I want to share a story of ‘Sabine Ball’. She was called by “Mother Teresa of Dresden” in East German.
She was born in Germany at 1925. She was a survivor of the miserable World War II at Germany. She moved to the USA to achieve her dream. She had a dream to marry a billionaire. Actually she married a son of billionaire when she was in her late 20s. Many people envied her because of her husband and her money. She met many famous people and enjoyed lots of parties. After 10 years later, she found that her life was meaningless and full of vain, dissipation, complacency, and pleasure although she had everything she wanted. Her husband and she almost become alcoholic patients because their life was filled with parties with wine. Thus, she asked this question by herself. ‘What is the purpose of life? What life is precious? How do I live in this world?’
After divorce, she abandoned everything she had. With her two sons, she moved to a different city to find a meaningful life. In spite of her efforts, she could not find it. One day, she heard about hippies by chance. She believed that she might find a meaningful life. She made a decision to be a mother of hippies. She expected to find a meaningful life if she would do a good work for hippies. However, she still felt vain because hippies were not changed although she helped them with her best.
To find a precious life, she traveled to India. However, she could not find any value and purpose of her life.
After coming back home, she recognized that there were some changes in hippies’ community that she served. Some hippies started to read the bible regularly. Tomy, who was a leader of them, introduced “Jesus Christ” to Sabine.
The following is a part of the book.
“You are still in the dark place” After hearing this, tears come pouring out of her eyes. This one word shake her up to recognize the truth.
“He died for you, Sabine. God gave all for you. God gave himself without any conditions. Now you have a value and reason to live.’
She could not do anything but crying. For the first time, she prayed. It seemed the door of her mind seemed to be broken.
‘God, my God!’ She wailed. “God gave everything for me without any conditions”
Only one thought is filled with her head and heart. The love of Heaven owned her.
Before she closed her prayer with saying ‘Amen’, she made a promise to God.
“I will do serve You without any conditions whatever I would do” then her future was determined. It was clear that her life would be beautiful and excited. This was happened at the afternoon in Apr. 1972.
After Sabine believed in Jesus Christ, there were huge changes in the hippies’ community. Some of them left because they didn’t like their leader’s change. However, many hippies came and joined her community.
Later Sabine also begun the ministry of ‘Sister’s house’ and “Hospice ministry’. On 1992, she left to German with the holy burden for her country. And she started the ministry for urban teenagers. The followings come from the book. You may recognize what she did at East German.
“The kids in the street were tough. They threw the eggs to the café. They scratched on the café’s bus. If someone didn’t show up for a while, that meant that they were in jail. .. She met them at the jail…. When she met them at the jail, she told her stories how she wandered. Although she was millionaire, she felt the futility of life and she throw herself in darkness and chaos places. After her personal story, she continued to talk about her friend who died for her. She shared the story of Jesus who was killed on the cross.
“There is no sinner who God can’t heal!’ Everyone has a hope. Look at me, an old lady!
An overindulge kids was told some words for the first in their life.
“Whatever you did, whoever you are, you are a precious children of God. You are really precious children like a jewelry”
By the hands of Sabine, many youth believed in Jesus Christ. She had many supporters for her ministry in Germany.
I wish that you can recognize how God’s blessings flow to others through a single believer. In addition, this story shows that how important the role of the believer in the world.
Most of all, you can see a person who wanted to find a purpose and meaning of life. “How do I live? What life is precious? Do I have a true satisfaction in my life? How do I live? I hope that we may get some answers for these questions today.
2. Let’s be the pathway of God’s blessings to others.
Let’s read ver. 12. “The apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders among the people…” In KJV, “And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people”
‘By the hands of the Apostles’, which showed that many miraculous signs and wonders came from god. The apostles’ miracles are the power of God, but not theirs. They become the hands and feet for God to help others who needed helps.
When I read the text, I have a hope to be like the apostles. God may use us as His tool to bless others. Through you, and also by the hands of Korean church of Memphis, God will show his love and power to others. It will be a good and also blessed life.
In addition, we can find that God’s blessings were not limited to the believers, but to among the people who didn’t know Jesus Christ. Although they didn’t believe in Jesus, God gave His blessings to people through the apostles who were filled with the Holy Spirit.
It is a wonderful life that God uses us his tool to bless others.
3. It is precious when your prayers are answered.
In addition, today’s text shows that the prayers of the believers at the earlier church were answered. Today’s contents can be found in Acts 4:19,30. The believers prayed because of the persecution by the priests and Sadducees.
Let’s hear their prayers.
“.. Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus."
