You Will Be My Witnesses

Acts 1:1-11

You Will Be My Witnesses

NOTE: SUNDAY SERMON POSTS ARE INTENDED TO BE USED ALONG WITH THE SERMON. THEY ARE NOT FULL THOUGHTS WITH IDEAS WORKED OUT. YOU CAN LISTEN AS YOU READ ALONG AT http://www.threeriversc.org/#/sermon-audio

Speaking of Acts, Kent Hughes says, “It is also a book with a splendid theme, tracing the work of the Holy Spirit through the birth, infancy, and adolescence of the Church. Its title cold well be ‘The Acts of the Holy Spirit’ or ‘The Acts of the risen Christ through the Holy Spirit Working through the Church.’ Acts forms the perfect counterpart and contrast to the Gospels. In the Gospels the Son of Man offered his life; in Acts the Son of God offered his power. In the Gospels we see the original seeds of Christianity; in Acts we see the continual growth of the church. The Gospels tell us of Christ crucified and risen; Acts speaks of Christ ascended and exalted. The Gospels model the Christian life as lived by the perfect Man; Acts models it as lived out by imperfect men.” (Footnote below because it won’t properly post with footnotes; don’t want you think I stole someone’s words!)

Footnote: R. Kent. Hughes, Preaching the Word, vol. Acts (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1989), pg. 13.

In Acts we will see life lived as Father, Son and Spirit intend us to live it: on mission, doing our jobs, in all domains of society, supernaturally empowered, adventurous, never dull and on point in spite of our goof ups as long as we are on mission.

I would recommend that you read “Insanity of God” as a companion while we study through Acts. That way the abnormal lives we live in the west won’t color our understanding of how our lives are supposed to be lived.

I would bet you that if Holy Spirit was removed from us we would figure out how to still go on having church services, doing service projects, gathering crowds and doing it in our own strength and by our own might.

If Holy Spirit were removed would we know the difference? If Holy Spirit were quenched would we recognize his subdued power?

Acts is how it’s supposed to be, and it is for many in the world. Not so much for the west in general.

Here is the solution: if we would align all of life behind the mission, each doing the job description according to the scope and by the power provided we would be living like Acts.

The big idea: We are to be his witnesses in every way just like Acts depicts it!

What do we see? What does it mean? What do we do with it?

Acts 1:1-11

What do we see? Observation 1

1. Luke wrote to Theophilus about the life, ministry, suffering, resurrection and ascension of the Lord Jesus as well as his subsequent 40 day ministry post resurrection v. 1-3

What does it mean?

1. Luke gave us what he gave us for the expressed purpose of having certainty about the reality of Jesus and his kingdom.

Luke tells us that Jesus met with and taught his disciples over a 40 day period.

No doubt Jesus’ instruction from the Old Testament was the backbone of everything they learned and would also write under the work of the Spirit giving Scripture to them. So we have a New Testament now as the witness to Jesus being the fulfillment of all written about him in the Old Testament (Luke 24:27, 44-47).

What do we do?

1. We are to be experts with the Manual so that our preaching can be as saturated with the Scriptures as the writers of the New Testament is. (everything they wrote is either a statement showing how a historical event fulfilled an OT text or it is shaped by an OT text in word, form and content connected to Jesus as the fulfillment of it)

What do we see? Observation 2

1. Jesus spoke to his people during his 40 day post-resurrection ministry about the kingdom of God v. 3

2. However, Jesus’ people were still confused about the kingdom being Israel’s rather than a kingdom made up of people from all nations (Genesis 12:1-3) v. 6-7

What does it mean?

1. Jesus intended us to understand his kingdom!

“The kingdom is the renewal of the whole world through entrance of supernatural forces. As things are brought back under Christ’s rule and authority, they are restored to health, beauty and freedom.” – Tim Keller

God’s kingdom is his universal rule, his sovereignty over all the earth…The kingdom is his reign more than his realm. – George Eldon Ladd

“The kingdom of God is the reign of God. It is Jesus’ Christ, the Lord over all things in action. Wherever the will of God is being done, that’s where the kingdom is being manifested. In a very real sense Jesus is the kingdom in person.” – Bob Roberts

The good news of the kingdom makes salvation possible for all who will believe and gives those who believe a mission to subvert the work of Satan through making disciples and engaging the domains of society in all nations and establishing the church as the outpost and community of the kingdom by the Spirit’s power as we wait for Jesus to return, complete the kingdom’s establishment and completely bring Satan’s work to an end.

