt

If you believe that Jesus is God’s Plan A, and there is no plan B… then let me ask you, “When’s the last time you ever told someone about Jesus?”

And I want to empathize with you in asking you that question because I believe talking to people about the Christian faith and about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, can be a very difficult thing at times.

In fact, I think you would all be ashamed, if you knew how difficult it was for me as your pastor to tell people about my faith in Jesus Christ… it just doesn’t come really natural for me.

But nonetheless I sit under the challenge of my own question.  If I believe He’s God’s Plan A, then when’s the last time I told someone about Jesus Christ?

Universalists – Theological vs. Practical

You see there are there are universalists out there, who are Theological Universalists and there are Practical Universalists.

You know what I mean by universalist… it’s like if we had a universal plug it would plug into a whole bunch of different things.  When we use the term universal from a theology standpoint, what we mean by it is,

“Hey, there are multiple ways to get to God… God’s like a universal outlet, and you can just plug into him however you like, you believe what you want to believe, and I’ll believe what I want to believe…” and there are people who believe that.

tighten seatbelt.jpg

And I suspect that the majority of you in this room, reject that … you are not universalists intellectually, but I also want to encourage you to consider the possibility that God wants to challenge you with the reality that you are a universalist practically. 

If we are not in the business of living on behalf of God’s kingdom; if we are not in the business of serving God’s Plan A,  then aren’t we universalists practically?

We’re not really that fired up about the idea that there are other people out there who don’t know Jesus Christ.

And Scripture goes on… verse thirteen…

13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say. So they ordered them to withdraw from the Sanhedrin and then conferred together.

Here’s the decision…

16 “What are we going to do with these men?” they asked. “Everyone living in Jerusalem knows they have performed a notable sign, and we cannot deny it. But to stop this thing from spreading any further among the people, we must warn them to speak no longer to anyone in this name.”

Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.

And now this resistance that we talked about earlier, is magnified.

Earlier it was, “Let’s put a pause on your ministry and send you into prison for a night.”  “Now we’re commanding you… not to tell anyone else about Jesus–we’re putting an end to it.  Stop.”

We come back to the whole idea that if we as individuals or we as a church, start living for the Kingdom of God we should expect to face Spiritual resistance

DividingLine_829d5babc99647ff972ae861ed33ab77

I want to let you know that I feel like I’ve seen this happen in my life, maybe some of you have seen it happen in your life.

At my last church… I’ll share about some spiritual resistance I face there.  I stepped on their toes when I was there with them… and I’m going to step on your toes in a minute too… so, it will be fair.

I’ll step on their toes by telling you that, when I was at my last church, we started doing some of this whole idea of being missional–living for the Kingdom of God, being committed to God’s Plan A, and so we started reevaluating our service, and bulletin, and different things in light of someone who doesn’t have a relationship with Jesus Christ.

And so we just put a section, kind of like what’s in your bulletin–a section for visitors, because we would like people to come to the church, and we expect them, and we want to address them.

And I put in there, you know how your bulletin has a section about, “Hey, you’re not expected to contribute financially….”  I put in their bulletin a section that was similar to that, only we entitled it, “FREE… FREE… FREE”… or something like that.

We talked about free… you know the Service, not to feel obligated to contribute; we have free Bibles and we had free coffee and treats after the service… and why is all this stuff free? … because the gift that God offers us is free through His Son Jesus Christ.

And so we had that in there… and you know I had someone come up to me, after a few months of all this stuff happening in the church, and someone came up to me and they said,

“You know… some of us have been talking, and we’re not really happy with this.”

And I said, “Oh, why is that?”

And they said, “Well when we showed up here thirty years ago, we didn’t get any free passes.” (LAUGHTER)

And then they went on to say to me, “Some of us are thinking about maybe we just ought to stop giving money to the church.” (silence)

Now… if you want to test the pastor’s character just… there it is, right?

Where’s your allegiance?

When I showed up there they could barely afford to pay the interim pastor.

So there was this “voice of resistance”. Well, who are you going to follow here? Which direction are you going to go?

It’s amazing that, when Satan wants to resist the work of the church, he almost never has to look outside the church.  It’s almost always found right within the existing church.

Now I don’t mean that everyone who has a different opinion than me is working for satan (LAUGHTER) … please don’t infer that.. it’s not what I’m saying.

