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A Little Ocean Ambiance
A Study of the Church:
Pastor Mark Montgomery
Ambassador Baptist Church
We've just finished a series in I Timothy on how the church should behave itself. Now we come to the book of Acts. We are going to start a series in the Book of Acts. We've seen how the church ought to behave, and now we are going to look at the history of the local church and what its mission ought to be.
We are not going to do this study quite like we did the last one. We did the last study verse by verse, and word by word. Probably won't do that with this one, alot of this is historical which doesn't mean that it isn't inspired, but it is historical. I don't know that you need to tear every word apart in a historical passage. But we will be working through some of these areas. We will maybe go four or five verses a crack, maybe half a chapter. Thats what we we'll try and do this morning; maybe a full chapter at times. We will look at some of the doctrine,but what I want you to do as we go through this study of the book of Acts is to really be thinking about what the first century church did and what we should be doing.
God gave us this for a reason. What does the Bible say the Old Testament was given to us for; not just the Old Testament but the things that happened to the Irsrealites in the wilderness and things like that. They were given to us for an example.
So what we have here is not just the theology of the book of Acts, but we do have an example of how God established his church and how it is to be fuctioning as far as its outreach is concerned.
Now understand this, the book of Acts is a transitional book and you can't loose sight of that as we go along here. I am giving you a little background as we go into the message this morning, but it is a transitional book. There are things that take place in the book of Acts that are not repeating today. There is one significant difference between today and the time of the book of Acts and that is that in the book of Acts they didn't have the completed Word of God. You need to remember that. God is dealing with men in a different way when they don't have the completed cannon of Scripture. How does God reveal himself today? In His Word. Back then they had the Old Testament but they did not have the completed Word of God. So God had to reveal himself to man in another fashion until they had the completed Word of God. You will see some things that transpired in the early church that we should not be looking for to transpire in our lives today. You will see some things that are done a little bit differently. Things are beginning, the church is just getting under way here. It's getting empowered on the day of Pentecost and so some things are taking place in the beginning that are not being repeated today. So don't loose sight of that and we'll try to make that clear as we go along. It is interesting to note, by way of introduction so the message is clear as we go through it; Chapters 1-7 pretty much deal with the Jews (not exclusively), in Chapters 8-12 there is kind of a combination going on there of Jews and Gentiles, and when you get to Chapter 13 and the rest of the book and really the rest of the New Testament up until today it deals pretty much with the Gentiles. In fact you get to the end of the book of Acts, chapter 28, and Paul said there, God's not dealing with the Jews anymore. He's tried to work with the Jews and the Jews aren't interested and so the Gospels going out to the Gentiles and that's what you see today; very few Jewish people coming to know Jesus Christ as Saviour. There are some, but very few. God is working predominately in this day and age in which we live with Gentiles and we see that coming about here in the book of Acts. So we won't take alot of time to give you all that different background ,but I did want you to notice that.
I want to go back and read the first eleven verses if I could. This is where we will try and put our empahsis this morning. The first eleven verses. The Bible says;
- Acts 1:1-11
- The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,
Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen:
To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:
And, being assembled together with them, commanded them, that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.
For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.
When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again, the kingdom to Israel?
And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.
But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.
And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;
Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
Luke, of course is the author of this book. We know that because he starts off in verse number one "The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus." Theophilus you see over in the book of Luke. So Luke writes the book of Luke and he gives a narrative there of the life of Christ and now he picks up his narrative again with a narrative concerning the acts of the Apostles of the first century church. In fact one person puts it this way; "Luke tells of Christ work in his physical body and the book of Acts tells of his work in his spiritual body which is the local church." I think that is an interesting comparison of the two. So the book of Acts is just a continuation of the book of Luke. Make sure that you see the context going across there. Verses 1-11 of chapter 1 is the foundation for everything else.
Everything that he is going to talk about in the next 28 Chapters is going to be based upon the foundation that is established in chapter 1. Then of course we have the empowering of the church in chapter 2 and things really go off from there. But the foundation is being laid here in these first 11 verses and that's why I want you to take the time to look at them this morning.
