May 29, 2011
John 14:15-21Acts 17:22-251 Peter 3:13-22
Nearly every Sunday I ask if you have seen God at work this week. This morning I want to be more specificand I want to ask if you have seen God, in this church, where it stands at 123 W. Church Street? Do you seeGod here today?I do… but you’ll have to wait a bit before I explain.
Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “People of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious.
For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. So you are ignorant of the very thing youworship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you.
“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live intemples built by human hands.
And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, hehimself gives everyone life and breath and everything else
Paul says that God is not found in a building. We don’t find God here because of the stained glass windowsor the high ceiling or the beautiful decorations or the stonework on the outside. From Monday throughSaturday there are many times when, although this is God’s house, God is not here. We do not find God intemples (or churches) that are built by human hands. Instead, we find God in this place because God inhabitsthe hearts of those who love him.I see God in this place because God inhabits the hearts of his people. I see God when I see Gibby Betts andothers from our church volunteering to help schoolchildren learn about Jesus at the Haven. I see God whenRon Preston and other Christian men unload truckloads of food at St Vincent’s. I see God every week whenJanet Smith and a dozen other faithful men and women arrive at this church on Sunday morning to teachchildren and adults in Sunday school. In each act of faithfulness, in each act of Christ-likeness, the people of God reveal to the world who God is, and what he looks like.In the same way, in recent weeks I have often encouraged you to tell others about Jesus. I know that thisintimidates, even terrifies some of you. I have heard people say that they simply don’t know how to do it.But you know what? You don’t have to be any kind of expert. In
1 Peter 3:15-16,
the apostle Peter teachesthat we should always have something to say.
Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that youhave. But do this with gentleness and respect,
keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.
You don’t have to be an expert but every one of you knows how to tell a story. You do it all the time. Yourun into a friend at the grocery store or while walking down the street and you tell them about the bargainthat you got at Wal-Mart or about the new grandchild that’s coming or about the funny thing that happened atyour pick-up basketball game on Tuesday. We tell stories all the time and so when Peter says that we should