The book of Acts details the rapid growth of the early church and how the Holy Spirit used Jesus-followers to effect change. To start the series, we look at Acts 1:1-14 and discuss who Jesus says the church should be.
1 Corinthians 15:14–16
Hey, thanks for tuning in to the life around the table podcast. The table is a church located in Belgrade, Montana that seeks to be rooted in Christ growing in community and serving the common good. On this podcast, you’re going to hear teachings from our Sunday gatherings, and other resources and conversations about faith, live culture and the church.
We hope you enjoy the following episode.
We are beginning a journey. I’m not going to call it a series. We’re beginning a journey through the book of acts as a church, and we are going to be here for quite some time. And I am very excited about it.
I’m glad I’m the only one excited about this.
Okay, now that’s just sympathy, applause. I don’t need that either.
I’d rather you Be honest.
I’m just kidding. I’ll take what I can get.
totally kidding. If you have your Bibles, go to Acts, chapter one Acts chapter one, if you are using the Bible at the center of the table, it is page 1114 1114. For those pages, there we are, we are going to be spinning quite a lot of time in the book of Acts. And this is going to be an important
study for us as a church.
Because one of the things that people ask often is, what is the church? Who is the church? And what are we supposed to be about? What’s our calling? What’s our purpose, and depending on who you ask, in our cultures, you’re going to get different opinions about the nature and function of the church. Some will say that the church is simply about getting lost people in a room, some people would say no, the church is just simply the people of God wherever they are. And people will have different ideas about what the ultimate mission is of the church, if you’ve been around the church for more than a year, you’ve probably heard was the church about equipping the saints or about attracting the outsiders. And we have all of these debates and fights about what the church is supposed to be like. And so one of the most beautiful things about scripture is that it gives us a glimpse, a snapshot of 30 years, that changed the world. The Book of Acts, covers 30 years of the movements of the early church. And as we get into the book of Acts, I hear a lot of people say this, often, we’re going to become a New Testament church and x church, I get the sentiment and I desire to see a lot of what we see in the early church exists in our congregation here at the table. But there’s going to be a lot of interesting things in the book of Acts as we survey. When we say we want to be like the early church, we’re gonna have to engage their persecution, we’re gonna have to engage their conflicts, we’re gonna have to engage the tension between races, we’re gonna have to engage the tension of do we serve them or don’t serve them? We’re going to have to engage the 10 is does the Holy Spirit do those weird things that we see in this part of acts or or not? And so my suspicion is that as we journey through the book of Acts, I know that there are some many of us come from completely diverse, diverse backgrounds, when it comes to church, and ministry. And I suppose at some point in time, we are all going to be challenged with our theology, what we believe about God, and what we believe about the work of the Holy Spirit, in and through the church. So what I hope to do this morning is to frame the entirety of the book of Acts as we ventured through acts one, one through 14, it’s kind of serves as a table of contents to the book of Acts. But it’s got some profound things to say to us as a church. And so again, if you have your Bibles go to Acts one, one through 14 or page 1114. I didn’t plan that by the way.
Did anybody else see that?
Oh, the Holy Spirit’s here already, right with the page number.
Satan’s zero God one.
Let’s go ahead and read Acts one one through 14 will pray and then dive in.
In the first book of the office,
I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach until the day when he was taken up. After he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during 40 days and speaking about the kingdom of God. And while he was staying with them, he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father which he said, you heard from me for john baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now. So when they had come together, they asked him, Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel, he said to them, it is not for you to know the times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority, but you
will receive power
when the Holy Spirit Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and all Judea and Samaria, and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took them out of their side. And while they were gazing into heaven, He, as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven, this Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven will come in the same way, as you saw him go into heaven.
