Summary: Sermon outlines the simple formula established by God 2000 years ago for church growth.
-- Introduction --
When Dr. Larry Wong decided to step-down as the Head Elder, Ps. Yuen and the other elders asked me to step-up as become the head elder of this church. I prayed and asked God what is it that He wanted me to do? What do You want for the Loma Linda Chinese Church? During one of those early morning walks and prayer, God led me to Acts 2:41-47.
Two weeks ago, Helen and I took a group of youth and young adults to GYC - Generation Young for Christ. The theme was also Acts. And last week, Pastor Yuen also preached on Acts 2:41-47.
The Holy Spirit is moving. The message is loud and clear, we need to concentrate on building our church to the next level. But before we start, let's pray ----
***** Pray *****
-- Jesus' Last Trip --
The past days events have been surreal to most in Jerusalem. Most did not know what to think. This is most unusual festival season ever.
Jesus led a group of his believers out of the Temple's Gate Beautiful. He wanted to find a place where He can give them another very important lesson. We are told by Mrs. White that the group was about this size of what is in our church today.
He walks past Mount Mariah, where the temple resides. This was the same place where Abraham was going to sacrifice his son, Isaac about 1500 years before.
He passes the Golgotha, where he was crucified 43 days ago. He was the sacrificial lamb for the sins of the world.
He climbs past the Garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives. That was his place of prayer. It was here that he cried out to His Father to remove the pitter cup from Him.
The small group crests Mount of Olives and starts to head down the other side. About 2 mile's walk from Jerusalem is Bethany. Just before entering in to this little sleepy town, Jesus veers off the main road on to a small trail. Bethany is where He connected with humanity. Bethany is where He stayed while visiting Jerusalem. This is where He attended dinner parties. This is where He ate with the elders of the church. This is also the place where He became friends with the tax collectors and the prostitutes.
Jesus finds a little cove on the side of the hill. He stands on a rock so everyone can see Him. Everyone senses that this is one of those important turning points in their lives. Jesus turns around to face His disciples. He raised His arm to bless His friends. And as He was blessing them, He started to ascend towards the heavens.
-- Jesus' Last Message --
His last message to His dear friends went something like this:
“I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20 NLT)
“The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:7, 8 NLT)
Jesus then blessed them. He rises higher and higher into the clouds. Soon a cloud came and engulfed Him and all was silent.
They were still looking up when two angels appeared to comfort them. The angels remind them of what Jesus had said. With happiness, they went back to Jerusalem. Dr. Luke records that the group went to the temple everyday to "thank, praise and bless God continuously."
-- Unity Through Prayer --
After seven days of united prayer and praise, the Holy Spirit came as a great wind. The Holy Spirit landed on all 120 believers as cloves of tongue and all the people started to talk in other languages. As a result, it attracted a huge crowd. Peter got up and gave the very first evangelistic meeting after the departure of Jesus. Let's pickup the end of his sermon:
“Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. “For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.” Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them . (Acts 2:5-8, 12, 13, 36-41 NKJV)