Sunday, November 6, 2011

From Acts to Revelation - Part 2: The Church Begins


From Acts to Revelation
Part 2 – The Church Begins
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | www.PS127.org | www.TruthDigest.org

INTRODUCTION
We're continuing our series this week, looking at the book of Acts, and seeing just how the church began.

We will look specifically at Acts 1:1-11, and see how the Lord prepared the apostles, reaffirmed the promise of the power of the Holy Spirit, re-orientation to the program God designed for the Kingdom, and the prediction of the Lord's return.

So, three specifics we will see in Acts today in the Lord's preparation of the apostels for creating the church; the promise, the program and the prediction.


SCRIPTURE READING
Acts 1:1-11
 1 In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. 3 After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. 4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
 6 So when they met together, they asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
 7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
 9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
 10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11“Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”



I.       THE LORD PREPARES THE APOSTLES REAFFIRMING THE PROMISE
1.      The Lord re-affirms the promise of the Holy Spirit
1.      We see in Acts 1:1-5, Luke first mentions his previous writing, The Gospel of Luke, which Luke had also sent to Theophilus.

2.      Luke speaks of his writings recording “all the Jesus began to do and teach,” which is the standard foundation of the Gospel.

3.      Luke then speaks of the ministry the Lord had with the Apostles.
1.      Apostles are disciples who witnessed Jesus' resurrection.

2.      After Jesus' resurrection, he stayed with the Apostles for 40 days.

4.      40 days in the Bible refer to a time of transformation.
1.      Noah waited 40 days after the rain began before he opened a window on the Ark as God transformed the world.

2.      Moses was on the mountain with God for 40 days as God transformed him to the point that when he returned to the Israelites, his face shined.

3.      The Israelites spent 40 years in the desert as God transformed them into His people, free from idolaters, and obedient to His word.

4.      Goliath taunted the Israelites for 40 days before God killed him through David, transforming them into a people who would trust in His ways above the ways of man.

5.      Elijah was strengthened by one angelic meal, and traveled 40 days to Mt. Herob, where the Lord passed and he heard the voice of God.

6.      Jonah warned Nineveh for 40 days as they transformed from a sinful town into a town which repented and sought God's forgiveness.

7.      Jesus fasted for 40 days in the wilderness, being transformed into a Spirit Filled warrior, with the entire armor of God, and completed rebuked the attacks of Satan.

5.      Luke states that as Jesus spent time with the Apostles, on one occasion, during dinner, Jesus gave the a command.
1.      “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

2.      Some important things to note here.
1.      Do not leave Jerusalem
1.      Jesus wanted them to know that, without the Holy Spirit, the promise of the Father, they could NOT have a church, or ministry.

2.      Jesus Himself, performed no miracles before He was baptized with the Holy Spirit, which took place at the baptism John performed.
1.      Why then?

2.      For the same reason Jesus went to the cross during Passover...to show the relationship between the scriptural teaching, and the spiritual meaning.

3.      Communion is an expression of the spiritual truth of Jesus' atoning death and sacrifice on the cross.
1.      It is not the bread and wine which saves, but the body on the cross and the blood which was shed.

4.      Water baptism, in the same way, is an expression of the spiritual truth that we will be filled with the Holy Spirit.
1.      It's not the dunking in water which gives us power in this world, but the filling of the Holy Spirit of God.

2.      John baptized with water
1.      Jesus makes this evident by clarifying, John baptized with water...but wait in Jerusalem, and you will receive the baptism the Father promises in the Holy Spirit.

6.      To often we see people and churches fail because they did not wait.
1.      We cannot succeed as a church if we do not wait for the filling of the Holy Spirit.

2.      We cannot succeed as a servant of the Lord, if we do not wait for the filling of the Holy Spirit.



I Corinthians 2:14
The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.

Luke 24:32
And they said to one another, "Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?"

It is one thing to hear the beautiful sounds of an orchestra playing one of Mozart's finest pieces, and quite another to merely hear about it.

Do not move, until you have received the promise of the Father.


II.   THE LORD PREPARES THE APOSTLES RE-ORIENTATION OF THE PROGRAM
1.      The Lord re-orients the Apostles on the focus of the church
1.      We read Luke's description of the Apostles meeting with Jesus, just before the Ascension.

2.      The Ascension took place 40 days after Jesus' resurrection.

2.      They ask Jesus, “Will you now restore the kingdom of Israel?”
1.      The Apostle Paul answers this question in II Thessalonians 2, but as it is to the date and time, as Jesus spoke of the End Times, He answered them, “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father has put in His own power.”

2.      This lines up with Jesus' answer to the Apostles when they questioned Him about the End Times. Jesus answered, “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. ”, Matthew 24:36

3.      Jesus is simply telling us, it's none of the followers of Christ's business “when”, the duty of the church is simply to occupy “until” the Lord returns.

Luke 19:13 Jesus' Parable of the Ten Minas
“A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then to return. 13 So he called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas. ‘Put this money to work,’ he said, ‘until I come back.’

Where do we get these minas (talents, abilities) to put to work until His return? The Holy Spirit!
Occupy in His name, putting to work the minas, talents, abilities, Lord has given you,

III.                        THE LORD PREPARES THE APOSTLES ASCENSION AND PREDICION
1.      While Jesus spoke these things, He was taken up in a cloud before their eyes.
1.      The Apostles who had witnessed Jesus' resurrection for 40 days, now witnessed Jesus' Ascension into heaven.

2.      As Jesus ascended upward two angels appeared.

3.      They spoke to the Apostles.
1.      “...this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as you have seen Him go into heaven.”

4.      The Ascension they witnessed proved the prophecy of the second coming of Christ.

Jesus will return to the same place He left...the Mount of Olives.

CONCLUSION

Acts 1:1-11, authored by Luke, has shown us that the Lord was establishing the foundation of His church here on earth, through the instruction He gave the Apostles before His ascension.

These instruction line up with scripture throughout the Bible, and fulfill many prophecies in the Old and New Testament.

1.      Do not move until you have received the promise of the Father, the Holy Spirit.

2.      Do not worry about “when”, simply occupy until Christs return, using the gifts and power of the Holy Spirit you have received.

3.      The ascension was proof, the prophecy of His return will come.

These three points are the foundation and basis for the church Christ intended.

Ask yourself, have you received the power of the Holy Spirit? Are you using this power to occupy until His return? Are you telling others He is coming?

ALTAR CALL