Sunday, May 25, 2014

Today´s Sermon Notes

2014.05.25                                      Acts 9: 36-43
              Tabitha is raised from the dead
Today we meet a lady with two names….. Tabitha in Aramaic and Dorcas in Greek…… Here is a lady who… As far as we know….  did not meet Jesus personally….. but her life was totally transformed by Jesus…… How did that happen…..? Well the very same way that it happened to us…… She heard the Good News…… Someone proclaimed the Word of God to her….. The Holy Spirit touched her heart and she believed..… Then the Word of God totally transformed her life…….. How wonderful! Someone told her about Jesus…… The Joy and excitement of the early church was electric…… They went everywhere telling the Good News….. God has revealed himself…… The Long awaited Messiah is come……. Jesus is the Messiah and Redeemer! Tabitha repented of her sins and was transformed by the Words of life that she had heard…. Maybe she heard the powerful sermon of Peter on the Day of Pentecost….. Peter proclaimed the Christ from the scriptures…. This book is about Jesus from genesis to Revelation….. It´s all about him….
The joy… The excitement…. And the explosion of the early church were all caused by the Word of GOD! The early church understood that it was The Word of God that showed them the truth…… The Word of God transformed Peter and Paul…. Paul wrote in Romans 1: 16…
Romans 1: 16,17                    NKJV  Sch 2000
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”
16 Denn ich schäme mich des Evangeliums von Christus nicht; denn es ist Gottes Kraft zur Errettung für jeden, der glaubt, zuerst für den Juden, dann auch für den Griechen;
17 denn es wird darin geoffenbart die Gerechtigkeit Gottes aus Glauben zum Glauben, wie geschrieben steht: »Der Gerechte wird aus Glauben leben«.
The Joy and excitement of the early church was rooted in the OT scriptures….. Think about Paul…. Pharisee of Pharisees….. He was very religious…. very careful to obey every little detail of the law….. But he knew that he did not Love God with all of his heart and soul and strength….. He knew he was a hypocrite…. As he writes to the Romans….. he shows that The OT had proclaimed the glorious Good News from the mouths of the prophets….. He quotes Habakkuk here in verse 17…… The Just (The righteous) shall live by faith….. Jesus was his righteousness…. He repented and believed the GOOD News…. That´s the GOOD NEWS…. Not that we are good… and people to be admired….. If we are willing to tell the truth about ourselves we will say that we are sinners saved by grace….
Here in the 21st century we find a weak and tragic situation…. We are not joyful and excited….. We do not proclaim the Word of God with joy and power….. It seems that we don´t really believe that it is the Power of God to salvation…. It seems that we don´t accept this book as the very Word of God…. It is as if we don´t like what it says….. We decide that God didn´t mean it when he tells us something in this book that we don´t like….. As believers we often sit in judgment of the Word of God…… instead of letting the Word of God convict us of our sin and rebellion…. Even if we say we believe the Word…. When it gets in the way of our chosen lifestyle….. or when it forbids our sin…. We ignore it…. We let our lust and sin and pride rule our lives instead of crying out to God for help…. But we still proclaim that we belong to Jesus….
The absolute power and authority of the Word of God has been under assault by the Godless  for many years…. Really it has been under attack since the Garden of Eden when Satan said to Eve…… Hath God said…..
The early church had no such problem…… They believed the Word of God ….. It transformed their hearts and minds…. The joy and excitement was explosive…… It was Good News indeed…… Forgiveness…  mercy … grace…… The Love of God was truly being shed abroad in their hearts…. They were full of joy and Hope!
The Good News is that we….. as genuine believers… are justified by faith….. It is the source of our joyful Christian life…. Turn with me to Romans 5…v1…
Romans 5: 1- 5                   NKJV
1Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.  
Romans 5: 1- 5                   Sch 2000
1 Da wir nun aus Glauben gerechtfertigt sind, so haben wir Frieden mit Gott durch unseren Herrn Jesus Christus,
2 durch den wir im Glauben auch Zugang erlangt haben zu der Gnade, in der wir stehen, und wir rühmen uns der Hoffnung auf die Herrlichkeit Gottes.
3 Aber nicht nur das, sondern wir rühmen uns auch in den Bedrängnissen, weil wir wissen, daß die Bedrängnis standhaftes Ausharren bewirkt,
4 das standhafte Ausharren aber Bewährung, die Bewährung aber Hoffnung;
5 die Hoffnung aber läßt nicht zuschanden werden; denn die Liebe Gottes ist ausgegossen in unsere Herzen durch den Heiligen Geist, der uns gegeben worden ist.
Look at this list…. I have 2 lists for you today…. Here´s the first… Genuine Believers
1 justified by faith…. Not works
2 we have peace with God…. our sins are forgiven
3 Through our Lord Jesus Christ… we stand in GRACE
4 because of our hope…. we can cope with life…. We can glory in hard times….
5 the Love of God has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit….
