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Summary: Power for the "friends of God"

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The Ascension

January 1, 2006

Center Point Baptist Church

Read Acts 1:1-12

I. Theophilus

*Note the overlap of the two books:

•“in my former book” – that is the book of Luke

•The overlap occurs at the Great Commission

-The life of Jesus

-The beginning of the church

•These two come together in the person of Jesus.

*Both tell of the excellent work of the Lord:

•the Gospels what He did in Person

•the Acts what He did by His chosen witnesses – the church

*This relation between Christ and the church is marked at the outset.

•If the former work records "all that Jesus began," then the present work relates what Jesus continued and is continuing.

•His incarnation, death, and resurrection were only the foundation.

•In the Acts He makes a temple on that foundation – the church.

*And the work of the church does not cease when Acts ends!

Who is “Theophilus?”

meaning of the name:

•“theo” – God

•“philus” – friend

*friend of God

II. Receiving Power for His Work

Re-read Acts 1:7-8.

*Note the disciples’ mistake about the day of the Lord.

•They mistook the timing of His day.

•They mistook the character of His kingdom.

*Jesus spoke about power we would receive when the Holy Spirit comes upon us.

What is the nature of this power?

•Power not in church architecture: building, grounds, or polity.

•Power is not in church mechanisms: programs, services

*Power not in mechanism but in “fire”

Suppose we saw an army sitting down before a granite fort, and they told us that they intended to batter it down: we might ask them, "How?" They point to a cannon-ball. Well, but there is no power in that; it is heavy, but not more than perhaps a hundred weight: if all the men in the army hurled it against the fort, they would make no impression. They say, "No; but look at the cannon." Well, there is no power in that. A boy may ride upon it, a bird may perch in its mouth; it is a machine and nothing more. "But look at the powder." Well, there is no power in that; a child may spill it, a sparrow may peck it. Yet this powerless powder and powerless ball are put into the powerless cannon; one spark of fire enters; and then, in the twinkling of an eye, that powder is a flash of lightning, and that ball a thunderbolt. (source unknown)

What was the effect of this Divine baptism on the disciples?

•It filled them with Divine enthusiasm, with "fire."

*The Bible speaks much about this fire.

•Jeremiah had a message, but after being persecuted, he made up his mind not to open his mouth. "I said I will not make mention of Him, or speak any more in His name."

•How did that work out? In his words, "His word was in my heart like a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forebearing, and could not stay."

oIt was hard to speak – it was even harder to be silent.

*The apostles displayed such passion that many thought they were under the power of strong drink – Petertold them it was the Holy Spirit working in them.

*It is impossible to estimate the power that lies dormant in our Churches.

•We talk of the power latent in steam – dormant until its power was set to turn the iron arms of machinery.

•We talk of the power that was latent in the skies and space until science climbed their heights and adapted it to our service.

Yet what are these to the moral power that lies asleep in the congregations of our country and of the Christian world?

Why is the power dormant in so many churches?

(Because many believers neither appreciate it nor acknowledgetheir own individual responsibilities to the task God has given us.)

•They cannot do everything; therefore they do nothing.

•They are content that few work, and many look on.

*We must remember the purpose and effect of this “power” God gives us through His Holy Spirit – power to be His witnesses!

III. The Ascension

Re-read Acts 1:9.

*This act was as incontestable as any act of His life – “As they were looking, He was taken up.”

•This was in a public place – in broad daylight – testified to by the gospels of Mark and Luke and referred to by the apostles Paul.

*The place where it happened is worthy of notice. "He led them out as far as Bethany." There was a peculiar fitness in this selection.

•His ascension was on the Mount of Olives, and Bethany was at its base.

•Do you remember the significance of this place?

•It is fitting that Christ would pass by Gethsemane – the place where He wept over Jerusalem.

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