The Acts of the Risen Christ
The Book of Acts records the founding, beginning and work of the Church as it obeyed the Great Commission. The promised Comforter-the Holy Spirit- arrived to indwell believers, with signs that have never been duplicated. Luke shows the Purpose of the Church, the Promise and the Power given to the Church, and the Performance that resulted from the Preaching of Peter. Acts has no ending, so in a way every believer is part of the last chapter today!
The Visible Fingerprints of the Invisible Church
The first century Church and our local church today, should have ten visible characteristics: Evangelism-sharing the Gospel all the time as a lifestyle, Teaching- spiritual growth as a result of studying the Scriptures, Fellowship-time with one another, Worship-celebrating worship of the Lord, Prayer-time with God, Unity-all things in common, Diversity-all are unique but those differences make them stronger, Plurality-more than one pastor to share the work, Empathy- truly care for each other, Equality-they are the same.
The Visible Patterns of the Invisible Church
In Acts we see seven patterns of the Church unfolding. 1. Giving: Believers shared generously. 2. Civil Disobedience: God was the supreme authority. 3. Church Discipline: Those who lied to the Holy Spirit were removed dramatically, to keep the Church pure and holy. 4. Gifts: Spiritual gifts to serve the church. 5. Martyrdom: Stephen was the first to die for his faith. 6. Simony: Those who attempt to buy or influence leadership with money. 7. Healing: Miracles were common.
Patterns of Pentecost
In Acts chapter six we read about Stephens arrest, his sermon summarizing the Old Testament to the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem, and his martyrs death. Two important events occurred after the death of Stephen: The Pharisee Saul, who later became Paul the apostle, was impacted and God used the persecution to scatter the Christians to take the Gospel to the regions beyond Jerusalem. The book of Acts records a perpetual Pentecost as a result of the early churchs obedience.
How to Make a Disciple
In Acts, Saul of Tarsus, persecutor of the Church, has a dramatic encounter with the Risen Christ, becomes Paul the apostle and immediately begins proclaiming Jesus as the Christ. Paul becomes a missionary, a writer, and one of the most influential Christians! His ministry is marked by preaching, trouble wherever he goes, beatings, imprisonments, shipwrecks, miracles and thousands led to Jesus. Paul lays the foundation for the Church while fulfilling the Great Commission to the Gentiles.
The Personal Pentecost of Paul
The conversion of Saul is an astounding display of the Holy Spirits power. God took Saul, an adamant opponent to the Gospel, and transformed him into the Apostle Paul, the greatest missionary of the Gospel. As a result of his new faith, and his commitment to reach the world with the Gospel, Paul forfeited all of his worldly success and reputation as a Pharisee, counting all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus .
The Patterns of Pentecost Plant the Church
The Great Commission has four main parts (going, making disciples, baptizing, and teaching). We can see all of them in the Book of Acts as God clearly showed that the Gospel was for everyone: Philip preached in Samaria and then to the Ethiopian, and Peter shared the gospel with the Roman soldier Cornelius. Paul and Barnabas further show this as they proclaim the Gospel from Jerusalem and Judea and to the uttermost parts of the earth.
The Preaching of Paul
Paul tried to relate the Gospel without being offensive in Athens, by quoting Greek poets and bringing a message about their unknown god, yet few believed. Later we see Paul preaching the Gospel more simply and letting God convict the hearer. Paul went to Jerusalem even though he would no doubt be in danger and suffer. Truly, Paul did all things for the sake of the Gospel, and, like Jesus, made loving the lost his primary priority.
Patterns of Paul
The Apostle Paul is a good example of using every opportunity to share his faith story and influencing anyone he met for Christ. He even shared his faith with an angry mob in Jerusalem. Paul shared before the Jewish Council, then with governors Felix, then Festus, and before King Agrippa, who was almost persuaded to believe the Gospel. At every turn, even when shipwrecked on Malta, Paul told everyone the Gospel and how God changed his life.
God and Man -- Like It Is
The Book of Romans is Pauls theological masterpiece. Paul lays out the crucial doctrine of Justification (that God declares the unrighteous to be completely righteous because of the work of Jesus Christ). It is upon this pillar that he builds his argument for the gospels power to transform unrighteous sinners into the justified righteous, for the cross of Jesus Christ can make us righteous. The good news in Christ is we can become justified, just as if we never sinned!
The Four Winners and the Four Laws
Paul explains in Romans 5 - 8what it means to overcome sin and live righteously for Christ in a fallen world and that is only possible through His grace. In chapter 7 and 8, Paul introduces us to four spiritual laws: the Law of God, the Law of Sin and Death, the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ, which allows us to overcome sin and death, and the Law of the Mindset. Setting our mind on the Law of the Spirit will free us to live righteously as justified people by Gods grace.
In Romans chapters 9 - 11, Paul deals with very deep truths we will never totally understand, namely the doctrine of Election and the Sovereignty of God. In Romans 8:28 we learn we can trust Gods judgment in all things, even the bad, because He promises to ultimately make good come out of it. Surrendering our will to God allows Him to reveal His perfect will for our lives. As we obey God, He is happy to show us more of His will for our lives.
Righteousness Reproduced in Rome
In Romans, chapters 12-16, Paul emphasizes the practical application of the truths he has shared in relation to God, the church, other believers, the government, the world, and ourselves. Paul specifically addresses: hospitality, serving, humility, forgiveness, prayer, honor, being an example, the gray areas of life and how to let love dictate how we respond to differences of opinion. Paul ends with his primary goal: to reach the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ.