April 5, 2015 – Pastor Tim Oates – “Easter – The Greater Purpose”
Acts 1:1-2, …of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, 2 until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen,
The Acts of the Apostles! What response that title draws from the believer! Here we sees the first published volume of Church history and from its pages we gain insights into our own spiritual experiences. We also see the foundations laid and the beginnings of the church structure. We make a quick transfer of its trials and triumphs to our contemporary scene, and more specifically to the local church of which we are a part. Above all we see our ascended Lord by the Holy Spirit “doing” and “teaching” in the lives of his followers.
So graphic is this account that it requires little imagination for us, the reader, to become a part of the multitude listening to Peter preach on the day of Pentecost; we reflect on the death of Ananias and Sapphira; we are on hand for Stephen’s stoning and to see “his face shine like the face of an angel”; to participate in Philip’s revival in Samaria; we rejoice in the conversion of Saul, we grow with him as he grows in the Lord, and then to journey with him in missionary expansion until he finally takes the gospel to Rome.
To study the book of Acts is to relive the days of church foundation and to see the fulfillment of Jesus’ declaration in Matthew 16:18, And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.
To study the Acts is to be on hand when the Church begins and to sense the dynamic purpose and promise of its future.
The specific purposes of the Book of Acts was to show that Jesus continued to “do” and “teach” and so did His followers. These two words do and teach sum up the activity of the book, and in fact, of the Early Church itself. They further suggest the activity that should characterize the continued growth and development of the Church and the new “chapters” that should be written.
What is Jesus Doing?
Jesus is equipping His workers. (
Acts 1:8), But you shall receive power…
Doing; To show the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of the believers and in the Church. We are to live in Power.
Jesus is extending His kingdom. (
Acts 1:8) …witnesses …to the end of the earth.”
Doing; To show the place of the beliver in the scheme of redemption and the spread of the glorious gospel. We are to share the gospel.
Jesus is establishing His Church.
(Acts 2:47b) …And the Lord added to the church[a] daily those who were being saved.
Doing; To show the beginning of the Church and its pattern of growth and rapid growth. We are to continue to grow.
Teaching; The teaching of the Early Church centered in Christ, with the emphasis on four central truths:
- The Messiahship of Jesus
- The Death, burial and Resurrection of Jesus
- The Forgiveness of Sin
- The Return of Jesus
In John 12:32 Jesus said, “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.”
These truths were evident in the teachings of Christ while He walked the earth and were continued by the disciples after He ascended to heaven.
Acts 1:10-11, And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, 11 who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.”
The book of Acts is not an exhaustive or detailed history. Luke, as a true historian, pictures the great crises, agents, and movements, and passes over or touches lightly on other events. The book has no ending; it is just a beginning, or just a record of the start of things.
The deeds of the Church in the first century were not intended to be her last and only achievements. Each decade and century was to add new “chapters” to church history. We must have new chapters of Acts, modern chapters written of God’s doings and teachings today.
You are writing Acts chapter 29, 30, 31…
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