Then they returned to Jerusalem,
from the mount called all of which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day journey away. And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and john and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James, the son of our famous, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas, the son of James, all these were with one accord. We’re devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women, and Mary, the mother of Jesus and his brothers. Let’s pray. Father, we ask that this morning, you speak to us through your word, help us be aware and in tune with the presence of your spirit. Meet us where we are, speak to our hearts, challenge us comfort us. Be with us this morning. God, we give this journey through the through the book of Acts to you. Help us as a church orient ourselves around the vision that you have for the bride of Jesus. And it’s in his name we pray, Amen. Hallelujah. If you look to the screen, there’s going to be a painting. It’s my favorite work of art. How many of you guys know what this is? This is Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night. This is one of my favorite, this is probably my favorite work of art. And the reason I actually have a journal with this on it. And it’s a really beautiful painting, and it’s always mesmerized me for some reason. I’ve really been attracted to it. And so ironically, he painted this during a season where he was producing a lot of art. And when he painted this, he held on to it personally, because he didn’t feel like it was good enough.
cell, he would send art to his brother Theo, and Theo would kind of work as a salesman. Now the thing is, is Theo was saying, send me your car. So he finally sent this piece of art to him.
And people said it wasn’t good.
It wasn’t good not worth having
this painting. It’s remarkable now how much money this thing could go for the value of Van Gogh’s painting. And much of what we hear about Van Gogh is suspect, you know, even the fact that people talk about how he killed himself. That’s under a lot of suspicion, given all of the evidence that we have. Now. His story is just
widely widely talked about.
But the thing about the thing that I love about this
is it poses a challenge, and it reveals where he was
as a person.
Here’s what I mean. Vincent van Gogh, he grew up in a Dutch Reformed house. And his father was a liberal Protestant theologian. And that basically means he kind of denied the bodily resurrection, he, he was not what we would call orthodox. Now, as Vincent van Gogh grew up, he became attracted to the more conservative what we would call more evangelical side of faith. And he found a calling to be a missionary for Jesus. And so he goes to this group of coal miners, and he ministers to this coal mining community, his nickname became the Christ to the coal miners. And after several months of of being with these people, he had a radical vision of reaching them, he would give his food to them, if he had extra clothes he would give to them, he lived worse than they did, so that they would live better than he could. And the church didn’t really like this that much. They thought he was too radical.
and basically, when his when his time to came, when it came time to renew his missionary efforts, the church pulled the funds and pulls the support. And they say it was because he wasn’t called to be a pastor, they say all all these different all these different things, but ultimately, him and Theo, it said, it’s because you’re just too extreme with the way you try to reach people.
And so they pulled the support not
only that his father pulled the support. So he felt abandoned by the church, he felt left by the people of God. And his other paintings such as the Good Samaritan, reveal how he felt about the church. It’s quite remarkable. And if you notice these hills and Starry Night, one of the most interesting things is these are actual hills from his window. But he’s painted a community where there wasn’t a community, it put this community there. And if you look closely, you may not be able to see it from where you’re sitting. But if you look closely enough, every single light in the city is on
except the church.
Many people can identify with his sense of separation from the church, distance from the church, wounded by the church. And he committed his life to a life of isolation, he left the church and never came back. And I it’s sad that he did that he has a very, very troubled life anxiety, psychological issues, a lot of that weeds into all of that. But what I want you to see is the lights are off in the church.
Many people feel like this today.
What is the church? Who are we supposed to be?
Then go wrestle with us.
But not only that, highlight some of the negative we’ve all been some part of some of the negative church the church has also done more good than probably any other institution in the history of the world. We have innovated education, science, medicine, helping people in need those in poverty, like no one else has ever done. There was a radical goodness that is seen throughout the history of the church, most of our prestigious universities that have stepped away from their their roots came from a Christian
pioneers of faith, education and science have come out of Christianity. So in this mix between what we see what’s good and what’s bad, how do we where do we go from here. And I think the book of Acts that tells us what I love about x is it serves as a commission to who the church is supposed to be, and the correction for us when we’re not being who we’re supposed to be.
It provides us a line to follow.
And the question becomes, how did the church make such a big impact? The church went from 12 guys, to 6,000,300 years, covering the Empire covering and that’s not these this is this is statistics coming from non Christian sources. It’s not just us saying look at look at what we’re doing know people have called sociologists, and historians call Christianity, the religion that should have never survived, there should have been no appeal to following a risen Savior calling Jesus King, because that meant a death sentence for you. There was nothing really attractive about it yet it was profoundly attractive because it offered an alternative way of life, an alternative sense of meaning and purpose that no one could find anywhere else. So much. So they were willing to give everything they had. And most of these 12 disciples would, in fact, give everything they had to start the church
from 12 to 6,000,300
years that should not have happened.