Yes. prayers of the believers were answered. As you know, we should recognize that many things in our life would be the results of your prayers. God hears us. God listens to us. And He answers us.
Isaiah 37 is a good example. King Hezekiah of Juda prayed to God because of the king of Assyria who conquered the land of Juda (Isaiah 37:15-20). Hezekiah asked that God would save his people since they were very weak compared to Assyria. Once he finished his prayers, Isaiah, son of Amoz, sent a message to King Hezekiah. “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Because you have prayed to me concerning Sennacherib king of Assyria (Isaiah 37:21)”
God listens to the prayers of His people. Pray for everything in your life as you did before. God works for you. God works for us. What the Lord wants us is to pray to Him; to expect Him. He will answer us.
Today’s passage is the testimony of the believers at the earlier church. We also have to have this kind of testimony in our life. Let’s pray for every aspect of our life. Let’s do our best. And God will do it for us. This is the life of the believer. It is excited and precious life that God gives us.
Our testimony will be the following as. “Because we have prayed to the Lord, He have used us as the path of God’s blessings” This will be our faith to God of Hope. We will experience God who works for us. It is a precious and wonderful life.
4. Courage is necessary to live truly.
There were two different reactions when people saw the miraculous signs and wonders although we expected one positive reaction.
The first reaction was found in ver. 12. The faith of the believers was strengthened.
Let’s read ver. 12 “The Apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders among the people. All the believers used to meet together in Solomon’s Colonnade.” In other translation of Acts 5:12, ..” They were all with one accord in Solomon’s portico (NASB)’
What kind of mind did they have? They had one mind to proclaim Jesus Christ as their Lord with boldness. As we learned, the priests and Sadducees warned the believers not to teach nor to proclaim by the name of Jesus. Because of this, they might hide and teach Jesus, but they didn’t. They met in public places and taught Jesus with boldness. It was the action what the apostles said to the priests, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God” The believers did what they believed with boldness. It is precious and wonderful life that God gave us.
Whereas some people dared join the believers although they were surprised when they saw the miraculous signs and wonders that the apostles performed. However, they didn’t want to involve deeply because they heard the news of Anaiah and Sapphira who died because of their sins. They would not participate in anything if they could get any profit. They might be smart to calculate which way will have more profit.
Thus, we can explain the difference between two reactions in verses 12 and 13. One is to find the purpose and value in Jesus Christ, the other didn’t. We need to have courage to find the purpose and value of our life.
As I shared with you, the questions of Sabine, ‘how do I live in the world? What is the purpose of our life? How do we can live the wonderful life?
As we saw in ver. 12, Let’ be courageous people in God. We who find the purpose and the value in Jesus Christ should live with boldness. God takes care of us. He is the origin of the life. God will be with us.
5. Although we are weak, the Lord is gracious!
As a result, people brought the sick who absolutely needed other’s helps. What their hope was ‘at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them he passed by” One thing we can learn is how sick they were. However, it seemed to be funny and silly. It would be weird faith.
“What is the shadow of Peter? Is it powerful? NO. It just was the shadow of people. It was no power. It was the man’s shadow. It was nothing! However, we can learn something to be surprised.
Let’s read ver. 16, saying that ‘all of them were healed”
Some of them had the hope, which seemed to be silly. However, the grace of God was overflowed to the believers through the apostles. No matter whatever our faith is whether it is strong or not, the important thing is to long for the grace of God; to go in front of God. Then, God of grace heals us.
What is important to God? The mind that longs for the Lord. The mind that expects the Lord. It is important to God! It is important to go to the Lord who loves us.
We need to remember this. “At least Peter's shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. …All of them were healed.”
People who received the grace of the Lord is happy.
People who were loved by the Lord is happy.
This was what Sabine told overindulged kids, which they never heard before.
“Whatever you did, whoever you are, you are the precious children to the Lord. You are really valuable children like jewelry”
Her words changed the overindulged kids! In the sight of people, they might be useless, but in the sight of God, they are precious people. Life is precious and valuable.
God treats us preciously. God loves you and me.
Whatever and whoever we are, God loves us so much.
Thus, God wants us to live precious and valuable.
It is the precious when God uses us. I hope that you are one of people who God uses. It is precious to know that God listened to us. I wish that you experience God. Your life will be a record of your prayers and God’s responses.
Expect Him. Long for Him. Let’s pray for your husband, your wife, and your kids to God. In addition, let’s pray for the church. It is important to pray to the Lord. You will find the purpose and value of life when you pray to the Lord. God promises the abundant life. I bless you that your life with abundance that the Lord provides.