What Good News…. No wonder the early church was joyful and excited….. They actually believed the Word of God…. We are not ashamed of the Gospel…. It is the power Of God unto Salvation…
Let´s turn to Acts… we´ll pickup the text where we left off… As I said last week we are walking with Peter for a few chapters… turn to… Acts …9…v….v36
Acts 9: 36- 43                   NKJV
36 At Joppa there was a certain disciple named Tabitha, which is translated Dorcas. This woman was full of good works and charitable deeds which she did. 37 But it happened in those days that she became sick and died. When they had washed her, they laid her in an upper room. 38 And since Lydda was near Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent two men to him, imploring him not to delay in coming to them.
39 Then Peter arose and went with them. When he had come, they brought him to the upper room. And all the widows stood by him weeping, showing the tunics and garments which Dorcas had made while she was with them. 40 But Peter put them all out, and knelt down and prayed. And turning to the body he said, “Tabitha, arise.” And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up. 41 Then he gave her his hand and lifted her up; and when he had called the saints and widows, he presented her alive.
42 And it became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed on the Lord. 43 So it was that he stayed many days in Joppa with Simon, a tanner.
Acts 9: 36- 43                       Sch 2000
36 In Joppe aber war eine Jüngerin namens Tabitha, was übersetzt »Gazelle« heißt; diese war reich an guten Werken und Wohltätigkeit, die sie übte.
37 Und es geschah in jenen Tagen, daß sie krank wurde und starb; und man wusch sie und legte sie ins Obergemach.
38 Weil aber Lydda nahe bei Joppe liegt und die Jünger gehört hatten, daß Petrus dort war, sandten sie zwei Männer zu ihm und baten ihn, nicht zu zögern und zu ihnen zu kommen.
39 Da stand Petrus auf und ging mit ihnen. Und als er angekommen war, führten sie ihn in das Obergemach, und alle Witwen traten zu ihm, weinten und zeigten ihm die Röcke und Kleider, die Tabitha gemacht hatte, als sie noch bei ihnen war.
40 Da ließ Petrus alle hinausgehen, kniete nieder und betete; dann wandte er sich zu dem Leichnam und sprach: Tabitha, steh auf! Sie aber öffnete ihre Augen, und als sie den Petrus sah, setzte sie sich auf.
41 Und er reichte ihr die Hand und richtete sie auf. Und er rief die Heiligen und die Witwen und stellte sie ihnen lebend vor.
42 Es wurde aber in ganz Joppe bekannt, und viele wurden gläubig an den Herrn.
43 Und es begab sich, daß er viele Tage in Joppe bei einem gewissen Simon, einem Gerber, blieb.
Peter was nearby and he was available..... Do you remember what Isaiah said when he heard the Lord speak in Isaiah… ch6…v8  "Who shall I send, and who will go for Me,"
Isaiah answered, "Here am I send me."
How about us….. When we  see a need do we say, LORD there's a need over there. Why don't You send me?" Jesus told Peter to go and feed His Sheep…. and Peter went…. He was available…. Peter was involved in the needs of the church….. When he heard of the need….. He picked up everything and went…. Peter travels to Joppa to help….. He is told about a wonderfuI Disciple named Tabitha…. She was self-sacrificing and loving and giving…. She served others in her fellowship in very practical ways….I hope you will be inspired and encouraged by her sweet giving spirit….  
She was a Godly woman who made clothes for the poor…..  She was a simple servant…. a true follower of Jesus…  There are many great and Godly women in the scriptures but notice this…. Tabitha is the first one who is called a disciple…..   This should teach us not to despise the gift of helps….. or undervalue practical serving…..  Tabitha was a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ…… She opened her heart to Jesus and that changed everything….. Her genuine love for Jesus was her motivation in making clothes for others…… It was out of gratitude to Jesus that she dedicated her life to serving others…. Tabitha was “always doing good and helping the poor”. Because she was following the example of Jesus, following the prompting of Jesus, to do good and help those in need…… She was sewing as unto the LORD Jesus……. Can you do that? What are you good at? What do you enjoy doing? Do it as unto the LORD…..
What are you passionate about? What are you doing for Jesus?
It can be as practical as cleaning toilets or any hands on practical work…. Gifts of helps…. True faith expresses itself in deeds not only words….. Genuine ministry also includes caring in practical ways for the most vulnerable in society…… especially widows and orphans……
James 1: 27                NLT  Neues Leben
27 Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.
27 Rein und vorbildlich Gott, unserem Vater, zu dienen bedeutet, dass wir uns um die Sorgen der Waisen und Witwen kümmern und uns nicht von der Welt verderben lassen.
If we want to glorify the Lord with our lives….   as Tabitha clearly did….. then we need to use our gifts to serve others….. willingly and joyfully…… Tabitha was quick to move to the needs of the people around her…. She was joyful in even the simple things…. When she got sick and died….. The church  was deeply moved…… They sent for Peter because he was nearby….
