The Gift of Faith
When we come to faith in Jesus as our Lord and Savior it is a gift from God. He saves us by His grace. It is because of HIS victory over sin and death that we have new life. Our works do nothing to save us.
Through the teaching of the Apostles, who had spent 3 years in ministry with Jesus and had witnessed his resurrection from the dead, the early church members were taught that truth. The Holy Spirit moved in the hearts of the people who had come to faith to give generously to those in need. Not as a way to salvation, but because they were devoted to serving the Lord through ministry to those around them.
But early on we come to a sad day in the life of the Jerusalem church in these verses in Acts 5. Two people who brought an offering to the Apostles for the benefit of the church were struck dead. Here’s a dramatization of the story:
Bible Theater: Acts – Ananias And Sapphira – LifeKids.tv
Ananias and Sapphira had not been transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit. They were merely making a show of faith for others. We are told in Acts 5:11, “And great fear came upon the whole church and upon al who heard of these things.” When the Holy Spirit comes into our hearts God changes us and reveals to us a better way of living.
In Psalm 139:23-24, the psalmist writes:
Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting!
I pray that you would be lead in the everlasting way of Jesus.
All my love-
The Spirit at Work
Last week we heard about the crippled man who was healed by the power of the Holy Spirit through Peter. We ended our lesson last week with some leaping and praising God. It was exciting to see the Spirit at work in such a mighty way in this man’s life.
But the excitement would take a turn. The religious leaders became very annoyed because they thought that the problem with Jesus had been dealt with. But the Jesus problem wasn’t going away! As a matter of fact 5000 more people come to faith in Jesus after Peter preaches in the temple courtyard on the day this man was healed.
These religious leaders decide to counsel together. They call Peter, John, and the healed man to question them about what happened. Peter, again filled with the Holy Spirit, speaks directly about how this happened:
“Let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well. This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:10-12)
The religious are unable to contain this problem. They let Peter and John go with a warning not to tell anyone else about Jesus. But that isn’t going to stop Peter and John because they answer to God, not men!
Here’s a video of the Villanova University Pastoral Musicians singing the hymn “O God Beyond All Praising” by Michael Perry and Gustav Holtz . I love that there are singers and musicians of all kinds praising God with their voice and their instrument. I imagine that’s what it is going to be like in heaven. Everyone praising God for eternity!
“O God Beyond All Praising”
With Love and Praise to God-
“Silver and Gold Have I None”
Acts is a wonderful book full of travels and adventure and stories of people coming to know the Lord. The stories at the beginning of Acts take place in Jerusalem, near the temple. The temple complex was a place where many people gathered. It was in the heart of Jerusalem and had an extremely expansive courtyard that surrounded the temple building. Because the courtyard was open to Jews and Gentiles, people from all walks of life would come there going from one side of the city to the other, going about their business every day. The temple building was the place of worship for those of the Jewish faith.
In Acts 3, Peter and John come upon a lame man begging at the temple. He’s begging for money because he cannot walk and do work to support himself. But Peter and John don’t have money to give him. Do you remember what they offer him instead? Here’s a song that will remind you of what happened…
Cedarmont Kids: Silver and Gold Have I None
I love this song with all the “walking and leaping and praising God” parts! I think Sunday mornings at St. Andrews would be awesome if we all came into church that way! What a way to come before God giving Him glory for all He has done for us.
With love and leaps!
Peter Preaches to the People of Jerusalem
Last week in Sunday School we talked about the Holy Spirit. We saw that when the disciples received the Holy Spirit it came with power, which enabled them to share the good news of salvation but would also help them endure persecution.
Peter is the first disciple who preaches to the crow that day.
He reminds the people who gathered to listen of the miracles and other wonders that Jesus had done. He tells them that Jesus’ crucifixion and death were part of God’s plan for saving his people. He even goes back through the history of Israel and connects Jesus with this history and urges the people to repent of their sin, be baptized in the name of Jesus, and believe in God’s promises to his people.
Many people heard this sermon and put their faith in Jesus—3,000 people!
At this point we see something begin to develop that hadn’t happened before. People begin to gather together in large numbers to listen to the apostles teach, to share meals together and to pray together. We see the beginning of THE CHURCH!
That should be exciting to us, St. Andrews, because we can trace our roots back to this very event in history.
I hope you will come on Sunday and hear more about what we have in common with that early gathering of believers. I’ll see you then!
The Power of the Holy Spirit
Acts 1 & 2
We are starting a new year in Sunday School and starting the study of one of my favorite books in the Bible. All the books in the Bible are wonderful to read, but some capture your imagination and attention in exciting ways.
Acts starts out with the story of what happened to the disciples (also referred to as apostles) after Jesus was taken up into heaven. Jesus tells them that the Holy Spirit is going to come. Once the Holy Spirit is given them, then they will have the power to go out and tell others the good news of salvation that comes from following Jesus.
ShareFaith- Acts 2 The Holy Spirit Comes
Jesus told his disciples he would not abandon them. He told them that even though he was leaving them, he would provide for them a Comforter/Teacher/Helper/Guide to show them what they needed to do in obedience to God. That same Spirit that came to dwell in the hearts of the disciples is the Spirit that comes to dwell in our hearts. The same Spirit that gave the disciples power to be witnesses to the people in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost, gives us power to witness to others about the Good News of following Jesus.
I pray that you know the peace and comfort of the Spirit that comes from following him, too. He will never leave you alone.
Go and Tell Others!
We are nearing the end of the gospel story, just before Jesus is taken up to heaven. Jesus spends his final days on this earth encouraging his disciples to carry on with the message of salvation. He tells them they have a job to do: to go and tells others!
Maybe you wonder what it means to go and tell others? How do you do it? Who do you tell? Really EVERYONE needs to hear and there are MANY different ways to tell people. The main thing is that you have to get to know people and hear their stories.
You might know them because they are in your class at school. Or maybe you get to know them when you are playing on the same soccer team. Or maybe they are your new next door neighbor. Then you don’t really have to go very far! You can invite them to Vacation Bible School, or to come to something special going on at your church.
The point is when you spend time with someone and they spend time with you, your love for the Lord will surely shine out! Actually, it will be His Light shining out through you!
I found a great version of Matthew 28:19-20 put to song.
Hope this will inspire you to GO! and Tell others!
GO! Worship Song
Jesus Prepares His Disciples
Since Easter we’ve been looking at the different appearances made during the days between his resurrection and when he was taken up into heaven.
There were the women at the grave..
Do you remember the angels’ words to them? “Why do you look for living among the dead? He is not here! He is risen indeed!”
Then there were the disciples on the road to Emmaus…
How their hearts burned within them when they realized they had just talked with Jesus!
Last week we looked at two Jerusalem appearances where Jesus comes back to where is disciples are gathered. Jesus came to them and ate a meal and talked about the Scriptures. He showed them his wounds, because they thought he might be a ghost. He assured them he wasn’t. He told them they had work to do.
This week we will learn about an appearance Jesus made in Galilee to his disciples who had returned home. These were the ones he had called to be fishers of men. It is a story of grace and forgiveness. Come and hear for yourself about how much Jesus loved his disciples, but also loved those who have followed!
I love you too!