Scripture: Acts 5:12 Now many signs and wonders were done among the people through the apostles. And they were all together in Solomon’s Portico. 13 None of the rest dared to join them, but the people held them in high esteem. 14 Yet more than ever believers were added to the Lord, great numbers of both men and women, 15 so that they even carried out the sick into the streets, and laid them on cots and mats, in order that Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he came by. 16 A great number of people would also gather from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing the sick and those tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all cured.
Observation: Luke describes the ministry of the apostles as being very similar to Jesus’ ministry, which makes sense. The apostles had spent years accompanying Jesus through various towns and villages, doing the same kinds of things over and over and over again. Obviously, the apostles had learned a thing or two. As was true of Jesus, people were in awe of the apostles as they healed the sick, cast out demons, and proclaimed the gospel with power. Some onlookers became disciples of Jesus themselves, but many didn’t. You never knew how a given person would respond to the gospel. That was true then and it’s true now.
Application: Christmas is almost upon us dear friends. Like many of you, I’m not finished with my Christmas preparations just yet. I’ll get ‘er done as always, though I’m not exactly sure how. (Jesus take the wheel!) Of all the things we can do at Christmas time, offering worship to our Lord Jesus is the most important. Two groups of people I wanna speak to this morning:
First, I know some of you aren’t regular church-goers and I know you have your reasons. I’m certainly not one to judge. There have been seasons in my own life when I was a lot like you. That said, I hope you’ll give the church another chance. If not the church, I hope you’ll give Jesus a chance. You see, that’s the thing about the church. Yes, it has lots of flawed people, but Jesus is there among us. Jesus! And I can assure you, spending time worshipping Jesus will bless you and strengthen you as you prepare for 2017.
Secondly, there are some of you who want to invite someone else to join you for worship but are hesitant. Maybe you don’t want to offend. Maybe you don’t want to face rejection. I get it. There can be many reasons why it’s easier to forget the invitation or wait ’til next year. Don’t. Seriously. Do I know how your friend/loved one will respond to your invite? Nope. Do I know how your friend/loved one will respond to the worship service if they agree to go? Of course not. Fact: neither did the apostles in our passage for today. They didn’t know who would respond to the gospel and who wouldn’t. But they didn’t worry about that. They did their part and trusted the Lord to do the rest. Same goes for you and me.
An invitation from you could be the start of a complete life transformation for someone you know and love. I kid you not. I write as one who reluctantly went to a Christmas Eve worship service some 30 years ago and have never been the same since.
Prayer: Lord, it’s Christmas time and things are typically busy. Too busy with things that have little to do with the celebration of Jesus’ birth. That said Lord, we ask for grace to make worship of Jesus a priority. It really is the reason for the season. And Lord, we ask for courage to invite others to join us for worship. It could change someone’s life forever. Especially ours. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.