There are four things we should notice in this passage. First of all I want you to see the premise. The premise for everything that was going to be done by the first century church , everything that was going to be done in the book of Acts, what is the premise or the basis for all of that? Look at verse 2.
The Bible says;
Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.
The premise of the whole book of Acts is Jesus Christ and we can't loose sight of that. It's called the Acts of the Apostles. Some people say it should be the Acts of the Holy Spirit. Maybe it should be called the Acts of the Apostles in relationship to the Work of Jesus Christ. I don't know. Thats the name that was given to it here. Jesus Christ is the foundation of everything that you read in the book of Acts. He is the motivation for everything. I was having a discussion with one of the brethern a few weeks ago. We were talking about some of these things and the proofs of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Some people say: "Well, the disciples stole the body and the empty tomb doesn't prove anything." this doesn't prove anything and that doesn't prove anything . But I 'll tell you one thing that does certainly give credance to the ressurection of Jesus Christ and that's the fact that all those apostles all of a sudden went out and were willing to die for the cause of Christ. Because they saw him alive. I mean they didn't make any money at this, they weren't televangalists. They didn't make any money. They didn't get alot of material blessings from serving Jesus Christ. If it was all a fraud, and they knew it was all a fraud, they were the most stupid men that ever walked the planet,to be willing to sacrafice themselves for something they knew to be incorrect if they had stolen the body. So we see here that Jesus Christ is the foundation for everything.
Look at verse number 1 that last phrase. "Of all Jesus began both to do and teach." We could preach a whole message right there. There are alot of people who like to teach but don't like to do. Ever heard the expression "Do as I say not as I do?"
Sure you have. A lot of people like to teach, a lot of people like to tell you what you ought to be doing, but not too many people want to do it. The Bible says here that Jesus Christ, when he was alive, not only taught, but He also did that which He taught. I think it's interesting in Matthew 23 verse 3 you will read a comment that Christ makes about the Pharisees and he says "They say and do not." That was the difference. The Pharisees said alot of good things. They said some things that weren't so good, but they said alot of good things but they didn't do them like Christ said He did. His life bore out that which he claimed to be, the Son of God. His life bore out the teachings that He gave. His life bore out the fact that He was God of very God , sent from heaven above to teach us and to die upon Calvary's Cross and to shed His blood so that we might have salvation.
So we see that as a premise and the second premise of course is verse number 3. That He showed himself alive after His death and burial. That Jesus Christ rose from the dead. We've just come through Easter Sunday and we don't need to repreach an Easter message, but the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the basis for everything that happens in the rest of the Bible from this point on. I mean it's foundational for the Old Testament because if there was no resurrection then the Old Testament doesn't make any sense either. But from this point on everything is based on the resurrection and that's why Luke says hey, Theophilus, this is what's going on here. We have seen Jesus Christ risen from the dead, by (verse number 3) many infallible proofs. I mean these are proofs and they are dogmatic. We can go to Corinthians and He was seen of Cephas and He was seen of Peter and He was seen of John and He was seen of the twelve and he was seen of over 500 brethern at once. I mean He was seen and people knew that Jesus Christ had risen. It wasn't just an empty tomb. We have a lot more than that. There was more than an empty tomb. We have the authority of the Word of God. We have the change in the disciples. We have the people that saw the risen Savior. So there are many infallible proofs to his resurrection and that of course is the basis for everything else. We won't take time to look at all the verses but if you were to look through the preaching in just the next few chapters what you will hear over and over and over again is the resurrection. Chapter 2 verses 24, 27, 31, on the day of Pentacost Peter tells them about the resurrection. In chapter 3 verse 15, Peter preaches a message and tells them about the resurrection. In chapter 4 verse 2, there is preaching about the resurrection. The Saducees who didn't believe in a resurrection got all bent out of shape. In chapter number 4 verse 10, Peter preaches on the resurrection. In chapter 4 verse 32, the apostles are witnesses to the resurrection. In chapter number 5 verse 30, Peter and John are preaching the resurrection.
