*GREYFRIARS PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH*
*Minister: Rev John Oliver Evans*
*The Spirit, The Church and the World*
Studies in Acts
The Last Words of Jesus*
Reading: Acts 1: 1-11
The book of Acts should come with a warning label reading, If you are open to God, this witness will call you to new life."
Acts is an extraordinary work.
In essence, it is the story of transformed lives and the difference these lives made in the world.
Just before Acts begins, we see the disciples behind closed doors wallowing in the mire of their craven fear, self‑doubt and personal shame.
Apart from their master, they were a pathetic group indeed (Jn 20:19; Lk 24:11).
However, by the second chapter of Acts, the same men who abandoned Jesus at Gethsemane have become irrepressible dynamos, preaching with utter conviction‑and at great personal risk‑"the mighty acts of God."
What changed them?
And what impact did they make upon their generation and all subsequent ones?
This is the story of Acts.
Acts is an important book for us today because it confirms that the power which transformed the disciples' lives is the same power that can transform our lives today!
That power is, of course, God himself‑coming to us through the Holy Spirit.
There are many benefits to studying Acts:
/Acts serves as a distant mirror.
/We will see the dynamics of the earliest church, the nature of their fellowship, the intensity of their prayer life, and their out‑and‑out zeal to declare the saving gospel of Jesus Christ.
Through this example, our own situation will be called into question.
What does it mean to be the church today‑and what are we to be doing?
/Acts emphasizes the primary task of the church‑evangelization.
/Speaking the gospel is only part of the task.
It is the forinative process that we see in these earliest communities.
In Acts we see the entire process of calling, healing, empowering and sending people forth to love and obey Jesus Christ.
Acts will challenge us to a holistic community spirituality that can renew our churches.
/Acts calls us to a vital experience with the Holy Spirit.
/Jesus promised power to the disciples after the Holy Spirit came upon them.
And the book of Acts reveals the Holy Spirit as the driving force behind all meaningful ministry in Jesus'name.
Where do we look for spiritual power today?
Acts calls us to a Spirit‑filled life.
/Acts forges a new sense of identity.
/The disciples gradually realized they were no longer Jews
(at least from the confessional and ceremonial points‑of‑view).
They slowly began to understand that they were part of that new community of the Spirit which was prophesied in the Hebrew Scriptures.
And they saw the need to call all people‑Jews and Gentiles‑to repentance and fellowship with this new community‑the church.
Baptism in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and the Lord's Supper became the outward signs of the inward grace.
The emphasis is on relationships.
\\ ~* *1.
Gospel Content [1‑5]:*
Notice our Lord's work is begun in his life, ministry, teaching, deeds, the Cross and the Resurrection.
See how the Ascension is regarded as the closure of phase 1 ‑ "until the day lie was taken up into heaven".
Note salvation is complete, nothing further is required.
The purpose of God is ongoing.
See how Jesus' work is continued through the apostles.
See the emphasis on these factors ‑
• He chose them ‑ cf Luke 6. Similarly true of Matthias and Saul of Tarsus.
None were self‑appointed, or even elected by synod or assembly, but by the Lord himself
• He showed himself to them ‑ originally appointed to be with him" [Mark 3~~141 cf Acts L21f.
Then of course they were also "eye witnesses of the resurrection".
• He taught them ‑ "instructions through the Holy Spirit ‑ cf the experience of the road to Emboss.
More particularly an emphasis on mission ‑ "and commanded them to preach the gospel" [western text] ‑ ie the great commission.
He promised thern the Holy Spirit ‑ they were to continue in Jerusalem "to wait for the thing the Father promised" ie the Holy Spirit.
Gospel Commission [6‑8]:*
Note reference to the Kingdom of God ‑ "Will you at this time restore the kingdom to IsraeIT'
‑ cf Luke 19:11.
However they still have wrong notions about the kingdom.
See how the Kingdom of God is spiritual not political, international rather than national in
membership, and is gradual in its growth.
See the place of the Holy Spirit in this programme ‑ "You shall receive power, when the Holy
Spirit comes on you".
He is the agent of mission.
Consider too, the programme of mission: Jerusalem ‑ Judea ‑ Samaria ~~ the ends of' the earth.
The goal is not Rome ‑ although that is where Acts concludes its story.
Gospel Closure [9-11]: *See how Luke is apparently more concerned with what was .~~aid,
rather than with the /ei,etil /of the Ascension itself.
/# Significance ‑ Is /it just an appendix to the Resurrection.
The same doubts cast licre as on the Resurrection.
Luke's record is simple and sober.
Again there are witnesses ‑"before their eyes", 1ooking intently up into the sky as he was going".
Five times it is emphasised the event took place visibly.
This time the event was final ‑ no more resurrection appearances.
The disciples returned to Jerusalem and waited for the Holy Spirit to come.
/# Perspective ‑ See /the question of the angels, "Men of Galilee, why do You stand here looking up into the sky?"
They are not to spend their time looking nostalgically or longingly heavenward ~~ to wish Jesus among them, or to be piously super‑spiritual.
There is Kingdom work to be done!
/# Promise ‑ "This /same Jesus will so come again in like manner as you have seen hirn go into heaven . .
He will continue his work through his Holy Spirit and through his Church.
come again in glory.
"This same Jesus . .
\\ *GREYFRIARS PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH*
Minister: Rev John Oliver Evans
*"The Spirit, The Church and The World"*
Studies in Acts
Waiting for the Spirit*
Passage: Acts 1: 12 - 26
*Introduction:* Acts is the sequel to Luke's Gospel.
It is part 2 of his great work about Jesus.
The Gospel had to do with "what Jesus began to do and to teach" [1:1] - his ministry, actions, death and resurrection, concluding with his ascension.
Acts has to do with the continuing ministry of the risen and ascended Lord through the Holy Spirit and by means of the Church.. Acts is exciting and stirring stuff, beginning with the upper room in Jerusalem and concluding with Paul in his own hired house in Rome.
It is an exciting story - which still continues today!
In today's study, the Ascension has taken place.
The Holy Spirit is still to come.
What did the disciples do?