Writings on Christianity

The Acts of the Apostles Sermon

Here’s the notes for my sermon on Acts 1:1-5, preached at Cross of Christ Fellowship in Naperville.

                                    Acts 1:1-5 “The Acts of the Apostles”
What happened in the early years after Jesus’ resurrection and ascension into heaven? How did the church carry on after Jesus went to heaven?
How did the church go from 120 people in one location, to thousands of people in dozens of locations in less than 30 years?
When did the church transition from only Jewish believers to a majority of non-Jewish believers? Who led the church?
What can we learn from the first followers of Jesus, how they experienced mission and life together?
        -These are the kinds of questions we find answered for us in the book of Acts.
               -Written by Luke (companion to Paul) and is an historical account of key events in the first 30 years of the church.
                       -Not only history, it is also the inspired Word of God: God’s Word to us today! It is THEOLOGY.-WE NEED TO HEAR THE MESSAGE OF ACTS TODAY
-Acts is God’s Word, so it is always relevant: teaching, rebuking, correcting, training us.
        -Teaches us much about the Church, the Holy Spirit, and mission (particularly relevant for stage of life in CCF)
        -It challenges us and realigns us as we seek to be faithful today.

-Book’s introduction: connection to another book of Bible and introduced to key themes and ideas.
                    –One emphasis stands out: the importance of the apostles.
                                ‘If we want to know and follow Jesus, the true Jesus, then we must listen to and learn from his apostles.’

                                                        ACTS 1:1-5 Walk Through:
(READ 1:1-2)
        -Luke is the author of Acts, but also the author of another book: Gospel of Luke!
            -Acts is SEQUEL or Part 2: 1:1 In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach…
READ Luke 1:1-4
                                Note: “having followed all things closely…write an orderly account for you…that you may have certainty”
-Commentators: this applies to Acts as well, since Acts a continuation of Gospel of Luke.
                    -To rightly understand the book of Acts, we must read the Gospel of Luke as well.
 *KIDS       -Imagine only watching Frozen 2, but never Frozen 1. Much left out.
                                -Gospel of Luke: Jesus the Son of God, who came to save us from our sins. Died and rose.
                                             APPLICATION: Read through Gospel of Luke, then read through Acts!
         –Acts 1:1:Theophilus” (possibly well-known Christian, or friend of Luke’s, or sponsor)
         –IMPORTANT INSIGHT IN VERSE 1: “all that Jesus began to do and teach”
                                -The book of Acts is the CONTINUATION of Jesus’ works and teaching
                                            -Jesus continued to work and teach after his ascension, and this was through his Church.
        -Jesus’ Earthly Ministry Summary (2b): until the day when he was taken up…after he had given commands…to the apostles…
-“APOSTLES”: a unique group of individuals authorized by Jesus to lead the church and speak his words.
                                -They represented Jesus and had his authority. To reject them, was to reject Jesus.
                    -“chosen by him”: Jesus chose the apostles (did not appoint themselves). LUKE 6:12-16
                                -Had personally seen Jesus, and were a unique group of individuals (No apostles alive today!)
                                            -Led Early church after Jesus’ ascension into heaven, and believers came under their teaching
                                                        -Church CONTINUES to be led by them, through the NT (bear their authority)
                    -“commands” likely refers to the “Great Commission” a call to make disciples of all nations. (Matt 28:18-20)
                    *-“Holy Spirit” = there is big emphasis in Acts on God the Holy Spirit.
                                            -Holy Spirit is God, 3rd member of Trinity, sent by the Father and the Son
                                                        -All Christians have the Holy Spirit
        -Jesus presented himself alive to the apostles:  3 He presented himself alive to them after his suffering
            -This included many “proofs”=eating with them, drinking with them,
        -Jesus’ appearances lasted for 40 days: appearing to them during forty days
NOTE: central theme Jesus spoke about: and speaking about the kingdom of God.
-“Kingdom of God” = David Helm “God’s people in God’s place under God’s rule”
                                            -Prophesied in OT (Daniel 2:44), Announced & preached by Jesus (Luke 4:43)
                                                        -Already/NOT YET. Here, but not fully yet.
*This what Acts is about:
the expansion of God’s kingdom on Earth through the church as God’s people—filled with the Holy Spirit and led by Jesus’ apostles—make disciples and bear witness to king Jesus and those called by God respond in saving faith.

