Resources for the Great Commission Part 3

Pastor Mike will be speaking on Resources for the Great Commission Part 3. He will be reading out of Acts 1:1-11.

You have an advocate this morning. You have someone who’s on your side. You have someone who is making your case. You have someone who is walking alongside you. And he is encouraging you. And he is empowering you so that you might be all that God wants you to be.

Hello, this is Pastor Mike Sanders with Hope Worth Having. We are so glad that you have joined us for this radio broadcast. Today, we’re continuing our study on resources for the Great Commission. This is part three.

We’re studying Acts chapter one, verses one through eleven. And we are excited to be able to learn from God’s word what he’s teaching about how we can effectively share the Great Commission. So let’s get into our study so we can grow together.

Now, we’re going to be in Acts chapter one, particularly verses nine through eleven this morning. We have this Great Commission upon us as believers. And the Lord wants to amplify the message of the gospel through our lives.

He wants to give wind to our voices and wings to our words. As we share this wonderful gospel message. But if we’re to be effective, we must operate in the power of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Jesus said all authority is given unto me in heaven and on earth.

Go into all the world and make disciples. That’s the challenge that’s before us. And when you think about it even now, there are over seven billion people in the world. Scholars estimate that there are about two and a half billion Christians.

So that leaves us with a more powerful message. about four and a half billion people still to reach the gospel of Jesus Christ. Such a mammoth task that is upon us. And one might wonder how in the world are we going to fulfill this great commission.

When we come to Acts chapter one, we see that out of the gate of this great book, which is referred to as the Acts of the Apostles, but really could be described as the Acts of the Holy Spirit working in the church.

But in this first chapter, we are given the resources for the great commission. And the last few weeks, we have been studying about those resources that are available to us so that we don’t fall into that category of Christians who criticize others for what they’re doing when we ourselves are not doing anything about trying to reach others.

We learn, first of all, that we have this glorious message in verses 1 through 2. We see that glorious message. And then we learned about the evidence of the resurrection. We are not promoting or sharing fake news.

We are actually giving something that is credible and factual. And we have the evidence of the resurrection of Christ, which gives us tremendous confidence. And we see that in verse 3. Then we come to verses 4 and 5 and partly of verse 8.

And we are reminded that we have the Holy Spirit of God living within us to fulfill the great commission. We come down to verses 6 and 7, which we spent our time on last week. We have the hope of the kingdom of Christ, not the kingdom of the world, not the kingdom of man, but the kingdom of Christ.

We have a hope that supersedes what this world can offer us and becomes a driving factor and resource for us as we share the gospel of Christ. We come down to that classic verse in chapter 1 verse 8.

And we see that great verse that says, That’s our mission. We don’t have to question what we’re to be about or what we are to be doing. We have a mission. Our mission does not have to be redefined. It does not even have to be written.

It’s already spelled out for us in the Bible. And remember that when he calls us on this mission, that he is saying to take the gospel to every person, to the last person on earth. Literally, what do you say?

To the end of the earth. And so we have this great task, this great mission. Our final resource is the motivation that we have, that we might fulfill this great task. I’ve always said to leaders that you have three jobs.

A leader has three jobs in their responsibility. First, it is to organize the people. Organize the people to get the task done. When Jesus set out to feed the 5,000, He organized the people. He organized them in groups of 50, and then He organized the apostles so that they might distribute it.

And then He organized not only how to get the food to the people, but He organized how to collect the food afterward. Organization from top to bottom is essential to being effective and efficient for Christ.

The job of a leader is to organize, but the second job of a leader is to mobilize. It is to get people plugged in, and involved, and help them to get the task done. that the task is done. And so leaders have to help make that happen.

And then thirdly, it is the job of a leader to energize. We all understand that working for Christ working for the mission and working for the cause can get discouraging. Being faithful to Christ can be quite a challenge, especially in the times that we are living in.

What Christ does for us as we look at the book of Acts, is He teaches us not only how to be organized as a church and how to get mobilized for the church, but He teaches us how to stay energized, how to be motivated to finish the work of Christ.

How can I stay motivated, Pastor, to the end? To the time that God elevates me out of this world and promotes me into the presence of God, how can I stay faithful and not be discouraged? Look at verse nine of Acts chapter one.

The Bible says, Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up. And a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly towards heaven, as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven?

This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner, as you saw Him go into heaven. There are two things that keep me motivated for the gospel, that keep me motivated for the great commission.

You might write these down. It is the ascension of Christ, and it is the second coming of Christ. It is the ascension of Christ and the second coming of Christ. Let’s talk about the ascension. When we come to the book of Acts, we see that the all- is God Himself, that the scriptures are given to us by God, and that He breathed the very words into the apostles and to the prophets.

