Acts 2:42-47;“Life In The Body”
Amen you may be seated. If you have your Bibles with you this morning I invite you to turn with me in Acts chapter 2 we come to this tail end of chapter 2, which describes for us the ordinary church. In church, in the evangelical church world these days it's almost an endless cacophony of different adjectives to describe different churches as they're marketing or promoting or adverting themselves. “ Come have a radical experience come have an awesome encounter, come have an exceptional, extraordinary moment with God ,”and over and over again these sort of over the top descriptions are utilized to explain to people what it is that they can experience in Christ and of course all those things are true but in our marketing, we sometimes lose sight of the fact that there is an ordinary Christian life. I’d like to describe for you this morning First Baptist Church as being ordinary. I hope that doesn't bore you but that's how I really feel about us. We do see the miraculous hand of God here from time to time, we do see people coming to faith in Christ, we see the supernatural transpiring and unfolding before our very eyes from time to time but as we live and as we walk and as we worship Christ together our lives reflect very much so what we find here in Acts chapter 2 and I'll just read it to you, the verse we are going to be focusing on today verse 42. This verse I think is the ordinary church life, the ordinary Christian life. “They” the 3,000 that just got saved, “devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and the fellowship to the breaking of bread and the prayers."
Let's bow for a word of prayer “Father we just come before you this morning and we pray oh Lord as we look at this particular verse and at these next couple of verse over the weeks ahead, as we see what the church determined, what the church resolved to do, what they consecrated themselves to, as the ESV translates it what they devoted themselves to Lord I pray that we would see here a wonderful reminder for all of us as we live the Christian life what it is we are to be devoting ourselves to as well oh Lord and so Father we pray that your Spirit would just illuminate the text before us, that you would clear away all of the clutter, that you would clear away all of the confusion that often wraps itself around us in modern marketing and in the digital age as we try to think about what the Christian life could be like as it's hyped up and marketed to us as versus what it is like according to Your Word. Above all it's the ordinary day to day struggle to lean on You, to hear from You and I pray you would show us that this morning we ask these things in the name of Christ Amen.
Back in 2010 I was driving up in Lac Du Bois in my SUV. I was just out for a Saturday morning drive and I turned a corner on the dirt path up there and low and behold there was a giant sign that said, "Welcome to Yellowstone National Park" now I was quite struck by that sign because, granted I'm the product of an American public education system and it's true we aren't always the best with things like geography but I did know at least I thought I knew that Yellowstone National Park was in the state, The American State of Wyoming, and not Lac Du Bois. So I was a bit struck to see this sign I didn't really know what to make of it, and for a moment you have an out of body experience where you stop and you think to yourself, ‘ did somehow I go from Lac Du Bois to Yellowstone, did somehow I make a wrong turn somewhere and did I ... I mean how did I end up here?’ and you're sitting there and you're thinking wait a minutes and it looked like the real deal, like what you'd see in the movies, it looked like the sign, the classic sign you that you see entering into Yellowstone National Park. So I couldn't help but get out and look at it. Put the car in park, jumped up walked over was looking at it, reached my hand out and touched it, in that moment I knew it was not the real deal. It was spongy, it was soft it was squishy, I was like wait a second I turned around I poked my head behind it and low and behold the whole thing was made of cardboard. It was a cardboard sign held up by wires that were not even properly concreted into the ground it was simply there to say welcome to Yellowstone National Park because they were filming a really terrible movie here that year called, "2012" starring John Cusak, a movie basically describes the end of the world, the world basically explodes and of course a handful of survivors figure it out and somehow try to save themselves if you've never heard of the movie that's probably for the best. Okay well some of you liked it I don't mean to offend any of you this morning at any rate this was not the real Yellowstone sign. This was a clear facade, this was a clear fake. I had the same sort of experience walking downtown Kamloops two years ago in 2016. As many of you are aware they were filming the movie, "Power Rangers" and the Downtown core of Kamloops served as the backdrop for Angel Grove or Alder Grove, I can't remember the name of the city now that is the city where the power rangers live and I was walking downtown and of course there is this down town battle scene in which the bad guys are fighting the good guys and they had smashed cars and they had rocks and rubble strewn all across the street. Right here on 4th between Seymour and Victoria. So on my lunch break I would just walk down and observe all of this and I remember sneaking out onto the road when no one was looking and picking up one of the rocks, it looked like rubble, it looked like brick off a side of a building but as soon as I picked it up it was Styrofoam, light as fluff, looks like the real deal but it's not real and as soon as I picked it up somebody came from nowhere and said, "what do you think you're doing!?" They had these giant 3 ring binders of pictures that they had taken at the end of the first day of filming and everything had to be strategically placed so at the end of every day it had to be taken away and then repositioned exactly so that there would be no sort of weird glitch in the film but I remember picking this thing up and thinking this looks like real rumble, real debris, but it wasn't it was light as Styrofoam.