Over and over and over and over again ,and by the way that's what got them in trouble, Nobody minded them talking about Jesus. They weren't real crazy about hearing how they had killed Jesus, but nobody minded that. The problem kicked in when they said he rose from the dead, because when he rose from the dead that had to change the prospective on who Jesus Christ was. You can't be going out killing Jesus. He's not just some deranged lunatic if He's rising from the dead. It changes things, and so that is why I say it is the foundation for everything that goes on in the rest of the Scripture and it ought to be the foundation for everything that we do. The fact that Jesus Christ rose from the dead. Why are you here today? Because Jesus Christ rose from the dead. Why does the church meet on Sunday, as according to history and the scriptures. They meet on Sunday because Jesus Christ rose from the dead. Why do we go out witnessing? Because Jesus Christ rose from the dead. Why are we spending seventy-five thousand dollars this year on missions? Because Jesus Christ rose from the dead. Why do you come to Sunday School? Because Jesus Christ rose from the dead. It's the basis for everything. It's the basis for our church life. It better be! We're doing everything because Jesus Christ rose from the dead. So that is the premise that he begins with.
Then we come to the promise in verses 4 and 5. It says "being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me." Now there's this promise from the Father that they had heard about from Jesus Christ. What was the promise? Now certainly there are numerous promises in the Scripture, but there is one specific promise that he is talking about here and that's given to us in verse number 5. "For;" there's the connection between the two ideas, "For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence." The promise of the Father that Christ gave to them was that he was going to send the Comforter. Remember John chapters 14, 15, 16, all together, the promise of the Comforter, the promise of the Holy Spirit, the change in mininstry, the indwelling ministry that the Holy Spirit was going to have. That's the promise. He says hey, wait here in Jeruselem , wait until the promise has been given to you. God promised it, I told you it was going to come,but you wait until the Holy Spirit comes and you are baptized with Him.
Now, before we go any further we must stop here for a second. Now, I know we spent a lot of time on Sunday nights several months ago on this idea of the Charismatic movement, I Corinthians 12, 13, and 14 , but for the benefit of those of you who weren't here, let me stop here just for a moment. The baptism of the Holy Ghost being spoken of here is not anything near the baptism of the Holy Ghost that's being talked about in Pentecostal circle. Not a second cousin to what they are talking about. When does the baptism of the Holy Ghost take place according to verse number 5? Not many days hence. What happens not many days hence? Pentecost. Ten days down the road, we have Pentecost. On Pentecost the baptism of the Holy Ghost takes place. Now, let me ask you this. Is there any place in the Scripture, after Acts 2, where people are told to look for the baptism of the Holy Spirit? No, not one place. Not one place is the baptism of the Holy Spirit called for after Acts 2. Now we do see it take place in a couple different times. It takes place four times in the Scripture. In Acts 2 on the day of Pentecost. We see the church, the Apostles and those that are with them, they are baptized with the Holy Spirit . They begin to speak in tongues. In Acts 8 we see the Samaritans being saved. The Samaritan revival takes place and they are baptized with the Holy Ghost. and tongues are not even mentioned in that passage of Scripture. We can assume they are being spoken in, but the Bible does not say that. In Acts 10, we have Cornelius, a Gentile living in Judaea that comes to know Christ as Savior, and he gets the baptism of the Holy Spirit and then in Acts 19 we have the Gentiles who are in Ephesus up in Turkey that get saved and they have the baptism of the Holy Spirit and they speak in tongues and it's never repeated throughout the rest of Scripture.
I submit to you today that are not to be looking for the baptism of the Holy Spirit. We are not suppose to be looking for that. It's not some second blessing that's suppose to come. That's not what it is, in fact and I know I am putting myself out on limb here because even alot of fundamentalist don't agree with this but it's not being baptized into some universal invisible body. It's not that either. Some people go to I Corithians 12:13, "For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body." Now let me take you to a passage of scripture; we could quote it but I want you to see it. Ephesian 4 ,go there. Again this is not really the thrust of the message but there's so much confusion on the baptism of the Holy Spirit and people are running with it this direction and running with it that direction. So a lot of people think we have come to this safe conclusion that we'll just call Spirit baptism the fact that when everybody gets saved they get ceremonially, spiritually baptized into some universal invisible something in some universal invisible church. Thats kind of the standard teaching on that even among Baptist and fundamentalist.
Now ,Christ told them ,in Act 1, that they should be looking for this baptism, right? He told them that and He called it baptism of the Holy Spirit and it was going to happen not many days hence and it did. It happened on the day of Pentecost and we know it took place. Look at Ephesians 4:3, talks about unity, verse number 4 there's one body, verse number 5, one Lord, one faith, read me those next two words, one baptism. Now that's pretty straight. There's one baptism. Now do we believe in water baptism ,yes or no? Certainly. They that gladly received his word was baptized. Baptism is taught all through the New Testament. Paul taught about it in Romans. Not just in the book of Acts but right down the line we have baptism being taught. Water baptism. A person gets saved ,they've trusted Jesus Christ as Savior and so they are to give a public profession of their faith by following the Lord in believer's baptism. That they are buried with Christ and they plan to rise with him in the resurrection. The old man is died and they're going to live in newess of life and they're testifying to the fact that they have trusted Jesus Christ as Savior. That is abundantly clear in the Scripture. So if we know that water baptism is taught in Scripture and we believe in spirit baptism into an invisible, universal church, doesn't that add up to one too many baptisms? Isn't that two? I mean you don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure that out. If there's water baptism and spirit baptism you have too many baptisms.
You say, "What about Acts chapter number one?" Ephesians is written after Acts chapter number one, isn't it? In Acts chapter number one you have water baptism and you are going to have Spirit baptism because the church is going to be empowered for service. Once that had taken place there wasn't any need for Spirit baptism. It was done. Spirit baptism is not taking place today and it's not taking place anyplace today whether it's in Baptist circles or charismatic circles or anybody else's circles. Spirit baptism is not taking place today. There is only one baptism when the book of Ephesians is written. You can have two in Acts, I don't have any problem with that because Acts comes before Ephesians. But when Paul sits down and writes the book of Ephesians there's only one baptism. I think its very clear in the Scripture. If your going to say it's Spirit baptism than we might as well drain the baptistry. So it's obvious that water baptism is the only thing that's left.
So again we go back to Acts chapter number one. Don't let these things twist you up. In fact if you look in Acts 1:8, and this is the theme of the message,in fact, it's the theme of the whole book, "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea.,and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." If you go back and look at those four times I told you about the baptism of the Spirit, where do they take place? Jerusalem, Judaea, Samaria, and the uttermost part of the earth. Those are the four times we have Spirit baptism shown in the book of Acts. The fulfilment on the day of Pentecost, that was Jerusalem, Cornelius was Judaea, Samaria the Samaritans (Acts chapter number eight), and the uttermost parts of the earth is the believers up in Ephesus in Acts chapter number nineteen. That's when the spirit baptism took place and it doesn't happen anymore. I 'm giving you a little theology there, but it's something for you to think about.
What is this Spirit baptism then? Not for us, but what's going on in the book of Acts that we already have. That has been given to us, that already took place back in the book of Acts. I think there's a couple of things that may be involved in this. Certainly there's an empowering that's going on when we see this taking place in the book of Acts. Particularly Acts 2, they begin to speak with boldness. There's an empowering of the church to go out and do the work that God had called it to. I think one of the differences here is that now the Holy Spirit was coming upon allbelievers. I could be wrong about this but I don't think I am and I open to correction. But to the best of my study I don't see anyplace in the Old Testament where the Holy Spirit comes upon a Gentile. Now, I might be wrong and if I am wrong I'll be very happy to come up and correct that next week. But to the best of my knowledge I don't see anyplace in the Old Testament where the Holy Spirit is coming upon a Gentile. It's always upon the Jews, Jews, Jews, Jews, Jews, right down the line. Now we have the Holy Spirit coming upon all believers and we see that with Cornelius. When the Gentiles come in and the Gentiles are starting to get saved, we see the power of God falling upon them, and the baptism of the Holy Spirit coming upon them, and that they were indeed welcome. They could be saved and God could use them and they were not excluded (as many of the first century church felt it was just for the Jews only), but they could become part. So we see that going on.