I am going to ask you in a moment to consider that before you express a negative statement about something we’re doing, to please make sure you’ve taken the time to pray about it, and seek to understand the more profound spiritual thing that’s happening in the life of the church…. to increase the likelihood that your comments are in line with the will of God.  Because we take them seriously.

You might gather from what I’m going to say, “Oh, he just brushes us this off.”

That’s not true.  I lose sleep when people say things like what I heard at my last church and what I’ll share with you here.

line

So have we had any spiritual resistance here at Kirkmont?

No… of course not; we can move on to the next section… I’m kidding, I’m kidding.  Of course we have.

That’s the point of the message today… when we start living for the Kingdom of God we should expect to face Spiritual resistance... it’s going to happen.

Now, here’s the thing… one of the biggest pieces of criticism I’ve received about my time here, especially the second service, has been,

“Pastor we really feel like you’re all about entertainment.” 

I need you to know that when you say that to me, or when I hear that, that that is essentially like me hearing,

“You are the builder that rejected the Capstone.  You are the religious leader who missed what it was all about.”

And those words cut… big time.

“Pastor we think you’re all about entertainment.”

And, for what?… there’s many things we could talk about… but one of them was when I got here, we used to have three singers in the Praise Team.  And there was one here… and another one here, and then another one here (incrementally marking off points to our right).

And then under my leadership, I said let’s take one of the singers, and let’s move them over here (other side of pulpit).  And for some people that was entertainment. (Laughter).

So I started looking on the stage for a magical line… and I started thinking, “Where’s the line? (he moves the singer’s position incrementally across the platform). Not entertainment… not entertainment… not entertainment… Entertainment. (LAUGHTER)

Is it Colder. Colder. Colder. Colder… you know.

And I think the idea was we’re trying to draw more attention to the people up here.

First of all, I’m thankful that you care about worship enough to think about these things… so it’s not a total indictment. I appreciate that your mind’s engaged with these types of things but I just want to ask you, to invite you to consider this…

That, if I was preaching up here and I was only looking at this half of the room (our left side), some of the people over here (on right side of church) might say “Hey it would be nice if you looked at us every once in awhile.”

So the real practical, simple thing, was, “Hey someone built this whole area, this raised…  I’m not going to call it a stage, because you know what will happen. (LAUGHTER)… but a raised platform over here with bricks, and… Why can’t we use it?

There’s people over here too (pointing to right half of church).  So we’ve put some folks… hey, “Amens” from the left side (his left).. it’s probably someone over here who said it. (his right side of room -Laughter)

But anyways, my point is, (perhaps they’re thinking), “Well, we don’t really want to connect with them”... and I’m thinking, “Well then if you’re not interested in connecting with them, we could put them in a choir room and just Mic them in there… and you can listen to them.

And you know what, after all, if we’re just going to listen to them, no offense praise team, you guys are good, but, why don’t we just let the professionals handle it and will pipe in the music from a CD?

And while we’re at it, we could use an upgrade in the preaching too… let’s get rid of the pastor and we’ll just pipe in a sermon from one of the other guys that is a better speaker.

DividingLine_829d5babc99647ff972ae861ed33ab77

But we’re calling people who are part of the Kirkmont family to love the church and to lead us in worship, and to engage with you… and so it’s a real practical thing, and yet it faced some sort of resistance.

Now there are other types of resistance that have come along.  But I’m just inviting you to please pray about whether and when you pass something on to us… because we do care about it.

I think you’ll find that if you talk to the people who have who have spoken to me personally… I listen to them, I pray with them, I let our Session know about the concerns.

DividingLine_829d5babc99647ff972ae861ed33ab77

But I’m inviting you to make sure that your efforts and concerns are in line with God’s Plan A.

I haven’t pulled any stops around this church. It wasn’t such a lucrative position that I tried to pretend to be someone who I wasn’t when I showed up here. At the very interview (sermon) I said, “Look people, I don’t drink coffee, but if I became convinced tomorrow that coffee in the sanctuary would help with God’s Plan A, then that’s what I’d be in favor of.”

And I’ve been consistent with that message along the way.

So if something small like this is maybe a little… maybe it’s not helpful, but if you just don’t like the way it looked, just say “I think it’s a bad choice, it’s not helpful”… But don’t say, “We think you’re about entertainment.”  Because that cuts.  Big time.

