I write this sat up on my bed this morning (I’m up and dressed don’t get excited) and I find my mind wondering and myself dreaming about the amazing things we could be doing in Jesus’ name.
So for today’s message I’m not really going to try and teach anything or give any insights, there’s some stuff I’m trying to get my head around and I want us to explore it together, so I’m really eager to discuss this and wrestle with it if you have comment please don’t hesitate to send it.
I believe in the authority of the bible as Gods word and I believe at least most (though I’m think possibly all) of the prayer network hold scripture in very high regard and feel much the same as I do. And so I look at the scripture as the example of how we should conduct ourselves, in regards to the Church I look at the Gospels and Acts in particular as an example of how we should be.
But when I look at these scriptures they don’t match up with the church I’m a part of. And I’m not referring to any of the churches in Kingswood Team Ministry I’m referring to the wider Church, the collective disciples here in Kingswood; I don’t think our individual churches are that relevant right now.
In Matthew 10 when Jesus sends out the twelve it says he gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and heal every disease and sickness (Matthew 10:1) again Luke 4:6 And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to.”
Jesus is clear that we have a great deal of power and when we move on to the book of acts we see that the first disciples believed his words because they do it. Lets look at one particular scripture that has always caused me some discomfort Acts 3:1-10
One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon. Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.
Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. When all the people saw him walking and praising God, they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.
I want to look briefly at what this actually says to get a grip of the circumstance. This guy is put out every day to beg, and I imagine everybody would have been asked for money, so Peter and John weren’t that special, they probably weren’t (as I’ve always assumed) put on the spot, because they could easily have just ignored him and kept walking like I imagine many others did, and I doubt this man was the only beggar so they probably walked past at least one already (though I am being presumptuous there) So the healing that we’re all familiar with is preceded with and interesting event, Peter and John get his attention not the other way around they looked straight at him and said look at us they put themselves in this position. Then to a complete stranger on the street, with no relationship or long prayers Peter says in the name of Jesus walk. And he does.
Here’s why this scripture makes me uncomfortable. When was the last time on of us did something like that? Surely we have the same authority Peter and John had, don’t we? And we see plenty of sick people.
I can pull out plenty more examples but I wont because I believe the point is made. These early disciples believe in the authority they are given, and they are concerned with doing what they were commanded to do. But what are we concerned about?
We spend our time running events, when we do healing it’s a special healing event (like the one many of us have been involved with this weekend). But to the early disciples this stuff was normal day to day behaviour.
There is a legitimate argument that the culture we are in is different to theirs, and that as a result we need to do things differently to them. But I wonder, have people changed that much? It seems to me that we’re the same basic human beings with better toys.
I appreciate my point is being evasive so my question is, are we doing this right? Our faith is very structured, but there is little structure in the church described in Acts (though there is some before anyone gets carried away and being accountable to other disciples is important and not to be scoffed at) and there is no obvious structure to Jesus’ ministry.
Some years ago I gave my life to Jesus, and I didn’t fully understand at the time that when I gave him my life it was in fact my whole life, every minute of every day. Are we restricting ourselves to a structure of events and our worship to organised services? I think so and again I’m not actually talking about us as an individual (though most of this I believe is relevant to the individual) I’m talking about us as the fellowship of saints, as the bride of Christ. Are we corporately living the life we were called to live? Exercising authority and spontaneity together, or is our structure the only way we can function together? I don’t think so but I want to know what you think.
Sorry for the lack of structure in this message but I suppose that’s kind off appropriate.