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Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A., Editor


The Sixth Sunday After Easter
Series B

Option #1: "The Disciples Were First Called 'Christians' At Antioch"
Acts 11:19-30
Rev. Wayne Dobratz, B.A., M.Div.

1) Scattered, yet willing to witness--Acts 8:1; text, vv19-21

2) Strengthened by God’s Word--text, vv22-26; 2 Chron 30:12; Acts 26:17-18

3) God giving the harvest--Acts 2:47, 4:4, 5:14, 6:7; 1 Cor 3:6-7

4) Living the faith, being "a little Christ to our neighbor"--text, vv27-30, Prov 14:31, 19:17; Mark 9:41; 2 Cor 5:14-15, 8 & 9; Romans 15:25-27; 1 Thess 1:5ff; 1 Peter 1:22; 1 John 3:14-19; 1 John 5:1-2

Adam Clarke's Commentary on the New Testament:

Acts 11:21: The hand of the Lord was with them--by the hand, arm, and, finger of God, in the Scripture, different displays or exertions of his power are intended. Here it means that the energy of God accompanied them, and applied their preaching to the souls of all attentive hearers. Without this accompanying influence, even an apostle could do no good; and can inferior men hope to be able to convince and convert sinners without this?

A great number believed--that Jesus was the Christ; and that he had died for their sins, and rose again for their justification. Because the apostles preached the truth, and the hand of God was with them; therefore, a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord, becoming his disciples.

Acts 11:26: The disciples were first called Christians at Antioch--before this time the Jewish converts were simply called, among themselves, disciples, i.e. students; believers, saints, the Church, or assembly... They considered themselves as one family; and hence the name of brethren was frequent among them. It was the design of God to make all who believed of one heart and one soul, that they might consider him as their Father, and live and love like children of the same family. A Christian, therefore, is the highest character which any human being can bear upon earth. It is however worthy of remark that this name occurs in only three places in the New Testament: here, and in Acts 26:28, and in 1 Peter 4:16.

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Lamb's Message on Acts 11:26

Here's a headline from one of today's Scriptures:

DISCIPLES FIRST CALLED CHRISTIANS AT ANTIOCH

Being called names at school or on the playground: How does that make you feel?

One of today’s Bible readings tells us about the first time followers of Jesus were called Christians. We don’t know whether it was an insult or not. No matter how it happened, what does it mean for us to be called "Christians"?

1) Since the name of Christ is there, we want people to see Jesus in who we are, in what we do, in how we treat them.

2) Since we are called by the name of Christ, we need to remember that our sins are forgiven because Jesus took them to the cross with him, taking them away forever.

3) Since we want people to know Jesus and to be forgiven by him the way he has forgiven us, we can’t just tell them about it; we have to love them, as Jesus has loved us.

4) If you want people to see that you belong to Jesus, help them the way that Jesus did. Jesus said that when people are lonely, we are to visit them. Jesus said that when people are poor, we help them. Jesus said that when people are sick, we spend time with them. (Insert your own example here, if desired.)

Jesus’ first followers were called Christians about 2,000 years ago. We can’t just claim the name; we have to show that it fits us today. Jesus said: Whatever you have done to...these brothers of mine, you have done for me.

If we see Jesus in the people we are helping, it will be a lot easier to help them. And Jesus will thank you himself when you see him on the Last Day.

Here’s our headline:

CHRISTIANS SHOW MUCH LOVE AT (name of city, town, church)!

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Option #2: "Exorcised & Exercised!"
1 John 4:1-11
Rev. Kelly Bedard, B.A., M.Div.
 
The Point: We've got the Spirit--to test what's truly from God and what's not and to live Christ-like, loving lives.
 
The Problem: We've got spirits--ones other than the Holy Spirit, causing us to live and behave in ways that are contrary to the Spirit of Christ.
 
The Promise: God through Jesus' forgiveness and power (will) exorcise(s) the evil spirits within us and (will) exercise(s) us by/with the Holy Spirit with/for acts of love and forgiveness.
 
1.The First Church of St. John, or "the community of the beloved disciple," as the late Raymond Brown called it, seems a lot like the church around the corner when you read between the lines. Some of the faithful sound a little too sure of themselves. Others confuse the talk with the walk. Some members get mad and leave the church. (William Brosend)
 
2. See what we are insisting upon; that the deeds of [people] are only discerned by the root of charity. For many things may be done that have a good appearance, and yet proceed not from the root of charity. (St. Augustine)

 

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This page was revised on: Monday, November 13, 2006 12:15:39 PM