The Risen Body of Christ: A sermon on Acts 2:42-47
The Risen Body of Christ
May the grace of God and the Lord Jesus Christ encourage in us a sense of awe as we serve alongside each other; helping each other find healing in Christ Jesus.
- What did the Risen Church Do?
I want you to imagine a conversation that the disciples had, about 3 weeks after Jesus shows up, “no longer dead.”
Peter gets them back in the upper room and says,
Alleluia! Christ is Risen!
And the disciples respond, “He is risen, indeed!”
Peter comes back with, “and therefore…”
And the disciples are ready, the shout out “we are risen indeed! Alleluia!”
And Peter looks around the room, and wonders,
“Uhm… What do we do next?”
Well, we know from scripture they will replace Judas, and then wait in Jerusalem for the Holy Spirit to come open them.
And as they baptize 3000 people, they begin to do things…. And that is where we get to today.
What does a bunch of people who have risen with Christ do?
What they did then, maybe is what we should be doing now…
- What they did…
Well scripture is pretty clear about what they did,
They devoted themselves to the apostles teaching, to the study of the word of God as it showed the promises that came true because of the cross.
They had fellowship events together, where they came together as one—like the women’s luncheon yesterday.
They shared in meals, including the breaking of bread in the celebration of the Lord’s Supper.
They prayed together. The word there in Greek is to ask, even beg God to interact in their lives, but to do so, knowing He is listening.
And they shared everything they had… meeting each other’s needs,
It was special.
So much so that, “43 A deep sense of awe came over them all!”
That was before all the signs and wonders!
God was at work!
- Why did they do it?
So why were they so involved?
Some churches talk about being purpose driven, setting out a purpose such as saving the world. Others create Vision Statements and Mission Statements with core values. Very similar to that which a corporation would create.
They speak of getting people to buy into the vision of leadership, and therefore everyone is motivated to work towards that vision. Programs, events, everything has to serve that vision, or it falls apart. Consultants and coaches make a lot of money helping churches discover that vision.
Except that in the places where the church explodes, there usually isn’t enough time or leadership to spend time on the vision statement! They certainly didn’t have one at Pentecost!
At its best, the church is beyond our control.
That’s okay – our mission statement here is a little uncomfortable.
Concordia is the place where broken people find healing in Christ, while helping others heal!
Wait! That means each and every person here is broken in some way!
Yes! We are in a long line of people broken by sin, that do incredible things as God works through us to help others. Gerry did that yesterday, as she invited Shelly to come to the luncheon. Maureen, a new person among us, came and brought her teenage daughter! And I saw a bunch of ladies I didn’t know – what a wonderful outreach, that God did!
God at work! Creating a fellowship meal where people got to know people, where they laughed together!
Just like at Pentecost!
Half the things I do it seems, are not for who I originally meant it to bless, but it blesses other people.
Not just about the church, but about everything. We have our vision, and we don’t always ask God if it resonates with Him!
I’ll give you another example. I thought we wouldn’t make it this year financially as a church and school without the ERC money. Yet, as of last month, we haven’t touched it. Concordia was in the black —as a whole.
God has provided!
- The results—great joy, generosity, goodwill and the Lord added…
The effects of the church spending so much time dedicated to God’s word, to the sacraments, and to prayer were four-fold.
They lived in awe of God.
They experienced great joy
They were generous, spending not only money, but time investing it in each other’s lives.
And those around them recognized God at work and looked upon them favorably.
I would share with you something someone told me about our Easter service,
“I watched your service live as it was happening rather than later on as I had planned. There was something very special about the whole thing, including a very peaceful yet joyful atmosphere that I detected.” Jim
I’ve had other people tell me similar things about our church, including a pastor who I took to lunch on a Monday a few years back. He asked what happened on Sunday, as there was a residual feeling of holiness, as if everyone experienced the presence of God.
And others just know they fit in, this is where God wants them…because God was tangible here, that they felt God’s peace in the midst of their brokenness. Even a couple of weeks ago, as we watch James get baptized, where His mother was baptized. And as saw another group of youth get confirmed.
God slowly, surely adds to our number…He places people here, where they become part of our family…
God is at work here, in this risen body of Jesus.
This is the church, where we see God invest His word and His precious Body and Blood in us, and we invest in each other…
And together, we find that God pours out His peace upon us, our hearts, our minds, as we realize we are united with Christ.