Summary: The church of Jesus Christ must keep moving ahead! How shall we go forward?
Still Going Forward for God
Sermon by Rick Crandall
McClendon Baptist Church - June 25, 2008
*Tonight we finish our study of the Book of Acts. John Phillips described the closing scene with these words: “That is where Luke put down his pen. He gives us this final glimpse of Paul, living victoriously despite his bonds, seeking to engage the affections of all to the Lord Jesus Christ. What better place could there be to end the inspired written history of the Christian church -- not just looking back but looking ahead!” (1)
*The church of Jesus Christ must keep moving ahead! How shall we go forward?
1. First: Keep speaking about our Savior.
*Keep spreading the good news about Jesus! This is what Paul did in vs. 20-23, when he spoke to the Jewish leaders in Rome. Paul said:
20. For this reason therefore I have called for you, to see you and speak with you, because for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain.
21. And they said to him, "We neither received letters from Judea concerning you, nor have any of the brethren who came reported or spoken any evil of you.
22. But we desire to hear from you what you think; for concerning this sect, we know that it is spoken against everywhere.
23. So when they had appointed him a day, many came to him at his lodging, to whom he explained and solemnly testified of the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets, from morning till evening.
*In vs. 20 Paul talked to them about the hope of Israel. He wanted them to know that the hope of Israel -- the only hope for the world is Jesus! Then in vs. 23 when the Jewish leaders came back, Paul talked to them all day long about Jesus. The heart and soul of Paul’s message was always Jesus Christ.
*Some years earlier Paul had written a much needed letter to the church at Corinth. They were having all kinds of problems, and Paul dealt with many of these issues. But it is telling to see the intense focus Paul put on Jesus as he opened his letter. Look at 1 Corin 1:1-10, and count the number of times we hear the name Jesus Christ:
1. Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,
2. To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:
3. Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
4. I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus,
5. that you were enriched in everything by Him in all utterance and all knowledge,
6. even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you,
7. so that you come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ,
8. who will also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
9. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
10. Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
*Ten times! Paul mentions Jesus 10 times here! He always kept the focus on Jesus. -- And so should we. Marilyn Anderes tells the story of a devoted Christian named Cheryl Stephens. Cheryl was a young mother who struggled with cancer, but was determined to keep ministering to others. She went home to Jesus on Nov. 19, 2003 at age 44. Cheryl’s friends say she lived out Phil 1:21 where Paul said, "For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain."
*Listen to a poem Cheryl wrote in 1984, long before she began her bout with cancer:
-Remember me not for who I was
-But for who Jesus was in me.
-Remember me not for the things I’ve done
-But for the things Jesus did through me.
-Remember me not as one who loved
-Without remembering that "He first loved me."
-Remember me not as one who gave
-But one to whom much was given.
-Remember me not as one who spoke of God
-But as one who knew God through His Son, Jesus.
-Remember me not as one who prayed