I thank God for the opportunity to preach at the historic Mt. Olive A.M.E. Church 89th Anniversary on this past Sunday April 22, 2012.
The Title was “Things happen when believers stay together”
I preached from John 20: 19-31:On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
Jesus Appears to Thomas
24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus[a]), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”
But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
From this text you can see that four things happen when believers get together
1. The Savior Comes: When the disciples of Jesus Christ got together. He showed up. The thing about when God’s people get together you cannot lock Him out. If we get together Jesus comes. For Mathew 18:20 says, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name there I am in the midst of them.”
2. Serenity is present: Once the Savior comes after the believers get together. Jesus brings to His followers peace. For He says in this text “Peace be with you.” When the believers get together God will grant us peace. Part of the reason why there is derision in many of our congregations today is because the believers have not gotten together. Some have there own agenda and no body seems to want to unite, but for a church to have stayed together 89 years obviously somebody got together and stayed together and for that peace or serenity which is given by Jesus is here with you today.
3. Suspicion by those absent: When believers get together there is often times people who are always suspicious about what happened. These people were not there when it happened and like Thomas will not believe it happened until they can see it for themselves
4. Salvation is given: When believers get together salvation comes. Even Thomas who doubted received salvation from our gracious Lord and Savior.Thomas was present with other believers and he got saved. Societally, if we as a people could learn how to come together we may find that God will use us to bring restoration to our surrounding, family, school system, governing bodies, etc. As the quote says “united we stand divided we fall” We need to learn how come together. It was while the disciples were together that Jesus came to visit them. It was while Daniel and his friends were together that they were able to survive while not eating the kings food. It was while Shadrack, Meshach and Abenego remained together that they were saved in the fiery furnace. Ecclesiastes 4:12 says, “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken”
It is possible and most often done my experience has shown that one receives salvation by themselves. However, God never intends for His salvific work to stop at just us. God wishes that no one should perish (2 Peter 3:9) Therefore we should get together with as many as possible and spread God’s word. Also, those who believe in Christ, we should not forsake the assembling of believers together (Hebrew 10:25) for when we get together we can used by the Holy Spirit to assist each other in areas of spiritual weakness.
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