Acts Sermon Notes

Acts: The Living Church

“The Living Church” series – Part 40 (11/15/20)

Acts 28:1-31 “Continuing On”


Transition story: v.1-10 (on Malta)

READ: v.11-31

Three points about Isaiah’s Prophecy:

I. The Historical Thread of Isaiah’s Prophecy

A. Isaiah 6:9-13 (judgment and remnant)

B. John 12:37-50 (the Word will judge)

C. Acts 28:25-28 (gospel to the Gentiles)

The Historical Reaction to Isaiah’s Prophecy

A. Isaiah-some remained faithful (stump)

B. John-some believed but many didn’t follow through

C. Paul-some believed but the Kingdom looked different than anticipated

III. The Current Application of Isaiah’s Prophecy

Paul continued on, as we should (v.31)

A. Preaching the Kingdom of God

(big picture of lostness/salvation)

B. Teaching the things concerning Jesus

(small picture of disciple-making)

C. Living life with confidence

(personal picture of continuing on)

IV. Conclusion

What do you need to continue on?


“The Living Church” series – Part 39 (11/8/20)

Acts 27:1-44 “Trusting God in the Storm”


READ: 27:1-44

Four reminders:

I. The Lord Gives us Insight (v.10)

A. The Holy Spirit can enhance our perception

B. The whole story may not be given though (v.10b)

(Paul thought it would mean death)

C. Many will not heed insight or warnings

(Centurion appreciated Paul but didn’t listen)

II. The Lord Instructs us not to Fear (v.24)

A. Spoken consistently against throughout scripture

B. The challenge is the visual of the circumstances

C. The process is to look at Him and His steadiness

III. The Lord Instructs us to Take Courage (v.25)

A. Spoken consistently for throughout scripture

B. The challenge is the known absence inside

C. The process is to move forward anyway

IV. The Lord Instructs us to Live (v.26)

A. The practical will often have to be done

B. We are to take moments for refreshment (v.34-36)

V. Conclusion

What fear do you have in the storm?

– He speaks against fear

– He speaks for courage

– He leads us forward


“The Living Church” series – Part 38 (11/1/20)

Acts 25:1-26:32 “Darkness and Light-Living the Christian Life”

Introduction: Serving God has always been a contrast to the world

Story: 25:1-27

History of Paul before Sanhedrin-Felix-Festus-Agrippa

Setting (v.23)

READ: 26:1-32

Three statements about the Christian Life

I. Jesus Mentioned in Verse 26:18

A. The need for forgiveness

B. The receiving of an inheritance

C. The setting apart to God

II. Paul Mentions in Verse 26:20

A. The need to repent

B. The need to turn

C. The need to do works befitting of repentance

III. John Mentions in I John 2:16

The Christian life is an on-going rejection of

A. The lust of the flesh

B. The lust of the eyes

C. The pride of life

IV. Conclusion



“The Living Church” series – Part 37 (10/25/20)

Acts 21:31-24:27 “Matters of Conscience”

Background Story: 21:32-23:35

– Paul taken by force from the Temple

– Paul’s Roman citizenship revealed

– Paul taken before Sanhedrin

– Jesus encourages Paul (Read 23:11)

– Murder plot foiled and taken to Felix in Caesarea

READ: 24:1-27

I. The Conscience of the Jews when Challenged

A. There was lashing out in anger (23:2)

B. There was enlistment of others (murder plot)

C. There was use of dishonesty and false accusations

II. The Conscience of Paul when Challenged

A. There was transparency to all

B. There was peace toward God (23:1)

C. There was peace toward others (24:16)

D. There was peace in the waiting (24:27)

III. The Conscience of Felix when Challenged

A. There was fear (v.25)

B. There was procrastination (v.25)

C. There was growing callousness (v.26)

IV. Conclusion

The take-away:

The time to deal with matters of conscience is always now and peace is the result.


“The Living Church” series – Part 36 (10/18/20)

Acts 21:1-30 “3 Observations”

Introduction: About asking questions, especially in these times

3 Observations for us

READ: 21:1-30

I. Paul’s Mission to Jerusalem

A. His motivation was obedience

(confirmed by 23:11)

B. His message was consistent

C. His message was disruptive

II. Paul’s Opposition in Jerusalem

A. Their motivation was self-centered

-very “Saul of Tarsus”

B. Their arguments were based on dishonesty

C. Their method was scheming (Eph. 6) “methodiah”

III. Paul’s Friends on the Journey

A. Their motivation was love for him

B. Their messages were well-intentioned

C. Their support never wavered (v.14)

IV. Conclusion

The take-away:

Paul was always on a journey and obedience was always his goal.