We know on a human level that the author of the book of Acts is Luke. He was a physician referred to as Dr. Luke. Luke begins his second treatise to a man named Theophilus as he’s making the case for the gospel of Jesus Christ.

And he makes this case the same way that he ended his first one. Obviously Luke, the gospel of Luke, bears his name and he gives in both accounts a detailed description of the ascension of Jesus into heaven.

40 days after Jesus was resurrected, he dramatically ascended into heaven. Go back to verse three. The Bible says to whom he also presented himself, referring to Christ. Christ presented himself alive after his suffering by many infallible proofs.

We know that the Apostle Paul said that it was over 500 people who witnessed the resurrection of Christ, meaning the resurrected body of Christ, that Jesus Christ presented himself to them. They knew him.

They touched him. They saw him. Being seen by them, and back in verse 3, for how long? 40 days. And speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God. What was Jesus doing during the 40 days after his resurrection and before his ascension?

He was helping the disciples to connect the dots. He was helping them to understand the great work of Christ and how he would institute the church. And the church would be the platform for the glory of God, and the church would be the platform for the gospel of Jesus Christ that would go to the ends of the earth.

And he explained that to his apostles and gave them the details that they would need so that they would again be effective for Christ. And the Bible tells us in verse 9 that while he had spoken these things, while they watched, he was taken up and a cloud received him out of their sight.

The ascension of Christ was on the Mount of Olives, which the Jewish people called the Mountain of Peace. It was in this momentous time, a glorious time, as Christ was teaching the apostles and was wrapping up all that he wanted to say in those 40 days to his disciples that on the Mount of Olives, in this moment of peace, on the mountain of peace, that he ascends into heaven.

We see that God has always demonstrated that God is the most powerful and most powerful. demonstrated his power in the life of Jesus Christ. We know that when Jesus was born of a virgin, it was a manifestation of the power of God.

When Jesus walked on this earth, he lived a sinless life. That is, all the temptations of the world categorically were placed upon him, but yet he did not sin. And it was a manifestation of the power of God.

He not only lived a sinless life, but he fulfilled the law in all aspects, thus qualifying him to go to the cross. And while being on the cross, the power of God was manifested in Jesus Christ as the sins of mankind were placed upon him.

And the penalty of sin was brought upon him and he paid the price for our salvation that we might have eternal life. The power of God was not only manifested through the crucifixion but through the resurrection.

that Jesus Christ three days just as he had prophesied, just as the prophets had prophesied, three days later he came out of that tomb, defying all the demons, defying all the diseases, defying death itself, and defying the work of the devil, trying to hold him down, Jesus stepped out of that tomb and declared that he was alive.

The reason, church, that we gather on Sunday morning is because that is the day that Christ was resurrected the church assembles on Sunday and the church is celebrating the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

And I’m telling you, there is nothing like it in all the world. Have you ever considered that around this planet, there are remnants of believers, that every Sunday morning, doesn’t matter what time it is, but they gather together on Sunday and they worship God, they praise God, they learn about God, and they continue to rejoice in the fact that Christ is alive?

That’s why the apostle said in the book of Hebrews, don’t forsake the assembling of yourselves together. My friends, it is powerful, but the grace of God that sustains the heart for God is being poured out into the life of believers even as we assemble this morning.

There is significance and there is meaning in the power of assembling in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. For Jesus said that even if two or three are gathered in my name, there am I also. You are not only experiencing the channel of grace into your heart through the assembling of God’s people, but you are experiencing the power of God in your own heart.

And you are being edified and you are being shaped and you are being sharpened for the cause. of the Lord Jesus Christ. And so we see the power of God demonstrated in the life of our Lord and Savior, but ultimately culminating in his power being demonstrated at his ascension.

That a human body would defy gravity and be elevated into the heavens before the disciples. It must have been very momentous for the believers. We know that it was very motivating in their life because the Gospel of Luke chapter 24, verse 52 says that as this was taking place, they worshiped him.

They just began to worship Christ and they returned to Jerusalem with great joy and were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen. When the disciples witnessed the ascension of Christ, it didn’t discourage them.

When they watched Christ leave this earth physically, it became a motivating factor in all that he had commanded them to do. And the Bible tells us that they returned to Jerusalem with great joy. The ascension of Christ becomes a motivation in the heart of us as believers.

It is the infusion of joy within our life. And let me tell you something about joy in the life of a believer. It is the note of victory in our hearts. It is the note of victory. We already referenced to you earlier in the service how the joy of the Lord is our strength.

But I want you to understand that since that hour of the ascension of Christ, the conquering spirit of life now reigns within the heart of those who believe in Jesus Christ. That’s why we won’t get our heads down.

