CALL TO WORSHIP: Psalm 133
(A song for worship.)
Living Together in Peace
1It is truly wonderful when relatives live together in peace.
2 It is as beautiful as olive oil poured on Aaron’s head
and running down his beard and the collar of his robe.
3 It is like the dew from Mount Hermon, falling on Zion’s mountains, where the Lord has promised to bless his people with life forevermore.
Contemporary English Version (CEV) Copyright © 1995 by American Bible Society
John 20:24-28 :
24 But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”
26 A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”
Do you believe in the resurrection of Jesus?
Can you relate to Thomas’ doubting and disbelief of the story the disciples had told him?
The Believers Share Their Possessions
32 Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common. 33 With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. 34 There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold. 35 They laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.
What did you read about the early Church that seems to be different than the Church today?
For each of these points from the passage, discuss whether or not it is part of today’s Church experience:
• The believers were all of one heart and mind.
• Nobody claimed private ownership of their possessions; everything was shared.
• The people gave powerful testimony to the resurrection of Jesus.
• There were no needy persons among them.
An apostle is somebody who has been given authority to represent somebody else. When Jesus ascended into Heaven, he left his disciples here to continue his mission. They offered powerful testimonies about him and his resurrection. Outside of church circles, the word testimony is most often heard in connection with a courtroom proceeding. A witness saw something, heard something, or knows something, and is called upon to tell the story. In order to give a testimony, two things must be true: you must know what you’re talking about and you must be able to articulate it.
While the early Church operated differently than ours does today, the testimony of the believers is the same now as it was then. And it is still our job to share this news with people who don’t know it.
When have you had an opportunity to talk to a friend about Jesus?
How did it go? How did you feel doing it?
What keeps us from talking to people about Jesus? How can we overcome these things?
Why is it important to talk to people about Jesus?
Can a testimony be given without using words? If so, how so?
With reference to vs.34, is there anything we as a community could do to better serve people in need?