DividingLine_829d5babc99647ff972ae861ed33ab77

The passage goes on, and we’ll do our best to wrap up… you guys have been extremely patient… and the Scripture goes on and says this… now listen to the powerful response of Peter and John, verse nineteen.

19 But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes…

And now it’s in quotes. Up to this point Peter has been the one who’s speaking.  And now Peter and John replied… and their in quotes.

I thought, “Did they practice this ahead of time and say it in unison to each other… or maybe one of them spoke, but the Scripture is just saying that they were in unison, they were in one voice together on this, they stood together on this.

And I couldn’t help but think about some of my pastoral friends who have tried to align their churches with God’s Plan A, but have gotten run out because they made decisions together as a session, and as soon as there was resistance, the elders started saying, “Ohhh… I’m not sure if we should have done that.”

And they started pulling the carpet out from underneath the pastor.  Throwing him under the bus, and then they end up getting run off.  You know.

Could you imagine how differently this passage would read if Peter, while Peter was wanting to say, what he says here, if John was whispering in his ear, “Maybe we could just agree to back off a little bit.”  But he showed unity with Peter.

There’s such power when you stand in the gap for the Kingdom of God against resistance, when you know that there are others who are uniting with you.

I’m thankful that we have a session that makes decisions, that prays together when we make decisions, and so far they’ve been an incredibly strong session in this area… and I want to encourage you if you’re an elder, to continue to say, “I’m going to seek God’s will, and you know what, it may or may not always make everyone happy.  But we’re going to stand behind what we feel like God called us to do.”

Then the Scripture tells us that, Peter and John, on their release….

 23 On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said to them. When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. “Sovereign Lord,” they said, “you made the heavens and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. 

You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David:

“‘Why do the nations rage
    and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth rise up
    and the rulers band together
against the Lord
    and against his anointed one.

He goes on… and all the way down to verse 31, the Scripture says,

31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.

 You see, Peter and John, I think they realized that the early church was at a crossroads; they believed they were honoring God with their behavior and their actions…

…People were wanting to resist it and put an end to it.  And so they took it to the rest of the church and they said look this is something so significant and important, we need to be praying about it.

read-below

I will let you know that if you start living for the Kingdom of God in your own private life, you’re going to face resistance.  And this right here is the answer to that resistance.  To have brothers and sisters in Christ in your life, who you can call alongside you and say, “We need to pray about this.”

And one of the things that I think God’s put on my heart this year, is that, I feel like he said to me this week, “Dan I think you’re going to end up praying in two thousand and sixteen, more than you ever have before…” that excites me though.

I want to invite you to be a part of that effort; to pray together, and to say, “You know what, God make us one; put Plan A on our hearts; let nothing divide us from that, and let us be bold in following how you will lead us.

Let’s pray together.

We invite our praise team to come forward as we pray together.

Gracious Father, we thank you for Your Word as always, and we invite you now to continue to speak to us through it not only the rest of this day but throughout this week; and begin to shape and set our relationship with you and others into new directions. 

Father God, I thank you for the Kirkmont Church family and hope they certainly are not discouraged by my comments. The truth of the matter is that this is a loving and encouraging church that has given me far less resistance than I would have expected… and lots of encouragement; and a good strong Session. 

The neat thing is that even when folks disagree around here it’s done in the Spirit which I think is pleasing and honoring to You most of the time.  We pray that that would continue to be the case.  We’re not trying to create an environment or a culture where everyone is forced to agree with the leadership.  But we are trying to create an environment where our differences are expressed in a way that still honors You, that ultimately your truth and your will for this church… which may not always be an issue of right or wrong… just what you would have us do, … is heard and done by this congregation. 

For that to happen I think the folks here, including myself, all of us, we’re going to need to dig deeper in our relationship with you. We’re going to need to be committed to praying individually and together, like never before. 

And we are excited about seeing how you might work. 

We’re not all about numbers… God, we pray against that attitude.  But we also pray that you would give us a heart for people that we would love to see people come and to grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ–to be reminded of the power of the Gospel afresh and anew in people’s live; how you can change and transform, and soften the hardest of heart. 

We ask these things all now, in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. 

Amen.

dividing-line-blurred

Kirkmont Composite Pic
Kirkmont Closing Pic Combo

  Link to Kirkmont Presbyterian Church Website
http://www.kirkmont.org/

Listen to recent sermons
http://www.kirkmont.org/listen-to-recent-sermons/

Share Your Thoughts Below ....

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s