That’s why we’re not going to mope around. That’s why we’re not going to get discouraged. And that’s why we’re not going to become weary and well-doing. And that’s why we’re going to keep moving forward for the Lord Jesus Christ.

Because we have the joy of the Lord. And we know that our Savior, He has ascended into heaven. This is critical and important in our lives because it infuses joy into our lives. The spiritual significance of the ascension of Christ in our personal walk with God cannot be overlooked.

For it not only infuses joy into our hearts but initiates Christ’s ministry of advocating and interceding for us. Jesus said it was necessary for Him to leave. The disciples didn’t want Him to go. They became very attached to the physical presence of Christ.

But Jesus understood that this was necessary and that the Spirit of God would not come until He had ascended into heaven. He also knew that His ministry of intercession and advocating for the believer would not be fulfilled unless he ascended into heaven.

The Bible tells us in 1 John 2, 1, my little children, these things, write I unto you, that you sin not. And if any man sinned, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, the righteous. You have an advocate this morning.

You have someone who’s on your side. You have someone who is making your case. You have someone who is walking alongside you and he is encouraging you and he is empowering you so that you might be all that God wants you to be.

Now, if you’re like me, you find yourself in these moments and times where you feel like you have miserably failed God, that you have gotten out of line, that you have gotten off track, and that somehow you have been distracted or even defeated by the temptations of this world.

But listen to me, my friends. You don’t have to be overwhelmed because Christ went to the cross for you and the Bible says if we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and that you have an advocate in the Heavenly who’s at the right hand of the Father and he is making the case that Father I went to the cross for their sins I want you to restore them.

I want you to place them back on Mission for you so that they might fulfill the cause of the gospel of Christ Peter was discouraged. He denied the Lord three times. He was ready to give up. He said I’m going back to what I normally do I’m gonna go fishing and you know what?

He was such a powerful influence all the other apostles joined him and they said yeah Let’s get away from this mission of taking the gospel everywhere and let’s go back to fishing But I tell you that fishing is a great spiritual tool and teaching point and that Christ wants to take us from being fishers of fish to fishing for men and That’s what he did with Peter.

He reinstated him. He said come and fellowship with me He restored Peter back into the work of Christ and it doesn’t matter You may have miserably blown it this week But the ascension of Christ and the advocacy of Christ and the intercession that is the prayers of Jesus praying for you ought to be a motivating factor in your life I want you to understand that the ascension of Christ spiritual significance is not only that it brings joy in our hearts and That we have an advocate with the Father But after the ascension of Christ Jesus distributed Spiritual gifts that we might do the work of Christ now I want you to take your Bible and jump over to Ephesians chapter 4 in Ephesians chapter 4 and verse 8 and 9 The Bible says, therefore, he says when he ascended on high that is Christ He led captivity captive and he gave gifts to men Now let me stop you there because here a metaphor is used by the apostle.

And it is a symbol of what the generals would do after they had conquered their enemies. They would have a victory parade in the streets of Rome. And as they were taking the streets of Rome, they had all their captives in line as they were, meaning the generals were the victors and they certainly were the ones who had been defeated.

And while this victory parade was going on, just like when an athletic team wins, they have victory parades and they’re throwing out gifts for everybody to enjoy. What the apostle is saying is that Jesus Christ upon his ascension to heaven in a realm and a dimension that we cannot fully understand nor could we visually see.

But in the midst of all that Christ was doing in the ascension, it led to the spiritual gifts on this victory parade to heaven to be given to his disciples. And that every person that comes to Christ is given a spiritual gift.

And in many cases, most of us have multiple spiritual gifts. And God wants to use those gifts so that we might fulfill the task of the Great Commission. Again, verse nine of chapter four of Ephesians. Now this, he ascended, what does it mean?

But that he also first descended into the lower parts of the earth. He who descended is also the one who ascended far above all the heavens that he might feel all things. And he gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers for the equipping of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.

As always, when the apostle gives a list of spiritual gifts, it is not an all-encompassing list. We read in 1 Peter, there is a list of gifts. We read in 1 Corinthians, there is a list of gifts. We read in Romans chapter 12, there is a list of gifts.

We read in Ephesians chapter four, there is a list of gifts. They are not all-encompassing, but they are partly of what God is saying in that as Christ ascended into heaven, he enabled and empowered the people of God, not only through the spirit of God that lives in them but also the spiritual gifts that they have.

And so the significance is that in the ascension of Christ, Christ has not left us with this great task and said, I hope you make it, do your best. Rather he is gifted each one of us and let us know that he has a plan, he has a job, he has a task for us as we serve the Lord Jesus Christ.

