We Presbyterians are typically reserved, ordered, rational people and so overall we struggle with the notion that God would want us to act as the disciples did on that day of Pentecost in Acts 2. Yet if we only focus on what disturbs us in this passage then we lose the impact of what was happening; the message; the meaning, and without the message or meaning behind Pentecost then we will never grasp or be part of what God was and is doing in his church through his Spirit.
I remember sitting in a Templepatrick Presbytery meeting when Johnny Moxon was moderator. Every Presbytery meeting begins with worship led by the moderator, usually prayer, bible reading and a sermon. At this meeting Johnny said it wasn’t enough for Jesus to be saviour, he had to be Lord as well. This is the response of both Lydia and the Jailor.
There’ll always be people who question our right or worthiness to be servants of God, ministers in the church or society. I don’t mean ministers in the sense of ordained ministers, but rather people witnessing to God’s goodness and grace. There’ll always be people who say things like sure he’s just a blow in. He’s not one of us and he’ll never be one of us. There’re others who will say sure it’s only him again. He always has something to say, he’s just another one of those religious nuts. Other things people might say are nobody listens to him, he’s not very clever, he’s the local clown, he’s the one everybody belittles or makes fun of. Scripture teaches us that what qualifies us as servants of God and followers of Jesus is not the opinions of the people around us. If we’re to seek God’s will in our world then we’ll have to learn to not only deal with such accusations but to listen to what God says about us, to believe God and only God.
As we come to this study in Ephesians, we will be uncovering God’s plan for his church. Hopefully, it will challenge our understanding of the church regardless as to whether we have had positive or negative experiences, because we will be getting back to God’s plan for the church, his hope for his people.
The church needs people of different gifts, it needs to have a diverse leadership. The church also needs that leadership to be working together and pulling in the same direction. The way to work together is to worship together.
The book of Acts is a story of how the church learnt how to be the church away from the building. It is a book of how to be the church in the community, in the towns, the workplaces and family environments. It is a book that has relevance for us today because of the situation we find ourselves in.
Please don’t think because our building is closed, or because we’ve been socially distanced that the church is in trouble. The Spirit of God continues to move in the lives of his people. We see this very clearly in the book of Acts and chapter 8 especially.
The lesson of Easter and the Pentecost is that while God chooses to use us in telling others about Jesus, the work is very much his. It is the work of his Spirit in our lives and in the lives of the people we are talking to.
Since Easter we have been thinking about what happens now. Easter has come and gone. We’ve heard the story of Jesus crucifixion, death and resurrection. Hopefully, we have been told what a significant moment this was in history and how important it still is for each one of us today. But what now? How does Easter change lives, change how we live? What is the lasting impact of Easter or is it simply forgotten and put away for another year, recycled like the cardboard so many Easter eggs came in?