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We are Christ's Witnesses (CC)

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CHRIST IS RISEN! CHRIST IS RISEN! WE ARE CHRIST'S WITNESSES SERMON TEXT: ACTS 3:12-20 Let us rise for the reading of this morning's Sermon Text recorded for us by Luke in the Book of ACTS where we read from Chapter 3, beginning with Verse 12: WHEN PETER SAW THIS, HE SAID TO THEM: "MEN OF ISRAEL, WHY DOES THIS SURPRISE YOU? WHY DO YOU STARE AT US AS IF BY OUR OWN POWER OR GODLINESS WE HAD MADE THIS MAN WALK? THE GOD OF ABRAHAM, ISAAC, AND JACOB, THE GOD OF OUR FATHERS, HAS GLORIFIED HIS SERVANT JESUS. YOU HANDED HIM OVER TO BE KILLED, AND YOU DISOWNED HIM BEFORE PILATE, THOUGH HE HAD DECIDED TO LET HIM GO. YOU DISOWNED THE HOLY AND RIGHTEOUS ONE AND ASKED THAT A MURDERER BE RELEASED TO YOU. YOU KILLED THE AUTHOR OF LIFE, BUT GOD RAISED HIM FROM THE DEAD. WE ARE WITNESSES OF THIS. BY FAITH IN THE NAME OF JESUS, THIS MAN WHOM YOU SEE AND KNOW WAS MADE STRONG. IT IS JESUS' NAME AND THE FAITH THAT COMES THROUGH HIM THAT HAS GIVEN THIS COMPLETE HEALING TO HIM, AS YOU CAN ALL SEE. NOW, BROTHERS, I KNOW THAT YOU ACTED IN IGNORANCE, AS DID YOUR LEADERS. BUT THIS IS HOW GOD FULFILLED WHAT HE HAD FORETOLD THROUGH ALL THE PROPHETS, SAYING THAT HIS CHRIST WOULD SUFFER. REPENT, THEN, AND TURN TO GOD, SO THAT YOUR SINS MAY BE WIPED OUT, THAT TIMES OF REFRESHING MAY COME FROM THE LORD, AND THAT HE MAY SEND THE CHRIST, WHO HAS BEEN APPOINTED FOR YOU -- EVEN JESUS. This is the Word of our Lord. Let us pray: This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it. Amen. [Text taken from the HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, 1973, 1978, 1984, used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers] Dear Followers of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ: Who of us would not be surprised ... not be taken back ... if someone that we had known and seen, day after day in a crippled state begging in the temple asking for help so that he could live. And that crippled man, all of a sudden by the power and the words of someone stood up and walked. That healing had come to that crippled man. No wonder the people who saw Peter and the disciples perform this miracle were stunned, were excited! But they also had questions. And wanted to know what was going on. Who had done this work. How had this great thing been accomplished. And Peter and the disciples stood there among those men and wanted to make it clear Who had done this miraculous sign. Who had performed this miraculous deed. It was God Himself. The God that those Jews knew. The God of their fathers Abraham and Isaac and Jacob. The God who had written the prophets by His Holy power and His Holy strength. And recorded His Holy Word pointing to the fact that He would accomplish salvation. That He would send a Deliverer ... the Holy One. The Righteous One of God would come to save His people. Peter made it clear to those gathered there that day that it was through the power of God that this had been accomplished. That this healing occurred. But Peter also took the time to let those gathered there know the truth. He grabbed an opportunity to witness to them. To tell them exactly what God had done. To tell them exactly what Jesus does for those who believe in Him. And Peter didn't mince any words. I mean if we hear and listen to those words that Jesus spoke to the people gathered there that day, that Peter was very clear what they had done: You took that Holy and Righteous One of God and handed Him over. Gave Him to Pilate. Turned Him over to Pilate and demanded that He be put to death even though Pilate had found no reason for that. Pilate was going to let Him go and Peter says to those men: What did you demand? You demanded the release of Barabbus. You demanded the release of a known murderer. Someone who had gone on a killing spree. That is who you wanted released. And the Author of Life you killed. Those are powerful words. That is a strong witness coming from someone that we read in our Gospel Lesson for this morning was in a locked room for fear of the Jews for fear of his own life. But it was Jesus who came to those men; who came to Peter and those men locked in that room and breathed on them the Holy Spirit. That gave them strength and power to go out and to be that strong witness. To proclaim what God had done. Because even though they as human beings had killed the Holy and righteous One of God and killed the Author of Life God raised Him from the dead. God the Father looked at that sacrifice that Jesus willingly made; that Jesus Himself continued on that path to the cross. Walked it Himself ...hung there for the sins of humanity, carrying our weight and our burden of sin to destroy it. That Jesus went into that grave-tomb, with the knowledge that it would just be temporary. That He would be raised to life. And that is what God did. And Peter spoke bravely and boldly and clearly to those men that were there: This is what God has done! And this man who has been crippled, has been healed by the power of that God. Stop staring at us as if it were some kind of godliness on us or some super power within us. God did this miracle. God brought also salvation to you. And he proclaimed that with boldness. Proclaimed that as a witness of what Christ has done and there is