As we come to this look at Acts chapter 2 verses 42 at the church, I want you to understand that what the world sees of the church, they dismiss it as being mere facade. They dismiss as being something from a movie set as though Christianity is a crutch, as though religion is just as tool that we're using to portray a reality that doesn't actually exist and here is the rub, they're right in so far if our Christianity is not empowered by The Spirit and does not priorities the Spiritual disciplines that are described for us right here in Acts chapter 2 verse 42. The jokes not on them, when they think we're living a facade, mirage, Christianity if we're not following Acts chapter 2 verse 42 and following , the jokes is on us because we are actually living a facade, mirage, Christianity. In Acts chapter 2 we see the birth of the church, The Holy Spirit comes, it descends on the apostles, the author Luke describes it as divided tongues of Fire, they're indwelt by the 3rd person of The Trinity. They begin to preach The Gospel with boldness and power and at the end of this gospel sermon and the end of this first evangelical presentation of Jesus Christ as Lord and King it says that many who were they were cut to the heart and they posed the questions, "Brothers what do we do?" They understood that they were complicit in the murder in the execution of Jesus Christ an innocent man, The Son of God, the Savior of the World and Peters response was "Repent and be Baptised" and it concludes with the statement that there were added to their number that day 3,000 souls. The church goes from being a small ragtag band of about 120 individuals to 3,120 individuals. And it goes on to say that God was adding to their number day by day. This was a church that was growing, this was a church that was multiplying numerically, but the question behooves us to ask what was their early life like? What were the things that they were committed to? What made this so real, and so desirable to those who found themselves on the outside? What made the difference between a facade, a mirage, versus the real deal? And we find it beginning to be described for us here, by Luke and our prayer this morning is that the Holy Spirit would speak to our hearts and help us to understand whether or not this is our pursuit of Christ. Verse 42, “they devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and the fellowship to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” Now in all of those descriptions we see here the typical ordinary life of a Christian. Number 1, they devoted themselves some of your translations will say that they continued steadfastly some of your translations will say that they consecrated themselves. However your translation read you need to understand that this word means they were committed to doing this. This was a priority, it wasn't as though they approached their Sunday morning with the perspective you know I've got laundry to do, I've got groceries to do, I've just worked Monday-Saturday, Sunday is my only day off so I'm going to take care of all of these other priorities and if there's time if I can somehow squeeze it in, then I am going to go to church. That was not their perspective, they had encountered The Risen Christ, through the preaching of Peter and they wanted to know the God of The Bible. They had missed him the first time around when they were all complicit in His execution and they didn’t want to make that mistake again having been given Salvation and the forgiveness of sin. And so in order to know the God of the Bible they devoted themselves first off to knowing The Bible of God. It says here in verse 42, "they devoted themselves to the apostles teaching” and of course we are going to look at these each in their turn week by week, fellowship to the breaking of bread and the prayers but this morning I want us to understand, the first thing we understand about the early church the number 1 priority which governed their lives to which they were devoted and committed and which ought to govern our lives to which we out to be devoted and committed is to learning The Scriptures, learning the apostolic teaching and of course what do I mean by that. Don't flip there just listen at the tail end of Luke on the road to Emmaus it says Jesus appeared to a couple of disciples and he began to teach them everything as their walking along, everything in the Scriptures pertaining to Him. He began to open their mind to understand The Word of God. Then we come to Acts chapter 1, just before the ascension and it says that He appeared to them in verse 3 He presented Himself alive to them after His suffering by many proofs appearing to them during 40 days and speaking to them about the Kingdom of God. So it doesn't matter if you are looking at the tail end of Luke or whether you’re looking at the first chapter of Acts, we understand that Jesus having accomplished his crucifixion, took these guys aside and began to teach them everything to help them to understand to make the see the totality of what He accomplished for us by dying on the cross to forgive us of our sins. The apostles were committed to teaching this, in fact they were so committed to teaching this that when there was a logistical strain within the church concerning provision for the widows and the orphans, children had come from all over to be part of this ragtag bunch. In Acts chapter 6 making sure everybody was taken care of, the apostles said, "Look it is not right for us to give ourselves over to the serving of food, to the dispensing of food, to the waiting of tables, so let's appoint some men who are full of