THE BEGINNING OF THE CHURCH
SERIES: Unstoppable – The Book of Acts
Sunday, June 4, 2017
• Things to consider as we go through the book of Acts
• Really timely as a church – we are going through a re-focusing of our vision and purpose
• Acts is a narrative, it’s a story – don’t want to come in halfway through the movie – read on your own
• Descriptive vs. prescriptive – Acts is both
• Acts is full of signs and wonders and miracles – they are awesome, and they are not the point – the point of Acts is testifying about Jesus resurrected and taking that message to the ends of the earth and how the church was formed
TEXT: Acts 1:1-11 (830)
1 In my first book I told you, Theophilus, about everything Jesus began to do and teach 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven after giving his chosen apostles further instructions through the Holy Spirit. 3 During the forty days after he suffered and died, he appeared to the apostles from time to time, and he proved to them in many ways that he was actually alive. And he talked to them about the Kingdom of God. 4 Once when he was eating with them, he commanded them, “Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift he promised, as I told you before.5 John baptized with water, but in just a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” 6 So when the apostles were with Jesus, they kept asking him, “Lord, has the time come for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom?” 7 He replied, “The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
9 After saying this, he was taken up into a cloud while they were watching, and they could no longer see him. 10 As they strained to see him rising into heaven, two white-robed men suddenly stood among them. 11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!”
• The power of the church.
• “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you…”
• Holy Spirit’s relationship with you / What it means for the Holy Spirit comes upon a person (Luke 24: to be “clothed with power from on high”)
• HS indwells those who have put their faith in Jesus – HS does the work of illumination, reveals to us our need for a Savior and if you are a Christian the Holy Spirit dwells inside of you.
• Jesus says to this group of men who already have the Holy Spirit at that level that that need to wait until the Holy Spirit comes upon them, or like in Luke 24, “clothes them in power.”
• Second baptism? No, second and third and fourth, etc. 200th baptism – the empowering of the Holy Spirit for Jesus’ purpose
• If you have not experienced this startling, it does not mean that you are not saved and in relationship with Christ
• The supernatural has never anchored anyone to long-term faithfulness in Christ – miracles won’t sustain you, only Jesus can do that
• Holy Spirit has been given to us so we can walk in day-in, day-out obedience to the commands of God, and so we can be empowered for those moments with God wants to use us in profoundly powerful ways that are different from the norm
• The purpose of the church.
• “And you will be my witnesses…”
• So I want you to know that no one speaking by the Spirit of God will curse Jesus, and no one can say Jesus is Lord, except by the Holy Spirit. – 1 Corinthians 12:3 (877)
• The HS leads us into glad submission to Jesus as Lord
• Another way the HS helps us as witnesses is by gifting us to do ministry like Jesus
• I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. – John 14:12 (823)
• The HS will remind us of Jesus.
• But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you. – John 14:26 (823)
• The plan for the church.
• “In Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, the ends of the world.”
• Over the next few weeks we’ll see how the first believers affected Jerusalem as they spilled out of an upper room and into the marketplace and the church grew rapidly through their bold witness
• Then the HS is going to compel them in a strange way through difficult circumstances to get on out to Judea. Then they will head to Samaria, which was full of Samaritans who were half-breeds and despised by the Jews – and they had to gut-check their motives there.
• Finally, they will go to the ends of the earth. And when those words were spoken in Jerusalem, you and I were the ends of the earth.
• And nothing has changed. The power given to them is given to us. The purpose given to them is given to us. Even the plan, how it works itself out, is given to us.
• That means we have to live on mission – we have to keep believing that God wants to use us individually and collectively to help people know Jesus – that we have to live by faith and open-handed – and that as a church we are just getting started