our lesson as well. Because you and I know what God has done. We have seen it in the pages of Scripture. We are blessed because we believe through the power of God's Word. We don't have to be like Thomas, who stood there when the disciples said to him: We have seen the risen Lord. And Thomas said: Oh, no. I'm not gonna believe it. I'm not gonna believe it. I'm not falling for that. Unless I can stick my finger in there and see it for myself I will not believe. And Jesus came again and He said to Thomas: Here. Put your finger here. Put your hand into my side. Stop doubting and believe! Strong words, aren't they? Stop doubting and believe! You believe because you have seen this but blessed are those who have not yet seen and have believed it. And that is US! We are the ones who have seen this from the pages of Scripture. We long for that day when we will see and meet our Savior face-to-face. And be able to see those nail marks and where that sword had pierced Him. But we know and trust in Him as our Lord and Savior. And we ARE His witnesses to proclaim boldly and confidently what God has done. To stand and just tell others. Taking the opportunity that comes into our life and letting them know what God has done. Not mincing any words. Sometimes it is coming with a message of the Law, and saying: This is what you did. Peter says: You killed the Author of Life. But Peter also came to them and said: Repent! And turn to God because Jesus is the One who will refresh your soul. Jesus is the One who brings healing. Jesus is the One who brings comfort. Jesus is the One who removed that punishment of sin so that in your life you are not consumed with guilt. Consumed with living that God is out to punish you. Consumed with living that you can't do enough to get to heaven. Unsure of where your future is or that you are loved by God. Jesus comes to us and ERASES all of that ... all of that fear and doubt, and guilt. And replaces it with His love and His confidence and His joy and His strength. That is what Jesus does. He rose from the dead to show us the way. To give us strength to live in a world that is filled with evil. Where sin comes in contact with us each and every day. But we are reminded of the eternal joy that we have. The fact that we also at times because of our own sinfulness, or just because the world wears us down ... we don't have that joy or that confidence. Or we have questions. But then we turn to God and His Word. And we know what Jesus says to us. We know that heaven is ours. Because someone told us that. Because someone shared that message with us. I was so reminded of that last night. When I got a phone call. Got a phone call from Mary. Mary said: Pastor: Genevieve has a question. She has a question about heaven. And she looked me in the eyes and said: I think I need to talk to Pastor about this. So Mary called me. So I get Genevieve on the phone: Hello! "Hi Pastor". So I hear you have a question. And she said, "Yes. What is heaven like? I've been thinking about it a lot lately." Pretty amazing, for someone under 10. So we had a discussion. About heaven is where Jesus is and where all the believers in Jesus are. And she said: Pastor? What does it look like? And I said: Scripture describes it being so beautiful. It's like all of the pretty jewelry you could find ... diamonds and rubies and emeralds and it's all shiny and it's nice and there's nothing bad and there's no crime and it's so beautiful that we can hardly imagine it. And she said, "Nice!" And I said: Do you have any other questions? She said, "No, but I'd like you to have a good evening, Pastor." And I thought to myself once again ... God has given me an opportunity to share hope and comfort with someone else. And not all of the encounters we're going to have in life are going to be that easy or that nice. But yet that doesn't mean that we don't witness. That doesn't mean that we don't tell other people what Jesus is STILL doing in our lives by bringing us hope, by bringing us comfort. By sharing that with our children, by talking about that with our spouses. By dealing with the fact that there are people that we know who need to hear and be reminded of the love of Jesus Christ. That there is our comfort. That there is what refreshes us. That that is what reminds us that our sins have been forgiven. That eternal life is ours. And that there are so many things in this life that just pale in comparison. So many troubles in this life that just melt away when someone says to us: This is what Jesus is. And they understand it by faith. And they say: Nice! Because it IS the greatest gift. It is the greatest comfort. And WE ARE Christ's witnesses. We have seen what God has done. We KNOW what Jesus STILL does. Now do what a witness does ... and tell somebody. Amen. Let us rise. Now may the peace of God which goes beyond all of our understanding, keep your hearts and your minds and especially your lives in the one true faith unto life everlasting. Amen.

Video Details

Duration: 16 minutes and 35 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: R & M
Director: Jesus
Views: 48
Posted by: hischild on Apr 20, 2012

Following the example of Peter in Acts 3:12-20, we know we can boldly witness what God has done and still does for us today. www.ziontorrance.info

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