The First Five: And So it Begins – Acts 1:1-11

The First Five
The First Five

Series: The First Five

The First Five: And So It Begins

Acts 1:1-11

  1. Introduction
    1. Start with explanation of this series
    2. Every great story has its high points and its low points. Its heroes and villains. Its tragedies and triumphs.
    3. Talk about the mission of the church
    4. Church history
    5. The mission of believers
    6. What we are about
    7. This is our business
    8. The church is the only cooperative society in the world that exists for the benefit of its non-members. \

William Temple.

  1. What numbers are important
  2. How do we make a difference
  3. Growing up on the Atlantic Coast, I spent long hours working on intricate sand castles; whole cities would appear beneath my hands. One year, for several days in a row, I was accosted by bullies who smashed my creations. Finally I tried an experiment: I placed cinder blocks, rocks, and chunks of concrete in the base of my castles. Then I built the sand kingdoms on top of the rocks. When the local toughs appeared (and I disappeared), their bare feet suddenly met their match. Many people see the church in grave peril from a variety of dangers: secularism, politics, heresies, or plain old sin. They forget that the church is built upon a Rock (Mt. 16:16), over which the gates of hell itself shall not prevail.

Gregory P. Elder.

  1. Look back at how the church began for a piece of direction
  2. Explanation of who Luke is and his writing.
  3. Read Acts 1:1-11
  4. 3 directives for the church
  1. The Convincing Proof v. 1-5
    1. Luke is talking about his gospel as telling what Jesus taught and did
    2. Jesus left nothing to chance.
    3. Luke 16:31 – neither will they be convinced if someone raised from the dead.
    4. He gave orders to the apostles that they knew what to do.
    5. He revealed himself to many people over forty days, because he knows we have a natural inclination toward doubt.
    6. “Is it too good to be true?”
    7. He also knew that he had to change this ragtag band of disciples into an army of witnesses.
    8. He took ordinary men and women and placed the power of the HS on them and they changed the world.
    9. I am a normal person with flaws and failures. You are a normal person with flaws and failures yet through the power of the HS we can change the world.
    10. He ordered them to wait on the Holy Spirit
      1. At this time the HS had not arrived and thus they needed a filling of the HS at a separate time.
      2. In our current day, the HS is active and present and thus we only need one filling at the time of salvation.
    11. We are to stand firm as the representatives of Christ:
      1. In knowledge
      2. In commitment
  • In unwavering stand
  1. The world is trying to crush the belief system of Christianity.
  2. Those who oppose the cross believe they have the upper hand, but Jesus always has a remnant of strong believers.
  3. You and I must stand boldly for the cause of Christ.
  4. I know that sometimes it may be hard to stand firm because you really want that firm belief.
  5. You may wish that Jesus would walk through the doors of the church and talk with you.
  6. Do you really believe that would convince you? And if it did what would you do differently?
    1. Would you be a bolder witness for Christ?
    2. Would you stand firm in your belief?
  • Would you never doubt again?
  1. Our example is those people who saw Jesus perform miracles and do the impossible
    1. They still doubted
    2. Thomas still doubted
  • His closest confidants still doubted.
  1. The only true way for us to be convinced is to have the evidence in our own lives.
  2. Is Jesus working in your life? That is all the evidence you need.
  3. Stand firm, be bold, change the world through the power of the HS.
  4. A young American engineer was sent to Ireland by his company to work in a new electronics plant. It was a two-year assignment that he had accepted because it would enable him to earn enough to marry his long-time girlfriend. She had a job near her home in Tennessee, and their plan was to pool their resources and put a down payment on a house when he returned. They corresponded often, but as the lonely weeks went by, she began expressing doubts that he was being true to her, exposed as he was to comely Irish lasses.

The young engineer wrote back, declaring with some passion that he was paying absolutely no attention to the local girls. “I admit,” he wrote, “that sometimes I’m tempted. But I fight it. I’m keeping myself for you.”

In the next mail, the engineer received a package. It contained a note from his girl and a harmonica. “I’m sending this to you,” she wrote, “so you can learn to play it and have something to take your mind off those girls.”

The engineer replied, “Thanks for the harmonica. I’m practicing on it every night and thinking of you.”

At the end of his two-year stint, the engineer was transferred back to company headquarters. He took the first plane to Tennessee to be reunited with his girl. Her whole family was with her, but as he rushed forward to embrace her, she held up a restraining hand and said sternly, “Just hold on there a minute, Billy Bob. Before any serious kissin’ and huggin’ gets started here, let me hear you play that harmonica!”

We want solid proof before we act and yet the solid proof is the power of the HS on our lives.