It baffles the minds of historians.
Submit that how it happened is framed in this x one, we’re going to talk about it in three ways that the church is called to be Christ centered, and the church will be spirit empowered, and the church will be mission minded.
This is the introduction that we are given by
Luke, Luke is the author of this book.
And its Volume Two to his Gospel of Luke, it picks up right where he left off, he reminds us of where he been. And he’s, and he’s giving us some details that are important. And the first one is the church will be rooted and centered in Christ, we will be a Christ centered church, he opens up by saying, in the first book of the office, the sky is the office people have wondered who he was, but most scholars tend to think that he was a benefactor of Luke, someone who financially supported his mission. Some people think that he is somebody who is trying to be convinced of the faith, we really don’t know too much. I think he is a dear friend of Luke leading a community trying to make sense of, of what’s happening with what’s happening with this guy, Jesus. And so Lucas set out to write a detailed account and I think this the office, I think he is backing him, supporting him gathering all the evidence for these many convincing proofs, the word proofs here. This word is not found in much ancient literature. And when it is, it’s used by like folks like Aristotle, saying, basically, irrefutable,
very strongly attested.
And so what Luke is doing, is he’s actually inviting the reader to go back and investigate for themselves. You don’t believe me that these things happen, go find out for yourself that people are still alive, go talk to them. And so Luke’s aim is to provide the sense of historical historical account of God’s working and then through the early church in hopes of convincing the reader convincing us today, that God has in fact called them into a new way of life, and that God has in fact, empower them through His Spirit. And that Jesus is worth following with everything we have
In fact, Luke’s Gospel still Luke’s Gospel in the book of Acts convinces people to this day, there was a guy named Sir William Ramsay in Great Britain in the 1800s. And basically, he was a devout atheist, he was set out his whole mission was to disprove the historicity of the gospel. Because if he could disprove the hit history, then we wouldn’t have to worry about the theology was his belief. He left Great Britain to go to Asia Minor, to figure out whether or not this he could disprove this. He comes back from Asia Minor, a devout believer in Jesus after what he found in the Gospel of Luke and Acts. Historically verifiable things that scholar said, for ages didn’t exist. He’s found proof. Not only did he come back, a believer, he came back a defender. This still has power for us today. And it opens up by saying, all that Jesus began to do and teach. That’s the reminder of what is this all that Jesus began to do and teach, we’re talking about his actions, his words,
We’re talking about when we talk about his actions, we’re talking about the way in which he did ministry, the way in which he situated himself around people, he developed disciples. And then he spent time with the last inviting them into that space
Controversial elements of Jesus was what he did around the
That’s what got him killed,
was who he sat with who he dined with the things he was teaching them about the true good life worth following.
We see that through his actions.
In fact, even this text where it says in verse four, while he was staying with him, most people agreed that the better translation of that is, while he was eating with them, it’s the word there.
That’s what it should be.
While he was eating with them, what is the risen Lord do he doesn’t go storm the gates of Rome, he makes dinner for his friends, and tells them about the kingdom.
His ministry approach is subversive,
it’s secretive, it’s quiet, but
it’s explosive at the same time.
What about his words, Jesus’s instruction that we
find in the Gospels and things like the Sermon on the Mount the Lord’s Prayer, the parables, these are the things that he said, these are the things that he talked shape the life of every person who claims to follow him. When we look at Jesus, we have to hear his words that come through the Gospels. And so as Christians, what we have to do is we have to make an intentional decision to situate our lives under the teachings of Jesus that are found in the New Testament.
We are not followers of Jesus until we follow him.
Until we say that he
actually informs and shapes the way we live.
And we can’t miss his works, his
death, his resurrection, his appearance, and ascension, because that is the primary proclamation of the entire book of Acts 28 chapters 24 speeches, every single one of them highlights
And that’s what it all boils down to.
It all boils down to the resurrection fact.
I love it one scholar, his name is XH Nobel, he says this.
