But What Did I Do? 

S (Scripture): Acts 3:17 [Peter said to the crowd on Solomon’s Portico] “And now, brothers, I know you acted in ignorance, as your rulers did too. 18 But the things God foretold long ago through all the prophets – that his Christ would suffer – he has fulfilled in this way. 19 Therefore repent and turn back so that your sins may be wiped out, 20 so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and so that he may send the Messiah appointed for you – that is, Jesus. 21 This one heaven must receive until the time all things are restored, which God declared from times long ago through his holy prophets.”

O (Observation):  Having healed the lame man, Peter re-emphasizes that Jesus – the one who’s power made the lame man walk – was the one the people crucified.  Yet he also points out that this was predicted by the prophets.   

Despite the prediction, the people are not innocent of their wrongdoing.  Thus, repentance is in order.   Peter reminds them of the necessity of this repentance.  The joy that comes from this repentance is that Jesus will be coming back for all believers.  

But for now…heaven waits for the right time to release Christ from coming back.  

A (Application):  What culpability do I retain for wrongdoings of the culture around me?   Am I colluding with a culture that causes poverty?  Racism? Sexism? Xenophobia? 

If I was in the crowd, and didn’t say anything for or against Jesus, where would that put me?  

I think I would land firmly in the camp of those needing to repent.   Just because I didn’t do anything overtly AGAINST someone, if I don’t stand up for someone…perhaps the work I’ve left undone calls for repentance.  

Now, we can’t do everything, nor or we expected to do everything.   But perhaps we can repent of what we have done or left undone, and move forward with God’s grace…follow God’s call.  

After all, repentance is not about staying down in the doldrums, but rather, to open up the flood of God’s grace to lift us up and equip us for the work ahead.   

“But what did I do?” was a phrase I used as a kid, when I was lumped in with a guilty group.  And today, I still say that same phrase in my own mind, when I’m feeling guilty about something that harms my neighbor.  Maybe I didn’t do anything wrong, but maybe I also didn’t do something when I could have.  Maybe next time I will act.  

The next time you worhship in a place in which Confession and Forgiveness is a corporate act, pay attention and see that this is indeed a time of Good News for our redemption.  

And if you feel so moved, help out!  With a homeless Ministry.  With an after-school program.   With handing out meals at a local food shelter.  Your blessings will bless others.  

P (Prayer):  Lord, you know what deeds we have done and have left undone.   Be with us.   Redeem us.  Equip us.  Amen.  

Advertisements

redeemed – in body, mind, and soul 

  S (Scripture): 1 Corinthians 15:20 But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 15:21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead also came through a man. 15:22 For just as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.

O (Observation):  Christ’s humanity will NOT be denied by Paul.   Paul is very clear here that Christ was human.  Not just a spirit.   A human (Adam) brought all to sin and death, and (absolutely) a human (Christ Jesus) brought about the resurrection of the dead and life everlasting, to the glory of God the Father. 

In this text, Paul also points out that we all fall short of the glory of God, and owe everything to Christ for the redemption of our body, mind, and soul.  This reminder keeps us humble, knowing that our salvation comes through Christ  alone. 

The resurrection of the FLESH was a controversial topic of the time, especially because the Greek culture cared more about getting rid of the flesh, not redeeming it.  Spirit was better, flesh was weakness.  

The resurrection of the flesh also ties into the inherent goodness with which God created – God created us in the flesh we embody, and indeed, it was good.   God is redeeming what we tainted…even though we don’t deserve it. 

A (Application):  The resurrection of the dead is a strange thing indeed.  And yet, this clarity that Paul brings is crucial for our salvation.   We have done nothing to redeem ourselves.  Redemption rests in Christ alone.  Of that, I have no doubt.  

With this in mind, I turn to two issues:

  1. Other faiths
  2. Good works

1. Other faiths:  I believe in the Triune God (the Father of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob), Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.   I also respect the wish of others to worship in their own way.  I don’t think they’re right, but I also approach my stance with humility.  I don’t presume to “lord it over others.” If that is viewed as weakness, oh well.  That’s not my concern. 

2.  Good Works:  our passage today reminds me that good works do not cause our salvation, but rather, are an overflow of grace through our salvation.   I think God loves our efforts in this world.  I believe Dallas Willard is credited with saying: “God is not opposed to effort, just earning.”  I 100% agree.  Our efforts in this world can be focused on God making us holy in our individual and communal journeys.  

Knowing your salvation is secure, what does that free you to pursue?  

P (Prayer):  Lord, you are my saving grace.   Guide me.  Remind me that I am redeemed.  Remind me that I’m to love God and love neighbor.  Amen.