There is one ability God values most…. Peter displayed it here…. There are many gifts and abilities…. The Lord has given everyone of you who belong to Him….. Gifts that you can use to Love and serve and help the people around you…. But the greatest ability is availability……. Because we do everything with the strength and ability that he provides…. If we don’t make ourselves available to be used by the LORD… no matter what kind of ability we have….. it is of no help to others or the Kingdom of Heaven….   What does availability mean? It means placing one’s self completely at God’s disposal….. We belong to Him…. He has redeemed us….. We say Lord Here I am send me….  
In this story Peter was available, and God used him mightily….. Peter came to Joppa…..  and when he entered the room where they had laid her…… the friends and widows surrounded him…… They showed him the clothes that she had made for them…… To their minds…. Tabitha was irreplaceable….. She was unique and they missed her…..
We are each unique in God´s Kingdom and plan.….. There will never be another you…. or me…... In that sense the lesson from these verses is that we should cherish and thank the LORD for each other... The  church in Joppa valued Tabitha very much….. What graceful and thankful people we should be for our brothers and sisters in Christ…….. We have every reason to be grateful and thankful to the Lord Jesus for all of the people that He has put in our lives….. People who will love and pray and encourage us…. And people that we can love and help and encourage as well…
Peter was involved…. He was Christ glorifying…. and available…… They said come and he went….. By the way Peter actually stayed in Joppa for a few years….. He was also prayerful….. He knew to Look to the LORD JESUS for the needs of the church…
Look at Verse 40…..
Acts 9: 40                       NKJV    Sch 2000
40 But Peter put them all out, and knelt down and prayed. And turning to the body he said, “Tabitha, arise.” And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up.
40 Da ließ Petrus alle hinausgehen, kniete nieder und betete; dann wandte er sich zu dem Leichnam und sprach: Tabitha, steh auf! Sie aber öffnete ihre Augen, und als sie den Petrus sah, setzte sie sich auf.
What a miracle…. It had taken Peter at least a day to get to Joppa….. That´s on a fast mule….
God performed a miracle…. Peter was available and God used him as his human instrument…… He was full of faith and a man of prayer…. He didn´t just walk in there a say get up! He prayed and looked to the LORD….. He did not assume that God was going to raise her up….. He prayed….
Do you remember in Acts chapter 5…. It says that many miracles were performed at the hands of the Apostles….
Acts 5: 16     NKJV   SCH 2000
16 Also a multitude gathered from the surrounding cities to Jerusalem, bringing sick people and those who were tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all healed.
16 Es kamen aber auch viele aus den umliegenden Städten in Jerusalem zusammen und brachten Kranke und von unreinen Geistern Geplagte, die alle geheilt wurden.
All were healed….. Instant and complete healings…. Peter did not decide that he was a great instrument of God…. He did not say to himself….. Peter…..You are a great man of God….. You are full of faith….. Tabitha get up!! No he knelt down and prayed….. He looked to the Lord our healer….. Brothers and sisters pride is our great enemy…… Even when the Lord is using you…. Even when you are having victory over your sinful nature….. Don´t decide that you are God´s gift to the world…. Don´t let anyone call you a great man of God…… We are all just sinners saved by grace…..
God uses us in spite of ourselves…. He doesn´t need us at all….. He let´s us join Him in His work… We need only to be available…. He will give us the abilities and gifts that He wants us to have….
May the Lord our God save us from ourselves….  All we have to offer Him is availability…..  
And so when Peter stops and kneels down and prays….. He is saying Lord You are great….. Please raise this woman up….   As long as we rest in His strength…. We are able to Glorify Him…. Verse 41….
Acts 9: 41    NKJV Sch 2000
41 Then he gave her his hand and lifted her up; and when he had called the saints and widows, he presented her alive.
41 Und er reichte ihr die Hand und richtete sie auf. Und er rief die Heiligen und die Witwen und stellte sie ihnen lebend vor.
He presented her alive…. Can you imagine the joy? Instantly all of their tears were washed away….. But God didn't do it for Tabitha…. He didn´t do it for the widows in Joppa either…..
Do you know why He did it? He did for the same reason that all of the miracles had been done….. as  signs to confirm the messenger and the message…. To prove to the world that the Gospel of Jesus Christ was true…… He did it as a sign….. God had our salvation in mind…..  Peter dropped everything and went up to minister to a group of weeping widows….. and revival brakes out in the city…..
The church was thrilled and joyfull….. I´m sure that Tabitha was also joyfull…. And very happy to rejoice with her brothers and sisters… Thank the Lord for His faithful servants…. Peter was available… The Lord used him….
He was humble and prayerful….. and through the LORD Jesus Christ…. He was powerful... And Peter was fruitful…… verse 42…..  