The seond thing, and I think the most important, is the idea of the permanent indwelling ministry of the Holy Spirit. Now there does seem to be some difference of opinion on that and I'll mention that for your own study purposes. There are some who believe there was a permanent indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament. I don't see it. What I see in the Old Testament is the Holy Ghost coming upon and then going off. What does it say about Samson in Judges chapter sixteen. After Delilah cut his hair off the Bible says "he wist not that the Lord had departed from him." We're not talking about a loss of salvation here but we're talking about the Holy Spirit. The power of the Holy Spirit was gone from him. Saul, in I Samuel 10:10 the Bible says that the Spirit came upon him. In 16:14 it says the Spirit of the Lord departed from him. So that seems to be the ministry in the Old Testament, coming on, going away, coming on, going away. David in Psalms 51, his psalm of penitence after his sin with Bathsheba, said Lord, "take not thy Holy Spirit from me." The implication there is certainly that David was afraid that the Spirit was going to leave him. So we see there an indication that that was going to take place. Here's another indication I think that shows us that the Holy Spirit didn't indwell permanently in the Old Testament. Why did Christ have to promise a Comforter if they already had a Comforter. If everybody in the Old Testament that believed was already indwelt with the Holy Spirit, then why did Christ have to tell them they're going to get a Comforter. They already had one. So I think the teaching is very clear here that in the Old Testament the Holy Spirit's ministry was to come on, go off. Come on, go off, and at least primarily with the Jews and maybe exclusively with the Jews. But now we have in indwelling ministry, a permanent ministry. Something thats going to go on and He's going to empower them for service. Look at 4:31, He's empowering the church for service. He's indwelling the believers. It's a permanent thing. By the way, this is part of what should be my eternal security. I have the ernest of the Holy Spirit. He gave me the Holy Spirit in a permanent relationship in an indwelling minstry,as a promise, a down payment on the fact that I going up to Heaven someday. So we have this indwelling ministry of the Holy Spirit that begins here.
and when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the Word of God with boldness.
We see the Holy Ghost filling them, not baptizing them here, but filling them. Taking control, if you would, and the place is shaken. They are empowered to do service and they're going out and witnessing boldly. You don't see the apostles witnessing boldly in Acts 1 do you? But in Acts 2 when the Holy Spirit falls upon them,now, we see a completely different change. Something completely different is going on there; the whole outreach is different than it use to be because they've been empowered by the Holy Spirit of God which was promised to them. So this is thePromise. The Premise, Jesus Christ did what he said. He proved himself to be the Son of God through his resurrection. The promise, hey, wait here and in just a couple days the baptism of the Holy Spirit's going to come, we're going to empower you, something special is going to take place here in a few days and you need to be waiting for it.
Number three, I want you to see the Priorities.
- Verse 6
- When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?
One of the things that we miss in English sometimes are the tenses that they used in the Greek. We have a continuous action verb that is going on here. In other words they asked him over and over and over and over again, "Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?" And we're not talking about over and over again over a lengthy period of time. They've come together. I mean he's going to ascend here in a little while. It's just like a little kid. You know how your little kids are? Michelle's like this. Keeps asking the same question 27 times. Even though you keep answering them they keep asking it over and over and over. Hey.Lord, gonna establish the kingdom now? Hey, Lord, gonna establish the kingdom now? Hey, Lord, gonna establish the kingdom now? Over and over and over, it's just continual. They're excited. I mean Christ has risen from the dead and he talked about a Kingdom and He's going to establish it and they're gonna reign on thrones with him and, man, life's gonna be good and all the problems are gonna be gone and Lord, ya gonna do it right now? Huh,are ya huh? Is it time now, huh? Can we be in charge now, huh? You see the idea that's going on there. Over and over and over and over and over, man they're excited about this kingdom. It's gonna be great and the shackles of Rome are gonna be thrown off and man lifes gonna be good. I mean they're not going to have the problems that they use to have, and of course based on the Old Testament promises concerning the melenium, the lion was going to lay down with the lamb and all these things were goning to take place. Christ was going to be on the throne and they were going to rule with him and, man, life's gonna be good right now. Gonna do it now? Gonna do it now? Gonna do it now? See the attitude that they had. And there's nothing wrong with praying for the coming of Christ's kingdom. He instructed them to pray that way, "Thy kingdom come." There was nothing wrong with that but their priorities were a little out of wack.
