Acts 1:1-8

Countryside Bible Church 8-15-99

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The Greatest Work on Earth

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Greatest Work On Earth    Work Must Go On    Greatest Message    Greatest Homecoming    Conclusion

 

Intro:  We are engaged by Luke’s words, “I wrote to you about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day he was taken up (‘to heaven’ added)”.

All that Jesus only “began” to do.  All that Jesus only “began” to teach.

This is how the book of “Acts” is introduced.  This treatise of Luke has been named “Acts” or in some bibles as “The Acts of the Apostles”.  It seems appropriate enough because it is Luke’s account of the activities of the Apostles and a history of the early church. 

But are we to assume, then, that Jesus only began the work and then passed it off to other to finish?  For hear again what Luke writes.  “, “I wrote to you about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day he was taken up into heaven”.  Luke is simply referring to his prior writing we know as “The Gospel According to Luke”.  If you care to look at the last chapter, you will find that the last event mentioned in Jesus’ life is His ascension. 

So we ask the question again.  Did Jesus work end with his ascension?  Has He now left it solely in the hands of other until He returns?

            I think rather Luke is saying his first account covered the beginning of what Jesus of His work and teachings.  For clearly Jesus did not hand off the work and the teaching to be done, but that He enlisted the apostles and the church to continue this work in conjunction with Him. 

 

I.                   The Greatest Work On Earth

A.     Barnum and Bailey” THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH”.

B.     Would anyone question the importance of-

1.      Jesus’ Faithfulness in his Ministry?

2.      Jesus Death Burial and Resurrection?

3.      All that (as Luke says) Jesus began to do and to teach?

4.      Does any prophet, priest or king of Israel compare?

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II.                The Work Must Go On (“The show must go on”)

A.     Jesus Is continuing His work

1.      “…began to do and to teach” does not equal “all that Jesus did and taught”

2.      Jesus did not pass the work on to his disciples

3.      Jesus continued his work and teaching through the Apostles and the early church

4.      Jesus continues his work at this moment

5.      He will continue right up to his return to earth

B.     The On-going Promise

1. Matthew 28:19-20

   ... surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." 

2.      To whom does the promise apply?  Those who actively engaged in the work Jesus “began to do” and are teaching the things “Jesus began to teach”!!!

3.      To those who are carrying on the WORK.

1 Cor. 5:3-4

... the power of our Lord Jesus is present, 

4.  Fellow workers with God!

1 Cor. 3:8-9

... God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building. 

C.     How do you know Jesus is with you?

1.      By feeling or by faithfulness?

2.      People are forever looking for an experience to validate that Jesus is with them.

3.      A worship experience, and life-changing experience.

4.      People have experiences all the time that does not mean Jesus is with them

5.      Near death experience

6.      Verner Bartle “You can change your life”  as he did long before he became a Christian.

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III.             The Greatest Message On Earth

“Spoke About The Kingdom Of God” V. 3

A.     Gospel is called the “Gospel of the kingdom”

1. Matthew 24:14

   And this gospel of the kingdom ... 

2.      Not just any message but that which has its focus on the Kingdom of God.

B.     Any other gospel is not the gospel.

1.      What about the “The gospel of God’s grace”?  “Gospel of his son”, “gospel of righteousness”, gospel of Christ”,???

2.      Absence the Kingdom message, none are the gospel

C.     What is the “gospel of the kingdom”?

1.      Mean Jesus spoke only about the future kingdom? No.

2.      Jesus means everything that is involved with attaining, even accomplishing the goal of God’s glorious future eternal kingdom.

D.     Gospel without a Kingdom is like carpentry Without a House

1.      House builder vs. carpentry

2.      Little boy watching his day learned how to measure, saw and hammer with the best of them.  At times it looked like he was doing the exact same thing as his father; measuring boards, squaring them and nailing them together.  It looked the same but the boy’s work never resulted in building a house.  His father had the purpose and the vision in mind.

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IV.              THE GREATEST HOMECOMING ON EARTH

A.     “come back”

1.      Not his coming but why he is coming- BACK

2.      Parable of pounds:

Luke 19:12-13

... 'Put this money to work,' he said, 'until I come back.' 

3.      Our work is all related to his coming BACK.  Therefore it is all the work of the gospel of the kingdom of God.

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Conclusion:  Jesus commissioned the work of proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom of God everywhere possible.  Those who are so engaged have Jesus with them.  Those who are so engaged are working alongside God.  You don’t need any spiritual experiences to validate it.  You don’t need a crowd of religious people or otherwise to assure you it is so.  You don’t even have to “feel” like it is so.  It is so because Jesus commissioned the work and said, “Lo, I am with you”.  It is the greatest work on earth!

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