A Church on a Mission: No Favorites

by | Feb 26, 2023 | Podcast, Sermons

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Preacher: Pastor David Ball

Scripture: Acts 10:34-48

Every parent knows not to show favoritism to their children. Favorite children often become arrogant and act as though they are superior to others. In our Acts passage God makes it cleat that He is a Good and loving Father who does not show favoritism to anyone. The danger we face as Christians is thinking that we are God’s favorites and as a result acting like we are superior to others. The Gospel frees us from the bondage of superiority so that we can love the lost the same way God does, who sent His one and only Son into the world to save us.

Transcript

Lord, we thank you for these ancient words you come by the power of your Holy Spirit you impart them to our hearing you plant them deep in our hearts that they may grow and bear fruit in our lives and Jesus we pray this in your mighty name amen you may be seated you know this this past week in our sonship course we discussed an idea about something that we call spiritual amnesia um and the danger that uh that it that it uh presents to a life of Walking With Jesus Christ as his disciple yeah I think we all know what amnesia is uh but you know for those who who may not it’s a condition in which a person is unable to remember things uh usually due to a head injury or some sort of shock or an illness or just some extreme fatigue it can even happen um and medically there are various levels and and uh degrees of Amnesia a person can forget people a person can forget uh even loved ones in their lives a person can forget past events that that happen to to take place uh now I’m not a doctor and uh unfortunately we do have some doctors here so I may get in trouble uh but even in the most extreme someone with uh someone with amnesia uh still doesn’t lose necessarily awareness of themselves uh they may not remember who they are or or what they’re doing or why they’re there but they don’t lose a total awareness of their own existence they still feel emotion fear anxiety confusion they’re still aware of their own basic needs even which makes Amnesia all the more painful for loved ones who are walking through this difficult time with them you know in our our sonship class we watched a clip uh this past week from The Notebook I know you probably remember that uh the Nicholas Sparks book that they they made into the movie um there’s a really powerful scene in that movie where the husband uh is Carrie has been caring for his wife who’s suffering with dementia and she goes and she goes in and she goes out of these states of remembering him and their great love story right if you’ve seen the movie or read the book uh and the scene we watched uh he sets up a romantic dinner for her and for a moment you know for a moment she remembers and it’s just a beautiful scene she remembers him and their story and it’s absolutely beautiful uh and then they they he puts on her favorite their song uh that you learned about earlier you know when you watch the movie uh and they dance to it but then all of a sudden in the midst of this beautiful love story and this dance together suddenly she forgets she forgets who she is she forgets their story but but she didn’t lose her whole sense of self completely and so she suddenly in that moment was confused and scared and got angry it was a really a powerful and just heartbreaking scene if you can remember it now sorry to all you husbands out there or boyfriends who are now going to have to go home and watch this movie again um but you know it really was a powerful illustration of uh of Amnesia and how painful and destructive it can be and the truth is all of us uh you know we all suffer from bouts of amnesia you know hopefully God willing it’s not of the the physical and mental kind but we suffer regularly with spiritual amnesia times where we forget our first love we forget who we are in him but we don’t lose our whole sense of self uh and because of that we become probably more self-focused more self-centered and in the process we get fearful we get confused angry even in the process spiritual Amnesia is that process and that that condition of forgetting about Jesus forgetting who he is in our lives forgetting what he has done for us forgetting his grace his Mercy his love and in the process forgetting who we really are in him physical Amnesia is a terrible terrible thing but spiritual Amnesia is actually far more dangerous because it causes us to act out of our sinful nature and which actually hurts the people around us it causes us to think life is all about us and so uh we want more than anything else to be right we want more than anything else to be Vindicated we want to be safe we want to be comfortable and anyone who stands in our way feels the wrath of our unmet desires the only antidote for Spiritual amnesia that I know of is the power of the Gospel the only thing that’s powerful enough to break through that that selfish self-centered condition is the work of the Holy Spirit reminding us once again Anew of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to remind us that our lives are in fact all about Jesus our lives are all about who he is what he’s done for us and who we are in him as a result you know this this week is I was studying our text this week from the book of Acts for those who maybe just uh visiting with us today uh we’re in the midst of a series uh going through the entire book of Acts uh and as I was reading the text for this morning I really struggled with this passage I knew that what the passage was all about and and how it fits into The Narrative of the book of Acts you know that’s easy enough but what I struggled with was why this mattered why did it matter to us this morning and the more I struggled with it uh the more I finally came to the conclusion it’s really quite simple this passage is all about Jesus