Acts 9: 42                       NKJV   SCH 2000
42 And it became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed on the Lord.
42 Es wurde aber in ganz Joppe bekannt, und viele wurden gläubig an den Herrn.
The miracles that we see in the scriptures are to cause people understand God´s revelation of Himself…. and to cause them to turn to Christ in faith….. Believing the Good News of the Gospel….. so that they may be redeemed….  That is exactly why we see these miracles recorded in the scriptures….. Here in Joppa joy filled the house….. and the entire city as the Grace of God swallowed up death…… Everyone who heard of it was astonished and amazed at the grace and mercy of God….. Many responded with conviction of sin and repentance….. A revival broke out in Joppa…. turn to John 20…v31….
John 20: 30,31                 NKJV   Sch 2000
 30 The disciples saw Jesus do many other miraculous signs in addition to the ones recorded in this book. 31 But these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in him you will have life by the power of his name.
30 Noch viele andere Zeichen tat Jesus nun vor seinen Jüngern, die in diesem Buch nicht geschrieben sind.
31 Diese aber sind geschrieben, damit ihr glaubt, daß Jesus der Christus, der Sohn Gottes ist, und damit ihr durch den Glauben Leben habt in seinem Namen.
The miraculous signs that were recorded in this book….. The Word of God itself…. is the revelation of Our great God and Savoir….. So that we would repent and believe the Gospel…. It is the Word of God that bursts into the lives of people down thru the centuries….
William Carey served the Lord in India for 35 years….. But he only saw a handful of people saved….
He spent most of those 35 years translating the Bible into many of the dialects of India….. and every missionary who has served there since….. has used his translations to present the Gospel…... Translating is hard work…. It is not glamorous… He served the Lord in very practical ways…… He's home with the LORD….  but he's still bearing fruit  today through those Gospel translations that he worked so hard doing….. Are you having a hard time with the way the LORD is running your life…. Does it all seem pointless?   Read about William Carey´s life…. He saw very little of what the Lord was doing in and through him…. Some plant… some water…. But God gives the increase…..
We are meant to be fruitful…… We will be fruitful if we follow  and obey the Word of God… Back to Acts 9…Verse 43…

Acts 9:43                                NKJV    Sch 2000
43 So it was that he stayed many days in Joppa with Simon, a tanner.
43 Und es begab sich, daß er viele Tage in Joppe bei einem gewissen Simon, einem Gerber, blieb.

This is very interesting….. This is not normal because one of the least acceptable jobs in the minds of Jewish people…. was the job of a tanner…. because a tanner…….had to handle dead animals and the skin of dead animals…. No self-respecting Jew would have anything to do with a tanner….. He was despised…… and, in fact, the Mishnah said if a woman had a husband who took on the trade of a tanner….. she had the right to divorce him….. because he chose a job that was so defiled….. Tanners were not respected….. They were also ceremonially unclean….. They were defiling themselves every day with this work…. Peter stayed for perhaps two or three years there in the house of Simon the Tanner….
It seems the Lord was preparing him for his next great adventure…. He had already sent him to the Samaritans who were half gentiles…. That of bringing the Good News of the Gospel to the horrible Gentiles….
Peter was greatly used of the Lord and he has lot´s to teach us….
Let´s look at the marks of Peter's ministry….. Here we see what we need to be…. We need to be…..
1 Be involved….. moving to the needs of others….
2 Glorify the Lord Jesus Christ….. and remember…. Glorify Him and never yourself…..
3 Be available…..
4 Be humble and prayerful…..
5 Be fruitful…. Plant… water… sew…. Do something…. Join the Lord in His work….
I pray that these things will be true in your life and in mine…... Remember what Paul said in Romans 1…v16,17……I am not ashamed of the  Gospel it is the power of God…. We see tabitha´s life reflecting these things…
Tabitha served the Lord with her simple abilities….  She has inspired millions of women and men to use whatever gift they have received to serve others….. May God inspire us to use our gifts for his glory today…..
We have been saved for a reason…. He has stuff for us to do….. We need to be like Peter and Paul…. Fearless and serving the Lord with our whole heart…. no matter what the cost…. A good disciple follows their master….. and that is what Peter did….. We need to be like Peter…..
I wonder if he was thinking of the Lords wonderful humble servants….. Disciples Like Tabitha when he wrote these words in his first letter…. Turn to 1 Peter 4…v10…
1 Peter 4:10                    NKJV SCH 2000
10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”
10 Dient einander, jeder mit der Gnadengabe, die er empfangen hat, als gute Haushalter der mannigfaltigen Gnade Gottes:
Whatever we do as believers….. Whatever we do for others….. little things and big…. We are doing them as Stewards of God´s grace…. This grace and mercy that we have received from the Lord Jesus….. Should give shape to our life….. and cause us to be generous and kind….. It motivates us to take our eyes off of ourselves….. and to be helpful to all of the people that the Lord has put in our lives… Pure religion?….. Visit the fatherless and widows….
Do you want to grow in Godliness? Fix your eyes on Jesus and not your circumstances…. Rejoice in the Grace of God every day…. Serve the Lord in whatever way that you can…..