It is not their organization, or rhetorical gifts that explain the growth of the church, but the presence of God himself and the risen Jesus Christ, in their life. And in their ministry, their primary focus was the resurrection. And I have this conversation with people to this day, and I think you should as well. It doesn’t matter what Christians believe about sexual ethics. It does not matter what Christians believe about political social issues, it does not matter at all, unless the resurrection
If Jesus is Lord, then we ought to situate the entirety of our lives under his lordship. If Jesus has risen from the grave, then we ought to follow him with everything that we’ve got, then what Jesus says about sexual ethics matters, then what he says about the way we engage our culture, and society really does matter. I talked with people all the time about this when they then they said, what what a Christians believe about the Old Testament violence, that we see what Christians believe about homosexuals reality? What do they believe about abortion? What do they believe about all of these issues? And a lot of times, those questions will keep coming and keep coming and keep coming. And sometimes, yeah, engage those. But I would encourage you to redirect for a moment say those are important questions. Those are important conversations to have. But let’s situate ourselves on whether or not Jesus was resurrected or not. If he was resurrected, it means everything if he wasn’t, it means nothing. Don’t waste your time, get rid of the Bible.
was what Jesus began to do.
And what we are called to teach.
In fact, Paul says in First Corinthians 14 through 16,
the nature of this, he says, and if Christ has not been raised than our preaching is in vain in your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresented God, because if we testified about God that he has raised Christ whom he did not raise, if it is true, that the dead are not raised, for If the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. He goes on to say, if Christ has not been resurrected, your faith is useless.
What was this message that he was delivering Jesus Himself,
well says that he was speaking to them about the kingdom of God. And the book of Acts begins with this and ends with this. If you look at the first chapter, last chapter, it begins and ends with the kingdom of God, which bookends the entire book, which means we have to interpret everything inside of it as movement and life and vitality of living in the kingdom. And what living in the kingdom simply means. It means surrendering to and accepting God’s rule and reign over our lives. where people are doing that, that’s the kingdom. That’s the kingdom there’s a lot of social conversations right now about is the kingdom about social justice is the kingdom about this or this the kingdom about that. There is no doubt in my mind that the gospel has implications for justice. You cannot read even the New Testament and see that when God’s people are following God, they promote justice. But justice in and of itself is not simply the kingdom of God. It’s submitting to the rule and reign
of Jesus in our lives.
Christians were at the forefront
of justice. In the early church, we
have letters from the first and second century of pleasing even in the New Testament, we look at the book of Philemon, you have Paul pleading for the release of a slave that was so countercultural,
that would have disrupted the norm
But that only flows out of living in the kingdom. And what our culture does our culture wants to as one author says, they want the justice of the kingdom without surrendering to the king. They want the fruit, but they don’t want to be rooted.
The sense of justice that people so
so passionately advocate for, if you located, it’s located in Christianity.
It’s just interesting, but he was speaking to them about this kingdom.
And the kingdom is a different way of life. We live in a culture that again, sociologists have called the culture of the kingdom is not one of banks, it’s one of resolve and peace, and trust and faithfulness. It satisfies the inner longings of our life for something more, there’s something within us that is always crying out to be secure, to be significant to be satisfied. Those are the questions people ask, Who am I? Where am I going? What am I here for the kingdom answers those questions in a way that nothing else has. That’s why it exploded in the early church.
Because it was so radically different.
People were able to see the truth, I think a lot of the problems in our culture is that American Christianity and cultural Christianity have kind of like, it’s just, it’s hard to see the distinct distinctions.
And so when the early church, there was a clear
distinction, a clear way in the way that Christians lived in the way that other people
lived. There was a clear distinction.
I think that’s why we don’t see the tangible effect that we do in America is because we are so similar.
We are so similar in lifestyle,
we are so similar in beliefs, we are so similar in all these areas, that there’s no distinction. And guess what, there’s no distinction there’s no need to follow.
What I’m saying is that we are, we believe, the traditional historical vision of Scripture and the Bible. And historically speaking, churches that begin to get rid of the core essentials of the faith, they die out quickly. And the reason why is because they loses
We are rooted
in the historic Christian faith that’s revealed in Scripture, we believe that Jesus bodily resurrected
one dean of a
theological institution recently said
that this, it’s just spiritual resurrection.
That’s not what we believe.
The church will be Christ centered. And that is the proclamation of the resurrection. rooted in that.
That’s how they grew.