And these spiritual gifts are distributed to us. Now a lot of people don’t use their gifts. A lot of people hide their gifts. A lot of people moan about their gifts. A lot of people suppress their gifts, whatever it is.

and they have excuses why they don’t use their gifts, but we’re all gifted by God. And if you want to see the church working at its optimum level, it’s going to be us using our gifts for God. It’s going to be every one of us, every member in the church understanding that they are a minister of God.

They are a servant of God. Lord, how can I get involved? Lord, how can I get plugged in? Lord, how can I serve you? Now, here’s what happens in the use of our spiritual gifts sometimes we try something and you know what?

It doesn’t work out like we thought or maybe, but that doesn’t mean we quit and give up. It just means maybe that sometimes we learn what to do through trial and error. And so we got to say, well, that’s not a good fit, but I’d rather work over here and use my gifts in this situation in the church.

We all like different age groups. We all have different abilities, but we all definitely have spiritual gifts. Now you might say mine. You don’t know me, I can’t do anything. I’m here to tell you, my friends, you can do all things through Christ, which strengthens you.

And that these spiritual gifts are given to you, not that you would hide them, suppress them, or deny them, but that you would maximize them for the gospel of Jesus Christ. God didn’t call you to sit and soak, did you know that?

I mean, I tell people all the time that if you sit and soak and refuse to serve God, you’re gonna become a sour Christian. You’re gonna be a sour Christian, always finding fault, always standing on the sidelines.

You know, it’s like those guys watching the football games and they get all mad at the quarterback. When they know they couldn’t even do a half of a down on that football field, they couldn’t even begin to do what all that athlete does.

And so we gotta be careful. But see, when we sit, we soak up God’s word and we start serving, then we become sweet Christians. Sweet Christians are what God is looking for. He’s looking for people who quit complaining on the sidelines, jump into the game, and say, let me help, be part of the solution here, pastor.

Let me find a way to figure things out. Just before I came in, we had a wonderful lady in our church who said, pastor, I wanna help out in a certain ministry. I have some ideas. That’s the kind of people God wants to use and make a difference in the life and the cause of Jesus Christ.

Don’t be afraid to use your gifts for God because the spiritual gifts are the result of the ascension of Christ and they become a motivation to do the work of Christ on this earth. Now the second thing we have to cover is Christ’s return.

I said the second motivation is the second coming of Christ. Now look again back in Acts chapter one, let’s go back there, and I want you to look in verse 10. The Bible says, while they looked steadfastly toward heaven, in your mind, see that these disciples, disciples, they’re watching Jesus as he went up, behold, to men, which are angels stood by them in white apparel, who also said, men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven this same Jesus who was taken up from you into heaven will so come in like manner as you saw him go into heaven.

The return of Christ is a motivating factor in my life. The angel said that Jesus was coming back again. In the book of Revelation chapter one, verse seven, we are reminded that behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him and all the tribes of the earth will wail on account of him, even so, amen.

When Christ returns, every eye will see him. Our motive rests in the glorious thought. that one day Jesus Christ will return. And He will deliver us from this sin-filled world. And He will make right every wrong in the world.

He will bring justice and righteousness to the world. We live in days where people want justice and they want all the wrongs to be righted. But I’m telling you that because of the weakness of mankind and the flaws of mankind and the selfishness of mankind and the sinfulness of mankind, there’ll never ever be true justice in this world.

But when Christ comes, He will rule and reign with justice and peace. And He will set right all the things that trouble us in our hearts in this world. Hebrews 9, verse 28 says, So Christ also having been offered once to bear the sins of many will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin.

To those who eagerly await Him. We as believers understand that Christ came the first time. He came the first time to be a lamb and He died on the cross. He offered Himself up as a lamb unto God that He might pay for the penalty of the sins of mankind.

But the second time He comes, He is not coming to be a lamb but He is coming to be a lion. That is that He is gonna be the King of kings and the Lord of lords and every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess.

And we will call Him Lord of lords and King of kings. Can God’s people say amen? There will be salvation in that, not that salvation of our faith, but there’ll be the culmination of our salvation. As I’ve taught you so many times, in church, our salvation is really in the eyes of God, three phases in that we first believe and are justified before God.

And now we are being sanctified by God as we go through this world and we deal with the struggles and the problems of life. He is shaping us into theā€¦ image of Christ, but the final phase is that we will be glorified in the presence of God.

Since that hour of the ascension of our Lord and Savior, the conquering spirit of life now reigns within each believer by faith. That is, God has given us that confidence that we can go now into the world and share our faith because we have a living Savior who has conquered sin, he has conquered death, and he has conquered Satan.

And now we are called to reach others with the wonderful news of Jesus Christ and his death and resurrection. This is what God has given us that we might have the resources for the great commission that we may be effective in sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.

This is Pastor Mike Sanders reminding you that in Christ there is hope worth having.

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