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Continue to Testify (CC)

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April 29, 2012 Sermon Pastor Dave - Zion Sermon Text: ACTS 4:23-33 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 4, beginning with Verse 23: ON THEIR RELEASE, PETER AND JOHN WENT BACK TO THEIR OWN PEOPLE AND REPORTED ALL THAT THE CHIEF PRIESTS AND ELDERS HAD SAID TO THEM. WHEN THEY HEARD THIS, THEY RAISED THEIR VOICES TOGETHER IN PRAYER TO GOD. "SOVEREIGN LORD," THEY SAID, "YOU MADE THE HEAVEN AND THE EARTH AND THE SEA, AND EVERYTHING IN THEM. YOU SPOKE BY THE HOLY SPIRIT THROUGH THE MOUTH OF YOUR SERVANT, OUR FATHER DAVID: " 'WHY DO THE NATIONS RAGE AND THE PEOPLES PLOT IN VAIN? THE KINGS OF THE EARTH TAKE THEIR STAND AND THE RULERS GATHER TOGETHER AGAINST THE LORD AND AGAINST HIS ANOINTED ONE.' INDEED HEROD AND PONTIUS PILATE MET TOGETHER WITH THE GENTILES AND THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL IN THIS CITY TO CONSPIRE AGAINST YOUR HOLY SERVANT JESUS, WHOM YOU ANOINTED. THEY DID WHAT YOUR POWER AND WILL HAD DECIDED BEFOREHAND SHOULD HAPPEN. NOW, LORD, CONSIDER THEIR THREATS AND ENABLE YOUR SERVANTS TO SPEAK YOUR WORD WITH GREAT BOLDNESS. STRETCH OUT YOUR HAND TO HEAL AND PERFORM MIRACULOUS SIGNS AND WONDERS THROUGH THE NAME OF YOUR HOLY SERVANT JESUS." AFTER THEY PRAYED, THE PLACE WHERE THEY WERE MEETING WAS SHAKEN. AND THEY WERE ALL FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT AND SPOKE THE WORD OF GOD BOLDLY. ALL THE BELIEVERS WERE ONE IN HEART AND MIND. NO ONE CLAIMED THAT ANY OF HIS POSSESSIONS WAS HIS OWN, BUT THEY SHARED EVERYTHING THEY HAD. WITH GREAT POWER THE APOSTLES CONTINUED TO TESTIFY TO THE RESURRECTION OF THE LORD JESUS, AND MUCH GRACE WAS UPON THEM ALL. This is the Word of our Lord. We 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: Our short Epistle Lesson for this morning to me speaks such great comfort and such great volume. When John says to the Church: "HOW GREAT IS THE LOVE [that] THE FATHER HAS LAVISHED ON US, THAT WE [ that we ] SHOULD BE CALLED CHILDREN OF GOD!" [See 1 JOHN, Chapter 3] What wonderful news that is for us. How great it is for us to continue to hear that message time and time again ... that God has loved humanity. That God has loved us. Each and every one of us. Taking us from the grasp of Satan and eternal condemnation and a horrific death in eternity and bringing us to be His own. That He called us to be His when we didn't want to be His. That He loved us lavishly. When all we did was want to hate Him and be His enemy. And having that faith put in us by the Holy Spirit, we rejoice in that wonderful news that we are the children of God. And that God has lavished on us, His love and His blessing. But yet then isn't it so ironic in our life when those people who are not the children of God don't like us. Not only do they not like us, they hate us. They don't love us and all that they are putting on us is their animosity and their vehement hatred. And it somehow catches us, as Christians, off-guard. And it unsettles us. We, as the lavishly loved children of God, living in this world ... why should we have to deal with that? Why should we have to put up with that? Why are their people who don't believe what we believe? Why are their people who want to stop our preaching and our teaching? Why are their people who want to silence us? And somehow we get this idea that we are just being picked on. And it's so easy for us to just sit there and get into a place of despair. And in silence. And then we wonder and think: Well, if God really lavished His love on us? Are we really the children of God? If we would just stop and think for a moment: All of the people that God has called to be His own and lavished His love on, have endured the hatred of the world. Have been despised by unbelievers. Throughout the ... centuries of the Church, that has been the truth. The Church is always under attack by those who oppose God. We see that once again in our Lesson for this morning in the Book of Acts where the apostles healed a crippled man in his 40's. Restores him, and it created an uproar. There were people who saw it and were rejoicing and giving thanks to God and then there were the people that opposed God and His will. And they were not happy with what Peter was saying to them. Nor what the disciples were preaching about Jesus Christ of Nazareth and His resurrection. They hauled Peter in before them and they said: You have to stop this. You have to stop preaching Christ. You have to stop proclaiming to what you have seen and what you witnessed. We want your testimony about Him to end. And they went back to the other disciples and what did those disciples do? Did they think: Well, how can this be? God must not love us anymore. But Scripture tells us: They came together in prayer. They came together in a prayer that acknowledged the fact that God Himself had predicted: That the rumors of the people were going to raise against God's Anointed One. That there would be kings on earth who would oppose the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Those disciples knew what lay ahead of them and they asked God for His blessing. To continue to testify. To speak with boldness. To empower them by the Holy Spirit to continue to be united around Jesus Christ because they were His witnesses. Remember Jesus Himself said in His resurrected form to them: You will be My witnesses. You are the ones who are going to start telling this story. You're going to tell it in Jerusalem, in Judea, and Samaria and to the ends of the earth. You are the people who are going to testify about what I have done. And the disciples