Summary: 2nd part of 5 week series on ACTS: WITNESS IN JERUSALEM – PROGRESS OF THE CHURCH
WITNESS IN JERUSALEM – PROGRESS OF THE CHURCH
Last we began our 5-week series on Acts where we saw that the Church began well under the topic: Witness in Jerusalem: power of the church (chap 1-2)
This morning we continue with Witness in Jerusalem: progress of the church (chap 3-7)
But due to the large amount of text to cover, I will only cover chapters 3-6 and leave chapter 7 for next week.
First, let’s have a quick recap of some of the key things highlighted. (Show transparency)
• Are we marked by Obedience?
• Do we wait for God’s timing in the things that we wish do for God? ?
- WAITING PRAYER
- Patient in preparation and prayer?
• Do we witness when God opens the doors?
• Is our church marked by “universality”
- Is everyone welcome irregardless of race, age, sex, social status?
- do “outsiders” fit in?
• Is our church marked by power and purity?
• Does our church have the five signs the early church had?
1. Worship – they believed in glorifying God
2. Instruction – they believed in training disciples
3. Fellowship – they believed in loving one another
4. Evangelism – they believed in winning the lost to Jesus Christ
5. Service – they believed in caring for the needs of each other.
• Are people being added to your numbers?
And we left off with the fact that the church began well,
but did it always continue in the like manner as described in Acts 2:47?
And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
Acts 3 opens with Peter healing in a dramatic fashion, a man crippled from birth.
Let’s read it: Acts 3:1-10
We are told that the apostles did many wonders and miraculous sign sin chapter 2:43 but this is the first miraculous sign that Luke chooses to describe to us.
Again, Peter performs the miracle as a sign that allowed him to witness to others about Christ (preach the gospel)!
This time 5,000 (counting just the men) believed and became Christians (2,000 more than the time Peter preached).
But for the first time, the apostles face opposition.
Read Acts 4:1-4
If you read the rest of chapter 4, you will find that they were not only jailed, but they are out on trial and threatened!
They were told in no uncertain terms that they were not allowed to preach about Jesus!
But the apostles did not back down.
Remember that they were obedient to Jesus’ command to Wait and Witness.
They waited and received the promised Holy Spirit and
that made them bold (powerful) in their witness.
That was all they needed
Read Acts 4:7-13, 18-22.
Let’s pause for a moment to further reflect on this incident. There is a lessons I would like us to consider:
Anyone who is obedient to God, and allows the Holy Spirit to take control and guide them can be a bold and effective witness. Remember the fact that the Peter and John were unschooled BUT they God’s power and thus wisdom and abilities.
You may not think that you have significant gifts or abilities that God can use. BUT God thinks differently.
Very often, I think God would rather use less naturally gifted people because such people more naturally choose to depend on God not their gifts.
Gifted people tend to get too arrogant and cocky and overconfident due to their natural abilities.
This is not meant to be a boast …
I was always an average student –
I got a grade 2 in my SPM.
I couldn’t get my credit in BM.
I dropped out after my first year of university as I was doing badly and was on probation.
But despite all this, God is using me more and more
– not on the basis of superior abilities BUT on the basis of my sincere desire that grows each day to be obedient to His Word and call ..
– to wait on the Lord and to witness for the LORD.
And God can and wants to use you as well.
It will be hard work’s hard work and demands a degree of boldness to trust and obey God.
Let’s carry on … It is important to note that at this stage, the church was till very Jewish in nature.
People from all over the world may have heard the gospel and come to faith in Christ, BUT the church was still essentially Jewish.
The first Christian converts were either Jews or proselytes – gentiles who lived as “Jews” and were absorbed into Jewish community.
Hence the Christians still went about their ways as devout Jews would – the only difference was that they knew that the Promised Messiah (Saviour) of the Jews had come and they made it a point to tell others about it.