Summary: the first church was able to do all the did because they honestly believed in all Jesus ever began to do and teach..

“They Believed in the Kingdom of God”

4 Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, "Which," He said, "you heard of from Me; 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now." 6 So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, "Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?" 7 He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; 8 but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth." Acts 1:1-8 (NASB)

We have before us the key verses to understanding the book of Acts. In them is an outline for Acts. The book of Acts is all about the building of the God’s Kingdom.

Vs. 8 tells us exactly how that building of the Kingdom is to take place. Jesus said, “and you shall be my witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” A simple reading of Acts reveals that in Acts 1-7 is was the proclamation of the gospel in Jerusalem, Acts 8-12 it was the proclamation of the gospel into Judea and Samaria, and in Acts 9-28 it was the proclamation of the gospel into all the world.

It’s a good background for I want to speak to today. Our Lord called His church out for the purpose of building His Father’s kingdom. In John 17:18 in Christ’s high priestly prayer He said to the Father, “as you have sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world”. In other words just as God the Father had sent Jesus into the world to seek and save that which is lost so has Jesus sent His disciples into the world so that he may continue through them seek and save that which is lost.

And in Matthew 28:18-19 we have the great commission given by our Lord to His disciples; “Go therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you, and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” It is a very clear and definite call to build His kingdom. It involves evangelism and discipleship, not one or the other, but both carried on simultaneously. Just before Jesus gives the great commission He says in vs.17 “all authority has been given to me both in heaven and on earth”. When we are about the task of building God’s kingdom we are doing it by His authority. The church in Acts were kingdom builders. In a short period of time they had permeated every place in society and the known world with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Many historians have wondered how this could be. How could a people so simple in education and mostly impoverished accomplish such a great task in such a short time. The answer is simple, they believed they were called, commissioned and sent out into their world to be missionaries for Christ. The job of proclaiming the gospel wasn’t left to the few appointed preachers, pastors, and missionaries of the first century. The entire church understood that they were called and commanded by Christ to go into all the world. Everywhere they went, the Christians, whether at work or play or home or in the street; everywhere they went they proclaimed the gospel and built the kingdom.

Now, let’s look at our Scripture:

" 6 So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, "Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?"

The disciples still did not fully understand the plan for the kingdom of God. They knew of the kingdom and they knew they were a part of the kingdom but they didn’t understand the full concept of this future kingdom. They would understand fully as time went by but for now this kingdom building was still being understood through their religious history.

They thought the kingdom would be a”

1. Political kingdom

They were still looking in the past and not ahead to a future kingdom. They used the word restore. To restore means to take that which is old or broken or worn and bring it back to it’s former beauty and splendor. They were looking back to the old testament and the Davidic kingdom. They thought the Jewish kingdom of old was going to be restored, rebuilt, revived. But that was not God’s plan for His future kingdom.

2. Lawful kingdom

They thought the old Davidic kingdom would be restored and so would the laws that governed that kingdom. They still didn’t quite get it that they had been saved by grace apart from the law. They didn’t understand at this point that this new eternal kingdom they had been called to build would be a kingdom based on the grace of God.

3. Ethnic kingdom

They didn’t simply ask if Jesus was going to restore the kingdom, they asked; "Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?"

They wanted to know if now was the time that the Jews were going to be put back in charge and rule the land and all the known world again. They weren’t interested in a Gentile kingdom, they despised and hated the gentiles. Of course the Gentiles would be welcome to join the kingdom as long as they wanted to convert and become Jewish, but it was a Jewish kingdom they were interested in not a future kingdom that would welcome anyone and everyone.

4. Geographical kingdom

If you were to have ask them where this kingdom would be located they would have said without doubt or question it would be located in Jerusalem. Jerusalem is God’s city, that’s where King David and Solomon had reigned from and it is where their Messiah would reign from. And as far as the pagans and Romans were concerned they could come to Jerusalem and worship anytime they wanted to. The thought that a future kingdom would be in the hearts of people was foreign to them.

I was thinking about how the disciples understood the kingdom of God at this point and I thought “you know, even though we as believers know that there is a future kingdom yet to come and that the kingdom of God is found in the hearts of men and women as we believe in the Lord Jesus, I don’t know that our kingdom thinking in some respects is any different than the disciples at this point. We may say we don’t believe in a political kingdom yet we believe that the right politician can change things. We may believe that we are saved by grace yet we believe that if we can get the right laws passed then we can fix our land. We may believe that there is only one true church yet we have divided ourselves by race, money, and denomination. We may believe in a world wide gospel but often if it doesn’t benefit our little geographically located churches then we don’t want to do it. Brothers and sisters, we are not church builders, we are kingdom builders.

Look at what Jesus says in response to his disciples.

7 He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority;

Now why didn’t Jesus just tell them that there wasn’t going to be an earthly kingdom, there wasn’t going to be a Jewish kingdom, and this kingdom will not be ruled by politics and laws. Have I been with you so long and you still don’t get it.

Remember, the disciples have not yet been indwelt with the Holy Spirit so there was much that they just could not understand. They were, if I can say it, thick headed at this point. It’s not until they become indwelt with power from on high that they get it, understand it all, and even then they struggled at times.

It’s comforting to me to know that the disciples didn’t always have it figured out for I know there are times when I too can thick headed, I think I’ve got the whole thing figured out then the Holy Spirit reveals something else to me that I had never seen before.

Jesus didn’t make a joke out of it, he didn’t criticize them, or rebuke them for not understanding. He simple said, boys, it’s not for you to know the time of the coming of my kingdom, that’s not important right now, I have a more important task at hand for you. I want you to build my kingdom.

