Lessons From The Early Church
The Lord’s Provisions
Over the next couple of weeks we are going to be looking at the early church here in Acts. In a series I am calling “Lessons From The Early Church.” This morning we are looking at “The Lord’s Provisions”
As we get into Acts I want to give a little background. The book of Acts and Luke are both written by Luke. And really Acts is a continuation of Luke, or maybe a part 2 of a two-volume work. Putting Luke and Acts together his writings take up over a ¼ of the NT. And in the Greek NT take up more pages than all of Paul’s writings.
Most likely Luke was a Physician as referenced by Paul in Colossians 4:14
Luke was very methodical, according to Luke 1:3, that researched everything in order to write it in understandable order and the same is here in Acts.
While it could be said that Luke wrote Acts to give only a historical account of the early spread of Christianity. I believe it to be more than that. I believe the purpose of Acts is to also show that the work of God is brought about by God’s Holy Spirit working through us. The key to understanding the book of Acts is in 1:7-8 where God’s sovereignty, the Holy Spirit, and the spread of the Gospel are all linked together.
The last chapter of Luke records Christ’s resurrection, his appearing to the two men on the road to Emmaus, with Christ appearing to others and Luke closes the Gospel with Christ commanding them to stay in the city.
Read Luke 24:45-53
Let’s Read Acts 1:1-11 this morning
• You know the good thing about God is He knows what we are going to need before we even ask.
• Jesus understood what the needs of the disciples before they knew they had a problem
• He was preparing them for the trying days He knew would be ahead and He was making a provision for them so that they could continue to live victorious lives
• And that has not changed
• We may not experience that which happened in the early church, right now
• But we experience the same needs
• God provided for the early church and he still provides that today
1) He Provides Proof of the Resurrection-vs. 3
a) The key to the Christian faith is Christ’s resurrection
b) This is what sets a part from all other world religions and cults
c) Everything we teach depends on this fact
d) Paul said it best in 1 Cor. 15:14, that if Christ is not risen then our preaching is in vain
e) Christ through His death paid our penalty for sin
f) Romans 6:23-“For the wages of sin is death but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”
g) 1 Peter 2:24-“he Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness, for by His wounds you were healed.”
h) 1 Peter 3:18-“For Christ also died for sins once and for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the Spirit.”
i) Anybody can be put to death.
j) Muhammad died, Buddha died, Joseph Smith died, the Pope dies
k) But Christ arose from the grave
l) By arising from the dead He conquered death for man and now makes available a new life of power for the believer
m) Jesus knew how vital it be that all questions be removed-Verse 3
n) Luke tells us that Christ presented himself alive.
o) There are ten resurrection appearances of Jesus recorded in the NT
1) May Magdalene-Mk. 16:9-11, Jn. 20:11-18
2) The woman running to tell the disciples about the empty tomb-Mt. 28:8-10
3) Peter to assure him of his resurrection-Lk 24:34, 1 Cor. 15:5
4) Two men on the road to Emmaus-Mk. 16:12, Lk. 24:13-42
5) The disciples without Thomas-Mk. 16:14, Lk. 24:36-43, Jn. 19-25
6) The disciples while they were fishing-Jn. 20
7) 500 believers-1 Cor. 15:6
8) The apostles-Mt. 28:16-20, Mk. 16:15-18
9) James-1 Cor. 15:7
10) To the believers at His ascension-Mk. 16:19-20, Lk. 24:44-53, Acts 1:3-12
p) And there were probably some not even recorded according to John 20:30-31 and 21:25-that there were things Jesus did the were not recorded and could have filled the whole world with books
q) Luke even records two more appearance in Acts 7:55 at the stoning of Stephen and Acts 9:3 at the conversion of Paul
r) Paul even says in 1 Cor. 15 that some of those who saw Christ were still alive when he wrote that letter to them
s) Because of Christ’s resurrection we have new life.
t) We do not have to fear death
u) Christ conquered death through his resurrection
v) Romans 6:4-“Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life”
w) 2 Cor. 5:17-“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new.”
