I preached an overview sermon on Acts 1-11 at Cross of Christ Fellowship in Naperville and we especially focused in on the concept of the “kingdom of God” and Jesus as the king.
Acts 1-11 SERMON: The Kingdom of God
Luke 13:18-19 “kingdom of God”
INTRO: Recently finished biography on Napoleon Bonaparte; military leader who became emperor of France (17th-18th centuries)
-Greatly expanded borders (military victories); restored glory of France; Saw himself as new Alexander the Great & Julius Caesar
-Under his reign, he restored the glory of France. But after defeat at Waterloo was exiled to small island
-Kingdom of France (like Babylon, Greece, Rome) had a glory that was short-lived, with kings that died.
-Kingdom of God however has a glory that continually shines brighter with a king that died and rose again and lives today!
-The book of Acts tells us about this kingdom and its establishment and expansion here on Earth.
-We are 11 chapters into Luke’s account, known as the Acts of the Apostles.
TODAY, we remember what we have learned and we reflect upon: praying God would speak to us through his word.
-So far, we have seen God bring about the expansion of his kingdom on Earth, starting in Jerusalem and spreading
*GOLDSWORTHY DEFINITION: Kingdom of God= “God’s people, in God’s place, under God’s rule”
-Kingdom advances as believers—filled with the Holy Spirit and led by apostles—bear witness to Jesus
-Kingdom grows as those God by God’s grace respond in saving faith and become followers of Jesus.
-This kingdom is real and it is glorious and if you are a Christian, you are part of it even now!
*LET’S REMEMBER WHAT WE HAVE LEARNED SO FAR IN CH 1-11: 3 MOVEMENTS…
1. Church equipped for gospel ministry (1-2); 2. Gospel ministry in Jerusalem (3:1-8:4); 3. Gospel ministry outside of Jerusalem (8:5-11)
-In these 3 movements, we see the kingdom of God spreading and growing and becoming more established on Earth.
I. CHURCH EQUIPPED FOR GOSPEL MINISTRY (1-2)
-Intro—Resurrected Jesus’ 40 days with the Apostles: 1:1-5.
–Apostles for 40 days,
-Chosen group of men Jesus called to lead the church (Eph 2:20: foundation of the church)
KIDS! à -Are there any apostles alive today? (no)
-How do we hear and learn from them now? (NT)
–Kingdom of God: A KEY idea to understanding message of Acts.
–“WAIT IN JERUSALEM”: Instruction given to apostles, to WAIT in Jerusalem for the promised Holy Spirit.-Mission Statement and Ascension of Jesus: 1:6-26.
-Key statement in Acts 1:8 tells the mission of the disciples (READ 1:8);
-Whole book of Acts shows this unfolding and taking place.
-Ascension of Jesus into heaven (1:9-11).
-Jesus is at right hand of Father, reigning in glory over his church. -Apostles Waiting and Appointing Replacement of Judas Iscariot: 1:12-26.
-Holy Spirit’s Arrival and Initial Expansion of Church: 2.
-Day of Pentecost arrives and Holy Spirit is poured out on the Church to empower it for gospel ministry and holiness
-Miraculous speaking in languages they did not know the mighty works of God (speaking in tongues)
-Fulfillment of Joel 2 Prophesy of ‘Latter Days’
-Evidence of reality of Holy Spirit arrival and truth of the gospel.
-Peter Proclaims a Christ-centered sermon and calls his hearers to repent and believe the gospel (2:14-40)
-3,000 are added to the church (2:41)
-New rhythm of fellowship, spiritual growth under the apostles and ministry takes place. (Acts 2:42)
-This is God’s appointed way for His people to grow in maturity and be strengthened in the faith
-NO LONE-RANGER Christians
SUMMARIZING Acts 1-2: Church equipped for gospel ministry: Given A commission (1:8), and power to carry it out by Holy Spirit. *APPLICATION:
–We have the same mission: be witnesses of Jesus.
–We need the same power to carry it out: Holy Spirit.
II. GOSPEL MINISTRY IN JERUSALEM 3:1-8:2
–Miraculous Sign, Sermon, and Defense of the Gospel: 3:1-4:31.
-God works through Peter to miraculous heal a lame beggar.
