April 26th, 2020
Acts 2:14-21; 36-41 14 Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. 15 These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! 16 No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: 17 “ In the last days,” God says, “I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. 18 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. 19 I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke.
20 The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. 21 And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 36 “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.” 37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” 40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.
Sermon: What shall we do next?
Finished high school recently? What’s next? Finished tech school? Have you found a good job? About to graduate from college? Have you posted your resume? Searching for a church home? You won’t find it parked in your recliner on Sunday afternoon. Longing for an intimate relationship? Have you considered Jesus as the best friend you’ll ever need? He loves you unconditionally and died to save you!
Many people ask doctors, financial advisors, and political leaders, “What’s our next step after this horrible corona virus crisis finally lessens its grip on our country?” Their answers are all over the chart. Some doctors advocate social distancing, monitoring your individual health, and seeking treatment if symptoms appear. Financial experts make stock and mutual fund recommendations to reinvigorate your 401K. Politicians ask for your financial support in the upcoming election. Most of us will be overjoyed to just go back to work, reopen the schools, and join together in worship every Sunday morning.
It’s interesting to note how Jesus’ closest disciples reacted to his death on the cross. In stark terror, they locked themselves behind closed doors. They feared that each one of them could be arrested and crucified because they were his disciples. They didn’t dare go out in public, much less visit Jesus’ tomb. Scripture confirms that only a few women went to the tomb to anoint Jesus’ body. Much to the disciples’ surprise, Jesus was alive. He appeared before them, showed them his hands and side, told them to await God’s Holy Spirit, and even served them breakfast. I missed our Easter Sunday breakfast this year! That has been my opportunity to serve you just like Jesus served breakfast to his followers by the Sea of Galilee. At Pentecost, everything changed. Jesus had already ascended into heaven. They witnessed the sound of a rushing wind and viewed tongues of fire which touched each one of them. Suddenly they were filled with God’s Holy Spirit and able to speak in foreign tongues to every visitor in Jerusalem. People came to understand that they had crucified God’s Son, the Promised Messiah. What should they do next?
The answer to this question must remain the focus of our ministry from today until the end of our days on this earth. Who can answer this question? Peter, who did not want Jesus to wash his feet at the Last Supper, boldly stepped forward to lead. Peter, who denied knowing Jesus three times in the outer courts before the High Priest, now preached his message about Christ as Savior. Peter confidently recalled the prophecy of the Prophet Joel when God said, “I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.” God was true to this promise. He gloriously poured out his Spirit on all people, those present in Jerusalem that morning, and everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord in Mayflower, Conway, and Little Rock. By the power of God’s Spirit, we will be able to prophesy. We will dream dreams. We will see visions of angels in our midst. We will be called to testify about what God is doing in our lives. Still we ask, “What shall we do next?” Are you anxious to hear my answer? Are you leaning forward in the pew to catch my every word this morning? Are you prepared to take notes? Are you ready to take action when you hear my suggestions? Are you prepared to transform lives and make new disciples of Jesus Christ? Fasten your seatbelts. Let’s get ready to rumble….When I was on active duty in the US Air Force, the sign at the scheduling board read, “When in doubt, do what the Captain said!” To understand what Jesus is asking us to do, we need look only to his Gospel messages: Matthew 7:12 “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” Treat everyone as you would like to be treated. What a difference this would make! Jesus was asked which was the greatest commandment. In Mark 12:29-31, Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Do we love God with all our hearts? How do we treat our neighbors—as dear friends or as complete strangers? After teaching his disciples how to pray as he introduced the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus taught in Matthew 6:14-15, “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Are we truly forgiving one another? How often do we stand in judgment of our fellow man? In Luke 19:9-10, Jesus said, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Are we searching for lost souls or happy to hang around people who are just like us? We’re supposed to be making disciples of all nations—that means all people! Are we faithful to read and truly believe in the Gospel message? Mark 1:14-15 reveals: “Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” The distance between a man’s head and his heart is about eighteen inches. Have we completed that journey? How strong is our faith? Many people have their heads on a swivel, looking for someone to rescue them from danger. Jesus proclaimed himself as our Savior in John 14:6, Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Why should we look for anyone else to save us?
Read Matthew 28:19-20, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
That's what we need to do next!