Summary: Witness without worship is ineffective Worship without witness is incomplete


This is a manuscript, and not a transcript of this message. The actual presentation of the message differed from the manuscript through the leading of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, it is possible, and even likely that there is material in this manuscript that was not included in the live presentation and that there was additional material in the live presentation that is not included in this manuscript.


Let me ask you a question as we begin this morning:

Which is more important – our worship or our witness?

Or let me ask that question another way:

Which is more important –

gathering together as a body, or going out into our community?


While it might seem unnecessary to even ask such questions, how those questions are answered have become a driving force in developing church models, especially in 21st century America.

On one hand we have the worship-focused churches that believe that since the church consists only of disciples of Jesus and that the only people who can genuinely worship God are those disciples, that our churches should be designed to cater primarily to believers. Those churches can tend to be very inwardly focused and their worship can often be very intimidating to outsiders with its “Christianise” language and rituals.

At the other end of the spectrum are what are often known as “missional” churches who claim to focus on the mission of making disciples that we talked about last week, although I think they tend to think of that mission much more narrowly than we discussed last Sunday. Those churches tend to be so outwardly focused that in their attempt to be attractional to outsiders, they often go overboard in their attempts not to offend those outsiders. And often their worship can become so casual that it loses its sense of awe and reverence.

By now, you’ve probably sensed that, taken to an extreme, both of those approaches have their drawbacks. So how do we strike the proper balance between our worship and our witness? And how do those two elements – worship and witness – relate to each other? This morning we’ll attempt to answer those questions. So as we read our passages in just a moment, I want to encourage you to keep your eyes out for the words “worship” and “witness” and think about how Jesus intends for them to work together.


This morning we conclude our current sermon series – 40 Days with Jesus. Over the last six weeks we’ve been studying the encounters Jesus had between His resurrection and His ascension to the Father 40 days later. Although there is relatively little written about that time period in the New Testament, we have seen that we have enough information to piece together at least a rough timeline of what happened during those 40 days. And we have undoubtedly discovered that there are some very practical things we can learn from those encounters to help us in our daily walk with Jesus.

Today, we’re actually going to be looking at two passages, both written by Luke, that have some overlap as they describe Jesus’ final earthly encounter before He ascends to the Father. Together these two passages represent Jesus’ final preparations for His disciples before He leaves them to return to His Father.

We’ll begin at the end of his gospel account in Luke 24. Although we’re going to focus primarily on the last three verses, I’ll begin reading in verse 44.

[Read Luke 24:44-53]

Luke isn’t really concerned with the timeline here so he groups several events which likely covered several weeks all into one paragraph. So we have to rely on what we can learn from some other passages to get an idea of the timing.

Everything up through verse 43 records Jesus’ visit to the disciples in Jerusalem on the night of His resurrection. But the timing of the events recorded beginning in verse 44 is not nearly as obvious. What we do know for sure that the command given in verse 49 to stay in Jerusalem had to have occurred after the disciples had returned to Jerusalem from their trip to Galilee and that it had to occur near the end of Jesus’ 40 days on earth after His resurrection .

The command to proclaim His name to all the nations in verse 47, sounds a whole lot like the command He gave on the mountain in Galilee that we looked at last week in Matthew 28. But what we can’t determine for sure is whether Luke is describing that same event or, what seems more likely to me, that this is a message that Jesus gave to His disciples on multiple occasions as the time for His ascension approached.

It is also clear that verses 49-53 are describing the same events that we’ll look at in just a moment in the opening verses of the book of Acts. Since Luke wrote both this gospel account that we just read from and the book of Acts, it seems here that he is using a literary device that is actually quite familiar in our culture.

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