We need to open our mouths and declare the Good News…. We also need to be careful not to forget the simple and practical ways that we can serve each other…. and the lost in our community…… Don´t wait for The Lord to call you to some great ministry…. Stop running from all that you already know that you should do… We have been saved to serve each other and the lost…. Turn with me to Titus 2…. Here Paul gives some very practical advice….v7…
Titus 2: 7                   NLT   Neues Leben
7 And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind. Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching. 7 Und du selbst sei ihnen in allem ein gutes Vorbild und ein Beispiel für die Glaubwürdigkeit und Würde deiner Lehre.

Titus 2: 11-14                   NLT     
11 For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. 12 And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, 13 while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. 14 He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds.
Titus 2: 11-14                      Neues Leben
11 Denn die Gnade Gottes, die allen Menschen Rettung bringt, ist sichtbar geworden.
12 Sie bringt uns dazu, dem Leben ohne Gott und allen sündigen Leidenschaften den Rücken zu kehren. Jetzt, in dieser Welt sollen wir besonnen, gerecht und voller Hingabe an Gott leben.
13 Denn wir warten auf das wunderbare Ereignis, wenn die Herrlichkeit des großen Gottes und unseres Erlösers, Jesus Christus, erscheinen wird.
14 Er gab sein Leben, um uns von aller Schuld1 zu befreien und zu reinigen und uns zu seinem eigenen Volk zu machen, das bemüht ist, Gutes zu tun.
I know that most of us who are here this morning are already believers……. But maybe you are here this morning because you are religious…. because it´s what a fan of Jesus is supposed to do…. You grew up in Church but it is not real to you…. Stop pretending! This is not a game…
Stop running from Jesus…. Look at verse 11….. It says that the Grace of God has appeared to all men…. God is commanding us to repent and come to Him…. Jesus has come to seek and to save the lost…..  It is those who don´t understand the grace of God that run from Him…… We have a great God….. He is ready to forgive and save….. He is the one who is by nature a Savior…. He is the  redeemer of broken hearts and lives…. Be like the prodigal son today…. return to the Father…. He will run to you and identify you as His child…. He will cover you with His robes…. Robes of righteousness….. Received by grace that none of us have earned or deserved…. 
The Word of God rings loud and clear down through the centuries…… Repent the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand…… today is the day of salvation….. let´s pray…

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Today´s Sermon Part 2

2014.05.18                                     Acts 9: 26- 35
         Total Transformation in Christ part 2
       Paul and Peter proclaim the Good News!
Good morning! We have been talking about the total transformation that God Himself does in the lives of men and women who repent of their sins and cry out to Him for mercy…… Last week we continued our look at God´s transformation of Paul….. One minute he was a persecutor…. Killing believers….. The next he was a proclaimer of the goodness and grace of God…. One day the hunter…… the next the hunted…Paul was totally transformed when he met Jesus on the road to Damascus……
He was a Pharisee….. very religious….. He had memorized huge portions of the scriptures….. He was very careful to keep every little detail of the law…. He was the perfect picture of a man of God….. But he did not know God at all….. He pretended to be Godly….. But he knew that he was not….. He did not Love God from his heart…. he did not love God with all of His heart and soul and strength…
On the road to Damascus…. Paul ran into the Lord Jesus…. He ran directly into grace….You who are here this morning…. I look out here and I see good people….. From the outside…. From what I know…. But God sees the heart…..
You can be very religious….. you can look perfect on the outside but be full of dead men´s bones….
That was Paul… Saul…. He knew what to do and he did it with all of his strength…..
He was a super keeper of the law…. Outwardly perfect and Godly…. But he was lost in his sin…. You see…. It is not what we do……. We can never be good enough….
In here….  in his heart….. He was a rebel who did not really understand the truth about his own heart…. He did not see his own sin…. He did not understand the Grace and mercy of God….
Here in this room I am afraid that we don´t really understand the Grace of God in our lives… If you don´t understand the Grace of God…. You don´t understand the Gospel….
As we pick up the text in Acts 9…. We will spend a few minutes with Paul and then we will move on the see what Peter has been up too…..
As we know…. Paul was radically transformed when he met Jesus on the Damascus Road…. In Damascus they tried to kill him…. The disciples let him down over the wall in a basket….. He´s the hunted now…. Turn  to Acts 9…v26….
Acts 9: 26                        NKJV   Sch 2000
26 And when Saul had come to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples; but they were all afraid of him, and did not believe that he was a disciple.
26 Als nun Saulus nach Jerusalem kam, versuchte er, sich den Jüngern anzuschließen; aber sie fürchteten ihn alle, weil sie nicht glaubten, daß er ein Jünger sei.
Verse 26…. in the Greek grammar we see that he tried over and over…. he tried and tried…. But they were all afraid…..
And they didn't believe he was a true Christian and  a genuine disciple…… They thought that he was a wolf in sheep's clothing…..

