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Finishing What Was Started

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Acts… or the Acts of the Apostles as it has been referred to, will take us through the early events, teachings, and movement of the foundations of the Church! We will explore the roots of the workings of Jesus Christ as He builds His Church! This will prove to be a memorable, impacting, and challenging study for us in the 21st century church as we look at and learn from this amazing, passionate, Spirit driven 1st century church!
As we go through Acts we will:
Get a grasp of the general overview of the layout and timeline of the book
We will look in depth at the sermons/speeches given throughout int’s contents
We will see the progressive spread of the Gospel as laid out in Verse 8
We will discover the workings of the Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ, and God the Father throughout this book
You and I will travel along with the missionary journeys of Paul and his companions
All along the way we will see the church grow as the gospel of Jesus Christ goes out into the world
I am excited for our time that we will have in this study and would like to begin by reading the introductory verses from this portion of scripture God has given us… Acts 1:1-11
Acts 1:1–11 NASB95
The first account I composed, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when He was taken up to heaven, after He had by the Holy Spirit given orders to the apostles whom He had chosen. To these He also presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God. Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.”

The Continued Work!

These verses are some of the most exciting verses for me as a child of God to read! In them I find:
Hope for things to come
Direction in what His desire is for me
Assurance that I do not do this alone or powerless
Beginning Acts we see...
Luke is continuing his detailed account of the “things accomplished among us”
Luke 1:1-4
Luke 1:1–4 NASB95
Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus; so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught.
The church is young 30-40 years have passed since Christ rose from the dead and ascended into heaven
“Things Accomplished” Luke thus far in his first writing was describing the things / work of Jesus Christ
You recall in Matthew 16:18
Matthew 16:18 NASB95
“I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.
It is Jesus Christ who is building His Church!
As Luke wrote his first account “The Gospel of Luke” that account recorded the things Jesus “BEGAN” ...
TO DO… He is still building His church
TO TEACH… we will learn more in Acts and through the Epistles of His teaching
Jesus Christ is still working, He is still doing! It is He who is doing the work and He wants us to join Him!
Side Note… We are always called to join Him… do not proudly think He is to join your side.
Christ has always worked in and through His church, and He continues to do so… His church = YOU!
Paul beautifully expresses it this way in Philippians 1:6
Philippians 1:6 NASB95
For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
He has not returned yet so He is still working!

Setting The Stage

Luke as a skilled communicator is informing Theophilus and his readers of some details that will help set the tone and framework of his account of the workings of Jesus.
For 40 days Jesus was among them, convincing proofs He was alive!!!
They were not following some Messiah who was in a grave who had good teachings… This Messiah conquered death!!!
If He can have victory over death, let’s follow Him with our lives!
Jesus continues to teach them of the Kingdom of God… which is to come!
Oh the day when He returns to rule on this earth!
He teaches of the coming baptism… “uniting with”
Jesus taught there would be a uniting with the Holy Spirit
Luke is preparing His readers to better understand the sending of the Holy Spirit at pentecost
Jesus promised this and taught about this in the 40 day period
Teaching often provokes questions in the minds of the learner. This is good and demonstrates thought and learning.
The followers ask a question in verse 6
With the coming of your Spirit is this when you will establish your kingdom?
The Holy Spirit was often connected in the old testament they were not wrong in this connection
In fact we get a glimpse of this kingdom when the Spirit comes to indwell the believer
A question is asked BUT the answer is not given as one would expect… The when is for God to know. Jesus gives the WHAT that they and we need to know.

A Powerful Mandate

Verse 8 is the KEY PASSAGE of the book of Acts.
This verse gives both the mandate and the outline for how God will work through His church to reach the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Two statements are made by Christ here:
1) YOU will receive power… God does not expect or desire for us to do this in our own power
2) YOU will be my witnesses… Jesus is stating that they are to tell what they know! Declare to those who do not!
Scary? yeah it can be, especially when things get hostile or difficult
BUT you receive POWER!!! The Holy Spirit comes first.
Jesus maps put the extent of their witness for Him...
Jerusalem, Judea & Samaria
Even to the ends of the earth! Rome… America… Parachute CO!

Our Hope

No task, challenge, or mandate is able to be pursued well without a goal, something that one looks ahead to. God has given us this as well… in one word it is HOPE!
As Christ leaves we have the promised hope of His Kingdom to come
Not only do we have that Kingdom, but Jesus Himself will return in bodily form to rule!
His followers were looking… we too should be looking forward to His return and when He does may He find us fulfilling His mandate for us with His power!
On the Anvil 37: The Movement That Was Doomed to Fail
From the start the movement was doomed to fail. For one thing it began with just 120 men. Remarkably few, when you consider that their homeland had a population of four million. Besides that, most of the men were illiterate and poor. Blue-collar workers they were, far too ignorant to stage an uprising that could make any difference.
Few, if any, had traveled beyond their own country. They were inexperienced and uncultured. Their nation was oppressed. Their people were weary. Their government was corrupt. Their religion was shallow.
The strategy of the movement was disastrous. No headquarters was ever established. No professional research was ever done. Plans were made by the seat of the pants. The leaders couldn’t even agree on the exact definition of their mission.
On top of all of this, the movement was impractical. It was far too extreme and absurd. It demanded too much too soon. It lacked any tact. It was too impatient with traditions. It called for a reversal of social classes. It gave too much leverage to women and minority groups.
The movement was doomed to failure.
But it didn’t fail. It succeeded. Not only did it succeed but it far surpassed any movement in our world’s history. Within thirty years the message of Jesus Christ had entered every port, city, and courtyard of the world. It was infectious. It was a moving organism. People actually died to see it continue.
It should have failed, but it succeeded. And it still succeeds. God’s movement will never stop....
The church might bicker and fight. The people might grow crusty with traditions. The leaders may grow nearsighted. But the movement will march on. Nothing will ever stop it. The Judean Commander can’t be stilled.
We should fall to our knees in humble gratitude that God has allowed us to participate in such a cause. For this is not the movement of a man. It is the movement of God. That is precisely why what should have failed will never fail. It is the movement of God....
How do you fit in to the movement? Are you an advancer of the cause?
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