In the discussion afterwards Karen shared that in this text she was reminded of CS Lewis' words in Narnia about Aslan the Lion (Christ).
"Aslan is a lion - the Lion, the Great Lion.
Ooh, siad Susan. I'd thought he was a man. Is he quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a Lion.
Safe, said Beaver... Who said anything about safe? Course He isn't safe. But He's good. He's the King, I tell you.
In this text we are reminded that Jesus, the King, is not safe, but He's good.
One of the things this text reminds us of, is that fact that Holiness is not an optional extra
NT Wright says it this way.
"We don’t like these stories but we can’t have it both ways. If we watch with excited fascination as the early church does wonderful healings, stands up to bullying authorities, makes converts to the right and left, and lives a life of astonishing property sharing, we may have to face the fact that if you want to be a community which seems to be taking the place of the Temple of the Living God, you mustn’t be surprised if the Living God takes you seriously, serious enough to make it clear that there is no such thing as cheap grace.”
The early church understood it well. To name the name of Jesus, to invoke the Holy Spirit, is to claim to be the temple of the Living God, and that is bound to have it’s consequences.
I don’t know. Perhaps if we took Acts 5 more seriously we might expect more of the other bits – bits like healings, salvations and examples of power.
I see this chapter as an invitation. Take this idea of Temple more seriously. That we are the Temple of the Holy Spirit… Called to holiness.
Questions to Ponder
1. Ponder the truth that the church, followers of Jesus, are now the temple - the place of God’s presence. What are the implications of this for us at the River and as individual followers of Jesus?
2. When we talk about surrendering everything/every aspect of our lives to God, where does that create tension in you? What is God inviting you to do? Can you see this invitation coming from a place of deep love and care for you? If not, why?
3. Reflect on God’s holiness and how through Jesus we, who are not holy, are now declared holy and have access to God as our loving Father. What does this stir in you? Respond in praise to God for who He is and all He has done.
4. Share with someone else what you are thinking and experiencing this week.