What Is The Grow Series About?
This sermon series is about learning from the early Christians in the Book of Acts to help you GROW in faith and to mature both in your knowledge of Scripture and in your daily Christian living. We will study the Book of Acts to learn how the early Christians lived out the teachings of Jesus in their daily lives. The stories of the first believers in the Book of Acts offer timeless directions on how to live a life that is pleasing to God.
What Is The Message Today?
The Three Characteristics of the First Christians - Acts 1
Living out the teachings of Jesus
What Is The Big Idea?
Obedience is the basic requirement to accomplish God-given goals.
What Is The Context?
In Acts 1 the disciples demonstrated three characteristics: obedience, fellowship, and prayer to receive the Promise of the Father.
But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." -Acts 1:8
- Holy Spirit: Jesus did all the things He did and taught about the kingdom of God before and after the resurrection through the Holy Spirit. (v. 2)
- Wait: They could do nothing for the Kingdom of God until the Spirit came. (v. 4)
- Promised of the Father: The Father would never promise something He could not fulfill. (v. 4)
- Baptized with the Holy Spirit: Immersed with the Holy Spirit (v. 5)
- It is not for you to know: Jesus did not give a 2000 year plan or outline. (v. 6)
- Obedience and submission are not temporal but eternal.
- Receive power: The kingdom might be delayed, but not the power they would need. (v. 8)
- You shall be my witnesses: The outcome of receiving the power would be to become witnesses of the Gospel. (v. 8)
- In Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth: What do you imagine the disciples thought about the places Jesus described? (v. 8)
The Key To Obedience Is To Follow The Instructions
- Following instructions is an important ability for all ages to practice in everyday life to reach the desired purpose or outcome.
- The level of instructions varies depending on age and maturity.
- Managing Instructions
- Attention: What is the best way to give or receive instructions?
- Clarity: Give clear instructions to better manage expectations.
- Affirmative & Action: Yes, followed by immediate action.
- Report: Report back on the given instructions.
Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet...These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers. -Acts 1:12,14
"Returned": This is significant. The disciples obeyed the instructions of Jesus. Before the resurrection, the brothers of Jesus were not supportive of Jesus. (John 7:5, Mark 3:21)
- Obedience is indispensable to accomplishing God-given goals.
- Obedience: Akedah (The binding of Isaac) is not mindless obedience, dominating and enslaving human being. It results in hope for life.
- The covenantal relationship of powerful principles, autonomy and heteronomy (Freedom and Domination) is yoked together and held in creative tension, like obedience and love. ("I love you, obey me." -Deuteronomy 7:6-11)
- It is necessary for you to be brought to obedience before God answers your question so you can be ready for His answer.
Request And Reasoning To Obey
- "I said so." "Mommy and Daddy said so" is the opposite of request and reasoning.
- God has a logic behind His requests. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work...For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it. -Exodus 20:8-9,11
- Do not turn obedience into a power struggle. "Apologize and go to your room." "You just lost your iPad privilege."
- Obedience: Chukim ( Please) God introduces the chukim with sensitivity, even vulnerability. Please follow my instructions and I will bless you.
- Teach pre-emptively lifelong values.
- Wait on the Holy Spirit (Request) You will receive power (Reasoning). What's so bad about obeying Christ's command?
These all continued with one accord... (v. 14)
- There was unity among the disciples.
- Jesus in their hearts was greater than jealousy and any other differences.
...in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers. (v. 14)
- The disciples did something significant again; they prayed.
- The disciples continued in prayer and supplication.
And they prayed and said, "You, O Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which of these two You have chosen." (v. 24)
- "For it is written..." (v. 20a): Rely on God's word.
- "of these men who have accompanied us all the time..." (v. 21): They prayed a Spirit-led common sense prayer.
- The disciples proposed.
- The disciples prayed.
- The disciples cast lots.
- The disciples trusted God for the outcome.
The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD. -Proverbs 16:33
Before making big decisions, do all the things the early Christians did. Learning from the early Christians will prevent us from making many wrong decisions. The believers:
- Obeyed the instructions of Jesus
- Experienced fellowship with each other
- Were unified
- Prayed together
- Relied on the Scriptures
- Desired to do God's will
- Used Spirit-led common sense
- Relied on God