Sunday Sermon by Revd Martin Brower. 18 April 2021

Dear family of St Paul’s

Greetings in Jesus’ name on this Third Easter Sunday!

Sermon:

Good morning  people of St St Paul’s.

Let us  pray.

Father  God, thank you for the opportunity to share and receive your  word. Open our ears,  open our  hearts, open our minds,that we might be deified and  you  glorified. We  pray  this in the  name of Jesus Christ our risen  Lord and  Saviour.

I greet  you in the  name  of  Jesus our  Lord an Saviour.

The  story of the healing of a lame man, reminded me of a song we  used  to sing  about it, back in the day. Let me sing it for you.

Peter and  John  went to  pray

They met a lame  man on the way

He held out his  palms

And asked  for alms

And this is what Peter  did say.

Silver and gold have I none

But what i have  give  i unto you

In the name of Jesus Christ of  Nazerath

Rise up and  walk.

He went walking  and  leaping

And praising  God

Walking and leaping

And  praising  God

In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazerath

Rise up and walk.

Last year’s lockdown – level 5, gave  Christians  the opportunity to get closer to  God by studying  His word. I wonder how many  Christians did that. Many of us are sloppy about delving into  God’s word and  growing  spirituality. But I  am not  going to  speak That right now, rather I would like to  speak on an  issue in which we are equally if not more sloppy about. It’s  about telling people about  Jesus  and  your  faith  in Him.

In the  third  chapter  of Acts ,we have an  account of how Peter and John were  used by God to heal a lame  beggar. The event caused quite a stir among the people, that  crowds started gathering  around  them. Peter  seeing this, seized the opportunity to address them.

He said to them do not stare at us as though  it was by our  power that the man was made to walk. It was by faith  in the name of Jesus, that  you see this man, walking about in perfect health.

The man had looked  intently at them  with  open  palms,  begging  for alms, expecting something. What did he receive, he recieved legs. He asked for alms and received  legs. The ability  to walk. The ability  to be  mobile. This  man had been lame,all his life.

Peter  then accuses the Hebrew nation  of killing  the Holy  and Righteous One in these words and I quote, Acts 3: 15

“You  killed the  one  who  leads to life, but  God raised Him from death and we are witnesses to this.

I can  remember an accident in Wentworth where I live, some  years  ago. Walking  on the main road, I heard a screech of tyres and a loud scream.

A woman  was  hit by a bus, and she was  laying  half  under the bus. The roads in Wentworth are narrow, with a  pavement, at that time, on only one side of the road. The woman was  walking in the road opposite the  pavement, in line with a taxi that had  stopped, to allow a passenger to alight. The bus was overtaking the taxi  at speed, and hit this  woman, who was walking on the opposite side of the pavement. Fortunately she was not seriously injured. We learnt later that she had an arm fractured  in two places but within minutes,  a crowd  had  assembled a d they were threatening  the driver with  physical  violence or worse.

The point I want to make is that  something  dramatic had happened. We saw the bus, we saw the  woman, we saw the driver. The evidence was  there right in front of us. There were witnesses who could not and would not remain silent about what  had  happened, even if they  were  asked  to.

At the end of Luke’s gospel, Jesus tells His disciples, after He had  opened their minds to understand  the scriptures. ” You  are witnesses of these things that I have  done.

Peter, when he addressed the crowd after the healing  of  the  lame man said, ” God raised  Jesus  from death  and we are  witnesses to this.

Everyone who counts themselves as Christians should be witness to the  saving power of Jesus Christ. In this past year, with  so many deaths  around us, we have many  opportunities to to comfort people and tell them  about the love of  God in Jesus our Lord.

In this highly technical digital age, it is easy to send someone an inspirational message or encouragement, but this lacks that personal touch, the  human  touch.

What does it mean to witness in practical terms  for the ordinary person who has  no theological  training. It means  two things.

  1. A) We must know the facts about  What He did. What He said and what  He  taught. And we get that  information  by reading and studying  scripture. It is  not enough  to church and being an island by ourselves, in the  sea on the  congregation. We have to get  serious with the Lord and inter act with other Christians, bearing in mind the times we live in, observing Covid protocols. We have to ask  questions about the faith so that we k ow the facts  about  Jesus and the faith we profess to hold.
  2. B) It is not enough to know ABOUT Jesus, we must also KNOW Jesus, and know Him intimately. In this world there millions of people who never actually saw  Jesus  in the flesh, yet have learned to know him, far better than many, who have witnessed his  life  and miracles.

There is knowledge by faith as well as by sight

It is by faith that we know him and it is by having an intimate personal relationship with him, that we can come to trust him, and we know that he is near even though we  cannot see him with the naked eye.

I was at first shy and  very  reluctant to talk to anyone about  Jesus  and  what he had done for me. I felt that it was a very personal thing. But it was pointed out to me that I would not grow as a Christian, the way God  expected me to grow. If I did not share my faith, I would remain a spiritual baby, that would be constantly fed on spiritual milk, and  it on solids that  grow you  up to maturity in Jesus.

Witnessing is necessary for spiritual growth.

A witness is not only a person who knows. That person must be prepared to SAY that he knows. In the book of Acts1: 8, Jesus tells us the church that we will be  witnesses for him in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth. A witness is a person who makes it clear what side that  person is on, even if it means trouble for himself.

In this terrible pandemic, that  has gripped the world this past year, we have many people who have died, but there are many many  more, who have recovered from this dreadful  disease. We live in  an era where information is available  at the touch of a button. We see on TV events that are  happening  in real time.

We see court cases. The Zondo Commission here in South Africa.  The Geoff Floyd court case in America,where a young man was killed after a police officer placed his knee on his neck for over nine minutes. Everyone has a phone camera that can record crimes that can be used as evidence

In this pandemic, don’t  be concerned about how and where you can witness. If you are serious about growing in grace, ask God, and He will give you the opportunity, and the people, or person to witness to. It can  e any where. In your home, at work, social events in the streets anywhere.

In conclusion we the  people of St. Paul’s church,,will never grow spirituality if we keep what we have  received from the Lord for ourselves. In this post Easter period make a conscious effort to study your bible.

It’s always helpful to  pray a prayer similar to this one, when you do your  own  bible study.

Say, Lord, by your Spirit you inspired people to write  the scriptures. By your Spirit Lord, inspire me to understand them. By your Spirit Lord, decifer your word for me.

May God add blessing to His word. Amen

During this difficult time of the global pandemic, you are invited to make a contribution to the ministry and mission of our church by making a donation to the following account:

Account Name: St Paul’s Church

Account Number: 50854628623

Bank: First National Bank (FNB)

Branch Code: 221426