Pastor Mike will be speaking on Resources for the Great Commission Part 1. He will be reading out of Acts 1:1-11.
Jesus is not asking you to follow Him blindly, but rather He is calling us to step out and to believe in Him. He has provided for us the evidence that He truly is sent from the Father He is truly the Son of God and He is truly the Messiah.
Hello this is Pastor Mike Sanders from Hope Worth Having we are delighted to be able to broadcast the Word of God and we want to share the truth of God with you. Today we’re beginning a brand new study in the book of Acts.
We just finished up Amos and now we’re in the book of Acts and of course, we’re starting in chapter 1 and we’ll be looking at verses 1 through 11. So join me as we learn about the resources that we have for the Great Commission.
Today I’ve entitled the message resources for the Great Commission. Well Jesus Christ before He ascended into heaven, He gave His disciples a commission. It is often referred to as the Great Commission and we find it in the Gospel of Matthew and in the Gospel of Mark in these Gospels we find that Christ is challenging each and every disciple, if you will, the church to take His good news to every nation and to take it to every person and to share the wonderful message of salvation in Jesus Christ.
Jesus reiterated this mission, if you will, that we were to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth, and yet nine out of ten American believers cannot even define what that mission is. So we come to the Book of Acts, and the book of Acts records the accomplishments of Jesus Christ’s work through the apostles who understood that mission, and they understood their responsibility to take the good news of Christ to every person on the planet.
As we study the book of Acts, we’ll learn that God has laid out for us a path for the church, and a path that we are to follow until He returns. So often people will say to me, why don’t we do it like this church, and I remind them it’s not that we’re not willing to do things that will help continue to fulfill the mission of the church, but that God has called every church to follow the pattern in the book of Acts.
No one ever comes up to me and says, Pastor, why don’t we do it like the book of Acts? Why don’t we do it like the early apostles? We have to remember that there are guiding principles that are laid out in the book of Acts that not only are applicable to us individually but corporately as the family of God.
And so it is our desire that as we look into the book of Acts and we see the supernatural works of Christ through the lives of the apostles, we can take advantage of learning what God wants us to apply to the times, the culture, and the moments that we live in.
The book of Acts is a vivid picture and account of the power of God at work in the hearts and the minds and the lives of those first followers who heard that great commission they understood what it was and they acted upon that mission and they made every effort through what God had provided for them to fulfill that mission.
And so the question is, how do we fulfill that mission? How is it that you and I can be very much like the early Christians in fulfilling the great commission where I wanna share with you those resources?
So I want you to begin with me in verse one of Acts chapter one. The former account I made, old Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach unto the day in which he was taken up after he through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom he had chosen, to whom he also presented himself alive after his suffering by many infallible proofs.
being seen by them during forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God. And being assembled together with them, he commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which he had said, You have heard from me.
For John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now. Therefore, when they had come together, they asked him, saying, Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom of Israel?
And he said to them, it is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in his own authority, but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be witnesses to me in Jerusalem.
in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth. Luke, who authors this book under the inspiration of the Spirit of God, once again, reiterates to us the great commission of every believer, the great commission of the church family.
What is to be our focus? What is it that God has left us here on this earth for? It is simply to do, verse eight, that we are to receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon us and to be witnesses to me, referring to Christ, in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.
So how is that done? How is that done in our lives? When you think about the apostles that Christ had chosen they were just coming off the heels of abandoning Christ through the crucifixion. They had run and they were in hiding.
They were devastated that many of them, as Jesus came to the end of his ministry here on this earth relating to his physical ministry, were arguing about who would sit at the right hand of Christ, after spending three and a half years training, equipping and developing the apostles, that they would rise up and want to know who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven, that they would see themselves as being very important in the kingdom of God.
It must have been exasperating from a human standpoint for Jesus Christ. And yet, with all of the flaws of the apostles, all the limitations that they exemplified, and all of the struggles that they dealt with internally and externally, Jesus Christ, Jesus gave them a commission.
He gave them a great commission. He gave them the responsibility to take the good news of Jesus Christ, collectively to the world, as well individually. But he did not leave them without resources.