  • The Plan, v. 4-5, 8
    1. No Plan B
    2. There was a plan, there has always been a plan
    3. Even in Christ’s death there was a plan.
    4. It is easy for us to look back and see the plan, but how do we live it out today
    5. The Holy Spirit was going to empower these individuals to carry the gospel to the corners of the earth
    6. These men and women would need something extra special to be able to accomplish this and this is where the HS comes in.
    7. The Spirit of God was going to embolden them to be his witnesses.
    8. In our modern day thoughts of travel, you can be on the other side of the world in the next 24-28 hours.
    9. If you think of a place on the globe, you can get there.
    10. There are no limits to the places you can go, so we don’t think much about the list of places here in this text.
    11. For these men, though it would have seemed impossible to go to all these places, especially to the ends of the earth which they may have thought only extended to the Roman empire.
    12. HS been taken in wrong directions
    13. No second baptism
    14. Our assignment on earth is based on the HS’s ministry
    15. Missions: from across the street to around the world
    16. God’s plan for salvation to the world is through his Son Jesus Christ and that information is to be passed along from a believer to a non-believer and they are to be discipled to do the same for someone else.
    17. That is the plan and the only plan.
    18. God does not have a Plan B.
    19. It is all of our responsibilities to go across the street, around our neighborhood, around our city, to the ends of the earth telling others about Jesus.
    20. This is the ONLY PLAN!
    21. Do not let our generation be the one who drops the ball
    22. If you are in Christ then the HS indwells you and has given you the power to be his witness too.
    23. No one is exempt from this call.
    24. Ephesians 1:3-14
  1. The Expected Return v. 6-7, 9-11
    1. There is an innate desire in our hearts to know when the end of time will come.
    2. After 14 years of studying the Bible, William Miller (1782-1849)–a U.S. revivalist who predicted the second coming and earned a large but temporary following of  50,000-100,000–became convinced that Christ would return in 1843. When Miller announced April 3 as the day, some disciples went to mountaintops, hoping for a head start to heaven. Others were in graveyards, planning to ascend in reunion with their departed loved ones. Philadelphia society ladies clustered together outside town to avoid entering God’s kingdom amid the common herd. When April 4 dawned as usual the Millerites were disillusioned, but they took heart. Their leader had predicted a range of dates for Christ’s return. They still had until March 21, 1844. The devout continued to make ready, but again they were disappointed. A third date–October 22, 1844–was set, but it also passed.
    3. The disciples wanted to know
    4. We aren’t to know when he will return
    5. Jesus doesn’t know (Matthew 24:36)
    6. The times are fixed and not moving
    7. God has the plan and knows when and where things are going to take place.
    8. Note that they still were wondering how the nation of Israel was going to be restored.
    9. They still do not understand what is to happen
    10. We should be careful to know what we are waiting for.
    11. He will return in the same way as before
      1. He will come in the clouds
      2. It will be very noticeable
  • It will be on his timing
  1. The message to the disciples was to get to work
  2. They could either stand there and look into the sky or they could be about the Lord’s business.
  3. Dramatic entrance
  4. Makes our work urgent!
  5. We have the same choice.
    1. We can either look into the sky and wait for his return
    2. Or we can use every moment to make an impact for Christ in the lives of people
  • We can pursue the things of God
  1. We had better be about the business of winning people to Jesus and discipling the saved every day.
  2. We must pursue the lost with a passion that only comes through Christ with the power of the Holy Spirit.
  1. The angels speak matter of fact that the Lord is going to return.
  2. We need to speak this way as well.
  3. We need to live this way, on mission.
  1. Conclusion
    1. The message to the believer is to be about the business of spreading the love of Christ to others
    2. The message includes the power of the Holy Spirit falling on us and enabling us to become his witnesses.
    3. The message to the non-believer is that the day of Christ Jesus is coming soon and you had better decide.
    4. Jesus gave convincing proof 2000 years ago of his desire to bring salvation to you and to me, he is asking today for you to trust in Him.
    5. In Warren Wiersbe’s Meet Yourself in the Psalms, he tells about a frontier town where a horse bolted and ran away with a wagon carrying a little boy. Seeing the child in danger, a young man risked his life to catch the horse and stop the wagon. The child who was saved grew up to become a lawless man, and one day he stood before a judge to be sentenced for a serious crime. The prisoner recognized the judge as the man who, years before had saved his life; so he pled for mercy on the basis of that experience. But the words from the bench silenced his plea: “Young man, then I was your savior; today I am your judge, and I must sentence you to be hanged.” One day Jesus Christ will say to rebellious sinners, “During that long day of grace, I was the Savior, and I would have forgiven you. But today I am your Judge. Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire!”

Doug Van Essen.