What do you call a group of…
You probably know this, but when animals gather in groups they’re called different things.
So a cow by itself is just called a cow but you put it together with other cows & it becomes part of the herd. A bird by itself is just a bird but put it with other birds & it becomes part of a flock. Unless that bird is a goose, then it gets with other geese & becomes a gaggle.
A group of crows is called a murder. A group of vultures is called a committee. (Got to love that one!)
And this same idea is true with people.
For example, when you get together with people you’re related to, your kids, parents, grandparents, cousins & the like, it becomes your FAMILY.
When you go to school & you sit in a room with others to learn from a teacher, you become a part of a CLASS.
When you get together with people at a stadium or arena of some type to watch a game, you become a part of a CROWD.
You are who you’re with.
My guess is we’ve all experienced something like this. Either at a game or sporting event of some kind, or maybe at a concert, or at a rally for some cause.
We’ve all had the experience of becoming something different simply by being together with other people.
That’s because there is transforming power when people come together.
I don’t know about you but when I think about who I am today I am who I am for two main reasons.
1. What God has done in my life &…
2. The people God has put in my life.
And that’s why it is so important you choose wisely who you surround yourself with. Because who you are becoming is directly tied to who you choose to spend your time with.
You are who you’re with.
You become like those you spend time with.
Why becoming matters.
That is exactly what happened for these two guys, Peter & John.
In Acts 4.1-13, there’s a story about Peter & John who have just healed a lame man & are now telling all those who gathered around that this incredible thing has happened because of Jesus.
The very same group of people who had come to arrest Jesus have now come to confront Peter & John. They are upset that Peter & John are preaching about Jesus.
What started with 120 believers that became 3000 believers has now grown to 5000 people who have believed their message that Jesus is God’s Messiah.
The religious leaders thought they had put an end to this threat by Jesus to their power, their leadership & their theology when they lied, bribed & schemed to have Jesus crucified. But it didn’t work.
They thought those that followed him as a part of his movement would fade away after he died that Friday. But now He has more followers that ever.
So they use their power to lock up Peter & John.
Isn’t this what people with power do when they’re afraid? When people with power are threatened they try everything within their power to keep their power & if their power is threatened they will go to battle to protect it.
So they arrest Peter & John just like they arrested Jesus.
But Peter & John are bold in preaching Jesus & seeing that His movement is still growing. That His fame is still increasing. Even standing before this council that would threaten their lives, they are fearless for Jesus. Here’s what Luke says about this moment in Acts 4.13…
The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus.
They Had Been With Jesus.
Did you catch that? This council recognized that these men HAD BEEN WITH JESUS.
Who they were now was different from who they once were because they had been with Jesus. They had become something new. Something different.
In his book, Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire, Jim Cymbala says, “When it comes to spiritual matters, you and I will never know our potential under God until we step out and take risks on the front line of battle. We will never see what power and anointing are possible until we bond with our King and go out in his name to establish his kingdom. Sitting safely in the shelter of Bible discussions among ourselves, or complaining to one another about the horrible state of today’s society, does nothing to unleash the power of God. He meets us in the moment of battle. He energizes us when there is an enemy to be pushed back.”
Peter & John would have never known what God could do in & through them in that moment had they been unwilling to take the risk & speak & live boldly for Jesus in that moment.
And you & I will not know what God can & will do through us as a church if we are unwilling to speak boldly for Him & live body for Him here in this place.
Peter & John were only able to stand in front of that council, facing possible torture & or death, for 1 reason.
They had been with Jesus.
You become like who you’re with. They had been with Jesus & by being with Jesus they had become like Jesus.
Jesus confronted similar circumstances with tremendous love, courage, boldness & faith in His heavenly Father. Peter & John are now doing the same because they have been with Jesus.
So what about you?
What are you becoming? Or maybe better said, WHO are you becoming?
We’re all becoming something the only question is, what or who are you becoming?
I don’t know about you, but I want to pay special attention to who I’m becoming. Because we’re always in the process of becoming. All of us are a work in progress.
And the fundamental question is this: Are you becoming more like Jesus? When people see you, do they say… there’s someone who has been with Jesus?
Growing up one of the things I loved to do with my dad was to go fishing. We had a little john boat we would get out on the lake with. And a lot of times when we had gotten to the area where we wanted to fish for a while, we would kill the motor & my dad would use a paddle to take us into the places where we wanted to fish. He has this ability to work a paddle & take that boat right where he wants it to go. But after he stopped paddling & we started fishing, we would begin to drift. Either from the wind that was moving the boat or the current of the water. And we never, in all our years fishing, drifted into a good situation. We would always drift into the trees or drift to far out to fish the spots we wanted, & so he would have to put down his pole for a moment & use the paddle to get us back where we needed to be.
The simple truth of the matter is that you cannot drift into the presence of God. Drifting will not take you where you want to go. To get into the presence of God you have to go there on purpose with some intention to be in His presence & when you make the decision that’s where you want to go & you spend time with Him, in his presence, you will begin to become like Him!
Being with Jesus leads to becoming like Jesus.
When you spend time in the presence of Jesus you will be changed. You may not be able to see it at first, but Jesus changes you.
So this week I want to challenge you to get into God’s presence. If you’ve never done this before or you’re out of the habit, just spend 10 minutes a day with Jesus. Try & give Jesus 10 minutes of your undivided attention. If you need to, put Jesus on your calendar & see if anything more important comes along.
So what do you call a group of believers in Jesus?
What do you call people of grace & compassion, boldness & witness, love & courage in this world? What do you call a group of people who have been with Jesus?
Jesus called us His church.
And He said the gates of Hell would not prevail against his church.
May we be filled with that same boldness & in His presence become the people God wants us to become together.