BeBOLD: Together

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The body, once filled with Holy Spirit

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Pirates…fun loving community.
They were mercenaries of the government…but then when they didn’t get paid…they became mercenaries for themselves.
They have a reputation as theives, murderers, and all round bad people. But that’s when they worked for themselves. When they worked for the king, they were loyal subjects.
They lived a hard life, fighting disease and hunger. always looking over their shoulder for the last government they robbed. It wasn’t a good life.
We romanticize it a bit this weekend. We make it look fun. walking around town singing songs, saying AYE Matey…and arrrgggg
But in reality, it wouldn’t be a life anyone we know would choose, too many risks and frankly we have gotten used to playing it safe these days.
This weekend here is all about the fantasy of the pirate life…far from the real thing.
This weekend we I’ve had a lot of fun at this Pirates Weekend. I haven’t seen much craziness, but I have met some good people. We have had some great conversations about God and the church.
One lady I talked to yesterday…if you are here today, thank you for coming…your words spoke volumes to me.
she shared with us that she grew up in church, but left when she got older when someone in the church hurt her. She said she loves the church and God, but hasn’t been back because it hurt too much.
She said, the church that Jesus talked about was a fantasy…it wasn’t what church was really like.
This is the way we find a lot of the relationships we get into. We have this fantasy idea of what it should be like, but they fail to deliver. With our children, with our spouses, with boyfriends/girlfriends, with our church, even our work relationships normally fail to live up to the fantasies…we create around them.
Today I want to talk about the place that God has made for each of us to be in relationship that isn’t fantasy. How we can be a part of the real relationship that we were created for. In this we look at how the early church became bold together…and how we might take our place in relationship beyond fantasy.
We know that the early church began to grow in BOLDNESS.
Peter and John were ordinary men, but preached with amazing boldness because of the time they spent with Jesus.
5000 coming to faith in Christ in hearing their bold message.
Last week we discussed being bold in our relationship with God, praying bold prayers.
That in fact God is glorified when we pray bold prayers, prayers that put us in step with his plan, rather than asking God to come be a part of our plans.
Today we are going to look at what boldness looks like in the church among the one anthers as I have in the title of our message today.
After I thought about it some more, I changed the title to
BeBOLD: Together…that is more in keeping with the text today and How god has spoken to me these last days.
The principal I want us to realize is that there are

Common people can do uncommon things together

Being bold together, in our relationships, as God has designed relationships to in our faith, looks different in us, it looks different in our relationship with God, and it also looks different in our relationship with one another, in the church.
Let’s look at our text
Acts 4:32–37 NRSV
Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common. With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold. They laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need. There was a Levite, a native of Cyprus, Joseph, to whom the apostles gave the name Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”). He sold a field that belonged to him, then brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
A couple of things that made the church unique here in the text…proofs that they were living a real life, BOLD: together.
First we see they had uncommon unity, they

Uncommon Unity: Majoring on the Majors

Let me clear the air here. I know there has been much conversation in our churches about merging to form one church. That’s not the kind of unity they were talking about, but now that I brought it up, let me just share my thoughts on this.
In every church, one way you can divide the people into two groups, one group that is trying to figure out how to be a stronger, healthier church; and one group that thinks they are just fine. I’m sure some of you would fit into these two groups. Of those who are trying to figure out how to be a stronger, healthier church, some of you think it can happen by coming together to form one church from our charge, and some of you don’t think that’s necessary. And you are both right…sort of. What matters, regardless of how we get there, is that we become a stronger, healthier church. I want us to focus on that, even those of you who think everything is great, to strive to become more in love with Jesus, to share his love with more of our neighbors, to see the Kingdom of God come right here in Rock Hall.
Becoming a healthier church is always a worthy goal. As we become healthier. I believe God sends people to churches where they can find the healing they need. And he removes people from unhealthy ones so they might find healing elsewhere.
We can get stronger and healthier. It can happen here, it can be the church down the street, and it can happen miles away. It’s up to us to become a place where healing and spiritual growth happen, and then we begin to take part in what God is doing. This is more than a dream…it can be reality.
Getting stronger and healthier starts right where we are today…Being Bold…together. As described in Acts 4:

