JUNE 4, 2023
10:30 AM (family Sunday + communion + potluck following)
FIVE SHIFTS OF TRUE REVIVAL + REFORMATION
A reformation is a period of recalibration and course-correction. Any community around for as long as the church will experience inevitable drift over time. Yet the Spirit has worked again and again throughout history to draw the church back toward its center. Key moments come when particular ideas and practices are rethought and core truths are rediscovered.
Rapid cultural and technological change, clergy scandals, church divisions, and political turmoil have resulted in a period where “deconstruction” is the buzzword. Many Christians find themselves rethinking their faith, and many outside the church dismiss Christianity as having nothing true or relevant left to say to the world.
THIS SUNDAY: Shift 5: THE CENTRE HOLDS
Acts 11, 15 (Acts 15:7-11), Romans 10:1-4, 9, 12
Small groups, families, and friends are experiencing a division and disunity in their faith like never before. Like their pastors, they’re wondering “What holds the center? Is there something that can sustain our shared life together? Is there something big enough to unite us even when so much seems set to tear us apart?”
Last Sunday: Simon Chan speaks to this regarding the Pentecostal event, “Speaking in Tongues...is the most appropriate symbol of an event whose primary purpose was to create a church distinguished chiefly by its all-embracing inclusiveness.” Tongues is a language which points to a universal experience by swapping out the normal function of language and performs by providing a type of social holiness.
5 Shifts: More of a Restoration to Early Church
I. THE PROBLEM OF DIVISION
34 “I give you a new commandment—to love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 Everyone will know by this that you are my disciples—if you have love for one another.” -Jesus, John 13:34-35
Reminder: Wall builders or well diggers?
Acts 10:9 About noon the next day, while they were on their way and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. 10 He became hungry and wanted to eat, but while they were preparing the meal, a trance came over him. 11 He saw heaven opened and an object, something like a large sheet descending, being let down to earth by its four corners. 12 In it were all kinds of four-footed animals and reptiles of the earth and wild birds. 13 Then a voice said to him, “Get up, Peter; slaughter and eat!” 14 But Peter said, “Certainly not, Lord, for I have never eaten anything defiled and ritually unclean!” 15 The voice spoke to him again, a second time, “What God has made clean, you must not consider ritually unclean!” 16 This happened three times, and immediately the object was taken up into heaven. ....28 He said to them, “You know that it is unlawful for a Jew to associate with or visit a Gentile, yet God has shown me that I should call no person defiled or ritually unclean.
Peter Stood up... “God, who knows people’s deepest thoughts and desires, confirmed this by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as he did to us. He made no distinction between us and them, but purified their deepest thoughts and desires through faith. Why then are you now challenging God by placing a burden on the shoulders of these disciples that neither we nor our ancestors could bear? On the contrary, we believe that we and they are saved in the same way, by the grace of the Lord Jesus" (Acts 15:7-11 CEB).
You see what Peter just did there? He cuts through the debates, not minimizing the importance of the Law by any means but instead drawing Jew and Gentile together around one shared centre, the person and work of Jesus.
James: “It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Instead, we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood” (Acts 15:19-20). The church comes to a compromise and decides to write a letter. In the letter James explains how and why they came to this conclusion, saying in verse 29, “The Holy Spirit has led us to the decision that no burden should be placed on you other than these essentials.”
Now What Shall We Do?
SOURCES: Jonny Morrison; Church of Us Vs. Them, David E. Fitch; Center-Set Church, Mark Baker; Others
For Discussion and Reflection