and that’s the message that’s why it’s important for us this morning and so as we open this passage together from acts 9 verses 31 to 43 together May the Holy Spirit break into our spiritual Amnesia this morning open our eyes once again that we may see that our lives are all about Jesus and with that I want to invite you to either open your Bibles or open your bulletins to acts 9 verses 31 to 43 as we work through this passage together for just a few minutes this morning yeah the the early church has been through some really difficult times in the past few chapters and acts Stephen was stoned to death for his faithful proclamation of the Gospel persecution broke out in Jerusalem which scattered the disciples all but the apostles that scattered them out into the countryside Saul’s been ravishing the church imprisoning uh men and women breaking up families even approving of their their execution but then Jesus reached into the life of his greatest enemy we talked about this last week of Saul and he brought him to Faith he brought him to Faith he opened his eyes he showed him that he was persecuting him and now in verse 31 we’re told that the church experienced a time of peace and was being built up in the process and walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit we’re told that it multiplied and multiplied after all they’d been through after all the trials after all the struggles you would think when they finally got to experience a moment of peace that they would take some rest right take a break regroup I know that’s what that’s what I’d do but know that that this time of Peace we’re told was actually a time of of multiplication for the church which meant uh that they continued to living in Mission and on Mission with their lives they continued sharing the gospel with those around them because for those who had been transformed by the grace of God through Jesus there was no time to rest they wanted others to know the good news they wanted others to know about God’s love Jesus’s sacrifice for their sins they wanted others to know the joy of Salvation that they had found this is how on fire they were for Jesus this wasn’t time to to take a vacation they were on Mission and that mission wouldn’t be complete until Jesus returned and every knee would bow in every tongue confessed that Jesus Christ is Lord of all and they believe at that time that it was coming soon the time was of the essence this is deeply convicting

it’s completely contrary so I know the way I think most days and I think it’s completely contrary to our whole Western way of thinking vacations a time to get away from everything and everyone right arrest from all of our problems a restaurant from all of our burdens how many of us when we go on vacation are looking for people to share our faith with those first Christians believed that Jesus returned it was imminent that it was imminent therefore there was no time to waste people uh people’s Eternal salvation was at stake but you know something’s happened over the past two thousand years as we’ve become especially here in the west a culture that’s more and more at peace

and Jesus hasn’t returned yet and we’ve gotten comfortable in this time of peace we don’t see time as being all that urgent I think anymore and the process and the process we failed to share our faith in Christ with others thinking in the back of our minds there’s plenty of time for that or maybe it’s just someone else will do it we’ve been lulled into this state of Amnesia uh and we need the comforter the Holy Spirit to wake us all up to wake us up all up and to light a fire in our hearts for the gospel but then in verse 32 the narrative in Acts takes a turn it takes a big turn for the past few weeks we’ve been uh we everything has been about Saul everything’s a bit about his story uh his work against Jesus and the church his radical transformation and conversion by the amazing grace of God but for now and for the next few chapters that narrative it changes will come back to Saul uh but we turn away from Saul a bit and we turn our attention back to the Apostle Peter the next few chapters the next few weeks are going to be all about Peter in this time of Peace the church was enjoying Peter left Jerusalem I told you a minute ago if you’ll remember when persecution broke out all the disciples left Jerusalem fled scattered into the countryside but the apostles remained they stayed there during the persecution but now in this time of Peace Peter left Jerusalem

Peter left Jerusalem and began visiting the disciples in the regions outside of Jerusalem he he left to go visit the Believers in Christ and the new Believers that that had sprung up since all those disciples had begun sharing their faith with everywhere that they went and in his journeys Luke’s tells us about two events two events that took place two miraculous events healings that Peter did in these communities of Believers uh and here’s where my struggle really began this week we’ve already talked about the healings the apostles did we were told a lot about them at the beginning of of Acts we were told they did many more even Luke’s already said they’ve done they did these and they did many more healings as well so why did Luke feel the need to include these two healings as he began to tell this new account of what was happening in Peter’s life what was it about uh his life’s about to get really interesting by the way lot’s about to happen for him but what makes these two healings so important that we need to know about them specifically because there were many more there were healings happening the apostles were doing them it was happening all over and we’re told that but we apparently need to know these two

