The Committed New Life
If you recall from Sunday’s sermon on Acts 2, God has three essentials needed for working transformation among his people: the Holy Spirit, transformational preaching, and committed people (you can go to www.rlcnn.org/sermonsarchive/be-the-church-essentials-needed-for-god-to-work/ in case you missed or fell asleep during it). The Church was told to “wait” for the Spirit, for he is God’s power that would work in and through them. It was the Spirit working in Peter that convicted his audience as he preached a transforming message, resulting in 3,000 people believing in Jesus and being baptized. The third transformation essential is where you and I come in – committed people.
The Gospel because a mighty movement because God had committed people that he empowered and sent out. These were people who came to see and know God’s grace in Jesus who, then, shared the Gospel with others. Without committed people there would have been no one to carry the good news beyond Jerusalem; with them, the small band of 120 standing on a hill, watching Jesus ascend to heaven, became millions of believers scattered across the Roman Empire in a single generation!
In the last few years, there has been a malaise that has settled over Resurrection (like many churches in North America) resulting in a general “apathy” among the membership. While there is a strong core, which carries much of the ministry-burden of the congregation, way-too-many members seem only to come for an hour on Sunday and then rush out to beat everyone to their favorite restaurants for lunch. For a transformation to take place at Resurrection, a change of heart-and-mind must occur.
God committed himself at the cross for the sake of your salvation. God poured out his Holy Spirit for the sake of your coming to faith. God seals the promise of your eternity through the gifts of his “means of grace” – Word and Sacraments. God calls you his own and claims you as such. God has committed himself and his gifts and his grace to you. That’s God’s gracious, loving, and merciful commitment; how do you respond to his mercy?
Luther once said, “God does not need your good works, but your neighbor does.” It is through committed believers that God works in the world today. There is much to do and God has redeemed (“purchase, bought you out of bondage”) you to be his “sent out” servants. Where do you begin?
- Start with bring where God promises to be found every week – in worship where he speaks to you through his Word and touches you with his gifts.
- Commit to his plan that we have as his Church in Jesus Christ, gathering around the “apostles’ teaching and fellowship, the breaking of bread and the prayers” (Acts 2:42), which will learn more about this coming Sunday.
- Simply acknowledge and affirm God’s blessings with gratitude for them, and a faithful commitment will come naturally.
“We speak of the kind of faith that is not an idle thought, but that liberates from death and produces a new life in hearts. This is the work of the Holy Spirit…As long as faith is present, it produces good fruit…” [The Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article IV (II): Justification, 64]