On Monday nights I have been blessed with the opportunity to lead evening prayer for homeless members of our community. I have started branching out and preparing a mini sermon based on the evening Scripture.
A mini sermon given to homeless folks on the Book of Acts 13: 44-52
By Theresa D. McClellan
This is the story of Paul and Barnabas trying to give the message of the good news of Christ to their fellow Jews. They gathered in the worshiping place, almost the whole city, it says, and they came together to hear the word of God.
But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were jealous of this new message that God’s arms are wide and there is room for all. They started fussing and creating a fuss because this message could change things. They started contradicting and blaspheming and generally opposing the message from Paul, it says in the Thirteenth Chapter of the Book of Acts.
Oppressing people can be a big business. You’re out….. No, YOU can’t come here unless…. Anybody but them…..and you…. and your cousin, boo, too.
But Paul and Barnabas were not backing down. They had a message and it says, “they chose to be bold with their message.”
They explained that it was necessary that the word of God be spoken to the Jews first.
But in this story the listening Jews rejected the message, and it says here “and you judge yourself unworthy of everlasting life.”
Take that in for a minute. Not only did they not think others were worthy, they did not believe THEY were worthy of such a powerful message of welcome. Initially I thought, how short sighted. But then I realized, how wounded were they? How wounded are we?
How many times have we cheated ourselves out of a blessing because we didn’t think we were worthy or we deserved it. How many times have we not pursued something that would be good for us, that could change our circumstances, because we are scared or hurt and we think, these scraps are all I can have. …This little box can hold my stuff. … This curb is all I can get.
You know God calls us beloved. God calls all his children beloved.
Paul and Barnabas said the message would not be accepted by the Jews so they turned to the Gentiles, that is everyone else. For so the Lord has commanded us, they said.
And the Gentiles heard this and they were glad and they glorified the word of the Lord and the word of the Lord was spread throughout the region.
Paul and Barnabas and their message were not welcome in that land. And what does the Bible tell us to do when that happens?
Shake that dust off and move on. That’s right, shake it off.
And get your blessing. Stay connected with God. Pray unceasingly.
And it says the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit. That joy, being connected with the Holy Spirit, was not just a gift to Paul and Barnabas and the disciples. We ,too, can have that joy. Christ died and told us, ” I leave my Holy Spirit with you.”
Believe this. Know this. We are not alone. Even when it seems no one hears our cry. God hears us. God’s arms are wide. God’s Holy Spirit is with us.
Dear God, you know what we need. You know what messages we hear daily. But we know God that You call us beloved and so we choose our words , our thoughts and our actions that show we are beloved. May we continue to seek your word, your message and your life. In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
May it be so