God’s Will Makes Us Encouragers

April 8 – Second Sunday in Easter

by Pastor Pete Scheele

Read Acts 4: 13 – 35

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Christ is Risen! He has risen indeed! Alleluia!

Grace and peace to you as you let God’s will be done in your life, from God, our Father, our Risen Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

God’s Will being done in our lives, it’s all about Christ dying for us, it’s all about Christ rising from the grave on the third day for us and it’s all about Christ coming again to take us to our heavenly home with Him. Yes, God’s will is all about the fact that Christ died, Christ is risen and Christ is coming again! Alleluia!

Yet how do you see God’s will being done in our lives? Well to be honest, you may not see God’s will being done in your life as it is happening, but others will. Today in our scripture reading we are shown God’s will being done in the lives of fellow Christians just like you and me. So, I want to especially look at our first reading for today and learn how God’s will is being done in our lives like those in the first Christian church.

 Now when the High priest and leader of the temple 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. (Acts 4:13)

Because of Easter, that is Jesus Christ rising from the dead, common men and women now have a boldness that’s not found in most people. Why? Because God’s will is being done in their lives, as the Holy Spirit is guiding them in their faith and in their knowledge of Christ death, of Christ resurrection and of Christ coming again. This knowledge and faith has changed common men and women, like you and me, from people with the fear of the unknown, to people with a purpose because Christ is Risen! He has risen indeed! Alleluia!

The Apostles Peter and John, were just common fishermen, from Galilee, that traveled around with Jesus for three years and were hiding behind locked doors even after Jesus’ resurrection. But as they let the Holy Spirit do God’s will in their lives they were willing to share the reason why Christ died for us, the reason why Christ rose from the grave for us, and the reason why Christ is coming again for us.

Oh, the world doesn’t want to hear about Christ’s death, Christ’s resurrection and Christ coming again because it is filled with sin and it is following the ways of Satan.  That’s just as true today as it was back in the time of the Apostles, for the world’s leaders of today are still following the sinful ways of Satan and they will warn us not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. We need to follow the example of the Apostle Peter, John and many other believers and say, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, 20 for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” (Act 4:19 – 20)

Boldness, it is the sign of God’s Will being done in our lives as we come to the knowledge of why Jesus Christ came into this world to die for us; it is the sign of God’s Will being done in our lives as we come to understand the hope and peace we are given because Jesus Christ rose from the grave in that first resurrection for us; it is the sign of God’s Will being done in our lives as we look forward, with urgency, to the coming again of Jesus Christ. Yes, Christ died, Christ is risen and Christ is coming again, which changes the whole way that we look at life as we come to believe and trust in God’s will being done in our lives.

 When Pete and John were released, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them. 24 And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God. (Acts 4:23-24)

Boldness and Thankfulness, those are two of the signs that God’s will is being done in our lives. We are willing to share the Good News of Christ death, Christ resurrection and why we are looking forward to Christ coming again because God’s will is being done in our lives. At the same time, we are thankful for the blessings that God has given to us, and others, and want to come together with them to give thanks to God for the incredible world that we live in. We want to give thanks to God for bring us to faith in His Word and strengthening us in our faith by His sacraments. We want to give thanks to God for being in control of the world that we are living in and not letting us be in control it. We give thanks with the assurance of God’s love for us found in Christ death, Christ Resurrection and Christ coming again. All of this gives us the ability to see the blessings that God has given to us in the past, the blessing He gives to us now as we live in this world and the blessings we will be given as Christ comes again to take us to His new creation in the perfect love, peace and joy of God. We come today with all the saints of the past in boldness to give thanks to God for His blessings and ask Him for help, as they did in the first Christian church by saying, “Lord, look upon their threats and grant to Your servants to continue to speak Your word with all boldness, 30 while You stretch out Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of Your holy servant Jesus.” (Acts 4:29-30)

Boldness, Thankfulness and Encouraging those are the signs of God’s will being done in each of our lives, just as they were the signs of God’s will being done in the lives of the first Christians in Jerusalem, as we read. “Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common.” (Acts 4:32)

When people have the assurance of God’s will being done in their lives through Christ death, and the assurance of God being with them forever through the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the assurance that God is in control of the world and that Christ is coming again to bring us to His glory, then we have come to understand even better what Jesus was talking about when He answers the question “What are the most important commandments?” Jesus says, “The most important is, ‘Hear, Oh, you people wrestling with God’s Word: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mk. 12:29-31)

Christians in the past, Christians today and Christians in the future will find God’s will being done in their lives as they boldly share, by their word and deeds, all that they have seen and heard about God sending Christ to die for us, about God raising Christ in the first resurrection for us and about God sending Christ on that last day to bring us to our new Heavenly home. As we boldly acknowledge God’s blessings we are putting God first in our lives and that enables us to look at others as being just as important as we are in this world. We all have something in common with everyone else in the world. Christ came to die for all of us, Christ rose from the grave for all of us and Christ will come again for all us who believe in Him on that last day to take us to be with Him forever. That boldness comes from the blessing of faith given to us as the Holy Spirit works through God’s Word and Sacraments. That boldness brings us to acknowledge that God’s will is being done in our lives and in response we give thanks for all the blessings that He has given to us and encourage other to come and receive those blessings and to let God’s will be done in their lives.

When we love God first and love others just as much as we love ourselves we are doing God’s will in our lives. God’s will is being shown by our boldness to be different from the sinfulness of this world. God’s will is being shown by our blessings that we acknowledge have come from God and we want to share all our blessings with other in thankfulness for them. God’s will is being shown by our encouragements of one another as we share God’s love with them, as we sharing God’s Word with them and as we share God’s blessings with them. God’s will is being done in your lives as let God help you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength and as let God help you love your neighbor as yourself. Yes, God’s will is being done in our lives as we live boldly in God’s love, as we live with thankfulness for God’s blessings in our lives and as we encourage and help one another to live in God’s love, peace and joy with us now and forever.  Come Lord Jesus and let Your will be done in our lives. Amen.