Acts 9:27                        NKJV   Sch 2000
27 But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. And he declared to them how he had seen the Lord on the road, and that He had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus.
27 Barnabas aber nahm ihn auf, führte ihn zu den Aposteln und erzählte ihnen, wie er auf dem Weg den Herrn gesehen und daß dieser zu ihm geredet habe, und wie er in Damaskus freimütig in dem Namen Jesu verkündigt habe.
verse 27…. But Barnabus believed him and was not afraid….  Barnabas put his arm around him and says come on I'll take you to the Apostles… Barnabas' name means son of encouragement and he must have been an encouragement to Saul at this point.
Acts 9: 28-30                       NKJV
28 So he was with them at Jerusalem, coming in and going out. 29 And he spoke boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus and disputed against the Hellenists, but they attempted to kill him. 30 When the brethren found out, they brought him down to Caesarea and sent him out to Tarsus.
Acts 9: 28-30                       Sch 2000
28 Und er ging in Jerusalem mit ihnen aus und ein und verkündigte freimütig im Namen des Herrn Jesus.
29 Er redete und stritt auch mit den Hellenisten; sie aber machten sich daran, ihn umzubringen.
30 Als das aber die Brüder erfuhren, brachten sie ihn nach Cäsarea und schickten ihn nach Tarsus.
Paul was accepted into the fellowship and was very active in proclaiming the Good News….. But the Hellenists tried to kill him…..  Paul was one of the Hellenist Jews…... Do you remember who was the last one to preach to them? It was Stephen…… Paul picked up right where Stephen left off….  He went right back to the Hellenist´s Synagogue…..   He started to proclaim Jesus to them and they tried to kill him...... Thank the Lord they failed to get him and the church   took him to Caesarea and   put him on a ship and sent him home to Tarsus…. verse 31….
Acts 9: 31                           NKJV   Sch 2000
31 Then the churches throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and were edified. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied.
31 So hatten nun die Gemeinden Frieden in ganz Judäa und Galiläa und Samaria und wurden auferbaut und wandelten in der Furcht des Herrn und wuchsen durch den Beistand des Heiligen Geistes.
Paul left town and the Jews concentrated temporarily on a new enemy…. Caligula…. He set up idols in Jerusalem…… The Jews spent all of their anger on a new public enemy number 1…..
Notice here that first the church was edified and then it was multiplied…... That´s the Biblical pattern for church growth….. Teach the Word of God and love and serve the people who come….

By the way….. when Paul went to Tarsus in Cicilia…. He continued to fearlessly proclaim the Good news to all who would listen to him…. Later in Acts we will read about the fruit of his ministry there….
Now as we continue in this text….. We are going to walk with Peter for a while because starting with these verses all the way until we get to Acts 13….
For the next few chapters our focus will shift to the great lessons that we can learn from Peter…. Peter big strong bold fisherman…. Peter told the Lord Jesus at the last supper that even if everyone betrayed him…. He would never betray Him….. That´s in Luke 22….
Peter was proud and sure of himself to the point that he was willing to argue with the Lord Jesus…… The Lord  graciously and lovingly taught Peter Humility…..
Genuine Humility understands the incredible Grace of God…..  Me forgiven?  Impossible...... I don´t deserve the Grace and mercy that I have received…
True Christians are humble when they look at themselves…… They see their flesh as sinful….. What we're talking about is genuine repentance….. God resists the proud but He gives grace to the humble…… James 4:6….. James 4:10……   Humility is part of a genuine believers character……   I can't earn heaven…… I can't please God…..   I am what I am by the grace of God….. So we turn from sinful pride and self achievement….  to salvation by grace through faith alone…..  We rely totally on Christ….. totally on the Holy Spirit….. And  we give all the glory to God…… That's a true Christian……
And as we look at Peter's life…. We see that it's a lot like Paul's life…..
They both see the power of God at work in them and jesus working through them….. They are both totally transformed into radical followers of Jesus….  Here in the book of Acts and also in 2 Peter Chapter 1 we see three basic principles of effective ministry….
Three Basic principles of Effective Ministry
1…. Genuine concern for the needs of people….
2…. Sense of Urgency…… time is short
3…. Genuine experience of conversion
Turn with me to 2 Peter 1…. Verse 12….
2 Peter 1: 12-17                           NLT
12 Therefore, I will always remind you about these things—even though you already know them and are standing firm in the truth you have been taught. 13 And it is only right that I should keep on reminding you as long as I live.14 For our Lord Jesus Christ has shown me that I must soon leave this earthly life, 15 so I will work hard to make sure you always remember these things after I am gone.
16 For we were not making up clever stories when we told you about the powerful coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. We saw his majestic splendor with our own eyes 17 when he received honor and glory from God the Father. The voice from the majestic glory of God said to him, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.”