-This miracle functioned as a SIGN to those around, that the gospel is true and the kingdom of God has really arrived.
-Peter preaches a sermon and he and John are arrest by the Jewish authorities.
-Defense of the gospel message and call on the Jewish authorities to believe in Jesus—see 4:12
-The apostles, ‘cannot but speak’ of what ‘they have seen and heard’ (4:20).
-The apostles are released and the church rejoices and prays together: another miraculous sign (shaking of the building) -More Miracles and More Persecution: 4:32-5:42.
-God works additional miracles of healing—and judgment (Ananias and Saphira)—to further strengthen the church.
-More persecution, arrest of apostles and deliverance
-Joy and faithful evangelism (house to house) in Jerusalem.
–Challenge Within the Church: 6:1-7.
-Challenge of widows neglected: not be right for the apostles ‘to give preaching the word of God to serve tables,’(6:2),
-Appointment of the SEVEN
-SUMMARY: ‘word of God continues to increase…and a great many of the priest became obedient to the faith’ (6:7).-Story of Stephen: 6:8-8:3.
-One of the SEVEN, unjustly arrested during his gospel ministry
-Stephen’s speech and unjust execution
-Introduction to Saul: 7:58, 8:3
-CHURCH SCATTERS! (8:1-2)
SUMMARIZING 3-8:4: God worked through his people in these early days of gospel ministry in Jerusalem.
–Stephen’s Faithfulness unto death reminds us that following Jesus is better life and comfort and ease
-This is something we must daily remind ourselves here in suburbia
-What grips your heart? What is most precious to you? What are you will to give everything for?
-In gospel, Jesus delivers us from sin and brings us to know, love, and treasure God!
-Last Fling Convo (somewhat Christian): Jealous God; GOODNESS of giving God ALL heart.
III. GOSPEL MINISTRY OUTSIDE OF JERUSALEM: 8:4-11:30
–Philip’s Ministry to the Samaritans and the Ethiopian Eunuch (8:4-40).
-Philip who is one of the ‘seven’ and called ‘Philip, the evangelist’ heads north and shares the gospel with the Samaritans.
-Samaritans believe and receive the Holy Spirit
-An Ethiopian eunuch also believes
-Kingdom of God is expanding outside of Jerusalem! –The Conversion of Saul (9:1-31).
-The fierce archenemy of the church is converted and made a born-again Christian!
-Saul experiences God’s converting grace and his conversion story is recounted for us.
-We learn that God special gospel ministry purpose for Saul (9:15)
-We marvel at God’s grace!
-We are encouraged ourselves to work toward the conversion of the lost around us
-Don’t discount those around you who appear furthest from God!
–Peter has Ministry Outside of Jerusalem (9:31-43).
-Luke tells us about the apostle Peter’s ministry outside of Jerusalem with the healing of Aeneas and raising to life of Dorcas.
-Gospel ministry further expanding outside of Jerusalem.-Cornelius’s Conversion and Outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Gentiles (10-11).
-A Roman solider named Cornelius is converted to Christ
-God works through visions and messengers to bring this about.
-Holy Spirit poured out on gentiles
-Some Jewish Christians with Peter and back in Jerusalem struggle with the notion of ministry to gentiles,
-After Peter recounts what took place they are silenced and rejoice in the Gentiles conversion!
-Other Christians go to the city of Antioch and preach the gospel
-More gentiles are converted and discipled in the faith: (Barnabas and Saul disciple new Christians)
1. The REALITY of God’s kingdom.
-It is real, it is glorious, it is established by God, and continued to expand today
-Regardless of how things turn our in our personal lives, as Christians we have the hope of a forever kingdom
-Our task is to loving bear witness to Jesus in the power of the Holy, that others might enter into this kingdom
2. The GREATNESS OF OUR KING
-Jesus is better than every earthly king
-He is the eternal Son of God, who came to earth and lived among us.
-As he came, he proclaimed the good news that, ‘the kingdom of God has arrived!’
-He taught his followers about the kingdom of God, how it is like a finding a treasure worth selling everything to get it
-In love and grace, he died on a cross for the sins of his people, so they could be forgiven and enter into the kingdom
-Then and today, if you believe in Christ you are forgiven of sins and become part of God’s people and kingdom