“The Living Church” series – Part 35 (10/11/20)

Acts 20:1-38 “Highlight Reel”

Introduction: Highlight Reels and Sound Bites

Background Story: 20:1-16

READ: 20:17-38

I. The Model of Paul

A. Conducted himself w/ humility (v.19)

B. He held nothing back (v.20)

(the full counsel of truth v.27)

C. Taught two primary points

  • Repentance toward God
  • Faith in Jesus Christ

II. The Warnings of Paul

A. “Savage wolves” from the outside (v.29)

B. “Apostates” from the inside (v.29)

(perverted doctrine to draw people)

III. The Charge of Paul

A. Take heed, watch, and remember (v.28, 31)


B. Be built up in the word of God (v.32)


C. Be productive and share (v.34-35)


D. Pray together (v.36-38)

(be real)

IV. Conclusion

The take-aways:

More than just a historical record,

  • We have a model to look at
  • We have warnings to heed
  • We have a charge to fulfill

(w/ Ephesians letter)


“The Living Church” series – Part 34 (10/4/20)

Acts 19:21-41 “Opposing Worldviews”

*NOTE – This week was a discussion format with points made first, followed by questions and group discussion.

READ: 19:21-41

Context reminder v.19-20

I. Two Opposing Worldviews

A. Demetrius represented the Ephesian worldview

  • He promoted idolatry and all related beliefs
  • His motive was wealth & livelihood

B. Paul represented the Christian worldview

  • He promoted the truth of the gospel
  • His motive was life-change

II. The Provocation of the Crowd

A. The threat of destroying the “magnificence” (v.27)

B. The crowd reacted with:

  • Anger
  • Chaos
  • Chanting of a slogan
  • Confusion

III. The Response

A. Paul listened to wise counsel and refrained

B. The Jews tried to deflect from themselves

IV. The Result

A. Eventually the crowd died down

B. Religion of Diana/Artemis faded into history

C. The truth of the gospel continues

V. Discussion Questions

A. What are the opposing worldviews today in our culture?

B. What is being promoted by them?

C. How/why should we respond?

D. What will be the ultimate end?


“The Living Church” series – Part 33 (9/27/20)

Acts 19:1-20 “The Power of the Gospel”

Intro: Last week “The Complete Gospel”

This week the power (the dynamo)

READ: 19:1-10 (stopping at v.10)

The context of Ephesus

I. Salvation is in the Name of Jesus

A. It is belief in Jesus (faith) (Eph. 1:7, 2:8-10)

B. It is identification with Christ (baptism in his name)

C. It is reasoning in the name of Christ
(the overarching story)

Read: v.11-20

II. Empowerment is in the Name of Jesus

A. The Holy Spirit empowers us specifically to glorify Christ (v.17)

B. The Holy Spirit empowers us to do so at His leisure

C. The name of Jesus is more than a tagline (v.13-16)

III. Liberty is in the Name of Jesus (v.18)

A. There is freedom in repentance

B. There is life-change as a result

($5,000,000 worth of occult books)

C. There is glory given to Christ

IV. Conclusion

The take-away…

Is there spiritual power in your life? There can be…


“The Living Church” series – Part 32 (9/20/20)

Acts 18:18-28 “The Complete Gospel”

Intro: “A Large Swing Set” but with incomplete instructions, only the first couple of pages

READ: 18:18-23 (background text)

Focus Text: 24-28

I. The Historical Framework of the Gospel

A. (v.24) Apollos was “mighty in the scriptures” – everything he knew was absolutely true, but it was not the whole picture (like the instruction book, not incorrect but incomplete)

B. (v.25) John’s message was one of embracing the true spirit of the scriptures (OT) and repenting (still important to see the OT through that lens)

C. (v.25) The “baptism of John” was a good thing (but it was only preparation, not transformation)

II. The Transformative Power of the Gospel (v.26)

A. The gentle nature of Aquila & Priscilla

B. The response of Apollos (letter of recommendation)

C. The influence of Apollos (greatly helped those who believed through grace)

D. The empowerment of Apollos (vigorous)

III. The Primary Focus of the Gospel (v.28)

A. “The Way” is specifically about Jesus

B. “The Way” is exclusively about Jesus

C. “The Way” is publicly about Jesus

IV. Conclusion

The take-away…

The complete Gospel is historical, transformative, and focused on Jesus. Is that true in your life?


