Summary: As a group, they weren't very impressive – just Galilean fishermen, a zealot, & a tax collector. Yet, they turned the world upside down. With little of what we have today, they spread the Gospel all over their world! (Powerpoint Available - #291)
MELVIN NEWLAND, MINISTER
RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK
(PowerPoints used with this message are available for free. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org & request #291.)
TEXT: Acts 1:8 - 4:33
A. I’m sure most of us here this morning would agree that the greatest single event in human history is the resurrection of Jesus. And just a few weeks ago much of the world celebrated that occasion.
Now I realize that there are those to whom the idea of a resurrection from the dead seems unbelievable. But the resurrection of Jesus is one of the most attested events in history, & many of the eyewitnesses sealed their testimony at the sacrifice of their own lives.
And today we’re celebrating what many consider the 2nd greatest event - the birthday of the Church - for it was on Pentecost 1,986 years ago that the Church began. I’m sure most of you know the story of that day, but let me take a little time this morning to remind you of it.
B. If you remember, over a span of 40 days after His resurrection Jesus appeared & spoke with the apostles & many others again & again before that final day on the Mt. of Olives when he ascended back into heaven. Listen to Acts 1:8-10 as Jesus speaks to His apostles:
“You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
"After He said this, He was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid Him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as He was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them."
By the way, the Greek words that are translated “looking intently up” expresses the idea that they’re standing there with their mouths wide open in astonishment at the sight of Jesus ascending into the clouds. And I’m sure I would have done the same thing if I had been there, too! But let’s go on:
Continuing on (vs. 11), 'Men of Galilee,' they said, 'why do you stand here looking up into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen Him go into heaven.'
Vs. 12 says, “Then they returned to Jerusalem…” And vs. 14 tells us, “They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.”
They spent the next 10 days in Jerusalem, waiting & praying together. And then it was Pentecost! Listen to what happened on that day. Acts 2:1-4 tells us:
C. “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.
“They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages as the Spirit enabled them.”
Listen to what happens next! (Vs's 5-8) “Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language.
“Utterly amazed, they asked: ‘Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language? …
Vs's 12-16 says, “Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, ‘What does this mean?’ Some, however, made fun of them and said, ‘They have had too much wine.’ Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd:
‘Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. 'These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel…’”
D. And with that beginning Peter preaches the first-ever gospel sermon – a message about the death, burial & resurrection of Jesus. He points out that the prophets had predicted exactly what had happened, & he told them:
In vs's 22-24, “Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through Him, as you yourselves know
"… and you, with the help of wicked men, put Him to death by nailing Him to the cross. But God raised Him from the dead…”
And as he continued preaching, Peter told them in vs's 36-38, “‘Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.’