We continue in the Aftermath of Easter. Christ has risen. It is the earth shattering event (our greatest fear, death-the consequence of sin, has been defeated), but it is an event no one knows about… and the church, the followers of Christ, have been sent to report the good news. To bring light into a dark world…
In the aftermath of tragedy barrels of oil are floating in the gulf. The normal safety features have failed and oil is rushing toward the coast. The wisdom of the Coast Guard has been applied and they came to the same solution our group would have found… set it on fire!
While all this is happening, I can say that I am concerned. I follow the story online, still when it came time for Plunge… well, I left the offices and hoped in my car for the drive to the Harbor. Our campus is big and I was carrying a load, but I could have easily walked. In truth, the oil spill hasn’t done anything to effect my driving habits. Do not get me wrong, the story is sad, but I will keep on using gas for my car!
I suppose if I lived on the coast when the spill arrived, maybe I would be more concerned. I know I would be rethinking everything if it had be friend or family who lost their lives on the rig… yet, here in Augusta the story is sad and it resonates – but not enough to actually make me change anything.
For many of us this is the reality of the Apostle’s Teaching that set the early church in motion. We find their teaching today in the New Testament (which was written by the Apostles or those closely connected). We hear a sermon from Greg or my Plunge message and we are convicted – but not enough to actually change our lives. We quickly go right back to normal. Why? Because the message is still outside our hearts.
The teaching that will transform does not often happen often at church, instead it begins when we go directly to meet with Christ. When we sit before Him and open the scriptures. Not as we read a text book, but to mediate on the words. Which means we read the story as though it was written for our own lives (it was) and then we place ourselves into the story (use your imagination). Finally, and most important, we constantly ask Christ what this means for our lives (it is a RELATIONSHIP after all). In this meditative reading we will find the Apostle’s Teaching take root in our life and that we no longer can be the same…
As the passage from Acts breaks down it begins with four facets of the early church. Then continues to further explain each point. On the Apostle’s Teaching, it says, “Everyone was filled with awe at the many signs and wonders performed by the apostles.” The New Testament is just a book, but empowered by the Spirit it becomes so much more. It creates life change that we could not imagine! Even today it will produce signs and wonders… that will fill us with awe.
One interesting this about the word “awe”. It is translated from the Greek word phobos, which is the root of our word phobia. So that a better translation may be fear. When we approach the scripture we need should come with awe, but also with respect. The gospel can be a scary proposition. The call of Jesus is not to the same life. Instead He is calling us to follow Him into new life. And in Acts we capture a vision of that life. A life that begin with heart soaked with the Apostles Teaching and it ends with the final passage, “And the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.”