- Look at verse number seven.
- And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.
A mild rebuke here. He says look, It doesn't matter. It's not important if I am going to establish the kingdom now. It's not for you to know. It's in his power. The idea of power there carries with it the meaning of authority or the right to choose. It's not for you to know. It's Gods right to choose. It's God's authority. It's none of your business and in so many words He basically says, " No, I'm not going to do that now." I think you can imply, that, but He's saying," look that's not the issue." The issue is not, do we get to be in charge now . The issue is not, is life gonna get good now. The issue's not, are all the promises that I've been waiting for going to be fulfilled now. The idea is not, do I get the junk thrown off my back now. That's not the issue. So many times we get caught up on some of these things. I'm not saying it's wrong to study the Scriptures. I am not talking about that at all. We are commanded to study the Scriptures, but sometimes we get caught up on "Is life gonna get better for me?" And "What's in it for me?" and "Is this gonna get good for me?" and "Is my home situation gonna improve?" and "Is the economy gonna improve?" And "When is the political system gonna improve?" and "When is this gonna improve?" and "when are all these great things gonna take place?" Christ said that's not the issue right now. The issue's not when are you going to get to be in charge or when am I going to be in charge. That's not the issue. What's the issue?
- verse number 8
- But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me ....
He said this is what's important. It's not date setting on the kingdom. It's not "When do I get my reward?" It's not that. He said what really matters is that when the Holy Spirit that we promised you (we've talked about it in verse 4 and 5) comes, you will be empowered. You'll have dunamis . We've used that word before, you'll have dynamite. You will be dynamited. You will have an explosive power within you and I'm not talking about something mystical. Just the power of God through the Holy Spirit. I mean you have God within you. We have God indwelling us. Do you understand that today? As a believer I have God indwelling me. My body is called the temple of God. There ought to be some empowering for service in there. If I'm sitting around doing absolutely nothing, either God lost all His power or there is something wrong with me. Wouldn't you agree? I mean I have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit for service and what was that service suppose to be? Ye shall receive power from the Holy Ghost so you can raise the dead? So that you can heal people? So that you can cast out demons? So that you can speak in tongues? Is that what He says? No! Now they did speak in tongues. They did heal people. They did do some things like that. But what was the pupose of the power of God. Verse number 8, "ye shall be witnesses." I will empower you to be a witness unto me. We looked a few moments ago at Acts 4:31; they prayed and the place was shaken and they were filled with the Holy Ghost so that they could go out and preach boldly. Again if you do a study on that idea of the filling of the Spirit in the book of Acts you will see over and over again that when they are filled with the Spirit they are going out and telling other people about Jesus Christ. Over and over and over again.