wisdom and The Holy Spirit who will devote themselves to this task, so that we can devote ourselves to the task of preaching The Word and prayer." We see that in Acts chapter 6, we see that not only were the apostles committed to teaching it, that they prioritised it, that they made it their focus, we see that the church made it their focus as well. It isn't simply a matter of a bunch of guys saying hey we really value the Word of God we're going to preach it, it's reciprocal. It is a handful of men standing up saying , We love The Word of God, we hunger for it, we need it, we're devoted to it we will preach it and it was a group of people such as yourselves who say we need it, we hunger for it , we're devoted to it, we will receive it. That is the nature of preaching and It makes this statement, "They were devoted to it" “they devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and the fellowship.” Latter on in the book of Acts, the apostle Paul gets himself into trouble which he was prone to do from time to time preaching the Gospel and there was a handful of men who wanted him dead, and it says they got together and the took a covenant with each other, they devoted themselves to seeing to it that the apostle Paul would be killed. Of course he was taken into custody he was whisked off to see the governor and along the way they said, "we're going to set an ambush for him." and it says they made this commitment to each other that they would not eat or drink until they saw Paul dead and of course they couldn't have kept that promise because Paul got away. However the reason I draw your attention to that is because there was group of men that did they exact same thing using the same Greek word there as they did here, they were devoted or they made a commitment to seeing something achieved. Oh course they didn't see it achieved but the early church was committed to and devoted to and consecrated to learning The Scriptures. Now as we come to this particular passage, as we're looking at this, it's important that we are reminded that the Scriptures, they are the food and the Spiritual nourishment from which our whole life flows. Jesus as He is confronted by Satan in Mathew chapter 4 and facing temptation. Satan says to Jesus, you are hungry; you've been fasting for 40 days, why don't you just command that these stones be turned into bread? Again he's trying to tempt Jesus into taking a short cut around his humanity to draw upon His divinity to escape the road of hardship and suffering. Jesus' response to Satan is, quoting from Deuteronomy, “Man does not live by bread alone, but by every Word that comes, that proceeds from the mouth of God." The author of Hebrews, "Take care brothers, lest there be in any of you and evil unbelieving heart leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day as long as is called today that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin for we have come to share in Christ if indeed we hold to the original confidence firm to the end" and he goes on to prove his point by quoting Scripture from the Psalms, "Today if you hear His Voice, Today if you hear His voice." The implication being in that passage that we need to be hearing the voice of God, we need to be hearing The Word of God now this is very difficult for us. I would dare say probably more difficult for us than it was in the 1st century. Right now as I'm looking at all of you sitting here in the pews out here looking back at me most of you, undoubtedly some of you are feeling a little something in your pocket, square with a screen; a cell phone. And undoubtedly some of you and maybe those of you in the fireside room cause I can't actually see you, you've probably got that phone out. Some of you are using it because you look at your Bibles on that phone, some of you are pretending to look at your Bibles on that phone and you’re really on Face book or You're tweeting or instagraming or whatever it is you do now a days with that thing. You see in the 1st century there were things that they could be distracted by but not like what we have today. There were things that they could occupy their time and their attention with but the abundance of entertainment the spurious nature of the internet to constantly be researching or you-tubing or iTunes play listing. They didn't have that kind of access to that kind of technology, that kind of distraction in their day and age that we have in our day and age. Many, many, many years ago when the TV was invented it started off as a small screen and it eventually , progressively grew, larger and larger and larger and I remember thinking to myself as a young man, I wonder how much bigger these TV’s can get. This is when it was really cool to have like a 36/38 inch tube TV that weighed like 2,000 pounds and only Dad could move it. Of course they got lighter and even larger, they went from being grainy to high def, to ultra high def, to 4k, I don't even know what that means any more. And as the TV’s got bigger and bigger again I'm not entirely so sure that it was really a bad thing because as the TV got bigger and bigger more and more people came together to watch them together but then something else happened in which the TV screens weren't just getting bigger and bigger they were getting smaller and smaller and they were able to be put into your pocket. The iPhone is initially invented as a portable cell phone, something you use to talk to someone. Now it’s actually a device that we use to escape from those around us. We go from being in the real world into a world that is entirely of our own making. A world where we can thumbs up