The Way

2019-05-05 – Year C – Easter 3 – The Rev. Christopher M. Klukas

Acts 9:1-19a; Psalm 33:1-11; Revelation 5:6-14; John 21:1-14

The Way

  • Have you ever had the opportunity to name a business, or an organization, or a ministry?
    • It can be overwhelming! How do you choose?
    • You want the name to be fitting, to mean something, to capture the vision.
  • In the book of Acts, it seems that the earliest name for the Church was “the Way.” Acts 9:2. (The expression also occurs at Acts 19:9, 23; 22:4; 24:14, 22.) Six times total.
    • The Way of Life vs. the way that leads to destruction. (Matthew 7:14)
    • The Way to the Father (John 14:6)
  • Paul was on a way to destruction, filled with anger and jealousy (Acts 9:1). He thought he was doing the right thing, and he was doing it with zeal! Jesus steps in and helps him to get on the right way. The Way.
    • The beginning of new life in Christ begins when we encounter Jesus.
      • For some, this is a dramatic encounter, Like Paul’s.
      • For others, they grow into the faith over a period of time.
    • Jesus confronts our sin, and offer’s forgiveness. Acts 9:4-6.
    • Paul’s conversion is followed by Baptism and receiving the Holy Spirit through the ministry of Ananias. Acts 9:17-19a.
    • Paul is then discipled by the other disciples in Damascus. Acts 9:19b.
  • This is how Paul joined the Way, and it is how we can join the Way today. Encounter Jesus, confess our sins and put our faith in Jesus, be Baptized, be discipled.

The Power of a Changed Life

  • Acts 9:19b-22 – Saul, after Just a few days, goes from persecuting Christians in the Synagogues to proclaiming that Jesus is the Son of God and proving that he is the Christ. What a change!
    • Sometimes people who are most passionately against God and his Church become the most zealous evangelists!
    • The people of Damascus knew that Paul was a changed man because it was evident from his life.
  • How would the people in your life know that you are a Christian?
    • Has your life been transformed by Jesus? Are you actually walking on the Way, or just standing on the edge, next to the Way?
    • Does your way of life stand out from the world, or are you wearing worldly camo?
    • You don’t have to be judgemental to stand out from the world. It is better not to be judgemental. Our job is to present Jesus. To present the Way that leads to life.
      • Behave, believe, belong vs belong, believe, behave.
    • The love of God and the forgiveness of God are very compelling.
      • We demonstrate God’s love by loving.
      • People generally won’t respond to correction and change until they know they are loved. Eph. 4:15 “Speaking the truth in love…”

The Brave Example of Ananias and Barnabas

  • Both Ananias and Barnabas are fantastic examples of the faith that we talked about last week. They didn’t just accept Jesus as the Christ as a matter of fact. They put their trust in him and obeyed him with the potential for great risk.
    • Ananias wasn’t so sure about his mission! Acts 9:13-16.
      • The Lord reassured him and sent him and he obeyed.
    • The disciples in Jerusalem were reluctant to welcome Paul into their ranks. Acts 9:26.
    • But Barnabas stepped in, trusted God, and spoke on Saul’s behalf. Acts 9:27.
  • Who is God calling you to reach? Pray and ask him to reveal this to you.
  • When God puts someone in your life who is ready to be led to the Lord, do you know what to do?
    • Love them. Pray for them.
    • Explain the Gospel to them when they are ready to hear it.
    • Lead them in some form of a prayer of repentance and faith.
      • I’m sorry, thank you, please.
    • Bring them to church.
    • Sponsor them for Baptism (if they haven’t already been baptized)
    • Participate in their discipleship.
  • We are ambassadors for Christ. God makes his appeal through us! (2 Corinthians 5:20).
    • One of the most amazing experiences of my life has been to watch as our six children were born.
    • Watching a person come to faith in Jesus is also pretty amazing! Paul tells us that when someone is in Christ, he is a new creation. (2 Corinthians 5:17-18).

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