If you’re a Christian, you’re called to be a cheerleader.
MARCH 10, 2022
If you’re a Christian, you’re called to be a cheerleader. Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.
The deepest message of Jesus and the Bible is the radical grace of God to sinners and sufferers. That’s what Key Life is all about. So, if you’re hungry for the hopeful truth, that God isn’t mad at you, keep listening. Steve Brown is a professor and our teacher on Key Life.
Thank you Matthew. If you have your Bible open and to be 11th chapter of Acts. This is the place where the church pulled up her skirt and began to run. I mean, Peter and later Paul was, and we’re going to see that we’ve already seen some of that because Luke paused in his teaching in the book of Acts, to tell us about Paul. And he spent a significant bit of paper doing that. And then he came back to the early church and told us what was going on, but he wanted to make sure that we got the apostle Paul, before he got back to his church history. And now he’s back in the church history and we’re looking at what’s happening in the early church. And in this 11th chapter of Acts, we see behind the scenes. We see how they did church. And there’s some principles there that are very important on how we do church. First, we’ve seen that everybody, there was no canceled culture. Everybody owned the vision. Everybody was able to say anything without being kicked out. You know, it’s kind of amazing that the circumcision party, you got to remember, Peter’s the big deal. I mean, he’s the rock. He’s the leader of the church in Jerusalem. He’s the one that everybody looks to, he had an experience and this circumcision party criticized him. And it was allowed and they were not kicked out, they were not removed. And so, when you do church and you decide what’s going on in church, the first thing you do, is you make sure everybody has a part. Secondly, they looked where God was going and decided, I’m going to go there too. Now, let me show you something new. I would have you notice that in this 11th chapter, and I mentioned this yesterday, but we didn’t have time to talk about it, that once the proper direction of the church was decided, that people who were involved were not cut loose. And said, now you go do your own thing because in the church, when you succeed, I succeed. When you fail, I fail. When you cry, I should taste your tears. When I’m lonely, you should be lonely. When you’re involved in ministry, I’m involved in ministry because we’re the body of Christ, And so, nobody is ever cut loose, they are supported and they are cheered in where God has called them. In a church. I once served, we decided our meetings were too long. And so, we decided that there was a way to determine what God was doing. People were coming to the elders of the church and saying, I’ve got a great ministry. I want to apply and I want to be involved in, and I think you’re going to like it. And then they would tell us what they were going to do, like starting a new singles ministry. And we would say, we determined that we were going to do it this way, that we would give them one announcement in the pulpit and two announcements in the bulletin item of the church. We would set aside a place for them to meet and plan. And then, if God honored, we would then provide staff and money and advice and prayers and support. That worked really good, sometimes we say I have a great ministry. We would say, alright, pray about it, if you’re sure, we’ll give you some publicity. And if anybody shows, it might be God. And if nobody shows, God has made a statement about your ministry, it’s not his. That didn’t always go over well, but the plan really worked. And when using the singles ministry, again as an illustration of this, singles came in droves. I mean, it became a large and effective singles ministry with professionals coming from all over the city. And it was amazing. And it started when we gave two announcements in the bulletin and one from the pulpit and gave a place for, what were we doing? We’re doing what the early church did. It’s what you find in that fourth verse.
But Peter began and explained to them in order.
And then you get to the last verse of the text, which is the 18th verse.
When they heard this, they were silenced and glorified God saying, “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance unto life.”
They knew what the church was supposed to do. They knew, and that would be Paul. They knew who would be ordained to do it. And they determined as a church to support those people who were involved in ministry. That’s important in the church too. You know, your ministry is not my ministry. I’m not called to do everything that you are called to do. I remember one time when my friend Eddie Waxer and Cleve Bell and I were having lunch, Jim Green was a part of it. When you’re an old guy, you have a lot of memories. We were having lunch and Cleve Bell, who headed up Riverside House, which was an amazing prison ministry, was talking about all of the things that God was doing. And he said, and he had to get up and leave because he was late for a meeting. And when he left, I said to the other guys, you ever feel guilty, you’re not doing what Cleve’s doing. I mean, what a wonderful ministry, we ought to be doing that too. And Eddie Waxer said to me, and I’ll never forget it. He said, Steve, are you crazy? God, didn’t call you to a prison ministry. If you tried doing prison ministry, you would mess it up and it would be awful and nobody would get saved or changed. You do what God told you to do, and you stand behind Cleve, when he does what God told him to do. We need to look around in the church and we need to look at people that God is using. And that doesn’t mean that we’re called to do exactly the same thing, but we’re called to stand behind those people as they get involved in ministry. In other words, we’re called to be cheerleaders with everything that means. We’re called to walk in places where they walk, to hold up their arms, to pray for them, to provide finances and help as we can because we’re in this thing together. The direction of the church was determined, the people who were involved in the direction was determined and the rest of the brothers and sisters became their cheerleaders. And that’s one of the reasons that God used the church in the first century. My friend, Paul White, elected, he was a pastor and a missionary in Reunion, which is off the coast of Africa. And, he said, you know how they, how we ordain elders in our church? And I said, no, how do you do that? And he said, we have a week of prayer and fasting, our entire congregation gets on their knees and do without food to plead with God, to show us who our leaders are. And once we have determined where God is leading with these leaders, we support them. We stand behind them because they are God’s anointed. How do you know where the churches should be going? You look at where people in the church are going and where God has called them. And once you determine that it’s Biblical and it’s right, and we’re going to say something about Biblical later on. But that it’s Biblical and it’s right. Then you go to that person and you say, I want you to know that I’m not called where you’re called, but I’m called to stand behind the place where you’re called and I’m your cheerleader. And what I have is yours and I’m for you and I’m for you the whole way. Oh my. If we did more of that in the church, we would see God honoring the work of the church in a great way. That’s why testimonies are so important in the church, because that’s the place where the people who are God’s people tell the people who are God’s people, what God is doing with God’s people. And in those testimonies, we begin to perceive the places where God is moving, how lives are being changed, how ministry is being performed, the pro-life movement, a ministry to the poor, a ministry to other countries and missions, a ministry of counseling, a ministry of caring, a ministry of food to the hungry, a ministry in the prisons, a ministry to people who don’t know Christ, a ministry of caring and understanding and loving. Of being, as it were, Jesus with skin on. And so, as the church gets it together, as the church meets, as the church does life together, you begin to see God moving in all kinds of directions. And once you perceive that happening, you recognize this is not them, this is us. You think about that. Amen.
Thank you Steve. Still so much more to explore here in Acts 11 and we shall do so soon, but first, tomorrow, we’ll step away from that for a day to answer the tricky theological questions that you’ve sent in. It’s something we call Friday Q&A and yeah, it’s a pretty good time. Sure hope you will join us for that. So, of all the things that tend to drag you down, what would be at the top of that list? Well, if you’re like a lot of folks, it would be guilt, but here’s some great news. Jesus’ death paid the debt for all our sins, and that means guilt can actually lead us back to Christ to find true and lasting forgiveness. Steve wrote about this in a mini-book called Feeling Guilty: Grace for Your Mistakes. And you can get that mini-book, for free, right now by calling 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You could also drop an e-mail to [email protected] to ask for that mini-book. By mail, send your request to
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