or thumbs down, we can like or just not comment on. We can post pictures of ourselves, we can engage in what Carl Trueman has called texturally transmitted childishness. I mean when you're a kid you come home with a little picture or something that you drew and you give to mom and dad and they post it on the refrigerator and they pat you on your head and they say “good job boy or son or daughter” and then there comes a point in time in which you grow out of that and you don't come home as a teenager and go ,"look mommy I took this picture of myself will you hang this on the fridge?" You don’t go off to university and say, " look here's a picture of me doing a random activity in my dorm room," and yet we've actually devolved back into our child hood versions of ourselves with the things that we're posting on Facebook and there are some funny memes out there don't get me wrong. I posted one not to long ago a picture of Tom hanks dressed as Mr. Rogers and then there's a picture right next to that of Tom Hanks from the movie, "Cast Away" in which he's lost like 100 pounds and he's got a stick in his hand and he looks like a wild man and it says pastor day 1/ pastor year 15. I thought that's pretty good. It's not necessarily bad to share that humor or to share those pictures but come now, if we are able to look critically at what social media actually is, it can be an incredible advantage no doubt but it can also be an escape. Every bit as destructive and harmful and as addictive as cocaine or any other hard substance drug. Something that doesn't bring us to people, that doesn't bring us together but takes us away from people, that divides us further and further apart. And it's influencing what happens even within the church. The church has always lived in the world as a witness to the world and yet being in the world we are always under the pressure and the temptation of being like the world. Even now as you are to talk to individuals in the church growth movement, if you're to talk to the academics and the professors and the seminarians who will say to you, " here's what you need to do to grow your church." Even now you will find this insistence that the church has to be on social media, it has to have websites it has to tweet it has to instagram it has to face book it has to do all these things. And we do in fact do all of those things here at First Baptist Church and yet if you ever follow our intsagram or Facebook post or twitter thing, you will find this rather infrequent. People ask, "Why don't you post more often?" Because I don't care, you know and I hope that doesn't sound rude to those of you who are really into that, but I post when it strikes me, when the mood is right, I do want people who are cruising the internet on Face book to be able to come to our page and see something that's not more than 6 months old. That's about what it is at this point, I'm trying to keep it updated every 4 to 6 months. But does any of that really grow the church spiritually? When we come to Acts chapter 2 at Pentecost and we've made this point already and it's worth making again, that the Apostles get together, these uneducated, basically illiterate fishermen and say let's come up with a really good marketing strategy guys, let's come up with a way to plaster a fancy slogan on the side of fishing boats, you know. "You can fish as a man or you can follow the one who can make you a fisher of men." you know something cheesy or corny like that. They preached! and there was a group of people that received. When it says they were devoted you need to understand that the devotion was two ways. It was both to the guys doing the preaching, we see that in Acts chapter 6, and it was also the folks who were doing the receiving. If you think about it that's because there is something truly supernatural and glorious going on here in the apostolic preaching of God's Word. We have the whole Old Testament and it provides the foundation, it provides the basis for all the New Testament doctrine. We have these guys who spent 3 years with Christ, who learned directly from Jesus, who observed His Life who observed his ministry, who watched Him brutally tortured and murdered and yet conquering over the grave, and they stand up fearless in the face of all odds, against persecution against those who murdered Christ, who would love to see them murdered who in fact did engage in some of that latter on. And they preach the Word, they preach Jesus and there was a group of people who heard that, who received that that said we want that and the Testimony is both ways. Those who would preach and those who would say to the world, “I myself am not a preacher but I need it." Because we all need it. That in it of itself cuts against the grain of our culture. Many, many years ago there was a Jewish humanist by the name of Neil Postman who wrote a book called, " Amusing Ourselves to Death" and the subtitle was " Public Discourse in the Age of Show business" that was the subtitle of the book and Neil Postman he had these two different alternate ideas in terms of an apocalyptic future. Two different presentation, the one presentation was that there's going to be a state government, somebody's going to come in a rule top down and be heavy handed, the other idea was that society would not rebel that it would willingly give itself over that it would pursue amusement, that it would pursue entertainment and looking at the way that the culture was shifting, Neil Postman went on to write, Americans no longer talk to each other rather they entertain each other. They do not exchange ideas, they exchange images, they