2. We are hard of hearing and learning sometimes

We will often slip into bad habits that are just natural to us. We hear what we want to hear sometimes. But we have to live outside of natural in the supernatural work of the kingdom and we have to discipline ourselves to really hear.

3. Jesus does not answer the question because they will soon learn that the kingdom is bigger than Israel (Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, end of the earth)

What do we do?

1. We are to pursue the rule of Jesus over every domain of society!

2. We are to strive to be learners who hear and obey!

What do we see? Observation 3

1. Jesus instructed his disciples to stay in Jerusalem until they were baptized with the Holy Spirit v. 4-5

What does it mean?

1. Acts 2 is about to show us a most important transition from the old covenant work of the Spirit to the new covenant work of the Spirit.

This explains the instances in Acts 2 (the disciples at Pentecost), Acts 8 (Samaritan believers) and Acts 19 (disciples at Ephesus from Acts 2 conversion etc.) where believers received an Acts 2 like “work of Pentecost”. These disciples from Jerusalem and Judea (Acts 2), Samaria (Acts 8) and the ends of the earth (Acts 19) all witness the transition from the old covenant work of the Spirit to the new covenant work of the Spirit!

NOTE: This witness to the transition from the old covenant to the new covenant work of the Spirit is witnessed to by the people in the scope and sequence stated by the Lord in verse 8. Perhaps this was to build their confidence in the Lord’s intention to expand his kingdom beyond “Israel” as they asked in verse 6. 

In the old covenant work, the Spirit would not remain within Jesus’ followers.

In the new covenant work, the Spirit would not only remain, but he would constantly empower, remind, teach and gift Jesus’ followers as he takes up residence in them as the new temple.

Baptism of the Spirit is NOT a second work of grace. It is a primary work of grace known as being “born again” where new spiritual life is imparted to dead sinners and they are placed in the family of God as sons and daughters. (1 Cor. 12:13)

Subsequent work in the life of the Christian where they are gifted, empowered etc. is what the New Testament calls “filling” with the Spirit, and is real NOT LESS and should be experienced by everyone on mission with Jesus.

Certain groups have taken biblical language and hijacked the idea to create an “elite” class of Christians who, due to their seeking it and holiness get a greater portion of the Spirit than others. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Wednesday night we’ll unpack this at TRC U in further detail.

2. Disciples of Jesus now have full-time, full-power access to the Holy Spirit and thus power to do the mission and our specific job in the mission.

What do we do?

1. Let’s look at observation number 4 to answer that question.

What do we see? Observation 4

1. Jesus gives our job description, the scope of the job and the power to do the job v. 8

Acts 1:8 is the purpose, theme and literary framework for the whole book of Acts.

What does it mean? (this is where we need the powerful filling of the Spirit)

1. We have a mission – disciple the nations Matthew 28:16-20

2. There is certainty on Jesus’ part – “You will be my witnesses…”

3. In the mission we have a job description – “You will be my witnesses…”

4. The job description has a scope and sequence – Scope: glocal Sequence: simultaneous

Jerusalem

AND

Judea

AND

Samaria

AND

To the end of the earth

5. The mission, job, scope and sequence have power – Holy Spirit

John 14:12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.”

What do we do?

1. We are to be living with lives shaped by the mission to disciple the nations. (disciple and nations: disciples disciple other people who disciple other people / the church has a global outlet)

2. We are to be witnesses to the resurrected Jesus.

3. We are to be empowered witnesses to the resurrected Jesus.

What do we see? Observation 5

1. Jesus will come again, so get going! v. 9-11

What does it mean?

1. Jesus is coming again!

2. We are to NOT stand staring, doing nothing, simply waiting for Jesus to come back.

3. We are to get about his work so that we are found doing the master’s business when he returns.

What do we do?

We are to get on mission!

We are to worship Jesus with our lives and praise him with our lips while on mission!

Romans 12:1-2

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”

Psalm 147:1

“Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s