St. John's & Zion Lutheran Churches

This Is Our School

Sermon on Acts 2:42-47

Text: They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders viagra natural turca and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

We have all heard the phrase, “There is no I in the word team.” This is often spoken to players who feel that they aren’t getting enough attention. They aren’t getting as many balls thrown to them as they would like. They aren’t getting the playing time that they feel they deserve. They need to be reminded that they are part of a team, and every part works together and supports the other. The reason for this admonition is because each of us has a “me-first” attitude. I care about how things affect me. I care about how things benefit me. I want to know how much this will cost me. It is difficult for us to look beyond ourselves. However, when we do, we find some of our greatest joys. We belong together and work together and, with God’s help, can accomplish great things together. It all starts when we stop only looking to ourselves and look out for others. Then, we are part of a team.

No where is this concept better illustrated than with the life of Jesus. Jesus was the Son of God. When he came to the earth, it well would have been within his rights to have the people of his day serve him. However, we hear Jesus say, “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45) Jesus’ entire life was one of service. When the women brought their children to Jesus to have him bless them, Jesus didn’t say he was too busy. He took them in his arms and blessed them. When the people came to Jesus, when he had gone away for some quite time with his disciples, he didn’t tell them to go away. He had compassion on them and taught them. When people needed his help with a sickness or a problem, Jesus didn’t have the attitude that it wasn’t his problem. He helped them according to their needs.

This concept is most clearly shown when it came to the salvation of the world. Every single person is guilty of sinning. Every time we sin, we have a “me first” attitude. We are saying to God that what we want is far more important than what he wants. Because of our sins, we should have spent our eternity apart from God in the punishment of hell. Jesus could have said that it wasn’t his problem. ‘They made their mess. They have to live with the consequences.’ However, he did not do that. He came to be the servant of all by going to the cross and paying for all of our sins. He served you and me by being our Savior. He did this so that you and I would spend our eternity with him in heaven. We belong to him and he belongs to us. Jesus did this so that we could be part of his family. Out of thanksgiving for all that he has done for us, we have the privilege of going from serving ourselves to serving one another.

This is the attitude that we have described for us in our text for this morning. These verses tell us about the activity of the early church. Part of what we read is what you would expect to hear about the church. It says in verse 42, “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” The early church met together to hear God’s Word. They met together to receive the Lord’s Supper. We also note that “Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts.” (Verse 46) They didn’t meet just once a week to hear God’s Word. They got together daily to grow in their faith. However, that was not the extent of their activity. It also says that “They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.” (Verses 46&47) They got together outside of the temple and ate together and enjoyed their Christian fellowship. It also says of the early church, “They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.” (Verse 45) They pooled their resources and helped out those who were in need. This is the exact opposite of having a “me-first” attitude. They joined together to accomplish things together.

This is the reason that we have joined together both as a synod and as a congregation. We join together with other believers to hear and learn God’s Word. We join together with other believers to receive the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. We join together to assist parents in the Christian training of our children. We also join together to encourage one another in our daily walk of faith. We mourn together. We rejoice together. We pool our resources to accomplish things. We pay for the utilities and the upkeep of our facilities. We support our pastor. We also realize that, though there are things in our congregation that need our support, there are also things beyond our walls that need our support, as well. We join with other Christians to train the next generation of pastors and teachers. Together, we send out missionaries to go to those places where we personally may not be able to go. Though we may never most of the pastors and teachers that are trained, we know that there is a need for them. Though we may never meet the people that the missionaries reach out to with the gospel, we know that we will meet them in heaven, because they have been brought to faith in Jesus. All of these blessings are ours because we have, with Christ’s help, gone beyond the “me-first” attitude that is natural, and gone to an “our church” mentality.

This morning, we are having our NELHS Sunday. We are part of the NELHS Association of more than 40 congregations. We are using this opportunity to remind ourselves that NELHS is our school. When we hear the words that NELHS is our school, we might be tempted to think that this is not true. After all, none of my children have attended NELHS. All of my children are past high school age. I have never been to Waco. I am not sure that I would say that NELHS is our school.

Before I go any further, I would like to clarify something. I am not saying that a person would be sinning if they did not send their children to NELHS. It is true that they will receive a quality education at whatever high school they attend. That student can still be a person who lets their light shine as a witness to the truths of God’s Word. They can still serve their Lord in that situation. They can still grow up and raise a Christian family. I have no intention of trying to pit one against another. Either one of these options can be a God-pleasing one.

With that being said, we still can rightfully call NELHS our school. When the school began almost forty years ago, our congregation joined the association that would support the school. We said that we would support the school with our prayers. We would continue to come to God’s throne of grace on behalf of the faculty and the students. We, also, said that we would support the school financially. Yes, the parents who send their children there do pay for tuition, room, and board. However, that does not cover the entire cost for the student to attend. So, we, as members of the association, have pledged that we would help the parents through our offerings. There are also opportunities to help out on work days so that the campus that God has given us remains in good shape. As members of the NELHS Association, we see that NELHS is our school.

Yet, you might still be asking, “What’s in it for me?” The fact is that we do benefit from NELHS. It might come the form of having former students assuming leadership roles in our congregation. There are other benefits that we might never see personally. There is the benefit that we are equipping these young men and women to face the humanism that they will be exposed to when they attend the various colleges and universities. Recently, NELHS received a letter from a former student who is in the military, thanking the school for the Christian education that they received. The letter stated that, not only was the former student strengthened as he faced deployment. Others in his squad have started to come to him with spiritual questions. God is giving him the opportunity to witness to others when they are searching for the truth and comfort that comes from knowing God. There is also the benefit that some of the students who have or will graduate from there will go on to be pastors and teachers in our church body. There have been a number of world missionaries that have graduated from NELHS. Also, there have been an increased number of international students that are attending NELHS. Some of them have been brought to faith during their time at NELHS and have gone back to their country, sharing the good news about Jesus Christ. Isn’t it amazing that God is using our school to do mission work in China and Brazil, as well as other places? While there are some benefits that we will see while we are here on this earth, there are others that we will not see until we get to meet these people in heaven. The fact is that we benefit from NELHS. We benefit from our school.

This past week, something happened that had not happened for more than 100 years. The Chicago Cubs won the World Series. As you watched the fans afterward, you could hear comments like, ‘We won.’ ‘I can’t believe we finally did it.’ The fact is, none of those people actually played the game. They weren’t out there pitching, catching, or hitting. Yet, they still said ‘We won.’ The reason for this is that they have adopted that team as their own. They support that team by following what happened in the game. They attended games. They supported them during the good season and the bad seasons. That is why they said ‘We won.’ The same is true for NELHS. Though we may never have attended that school, yet we say it is our school. We have chosen to support it. We have chosen to pray for it. We thank God for this school. We thank God for our school, NELHS. Amen.