And no matter where you find yourself in the journey of faith, where you may be new in your faith, you may be growing and developing and learning so much and just amazed at all the wonderful truth that is in God’s word.
Or maybe you’ve been at this for quite some time and you’ve had some struggles in your life and maybe you’ve faced some opposition and had some setbacks in your life and you find yourself sometimes apathetic towards the commission or even really discouraged about what Christ has called you to do.
You may consider in your heart that surely this task of reaching people for Christ is more than I could ever do. It is more than I could ever handle. And who am I to take such a powerful and great message, the wonderful news of Christ and his love for us in that he died on the cross for our sins and that he rose again, that we might have eternal life with him forever?
How am I to take this message? Well, friends, I want you to know that no matter where your lot in life is, God has called each one of us. He has called each one of us to fulfill that great commission.
And he has not left us without resources. He does not send us out there and say, I hope you make it, try to figure it out. I hope it’ll come together for you. But rather, he has equipped his people. Now, the problem is not that we don’t have resources, the problem is that we don’t always tap into what God has provided for us.
And so I hope today that as we study this new series about the resources of the great commission, each of our hearts will be invigorated and we will be once again renewed and revived in this mission that God has given to us.
Because the only answer in this world is Jesus Christ. The answer’s not gonna come from the world and the answer is not gonna come from politicians and the answer is not gonna come from some mystical, magical experience.
But rather, the answer comes through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. So what are the resources that God has for us? If you’re taking notes or following along in the app, you’ll note first the message.
Look at verses one through two again and he teaches us about this message. He says, former account, I made O Theophilus. What is this former account, this former treatise? He is referring to the Gospel of Luke, the Gospel of Luke that you and I walked through several years ago, and it is the account of the life of Christ.
It is the account of Jesus and His great miracles. Luke was a physician, and so he placed great emphasis on the healing power of Jesus Christ. It is amazing because when you walk through the Gospel of Luke, the thing that stands out is that you see that Jesus Christ had power over diseases, and Jesus Christ had power over demons, and Jesus Christ had power over death.
How do we know that Christ is truly who He says He is? How do we know the account of the eyewitnesses of those who watched the life of Christ? My friends, continually and consistently witness the facts.
of his great power and so Luke again goes back to the account of the gospel of Luke to Theophilus and he reminds them of all that Jesus began both to do and to teach just an important lesson that you and I got to hold on to as we’re considering this text this morning did you see that all that Jesus began to do and to teach your lessons and your life cannot be inseparable and that you cannot say one thing and do another that if you want to make the impact of your life to be powerful in the hearts of your children your grandchildren and every person that comes into your life your circle of influence it requires a consistency of all that we do and all that we teach there must be a line together and that we must strive you know I think about often my Sunday school teacher as a young boy and I am so grateful for her because she was faithful to teach the Bible to me and she taught me so much about the scriptures but the one thing I have to be honest about is I really don’t remember a lot of her lessons but I’ll tell you one thing I have never forgotten her life and when you think about people looking at you how you can have an impact upon them the one thing is that we may say a lot to our children we may say a lot to our family and our friends and neighbors and strangers but the one thing that they’re going to remember most is our life they’re going to remember your life and they’re going to remember the impact of your life so that’s why I’m challenging you that as you are looking in to Christ as you are seeing what Luke is calling Theophilus back to to this account he reminds him of all that Jesus began both to do and to teach because the source of our message obviously is Christ and his life and his faithfulness to God, and that he was sent by the Father, and that as he taught the Word of God, as he taught the truth of God, this truth that was so impactful that it set people free, this message is a great resource to each and every one of us.
Now, 2 Corinthians 5, 19, and 20 says, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the Word of Reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us.