2 Peter 1: 12-17                          Neues Leben
12 Ich will euch immer wieder daran erinnern - auch wenn ihr die Wahrheit schon kennt und fest in ihr verwurzelt seid.
13 Ja, ich glaube, dass es meine Pflicht ist, euch daran zu erinnern, solange ich lebe.
14 Doch Jesus Christus, der Herr, hat mir gezeigt, dass meine Tage hier auf Erden gezählt sind und dass ich bald sterben werde4.
15 Deshalb bemühe ich mich, euch dies alles noch einmal klar vor Augen zu führen, damit ihr euch noch daran erinnert, wenn ich schon längst nicht mehr bei euch bin.
16 Denn wir haben uns nicht etwa irgendwelche klugen Geschichten ausgedacht, als wir euch von der Macht unseres Herrn Jesus Christus und von seiner Wiederkehr erzählten. Nein, wir haben seine Majestät mit eigenen Augen gesehen.
17 Er empfing von Gott, dem Vater, Ehre und Herrlichkeit, als Gottes herrliche, hoheitsvolle Stimme rief: »Dies ist mein geliebter Sohn, an dem ich meine Freude habe.«

Verse 12, 13….. 1…. Genuine concern….   Peter shows genuine concern for those to whom he ministers…… He cares about them very much…. He teaches them the Word of God…. He makes absolutely certain that they don´t forget…. He reminds them over and over…. Stand firm in the truth…. He loved them and they listened to Him….. There is an old saying…. I don´t remember when I first heard it but it´s very true…. People won´t care about how much you know until they know how much you care….
verse 13,14,15….. add v14,15 to that we see urgency… 2… urgency…. Peter says, I know I don't have much time left….  I'm going to die……
so I am working hard so that you don´t forget these things after I´m gone….
verse 16,17…. 3…. Experience…. We were with Jesus … we heard His Words of Life…. We saw His Glory and we saw the miracles…. We heard the voice of God saying…. This is my beloved son… We who know and love the Lord Jesus have also seen His Glory and Heard the very voice of God ring out loud and clear as we have studied the Scriptures… Let´s walk with  Peter through the book of Acts and see these qualities in action…. Acts9…v 32…
Acts 9: 32- 35                          NKJV
32 Now it came to pass, as Peter went through all parts of the country, that he also came down to the saints who dwelt in Lydda. 33 There he found a certain man named Aeneas, who had been bedridden eight years and was paralyzed. 34 And Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus the Christ heals you. Arise and make your bed.” Then he arose immediately. 35 So all who dwelt at Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord.
Acts 9: 32- 35                          Sch 2000
32 Es begab sich aber, daß Petrus, als er alle besuchte, auch zu den Heiligen hinabkam, die in Lydda wohnten.
33 Er fand aber dort einen Mann mit Namen Aeneas, der seit acht Jahren im Bett lag, weil er gelähmt war.
34 Und Petrus sprach zu ihm: Aeneas, Jesus der Christus macht dich gesund; steh auf und mache dir dein Bett selbst! Und sogleich stand er auf.
35 Und alle, die in Lydda und Saron wohnten, sahen ihn; und sie bekehrten sich zu dem Herrn.
verse 32…… Paul has gone back to Tarsus and Peter is on the road….  He´s visiting the believers in Joppa….
Peter was involved…..Peter was on the move visiting the believers….. He´s obeying the Lord ´s command….. feed my sheep….…. The rest of the apostles were traveling in Samaria and Judea…... All of them were proclaiming the Good News somewhere…. They had been radically transformed by the Lord…. Life lesson here….
We need to get out there and Do something…. We need to join the Lord in His work…. Peter´s love and concern caused him to get involved…..
Verse 33…..   Peter found Aeneas…. He was in bed paralyzed…… for eight years…….  This man was really sick and everybody knew it…..
Verse 34….. Peter said  Jesus the Christ heals you…. Get up and make your bed….….
Aeneas believed Peter and so he obeyed…. He tried to get up and strength poured into his stiff and paralyzed body….
He had to exercise his will in response to the statement of Peter…..  This man obeyed and God healed him completely and instantly…. And it says at the end of verse 34, he arose immediately…..
Peter gave him a chance to obey and respond in real faith……  Jesus Christ maketh thee well." Notice that Peter doesn't come in there and say I'm here to heal you….. He does not exalt himself….  Jesus the Christ makes you well…. We are here….. not in heaven…. So that we can Glorify….. God with our lives….. living sacrifices….. it is our reasonable form of worship…. Romans 12…v 1….
Verse 35…. All who lived nearby saw him and turned to the Lord….
If you want an effective Christian life and  ministry…… just do two things, get involved in what God's already doing…. Join the Lord in His work….  and live to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ every day..…… Time is short… Peter knew this already in our text this morning…. He saw it in the life of Paul…. The leaders of Israel have already tried to kill Paul twice…… The church has a break at the moment…. They have peace temporarily….  We saw that in Acts 9…v31…. But Peter knows that this is a temporary opportunity to proclaim the Good News in relative safety…..  the window of opportunity is short…. Time is running out for Peter….. time is running out for us too….