-STAY IN JERUSALEM FOR A BIT:  4…he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem,
WAIT FOR THE PROMISE OF THE FATHER: but to wait for the promise of the Father,
                    -PROMISE Explained: THE BAPTISM OF THE HOLY SPIRIT:
                                 “for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
                        –John 15:26-27
                                                        -This was fulfilled at Pentecost (Acts 2)

Observe this Passage’s Emphasis with me: The IMPORTANCE of the Apostles

1 Jesus taught and gave instructions/commands to the apostles during his Earthly ministry (2a)
2 The apostles were personally chosen by Jesus (2b)
3 Jesus’ commands to the apostles were given through the Holy Spirit (2c)
4 After Jesus’ resurrection, Jesus presented himself to the apostles alive (3a)
5 Jesus showed many signs to the apostles to demonstrate he really was alive (3b)
6 Jesus was seen by the apostles during his 40 days on Earth after he was resurrected (3c)
7 Jesus spoke to the apostles about the “kingdom of God” (3d)
8 Jesus gathered the apostles together before his ascension (or ate with them) (4a)
9 Jesus commanded the apostles not to leave Jerusalem until they received the promised Holy Spirit (4b)
10 Jesus had previously spoken to the apostles about the promised arrival of the Holy Spirit (4c-5)

MAIN POINT: Jesus chose to carry on his ministry after he went into heaven through his apostles!
        -The apostles were authorized by Jesus to lead the church and were the foundation of the church (Eph 2:20)
                    -The church should be led by them today as well: this happens as we submit to and listen to the NT
BIG IDEA: ‘If we want to know and follow Jesus, the true Jesus, then we must listen to and learn from his apostles.’
-The apostles are not optional, or irrelevant, or one of many ways.
                    -They were Jesus’ planned way to see his church led and instructed. Plan A, not plan B.
                                -It is through them that we learn the truth about how Jesus is and how to follow Him. 

1. We CAN know about Jesus! Jesus has set up a way for us to know him and it is through his apostles (NT)
        -Agnosticism is false. Agnosticism teaches that God exists, but we can’t know who he is
                    -Jesus made true knowledge about Himself and God possible, and Jesus’ path for us is through his apostles.
                                -True knowledge about Jesus is accessible and it comes to us in the NT (apostles’ writings)
‘If we want to know and follow Jesus, the true Jesus, then we must listen to and learn from his apostles.’

2. If we want to know what Jesus thought about a matter, we must listen to his apostles.
(Mistaken view: Jesus never spoke on addressed a matter, so we don’t’ know what he thought.
Question: did his apostles speak on it? If so, then we know what Jesus wants, as they are his apostles!)        -Homosexuality; gender; hell; exclusivity of Christianity; the Bible; the Church; other religions
                    -If we want to know what Jesus thought, we listen to his apostles, and hear the voice of Christ!
                                -We are not left in the dark, but in the light of Christ through his apostles!
‘If we want to know and follow Jesus, the true Jesus, then we must listen to and learn from his apostles.’

3. The apostles are a gift from Jesus! (Eph 4:11)
-How kind of Jesus to give us the apostles, who taught and led the church and gave us the NT!
                    -Jesus knows the gifts we need to grow, and carefully chose them.
                                -These apostles, as we will learn, were filled the Holy Spirit and empowered to lead the church.
                                            -Embrace this gift from Jesus by reading and memorizing God’s Word!
‘If we want to know and follow Jesus, the true Jesus, then we must listen to and learn from his apostles.’

CONCLUSION: Jesus leads his church today through the writings of the apostles, who bear the words and authority of Christ. If want to know the truth about Jesus, and how to follow him, then we must listen to and learn from his apostles. They are not optional, but Jesus’ good and gracious gift for us.
        *‘If we want to know and follow Jesus, the true Jesus, then we must listen to and learn from his apostles.’*

By Tom Schmidt

Christian, husband of Rach, Church Planter,musician,

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