“The Living Church” series – Part 31 (9/13/20)

Acts 18:5-17 “The Reality of Biblical Truth”

– What truth are we talking about? (v.28)

– Mindset of Corinthians?

– Mindset of Jewish leadership?

– Mindset of modern culture?

READ: 18:5-17

I. Biblical Truth is Compelling (v.5)

A. It stirs the spirit in us

B. It provides insight

  • Athens-Mars Hill-Areopagus
  • Quote: “A pessimist sees only the problems; an optimist sees only the potential; but a realist sees the potential in the problems”

C. It motivates one to share

II. Biblical Truth is Received in Various Ways

A. There are the rejectors – (Jews that preferred their own constructs)

B. There are the responders – (Titus Justus, Crispus)

C. There are the reluctant – (Gallio)

(we can meet all three in one day)

III. Biblical Truth is Timeless

A. It is inescapable (v.6)

B. It is often disruptive (to assumptions & preferences)

C. It is what defines our purpose (v.9-11)

IV. Conclusion

The take-away question?

What is the reality of Biblical truth in your life if the influence of scripture could be measured in your personal, spiritual, and vocational life?


“The Living Church” series – Part 30 (9/6/20)

Acts 18:1-4 “Divine Encouragement”

Special Note: This outline is from a “master teacher style” group discussion

– Overview of the city of Corinth

– Bustling crossroad trade city

– Sensual environment/temple of Aphrodite

– Location of many Jewish ex-pats from Rome

READ: 18:1-4

Part A-Three points for consideration:

I. There was a divine appointment to meet Aquila and Priscilla (v.2)

  • Circumstances had brought them to Corinth (not their home)
  • The tent trade was a common interest

II. They began to do life together with Paul

  • Vocationally spending their days together which would have presented opportunities to discuss daily things
  • Interacting with Aquilla/Priscilla’s circle of friends in worshipping/fellowship

III. As Paul ministered, they became part of his ministry

  • Going to Ephesus
  • Instructing Apollos
  • Hosting a church in Ephesus

Part B-Discussion Questions:

  1. Who and how has God brought people into your life through divine appointment?
  2. How have you done/or are doing life together?
  3. How have you been part of ministry in the fashion of Aquilla and Priscilla?


“The Living Church” series – Part 29 (8/30/20)

Acts 17:16-34 “The Value of Conversation”

READ: 17:16-34

I. We Should Embrace the Engagements of Life

A. Paul observed the city, had conversations in the synagogue and in the marketplace (v.16-17)

B. Paul’s comments and ideas spurred conversation and condescension (v.18)

“Babbler” – lit. “seed-picker” like randomly gathering seed, it’s the image of one who gathers random ideas and compiles them into some new thought

I. We Should Acknowledge the Questions of Life

  • What is the meaning of life?
  • What is the purpose of life?
  • Why am I here?
  • Is there anything more?

A. The Epicureans – “life is random atoms and ends at the grave”

B. The Stoics – “impersonal ‘logos’ gives order and logic. They acknowledged the existence of intangibles such as love but death was a release from the physical prison back to the ‘logos’.

III. We Should Proclaim the Truth of Life

A. God is:

– Pre-existent – existing before anything of the universe

– Self-sufficient – has no need of anything we can offer. Deserving of our praise and obedience, but not incomplete without it

– Creator – As Creator also has supreme authority

– Sovereign – does what He pleases, when He pleases, in the way He pleases

– Knowable – With all the previous being true, He made a way for us to know Him

B. Attempting to shape Him into our concepts is futile.

– God graciously waited and poured wrath on Christ at the cross (v.30-31)

– We are to repent and let Him shape us (v.30)

IV. We Should Expect Mixed Responses in Life

A. Some mocked and rejected the truth (v.32)

B. Some were receptive but non-committal (v.32)

C. Some believed and trusted Christ (v.34)

V. Conclusion

The take-aways?

