Sunday, April 21, 2013

No Way!

Listen online or download Sunday messages, and here!

The message from Sunday April 14: Call to worship, Psalm 30; Children, John 21.1-19; Message, Acts 9.1-29, especially 9.6.

Background:Saul – Stephen (forgive), became Paul, basket & his pride
Story is told twice more, in Ac 22.4-16 and 26.9-18, with slight variations

Followers of the Way (not yet called Christians) – following, not just about intellect or emotion but behavior

Jesus the persecuted one
solidarity with persecuted Christians
... with others persecuted

Call: "You will be told what you are to do" (9.6)
obedience is the response of faith/love
Unpleasant aspects of the call: NO WAY!
"I myself will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name" (9.16)

Ananias: "Lord, I have heard how much evil he has done" (9.13)
"But", twice in the exchange (Greek, de)

story with the children, Peter: "when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go" (John 21.18) – death by crucifixion.

tomorrow is Tax Day
we like what our taxes provide for us, but don’t particularly enjoy the obedience. 

my witness in high school, re persecution
2 Timothy 3.12

Call: "You will be told what you are to do" (9.6)
obedience is the response of faith/love

Boris Kornfeld, doctor in the Gulag (Colson, 27-34)
Jewish man in a "Christian" society that persecuted Jews
now persecuted by Stalin, unjustly
encounters a Christian who teaches him the "Lord’s Prayer"

"Forgive us our sins ... as we forgive"
a guard’s surgery
no longer signs forms to certify health for "punishment block"
reports another prisoner, an orderly, for stealing food for the sick
life at risk every day, does not return to his room, stays in hospital
spills out his story to a patient just coming out of surgery, CA intestine
killed later that night

the patient: Alexander Solzhenitsyn
became a Christian
documented the gulag prison system for Russia & the world
received the Nobel Prize for Literature 1970

Solzhenitsyn: "The meaning of earthly existence lies, not as we have grown used to thinking, in prospering, but in the development of the soul" (Gulag Archipelago II, 613-615; cited in Colson, 35).

Peter: Do you love me? . . . Obey
Ananias: Do you trust me? . . . Obey
Saul: Do you put your faith in me? . . . Obey

Resources:Charles W. Colson. 1983. Loving God. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan

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