So what's our priority. I think it's to be a witness. The principle for witnessing....,what's it mean to be a witness? Does witnessing mean you have to be a theological scholar? No. You should study. You should learn everything you can learn about the Book. You should memorized as much of the Book as you can. You shouldn't just sit by and be a spiritual ignoramous. God hasn't called us to that. But a witness is simply someone who tells what he knows to be correct. As a witness to a crime, you saw it happen. That's it. That's a witness. I think Bill and Bob that are here this morning were in a car accident a few weeks ago. I don't know if you are going to be called to be a witness or anything like that. You don't have to understand the physics of why when one car hits another car, this car does this and flips over and this happens and this happens and why. You don't have to understand any of that. All you have to say is "I was there and this guy came up behind me and drilled me with his car and we flipped in the ditch. I' m a witness to what took place." You don't have to understand everything. You just tell what you know to be true. He says "ye shall be witnesses unto me." Witnesses to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Witnesses to the fact that you saw me say and do these things. Witnesses to the fact that I have saved you. Witnesses to the fact that I am the Son of God. Witnesses to the fact of my death, burial, and resurrection. You know it to be true. You go tell people. Let me ask you this. Were the apostles great theological scholars at this point? They did walk with Christ, but you've got to remember it's only been 40 days ago that they weren't even sure He'd risen from the dead. They heard the report and they were skeptical. So I don't know that we can call them great theological scholars at this point. We quoted a verse last week where Peter writes concerning the writings of Paul and says they're hard to understand. I don't know that they had a grasp on every nuance of doctrine. He says "You go out and be a witness." You go out and be a witness and tell people what you know to be true. Tell them what the Word of God has to say. Tell them that you know that mans a sinner, because you were a sinner. Go out and tell that the Bible says that "the wages of sin are death." You want to use the Old Testament because you're the Jews, go to Isaiah chapter 53 and say "All we like sheep have gone astray and turned everyone unto his own way." Try and tell them what you know to be true. Tell them that you know that the wages of sin is death. That Revelation tells us that "death and Hell were cast into the Lake of Fire and this is the second death" and my sin deserves eternity in Hell. Tell them that. You know it to be true. You don't understand it all, you might not be able to give a doctrinal treatise on the subject of hell. You may not understand everything there is to know about it, but you know that the Bible says because of our sin we deserve to spend an eternity apart from Christ in the lake of fire. Tell them that. You know that. You know the end of the verse says that "the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ, our Lord. " Tell them that. Tell them that you know that while you were yet sinners Christ died for you. Tell them that. Tell them that Romans chapter 10 tells us that whosever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved and that you trusted Christ as Savior. Tell them that. Tell them what you know. Calvin, when were you saved? You teach Sunday school for us now. I am going to assume you know a little bit more about the scriptures today then you did in March of 1980. But in April of 1980 you could of told them what you knew. You were a wretched sinner and you were on your way to Hell, but Jesus died for your sake. Now, maybe he can be a more effective witness today cause he knows more. He's matured more, but in April of 1980 he can be a witness. Be a witness.
Who's to be a witness? James and Peter and John the inner circle? John the disciple that Jesus loved? No, you, you and you . Do it. So who's to be the winess here in Court Street Baptist Church? Pastor Tom and myself, maybee the Deacons? No, you. You do the witnessing. Some of you will have different talents in it. Some of you will have a greater grasp of some things then others. But just tell them what you know to be true. Are you saved today? Do you know your saved? Do you know it to be true? Go tell somebody. Go tell somebody. Go tell them. Tell them what happened to you. Tell them what the Bible has to say. You may not be able to quote every Scripture. You may not be able to answer every question that they have and believe me if people don't want to be saved they've got some of the screwiest questions you ever heard. Am I right? They've got the screwiest questions to get you off the subject of salvation. Just tell them hey, I don't know the answer to that but I'll be happy to study that out for you but let's talk about salvation. Let's talk about the fact that we're sinners and we're doomed to Hell and Jesus loved me and died for me and I received him as Saviour. How about you? Just stick with that. Once they've got that taken care of there it'll be amazing how some of those stupid questions just vanish because their spiritual eyes are open. Tell them what you know. You were given the power of the Holy Spirit to do that. The Holy Spirit indwelt you at the point of salvation to do that. To do other things too. But in this context to be a witness. By the way thats punctilier action, the coming of the Holy Ghost. Punctilier action means a point in time,it happens once and it's done.
It doesn't come and go, and come and go. After that the Holy Spirit Ghost is come upon you over and over and over,it doesn't say that. After the Holy Ghost is come upon you. One time. Punctilier action, happens and its done. The Holy Ghost is come upon you. When does that happen? Salvation. For them it was the baptism of the Holy Spirit Acts 2. For us who are not living at that point in time, when I got saved the Holy Spirit took up residence inside me. Point in time action.
