As a child I had an this experience after moving into a new house. In the middle of the night I saw something in the door-way. Occasionally it would move. In the morning I laughed because I could see Mom had hung a shirt and a pair of paints on a hook in the middle of the door way.
EXPLANATION: FIRST TIME THE TERM "CHURCH" IS USED IN ACTS
1. Fear as awe and reverence v 11a
2. Fear as respect for the judgement of God v11b
3. Fear because of the unusual power manifested v 12a
4. Fear not to be in one accord v 12b
Stanley Rogers draws an interesting parallel for us. He says that when a ship is rolling in a heavy gale her passengers grow nervous and begin to regret their past sins, but when the same ship is groping her way slowly through a thick fog the passengers go to bed and sleep soundly. Yet, paradoxically, the greatest peril at sea is the fog. It has been the cause of more disasters than all the storms that ever blew. (Mar491dynamic)
The big difference is in the storm we can see that which looks fearful.
1. Some afraid to join the church v 13a
a. Associate or join; as sticking with or too.
Acts 10:28 "Then he said to them, "You know how unlawful it is for a Jewish man to keep company with or go to one of another nation. But God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean."
1 Cor 6:16 "Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For "the two," He says, "shall become one flesh.""
2. They stopped and re-thought about their commitment
1. Story told by Jim Hylton concerning an old time friend. The old friend saw Jim at the resturant Jim invited him to see the church he pastored. As Jim walked in this man lingured outside but Jim said "come on in" the man said "I can't because God is in there".
2. Testimony of Roy Edgeman. Five boys voted whether or not to go into a revival meeting. Roy voted against going. Majority voted to go into the revival services. Roy said he went in with fear. But all five boys got saved.
Fear can be a hendering emption. I urge you to give you fears to Jesus.
1. An illustration and report of superstitious faith
a. It is not under Simon Peter's suggestion
Acts 10:25 "As Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him." v26 "But Peter lifted him up, saying, "Stand up; I myself am also a man."" v27 "And as he talked with him, he went in and found many who had come together."
Acts 14:15 "and saying, "Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men with the same nature as you, and preach to you that you should turn from these useless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all things that are in them,"
b. God honors faith.
1) Even superstitious faith.
2) Some need a visual aid
H.G. Wells once told a fascinating story. It is about an Episcopalian bishop, though he could have been a cleric in any denomination. He was the kind of man who could always be counted on to provide a pious platitude. He had a favorite answer that always served him in good stead. When troubled folks came to him, he would assume his best stained-glass voice and ask, "Have you prayed about it?" If said in just the right way, no more needed to be said.
The bishop himself didn't pray much. After all, his life was quite uneventful. He felt quite self-sufficient. One day, however, life tumbled in on him, and he found himself overwhelmed. It occurred to the bishop that maybe he should take some of his own advice. So, one Saturday afternoon he entered the cathedral. He knelt down and folded his hands before the altar. He could not help but think how childlike he was.
Then he began to pray, "O God...." Suddenly there was a voice. It was crisp, businesslike. The voice said, "Well, what is it?"
When the worshipers came to Sunday services the next morning, they found
the bishop sprawled face down before the altar. When they turned him over,
they discovered he was dead. Lines of horror were etched upon his face.
The good bishop had advised others to approach God in prayer, but when he found himself face to face with the Almighty, it scared him literally to death. (1)
1. Haddon Robinson, PREACHING TODAY.