Fairmeadow Community Church of The Nazarene
September 12, 2021
  • What A Beautiful Name
  • Acts 1:1–14 NRSV
    1 In the first book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus did and taught from the beginning 2 until the day when he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. 3 After his suffering he presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. 4 While staying with them, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Father. “This,” he said, “is what you have heard from me; 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” 6 So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” 9 When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. 11 They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” 12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day’s journey away. 13 When they had entered the city, they went to the room upstairs where they were staying, Peter, and John, and James, and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. 14 All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers.

    Is the American Church Fading?

    Statistics show us that attendance is down in almost every church in North America. The Pandemic has changed life as we know it and affected patterns of behavior. So fewer people successfully make it to the building for a service.
    Also, fewer people know much about the Bible. People don’t take much time to read books anymore and this has taken it’s toll on Bible reading. If you don’t know about the Bible there’s lot you will miss in life, especially as a Christian. What you haven’t read lately probably won’t help you much.
    The last two elections have taken their toll also. People are tired of religious people arguing about politics. They don’t understand why so many people would rather have their way at the polls that live the way the truth and the life of Jesus. So some people say: if church life produced all that political mess, what could be good about it? No thanks. You can kind of understand the thought...
    So…what is happening?

    Are Christians Losing their Edge?

    Everybody talks about Christians who are no longer with us who were such a powerful influence over their lives. Fewer people talk about people in their lives currently. As if, fewer and fewer Christians are really living their lives in a way that could inspire.
    So maybe we do need to take stock. Are Christians losing their edge? Do we no longer attract interest in our worship because of how we live through the week?
    John 13:35 NRSV
    35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
    To put it bluntly, if we aren’t showing love, people aren’t seeing Jesus. Now, that can become an excuse. It doesn’t mean we are never upset about something, it doesn’t mean we never try to support our own position. But it does mean that the overall impression we give is a loving one. One that stands out in some way to people. So look within and answer this question: have you lost your edge? Have you been thinking only about yourself?

    Why would we witness in an age like this?

    Some would ask why would we witness in an age like this? Everyone is already jumpy and defensive. We may decide in advance that everyone will be offended if we try to talk about Jesus.
    According to a study by Lifeway Research we may be wrong about that:
    “The unchurched say they’re open to having religious conversations. Close to half of unchurched Americans (47%) say they would discuss freely if someone wanted to talk about their religious beliefs. Another 31% would listen without actively participating.”
    “They also say they would be more willing to listen to Christians talk about their faith if they saw Christians living out their faith in public.”
    (https://lifewayresearch.com/2021/09/09/christians-dont-share-faith-with-unchurched-friends/?ecid=PDM244342&bid=1732127950
    People still care to know what is important to us, especially when they see that we care about them and others.

    Jesus Saves

    Jesus changes lives
    People need Jesus
    Christians love people
    Christians share life
    Connect all those dots and you have people sharing what they value most with people they actually care about. And that should be anyone who will listen.

    But we can be bold for the following reasons:

    We can see beyond our human limitations
    We can find a source of strength and insight
    Actual historical events made it possible

    The Ministry of the Holy Spirit

    The Disciples waited in Jerusalem
    The Holy Spirit was to be their source of power
    God gives the Spirit to the church

    Jesus Ascended

    We don’t know him as the son of a carpenter or a teacher anymore.
    He was crucified, yes. That made so much difference. He has risen, yes. That made even more difference.
    But now he has ascended. All authority in heaven and earth has been given to him. Therefore, he reigns over his kingdom.
    As the author of our book says: Jesus is King. Kingdom power flows in the form of boldness for faithful witness. The church is the flesh-and-blood body of Christ doing ministry on earth.

    Good News

    A young dad said he was driving his eight year old in the car one morning. She said from the back seat, “Do you want me to throw my pocket-confetti now, Dad?”
    “Uh, no, honey. Please no, not now in the car. Why do you have confetti in you pocket.?”
    She said without missing a beat— “I always keep it with me. It’s my emergency confetti, just in case there’s good news!”
    Well, ladies and gentlemen, there is good news, isn’t there?
    Jesus has come. Jesus has shown us God is love. Jesus has given his life. Jesus rose from the grave. Jesus has received all authority and Jesus has ascended into heaven. That’s. good. news! So many are looking for good news. So many need to know there’s every reason to throw confetti and more.
    Jesus said— “You will be my witnesses.” We’re gonna have a great time watching the early church live out that truth as we read through Acts together. But lets get in the game. You will be my witnesses. May every child and every adult know there’s very good news...
    Let’s pray...
      • Acts 1:1–14NRSV

      • John 13:35NRSV

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