continued to do that. With clarity, and with directness about the events that happened. Even in their prayer they spoke how Pilate and Herod conspired together with the Gentiles and the rulers of Israel in Jerusalem. To put Christ to death. But that was not their plan that they were carrying out. It was what the Lord Himself had set up as the plan of salvation from the ages ... in eternity. That He was going to send a Savior. He was going to send the Messiah, the Anointed One, who would fulfill those offices of the Old Testament of High Priest and Prophet, and King. As the High Priest, He would sacrifice Himself for the sins of all people ... once and for all those sins would have been paid for. Those sins forgiven and covered by His blood. He was the Prophet who came to this earth to tell people the Good News of God and what God was doing. He is the King who rules over the Church. Who carries It through this world until It will be ruled by Him in all eternity in the glories of heaven. It was the Father's plan and Jesus carried it out. And the disciples were united around Jesus and what He had done. The salvation that He had brought to people. They now still saw Him carrying out those roles for the Church. He was still High Priest at the throne of God interceding on behalf of the individual members of the Church for their needs ... for what they needed each and every day to keep them strong in the faith. He was the King of the Church, ruling all things because He had placed everything under His feet. All authority had been given to Him. He was the One who was guiding the Church to Its heavenly home. And He was STILL the Prophet ... STILL sending people out to proclaim the Good News. Telling them to go and testify to what they had seen. And the Church gathered in prayer around that. And said: We want to be bold. We want to proclaim what Jesus Christ has done no matter what is going on out there, no matter what is coming against us. We have the Good News of Jesus Christ. And today, as the Church, you and I need that same attitude. Because the Church is still being attacked on its teaching and what it stands for: What God has said? Where salvation comes from? And who IS the Lord? And now is not the time for us to hide or to be silent, but it is the time for us to become united on Jesus Christ. United together in proclaiming what He has done. And being bold. Taking those measures that say: I am going to continue to testify. I am the one who is going to talk about Jesus Christ. I am the one who is going to share with my family what God has done and what He still does each and every day. I am the one who is going to spend time in the Word with my family. I am the one who is going to be inviting people to share some time over Scripture with me to bring them to worship. To talk with them about the Savior. Because the message that we have is the message of eternal life only found in Jesus Christ. And that is what we are to continue to testify to because we have that same Spirit. That same Holy Spirit that came to those disciples that day that gathered together in prayer and filled that room. And filled them and gave them the strength to go out and preach. To tell the world what Jesus Christ had done. That same Spirit has been with the Church throughout the ages. Bringing people to faith. Strengthening them each and every day by the power of the Word. Keeping them in that holy and sanctified life. Causing them to live their life of faith. And talking about what Jesus Christ is central to that life of faith. That we continue to testify to the things that we know. That we continue to read and study so that we can grow in our knowledge and grow in our understanding. As we ourselves grow and mature and change in our life, Scripture still speaks to us daily in unique ways about our unique situations. And how the Holy Spirit guides us in that study. And gives us that strength to continue. We face those same challenges each and every day that every believer has faced throughout the history of the Church. Those who are against us, do not support us. Those who are against us, will speak ill of who we are and what we are. Those who are against what God has done will do everything within their power to stop it. But we have the power of the Holy Spirit on our side who is greater than any earthly power. We have the promises of Christ knowing that the Church will stand and will always rest secure, even as hell and Satan beat against Its doors. Because God has saved us through Jesus Christ. He has given us His Holy Spirit to live in that faith. To put on the armor of God and to take our stand as His warriors using the Word as our weapon to testify to what Christ has done. Because we know the love of the Father; we know the love the Father has lavished on us. We are the children of God. We are blessed in so many ways that we can hardly begin to comprehend them, but we know that we will in full when He returns. And as we wait for Him, as we wait for His coming, we remind ourselves today to continue to testify. To talk about our Savior. To share the Good News. To let others know what Jesus Christ has done. 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: 17 minutes and 13 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: R & M
Director: Jesus
Views: 53
Posted by: hischild on May 3, 2012

We listen to "The Believers' Prayer" as the sermon text of Acts 4:23-33 is read and we're reminded as children of God we, too, are empowered by the Holy Spirit to testify to the resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Pastor Dave can be reached through: www.ziontorrance.info

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