Faithlife Sermons

The Apostolic Ministry

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God performs miracles through the Apostles to reveal the truth of the Gospel and grow the church.

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Introduction
Jesus told his disciples that they would be his witnesses to Judea, Jerusalem, Samaria, and to the rest of the world.
Acts 1:8 Wordstudy KJV
8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the [uttermost part] of the earth.
He promised them that they would receive power via the Holy Ghost to perform miracles, signs, and wonders, to reveal the truth of the Gospel to a lost and dying world. Through our text today we see the beginning of the Apostolic Ministry in which God fulfilled His promise. I still believe that God heals today. I still believe that God performs miracles today. However, I also believe that the time of the apostolic ministry has ceased. Yet, while the apostolic ministry has ceased, God’s power to heal (physically and spiritually) to redeem, save, and change has never ceased.
Focus Passage
Acts 5:12–16 Wordstudy KJV
12 And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all [with one accord] in Solomon’s porch. 13 And of the rest durst [no man] join himself to them: but the people magnified them. 14 And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.) 15 [Insomuch that] they [brought forth] the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that [at the least] the shadow of Peter [passing by] might overshadow some of them. 16 There came also a multitude out of the cities [round about] unto Jerusalem, bringing [sick folks,] and [them which were vexed] with unclean spirits: and they were healed [every one.]
Outline
As we begin our message tonight, I do not want us to fail to recognize the running theme among the believers within the 1st century church, unity. We find that Luke once again writes, and they were all with one accord. Hear me out. The enemy wants to do nothing more than separate us and divide us.
Matthew 12:25 Wordstudy KJV
25 And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is [brought to desolation;] and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand:
If we, as a church, are to remain strong and grow, it will begin with unity within the body. We must all be in one accord.
As we move further within our text, we find another theme that has been brought forth through out the book of Acts. That is the three-fold Testimony of the Church.
The Testimony of a Spirit Filled Church
The church will be unified - ‘…they were all with one accord...’ (v.12)
Satan wishes to do nothing more than destroy a church and he does this typically from within and through infighting, gossip, and slandering. He wants to divide the church to conquer the church. Once again, I remind you of a previous text mentioned, a house divided will not stand (Matthew 12:25).
If you have ever watched any of the specials on Animal Planet or Discovery, you see how when lion on are on the hunt and they proceed in three ways: 1) Methodically, 2) Seek the weakest animal, 3) They separate that one from the pack. This is how the enemy attacks. Which is why Peter’s description of the enemy, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, is so accurate and precise...
1 Peter 5:8 Wordstudy KJV
8 [Be sober,] [be vigilant;] because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, [walketh about,] seeking whom he may devour:
The church will be magnified - ‘…but the people magnified them...’ (v.13)
The church in the first century was magnified, that is it was respected, honored, and revered. One thought twice before joining the church. As we find within recorded within our text...
Acts 5:13 Wordstudy KJV
13 And of the rest durst [no man] join himself to them: but the people magnified them.
This wasn’t saying that the church wasn’t growing, because we know this to be false. We know that the church grew, but it means that people thought twice before joining. It was not out of apathy or complacency but it was out of fear. They were not going to join unless they were willing to pay the cost. while many in the US look at church as an option of convenience or even a way to gather political favor and advantage, it was different in the first century.
Let us look a few facts. Claiming to be a Christ follower welcomed persecution, isolation, and physical loss. Then it was well apparent within the body of Christ that those who were dishonest and did not keep their commitment to God in a honest light, could find themselves dead. A good example of this is Ananias and Sapphira.
Not only was the church magnified, we also see a change in the status of women. Women within the first century were considered with very low esteem or respect. Most religions and cultures did not even feel the need to educate women. They were to simply be there to have children and to see to the care of their husbands and children. Nothing more and nothing less. Within the Scripture, we find a different view of women.
Luke take great effort within both of his writing to paint a great honor to women. Within the book of Acts alone, Luke mentions women at least a dozen times. She reveals that women had a place of honor in the apostolic church. For the first time within the Scripture, we find the testimony of women being saved.
Acts 5:14 Wordstudy KJV
14 And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.)
Paul wrote to the churches of Galatia reminding them that in Christ there is no distinction between men and women.
Galatians 3:26–28 Wordstudy KJV
26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For [as many] of you as have been baptized into Christ have [put on] Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
The church was magnified and the place of women within society and the church was magnified. Not only was the church unified and magnified, but it multiplied.
The church will be multiplied - ‘…And the believers were more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women...’ (v.14)
God did a mighty work within the first century church during the Apostolic age. We find written by Luke...
Acts 5:15–16 Wordstudy KJV
15 [Insomuch that] they [brought forth] the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that [at the least] the shadow of Peter [passing by] might overshadow some of them. 16 There came also a multitude out of the cities [round about] unto Jerusalem, bringing [sick folks,] and [them which were vexed] with unclean spirits: and they were healed [every one.]
We find that the church grew and multiplied because of signs and miracles that the Lord was doing through the Church. This truly was the apostolic age. I say that it was the apostolic age, because we dod not have any apostles living within our time today. Apostles had to have a face-to-face encounter with Jesus Christ.
Acts 1:22 Wordstudy KJV
22 Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was [taken up] from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.
1 Corinthians 9:1 Wordstudy KJV
1 Am I not an apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? are not ye my work in the Lord?
Within this Apostolic age, God used many signs and miracles to affirm their authority and give credence to their testimony and His redemptive work.
Romans 15:19 Wordstudy KJV
19 Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; [so that] from Jerusalem, and [round about] unto Illyricum, I have [fully preached] the gospel of Christ.
2 Corinthians 12:12 Wordstudy KJV
12 Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and [mighty deeds.]
Hebrews 2:4 Wordstudy KJV
4 God also [bearing them witness,] both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to [his own] will?
Why would God use signs to show their authority? To give them credence? It was because the Jews sought signs while the Greeks sought wisdom.
1 Corinthians 1:22 Wordstudy KJV
22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks [seek after] wisdom:
We find that as God would work through the signs and miracles, people were getting saved. The miracles opened doors for the Gospel to be presented, Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets…came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem. These people may have came for physical healing, brought forth the sick…bringing sick folks…them which were vexed with unclean spirits, and were healed physically, and they were healed everyone one. The ultimate aim was not physical healing, but spiritual healing, And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.
What about today? Can God still heal today? Of course God can still heal today and still perform miracles today. God can still use His people to bring forth miracles of healing, however, there is not the need there was then for the signs and wonders. We have that which is perfect within us, the Word of God and the Holy Spirit.
Paul writes to the believers at Corinth...
2 Corinthians 12:12 Wordstudy KJV
12 Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and [mighty deeds.]
Today, we do not test teachers by miracles, we test them by the Spirit within them (1 John 2:18-29; 4:1-6). Truly that which is perfect has already come.
1 Corinthians 13:9–10 Wordstudy KJV
9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. 10 But when [that which is perfect] is come, then that which is in part shall be [done away.]
Conclusion
I close with this…When Jesus performed miracles it was always for a three-fold purpose:
To show compassion and meet human need
To present His credential as Son of God
To convey spiritual truth
The Church’s purpose nearly two thousand years later is still the same as it was then. Our purpose was not derived from our own ambitions, but from the heart of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We are to show compassion and meet human need. The greatest human need is salvation. The only way to convey this truth, this spiritual truth, is through the Gospel. When Peter and John went to the temple beautiful, they saw a person in need. They showed compassion toward the lame man. They addressed his physical need and spiritual need through the Gospel message. We are do the same.
Do you know my Jesus? If not, I would love to tell you about Him. He is THE ANSWER not an answer.
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