Langwarrin Christian Reformed Church ... a Light to the Nation

Beloved in the Lord Jesus Christ, last week we were privileged to hear in Acts 2 how people were affected by the Word of God. What shall we do was also the biggest question after the biggest conversion of all time; 3000 people were converted after the sermon of Peter!  The believers in our Bible Reading asked: What shall we do? By the power of the Holy Spirit, three thousand people came to profess Jesus as their only Saviour. Peter showed that Jesus Christ is the Messiah who came. Our Saviour is not only called Jesus, but Peter called Him Christ because God has made Jesus, both Lord and Christ. This name is significant. This name brought and brings change. Christ’s is Jesus official name, and it shows His office, His work and task. It shows what He came to do and what He is. Christ is supreme prophet and teacher who revealed the Council and will of God concerning our salvation.

Peter proclaimed the Gospel, through the Preaching and the people were amazed and they asked:  What shall we do?  Peter answered: “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

 

But then something amazing happened! The believers came together, devoted themselves to the Apostles teaching and fellowship, they were breaking bread together, and awe came upon every soul and many wonders and miracles were being done through the work of the Apostles.

In Chapter 3 of the book of Acts we see the instruction to the church in the world. The church must come into action!

Sometimes believers, and churches can act if they have arrived. They have received the Gospel, they confessed that Jesus Christ as their only Saviour, but their busy lives and everyday living are taking up most of their time and there is not really much time for everything else. People who have arrived are stagnating in their faith and there is not growth!

Arrival and even to think and live like you have arrived in your faith can be very dangerous. Arrival tends to produce self-sufficiency. If you think you’re wise, you don’t seek out the wisdom of others. If you think you’re mature, you don’t hunger for the protection of others. If you see yourself as a person of mature faith, you don’t seek the courage-giving encouragement of others. If you don’t see your sin, you won’t see the value of repenting your sin daily in front of the Lord. If you think you’re up to whatever temptation will throw at you, you don’t ask for other eyes to watch out for you and other hearts to pray on your behalf. The first church did everything in unity

A church who thinks they have arrived have no plans for future growth, their giving and tithes will stagnate, their enthusiasm is down, so is their participation and church attendance and ultimately their awe for the work in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Another word for arrival can be lukewarm. In Revelation 3 Jesus addressed the Church in Laodicea and warned them: “I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot!  So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” Laodicea was a church that conformed to the pattern of the world, exactly against which the Apostle Paul, the founder of this congregation warned against. They followed the Lord, but on their terms. You cannot serve God half-heartedly; you cannot obey God just in some things. No, you must serve Him in faithful devotion to His Word.

 

We as a church has received the great commission from our Lord Jesus Christ Himself in Matthew 28: 19: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

As a church, we need always to come back to our first love –Jesus, and seeking to grow in our love for Him and wanting to obey the Great Commission that He commanded us to do until His second coming.  This means that the church must engage in the needs of the people and proclaim the Gospel. We should be relevant and address the needs of people in modern day Australia.

People are now more confused than ever and in need of the Gospel right here in Australia on our doorsteps. We can only look at the high divorce rate, the suicide rate and to people who are constantly depressed about their financial situation.

There are also now generations in Australia that don’t know the Lord! There are children in our suburb who have never heard about Jesus, the Cross, His resurrection. They need the gospel of Jesus Christ, to know Him and His salvation. How can we withhold from them the good news of the Saviour?

 

The church should be busy with life and growth in Jesus. Then the church is relevant. We should address the needs of our people and above all proclaim the Gospel!

 

Today the Lord wants to show us how relevant we need to be! A crippled beggar, lame from birth, was carried to the Temple Gate to beg from those going into the temple Courts. They are churchgoers, good people, people who know God; they will help him in his distress!

 

This crippled beggar went to those who were going into the temple courts. He turned to people was conceived and born in sin, like him. He went to people who are still in the paralysing grip of sin and do not know and confess Jesus as their Saviour. Sin paralyses the helpless, through sin there is iniquity, and through sin there is sadness and sorrow.

 

The beggar in our scripture and every beggar, but even more, every man is an image of the lame man at the temple courts. Helpless he relies on what the world can give; temporary enjoyment, temporary relief and aids. If my situation, can only improve! If only I can escape from my financial problems! If I only have a different job!

 

Brothers and sisters, the world can only give alms or handouts, and most people are expecting the same, they just want alms, they live for the temporary; the temporary pleasures and the temporary joys in this world and don’t even think about their eternal life.

 

The world, money and pleasures cannot save man from its deepest misery. No president, prime-minister or political party can still the hunger in your soul. In Psalm 146:3 we read: “Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save.” Those who live without the peace of Christ’s; lives are empty and there is no hope and they are in desperate need of the Gospel!

 

We have used the Lord’s Supper today! And the Lord’s Supper calls to repentance and reflection in Jesus! What will we do with the gifts the Lord gave us in His mercy as a Church? Will it reflect on our everyday life, our relationships with others, our gratitude? Or will I still participate in the handouts of the world and seek that with an urgent heart.  Will, I continue my old sinful ways? With these questions the Lord’s Supper confronts us while if we are sitting in the temple courts. Christ wants us to participate, but we cannot hold on to the world and its things. We must seek Jesus in everyday life and live and proclaim the hope in Him.

 

This crippled beggar who sat in front of the temple expected but only temporary relief of his worries and his hunger. Sadly, he held his hand out to Peter and the apostles in the hope and asked them for money. Money is only temporary relief! It is so good to help people in their need! We should do that! But our task as church is so much more to give money! We should also proclaim the Gospel!

 

The Apostle told him to stand up and walk! Real joy was now given to the man. The solution of the paralysing grip of sin was now being given to him – Jesus Christ! Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!”

 

What Peter gave him was more than the healing of his disability, he was proclaiming Christ.

 

Jesus Christ is God, Peter proclaimed through this deed and he helped the paralysed man on his feet, and immediately his feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began and praising God. He honoured God for this miracle!

 

He was cured of his paralysis to seek more, to seek God! And He received much more! He praised God, for his salvation in Jesus Christ. Peter explained this in verse 16: “And His name—by faith in His name—has made this man strong whom you see and know, and the faith that is through Jesus has given the man this perfect health in the presence of you all.”

 

Brothers and sisters the early church; received special gifts and the ability to perform miracles from God and the Lord added daily believers to the church. This we read in Acts 2:41: “Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.” and verse 43: “Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles.” And verse 47: “And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.’’

 

We also have received everything we need, the message of the Gospel, the Holy Spirit, the power of the church, and we need to share this hope! We received Jesus as the centre of the gospel and this was the message that Peter wanted to bring. It is Jesus Christ that makes us free from sin. It is Jesus who gives hope! Jesus Christ is risen from the dead.

 

Jesus saved us from the crippling effect of sin and in Him alone there is hope. There is not hope in what the world can offer, there is no hope in princess, in leaders of the world to keep us safe, but only Jesus!

 

Christ, our Saviour was victorious. All power in heaven and on earth was given to Him. The full glory of God was revealed and He saved us from Satan and sin and in Him we have the hope of eternal life!

 

To proclaim Jesus through your life, and devote yourself to Him, is the best give that we as a church can give! And therefore, our doors should always be open, our smiles friendly, our hearts warm and accepting and that all for the sake of the Gospel. We should forgive we should love, we should tithe, all for the sake of the Gospel.

 

We as God’s church, stand in the service of the kingdom and the world. We are no longer slaves of the world who must rely on alms, but citizens of the kingdom of God. In our worship and service the kingdom of God should be manifested. God reigns! As kingdom citizens, we should live until His kingdom will come in its fullness. And it is near! The time is short and the labourers are not many and the injustices and hopelessness of this world are huge! The world needs the Gospel! The world needs the hope that we can give in Jesus through the proclaiming of the Gospel! If we do this we are relevant in this world!

 

With the letter to Laodicea the Lord told the congregation that was so focus on themselves to obtain a different shopping list than this world and its temporary pleasures.

 

  • They should rather buy gold refined in the fire, so that they can become rich! This is the gold of the gospel, His precious covenant, and the promises in His Word.
  • They should buy white clothes, to live a holy life according to God’s Word, so that they are clothed in holiness, and not in the shameful nakedness of this world in the shopping centres clubs or magazines. Our daughters and boys should honour their bodies as the temple of the Holy Spirit and dress respectably so that you can honour the Lord also in your clothing.
  • They should buy the right salve for their eyes so that they can see Jesus, focus on Him, and not on the world!

 

This is what we should be on our agenda and our shopping list as a church as well! Let us focus on Jesus, let us focus on the Gospel and give the same to the hopeless what Peter gave to the lame beggar, this is the Gospel of hope in Jesus Christ. Let this be our priority to let people know that the answer of hopelessness in this world is still to be found in Jesus alone and not this world!

 

Amen!