Features, Pastorate, Preaching, Sermon Notes, Theology
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Living in the Light of the Resurrection

[Editor’s note: This brief commentary is part of a new category of writing we’re calling “Sermon Notes.” The goal of these entries is to leverage the “big idea” of a particular sermon for the encouragement of pastors in their pulpit ministry.]

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Some time ago I began a new sermon series in the book of Acts. In the introductory sermon, my goal was to ask and answer the question, “What is true of a life lived in the light of the resurrection of Jesus Christ?”

While my observations were certainly not exhaustive, here are the six things I drew out of the book of Acts as distinguishing marks of the church this side of the empty tomb:

  1. To live in the light of the resurrection is to live in the power of the Holy Spirit.
  2. To live in the light of the resurrection is to live as witnesses.
  3. To live in the light of the resurrection is to live to please God and not man.
  4. To live in the light of the resurrection is to take sin seriously.
  5. To live in the light of the resurrection is to suffer for the sake of Christ.
  6. To live in the light of the resurrection is to live in joy-filled, God-centered community.

The sermon moved intentionally to number six given the importance of community to the other five. We hear a lot about “community” today. But too often it seems like “community” can mean just about anything as long as we’re doing it together. Luke, however, has a specific understanding of community when it comes to the people of God. Consider Acts 2:42-47,

And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

The people of God together devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching; the people of God together devoted themselves to the fellowship; the people of God together broke bread and prayed. It was the glorious things of God that occupied the people of God in their community. It was not sufficient to simply be together.

Furthermore, I am struck by the manner with which all of this was happening: “And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved” (vv. 46-47).

Our fellowship should be marked by “glad and generous hearts” as we praise God from whom all blessings flow. Why? Because we were lost, but now are found; we were dead, but are alive again; we were children of wrath, but now are children of grace; we were without God and without hope in the world, but now are heirs of God! We’ve been redeemed from the pit of sorrow and shame; freed from the shackles of sin and Satan; forgiven of our sins past, present, and future; transferred from the domain of darkness and into the kingdom of light; given a hope and a future where there is fullness of joy, pleasures forevermore!

With all of our differences, these are the priceless treasures we have in common in Christ. Therefore, we devote ourselves to the fellowship—an assembly of pilgrims, exiles, and sojourners joyfully moving along the King’s way. Indeed, God would not have us travel alone and begrudgingly to heaven, but in the glorious community of the redeemed.

Filed under: Features, Pastorate, Preaching, Sermon Notes, Theology
Michael Pohlman

Michael Pohlman (PhD, Southern Seminary) is professor of Preaching and Pastoral Ministry and chair of the Department of Ministry and Proclamation at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is founder and executive director of Some Pastors and Teachers.

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