Summary: This message is to encourage the Church to stand up and be the great miracle working body Christ meant for her to be.
THE CONTINUING STORY
A. How many of you read the Left Behind series as they were being published?
1. Millions of people did. (Show books)
2. The publishers had a smash hit and almost guaranteed its continuance by leaving the story at a crossroads one book after another: 12 volumes, plus a pre-sequel published between 1995 and 2005
3. People were continually talking about and asking, “When is the next book coming out?”
4. When the publishing date was set, millions of copies were sold before it was ever printed!
B. Maybe your not a reader, so how many of you watched the Lord of the Rings series as it hit the big screen?
1. Again, the first movie was a smash hit and anticipation was built for the next installments
2. So big was the anticipation that when each of the next two movies hit the big screen, they were guaranteed hits!
C. You see folks when the beginning is good people can’t wait to see what comes next!
1. This morning we are going to begin a journey through the book of Acts
2. It too is a continuing story - a continuation to Luke’s account of the gospel of Jesus.
D. But even greater, it is the trailer to the continuing story of today
1. The book ends with these words: And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him,  Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him. Acts 28:30-31
2. Note it does not end with Paul’s death; it does not end with the word being snuffed out; it does not have a formal closing as with the letters of Paul.
3. This is because we are the continuing story of Acts. YOU are the continuing story.
E. I pray that this study of Acts will reignite a passion for God and His church
1. This morning we will look at
a. A Brief Introduction
b. A Beautiful Foundation
c. A Biddable Spirit
2. May God stir us to greater dependence on Him and may we see His glory manifested in our midst for all the world to see! May we be the Continuing Story! And be a smash hit for Our Lord!
Let me open our journey through the Book of Acts with
I. A BRIEF INTRODUCTION: Acts 1:1 The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus,
A. J. B. Phillips writes in the preface to The Young Church in Action, that one cannot spend several months in close study of this book, “without being profoundly stirred and, to be honest, disturbed. The reader is stirred,” he says, “because he is seeing Christianity, the real thing, in action for the first time in human history…Here we are seeing the Church in its first youth, valiant and unspoiled…a body of ordinary men and women joined in an unconquerable fellowship never before seen on earth.” But the reader is also disturbed, “for surely,” he adds, 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 naïve, 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!
B. I continue on with a portion found in Roy Laurin’s The Acts of the Apostles, The disciples of the early church whose acts are recorded in this book of action were not merely men of words and ideas; they were men of action. There is bold and dramatic movement from Jerusalem and its upper rooms to Rome and its prisons. We see a growing group of men and women, filled with the dynamic power of new life. Here are heroic deeds done for Christ. In the account which describes these things there are few descriptive adjectives. It is filled with nouns and verbs that tell of exploit and adventure. All of this stems from Pentecost and the Book of Acts becomes the story of the Holy Spirit in the church in terms of faith and life, doctrine and action!
C. It is the stuff great stories are made of, with one exception – its real!
D. And it is with excitement that Luke writes of what was happening within and without the church