Sermon in a nutshell: “Lord, You know everyone’s heart!” (Acts 1:15-26)

Sermon in a nutshell: “Lord, You know everyone’s heart!” (Acts 1:15-26)
When we try to focus on mission and ministry, we face many obstacles. We cannot imagine a football game that has no defense! Actually, a football game is interesting because each team has to overcome the merciless defense to make an inch of progress.
We are here to build God’s Kingdom and to make disciples of Jesus in order to transform the world. But we have opponents and challenges. Some of the challenges that the first century Christians had were the internal conflicts and betrayal as well as outside persecution.
What do we do when somebody betrays us? In the Old Testament, when David was falsely accused and persecuted by King Saul, he prayed to God. There are many prayers of David in Psalms; Psalms 69 and 109 are two examples. When in extreme situations, David implored God to save him by “dealing with the enemy”. Two of his curses are quoted in the biblical passages for today: “May his place be deserted; let there be no one to dwell in it” (Psalm 69:25); “May another take his place of leadership” (Psalm 109:8). Even though they sound harsh, praying honestly with desires for intervention was a way of avoiding personal revenge or physical violence. David trusted God and poured out his heart to God but he did not attack Saul with weapons.
When someone betrays us, we should pray to God and put the matter in God’s hands. Taking personal revenge will only destroy our lives. We must forgive and move on in our lives for ourselves. If betrayers also repent their sins, they will have a second chance. However, if they do not repent their sins, they will pay the price of their sins. Judas Iscariot paid the price of his sins by committing suicide. The disciples of Jesus used the Old Testament passages, applying them to the case of Judas Iscariot. The prayer of the righteous was answered!
Then the disciples moved on! They wanted to select someone who could replace the position that Judas held. They had only one condition: the person should have been with them the whole time the Lord Jesus was living among them (beginning from John’s baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from them). The reason for this condition was this: “ For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection”. Later, we will have one exception, the Apostle Paul. However, he was an eyewitness of the risen Jesus! Paul’s message was constructed around the fact that Jesus was risen!
When the disciples prayed, they trusted God, saying, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen to take over this apostolic ministry.” They then cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles. In this way, they were able to move on beyond the betrayal of one of the disciples. So, when we experience personal or communal betrayal, these are the steps that are found in the Bible:
1. Give honest prayer to God. Ask for God’s intervention as your heart desires. However, do not take any personal or physical action against the person.
2. Trust God and move on! Ask God to send someone with whom you can work and live!

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