Christian Unity

SERMON# NINE APRIL 2018

 

Readings-     Psalm 133, Acts 4:32-35, 1 John 1:1-1, 1 John 2:2 & John 20:19-31

                     

Christian Unity

 

“Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” 28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” John 20:27-28 NIV

 

 

The “Jesus Sightings” after the resurrection.

Mary Magdalene and the other womenat the empty tomb on Easter morning.

The road to Emmaus – 2 men on the day of the resurrection.

 

The 1st sighting of Jesus by the disciples, on the evening of the resurrection day.

John 20:19-25

 

The disciples see Jesus after the crucifixion in a scene characterised by fear.

Ten of the disciples were meeting to pray.

Judas the betrayer was already dead; and Thomas was absent from this first post resurrection Jesus encounter. 

 

John 20: 19 “the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews”

 

Are we/you afraid to share your faith.

Fear sets in because you may not know what to say.

Fear sets in because you may say something wrong.

Fear sets in because you’re dead scared that nothing happens after you share your story?

Faithful servants vs successful servants – we are called to be faithful.

 

The original Greek: φόβος, ου, ὁ Phonetic Spelling: (fob'-os) means panic, fear, origen of the word Phobia? Fear of XXXX.

 

If you are afraid, how do you open someone elses heart to the Gospel which is a message of hope?

 

As Christians we are called of God to tell our Jesus encounter stories.

To share what Christ has done for us.

Jesus last words on earth included “Teach these new disciples to observe everything I have commanded you.” Matthew 28:20

 

Here are a few simple faith questions.

How do you get to the place where you can teach a Sunday School class?

How do you get to the place where you can teach a home bible study class?

How do you get to the place where you can participate in evangelism?

How do you get to telling others what God has done for you? 

 

Philippians 1:6 “he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

You have to be willing to start it.

God has promised to see it through to completion.

God will complete your incompletions.

You have to do your part and break out of everything that is holding you back.

 

God’s work within you began when you first believed.

The Holy Spirit lives in you, enabling Christlike growth every day..

 

On January 31, 1829, Governor Martin Van Buren of New York wrote this letter to President Andrew Jackson. “As you know, Mr. President, railroad carriages are pulled at the enormous speed of 15 mph (24Km/h) by engines which roar and snort their way through the countryside, scaring livestock and frightening women and children. The Almighty certainly never intended that people should travel at such breakneck speeds.

 

At what speed is our church moving?

 

Something even faster – Suddenly -  Jesus is standing there right among them! Jesus says, “Peace be with you.”

As he spoke he held out his hands for them to see and he showed them his side.

 

The disciples were filled with joy when they saw Jesus alive!

And, again for the second time Jesus said, “Peace be with you.” but then he added, “As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.”

 

We are all sent to spread the Good News.

Our authority comes from God.

The Father sent Jesus, Jesus sends his disciples, and Jesus sends you and me.

 

Your speed odometer is set on God’s promise.

Your speed may vary - at times your belief and faith is strong, at other times you may be afraid and become discouraged.

 

Start believing, start living by faith.

Believe that you can live free from pain. Have faith that God will heal your brokenness.

 

Let God set the cruise control of your life.

How?

The answer is in our reading: Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit”.

 

????. Holy Spirit - Day of Pentecost in Acts chapter 2.

 

Pentecost is a Day on which we celebrate the Holy Spirit in the early followers of Jesus. Before the event of the first Pentecost, they were Easter people, they had the Holy Spirit, but they had no movement that could be meaningfully called “the church.”

Pentecost is really about the day on which the church (as a united group) started going out and telling the stories of Jesus to the world.

 

If we want a better world, then we to do our part to make the world around us a more hospitable place.

We have to have a positive attitude.

We have to be encouraging.

We have to be generous and kind.

 

Together, we cry, laugh, celebrate.

We need to learn to speak unity.

 

One of the twelve disciples, Thomas (Twin) was not with the others when Jesus came. They told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he replied, “I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side.”

 

Have you ever wished that you could actually see and touch Jesus?

 

Thankfully God has a wiser plan. If Jesus was limited to one physical body there would be a line so long that people would not stand and wait to talk to Jesus.

 

So, Jesus is with us in the form of the Holy Spirit.

We can be and talk to Him whenever we want or need.

Jesus can be found in the the Bible – if we read it dilligently, or in prayer – if we pray diligently, or right here in our times of worship.

He is as real to us today as he was to Thomas.

 

You may have had a difficult time this week. Relationships, health, wealth etc

All of these are barriers (BMC Banner? Going in Faith Beyond All Barriers) these conditions tell us to be afraid, implant doubts and weaken our faith.

 

Let your doubts lead to prayers and your prayers lead you to Jesus.

 

Let your doubts deepen your faith as you continue to look for the Risen Jesus.

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