  1. Take advantage of opportunities to have conversations in the routines of life
  2. Expect a mixed reception, but have the conversations anyway


“The Living Church” series – Part 28 (8/23/20)

Acts 17:1-15 “When the truth Disrupts”

Intro: “Some truth is welcome, some is not”

READ: 17:1-9

I. The Truth of Scripture is Reasonable

A. Paul “reasoned” w/spiritually inclined people (v.3)

B. Paul pointed out the “essentials” of the Gospel

(qualifications of Christ, need of sacrifice, resurrection)

II. Attacks on the Truth are often Personally Motivated

A. The motive came from their heart (envy-v.5)

B. The truth was disrupting the status quo (v.6)

III. Dishonesty is often the Default Method

(like chapter 16-can’t emphasize this enough)

A. False narrative to create a sense of moral authority

B. Action was demanded to punish the offenders

(weaponized based on the false narrative)

READ v.35-40

IV. There are Reasonable People

A. The Bereans searched the scriptures (v.11)

B. The response was very diverse (v.12)

V. Conclusion

The take-aways?

  1. Expect motivated, dishonest, even personal attacks
  2. Wisely keep on going (v.10 & 15)


“The Living Church” series – Part 27 (8/16/20)

Acts 16:16-40 “Being Strong in the Lord”

Intro: Have you ever felt like the world conspires against the people of God?

READ: 16:16-24

I. Our Adversary Knows the Truth

A. Demonic spirits know the full, historic big picture

(The ancient reference of “God Most High”)

B. Demonic spirits are embedded in the system (Eph.6:10-11)

C. Demonic spirits are rarely passive or inactive

D. Demonic spirits are subject to the name of Jesus Christ

II. Our Challenge is Often Dishonesty

A. Satan is a liar (Jesus said it is his natural language john 8:44)

B. There lies were about the church’s activities (v.20)

C. Their lies were about the church’s message (v.21)

D. Their lies were crafted to create a sense of moral authority (v.22)

E. Their false moral authority then demanded action (v.23)

III. Our Reactions to the Challenges Matter

A. They praised in the midst of unjust pain (v.25)

B. Their personal disposition spoke a message

C. Their praise resulted in new voices of praise (v.34)

READ v.35-40

D. Their willingness to challenge the injustice strengthened the other believers

  • Their actions encouraged the new converts
  • Their actions gave legitimacy the new church (not relegated to the shadows)
  • Today-Don’t mistake fearful passivity for Godliness

IV. Conclusion

Our challenge:

“Be strong in the Lord and the power of His might”


“The Living Church” series – Part 26 (8/9/20)

Acts 16:11-15 “Traits of an Open Heart”

Intro: “The Most Valuable Trait”

READ: 16:11-15

I. An Open Heart Follows the Lord


A. The Macedonian Call (v.6-10)

B. Paul was looking for productive conversation (v.13a)

  • Imagine the “scratching the head” moment after finding no synagogue
  • Probable wondered “What am I doing here since there is no Macedonian man like the vision?”

C. Paul engaged who the Lord ordained to be there

  • scenario not typical for Paul (or the times)
  • usually engaged Jewish men in a synagogue
  • women were considered a “lesser” audience

II. An Open Heart Applies the Lord’s Word

A. Lydia was a worshipper of God (among others)

B. Lydia was “good soil for the Word” (Parable of sower)

C. Lydia responded in life-changing faith

– What about the rest? Focus is on the one who responding

III. An Open Heart Advances the Lord’s Kingdom

A. Lydia was baptized (v.15) (a public event and she was a known businesswoman)

B. Lydia’s household was directly impacted (v.15)

C. Kingdom work was facilitated (v.15 & 40)


2 Questions:

Is your heart open?

Are you looking for open hearts to engage?


“The Living Church” series – Part 25 (8/2/20)

Acts 16:6-16:10 “When Our Paths are Redirected”

Intro: “Navigation apps”

Note: 15:36-16:5

READ: 16:6-10

I. Sometimes God Closes Doors

A. (v.6) Closed doors rarely have signs on them

B. (v.7) Another “open door” may not be the next door

C. (v.8) It’s important to keep progressing in the process

II. His Plans Are Always Broader

A. We often have unanswered questions

B. It may involve people we haven’t met yet

C. Circumstances may not be right yet

III. His Purposes Are Always Best

Read: Romans 8:26-28

A. His desire for us is good (v.28)

B. The Spirit understands us (searches the hearts) and intercedes “according to the will of God”

C. We should find joy in His purpose

IV. Conclusion

Question: Are you progressing either way?


