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Acts: Christ Builds His Church

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AG: Exerpt from Billy Graham 1955 sermon:
The story of “The Chess Master and the Painting” 
“There is a picture of a chess game hanging in Paris. On one side of the painting is the Devil, and on the other side is a lad about sixteen years of age. They are playing chess. The Devil has a leering, triumphant expression on his face. He has just licked this boy at chess, and the boy is sitting there with his head bowed and big tears trickling down his cheeks. The Devil has just won in the game of life over this lad. He has no strength, he has no way out, and he has given up. The title of the picture is "Check Mate". He had him.
A famous chess player came through one day. He looked at the painting. He felt sorry for the boy and he hated the looks of the Devil.
He began to study the board where the men were placed, and all of a sudden he shouted: "Son, I have found a move, one move . . . if you will make that move you can lick the Devil." He forgot himself, he forgot it was a painting-he was so engrossed in it.
We see all the men of chess in the game of life there, and in some of our lives it seems the Devil has almost got us. We look at the whole world picture ... it seems dark at times with its little bright intervals, but by and large the basic issues have not changed, ... and, as we look into the future of the next two or three generations, it seems that we are almost ready to say "Check Mate."
But I believe there is One looking down from above who looks upon the board and says to you and me: There is a move, there is one move that you can make, and you can win! That move is toward Jesus Christ. You can make that move today in your own souls.”
Jesus set an amazing movement into motion during His lifetime. He envisioned and formed the local church. That church and the churches birthed from her efforts has been handed down to our own church today. Through the churches He built, He is still beating the Devil!
TS: Intro Acts
Intro Series- Today, we begin a new series. We are going to go through the book of Acts and watch as the events unfold as Christ builds His church and they plant new churches around the world.
As Luke makes clear in the prologue to his gospel, he wrote to give Theophilus (and the others who would read his work) a
Luke 1:1–3 NKJV
Inasmuch as many have taken in hand to set in order a narrative of those things which have been fulfilled among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus,
Luke approached this as a scholar. Accordingly, Luke’s gospel records those momentous events “in consecutive order” (Lk 1:3). Acts continues that record, noting what Jesus accomplished through the early church. Beginning with Jesus’ ascension, through the baptism of the Spirit of the church on the Day of Pentecost, to Paul’s preaching at Rome, Acts chronicles the spread of the gospel and the planting of churches to the ends of the earth.
RS: The is much we can learn through a study of the work of God as the church at Jerusalem grew and planted churches.
As we see how they served and lived, we can find traits we should apply in our lives and church.

1. Jesus' Life

Acts 1:1–3 NKJV
The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen, to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.
To Theophilus
Former Account
Gospel of Luke
Includes what Jesus
did (His actions)
Miracles, love, compassion
Ultimately He Showed them the Father
John 14:8–11 NKJV
Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.
Called disciples
Selected 12 men to invest in and disciple
1 turned on Him, but the rest became the nucleus of the 1st church
Began the church
Matthew 16:17–19 NKJV
Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
Upon this rock I will build my church
He assembled the 1st church at Jerusalem during His ministry
He put the pieces in place and prepared them.
He gave them instructions
we will examine this in more detail in a moment
specifically: commands to the apostles
Training in what it meant to follow Him and become fishers of men.
He had revealed Himself alive:
after death and burial
over the course of 40 days
1 Corinthians 15:1–8 NKJV
Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.

2. Jesus' Last Words

Acts 1:4–8 NKJV
And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Here are Jesus' final instructions:
The church is prepped and ready to go out
Yet Jesus gave them instructions to wait:
Don't depart from Jerusalem
Wait for the promise of the Father
The Holy Spirit
Come to seal, empower, and guide the disciples
Many great things would be done by the Spirit though Jesus' disciples and they are recorded in the book of Acts
He still is at work through us and our church today!
Apostles Question:
Will Kingdom begin now?
restore our physical Kingdom?
They still were looking for the time when Jesus sat on David's throne in Jerusalem and liberated the nation of Israel
Jesus replied- that is in the Father's hands
In other words, we don't have to argue, debate, fight to make the the Kingdom come.
Jesus had already told them this
Matthew 24:36 NKJV
“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.
Last command:
after Receiving Power
Still kept the requirement to wait in Jerusalem
Be witnesses
share the good news of Jesus
That He saves people from their sins.
Jerusalem- home town
Judea & Samaria- nation and nearby region
To the Ends of the Earth- all nations and people

3. Jesus Lifted

Acts 1:9–11 NKJV
Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.”
Jesus Ascends to Heaven
He left earth for heaven in His glorified body
Although He is gone, He is busy!
Building a place for us (John 14)
Interceding on our behalf to the Father
Romans 8:34 NKJV
Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.
Disciples Stared after Him
They knew He had promised to return.
They kept looking for 1 last glimpse
They looked for 1st glimpse of Him returning
Their focus was off.
Angels Message:
Reminded them of Jesus' 2nd coming
Although they were supposed to wait for the Spirit and knew they had a mission to carry out, they lost focus
We have to stay focused.
Yes, Jesus is coming to get us
after that, He will judge us
But we must carry out our mission at this point.
As we begin this study, I am looking forward to watching God's plan unfold as HE empowers the church and they start planting churches throughout the world.
We are part of that legacy!
We have the same mission, and the same resources
We don't have to wait for the Spirit
But we should walk in the Spirit as we carry out His mission.
MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
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