God is building his church by the spread of the gospel through the world. In the early church, this started on the day of Pentecost where the Spirit was first poured out on the disciples. Since that day, God has continued to move in power, radically transforming lives and communities. He does this through the work of the Holy Spirit, without which, the church would not exist.
Unfortunately, due to some technical difficulties, this weeks sermon was not recorded.
A transformed Paul, having met Jesus on the road to Damascus, finally arrives in Jerusalem where he meets the rest of the church. and receives a hesitant reception. After this Peter finds himself in the towns of Lydda and Joppa where by the power of God he heals a man and raises a woman from the dead. These events remind us of the miraculous power of God, and that the very same power that transformed the life of Paul is still at work today.
In one of the most iconic events in Christian history, the zealous Jew Saul makes the journey to Damascus before getting knocked off his horse by the risen Jesus Christ himself.
This chapter of Acts follows the amazing stories of Philip, the deacon-turned-evangelist. It shows us from yet another point of view the theme of the opening up of the gospel to the non-Jewish world.
As the gospel continues to transform the city of Jerusalem, resistance to the message of Jesus also continues to increase. Stephen, one of the key leaders of the early church – full of wisdom and the Holy Spirit – is hauled before the council on false charges before being killed in an act of mob violence. Stephen was the first martyr of the Christian church, but he was not the last, as many more followed in his footsteps to their death. This story of Stephen’s death serves to both encourage and warn us today: it encourages us by reminding us that “to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21) and that ulimately, the Christian need not fear death, and yet it also serves us a warning. To follow Jesus is to be willing to take up your cross and follow him (Matt. 16:24-26).
God has given his people a number of rhythms to walk in that draw us closer to him and enrich our spirit. The fifth and last of these is joining in with the song of heaven in praise to our Creator.
God has given his people a number of rhythms to walk in that draw us closer to him and enrich our spirit. The fourth of these is the act of confessing our sins.
God has given his people a number of rhythms to walk in that draw us closer to him and enrich our spirit. The third of these is the role of Christian fellowship in deepening our walk with God.
God has given his people a number of rhythms to walk in that draw us closer to him and enrich our spirit. The second of these is meditation and reflection on Scripture.
God has given his people a number of rhythms to walk in that draw us closer to him and enrich our spirit. The first of these is prayer and fasting.
In this passage we see the apostles encounter an issue that threatens the health and unity of the new church itself, and yet instead of dealing with it, they delegate it to some trustworthy men.
In this passage we see the apostles continue to walk in amazing acts of power, resulting again in their arrest, and this time, in physical beatings by the Sanhedrin as well as threats. The apostles however, respond in an unbelievable way: with rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer.
In this passage we see the church continue in vibrant community and sacrificial generosity toward one another. But all is not perfect in the church: and in chapter 5 we read of the first recorded sin in the early New Testament church and God’s swift and decisive response.
In this passage we see the Spirit-filled church begin to interact with the world. Having just healed a crippled man, Peter takes the opportunity to declare to the crowd the Gospel: their guilt before God in their role of having Jesus crucified, and the offer of pardon by his own death and resurrection. While preaching, Peter and John are arrested, thrown in jail for the night and hauled before the council of Jewish leaders, and told in no uncertain terms to keep their mouths shut about Jesus. The apostles however cannot abide this, and declare boldly: “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”
In this passage we see the results of the disciples receiving the promised Holy Spirit in power, and proclaiming the good news of the gospel: an explosion of kingdom growth. These new believers became a new family: the people of God. The rich sold their possessions to provide for the poor as they would for their own flesh and blood – and amazing testimony to the sacrificial and vibrant nature of this new community.
The book of Acts chronicles the birth of the church of Jesus Christ and the spread of the gospel through the ancient world, going from a insignificant group of 12 timid men to a world changing movement of God. In this third episode of the series, we pick up the story at the pinnacle of the entire narrative: the receiving of the promised Holy Spirit ushering in a whole new age.