Acts 4:13 – Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.
THEME OF THE DAY: WHAT MAKES US DIFFERENT? Imagine I am your next door neighbor or co-worker who works closely with you. I am not a Christian. I know nothing at all about Christianity. I have never read the Bible; never attended a church; and never met a Christian until I met you. Before we go further in this story, don’t think it is far-fetched and not reality. It is increasingly reality. We cannot assume anyone knows the basics of Christianity or have been exposed to genuine Bible-believing Christians. And if you question that, here are two pieces of evidence to validate my statement. First, my personal experience. I am weekly involved with outreach among young people from high schoolers through early thirties. I can tell you there is a generation among us just like it was in the book of Acts. They know nothing about Christianity, Christ, or the Bible. Here is the second way to prove the wide illiteracy of true Biblical Christianity among us. Get into the culture. Talk to your neighbors, co-workers. Start reaching out and talk to people about Christianity. Get involved in sharing the Gospel. You will see what the Lord said is true, “The harvest is great” (Luke 10:2). Now back to our story . . .
As life goes on, I start to notice you are not like me. You seem to have a “ritual” every Sunday morning. I see you leave your home, carrying a book, and you don’t come back till after lunch. I also notice at work, you don’t complain about the boss, co-workers, or the job itself. And you always work hard, never cutting corners, or “cheating” our company by wasting time. Nor do you engage in conversations with our co-workers that, even to me, aren’t too great. Most contain gossip, talking about people negatively, rude jokes, and heated politics. I also notice you care about people. You even asked me about my life. And it struck me that you did so not wanting anything from me. I watch you and see something very different from other people, even myself. Then one day, a crisis comes into my life. I start thinking of you with thoughts, “I wonder if I could talk to (your name). He or she does seem to care about me.” So, I approach you with two questions; “(Your name), may I talk with you? You seem to ‘have it all together’ and I would like to know why?”
What do we say in that conversation? Well, what we should say without reservation and with the boldness we read about in today’s scripture is something like this, “(Your name), I really don’t have it all together. I am a Christian. No, I am not religious. I believe in, follow, and live for Jesus Christ. He is my God, my Savior, and the source of anything I am and the strength to get me through anything I encounter.” As I look at you, you continue to tell me about the reality of Christ; His life on earth; His love for humanity; His reason why He came; His death, His resurrection, and where He is right now. As I listen to you, you are talking about Christ as if He was there with us. You talk naturally and affectionately like you really know Him. You are close to Him. You talk about Him in relational terms that lack religious terminology or simply some code of conduct lived. By now, I am really listening because you have lived what you are now telling me. I have observed your life, and you are now telling me the difference is because of the Person of Jesus Christ. I am ready to hear more about the uniqueness, not of your life or spiritual experience, but of this Person you are telling me about.
Friends, these types of encounters should be happening in our lives. That is why we are on earth. But, and I will end today’s nugget abruptly with this “but” . . . we will not live the Christian life as God intends; influence people for Christ as He intends; unless we are individually and privately doing what ends today’s scripture – being with Jesus. We cannot share, lack the desire to share, and will not share an “unknown” Christ. Think about it. What makes us different is a vibrant spiritual walk with Jesus Christ.
PRAYER: “Father, create in me a deep passion to know Your Son.”
QUOTE: “The level Christ captivates our hearts and minds will be the level of our influence for Him”