do not argue with propositions or claims of truth, rather they argue with good looks, celebrity and commercial. Coming to hear The Word of God is not about good looks, celebrity, there is nothing commercialized in it. It is the truth, it is a proposition being hammered home being believed and understood under the power of The Holy Spirit. That makes what is happening in here completely different than what happens in our homes, in front of our TV’s or on our iPhone’s. And where as you can create a personal privatized world for yourself through your cell phone with your own playlist, your own you-tube set with all of your own Facebook friends where you can control and manage and anyone whom you don't like you can simply banish to the outer darkness where there is gnashing of teeth and weeping by simply un friending them. HUH?! oh no!!! But you come to the church to hear the Word of God and guess what there are people in here that probably rub each other the wrong way. There are people in here who would probably rather not see each other sometimes on a week to week basis. There are people in here who probably come from different political persuasions, probably have different ideas on how things ought to be done, there are people in here who are right handed and some in here who are left handed. We come from all different walks, some of us are Canadian born, some of us have the unbelievable privilege of being from Texas. But you know what draws us together? Jesus Christ. And in fact it's probably only because of Jesus Christ that all of you would be willing to accept a Texas preacher. See I can be humble too...I'm the most humble man..No I'm just joking. Back to the text now. The preaching of the Word of God compels man in a way that nothing else does . The preaching of Christ, the holding forth of the Gospel commands people in a way that very few other things on this world do. I'm reminded of the example of Dr. Martin Lloyd Jones.
Not a preacher by training, a physician in fact. In 1921 he started work as an assistant to the royal physician Sir Thomas Horner, working with the Royal family, serving their medical needs, access to the palace to the kings and queens this is a man who had by medical training experience an incredibly bright future, an academic genius a man who was gifted in all that was available to them in that day and age in terms of medicine. This is a man who could have made a significant fortune, lived a life of relative ease, waited on only the classist of patients and yet in 1927 as he is coming to the pinnacle of his career as a physician he rejects it all moving away from London back to Wales to this tiny town in a barravon to a little no name Presbyterian Church. Baring himself there in the pastors study and years later when the question was posed to him “why did you turn your back on such a wonderful opportunity to practice medicine in the palace?” he said,
“Who wouldn't make that trade? To go from waiting on earthly kings, to waiting on The Heavenly King who rules all the earth?" Preaching The Word of God because it needed to be preached. In his day and age Dr. Martin Lloyd Jones was incredibly critical of the unbelief that that was creeping into British Evangelical Christianity. He believed that the Gospel was beginning to slide as it is prone to do in every generation and he couldn't stomach the thought that so many amongst his Anglican contemporaries, so many amongst his Baptist contemporaries, Methodist and Presbyterians alike would turn away from the good news that Jesus saves in order to preach a dogma that was open, that was inclusive that said, " We don't need the hard things like Hell, or sin or repentance we need the fluffy puffy stuff, that God loves you ,that He's a cosmic genie, a Santa Clause that wants to just meet your every need. The same sorts or stuff that plagues us today, plagued them in the 30's, the 40's, and the 50's and Dr. Martin Lloyd Jones said, "How would I waste my life attending to a man's physical needs when there were so few that were willing to attend to the deeper spiritual needs." And so he gave himself to preaching. We come here to this day and age in which many of you are thinking, 'This is what you do pastor, you always set up these false sort of things that aren't real, that we don't have to be concerned about. I mean here we are First Baptist Church and nobody here in Kamloops is really too worried. I mean of course we're going to hold to the Gospel and sin and repentance and forgiveness, it's not a big issue.' I'd liked to draw your attention to an article published yesterday by Mel Rothenburger through CFJC evening news. Mel Rothenburger commenting on events happening out East in an article Titled, "Does Christianity Really Need Any More Atheist Church Ministers?" He starts off with the question, "What is organized religion coming to when a minister in the United Church, not only is an Atheist but is supported in her atheism by her church. You know that times, they are a changing on the God front." He goes on to talk about a reverend Gretta Vosber she's a minister of a West Hill United Church in Toronto and she openly denounces belief in God, she denounces belief in The Bible and one would think that if you don't believe in God, or The Bible that you would probably find some other occupation than being a pastor or a preacher. But no, you'd only think that. He goes on to say, "After 3 years of legal action” recounting what happened in the united church in Toronto, “ the general counsel of the United Church of Canada in having initiated proceedings to have the Reverend Vosber fired, ended with what