We implore you on Christ’s behalf, to be reconciled to God. You see, that’s the essence of our message, is that we are calling people to be reconciled to God and that we are calling people to understand that God has sent his son, Jesus Christ, to this earth.
to die for our sins, and the Bible teaches us that this message is a very powerful message. Romans 1, 16, the apostle said, I’m not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
The message of Christ, all that he began to do and all that he began to teach is a powerful resource in your hands that as you are witnessing and as you are sharing Christ with others, as you are interacting and fellowship not only with the brothers and sisters in Christ but those who do not believe in Christ, that the word of God is a great resource to you and that you need to know that not only is God’s word inspired, that is that it is God-breathed, that it came down to God, that God through human authors, he gave them the very words to write down so that you and I might be able to share God’s truth with others, that this word is not only inspired but it is sufficient.
It is sufficient. You don’t have to lean on other tactics, you don’t have to lean on other methods, but you can understand that this great word of God that we have, that as ambassadors we are pleading, we are pleading that God is literally pleading through us and he is using his word in our life to share it with others.
That’s really the power of his message. Now the Bible says that he began. Have you ever considered the life of Christ and what he began to do? He began to feed people, he began to comfort people, he began to direct and give wisdom to people, he began to heal people, Jesus early in his ministry, he would heal the lame.
He would heal people of leprosy, He would interrupt funerals, and He would raise the dead. Jesus Christ, all that He began to do. But the most important thing that Christ ever did was to give His life for you and me, and you and I could experience the forgiveness of Christ.
All that He began to do. Theophilus, remember all that Christ did. Look at the Gospel of Luke, and look at His life, and look at the lessons that He taught us, and He is calling us to remember that great message.
Acts 10:38, when the Apostle Peter was reflecting and teaching on the life of Christ, he said that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil.
For God was with him. Our message is a Savior who came to this earth sent from the Father, and that He came to not only do good and to bring healing and to bring comfort for those who are hurting and to give us a foreshadowing of what is to come for all who believe in Christ in the Millennial Kingdom.
But He came that we might be forgiven and that we might have our sins washed away and that we might experience the peace of the Lord Jesus Christ in our hearts and that we would be reconciled to God, and by being reconciled to God we could reconcile ourselves to others.
Because Christians have a wonderful message to share, every Christian should be involved in evangelism. Every one of us, may not all evangelize the same way, and we may have different techniques in how we share that message, but we must remember that the message is the most important part, and each of us has a responsibility to find ways to share that message.
The first resource we have in the Great Commission is His message, but the second resource that we have is the evidence of His resurrection. Again, we come to our text and we look at verse 3. He says to us, to whom also He presented Himself alive.
Who did He present Himself alive to? We’ll back up a little bit, and He talks about the apostles whom He had chosen, to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during 40 days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.
When Jesus Christ died on the cross, the Bible tells us that He was put into the tomb, and just as He had prophesied three days… later he arose again. On that Sunday morning when the ladies came in to prepare his body and to put ointment on his body, they found that he was not there and the angel said he was not here for he had risen.
Jesus Christ is risen again and the Bible teaches us that for 40 days between his resurrection and his ascension he taught the disciples. Look again at verse 3, speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.
I like to put it like this, Jesus helped the disciples to connect the dots. Jesus in those 40 days helped them to understand the great redemptive work of God in what he was doing all the way back when he called Abraham out of the land of Ur and that he brought redemption and forgiveness and grace to Abraham and how that is woven throughout all of the Bible in the Old Testament and to come the New Testament and the Apostles would see that Jesus is truly what he claimed to be that he is the Messiah who not only died for our sins but is resurrected again now according to Acts chapter 1 verse 3 Jesus presented himself alive the Bible says by many infallible proofs that means we have three things here that we want to consider first of all many not just one or two but by many infallible proofs Jesus always gives us more than what we need the Bible says that the psalmist claimed my cup runs over when God blesses he always blesses more than we ever need when God allows us to reap a harvest it’s always more and listen God is not going to just kind of by the skin of his teeth convince you that Christ truly is the Messiah the evidence that he gives is many and it is not only many but you’ll note it is infallible which means it’s irrefutable it’s certain it is convincing this infallible proofs he says proofs these are solid evidences given that would be admissible in court Jesus is not asking you to follow him blindly and Jesus is not asking you to take a leap into the dark but rather he is calling us to step out and to believe in him and by faith to trust in him but that he is provided for us the evidence that he truly is sent from the Father and he is truly the Son of God and he is truly the Messiah so those who were to be Christ’s witnesses needed to have no doubts about the truth of the fact of his resurrection you have the great resource of the evidence of the resurrection of Christ.
