Faithlife Sermons

Building Bridges, Not Walls

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God did not waste time with Saul, he began to preach in the synagogues about Jesus.

The Jews in Damascus were baffled by his turnaround, and the miracles he performed.

Saul was no longer one of them.

Saul did not have anywhere to turn but to God.

Some Hellenistic Jews conspired to kill him.
But Saul escaped with the help of his followers.
After three years, he went to Jerusalem to join the disciples

But they were afraid of him or remained skeptical of his faith.

Saul would need to prove himself to them.
Saul would also need a Defender or Advocate.

It was as if people were putting up walls between him and his calling.

Since he was called by Jesus to be a missionary to the Gentiles, between Jewish and Gentile believers, he needed help and strength.

Walls are built for protection and for evaluating anyone who may enter.

Any city who built a wall, had to build a gate, and

Someone had to be the gatekeeper.

The most powerful can’t spend their time watching the gate, that task is dele-gated (to one who is commissioned).
The problem comes when the gatekeeper or delegate they have more say than the one they represent. (Power Trip)

Some have found more value in building bridges than building walls.

Walls prevent access and communication as their default.
Bridges leave a route for access and communication as their default.
Walls often leave us separated, unable to communicate.
Bridges help create partnerships and help us to flourish.
Bridges do not last long if they are left unprotected or have poor construction.
Both sides must work to build solid foundations and keep them in good shape.

Paul was to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ who was the true bridge between the Jews and Gentiles.

But Saul could not be left unprotected while just getting started.

Before Saul the Persecutor could become Paul the Missionary, he needed a Friend and an Advocate.

He needed someone to advocate for him between him and the disciples.
Then, he could become a bridge between the disciples and the Gentiles.

It was because of Barnabas’ acceptance of Saul, and his defense of outward change that made the difference.

Saul had been preaching publicly that Jesus Christ was Messiah, risking his own life.

After Three Years, Saul had sought to join with others in Jerusalem.

But, Barnabas had to convince them first that his conversion was true and lasting.

Saul went from being their chief enemy to being their brother.

When the Hellenistic Jews acted to arrest and kill Saul, the disciples worked to see him back home, safe.
They risked more arrest and death for him.

As a result, the church is spreads throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria.

This was a time of peace and strengthening of the church.
Their faith consisted of living in the fear of the Lord and encouragement by the Holy Spirit
A mixture of inward and outward peace and reverent fear of Holy God. - J.W.

Saul became a bridge where others could only see walls and act as gatekeepers.

God enables us to make connections with him and others.

When we act as bridge builders instead of wall-builders and gatekeepers.
Our commission might not have happened by a supernatural vision or audible voice of God, but we all received the Great Commission.

We begin building bridges by communicating with others.

We connect to what we hold in common and value in common, as people of faith, our common-union/communion is in Jesus Christ.

We are drawn together with Jesus Christ and drawn to each other.

When one member of the bridge is attacked, we pull together, making our connection stronger, holding up that which threatens to fall.

The Holy Spirit enables us to see the future possibility of union with God, each other, and all Creation

Where we may only have previously seen and heard conflict.

Reverent Fear of God & Inward and Outward Peace that comes by Faith

In keeping that reverent fear of God and knowing the inward and outward peace that comes by the Holy Spirit by faith, all will come to know and proclaim that Jesus is Lord as we build a great network of bridges throughout the whole world.
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