amounts to be an out of court settlement. It is a new day in deed after the church's decision, Vosber's congregation celebrated with cake and dancing at last Sunday’s service." Now it doesn't strike me as unusual that an unbeliever would try to climb their way into the pulpit in a church like The United Church , It's been that way a long time but what strikes me as unusual was that the church would, the people who listen to the preaching, allegedly The preaching of The Word of God would celebrate the toleration of their minister within their denomination by eating cake and dancing. This doesn't say so much about the minister as it does the congregation. Remember it is a two Way Street the testimony is two ways. It is not only men like Dr. Martin Lloyd Jones turning their back on any kind of a career and saying, " we must preach the Word of God," it is the people who say, "We must hear the Word of God, we must hear it preached." So I was quite thankful when I got this forwarded article. You know Mel Rothenburger goes on and I don't agree with everything Mr. Rothenburger says, you should just know that but he makes an interesting comment here in this particular passage he says that, " Does the hope for a revival of organized religion come down to believers joining forces with unbelievers?" He goes on to talk about the Unitarian, the universalist church which exist here in Kamloops and he goes on to say, he quotes one of these guys, "The U.U.'s have a diversity of beliefs and may consider themselves humanists, atheists, Christians, Jewish, Buddhists, Pagan mystics or spiritual. Doesn't matter what you believe so long as you’re willing to get together." What is the difference between the church and just living in the world? The way it's described here, there's no distinction. But this is the comment that really grabbed me in Mr. Rothenburger’s article, “The bottom line seems to be that it's possible to follow Christ without believing in Christ.” (So he says) “To me that seems like a pretty big step even for Christianity, some Christian Atheists even believe that God once lived but he is now literally dead as in He didn't actually come out of the grave on the 3rd day. The more I read up on this, the more it becomes obvious that Vosber," referencing this minister in Toronto, "that Vosber's situation isn't as unique as it seems,” and here's the money line that I want you to walk away with, “As organized worship declines, Atheism grows.” Now again I don't always agree with Mel Rothenburger on everything he says, but he has no idea just how right he is. "As organized religion" and that's his way of putting it, "declines" as the men and the women of God begin to lose their stomach to hear the preaching of The Word of God. As we find all manner of other things to occupy our time with on Sunday mornings, such as doing the laundry, doing the grocery shopping, catching up on chores, sleeping in, getting that rest we haven’t been able to get all week long. As we say there are other things in our life that are more important that take a higher priority than week after week and hearing Christ proclaimed to us through The Scriptures. When we loose our stomach for that, when we step back away from our commitment to that, when that is no longer our priority could there be any other result than that Atheism would take root in our society in our community around us and that it would grow amongst us. What holds Satan at bay is the faith and the commitment of the saints to their Lord and Him actively working through us. Church, Mel Rothenburger is not a Christian he describes himself as an agnostic and yet from the mouths of children the obvious can even be stated. You say, "Okay pastor so preaching is important." It is important but so is hearing preaching. There's an honor and a glory in humbly receiving The Word of God. Which does not get enough attention in this day and age. We talk about Jesus Christ being crucified we say that it is our faith in Him, it is our Hope and our dependence on what Jesus has done for us on The cross that brings about our Salvation and that is completely correct. We start the Christian life hoping and depending upon that first work that initial act of Salvation which we understood and received in its entirety through the cross, we say Christianity starts by depending and somehow by day 4 or 5, year 6, year 8 we go from a place where we say “I need Jesus I surrender all I depend entirely on this,” to where “ uh The Bible, uh I can take it or leave it, oh church the going to church hearing preaching uh I could take it or leave it.” we go from a place of dependence on Christ to a place of self satisfaction. This is not Christianity, Salvation comes by depending on Christ and it is continued in by daily depending upon Christ. Which means whatever else you want to say about Christians this much must be understood a Christian is always learning The Scriptures. The church, the early church is described in Acts 2:42 as having been devoted to, having been consecrated to, having continued steadfastly in whatever translation you're with there, they were committed to knowing the God of the Bible by knowing the Bible of God. Christians by definition are learning people. They are learning The Bible. Is that you? Is that you? Because there is a glory, there is an unbelievable glory not necessarily so much as in preaching the Bible, there's a joy in that as well, but there is a glory that comes from God that is bestowed upon men and women who would just humbly say, "No matter what I'm coming to church, I'm hearing The Word" You say “how do you know that preacher?”