Against this background I want us to notice what Jesus taught about the kingdom of God.

8 but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth."

1. It is a Spiritual Kingdom.

when the Holy Spirit has come upon you

Notice Jesus didn’t say I want to build a spiritual kingdom. What he said in essence is I want to build a Holy Spirit kingdom. Our faith is a faith built on things we cannot see. We believe in the Holy Spirit but we cannot see Him. We believe in eternal life but we cannot see it. We believe in salvation, justification, sanctification, and glorification but we cannot see these things.

There are a lot of people in the church today who believes in these spiritual things but they are not important to them because they can’t see them, hear them, feel them, or taste them; and well honestly, if you can’t see it it must not be that important. Yet the Bible says, faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen {Hebrews 11:1}

The very first reason God indwells us with His Holy Spirit is that through us He might build His kingdom. Yes, it is true that you are indwelt with the Holy Spirit, we are sealed unto the day redemption by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit gives us strength and courage, He is our helper and our comforter, He reveals all things of Jesus to us. But the first and most important reason that you and I are indwelt with Holy Spirit is that we might be kingdom builders. The kingdom we are called to build is an invisible kingdom but it is also an eternal kingdom that will never pass away.

We have been called and commisoned, indwelt and infilled, to build on things eternal. To many this concept of kingdom building may not be important, but to me it’s the only reason the church exists on earth and it’s the number one reason each of us have the Holy Spirit living in us.

2. It is a Powerful Kingdom.

8 but you will receive power

When Luke uses the word power it comes from a greek word dynimis. It’s where we get the word dynamite.

In the 1800’s a chemist by the name of Alfred Bernhard Nobel made a discovery that in turn made him very rich. He had discovered a power that was greater than anything the world had ever known. He asked a friend of his what was a word in the greek for explosive power and his friend said it was the word dynimis. Form that Nobel begin to call his discovery dynamite, a power greater than the world had ever known.

That’s the word used in our Scripture. It is this explosive, life-changing power of the gospel at work through the Holy Spirit indwelling and infilling God’s people as we seek to build His kingdom.

As a church or the church, we must understand that at no time is the explosive all-mighty power of God at work in us and through us than when we are seeking to build His kingdom. To that church and Christian that would decide that nothing is more important than building the kingdom of God, they would see the dynamite power of God, a power greater than anything the world has ever known at work in them and through them.

Much of the church today is missing out on the great power of God because they don’t believe that the building of His kingdom is all that important and yet the building of His kingdom is very reason the church exists.

3. It is a Truthful Kingdom.

and you shall be My witnesses

John 18:33-38; 33 Pilate therefore entered again into the Praetorium, and summoned Jesus, and said to Him, "Are You the King of the Jews?" 34 Jesus answered, "Are you saying this on your own initiative, or did others tell you about Me?" 35 Pilate answered, "I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests delivered You up to me; what have You done?" 36 Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting, that I might not be delivered up to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm." 37 Pilate therefore said to Him, "So You are a king?" Jesus answered, "You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice." 38 Pilate said to Him, "What is truth?" NASB

When Jesus said “you shall be my witnesses” this is what He was talking about. The disciples of Christ were and are to be testimonies {a witness” to the truth of God.

The word Witness comes from an old English word {wit}. It means to have knowledge and testify to others what we know to be true. They were to be witnesses of the truth of Christ’s resurrection.

God never called His church to build His kingdom by raising money, passing laws, or electing politicians. We build His Kingdom as each one of us go out into our world, wherever that may be, and place by place, person by person, we are witnesses of everything Jesus ever began to do and teach.

I am not against raising money or passing laws or electing politicians, as believers we should give of our income to build the kingdom and we ought to seek godly politicians who will pass righteous laws, but none of those things will change people. The only thing that can ever change a sinful heart is the simple truth of the gospel as we witness to our world.

Did you know the pharse, “filled with the Holy Spirit” is found fourteen times in the book of Acts and in every case it is followed by someone who witnessed powerfully the truth of Jesus Christ. If you are filled with the Holy Spirit you cannot but help but to powerfully testify to the truth that Jesus saves.

4. It is a World Wide Kingdom.

witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth."

The truth that Jesus suffered, died, and rose again and is willing to save all who will call upon Him is the commission to the church. If we don’t do it no one will. We are called to spread this precious truth to the ends of the earth. It’s been two thousand years and we are close to seeing the gospel go to all nations, people groups, and tounges. We’re not there yet but when that day comes don’t be surprised to see Jesus coming and finally establishing his kingdom once and for all. Until then I pray we will keeping building.

Now, let me end with this. I have a great burden right now for our city and county. I want to see the world hear the gospel but right now my burden is heavy for this city and county.

I don’t want to harp on this note but we will never elect the right politicians or enough politicians to change it. There are no laws we can ever pass that will fix it. And all the money in the world will never be enough to correct it. And there is no church program that can ever replace kingdom building. The only thing that can bring change to our city and county, indeed to a broken dying world, is the gospel as it is proclaimed through the church. The answer to our problems, our issues, and our sins; is in Christ and the church is the only one that has the authority or power to proclaim it, we are the only one’s indwelt with Holy Spirit, we are the only one’s empowered by God to witness the truth Christ.

God called us and commissioned us to build His kingdom and He promised us power from on high when we go. Remember, the light that shines futherest is the light that shines brightest at home. Let your light so shine among the men and women of this county. And until Jesus comes let us go and witness of everything Jesus ever began to do and teach.