“All the believers were one in heart and mind.“

they were unified in heart and mind that Jesus was alive and promises that in following the way of salvation, they will experience new life.
The were unified, in one heart and mind... with Christ. They didn’t major on the minors…they didn’t focus on what made them different.
They didn’t focus on who likes hymns and who likes the worship songs they hear on the radio. They didn’t focus on having a screen in church or not. Or what the building looked like, or what building they met in, or what logo was in their church name. They were unified in heart and mind on the fact that Jesus was alive and he provided them a new life.
See what being unified led to…the message o f the resurrection being spoken with power. Where did the power come from? The Holy Spirit, yes. But also because the Holy Spirit was at work in teh people, and the words the apostles shared weren’t hollow....they were proof of Jesus’s resurrection was in that these people from all different backgrounds were doing life together. There wasn’t back biting, arguing, complaining. When they had issues with one another, they resolved it and forgave one another and moved on.
Church as God intended it…unified in Christ.
It was then, people heard of this new way to live and saw people living it out. It wasn’t a was real. This was a powerful message.
I have been able to experience this. I was part of a small group of friends who met every Tuesday night to encourage and spur one another on to love and good works. We met for years talking about what it was like to be christian men and husbands. We loved each other, we were of one mind and heart. It’s been over 15 years since we met, but they are my closest friends. Out of that group, 6 men have followed God into ministry. Men did courageous things because they knew they weren’t alone.
Scripture says where 2 or 3 are gathered in my name, i am there…it applies today.
Over the next weeks you are going to hear about an offer to form small groups, or to take the groups you are in to new heights.
Groups where we can major on the majors…our WHY
When we focus on what we share in common rather than what divides us, it affects everything we do.
As I was thinking about this, I heard my dad say...”That would be nice…if everyone agreed with me” right? Well I have a better idea, instead of being of one mind and heart around one of us…or my dad.
Let’s focus on being boldly unified with Jesus. Then we will see the power in the message of Jesus.
This unity in Jesus led to the second way the message was made given power.

Uncommon Generosity: All for all

We read it right in the text, they no one claimed their possessions as their own, but shared everything they had. No one was in need.
It came as a result of their being unified in mind and spirit; they were truly one in community.
Look in the text:

No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need.

They saw themselves as stewards entrusted by God with possessions that were to be used to glorify God, and at that time, it meant that caring for the needy was most important.
This practice didn’t become a standard for the church in a financial sense. But in the early days it was the proof that Jesus’s words creating a new way of living was for real. This wasn’t a fantasy; but the real thing.
It is the same proof in our relationships today…not just the church.
When we are generous with our possessions; with our emotions; with our forgiveness; with God’s grace; with our time. Generosity is a proof of God at work in the people of the church in Jerusalem. It is still the proof of God at work in people today.
I know many people, more than just the lady I spoke with yesterday are saying “Show me that church.” What I believe is that God, through Holy Spirit power is working to create uncommon churches.
Uncommon churches that show the world Jesus as loudly as it speaks of Him. It all begins with me. it begins with you.
It begins as we decide to

BeBOLD: Together

Unified in mind and heart with Jesus…which makes us unified together.
leading you and I to be generous, not just financially with those in poor; but in forgiveness with those who have failed; healing with the broken; compassion with those who are suffering; our time with the lonely. To be generous with every blessing God has entrusted to me.
Are you looking for that church? You found it today. You found it in Jesus, right her with you.
Lord Jesus, I need you. Thank you for wanting me to experience the Father’s love and acceptance. Thank you that I am valuable just the way I am. Thank you for loving me so much that you sacrificed your life for my sins. By faith I receive you into my life as my Saviour and Lord. thank you for forgiving my sins, for which I am truly sorry. thank you for the gift of eternal life. thank you for making me alive in you. thank you for new life. I give it back to you. Help me become the person you have created me to become. Amen.
Welcome to your new life. There are probably more of us who have been doing relationships our way and now come to see that doing them unified in christ is the way God intended us to love one another. If you would like to recommit your life to following Jesus in your relationships in and outside the church, I invite you to pray with me:
Lord Jesus I need you in my life more today than I even know. I want to come home. I need to come home. You are my God, yet I haven’t lived that way. I have struggled to believe that you really love me as I really am. I want to put my past behind me and live into my life with you. I want to be unified with christ in heart and mind. I have done things that I am ashamed of, and I am sorry. I know I’ll never be good enough to earn your love, but you love me anyway, in spite of me. I thank you for forgiveness of my sin and giving me a new life. I invite you to take your place in my life as my Lord. Direct my steps daily. I want to walk in your way. continue to form me into the person you have created me to become. I love you, Amen.
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