Act II – Staying Steadfast through Persecution Stephen’s murder proves faithfulness leads to suffering. Yet, God was still at work in the suffering, bringing the gospel to new places, and fulfilling Acts 1:8 through Acts 8:1. In the same way, we don’t need to fear suffering and persecution, because we trust that Jesus’ name makes…
Peter’s Act I was marked by a cowardly denial of Christ. But his Act II was filled with a courageous sermon that launched the church into the first century. How? The same way that scared, timid Christians find the courage to boldly share the law and the gospel—by the Holy Spirit.
Sermon Text: Act 2:1-47
Jesus gave a mission to his followers left on earth to share the good news with all creation and proclaim Jesus as King. In the same way, the Ascended Jesus is sending every member of his Church on a mission to transform lives through the message of his grace.
Jesus’ resurrection changes… everything! The message of Easter changes… everything! Luke 26:9-15
Last Words The last words of Jesus.
Love is hard. There are so many times when we’re just weary. We give and give and give and never seem to get anything back. Jesus displayed so much love through his life and ministry. He had every right to expect a little something back. But human love is always tainted by selfish motivations. Still that’s the thing about God’s love. It’s committed. It does what it needs to do. Love sees it through. Mark 11:1-10, John 19:28-30
Forgiveness—it sounds so easy. Yet, there are times when we just can’t forgive, when we simply don’t want to forgive. If anyone had reason to feel that way, it was Jesus. Jesus, however, freely offers unconditional forgiveness even to the very men who nailed him to the cross. Forgive, God says, as I have forgiven you. Love forgives! Matthew 18:21-35, Luke 23:34
We say we love all people, but when push comes to shove, we’re pretty selective about where we choose to live and the people we choose to hang out with. Jesus hung out (literally!) with individuals that we church people would deem “beneath us”. And he showed them the same love, the same grace. Love embraces all! John 3:14-21; Luke 23:43
A mother loves her child and will do everything she can to protect him. Even if the whole world turns against or gives up on her child, she’ll defend and speak well of him to the bitter end. How much greater is Jesus’ love as he seeks to protect his Father’s reputation and the physical well-being of his own mother. Love protects. John 2:13-22; John 19:25-29
When we think that love means happiness and roses and nothing more, we’re in for serious disappointment. Sometimes love means sacrifice and suffering. Sometimes loves means taking up a cross can carrying it to its finish. Mark 8:31-38; John 19:28-29