Why a Sermon Series in Acts?
This Friday we start a new sermon series from the book of Acts.
We have just finished a mini-series on elder led congregationalism that spent a lot of time emphasizing the authority that the church has as well as her responsibility. We saw that Christ loves his church and gave himself up for her and that the gates of hell will not prevail against her.
Written by Luke, Acts is the sequel to Luke's Gospel, furthering his story of Jesus, and how he built his church.
The book of Acts tells the story of the birth of the church of Jesus Christ and its development from Jerusalem to Rome. As believers are empowered by the Holy Spirit they bear witness to the message of salvation in Jesus Christ. This is how the church is established and continues to grow, spreading locally and then continuing to the ends of the earth.
Acts could be called “the Witness Book.” As one reads through it, note how many times the word witness occurs. Acts 1:8 is the key verse which unlocks the door to the whole book. This verse is the key to the structure, subject matter, and practical purpose of the book. Acts is intended to make us personal witnesses. Note the purpose of the book. Acts 1:1-2 teaches us that the ministry of Jesus is to be continued: “all that Jesus began both to do and teach.”
My prayer for New Life Church is Lord willing, Acts will stir the hearts of our people to move out for the gospel. In Acts, God’s people are constantly on the go; they take the gospel wherever they travel. Preaching through this book will encourage us to stay conservative in theology, but radically liberal in bringing the gospel to all nations by 'going' and 'sending' and planting other churches for the glory of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Another overriding theme in the book of Acts is opposition. We read about imprisonments, beatings, stonings and plots to kill the apsotles. Rejection of the gospel and persecution of its messengers, however, worked to accelerate the church's growth. Although discouraging, resistance to our witness for Christ is to be expected. We can stand firm knowing God will do the work, opening doors of opportunity even in the midst of severe opposition. Despite all manner of persecution, God’s Word advances. Nothing can stop the gospel.
Preaching through the book of Acts has the potential to lift our church members out of the dark valley of personal trials, church problems, and global chaos—and grant us a view from the summit of God’s absolute reign over the world. Everything from the death and resurrection of Jesus, to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, to the Gentile mission happens because God said it would.
Please pray with me that God will stir our hearts to be faithful 'witnessess' of Jesus Christ through this sermon series. Pray that this series will bolster our confidence in God’s sovereignty and in so doing, inspire us in the greatest opportunity of life, sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with a lost and needy world.