This Sunday, Pastor Ed continued the sermon series in Acts, "Who Do You Think You Are?"
First, he mentioned that this week we should be praying about the bank loan for our property. He and several others are fasting on Wednesdays about this.
Ed began with a joke, which I won't repeat. He's learned that he gets his sense of humor from his mother's father, and his extroversion from his father's side. He's from a time and place that still uses the phrase "your people." If we know who our people are, we know more about ourselves.
1) Our people have often been slow to recognize how BIG God is.
Many of the first Jewish Christ-followers didn't believe that Gentiles could or should get the grace of God.
God broke that attitude down, little by little.
In Acts, we see the gospel advance both as those around them accept the message and when those around them reject God's message. God's kingdom advanced even through adversity.
Our God is not threatened by cultural change.
2) Our people are deeply and profoundly related to Jesus.
Antioch was a cosmopolitan, beautiful city. The response there was overwhelming. Barnabas sought out Saul for help. The work grew dramatically. That's where the disciples were first called Christians.
They didn't know how big God was: He didn't send the Christ to overthrow Rome, he sent the Christ to overthrow sin and death.
They were called Christians because their lives were saturated with Christ.
The same spirit that animated Christ, animates our people.
Most New Testament scholars consider Acts Luke's Book Two of the Story of Jesus. It's about what Jesus continued to do and teach -- through his people.
3) Our people believed that reality includes a spiritual realm that is all around us, interacting with us.
They believed this because they experienced it, not because they were superstitious and needed to explain their scary world.
Our people literally believe in the death and resurrection of Jesus.
If the resurrection of Jesus happened, everything we know about reality is changed.