Sunday, April 14, 2013

ALL IN 5 VERSES. すべては 5 節の聖句で

     Well, last week, we looked at Acts 2:42-47 and saw that the early Church had it right by following 1) the Apostle’s teaching—staying in the Word of God御言葉にとどまること. 2) They broke Bread together—remembering the Lord Jesus主イエスを覚えること and looking for His return and 3) that Prayer was central to their Fellowship祈りをその交わりの中心とした.  
This week, we will be looking at “THINGS” the early Church did that is very important for us to follow today!  Three things: 1. they spent TIME with each other互いに時間を過ごす.  2. They were active in their society社会の中で活躍するand 3. they kept the Sabbath -the worship安息日礼拝を現実に守る.
Do you remember falling in LOVE?  What did you want to do most of the time?  Look into their eyes?  Listen to their voice? Hold them in an embrace? Was it important to be in their physical presence?  Were you satisfied with a photo of them or sitting across from them?  Was it better to be in FB contact or walking with them in a park?  Of course, some of us were satisfied with the least contact possible because you really did not like their face, their voice was too scratchy, their body order was too strong.  No?  It might be fair to say that being with them was the only think you might have thought about. 
Well, it is true that presence is best but there is a saying that absence makes the heart grow fonder.  I feel safe to say that being together with the ones you love is a good thing.  You feel safe with them.  You are at ease.  There might be some tension but for the most part, you want to be there.
The Psalmist had that same feeling:  I want to be where You are!  I long to be in Your presence.  I hunger for that time—in your Throne Room—which is filled with the Shinning Glory of the Lord.  If you would read the Song of Solomon or Song of Songsソロモンの歌 - 歌の歌, one might get the idea that there is a lot of loving going on—at least in the author’s mind! 
How beautiful you are… How handsome you are… Your hair is like a flock of goats… Your teeth are like a flock of sheep  Somehow I feel that that man is in love!  And he is not ashamed to say so.
So can I ask you this morning… How is your love for the Church? あなたの愛は教会のためにどうですか? On Saturday night, do you say of that relationship “All night long on my bed I looked for the one my heart loves?” Maybe not…but what is wrong with that kind of longing to be in His Presence?
And that is what the early church experienced.  There was a longing for contact with the Body!  There was a devotion to the Body.  Everyone was filled with awe!  All the Believers were together.  Every day they continued to meet together…  They broke bread in their homes…ate together…they had glad and sincere hearts.  They were praising God AND all that seemed to result in a most peculiar and visible result.  They enjoyed or delighted in the favor of all the people AND The Lord added to their number daily! 
Is that something to aim for?  Can we find that kind of response today or is it only a description of what they experienced?  I believe that this could be the right response to The Church and I’d like to tell you why.
It has to do with LOVE. And that has to do with keeping the Sabbath.  Since Old Testament times, the Hebrew People had been instructed to keep their worship clear of error.  Clear of idolatry: reverence of something other than the Divine.  The call to follow the Nations around them proved too much of a temptation for them.  They not only stopped worshiping Jehovah, the Creator, but also, they allowed themselves to be divorced from any kindness toward Holy God. Ten Commandments dealt with this relationship. 
As a review:  In Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5, we find (ESV)
And God spoke all these words, saying, I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
1.  You shall have no other gods before Me. 他の神々はわたしの前にいない

2.  You shall not make for yourself a carved image偶像を作らない, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate Me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love Me and keep My commandments.

3.  You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain無意味に主の名を唱えない, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His Name in vain.

4.  Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy安息日を聖なる日として守る. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

5.  Honor your father and your mother父と母を敬う, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.

6.  You shall not murder殺人を犯さない.

7.  You shall not commit adultery姦淫しない.

8.  You shall not steal盗まない.

9.  You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor偽証をしない.

10.  You shall not covet your neighbor's house隠さない; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor's.

As with the Apostle’s Teaching, the Ten Commandments are still in effect.  They are still to be followed.  Still to be taken seriously.  They are not just mere suggestions提案よりもっと!.  They are not a reflection of an ancient way-of-life.  They are, in fact, COMMANDS that God expects His creation to follow.  Even for non-believers to follow because He has made it all clearly understood—even pagans, that this was His Plan for Mankind.  
Romans 1:18-25 ローマ人への手紙1:18-25 18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.
24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
And the early Church was all about restoring the relationship between God and His creation.  The Ten Commands showed us that the Lord of Love had a relationship with Mankind and that Mankind needed to restore the relationship with God.  The Law showed people our need for a Savior and to ultimately restore fellowship with Father God’s most beloved creation-Man … through the Work of Christ Jesus on the Cross.  We were created for a relationship with God and with one another.  The early Church saw that and started to live that out before the citizens of Jerusalem.  And God was pleased! 

Again; Acts 2:42-47  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神を賛美し、すべての民に好意を持たれた。. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

A few words concerning this: Verse 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common.  Not only were they around each other, they must have been communicating with each other so that they could tell who needed the help and who could step up and help out.  All things in common-shows that personal ownership meant very little.  They did not hold things too dear to their hearts.  They were free to give.
They were together in TIME彼らは同じ時間を過ごした.  Doing things together.  Worshiping together.  Living their lives out together.  In some ways, it might have been a sort of Ghetto.  But public all at the same time.  They were together.
Don’t loose that, my dear friends.  Be a together Group—not exclusive but inclusive.  They involved each other in all that life had for them and it came out later, when there was a natural disaster, they pulled together.  When persecution took a hole of them, they stood up for the Lord. They became stronger united than they could stand strong alone. 
All this centers on ONE factor.  They were about a Worship time of Belief and not the building of a place.  Can’t you just see them in your mind’s eye…all over that city, people who are lovers of life, giving themselves to those in need?  People saw it!  They were glad for it.  Society changed because Believers took to the streets and met people’s needs.  And they GAVE to ANYONE as he had need.  How cool was that?  People were not waiting for a Federal handout.  Nothing wrong with food stamps of government aid but the Church took it on and it became a Faith Based social help program彼らは信仰を基にして動いた. 
They gave to those in need. Sold what they had—not to the point of injury, to meet the needs of those around them.  It seemed that they gave to their own first.  Later, you will see the care of their own widows, and food aid for the Church.
THEY KEEP THE WORSHIP REAL彼らはまことの礼拝を保ち続けた.  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.
They kept in focus the real issues of the Faith.  Meeting together in the Temple courts, broke bread together—remembering the Lord—they had GLAD喜びと HEARTS and with SINCERE HEARTS they praised God誠実な心で、彼らは主を賛美して.  There was little room for petty issues.  They were looking after the interest of others.  They took care of each other.
Many of the Believers came from broken homes.  Sure there were families that came to Jesus but at first, someONE person needed to be the first to believe.  Let me read a short testimony of one I met 33 years ago. Hideo Sato 佐藤秀夫氏.
Hideo Sato on the left with fellow classmates, Emi and Haruo. 1979

He is still walking with the Lord.  His wife is still walking with the Lord. He is still worshipping the Lord.  STAYING POWER WAS LOVE留まり続ける力は愛だった.
And read what was happening BECAUSE of this Power of God: 47 And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
When was the last time someone came to Jesus here at the Chapel? What part does each of us have in that? How can we re-visit that time in our history when we had visitors almost every week?  New people being brought by others already in the fellowship.  enjoying the favor of all the people. And God was pleased with them.  He still is pleased with us.  His love for us has not changed.  Our game plan needs a jump-start.  Our love for Him must get hotter.  Our passion for the Lord must increase.  Our passion for the lost must be rekindled.  We must pull together and grow in His Love.  Together.