Faith: Something We Do
Acts. 1:1-11 May 17, 2015
Pastor: Kun Sam Cho
Last Thursday, May 14, was the day of the Ascension of the Lord, being forty days after his resurrection.
The First Reading is Luke’s version of the Ascension. Notice the difference in character between the disciples of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, or even Easter Day.
On the day of the Ascension of the Lord, “they worshiped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy; and they were continually in the temple blessing God.” (Luke 24:52-53)
They are gathering strength and faith for the birth of the church, which will happen ten days later on Pentecost.
After the Ascension of the Lord, “All the disciples were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers.” (Acts 1:14) Notice that this is the first mention of Jesus’ mother and brothers as being among the believers.
As you recall, Mary the mother of Jesus and his brothers opposed Jesus’ teaching. In fact, once when Jesus was teaching in a house, they came to have him locked up. They were embarrassed by his actions or maybe concerned for his safety. And they wanted him to stop whatever he did.
But the crowds were so thick they couldn’t get in to see Jesus. They sent word in to him, and when he heard that they were there, Jesus said, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it” (Luke 8:21).
Who are Jesus’ mother and brothers and sisters? Those who hear the Word of God and do it.
Faith, living the Christian life, is something you do.
Among the 27 books of the New Testament, just after the four gospels, we find the first book of church history. It’s written by the writer of the Gospel of Luke, who was a companion of Paul. We have called this book, the Acts of the Apostles. Acts. Actions. Deeds. Something you do.
But really the book should be named something else. To be true to the book, we should call it the Acts of the Holy Spirit. The Acts of the Apostles is a report of the action of the Holy Spirit in the early church.
To begin his book, Dr. Luke addresses it to someone named Theophilus, lover of God. He says he wrote a report of all Jesus did and taught in his first book, which is the Gospel of Luke.
Then he mentions about what Jesus did during the forty days after Easter, the day of his resurrection. According to Luke, Jesus said he would do one more thing: He would send the Holy Spirit, and the believers would receive power to do things in the Spirit, and give witness not only in Jerusalem, but in all the world.
When he had ascended, two messengers of God asked the believers what they were doing, standing around looking. Jesus would return and they shouldn’t be standing around looking up when he does. You have acts to do as his witnesses.
This may sound like “works righteousness,” but it’s not, if we have the order of the events right.
First, God blesses us with his Son. God sends the Holy Spirit. By the power of his Holy Spirit, we can do great things for God.
We act because God has acted. Our acts, our deeds, our works come from grateful hearts empowered by God’s grace.
What is faith? The Author of the Hebrews in the New Testament defines faith as “the assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of things not seen.”
But based on the Acts of the Apostles and its writer, Dr. Luke, we can say faith, living the Christian life, is something we do. Faith is something we do by trusting in the Holy Spirit and giving witness to his power and the actions of Jesus in our life and ministry.
Faith is something we do.
We do worship every Sunday because we love God, our Creator and our Savior. We do pray to stay connected with Christ, our risen Lord. We do gather to study and learn in order to become healthy, open and mature disciples of Jesus Christ. We do gather to eat and play and have fun together to strengthen our Christian community. We do reach out our neighbors, near and far who are in need of love and care, because we are called to love them as Jesus loves us.
In short, we do love God with all our minds, with all our souls and with all our strength. We do love our neighbors as we love ourselves. We do love one another as Jesus has loved us.
We do all these things, because we do have faith. Faith is something we do.
Yes, we do faith as the body of Jesus Christ.
Paul says in his letter to Christians in Rome, “For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness.” (Romans 12:4-8)
I am glad and happy that our nursery school teachers has joined us this morning to worship. I am grateful that finally we do have an opportunity to recognize them and giving thanks to them for their ministry in our midst.
Yes, they are part of the one body whose name is Fairfield Grace. They do something important. That is, nurturing and caring our children during the week throughout the year. As you know, our Methodist Nursery School has been our extended ministry last more than 50 years in this community.
Let us not forget the mission purpose of the Methodist Nursery School. That is, not to make money, but to offer our children love and care they need now and for their future.
During my trip to Eastern Europe last month, I visited Vienna, Austria and had a chance to attend the evening music concert, called, “The Sound of Vienna” performed by about 15 instrumentalists. What a beautiful and pleasant evening it was.
Each in the orchestra plays his or her instrument such a joyous and lively way to make harmonious and beautiful sounds. They enjoyed playing together. All who heard them enjoyed the evening.
What comes to your mind when you think of your church? I was asked at the leadership workshop held at Watertown UMC early this month. Rather immediately to my surprise, “The Sound of Vienna” came to my mind. So I answered without hesitation, “Orchestra! I see a Philharmonic Orchestra.” We are here to make music harmoniously together.
We the church enjoy making music together and the people around us enjoy music we are making.
I heard this story a long time ago. You know a tiny instrument, piccolo. A piccolo player attended the rehearsal reluctantly. He was not fully recovered from the late night party the night before. During the rehearsal he did not play several notes, thinking no one would notice. The conductor stopped the orchestra and shouted, “Where is piccolo? Piccolo?”
What instrument are you playing at Fairfield Grace Philharmonic Orchestra? Music is not complete until everyone plays together. Some has big parts; some small parts. Either big or small, each part is important. Each and everyone needs to play his or her instrument faithfully.
Next year we will be 60 years old. By God’s grace and guidance, we have been here doing the ministry of Jesus Christ. According to the lunar calendar, every 60th year is the completion of the one life cycle and the beginning of the new life cycle. I believe that it is a time for Fairfield Grace to take a new step into the new life cycle and it is a time to begin a new beginning again. Join me to do welcome the new life cycle of our church community.
Can you see beautiful and wonderful things happening in our midst, working together? Can you hear beautiful music playing harmoniously among us?
The Lord said to his 1st century disciples, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
The same Lord is saying this morning to all of us, his 21st century disciples, “Fairfield Grace, you have received power of the Holy Spirit. You are my witnesses in Fairfield, in all towns in CT and in America and to the ends of the world.”
The Acts of the Fairfield Grace continues by the power of the Holy Spirit. Faith is something we do. Let’s do faith, trusting in the power of the Holy Spirit in our midst.
May we all be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, that we “Fairfield Grace Philharmonic Orchestra” may keep enjoying making beautiful music together.
Amen. Amen. Amen.