it’s because Luke wants us to focus and why does he want us to focus on these two miraculous healings that they should be part of our regular everyday lives is that the reason because we need to have these kind of healings in our lives every single day that that’s what our expectations should be that we should be able to do the same thing uh that Peter did I don’t think that’s it because in Acts these types of miraculous healings the and raising from the dead at this point in Acts they’ve been reserved for just the work of the Apostles themselves that’s the way that’s the way axes told us the disciples in these towns uh they did not they did not and could not perform them that’s why they called specifically for Peter to come for him to do them they needed Peter to come there’s got to be something more in these accounts that Luke is pointing us to more accurately there was someone more important than that that Luke was pointing us to more important than the Miracles more important than the miraculous raising of the dead because it was without question that these two healings do in fact point us to someone and that someone is not Peter it’s not the people who were healed and light up Peter healed a paralyzed man who had been bedridden for eight years we’re told and Joppa Peter raised a woman Dorcas from the for who a woman who had died both details of these immaculous events point us directly to Jesus they both point us directly to Jesus in healing the paralyzed man Peter said these words Aeneas Jesus heals you rise and make your bed

and Mark 2 we’re told about the healing of a paralytic man that Jesus did in Capernaum Jesus said to him I say to you rise pick up your bed and go home and Joppa Peter was summoned to the deathbed of Dorcas the disciple of Jesus who who had died there and when he got there we’re told that he put everyone out of the room so that it was uh just him and her dead body and the family uh or the yeah and then and then no not the family just him uh and then we’re told this he knelt down and prayed and turning to the body Peter said Tabitha arise Tabitha arise well if we go to mark five Jesus was called to the home of Jairus his daughter had gotten sick and had died when Jesus arrived he put everyone outside the room except the child’s father and mother and those who were with them he took the little girl by the hand and said to her in Aramaic talitha Kumi which means little girl I say to you arise and the little girl got up and she began walking and in Aramaic what Jesus said and what Peter would have said are only different by one letter by one letter and both healings Peter made it clear that the miraculous work was the work of Jesus this was Jesus’s work this was his authority and and telling us these accounts Luke was a specifically and intentionally pointing us to Jesus that’s why he’s telling it to us that Jesus isn’t dead that Jesus is very much alive and that he’s very much still at work and the healing and the restoration and the life of his people what Luke was telling us is and what he was telling them and what he’s telling us this morning is that it’s all about Jesus

and the Jesus who healed the lame and raised the dead is the same Jesus who continues now even after his death and his resurrection and his Ascension to heal the lame to give sight to the Blind and to raise the dead to new and Abundant Life in him you see in our spiritual amnesia we tend to forget our sinful nature continues to battle for control in our lives and to to get us to turn away from Jesus and to focus on ourselves our own wants and needs and desires is that Siri

God are you telling us something

no I don’t think so

all right let’s go back in our spiritual Amnesia we tend to forget if Syria doesn’t help us no our sinful nature it continues to battle for control of Our Lives to get us to turn away from Jesus to turn more inward to turn more to ourselves and our own self-reliance our own wants our own needs our own desires and in the process we forget about Jesus who he is what he did for us who we really are in him you know some of us suffer with spiritual amnesia for years I know there’s many of you who have sons or daughters children or grandchildren who who seemed to have forgotten the faith that they once were taught and have been walking away some months some weeks but all of us suffer with it daily from moment to moment from situation to situation uh something gets said maybe it’s by our spouse and suddenly we go into defense mode and then out of that into full attack mode and we say things that are anything but words of love and respect for one another we suddenly want to hurt those who’ve hurt us either by harsh words or maybe some other kind of passive aggressive behavior those are all moments of spiritual amnesia that’s what’s happening in those moments and the only antidote for our condition is to preach the gospel to ourselves once again that Jesus is the son of God who died for me a sinner and that in him I am a son or a daughter of God I am his beloved child through the gift of his holy spirit friends it really isn’t more complicated than that it’s all about Jesus we forget and we desperately need his help to remember

May the Holy Spirit give us the Blessed gift of remembrance so that we can walk in the fear of the Lord with Jesus and live our lives under his most gracious rule May the Gospel of Jesus free our hearts and our minds from the spiritual Amnesia that so afflicts us amen

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