Summary: The ship of the church of Jesus Christ has been sailing for a long time. It has grown some barnacles that have slowed it’s movement. Let’s listen to the Lord and do some scraping.
Passage: Acts 1:1-11
Intro: As far as the church is concerned, there are no passages more important than this one.
1. It is as clear a mission statement as you will find.
2. these words of Jesus fueled a world-wide revolution that has rescued and transformed hundreds of millions of people.
3. these words are found here at the beginning of the book of Acts, which is the history of the first 30 years of the churches existence
4. it is a story of ordinary people accomplishing extraordinary things through the grace of God.
5. written by that careful doctor, Luke, who was a participant in some of the events.
PP Acts 28:16
PP Colossians 4:14, written from prison in Rome
6. more than a history, this book is a mirror for us to look into.
7. we serve the same Jesus, so His words are addressed to us.
8. but 1971 years have passed, and a lot of barnacles have grown onto the ship of the church
Il) JB Philips quote in “The Young Church in Action”
"Surely this is the church as it was meant to be. It is vigorous and flexible, for these are the days before it ever became fat and short of breath through prosperity, or muscle-bound by over organization. These men did not make acts of faith, they believed; they did not say their prayers, they prayed. They did not hold conferences on psychosomatic medicine, they simply healed the sick. By modern standards they may have been naive, but perhaps because of their very simplicity, perhaps because of their readiness simply to believe, to obey, to give, to suffer,and, if necessary, to die, the Spirit of God found that he could work in them and through them, and so they turned the world upside down."
9. this series should change us as a church and as individuals within the church.
10. perhaps God will use it to call someone, or a number of people, into ministry, here or elsewhere.
11. let’s scrape off the barnacles and get back to a simpler vision; Jesus’ vision for the church.
I. Jesus’ Ministry Continues Under New Conditions.
1. there is an incredibly important little word hidden in v1, the word “began”
2. separate Greek word, emphasis!
3. referring to gospel of Luke, record of what Jesus “did and taught”
4. but it is what he “began to do and to teach”, which means it is going to continue.
5. two conclusions we can draw from this little word.
6. first, that what Jesus did and taught is the template for the continuation.
7. His ministry characterized by servanthood, the clear proclamation of the Good News, springing from complete faith in God.
8. and second, since He is gone, someone else will carry on His ministry.
9. but conditions have changed! There has been a sharpening of the focus of the message!
10. v3 states this sharpened focus: the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
11. there is a reason that Jesus repeatedly showed Himself to His disciples, making the fact absolutely undeniable.
12. He was entrusting its proclamation to them; there could be no doubt.
PP) so it was a group revelation, a repeated revelation, and a convincing revelation,
13. the resurrection of Jesus Christ would be the very heart of the message, because it proved Him to be different, to be the perfect atoning sacrifice for sin.
14. this is the greatest of the new conditions
15. and the fact of the resurrection means that a dramatic change has taken place in the followers of Jesus Christ. V5
16. they have been redeemed, sins forgiven, and in our purified state are now fit dwellings for the Holy Spirit of God.
PP John 16:7
17. do we realize what this means? That the power and presence of Jesus Christ has been multiplied exponentially!
PP John 14:12
18. vv4-5 tell us what this new power is: the abiding and life changing presence of the promised Holy Spirit
19. huge numbers of people would experience by faith in Jesus Christ this transforming presence, and would through His power change the world.
20. Jesus’ death and resurrection has opened the way for the Holy Spirit of God to dwell not only with, but in believers.
21. as long as He is our power source and not the flesh, nothing is impossible.
II. The Organizational Plan
1. over the years, the organization of the church has become very complex.
2. but here, at the beginning, it wasn’t quite so convoluted.
3. clearly the CEO, the boss, is Jesus Christ.
4. He has earned that position not by intimidation or financial power or “who He knows”, but by the most awesome display of sacrifice in the history of the universe.
-this should tell us something about leadership in the church.