Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Shiny Imitation or Real Gold?

Click Here to Listen to the Sunday, January 23, 2011 Sermon by Pastor Rodger S. Loar

Scripture Reference: Acts 2:42-47

A Shiny Imitation or Real Gold?

As a child, I saw an ad in a magazine for a free gold coin.  The ad actually said “FREE Solid, Gold Coin*.”  I fell for the advertisement and mailed in the form.  At the time, I didn’t recognize the significance of the comma after solid and the asterisk at the end.  When I received the coin in the mail weeks later, I was sorely disappointed.  A real gold coin is 1.25 inches in diameter and 3mm thick.  The coin I receive is less than ¼ inch in diameter and about the thickness of a few sheets of paper stacked together.  It was solid all right, just not solid gold.  My father had to explain to me what marketing was and how you had to watch for the small print.  Needless to say, I learned a valuable lesson that day and I have never forgotten it and I still have the coin to this day.
It is disappointing to expect one thing and receive something less.  Sure, the coin I received was shiny and gold colored.  It is also solid.  But it isn’t the real thing.
Through my 15 years as a Christian, I have often felt the same way.  We have so twisted Christ’s message over the last two-thousand years that most people don’t really know what it means to be a Christian.
Acts 2:42-47 shows us what the first church was like. 

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

What an awesome vision.  How cool might it be to experience that kind of community today?   Maybe we can, if we are willing to ask ourselves some hard questions. 
  • What if the people of today’s church started acting like this first church?
  • What if we intentionally built a close community together by eating together, praying together, and serving others together often?
  • What if we shared what we have, giving out of every paycheck to help the needy?
  • What if we worshipped God in our daily actions, in our business dealings, and in the way we treat people, not just by coming to church once in awhile?
  • What if we loved and welcomed everyone, no matter who they were, what their skin color what, what their sexual orientation was, what their economic status was, what their past mistakes were, or what their legal status was?
  • What if the prayers of others became calls to action in our own lives?
  • What if it really mattered in our lives that we follow Jesus?
  • What if each of us actually made a difference in this world, because we love God and love all the people He created?
Why, that just might be revolutionary…
Our challenge from this series is for Christians to become part of a community that serves Jesus.  If it’s Mountain View, then commit to being here and commit to intentionally getting to know your fellow believers.  It takes time, it takes work, it takes sacrifice… But, it’s worth it.
A community that catches Christ’s vision to love the world is a rare and precious thing.  Like the real gold coin, it has weight and value.  We can choose that kind of community or we can choose the shiny imitation that has little value.
Community like this can change the world.  It has in the past.  Will you take the personal challenge to make it happen again?

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