“The Living Church” series – Part 24 (7/26/20)

Acts 15:1-35 “The 2 Big Questions of Christianity”

Intro: Not unlike today, in the early days many wanted to intellectualize the faith. It doesn’t necessarily mean they had ill intentions, but struggled with the details of reconciling their deep held beliefs/traditions of Judaism with new liberating faith in Christ. Boiling it all down reveals two key questions:

READ: 15:1-35

I. How Does One Become a Christian?

“By faith, through grace in Christ”

A. By faith – (v.8-9) “God who knows the heart”

– Hebrews chapter 11

B. Through grace – (v.11) the concept of grace is not tied to birth or physical acts but God’s unmerited favor

C. In Christ – (v.11) “in the same manner” – the surety of Christ’s atonement is what saved Jews previous to His coming, during His ministry and after His resurrection/ascension

II. How Does One Live as a Christian?

“seemed good to the Holy Spirit”

A. Abstain from connections to idolatry

– Exodus 20

B. Abstain from connections to sexual immorality

– (general word understood to cover many forms of sexual activity outside of marriage between a man and woman)

C. Abstain from blood

  • Read Genesis 9:3-7)
  • Predates all of Judaism – respect/disrespect for life itself (represented by blood) and the Giver of life

III. Discussion – lets talk about 15:31-32

What are the challenges of staying true to the 2 big questions, while also modeling verses 31-32?

Remember: The old Christian maxim, “In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity”


“The Living Church” series – Part 23 (7/19/20)

Acts 14:1-28 “Living the Same Faith Today”

Intro: “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”

READ: 14:1-28

I. We are to Preach the Same Gospel Today

“thus sayeth the Word of God”

A. The Good News – “let it be known…forgiveness of sins” (ch.13:38-39)

B. Equal need and standing – (Galatians 3:26-28, the letter to them later)

C. A Sober Warning – “Beware” (v.40)

II. We are to be Mindful of the Same Enemy Today

(same “tried and true” methods)

A. He stirred up people against Jesus (who previously praised Him)

B. He stirred up people against Paul & Co. (who previously welcomed them)

C. He stirs up people against us today (who may have previously agreed)

III. We are to Make Disciples the Same Way Today

(conversion first, then)

A. By strengthening them – (v.22)

  • Reinforcing the soul timbers truth-by-truth
  • Connecting the dots of life questions with scripture

B. By encouraging/challenging them – (v.22)

C. By entrusting them to the Lord – (v.23)

IV. Conclusion


  • Today…the basic problems are still the same
  • Today…it is still a daily walk of faith
  • Today…He is still the same powerful Lord


“The Living Church” series – Part 22 (7/12/20)

Acts 13:1-52 “The Power of the Word”

Intro: John begins his gospel account with a divine, fundamental declaration of Who Jesus is and a clear revelation of the Word (Logos)

  • Heraclitus and other Greek philosophers “unifying ordering principle”
  • Still what humans search for

READ: 13:1-12 (Cypress)

(Story 13-41)

READ: 42-52 (Pisidian-Antioch)

I. There is Attraction to the Word”

A. Proconsul Sergius Paulus was seeking

B. The people in Pisidia-Antioch were waiting

C. Today-people are still seeking answers and wanting to hear “a word” (v.15) from the Lord

II. Some Resist the Word

A. The enemy is always active (parable of the seeds)

B. People are often the instrument of challenge

  • Elymas at Cypress
  • “The Jews” at Pisidia-Antioch

III. Lives are Changed by the Word

(Hebrews 4:12)

A. Sergius-Paulus – in spite of Elymas

B. The Gentiles – in spite of the Jews

C. Today – people are still being changed daily

IV. We are to Maintain a Focus on the Word

A. The Word is Christ and His message

B. The Word is the big picture (like Paul’s sermon)

C. Invest in those willing to receive it (most productive)

D. Move on from those that are not willing/resistant

– (avoid distraction, shake off the dust)

V. Conclusion

QUESTION: Do you maintain a focus on the Word?

  • Him?
  • His message?
  • The big picture?
  • The ones willing to receive?


“The Living Church” series – Part 21 (6/28/20)

Acts 12:1-24 “The Reality of God’s Overwatch”

Intro: In today’s world it’s easy to overlook or forget the many ways we are observed remotely. While that may be an unsettling reality of the modern era, God has always been in a position of “overwatch” which is a comforting thought.

