Summary: The disciples were strengthened by the presence of the risen Christ, the promise of the Holy Spirit and the hope of the returning Christ.
As you know by now, we are suspending all our services and gatherings because of the COVID-19 pandemic, until 30 April, pending further updates from the government.
• Small groups of 10 and below can still meet but will have to keep to the safe distancing and other precautionary measures, now required by law.
• We will livestream our ES for the next few Sundays. After that you can view the recorded services online on YouTube. Only for today, our livestream will be on FB. Bear with us, if there are some teething problems. Over time, we should be fine.
• For tithes and offerings, you can transfer to church DBS account 070-002346-6 or scan the church QR code. We will post this out.
Today we begin a new sermon series on the book of Acts.
• Acts describes how the message of the Gospel – the good news of the death and resurrection of Christ - spread from Jerusalem to Rome, and from the Jews to the Gentiles.
• It records this unstoppable move of God in the midst of persecutions, the workings of the Holy Spirit through men and women who have placed their trust in Jesus.
We’re going to look at the first 11 verses today. Let’s pray and commit this time to God:
Our Father in heaven, we thank You for your written Word. Through it we understand your will and is assured of your presence with us today. May your Word grants us hope and strength, peace and comfort, especially during such trying times. We open up our hearts to you. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN.
------------------- Read Acts 1:1-11.
Luke wrote this book to Theophilus, and it’s a sequel.
• Acts 1:1-2 1In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach 2until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen.
• So ACTS is a sequel. That former book is the Gospel of Luke, written also to Theophilus. We can regard LUKE as Volume One and ACTS being Volume Two.
Luke states his reasons for writing in Luke 1:1-4
“1Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, 2just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. 3Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.”
Luke wrote to affirm Theophilus’ faith.
• He investigated all that has been fulfilled (meaning from the Scriptures), gathered the evidences from eyewitnesses, and penned down the Gospel for Theophilus, so that he may know the certainty of the things he has been taught.
• In order words, Theophilus ‘has been taught’; he is a believer. Luke writes to strengthen his faith in Jesus.
• His identity is not known but likely a man of status because Luke addresses him ‘most excellent’.
• Luke himself is not an apostle but a Gentile believer and a travelling companion of Paul. We get to know that he is a physician because Paul mentioned it in Col 4:14.
Luke writes to strengthen Theophilus in the faith, so that he can be ‘certain of the things he has been taught’, the ‘good news’ about Jesus.
Acts 1:3 “After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.”
• Our faith is rooted and grounded in HISTORY, not some “cleverly devised stories or fables”. The apostles were all eye-witnesses of Christ, His death and resurrection (cf. 2 Pet 1:16).
• None of the apostles doubted His death, but they needed some convincing regarding His resurrection.
• Jesus showed Himself repeatedly and gave them ‘many convincing proofs that he was alive’, over a period of 40 days.
They were STRENGTHENED BY THE PRESENCE OF THE RISEN CHRIST
Theophilus can be assured that Christ is risen and is with them. It is not a spiritual tale or fable, not some kind of hallucination. Jesus ate with them.
• Luke seems to emphasize this. They had fellowship over meals. 1:4 “On one occasion while he was eating with them…” he gave them a command (1:4).
• In Luke 24 Jesus met two disciples on the road to Emmaus (a mei yus) and had a meal with them in the house: Luke 24:30-31 “When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight.”