Pastor Steve took a detour today from his Genesis series for “Vision Sunday,” a review of Celebration Church’s vision. He used Acts 4:8-13 for his text, ultimately zeroing in on verse 13, which talks about the religious rulers realizing John and Peter were ordinary men “and they recognized that they had been with Jesus.”
Likewise, God called us to be a body that recognizes Jesus is real, he said.
“A lot of people have experience with a church and know about God, but they don’t know Him. We want to make Him known to the world around us (but) He has to be real to you. You can’t just go to church. . . . Imagine a church whose people are so ate up with God’s glory it would leak out and people can’t quit talking about Him. That’s the vision of our church.”
However, to make that come to pass we have to know Him, and we have to know what we believe. Soon, the world we may have known grown up will no longer exist. Holding to a Christian worldview could get you in trouble. Just visit a company’s website and you will see the hostility toward marriage and traditional values. Steve asked if we should get bitter and announce it on Facebook—or be like Daniel, who operated in faithfulness to God despite the pagan culture around him.
To know God will totally change the way we live, he said. When we are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, we will feel sorry for those people and pray for them. Instead of shaking an angry fist at the world, we should be figuring out ways to reach them. “I want the words on the page to come alive,” Steve said. “How do I get the words off the page so my life is different? There has to be more than cultural Christianity, where I just show up for church and sit in a chair and feel good about myself.”
One way to live with God’s power appears in verse 8, which says Peter, “filled with the Holy Spirit, said . . .” There is no way for a church to do anything outside of the Holy Spirit. The reason the Sanhedrin, even though they opposed Jesus, respected Peter and John is because they recognized these disciples had been with Jesus.
“The world we are called to minister to needs to know about Jesus,” Steve said. “They need to know that we know Him. (We can say), ‘I don’t care about the dinosaurs; I met Jesus. He changed my heart.’ A demonstration of who Christ is is not how smart we are; it’s a demonstration of who is in you.”