The second way that grew is that they will be spirit empowered, the church will be spirit and empowered. And we hear the word Holy Spirit, some of us get really uncomfortable, if you’re I grew up in the south, and I’ve seen a lot of churches in the south that believed in this Trinity Father, Son, and Holy Scriptures.
But not Father, Son, Holy Spirit.
And so I will submit to you that as we go through the book of acts as a good chance that some of our friends in here who are coming from a more cautious background as things to the spirit, you may get uncomfortable, but I’m also going to say that our friends on the Pentecostal side, you’re going to be uncomfortable to we’re going to find the tension of living life being Spirit led,
as we walked through the book of Acts.
There’s discomfort for all.
The promise of the father is what the Spirit is called. And it’s interesting how just,
I don’t know the Holy Spirit and a lot of circles gets treated like uncle Eddie
from Christmas vacation.
Just kind of off to the side.
What’s he doing over there without water hose, you know what, you know
what I’m talking about? He’s,
he’s just, he’s completely neglected in a lot of the church. And it’s important that we re emphasize our emphasis on the Holy Spirit as a church. And I say that because in our Valley, in our Valley, there are plenty of people who don’t believe that, that the Holy Spirit is at work in the ways that he was Neil and and people can people can believe that that’s, that we can talk about talk to that.
But as a church,
we believe that God’s Spirit still acts speaks and moves in very similar ways that he did in the early church.
And if you have technical,
textual historical questions, I’m more than happy to engage in a dialogue with you about that, more than willing to do that. But there’s an increase of spirit ism in Montana.
And I don’t think it’s an accident.
The huge phrase that people say here
and everywhere is I’m spiritual.
I’m not Christian. Well, this is what happens when when we neglect the Holy Spirit, other spirits
surface. And right and that’s just the truth.
In Montana, there was a lot going on with spirit ism with Wicca with all sorts of various unhealthy, unorthodox unbiblical teachings about the spiritual realm. And we believe that the emphasis on the Holy Spirit is what grew the early church. And the reason why is because Jesus said, it’s the promise of the Father and that you will receive power, it’s not in and of yourselves, you have to receive it.
And so we believe that we still have to be about that today.
The entire scripture
points the fact that God is seeking to come close, when the Spirit when you look at Genesis three on what you see as this movement of God getting closer and closer and closer to the heart of humanity. And the old testament to the spirit comes and goes as God wills, but through Jesus, he actually dwelt among us. The Spirit of God was within Jesus, the entirety of his ministry. And what we find is that it’s basically God beside us. Jesus was God beside us. He got real close, he dwelt he dwelt what net right next to us. But Jesus says, that’s not close enough. It’s not good enough for me just to be beside you. The Holy Spirit has to be in side you. So he ascends back to heaven, and this word ascend that means to take his rightful place as king. He ascends to heaven. And that’s important word. We don’t use that language in any other context. When a royal context, I didn’t ascend onto the stage, did I? I stepped up on to the stage, I don’t ascend the ladder to change the libel. No, I step up. The ascension is a critical word to talk about what Jesus is doing, he is currently reigning as King. And because he is outside of our sphere, he is able to be with us entirely in Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the very spirit of God within us. It’s one author says that it’s going from having Jesus beside us to Jesus inside of us,
the Spirit of Jesus moving
us to become more like God, and to be empowered by his mission. And these are just important things that we have to wrestle with as a church. The spirit every day is reordering our loves, and he is reordering our lives.
Jesus says, the promise of the father
is the Holy Spirit, and that we will be baptized of the Holy Spirit. Now we’re, we’re looking back on this they did, they hadn’t yet been baptized. But what this means there’s some Pentecostal friends of mine that would say that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is just specifically related to tongues, manifestations of getting no, I’m sorry, that’s not what this text is teaching. the baptism of the Holy Spirit is the Holy Spirit completely washing
over us, immersing us
washing our sins away, forgiving us, empowering us, giving us life and vitality, to walk with God. It is the initial pouring out of God
It is empowering us to walk with Him.
And the baptism was a mark of the kingdom of God. In the Old Testament, they believe that when the Holy Spirit was poured out, the kingdom of God would start. And so their question
about the kingdom of God will you now restore is quite logical.