Nigerian teenage girls…. They are mostly Christians…. The girls' families have said that most of those seized are Christians…. The terrorist leaders boast that some of the girls have converted to Islam….

Two girls on the video singled out for questioning said they were Christians but had converted to Islam.
 In the Sudan…. a pregnant woman Doctor who married a Christian man has been sentenced to death….
Sudan…. A Khartoum court this week convicted Meriam Yehya Ibrahim, 27, of apostasy, or the renunciation of faith.
Ibrahim  is eight months pregnant…. She is a Christian, her husband said…… But the court considers her a Muslim……"I'm so frustrated…… I don't know what to do," said her husband, Daniel Wani. "I'm just praying."
The court also convicted her of adultery and sentenced her to 100 lashes because her marriage to a Christian man is considered void under Sharia law……. 
Ibrahim says she was born to a Sudanese Muslim father and an Ethiopian Orthodox mother….. Her father left when she was age 6…… and she was raised by her mother as a Christian…….The court warned her to renounce her Christianity by Thursday,….. but she held firm to her beliefs and was sentenced to death…..
The person who filed the charges is her brother, who is also a Muslim….. Because her father was Muslim, the courts considered her one too…. which would mean her marriage to a non-Muslim man is void……
In addition to her pregnancy, the couple's 20-month-old toddler is with her in prison, and he is getting regular ailments due to lack of hygiene and the presence of bugs, the lawyer said.
"The fact that a woman could be sentenced to death for her religious choice, and to flogging for being married to a man of an allegedly different religion, is abhorrent and should never be even considered," said Manar Idriss, Amnesty International's Sudan researcher. They decided that she could have the baby before she is hanged….
We are in the middle of Worldwide persecution at this moment…. Here is a famous statement from one of the early church leaders….
"Go on, rack, torture, grind us to powder: our numbers increase in proportion as you mow us down.  The blood of Christians is their harvest seed."  -Tertullian (Ca. 200 A.D.)
In the past 100 years (during the 20th Century) 26,000,000 Christians were killed for their faith (martyred).  This is more than the combined total of all previous centuries….  These things are all still going on right now….. and in some countries are worse than they have ever been…... It is extimated that 200 Million Christians in 60 Countries are being persecuted in some way today….
As I said Peter had a sense of urgency caused by the fact that he knew that his time was short…. Turn with me to 1 Peter 4….
1 Peter 4: 7- 11                      NKJV
 7 But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. 8 And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.” 9 Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. 10 As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11 If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
1 Peter 4: 7- 11                      Sch 2000
7 Es ist aber nahe gekommen das Ende aller Dinge. So seid nun besonnen und nüchtern zum Gebet.
8 Vor allem aber habt innige Liebe untereinander; denn die Liebe wird eine Menge von Sünden zudecken.
9 Seid gegeneinander gastfreundlich ohne Murren!
10 Dient einander, jeder mit der Gnadengabe, die er empfangen hat, als gute Haushalter der mannigfaltigen Gnade Gottes:
11 Wenn jemand redet, so [rede er es] als Aussprüche Gottes; wenn jemand dient, so [tue er es] aus der Kraft, die Gott darreicht, damit in allem Gott verherrlicht wird durch Jesus Christus. Ihm sei die Herrlichkeit und die Macht von Ewigkeit zu Ewigkeit! Amen.
Look at these marching orders from Peter…
V7…. Time is short…. Be serious and watchful in your prayers…..
V8….. above all things have fervent love for each other…. For love will cover a multitude of sins…..
V9… be hospitable…
V10…. Use the gifts that God has given you for others…..
V11…… speak and minister for the Glory of God!!! AMEN
What wonderful grace…… What a man of God to serve as our example today…. Like Paul…. Peter was also totally transformed by the Lord Jesus …. He knew the grace of God up close and personal…. We have nothing to boast about…. We are not special….. We did not save ourselves…. As we read in Ephesians 2… We were lost and without hope dead in our sins….. v4 But God…..
What marks a true Christian? Genuine repentance which turns completely away from  our sin filled hopeless condition……. We cry out to God for mercy and the  salvation that only comes through God's grace….. We cry out to Him for forgiveness….. And it´s a miracle…. He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us…. Just like we read in the scriptures….. What Good News…
We don´t really understand the incredible Grace of God….
Forgiven and redeemed….. us…. Me?….. it´s a miracle for sure….
Peter wept bitterly when he realized that the Lord was right about him…. He was no Great man of God….. he was loud and proud……. He desperately needed the power of the grace of God to help him and to transform him from the inside….   He found himself at the foot of the cross….. weeping bitter tears of shame and sorrow….. He found grace…… and forgiveness….  There is where he found mercy and help……
How about you and me….. When we look at the cross do we really see ourselves…… When we look at the cross do we remember what Jesus suffered….. Do we remind ourselves that our sin was the reason that he suffered and died….. Do we Christians look at the cross and say we need help……