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His Old House

His Old House; Acts  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Remodels & Additions

You’ve seen those tv shows where they take old houses and completely redo them?
I googled the top 5:
Fixer Upper: Chip & Joanna Gaines, Waco, TX; finding old houses, diamonds in the rough. Some relationship drama. Good family show. Good couple.
Hidden Potential: They specialize in computer designs of what an old house can become. The bones of the house.
Extreme Makeover Home Edition: “Move that Bus!” Specialize in finding families doing good things w/ special needs. Tear the whole house down and start over.
Property Brothers: Jonathan & Drew Scott helping couples find, buy, and transform a fixer upper into a dream home. Maybe more popular b/c Drew was on a recent season of Dancing w/ the Stars.
This Old House: Just the fundamentals. No drama. Techniques, explaining what they’re doing as they go. Inspiring creativity in their viewers. Taking an old house, remodeling, adding to, and a finished product that any home-owner would be proud to own.
Sara and I have done some extensive remodel work in two of the houses we’ve owned.
Here, we knocked down a wall, opened things up. Created more of an open feel when you walk in.
Indiana. We knocked out an exterior wall and opened up a very important area of house.
Can you guess what area we opened up in both houses?
The Indiana house we also finished the basement into one big play room.
Why? Why did we do these projects the way we did them?
Creating space for Sara to cook is a big part of it, but not the ultimate plan.
These remodels all helped us create space where we could entertain and encourage people to get to know Jesus better.
Kitchen/living area; game room in the basement; they all were good for our family, fun, we enjoyed the space.
And, in the case of the Indiana house it helped us sell it quickly.
These are all important, but secondary. Not the primary reason we spent the money, had the discussions, and did the work.
Many of you have seen our house (a lot of our entertaining has been put on hold until we re-launch our kids).
There’s another house we’re all familiar w/ that is being built. It’s old. Some of the house is well-built and long lasting, other parts, not so much. But the house keeps growing.
It is the project that will never end.
This is the story of His old house
There’s relational drama. But God sticks to the fundamentals.
Anyway, back to the other old house we’re all familiar w/ that is being added to and redone all the time.
2000 years old. Conceived and established in a.d. 33.
The Church. This is God’s house. Where God, literally, resides.
NT, the ppl who believe are the temple and God resides inside us.
Still under construction today.
That’s us. But, it’s many more than us.
Some areas are being remodeled, some are being added on to.
The Church.
God is building the church and He’s using us to do it.
What God is doing in your life is a great experience and really important to you. You are important enough to God for Him to send His son to die for you.
Just like when Sara and I remodeled our houses. It was of great benefit to us and our kids but we weren’t the highest priority.
But, whatever God is doing in your life is not intended to be just about you. God is giving you a story to tell that will encourage your friends and family to know Jesus better.
He’s building the church, deeper in faith and greater in number, by doing great things in your life so you can talk about them.
This is the story that begins in the book of Acts. For the summer we’ll be studying thru Acts and see how God is building what He promised to build and how He’s using us to do it.
First, though, the conception. The first time the concept of the church was introduced it was when Jesus affirmed to Peter that it would be built on faith.
They had just come out of the temple and synagogue system of Judaism. Now it’s time for something completely different.
Here’s where it was first conceived: .


Matthew 16:13–18 NIV
When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.

Do you know?

The people may not know who Jesus is, but we do.
They may know about Jesus, they may know part of the story, but they don’t know all of His story.
We do.
Faith. Faith that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of the living God. This is the rock. The foundation upon which the church is built.
All based on what we believe not what we do.
However, what we do is based on what we believe.

People or place?

When I say “church” what do you think of? Building?
That’s not what Jesus meant when He used the word.
Greek word: “Ekklesia” means a group or gathering of people who share the same purpose. Common goals.
Like minded people.
Not unique to Jesus. Common word in the c.1. Not a religious term.
A gathering of ppl called together for a specific purpose.
People who got together to build a park.
Political movement.
Citizens gathering for civic purposes. Political conventions.
Soldiers gathering for military purposes.
There had to be a meeting place, but it would change. It didn’t matter.
The emphasis was the people and the purpose, not the place.
At one point in history things changed.
The priority became the place, not the people or the purpose.
It ceased t/b a movement, and became a monument
That was the beginning of what has led to many problems today.
Up to the early 300’s it was illegal to worship anyone other than the Emperor.
Therefore, Christianity was illegal. It was illegal to gather to worship.
Secret meetings. Led to by the ‘fish’ symbol.
Whisper, “Where is the gathering today?” It would move around.
It was an underground movement. House to house. Subversive.
Then, in AD 313 the Emperor Constantine declared himself t/b a Christian.
Rocked the Roman and Christian world.
Worship someone other than him.
Now the church is no longer underground.
Communities would provide buildings dedicated for Christians to meet in.
“Where the Xians meet.” became The place.
W/in a decade “ekklesia” became associated w/ a building.
The Romans called it a “Basilica”
The Germanic ppl called it “Kirche”
The catholic church remained in Rome.
The Protestants came thru Germany: Martin Luther.
Our English Bible translations adapted this to our word, “Church”.
Now, it’s the place, not the people.
Never what Jesus intended.
We need buildings, a regular place to meet. But, we need people more. And, that’s what Jesus promised to build.
Are we gathering around a mission? Or, around a model for a meeting?
Buildings will rise and fall, but the people will continue to grow.
The building is a tool, not the mission.
Deeper and greater.

