Summary: An exposition of Acts 1:1-5, detailing the preparations that Christ and the Spirit were making for the genesis of the church
Text: Acts 1:1-5, Title: Prep for Explosion I, Date/Place: NRBC, 4/15/07, AM
A. Opening illustration: When we were building our house in Maine it was in a new development, so there was a lot of things that had to get done before we could begin putting up walls and windows.
B. Background to passage: Dr. Luke begins his second volume in a two volume theological history of the Christian faith. Writing to a Roman named Theophilus; Luke states his purpose to under gird the faith or inquiry of this man with the facts. It was probably written during the first Roman imprisonment immediately following the Caesarean imprisonment during which he wrote Luke. Most commentators say that this book should be called the Acts of the Holy Spirit because the core of its content always relates back to the moving of the Spirit to launch, sustain, protect, and grow the early church. Before the Holy Spirit makes His official grand entrance in Acts 2, we see several things coming together to form a basis and a situation for the origin of the Christian Church. It is hugely important to our faith that we consider how it began.
C. Main thought: In our text we will see four things that begin to lay the groundwork for the explosion of the church upon the pages of the NT
A. A Trustworthy Record (v. 1-2)
1. The first foundation to the church exploding on the scene was a record of the facts of the gospel that was accurate and trustworthy. Luke reminds Theophilus of the former account, which was the gospel of Luke, which contained “all that Jesus began to both do and teach” until the ascension. And in Luke’s prologue, he tells Theophilus that he has investigated everything, speaking with eyewitnesses (remember Luke was not there during Luke or the first part of Acts), and writing an orderly and accurate account. So he is reminding Theophilus of the truthfulness of this book. As a physician, Luke takes great pains to be precise in his wording of this account.
3. Illustration: one seasoned veteran of disputes spoke up. “Preacher, this appears to be bothering you a lot. But I’ve known all those boys since they were born and they’re good boys. If they said they didn’t know, I believe them. Let’s just take some money out of the repair and maintenance fund, fix the walls, and let it go at that.” Responding to a survey that showed that Alabamans had the most bible knowledge, but being dismayed at the general lack thereof, Cecil R. Taylor, dean of the School of Christian Studies at the Southern Baptist-affiliated University of Mobile, said it upsets him to know “how biblically illiterate even students who come from Bible-believing, Bible-teaching churches are." “The fact that so few of the insiders understand the meaning of these terms also suggests that the Christian church in this country would be wise to invest in training people about the basic principles and concepts of the Christian faith.” –Barna after survey about basic definitions of Christian terms, "If we abide by the principles taught in the Bible, our country will go on prospering and to prosper, but if we and our posterity ignore its instructions and authority, no man can tell how sudden a catastrophe may overwhelm us and bury all our glory in profound obscurity." - Robert E. Lee, Hus’s last words were, “What I taught with my lips, I seal with my blood.”
4. You can trust the bible. Cast away your doubts. Put it to the test. Most of the time express doubts about scripture are nothing more than a smokescreen to you witness. Although there are some with real doubts. But most simply are ignorant. One reason that the church has very little power today is that people do not know the account. Our level of biblical knowledge even in the Bible belt is pathetic. And gaining bible knowledge is hard work, but we have ample resources to aid you in your quest. But the bottom line is that you must labor for the fruit of knowledge. But worse the increasing tendency for people to have some biblical knowledge, but not to appropriate it in their lives. All the great Baptist Bible scholars and teachers have taught, not only the inerrancy and necessity of the Bible, but its authority. Never before have I heard so many say, “I know what the bible says, but…” We must regain a sense of authority of the Bible over our lives, over our thoughts, wishes, actions, words, goals, plans, decisions, bodies, churches…
B. A Steadfast Belief in the Resurrection (v. 3)
1. Luke mentions here that Jesus appeared to the disciples, the eyewitnesses on a number of occasions after the resurrection and showed the many infallible or convincing proofs that He was alive. One of the great mysteries to the Jews then, and to skeptics today is why these disciples were willing to give their lives for a resurrection that is not true. Of course, we know that it is true. But these disciples would be forced to give up their lives for this truth.