Summary: The second sermon in a short series on the Church.
On This Rock (Part Two)
Text: Acts 1:1 – 11
If you remember from last time we talked about how you can learn about something by looking at its origin or it’s beginning. And we’re looking at the Church. Last Sunday we saw how Jesus is the originator of the Church. He’s the founder so to speak. And He’s the One who is building His Church. And so last time we saw Jesus say to Peter and the other disciples that He will build His Church. Today; we’re going to get to see Jesus actually doing that. Last time He announced it, today we’re seeing Him do it.
So if you’ll take your Bible’s and open them up to Acts 1 we’ll begin (READ TEXT).
Now looking at the beginning of the Church is kind of like looking at our family history. I guess it’s been what… 8 years ago? Something like that, MJ could tell you… but about 8 years ago our family took a trip to Scotland. And it was amazing. We got to see where the McKinley family came from… we got to see the history, the places they were, the battle sites they fought at. Just to learn about our family was a great and awesome thing. And when we look at the Book of Acts, it’s kind of like doing the same thing. You see; we’re all brothers and sister in Christ, and these early Christians are our brothers and sisters as well… Sure they lived 2000 years ago, but they’re still our family.
Now before we dig in too far, let me give you a little background to the Book of Acts. It’s written by Luke. Yeah, the same guy who wrote the Gospel account of Luke. And Luke was actually a doctor… a physician. So he was educated, which is probably why he got along so well with Paul. They could relate to one another. And not only is he an educated, medical doctor… he’s connected. Because the whole reason he writes the Gospel of Luke, and the whole reason he writes the Book of Acts, is to give a detailed, historical account, specifically to a man named Theophilus. Now what we know about Theophilis is that he’s a Gentile… he’s got a Greek name, and he was probably a wealthy, successful, business man or government official, because it appears that he’s the one who’s assigned Luke to this task. And if you were to look at chapter one of the Gospel of Luke, he basically tells you why he’s doing what he’s doing. He wants to create a historical record of Jesus… what Jesus has done, and what Jesus is continuing to do. And so that tells us… that the Book of Acts, isn’t a philosophy text, it’s a history text. It’s a historical account, inspired by God, and written by Luke.
And so, in his Gospel account, Luke tells us about Jesus. He tells us that Jesus was born, that He did miracles, and that He traveled around preaching and teaching and healing the sick and casting out demons. And one of the most important verses in Luke’s Gospel is found in Luke 4:18 – 19 (READ).
And the reason this is so important is because it’s not only when Jesus declared Who He was… and it’s not only when He began His public ministry… but it’s important because of what He says. He says, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me.”
So Jesus stood in the synagogue and said, “I’m the promised Messiah and Savior you’ve been waiting for. I’m the One whose been promised by God… I’m here, and the Holy Spirit is on Me. The Holy Spirit is empowering this ministry. The Holy Spirit is working through Me.” And guess what? When Luke begins part two of his account to Theophilis… we see Jesus remind His disciples, “Wait for the promise of the Father, which He said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.’”
So as Luke moves from Jesus’ life to the lift of Jesus’ people – the Church, he is going to let us know right up front, that the same Holy Spirit is still working, and still empowering, and still working through them… and through us!
So let’s back up and read through verses 1 – 5 again (READ).
Luke gives a real quick summary… I find myself wishing that more of those 40 days after the resurrection had been recorded, but we don’t have them. I think that was between Jesus and those 11 disciples… But what we do know is that Jesus, after the resurrection, He spent 40 days with these guys
Now we also know that during this time, around 500 people saw Jesus alive – we get that from the book of 1st Corinthians chapter 15. And just for the record… there is no court of law that would say Jesus wasn’t alive if 500 eye witnesses were brought forward and all of their testimonies agreed on what they saw. To deny the resurrection, is one of the most foolish and intellectually dishonest things that atheists do. And again… this is important. If Jesus is dead, our hope is dead. If Jesus is dead, our faith is in vain and useless. If Jesus is dead, we’re still in our sins. But He’s alive! He’s alive, and He’s just spent 40 days with His disciples, and right before He ascends into heaven, He tells them to wait for the promise of the Holy Spirit.