But Jesus says you
will receive this power. This means that following Jesus cannot be done in our own strength
As you will receive power. This implies that the disciples and our own intellect, methodology, his ideas, their opinions, were not sufficient to effect and bring the change within themselves or in the world. They needed the power of Jesus, the power that Jesus needed to remain silent when words weren’t wise. The power to speak when silence was harmful. The power to reconcile with those who offended and hurt him the power to to not surrender to sin, but to surrender to God the power to love those who were hard to love the power to save those who could not be saved the power that drove his ministry and raised him from the dead.
That power. Jesus says, You have you will have Mark Sayers in his new book reappearing church. He says, We don’t need another book. Ironically, he’s writing this in a book. We don’t need another book that challenges that the church faces in the world, we don’t need another book on the challenges that the church faces in the West, we don’t need another book to studiously review and critique, we don’t need another opinion, we need renewal. We need to be people who are walking in the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, because that was a huge game changer for the early church, and it is for us. And lastly, the church will be nationally minded.
We often approach God, with our own ideas are on our own hopes, our own agendas, our own desires. And a lot of times, most times these things aren’t bad God, I want this job. I don’t want this God, I need this God like that. We approach God with those things. And that’s fine. Paul says, make your request known to God.
very often times in my own life, I find that out, leave little margin, little margin for the agenda of God in my life.
Look at my calendar.
And even in ministry, we can get so busy doing ministry for God that we’re not doing ministry with
God. And that’s dangerous.
Look at my calendar, like how much time have I devoted
to God’s agenda in my life? You see, the disciples saw their own
agenda, they said, Are you now going to restore the kingdom of Israel, or to the kingdom to Israel, and this was a political way for them. In the early in the Old Testament, the kingdom of God was going to come through Israel and Israel was going to be a light to the nation’s. And there was going to be a sense of authority that came through Israel. But instead of being a light light of the church, there a light went out. And what’s happening now is the disciples are saying, the Holy Spirit’s going to be coming, God, what are you doing? Where is the kingdom now going to happen? And Jesus says, Don’t worry about that. That’s none
of your business.
So when you see people on the highways, like the end of the time is like, next year at this point in time, don’t buy that. Don’t buy into that, that theological garbage of people who think dates and times for the End Times. They don’t know. We don’t know. We simply don’t know. Jesus says this. He says there’ll be signs there’ll be but do you know, every generation since the early church has had enough evidence, using scripture to validate that God was coming tomorrow?
throughout Christianity has engaged this and guess what, we are closer today than we were yesterday. That’s what we do know. And it could be any time.
We don’t know the days and times when he says, Here’s
your here’s your agenda. Your agenda is to be received power from the Holy Spirit and to be witnesses throughout the earth. This
is where missionary minded comes in. You’ll be my
witnesses. The word witness in the Greek is where we get our English word martyr. But it actually is a legal term to mean that I’m confessing and testifying to what I’ve seen, heard and experienced, experienced, experienced, experienced, I’ve got friends who said, We don’t need to base our faith on experience. I agree, kind of what they’re saying. But here’s the problem. Jesus saying, you have to receive power that disciples have all the information they need about Jesus except a powerful experience
Again, they have
all the information they need, but they still need to personally experience God, you can find out most facts about me, if you go to my Facebook page,
you’ll know about me,
but you won’t really know me until we sit down for coffee and talk.
We can know a lot about God and still not really know him. We have to
experience this we have to experience this power that makes us missionary minded.
And notice this witnessing,
and if you look in Scripture, you look at the early church, a lot of it has to do with the way in which we live and the things that we say, when I heard somebody say we don’t even know who really said this, but
preach the gospel, use what use words if necessary,
that they’re necessary. Words are necessary. I get one, I get what’s being said there our whole lives embody the gospel, but we ought to as people who follow Jesus be sharing with people, the fact of what Jesus has done in our lives.
One question I have for our churches
who this year, have you told about Jesus,
we’re to be the witnesses of Jesus.
Chapter open with all that Jesus began to do and teach. The word that’s important there was began. This is a nerd thing, just stick with me for a second. In the Greek This is important. The word began, there isn’t what we call an error lyst tense. And what that means is that there was a definite beginning, but not really an end in sight. What Jesus began to do, has no end in sight.