Where's this witnessing going to take place? We've seen the principle of witnessing, the power for witnessing; the Holy Ghost . Where are the places of witnessing? We won't develop them deeply; we did that on Wednesday nights here about a year ago. "Ye shall be witnesses to me both unto Jeruselem." That's the area around us. People that are like us. People that can come to our church. They may not be exclusively like us, socially, economically, but they're pretty much like us. And if we win them to Christ we can disciple them at our church. That's our witnessing. You need to be witnessing on your street. A great statement Rick Simonsen made at a Senior Saints lunch. He used Bill Jones as an illustration. He said to Bill,"Where do you live?" Bill said the 1800 block of Evans St. He said,"Do you pray that the Lord with send forth missionaries into his harvest field." Bill said, "Yes, I do." Rick said,"Did you ever pray that God would send a missionary to the 1800 block of Evans St," and Bill said "No."Rick says, "You know why that is? It's already got a missionary there." Ooh, that's good. That's good. That's good. God doesn't need to send a missionary to the 1800 block of Evans St. because it's already got one. He doesn't need to send one to the 1500 block of Court St. because He's already got one. 3100 block of River Rd, He's already got one there. 1600 block of Black St., He's already got one there. This is good. Let this sink in for a minute. This is good. All around here, Stone St. West River, Beacon, it's got a witness there and guess who? It's you. And God has empowered you to do that.
In Judaea, those are people like me but maybe they're not going to come to our church. Suppose they were going to start a church up in Lakeport. You could drive down from Lakeport. Let 's move it a little bit further. They started a church up in Oscoda. We go up and maybe help them do the work in Oscoda. People in Oscoda are alot like us. So we go up there and help them start a church. Maybe go up there and do some witnessing. Maybe do some evangelizing and some discipling. Are people that we lead to Christ in Oscoda going to come to church here? I doubt it. They're not going to come here. But we are still witnessing to them. They are our people but they're out a little bit. That's Judaea, people who are just to far away to come in.
What's Samaria? That's cross cultural. The Samaritans were the half-breeds. The Jew couldn't stand the Samaritans. The Samaritans couldn't stand the Jews. A good Jew going from South to North would go out of his way to not go through the area of a Samaritan. Christ said you need to be reaching people that aren't like you. Maybe they're of a different race. Maybe they're of a different background. Maybe they're of a different nationality. Maybe they're not just like you. You know our churches tend to be very, homogeneous, all the same. Churches shouldn't be that way. That's why you need to be supporting a missionary like Ken March because he's reaching people that are different than us. He's planting a church in the inner-city of Detroit. He's reaching people that are different from us. You need to be winning those type of people. You need to be winning whether they're Black or White, Indian or Hispanic, or whatever. You need to be winning those people.They may not be just like you.That's you, Samaria. Maybe the relationship hasn't been good over the years. And certainly we've talked about that before. The Black-White relationship in America has not been good. If there's any one place it ought to be good, it ought to be in the local church. Where there is no Jew or Greek, or Bond or Free. Where we're one.
Then lastly it says, "unto the uttermost parts of the earth." That's what this is all about right here. Some of us need to go. All of us need to pray. All of us need to give to send people. You may not be able to go to Russia but Jake Turnbow can. You may not be able to go to Bellerus but Brother McKinney can. You may not be able to go to France but Larry Pieri can. You may not be able to go to Brazil but Terry Craven can. You may not be able to go to Kenya but Rick Simonsen can. I got a letter this week. You may not be able to go to Venezeula but Don Champion can. You may not be able to go to New Zealand. A friend of mine from down in Warren called me late the other night. He said he's going to New Zealand. Garth Piper was his name. Said just wanted you to know that I'm going to New Zeland. God called me. Maybe you can't go to New Zealand but Garth can. Witnessing.
What's the premise for the book of Acts? Jesus Christ rose from the dead. The promise; the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. For us the indwelling ministry of the Holy Spirit, the empowering for service. What's the priorities Not, " What am I going to get out of this." To go out and tell people what you know, in Jeruselum, Judaea, cross-culturally in Samaria and the uttermost parts of the earth.
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