Summary: How would you know if a revival happened? The best place to look is in Acts--a tiny group of peasants and slaves had no political, economic, cultural or religious power, but within three centuries the Christians were the only ones keeping the world togeth
The Great Awakening prevented the French Revolution from happing in England. As a result, social healing took place. The rich became just and generous with their resources. The poor became more self-disciplined after conversion. Britain abolished the slave trade. There were lots of reforms, and more literacy.
Do we need another great awakening today?
How would you know if it came and what it’s impact would be? The best place to look is in Acts--a tiny group of peasants and slaves had no political, economic, cultural or religious power, but within three centuries the Christians were the only ones keeping the world together.
This first chapter shows us what a revival would be like. Acts 1 tells us the essence of the original Christianity. Most of us have never seen the original Christianity. The average person today misunderstand the essence of Christianity. Because when it is understood properly it is a dynamic force for amazing change.
Background to chapter 1:
Luke wrote two books; Acts is the second. Both were written to Theophilus.
These early chapters take place on the day of Pentecost. But before that day, there is a period of waiting. There are 40 days between Easter and the Ascension and another 10 between the Acension and Pentecost, or a total of 50 days.
What were the apostles doing during this time, the 50 days before Pentecost?
1. They received their commission (1:6-8)
2. They saw Christ go into heaven (9-12)
3. They spent time in prayer (13-14)
4. They chose another apostle (21-26)
I. What He Began to Do and Teach --Verse 1-4
1 "I wrote to you all that Jesus has begun and taught."
I. Jesus taught them about the real nature of the Kingdom of God (V. 6.)
They have a faulty view of what the Kingdom of God is. If the Spirit is about to come,they reasoned, doesn’t this mean the Kingdom is going to be set up in all its political glory? Their question was shot through with misunderstanding.
With "restore" they show they were expecting a political kingdom, with "Israel" they were expecting a national kingdom, and with the words "at this time" they were expecting it to come in its completion right now. Their hope for this was rekindled by the resurrection .
They were still dreaming of liberation from Rome and the setting up of a new territorial kingdom. But Jesus tells them that they will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes. The Kingdom is the rule of the Holy Spirit in their lives, not the power of the sword or politics. It is spread not by force or arms but by ambassadors of the gospel. Though it is spiritual, it is still earthy. Kingdom values clash with wordly values. We are called to take this world and God’s creation seriously, which means taking politics seriously.
2nd, the kingdom of God is international in its scope and its membership. This is the missionary appeal of the gospel .
3rd,the Kingdom of God is gradual in its expansion. The "already" and the "not yet." (V. 8 ) They were to be worldwide witness to this Kingdom, this Gospel.
Newbigin writes, "the Church is the pilgrim people of God. It is on the move---hastening to the ends of the earth to beseech all men to be reconciled to God, and hastening to the end of time to meet its Lord who will gather all into one....it cannot be understood rightly, except in a perspective which is at once missionary and eschatological."
We have no liberty to stop until both ends have been met.
Our message is the good news of the Kingdom, as laid out in Luke. This was the substance of the Lord’s teaching during the 40 days between the resurrection and the ascension. When the Spirit came in power, the long promised reign of God, which Jesus had himself inaugurated and proclaimed, would begin to spread. It would be spiritual in its character (transforming the lives and values of its people, who would then transform structures and create culture,) international in its membership, and gradual in its expansion (beginning in Jerusalem and spreading around the world.)
They were united in prayer and persevering in prayer. When the Holy Spirit came the mission and witness of the church was to begin and continue until Jesus returns. We have work to do; let’s get busy!
B. What he has done:
Christianity is about what Jesus has done, not what you have done. For most religion is about what we do; about being good. Luke says Christianity is not about being good but about what Christ has done.
What has he done? He suffered. Why is this important? The Old Testament is about blood atonement . There is no forgiveness of sins without the shedding of blood.