You have a message that is truly from heaven. There is no other religious leader who has ever authenticated his message by rising from the dead and proving himself to be alive with many infallible proofs like the Lord Jesus Christ.
And Jesus staked his entire reputation on the proposition that he would rise again. He predicted it at the beginning of his ministry when the Bible tells us in John chapter two, verse 19, that as his disciples were admiring the great temples that were built, Jesus said to them, destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.
While they were thinking about the physical temple that was built before them their very faith and their religion were rooted in this place rather than in the person of who God is. Jesus was talking about his own death and his own resurrection.
Jesus predicted that he would die on the cross and that he would rise again in the middle of his ministry in Matthew 12 verse 40. The Bible says that Jesus claimed just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
You see friends, he was again reminding his followers of his death and his resurrection. And Then at the end of his ministry in Matthew 17 verses 22 through 23, Jesus said the Son of Man shall be betrayed into the hands of men and they shall kill him and the third day he shall be raised again and they were exceeding sorry.
The disciples, they were disturbed. You remember that Peter did not even want this to take place. He stood up and he said and vowed before the disciples that he would never let anybody take Jesus and crucify him.
But Jesus said get thee behind me Satan. All of Peter’s good intentions and all of Peter’s motivation of trying to protect the Savior that he loved was really the work of the devil trying to hinder the redemptive work of the Father.
That’s why we always have to be careful that our good intentions don’t lead us to do things or say things that are not aligned with God’s Word and God’s purpose and God’s plan. But I want you to know that Jesus Christ didn’t just claim that he would resurrect but rather he prophesied it and he fulfilled it as he rose from that tomb.
Henry Morris said this, he was a scientist that the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the crowning proof of Christianity. If the resurrection did not take place, then Christianity is a false religion.
If it did take place, then Christ is God, and the Christian faith is absolute truth. You see friends, when you are out there sharing your faith, it’s not something made up, it is something with the evidence.
Lawyers, skeptics, and journalists have all tried to disprove the resurrection of Christ, only to come back and become believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, if the intelligentsia of our day, and some of the smartest people in our world, have concluded that the evidence of Christ’s resurrection is true.
then how much more for you and I who are simply striving to live for God, how much more can we be confident and bold and courageous in our faith as we are sharing Jesus Christ with others? We have been given a mission, church, and it is essential that we stay on mission.
It is important that each and every one of us not is distracted by what God has called us to do. When you think about why are you here, some of you may think that it’s because of your career, or you may think that God left you here to make all this money, or God left you here so that you might enjoy all the wonderful things of this world.
And we’re not against any of these things as long as they are in their context and in their balanced and right priorities. But if we remember why we are here, it is that we may take this good news to every person.
You say, why am I at the job that I’m at? Because God wants you to be a witness. You say, why am I in this family? And I’m not sure how I got in this family. Why am I in this family, Pastor Mike? Because God wants you to be a witness for him.
And you might say, well, why am I walking this journey of sorrow and suffering in my life? Why am I experiencing these troubles and trials in my life? It is because God wants you to be a witness for him so that you can point people to Christ, that you with great confidence and courage know that you don’t have to be afraid or doubt about this wonderful message and this wonderful savior because he has provided you the resource of the evidence.
The Apostle Paul said that Christ in those 40 days appeared to over 500 people. And the Apostle Paul laid out some of the different individuals that had seen Christ. He told the Corinthians that even some who…
witness the resurrected Christ who had seen Him with their own eyes. At that time, we were still living. Is it amazing how Jesus Christ, after His resurrection, spent 40 days with His disciples teaching the Word of God, helping them to understand the big picture, connecting the dots from the Old Testament to the New Testament?
And now, as we begin the book of Acts, we see this dramatic scene of Jesus, our Lord, being ascended into heaven and the angel reminding us that just as He left, that’s how He’s coming back. This is Pastor Mike Sanders reminding you that in Christ, there is hope.