Sunday, April 7, 2013


Helping/ discipleship / Service
Acts 2:42-47     in the WordBreak BreadPrayer
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 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, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
This is the first report of the first Church.  This is the foundation of what they did, enjoy, acted upon: IT WAS WHAT THEY WERE ALL ABOUT.  In the Word: The Apostle’s Teaching 言葉において:使徒の教え

As this phase of ministry at ICCS comes to a close…and it is a chapter…what do we expect to see in the NEXT period?  Something of the same and a lot more of something new.  Have you dreamed what it will be like?  Have you wondered what ICCS will look like in one year…in five…in ten…in 20 years?  We might all be different people but IF the core of our DNA as a Church remains, it will look like this that is found in Acts 2:42-47.  A growing community. 成長する共同体

I have asked the Lord to teach us what it is that is necessary for us as a Body of Christ to know in the next 10 weeks.   What is it that I can share with you that will help as you face 2014 and beyond?  I believe He has been showing me this: Keep the Main Thing of the Gospel the Main Thing. 中心とすべきところを中心に置く I believe that advice was good for us when we started IC back in 1990 and I feel it will serve us well as we move on.

What are the main things of the Gospel?  Apart from the Apostle’s Creed, which we say every once in a while, what is MAIN?  These verses give demonstration of them. The Apostle’s teaching. 

This shows me that the central factor in this following was THE WORD OF GOD!  That was central to their teaching.  That God is: He is eternal and Holy.  That Jesus is His Son: that He is all God and all Man-who came to die on the Cross-to take away the sin of man.  That the Holy Spirit –the third Person in the God Head, was sent to indwell us and seal us for all eternity.  And that is only the start.  Paul, Peter, James and others continues this teaching in Romans and elsewhere, as to how this all plays out.  

What do you believe?
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, God's only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; On the third day He rose again; He ascended into heaven, He is seated at the right hand of the Father, and He will come again to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Christian Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. AMEN.
我は天地の造り主、全能の父なる神を信ず。我はその独り子、我らの主、イエス・キリストを信ず。主は聖霊によりてやどり、処女マリヤより生まれ、ポンテオ・ピラトのもとに苦しみを受け、十字架につけられ、死にて葬られ、陰府にくだり、三日目に死人のうちよりよみがえり、天にのぼり、全能の父なる神の右に座したまえり、かしこより来りて生ける者と死ねる者とを審きたまわん。我は聖霊を信ず、聖なる公同の教会、聖徒の交わり、罪の赦し、身体のよみがえり、永遠の生命を信ず。 アーメン
   Questions need to be answered: Are you involved in the teaching and understanding of the Apostle’s teaching?  How is your own Bible study doing?  Are you reading the Word each day?  Would you know false teaching if you heard it? Are you developing a solid foundation on the Word of God?  In short, how much of The Word do you really know and follow?  I am not talking about can you recite a Bible verse or if you know who the brother of Mary and Martha is.  Is the Word of God central in your life and life style? 

   The early church was excited about their new Faith.  Before Acts 2, many of them were literally dead in their trespasses and sin: they were dead spiritually.  Once they found salvation in the Person of Jesus, they were motivated to grow.  They met daily to hear the Word and they lived by that teaching.  Have we become dull of hearing?  Have we become tired of putting the Word of God first in how we deal with life’s issues?  Have we—as we said on Resurrection Sunday—remembered His Word?  Just as He said…”

   Have we become laxed in our study of the Word?  Are you growing in the Knowledge of the Lord?  Is there a hunger of His Word?  I don’t mind getting up close and personal here.  Are you reading your Bible?  Could you tell if I taught falsehood?  Can you identify a false teacher when you encounter one?  KNOW the Apostle’s teaching.

   The second element that was found in the Early Church was that they Broke Bread together. パンをともに裂く Communion, Lord’s Table, the Lord’s Supper, partaking of the elements… They did it at every encounter.  Was it necessary?  IS the Bible teaching us to do the very same thing---at every meeting, have communion?  In one sense, it would be fantastic!  Some have asked me to have Communion more than once a month.  They might be thinking of these very same verses. 