Do you know who won Gold medal in the 100 meter dash in the 1980’s Olympics in Moscow? Raise your hand if you know who won the Gold medal in the 1980s Olympic in Moscow for the 100 meter dash? Not a single one of you. Anybody in there? you guys raise your hand. Nope okay, not a single one of you know that answer. Let me ask you this question, who won the gold medal for the 100 meter dash in the 1924 Olympics? You don't know who won the 100 meter dash in the 1924 Olympics do you? Let me ask you this, who won the Gold medal for the 400 meter dash in the 1924 Olympics? Nobody knows right? Who here know the name, Eric Liddell? Okay half of you know it.
Eric Liddell; who is this guy for those of your who've never heard. This man was an athlete second and a follower of Christ first. Born to Chinese missionary parents in China. He grew up in London. And he became a world class athlete, capable of winning, capable of sweeping all of the running events in the 1924 Olympics. In 1924 he would be the equivalent of Michael Phelps who's won just about every swimming competition you can think of over the early 2000's. This was a man who was physically gifted, who was athletically capable and you need to understand The Olympics come every 4 years and there is about a 4-5 year window in which you are a peek performer capable of doing this. Which means in that in the course of your life time you have maybe 1 shot if you're lucky you'll get 2 chances if you are at that level to go to the World Olympics to compete to show yourself the best in the world winning a gold medal. Would you trade one Sunday to go win a gold medal? Most of us in this room would say yes. Going to church and hearing the Bible as important as that is, we can set that aside to go win a gold medal on one particular Sunday. In 1924 in the Olympics that were being held that year, Eric Liddell when he learned that the very prestigious 100 meter dash was to be run on a Sunday, knowing full well he could sweep the field that he was the best athlete there that year, made the commitment and he made this commitment well before, he would not trade on worshiping Christ and hearing the preaching of God's word for anything including the opportunity to run a race and win a gold medal. That was in 1924. Latter in the week on a Tuesday he ran the 400 meter and he swept it, took the gold. To this day when I say, "Hey, anyone know who won the gold medal in the 400 meter in 1924" Nobody knows, I say " Do you know who Eric Liddell is?" Half of the room raises their hand. I ask you who run the 1980 gold medal in the 100 meter? Nobody knows and it's not important except for this one little fact, in 1980 the runner who ran that year, Allen Wells, a Scotsman. Eric Liddell was a Scotsman. Allen Well's won the gold medal, one of the 1st Scotsman to do it since Eric Liddell. He won it in the 100 and the 400 meter and from the podium in which they were putting the medal on him, Allen Well’s, he said, "This is for Eric Liddell." You don't know who won what gold medal in what event but trust me you know who Eric Liddell is and I know you know it. The glory of this world will one day be shown to be nothing. All the gold medals, all the prizes, all the trinkets, all the achievements, will one day be swept aside. And as Christians we're often tempted to think that our great virtue comes from doing great things for God, but that's not true either. The glory of God comes to us when we would depend upon Him, when we would lean on Him and when we would be committed to hearing Him speak that we might know Him. That we might walk with Him. The world looks at the church and sees people who use religion as a crutch they view all of this as a facade like Hollywood prop. Sometimes I wonder if the joke isn't really on us. If it isn't really just a facade or a Hollywood prop. The different comes down to whether or not we would be devoted to the Word of Christ. And my prayer for you is that you would be. Let’s pray, "Father we thank you so much for Your Word , we thank you that you desire to speak to us, we Thank you God that you long, You long to guide your people Oh that we would long to be guided by you, the way you long to guide us. Lord you are our Shepherd who desires to gather the flock, Oh how we would long for Your Word to gather us together to You. Oh Father is there are any here today who do not know what it means to have a personal relationship with You who are hearing all this talk about preaching and The Bible and knowing The Bible and aren’t really sure what to do with it all I pray God that you would speak to their hearts and show them they're missing out on an incredible glory the privilege of having a personal relationship with you , but Lord for all those of us here who do know You, who started off depending on You but in some point and time became complacent in self reliant, I pray you would take that from us. That we would once again become a learning community, a family that is committed to knowing the Scriptures. Help us to do that we pray Oh Lord in Christ’s name ~Amen