Sermon in a nutshell “An opportunity to spread the Gospel” (Acts 26:24-32).
Old ladies are beautiful!
Last Sunday I said that old ladies are beautiful. After the Sunday service, I called my mother and made an appointment to have a lunch with her on Monday. I told her again, “Mom, you are so beautiful!” She is small and wrinkled. Her body is getting weaker and older. However, I saw a lady who had devoted her life to the Lord and sacrificed her youth to raise children. She is beautiful. On Mother’s Day, when I talk about mothers, I can see many people have tears in their eyes. We know deep in our hearts that mothers are beautiful in the true sense of beauty.
Our culture needs to restore this sense of inner beauty.
When I was on a talk show with Micheal Pope and other guests, we talked about the cultural norm for beauty. We deplored the fact that our culture admires shallow beauty. Everybody wants to look beautiful on the outside. Some people undergo cosmetic surgery in order to have good looks. People adore young people who look great. Models, movie stars, singers, sports celebrities, all want to have a following by young people. However, we need to learn how to respect and love people who have inner beauty. Then we can respect the elderly, those with disabilities, and people of different colors when they demonstrate their inner beauty. When I meet our church members, I see their inner beauty and I love them.
When we learn how to see the inside of others, we do not evaluate people by position and title.
Once we learn how to see the inside of others, we are not attracted to their bodies. We are not intimidated by their power or position. We can see the true needs of their souls. That is why in today’s passage the apostle Paul said to King Agrippa “I pray to God that not only you but also all who are listening to me today might become such as I am—except for these chains.” Festus and King Agrippa saw Paul as a prisoner or a crazy man. They were not able to see him as the messenger of God. However, Paul could see them as sinners who needed God’s salvation. To Paul, they were prisoners of greed, ambition, and money. Paul was not intimidated by their power and titles. He knew that they were just mortals who needed God’s grace also.
What do you see when you meet others?
After the interrogation, King Agrippa, Festus, Bernice, and those who had been seated with them said to one another, “This man is doing nothing to deserve death or imprisonment.” Agrippa said to Festus, “This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to the emperor.” They could see Paul as an innocent man. However, still they would not see the God who was with Paul. People can see only those things that they are willing to see. Even though the power and grace of the risen Jesus was with Paul, they would not see that. On the other hand, when Paul saw them, he did not see their grandeur or outlook. He saw their souls that need to be saved. If we see those needs in powerful and rich people, we can say to them, “God loves you. I want you to be like me, except for my physical condition.” Just imagine our sister, Carol Murray, saying that to the young ladies in our church. Isn’t she beautiful? I pray that all of our church members should share their inner conviction and faith with confidence.
- Would you show Jesus in you to others?
- What do you see in others?