   I really enjoy our Lord’s Table.  A time to remember…to take into account my own need for forgiveness…of what Jesus did on the Cross.  How He gave Himself for my sin.  How He paid with HIS BLOOD the penalty of sin for the whole world.  Hearing Him say: Do this in memory of Me.” 再び来られるまで主を覚え  Mark 14:17-27

   Let’s do that right now.  A Memorial. Right now, in the middle of the sermon… let’s remember Him.  On the evening that Christ was betrayed… He took the cup, saying ….” 
Mark 14:17-2717 When evening came, Jesus arrived with the Twelve. 18 While they were reclining at the table eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me—one who is eating with me.”
19 They were saddened, and one by one they said to him, “Surely you don’t mean me?”
20 “It is one of the Twelve,” he replied, “one who dips bread into the bowl with me. 21 The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.”
22 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take it; this is my body.”
23 Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and they all drank from it.
24 “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many,” he said to them. 25 “Truly I tell you, I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”
26 When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
マルコ14:17-27    17夕方になってイエスは十二弟子といっしょにそこに来られた18 そしてみんが席について食事をしているときイエスは言われた。「まことにあなたがたに告げますあなたがたひとりでわたしといっしょに食事をしている者がわたしを裏切ります。」19 弟子たちは悲しくなって、「まさか私ではないでしょとかわるがわるイエスに言いだした20 イエスは言われた。「十二人ひとりでわたしといっしょに鉢に浸している者です21 確かに子は自分について書いてあるとおりに去って行きますしかし子を裏切るよな人間はわざわいです人は生まれなかったほがよかったです。」22 それからみなが食事をしているときイエスはパンを取り祝福して後これを裂き彼らに与えて言われた。「取りなさいこれはわたしからだです。」23 また杯を取り感謝をささげて後彼らに与えられた彼らはみなそ杯から飲んだ24 イエスは彼らに言われた。「これはわたし契約血です多くために流されるもです25 まことにあなたがたに告げます国で新しく飲むそ日までわたしはもはやぶど実で造った物を飲むことはありません。」26 そして賛美歌を歌ってからみなでオリーブ山へ出かけて行った27 イエスは弟子たちに言われた。「あなたがたはみなつまずきます。『わたしが羊飼いを打つすると羊は散り散りになると書いてありますから
   Getting back now to the question at hand.  How often should we do this?  The early Church did it every time they got together.  Is the Book of Acts Descriptive or Prescriptive.  In other words, does it showed us HOW they lived the Christian life or that this is the way to live the Christian Life?  Much of the material in the New Testament falls into 2 groupings: Descriptive is a narration of what took place (Acts 10:45-46). And Prescriptive, which are commands about how we should indeed follow to live out the Christian life (2 Tim 4:2 and Col 2:9).
   John R.W. Stott wrote in Baptism and Fullness, IVPress 1975, pp.15-17
 What is described in Scripture as having happened to others is not necessarily intended for us, whereas what is promised to us we should appropriate, and what is commanded us we are to obey . . . What is descriptive is valuable (in determining what God intends for all Christians) only in so far as it is interpreted by what is moral . . . We must derive (develop) our standards of belief and behavior from the teaching of the New Testament . . . rather than from the practices and experiences which it portrays.”
   If we wanted to follow ALL that the Book of Acts showed us, would some of us die after giving collection because we had lied to the Holy Spirit?  Would we watch one of our own being stoned?  Would we welcome persecution for His Name sake?  We would want the closeness the early church had but not the cutting and beatings. So, to keep it clear, Acts is both prescriptive & descriptive.

   Let’s not forget the sermon title: Community. 共同体  This was the first time since Israel was a nation that The People who lived in that land felt like they were One People.  They were experiencing real community based on Historical Biblical predictions.  And with the community came the problems of interpersonal relationships.  The Gentile widows felt slighted from getting what was their due while the Hebrew widows were getting more of their fair share.  (Acts 6). That happens in a community.  We don’t excuse it, but we expect it and we need to deal with it as they did. (Vs.7 numbers increased rapidly.)

   And this memorial覚えてwas given to us to keep doing until He returns.  It is not a blank ceremony.  It is not just actions but it IS the reality of the Promise Jesus made to us.   “I will return.  Do this until I return.” When will that happen?  No one knows the time.  No one!  If someone says he knows, he is a liar.  The Word of God tells us to keep watch.  Look up into the heavens!  He will come back the same way He left.  Visible.  Physical. He will do this—just as He said. 

Our third point:  Prayer. 祈り
   We need to be deeper in our prayers.  We need to pray more.  We need to be in prayer more often.  Prayer in community and in private.  交わりの中心When my Dad was a young man, he felt that prayer was too personal to be heard by others.  In fact, the whole Christian experience was that way: “It is a private thing!”  But the Scriptures shows us time and time again—both prescriptively and descriptively that God’s People are called to prayer.

   Prayer is talking to God and it goes both ways. 祈りは双方向に  It has words and there is silence.  Both are needed. Open hearts—that are made that way because of the cleansing from The Word—are open to The Lord and there is healing in all that.  God is well pleased when He hears His Body respond to issues in prayer.  And we want to please Him. We want to please Him because we love Him and He loves us…so later in the service, let us pray…thanking God for Biblical teaching, for communion and for prayer. Still later in May, we will join the World in prayer during the GDOP.  Part of the Church Movement that is called into Community.  Amen.