And what we need to put our minds around
is that we are as the church that continuation of Jesus’s
That’s the church. Mission. alee minded. This means not standing on the street corner yelling at people. This means Who are you inviting to go hunting? When you’re not here on Sunday? Who are you inviting over for dinner this week? Who are you inviting into your life, to not do a bait and switch, but to genuinely care for the person
in the way of Jesus?
If they don’t respond to the gospel, you don’t just tuck tail and get out.
You continue to love, you continue to care, you continue to invite.
Who are we?
Who is God putting our sphere of influence that we could be reaching out to, with how Jesus has changed our lives. In fact,
this was a mark of the early church and the
church. To this day, there was a journalist or there’s a journalist
named Matthew Paris.
And he’s an atheist.
He goes down to Africa, and this is what he writes. Now, as a confirmed atheist, I’ve become convinced of the enormous contribution that the Christian evangelism makes an Africa sharply distinct from the work of secular, the secular NGOs, government projects and enter to international aid efforts. These alone will not do education and training alone will not do in Africa, Christian in Africa, Christianity, changes people’s hearts, it brings them a spiritual transformation.
One more piece there.
The rebirth is real,
the change is good. It is a pity, I would say that salvation is part of the package. But Christians black and white working in Africa do heal the sick do teach people to read and write, and only the severest kind of secularist could see a Mission Hospital or school and say the world would be better without it. This guy doesn’t even follow Jesus, and he’s sitting there going, you can take Christianity away, too much would fall apart. And that’s the challenge for our church. If we weren’t here, would anybody notice?
Would anybody notice in our community?
My biggest fear
as the pastor of the table, is that our church should be inward focused, and not missionary driven,
to be comfortable, and not going after the last.
We cannot read the book of Acts and miss
And so the question I’m going to ask
you, and I’ve been asking myself as can my lot can my life be described as Christ centered spirit empowered and missionary minded?
That’s the question. I just want to
leave you with this, to actually take this into work to take this into home to take this into the school to take this wherever you’re going. When we leave from here.
What does this passage really mean for us today?
We’re looking back on this. So if Luke was writing to us today, he would say you are my witnesses, you have received the power. So just consider that.
This your life
reflect one who has power of the Holy Spirit, leading in a different way of life. But more practically, the beauty of x one is that it comes before x two.
Well, I was profound.
x two gets all the attention
in the church. In fact, our statement who we are as grounded in Acts 242, and 47. But you don’t get to x two without x one. And here’s what I mean, practically for us. There are times when God is wanting to do things so much in our lives, that we just fight and we press and we try to get it, get it get it. This passage teaches us that Jesus sometimes will tell us wait. And that pause comes before power.
Whatever you’re wrestling
with whatever you’re working through in your own life, perhaps this morning, God might be speaking to you. Wait,
quit fighting, quit striving. Quit trying. Let God try. Wait. That’s the power of x. One is that you don’t get the power unless we situate ourselves in a place of pause and stillness. That’s the unimpressive origin of the church. The church began and acts one in the church began with stillness,
with waiting with prayer with togetherness. And so the context for the presence and power of God in Acts two is believing Jesus together in patient and prayerful
there’s something called the Fulton Street
near you was a mess. People were in poverty.
country was torn over racism.
social structures were failing institutions were failing. One businessman that I’m we’re going to pray. So we started this prayer meeting on Fulton Street. First day, only six people showed up, and they showed up an hour late. But as the week’s went on, the next week was 14. The next week was 20. The next week was 40. And then it was in the thousands, thousands of businessmen coming on the streets of New York to pray. And within 20 years, people who came to New York to be a part of this went back home and they started doing it there. And within 20 years, 1 million people came to know the Lord across the states, out of a population of 35 million. You can find this on New York Times you can find it on on any any media outlet, that cover that covers historical stuff like this. In fact, if you go to the New York Times, they have a
the actual revival article that you can read and they don’t they don’t change it. They don’t mess with it. They just say here’s a historical piece.
And it tells you this.
But you know what happened? They didn’t fight. They paused and they prayed.
Pause goes before the power.
Someone needs to hear that this morning. So let’s pray. Father, we thank you for your word.
We ask that as we take this into our homes, our
jobs, our schools that you teach us to become more like Jesus, you teach us to become Christ centered, spirit empowered and missionary minded. We thank you for your word. In Jesus name, amen.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai