The next four post are a sermon series I’m typing out. It’s a work in progress an I am not done with all the critical work, so bear with me this time.
Theme Verse: Acts 9:1-20
I want to start by telling a story of my dad and my uncle. One day my dad and my brother were outside their house playing with a box of matches at the tree line of the woods outside their house. This happened when they were alot younger and not as smart as they are now. My uncle is the one credited with being brilliant enough to throw the lit matches onto the dry leaves at the edge of the woods and my dad was just along for the ride. My uncle proceed by throwing the matches and then stomping out the burning leaves with his foot. This plan was great for about 5-6 matches. After so many throws, I think that chance left the scene and probability took hold of its rightful position. The leaves were burning like before, but were not going out this time. In a terrible panic, the two brothers ran to the house. They hoped to escape notice, but were confronted with harsh reality when the entire local fire department showed up at their doorsteps. When door opened, two kids became frightened by a man known only as the fire marshall who lectured them about the dangers that fires have on them.
My dad and his brother almost did a terrible thing. I guarantee that they have not tried it again to this day and are very cautious around matches. The funny thing is that such a small innocent spark of energy can cause have such a drastic affect on everything around it. There have been stories on the news about forest fires and how they cost us billions of dollars every year. In 1993, Southern California experienced one of their worst forest fires in history. They area had gone an indecent amount of time without rain, making the forest ripe for the bunring. The fire was devastating. About 6500 firemen battled the blazes along with firechoppers which scooped water from the Pacific Ocean. The efforts however were futile and the fire took over 1000 homes and left close to a billion dollars in damage.
All it took was one spark. Such a small amount of energy compared to a gigantic forest fire. Such a concept seems barely at the grasp of the mind. A spark is such a small amount of energy. If you have seen a spark you know how quick and small its energy is and how short of a window of opportunity it has to make a difference. Acts 9:1-3 paints a picture of one of the infamous sparks of our religion. When Saul was running around capturing Christians for the silencing, he was stopped in his tracks to Damascus. Now, in those days, visions were becoming quite rare. No vision had occured in such a long time, but Saul saw a vision nonetheless. In this passage Saul eventually answers the call Christ had for him making on of the greatest sparks in our history.
This passage also mentions another character that is crucial to this story, God. God is trying to get our lives energized like a spark is energized from a flint peice. God has faith that we can do this and calls us to Him. We must start to see the potential inside us and have faith in ourselves as well as in God, for God believes that we are capable of being priests. In Acts 9:3-6, God has called Saul to stop doing what he is doing and follow Him. It does not seem to make sense that the man who was such a sworn enemy to the Church was even considered. But then again. Jesus chose fishermen and tax collectors. Why not someone who was working in the synagogues and Temple. God believed that Saul was capable of something great. That we be the only reason He choose 12 vagabonds to follow Him. He believed that they could be like Him. The same love and faith existed in Saul’s case as well.
Acts 9:7-18 shows what it is to be a spark. One thing about the spark is that the spark cannot stay and still keep its energy. It must go and find something to pass its energy on to. Without something to pass on that energy to, the spark loses its energy. Barnabas carried on such a concept. He was just a spark. but he found someone to pass on his energy to. Now the way he would be passing on his energy was very risky in his eyes. Saul was not a man of a great reputation for men like Barnabas. He still went and helped unleash one of the greatest wild fires of history that still burns today.
Sparks are also wild and unpredictable. We must remember that when one drops his own life and begins to follow Christ, that that is one of the wildest and most unpredictable moments in a anyones life. Would it not make sense that such a start of a lifestyle is partly what makes up the lifestyle itself. The old life is very mundain. It is worth not even a penny in your pocket, because the things of this world will all fade away. Nothing of this life lasts. The funny thing is that we are born in a nature which partly desires this world, and most of the time it whens over everything that calls us to be holy and to be God chasers. Is it not wild and so unpredictable that we, fallen man would first be chosen to be in God’s Kingdom and then be the ones to accept it. If that is wild, then so is the lifestyle we are to live, and by wild, I mean passionate about God and about loving others and showing grace and spreading the Gospel in whatever way God deems as possible for you. There should be no bubbles among. I know about bubbles. My younger life was a bubble. but we run a risk as Christians. We risk financial trauma, verbal abuse, discrimination, and even death in some situations. That however is the life God wants of us, for it is only out of love that some have suffered. If we claim to love, then let us live in love.
If we look at scriptures, then we see that we follows God’s commands and not the Law. Now hang with me for a second; I am about to make a point. When we follow God, we will reflect the Law. If God gave the Jewish nation the Law, then it only makes sense that following God would be very similar to following the Law. But those who follow the Law have only death, for no one can please the Law. This was true in the Old Testament as well. The people who walked and talked with God were the ones known as righteous. Those who merely followed the Law were only Law abiding citizens. In that note I can say that we do not follow the Law, for we are not disciples of the Law, we are disciples of God, the maker of the Law. We have the virtue found in the law which is of God in our hearts.
All this is the way to starting a flame, but we must be sparks for the Kingdom. We are not like forestfires in a destructive sense, but we are sparks which awaken souls that have never burned or have been ashes for a long time. All it takes is to be a spark. All we have to do is be a small, responsive energy the can kindle the flame, which will be the next reality behind the Church.