x) If Christ has not risen from the dead then we have no faith
y) Christ is alive and he is risen indeed
z) We serve a savior who conquered death and as we will see in a minute that He is coming back for us again
aa) Christ provided the proof of the resurrection but He also gave them the power to carry out their mission
2) He Gave Them The Power to Carry Out Their Mission-vs. 4-8
a) These verses record the last time the disciples will talk to Jesus here on earth
b) Christ commanded them to stay in Jerusalem and he reminded them that they again would receive a comforter as he did in John 14
c) We will see more about this Holy Spirit in a couple weeks when we get to Chapter 2
d) But know this that when we ask Christ into our lives and we ask him to forgive us of our sins and we turn our lives over to him we have that power of God that Christ is talking about
e) Christ tells them again that when that we do not know when god is going to return for us
f) No one knows the date
g) But we are to do is to look for Jesus’ return and have a longing for Heaven
h) But even this longing for Jesus’ return is not to get in the way of the believer’s mission which is the mission of witnessing
i) We are to focus on the mission of witnessing, upon sharing the glorious Gospel of salvation with the world
j) One salvation is not based on what we do, not on how much we give, not on whether or not we have completed good works to outweigh our bad
k) Our salvation and the salvation of the world is based upon the fact that god loved us enough to send His only son to die for our sins and we come to God and ask him to forgive us of our sins and commit to live our lives for Christ.
l) God offers this gift of salvation to everyone but not everyone will receive and accept this gift
m) And without this gift of salvation we do not have forgiveness and cannot go to Heaven when we die
n) We have a glorious salvation
o) Jesus assigned us a mission to live in such a way that the rest of the world would have a reason to believe in Him
p) With God’s very Spirit living in us within our hearts and lives as believers we have a greater power then could every be imagined
q) The disciples had been concerned with an earthly power in thinking that God was setting up his earthly kingdom
r) But our God’s kingdom is in Heaven the place that we long to be and the place that we need to be telling others about and to see as many people there with us
s) Christ has not yet returned but he will soon
t) Now is not the time for comfort and to huddle together as a group
u) Now it the time to be witnessing and to be witnesses for Christ
v) Witnessing for Christ, sharing the glorious salvation in Him, is the great task of the believer
w) Man can now live forever we can be delivered from sin, death and hell.
x) A perfect cure for sin has been secured, a cure for death is known and a cure for hell and eternal separation from God now exists.
i) Ill. Holding a cure
y) There is no reason for the world or no reason for any person to suffer any longer under the weight and bondage of
3) War and power
z) God have mercy upon all who know the cure and keep it silent
aa) Look at the last part of verse 8
bb) Christ says “you”.
cc) That is each believer we know the cure and the truths of salvation
ee) This word in Greek is where we get the word martyr from—Luke uses this same word at least 19 times in the book of Acts
ff) Being a witness is not a command but rather a natural result of the Holy Spirit within a person
gg) That word both is a conjunction word and it means this we are to witness in Jerusalem (Claremont) in Judea (North Carolina) in Samaria (US) in the remotest part of the earth (around the world)—all at the same time
hh) Every believer—
i) Is to go as far as he can personally go
ii) Is to give as sacrificially as he can for others to go
iii) Is to use and support every means he can to reach the world
ii) Let me ask us a question today, what a difference world evangelization would experience if each of us would simply do what Christ said to do.
jj) Christ provided the proof of the resurrection, He also gave them the power to carry out their mission and He also gave the confidence to believers in the beautiful future
3) He Also Gave The Confidence To Believers In The Beautiful Future-vs. 9-11
a) Right after Jesus shared about reaching the world for God
b) The most amazing thing happened
c) Christ began to slowly arise from the earth, ascending upward toward the sky
d) The disciples were shocked and spellbound gazing at the spectacular sight
e) I believe this was not a quick ascension but somewhat slowly
f) Most likely for the sake of the disciples
g) See after his resurrection Christ had come and gone, appearing and disappearing at will
h) And this departure needed to be different
i) He also needed to enforce His return to the earth
j) The angels tell the disciples that “this Jesus” or “this same Jesus” is going to return just as he left
k) Hebrews 13:8 says “that Jesus is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow”
l) This same Jesus is the one who will come back
m) He will be the same Jesus that promised to return and receive believers unto himself that they may be with Him where He is
n) John 14:2-3, “In my father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to myself, that where I am, there you may be also”
o) I Thess. 4:16-17, “For the Lord Himself will descend from Heaven with a shout…and the dead in Christ will rise first and then we who are alive and remain will be caught up to meet them together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and we shall always be with the Lord”
Church Christ has give us provided us the proof of his resurrection, he has given us the power to carry out our mission, and he gave us the confidence to in the future. As a church what are we going to take away from this? Are we going to be a church set about to fulfill the great commission?