Summary: The essence of the Christian life is following Jesus and results in a kingdom focus
August 18 Follow Acts 1:6-8
Fan: enthusiastic admirer
A fan will follow when it’s comfortable
A fan will follow when it’s convenient
A fan will follow if it doesn’t cost much
A true follower:
1. Is empowered by the Spirit. Acts 1:8a
2. Is captivated by the call. Acts 1:8b
“If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” Luke 9:23
Who will stand on your shoulders?
When John F. Kennedy stood in front of a crowd at Rice Stadium in September 1962, he declared that the United States would put a man on the moon by the end of the decade. It seemed a bold statement to some; sheer fantasy to others. Even he didn’t know how it was going to happen. In his speech he said that we would build rockets and capsules made of metal alloys not yet invented. To most people it sounded like crazy talk. By the common grace of God…you know what I mean by that: The Common Grace of God. God gives grace to those who believe for salvation, right? That’s saving grace. But common grace is what he grants to humanity to develop and create regardless of their faith and trust in God. It is common grace that God granted to Archimedes or Galileo or Edison or Einstein to do what they did. So by God’s common grace, Kennedy gained a vision for putting a man on the moon and the ability to the scientists to bring it about.
I was 11 when Kennedy cast that vision in 1962. And I well remember, as many of you do, where I was on July 20, 1969 when the 1st man stepped onto the moon surface 240,000 miles away.
The impact of that that declaration was incredible. As a result of the manned space missions, humanity was ushered into the age of technology. Listen to a few of the technologies developed as a result of that declaration: microchips (pic) satellite tv (pic), laptop computers (pic), carbon monoxide detectors (pic), 3D graphics and virtual reality, (pic), ear thermometers (pic), GPS navigation (pic) and dustbusters(pic)!
Now listen: when you think about why we are here today, in this place this morning it goes back to a declaration Jesus made 2000 years ago; a vision that was eternal in the heart of God. Turn with me to Acts 1:1-8. These next 5 weeks we are going to examine the impact that Jesus of Nazareth has had in the world…and in our lives. The lingering question to be answered is of course: what impact are we making for Him?
READ Acts 1:1-8 (on screen…take it slow as I make below comments; only put one verse on each slide)
v.1 We know that the person who wrote act was Dr. Luke, because he is referencing his account of the life of Jesus to the same theophilus mentioned the gospel of Luke.
v.3 People may well ask how we can believe in a resurrected Christ. And I always respond that the resurrected Jesus appeared to over 500 people over the course of 40 days, many of whom were martyred for their insistence that they had seen Him. Some people may die willingly for something they believe deeply in; but no one will die for what they know is a lie.
v.6 Isn’t an odd human trait that we want to know the future? You know that line in A Few Good Men where Tom Cruise says, “I want the truth.” And Jack Nicholson says, “You can’t handle the truth!” Well, we couldn’t handle knowing the future.
Now here it is. Don’t miss this. Here is the declaration that the Resurrected Jesus made that set something into motion that far exceeded a measly trip to the moon.
Think of the impact of that statement. Since that 8 second statement, billions have been exposed to the claims of Christ, 100s of millions have placed their faith in Jesus, millions have been delivered from addictions, millions have had their marriages resurrected, millions have experienced peace and joy that supersedes their circumstances. His teachings have influenced entire civilizations. His life has inspired believer and non-believer alike.
And billions of followers thru these 2000 years have sacrificed money and time and even their lives to gather in places of worship. Some places as nice as this one, but most gathering places thru the centuries have been under the trees or in the clearings of Indonesia , in the mud huts in Africa, in hushed backrooms of Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan or Iran or China.
All because from the heart of God, Jesus said, “In the power of the Spirit, you will be my witnesses, literally, around the world and to the ends of the earth.”