“Just as good fruit comes from a healthy tree, hear the good news that through Christ, you are declared to be a good tree. And from you, empowered by the Holy Spirit, come all the fruits of the Spirit. “
Hello Gloria Dei,
In our reading and preaching through the New Testament this year, we are currently in the book of Acts. We began last week in chapters one through seven, focusing on the gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, as recorded in Acts 2.
For this week, our assigned reading is Acts chapters eight through fourteen.
In chapter nine we find one of the most important accounts in all of Scripture. A man named Saul is a serious and zealous Pharisee who is violently persecuting the early followers of Jesus. On his way to a town called Damascus, Saul is met by the risen Jesus. Saul is blinded, but he hears the voice of Jesus, who says to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”
This is interesting because Saul was persecuting not Jesus, but the early Christians. Why does Jesus say “me”? What this means is that Jesus is equating the people of the Christian church, including you and me, with himself. Jesus is giving credence to the reality that we, as followers of Jesus, are truly the body of Christ on earth.
Saul, who becomes Paul, writes about this in many of his New Testament letters. “You are the body of Christ, and the body has many members… and many gifts”.
In my preaching this weekend I’ll be talking about us, the church, as the very body of Christ on earth today. Certainly, our job is not to die on the cross for the sins of the world. That has been done already by Jesus. Yet, through the gift of the Holy Spirit, as described so well in the book of Acts, we, like the early Christians, carry out the mission of Jesus. We do what Jesus did while he was on the earth. We proclaim salvation through Christ alone, and we live with the care and compassion of Jesus towards all people.
Do you recall the fruits of the Holy Spirit? Paul lists them in Galatians 5:22-23. Can you name them? “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”
Just as good fruit comes from a healthy tree, hear the good news that through Christ, you are declared to be a good tree. And from you, empowered by the Holy Spirit, come all the fruits of the Spirit.
God is good, all the time. See you in worship.