Guaranteed Completion

The most powerful force we face on earth is death. There are a number of situations that are hard to overcome. Death is impossible. We are all going to die.
2 certainties in life: Death and taxes.
Disease we can cure, tolerate, succeed in spite of.
The Phrase, “Gates of Hell” is a reference to death.
When you stand at the gates of Hell you’re dead.
Jesus referencing his own death. Preparing them.
He’s going to die, but the church will be built.
And, all 12 disciples will die, as will many others.
No one’s death is going to stop the establishment and growth of the church.
If anything history has proves is when Christians start to die for their faith the church grows rapidly.
Nothing will prevent the church from being built, remodeled for cultural relevance, and added on to as the population grows.
, this is where the church is conceived. It will be born at Pentecost, .
What’s the plan for it’s construction? .

The Plans

Acts 1:1–11 NIV
In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”


Only non-Jew to write a gospel and he wrote Acts.
Traveled w/ Paul. Interviewed Peter personally. And others.
He was a physician. Details were important to him.
Accurate diagnosis of situations was a high priority.
Spiritual prescriptions to address situations were common.
Evidence, proof of Jesus’ death, resurrection, and teaching were a logical beginning place for him.
Symptoms. What do you see? Experiencing?
He labored to get eye-witness testimony and accurately present it in Acts.
Maybe you saw Chuck Colson’s quote making the rounds around FB during Easter.
An advisor to President Nixon. Became famous as one of the men responsible for the Watergate break-in.
He became a Christian thru that situation that included prison time.
He said the testimony of the 12 disciples convinced him of the truth of the story of Jesus. 12 men stuck to their same story for over 40 while enduring persecution, prison, torture, and eventually horrible deaths. Their story never changed.
That, versus 12 men involved in watergate couldn’t stick to their story for 3 weeks when threatened with prison. Their watergate story was a lie.
12 disciples would not have been able to stick a story that was a lie in the face of such torture. Their story was true.
Luke introduces Acts as the testimony of the Apostles and the many convincing proofs that the story of Jesus is all true.
His recipient, Theophilus, we don’t know anything about. Maybe he was a church leader or teacher than used Luke’s material to teach people about Jesus.
Either way, this is the material that teaches the story about the church being built.
To begin with, this small group of believers is about to be changed.
They have no idea.

Change is coming

120 people. Think about what the church has become. It began with the disciples plus a few like Paul who became apostles. A dozen or so.
In a few weeks, just 120 people who were changed by God would begin the process of building the church that will change the world.
120 people were in the upper room when the HS baptized them and indwelt them.
Baptize means immerse and change the look.
It was a common c1. word used by those who make clothes. The common, off white wool, would be immersed in a color dye so it would take on that color and a garment would be made with it.
A purple coat. A red shirt. They all started off-white.
So, when it was immersed in it, it came out changed.
Christians are baptized by the HS. We are immersed in God by God. So, now, when God looks at us He sees Himself inside us. We resemble God.
Old box, new guts (last week). New life.
According to Luke, Jesus’ instruction were for them to all remain in Jerusalem until this baptism happens.
What did they think it would be like? Who knows.
How would they know. What do you think they talked about as they waited?
But they’d know it had happened when it happens.
Next week we’ll talk about this even.
But, they had to wonder.
An obvious follow up question for Jesus would be, “Is this when you are establishing your kingdom?”
The final change?
He doesn’t directly answer their question.
But what He says is that until the kingdom is established, whether it’s in the next few weeks or next few millennia, you will be empowered to do something for Him.
This is the plan to build the church.


Power: Courage. Not timid. We can do this.
Witness: Personal, first person experience. Not hearsay.
You can tell other people’s stories. There are some good ones to be told.
But witness is your own story.
Know people well enough to know what they are going thru so you can relate how God carried you thru a similar time.
This is the plan and these are the fundamentals:
Who: God will use us.
What: To build His Church
Where: To the ends of the earth. All over the earth.
When: From then thru now till the end. Rapture.
Why: Empowered and imperfect people reaching hurting imperfect people is the most effective way to build it.
How: Stories. Personal experiences w/ God that can be described to others will encourage them to seek the same experiences.
Your experiences are important to you. But they were never intended to be kept secret. We have them in order to share them.
God is giving you a story to tell that will encourage your friends, neighbors, family to know Jesus better themselves so they can experiences w/ God like you.
This is how God is building His Old House, the church. It’s growing deeper and larger, effecting more people in a more significant way b/c we hear each other’s stories.
The people who live in these houses around us need to hear your stories about your experiences w/ God to encourage them to have their own.
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