Nepaug Bible Church - http://www.nepaugchurch.org - Pastor's Evening Sermon Notes - http://www.nepaugchurch.org/ev/ev19970615.htm
ACTS: THE LOCAL CHURCH AS GOD'S AGENCY FOR DISCIPLING MEN
Part I: Announcing Christ's Continuing Work Via The Church To Prepare For The Kingdom
Lesson: (1) Though the Messianic Kingdom is still to arrive, God's current program is that of the Church's witnessing about Christ worldwide in the Spirit's power to make recruits for that coming Kingdom. (2) Thus, wherever and whenever the Church ministers on earth is where Christ currently ministers in a continuation of the works and words He BEGAN to do in His earthly ministry.
- When we meet together as a Church, or get involved as a group in a special ministry or gathering, are we very motivated and encouraged to attend the gathering, or not? Why?
- God has a vested interest in what is going on in the Church today, and it is clearly laid out in Acts 1:1-11:
- Announcing Christ's Continuing Work Via The Church To Prepare For The Kingdom, Ac. 1:1-11:
- Luke wrote his Gospel of Luke to record the things that Jesus began to do and to teach until He ascended following giving instructions to His disciples, Acts 1:1-2.
- The fact that Luke tells us Jesus began to do and teach in Acts 1:1 implies that He is still doing and teaching in the world in some format, Bib. Know. Com., N.T., p. 353.
- The details of how this divine activity of Christ's is continuing on earth is revealed for us in Acts 1:3-11:
- Following His death and resurrection, Jesus revealed Himself to be alive from the dead by use of "many infallible proofs" to the disciples, Acts 1:3a.
- While showing these proofs over a 40 day period, Jesus gave instructions in the Spirit's power (1:2b) concerning the kingdom of God predicted in the Old Testament, and about which Jesus had taught, 3b,c
- These instructions demonstrated that the Messianic Kingdom would be instituted later, but in the meantime, God's program would be worldwide discipling of men by the disciples in the Spirit's power:
- When the disciples were assembled, Jesus ordered them to stay in Jerusalem to wait for the Father's promised outpouring of the Spirit that Jesus before had taught them would occur, 1:4-5; Jn. 7:38-39.
- At this time, the disciples wondered if the Messianic Kingdom would be instituted, Acts 1:6. With their Old Testament heritage and theological background, they of course at the time felt the next item on God's agenda was the installat ion of the Messianic Kingdom.
- Jesus announced that these disciples would not know the duration of times (chronos) or the kinds of times (kairous), the times or critical periods the Father had set by His authority, Acts 1:7; Ibid., p. 354. Later, they would come to understand these, but not then, cf. 1 Thess. 5:1.
- Rather, all they were to be concerned about was a task remaining immediately before them in the meantime: they were to wait in Jerusalem (1:4-5) for the coming of the Holy Spirit Who would equip them to be Kingdom recruiters throughout the world, beginning in Jerusalem, Acts 1:8.
- So important was this task, that immediately after telling it to the disciples, Jesus was caught up to heaven, these words being His most important for the disciples to have in this current age, Acts 1:9.
- In fact, these words were designed to be the main calling of the disciples until Jesus returned as indicated by the angel who appeared to question why these men were staring up into heaven: they announced that Jesus would return as He had departed, so they were not to get occupied with trying to spot His disappearance, but focus on His will of being a witness worldwide, Acts 1:10-11.
- The evidence for this calling is given in Acts 1:12. They hurried back to Jerusalem (1:12) to do Jesus' will of waiting for the Spirit to come so they could witness the Gospel worldwide, 1:4; 1:8.
- Thus, Christ's continuing program in the world would be through His disciples in the Spirit's power just as He ministered in the Spirit's power on earth, Acts 1:2b,8!
Application: (1) Thus, it is to our advantage to be involved in the local church ministry of God's assignment if we would covet His active role of blessing in our lives. (2) Also, if we wish for fresh encounters of guidance and teaching and encour agement from the Savior, we should expectantly attend Church gatherings as that is where He is active. There is no substitute for involvement in and attendance in local church gatherings if we would see the Lord's ministry in our lives continue!