READ: 12:1-4

I. There is Always a “Herod”

A. He is an example of one desiring power

B. He is an example of one abusing power

C. He is an example of one placing trust in power

(4 squads to avoid another “Acts 5” event)

READ: 12:5-19

II. God is Always Mindful of His People

A. He is sovereign over events

B. He intercedes at His leisure

C. He often surprises us (even though we’re praying)

D. He isn’t bound by collateral effects (v.18-19)

READ: 12:20-24

III. The “Law of the Harvest” Always Proves True

(Galatians 6:6-10)

A. Herod sought the approval of man – (doing what they liked for selfish reasons)

B. Herod enjoyed the praise of man – (believing himself to be worthy of it)

C. Herod reaped the harvest of his actions – (although the opposite seemed true at the time)

D. The Word/Church spread in spite/because of him – (the one thing that remains from the events of chapter 12 is the Word and the Church)


QUESTION: Does the reality of God watching over people/events affect your attitude toward life? How? How should it?


Father’s Day 2020 sermon notes-click here


“The Living Church” series – Part 20 (6/7/20)

Acts 11:19-26 “The Church at Antioch”

Intro: Antioch was a very worldly environment and a large municipal city (3rd largest in the empire).

Read 11:19-26

5 take-aways:

I. Barnabas “started with the end in mind” (a modern leadership maxim)

v.23 he challenged them to have “purpose of heart and continue with the Lord”

CSB translation: “remain true to the Lord with a firm resolve of the heart”

Note: The goal was to be true to the Lord

II. He Encouraged Them (v.23)

Note: “parakaleo” means to stand beside someone and offer counsel, comfort, hope, and a generally positive outlook that builds confidence and courage

III. He (and Paul) Modeled Commitment to Jesus Daily (v.26)

Note: “met with them regularly for a year”

IV. They Taught them about the Commitment (v.26)

Note: teaching that was focused on Christ

V. The Result was an Identity (v.26)

Note: They were first called “Christ-ian” there

VI. Conclusion – Discussion questions:

  • How are you most encouraged?
  • How is Christ modeled to you?
  • How are you effectively taught?
  • How do we do that for others?


“The Living Church” series – Part 19 (5/31/20)

Acts 11:1-18 “Telling the Truth”

Intro: The pressure was on Peter to give an account of what happened in Caesarea with Cornelius and his household. His options were to tell the truth or not.

I. Peter Recounted the Events Orderly (v.1-7)

A. Peter explained without attacking those in Jerusalem and their limited understanding.

B. Peter avoided the smaller point that’s less productive (emotions/distraction)

C. Peter’s message was coherent and purposeful-God is a God of order (I Corinthians 14:33,40, Titus 1:5

Point for us: We must strive to communicate orderly truth and maintain orderly conduct

II. Peter Told an Honest Story

A. He admitted his shortcomings (v.8)

B. He was challenged by the threat of their rejection-maybe even division in the church

C. He was challenged by the reality that his story would change the status quo

Point for us: We must be willing to give an honest testimony of our experiences, journey, and questions.

III. Peter was Open to God’s Leading (v.16-18)

A. He went back to the foundational words of Jesus (v.16)

B. He kept proper perspective of God’s authority

  • He was learning to hold tradition loosely
  • A big step for Peter which he continued to struggle with later

C. His obedience silenced the critics and glorified God

Point for us: We must be open to God’s leading regarding methods, traditions, etc.

IV. Conclusion

Question: “Are you committed to telling the truth?”


“The Living Church” series – Part 18 (5/24/20)

Acts 9:32-10:48 “It was Always About the Kingdom”

Note: (covered 10:1-8 last week)

Intro: There has been a steady progression in Luke’s narrative of the church since the resurrection of the church:

  • The church was established in Jerusalem but soon dispersed under persecution
  • Samarian people hear the gospel and are saved (mixed race group)
  • An Ethiopian heard the gospel and was saved (another race)
  • Saul of Tarsus encounters Christ and is saved (an enemy of the gospel)

Peter then goes to Lydda and Joppa where God does miraculous work: READ 32-43

And he ends up staying with Simon the Tanner (who is an unclean Jew because of carcass handling)

At this point, it still appears that the church is going to be a Jewish organization and God will allow various people & groups to join, however God’s plan was always bigger:

Read 10:1-48

3 points about the bigger picture:

I. God is not Limited to our Definitions and Expectations

A. Joshua – (Joshua 5:13-15 – neither side even though chosen people/Godly leader)

B. Framing – We naturally try to frame spiritual reality with “Who’s side are you on God?”

C. Timeline – He moved the church out of Jerusalem very quickly

II. Our Pride can Cause Resistance to God

A. (v.14) Peter’s refusal – “I” can be a dangerous pronoun

B. (v.28) Pride can lead to prejudicial thinking

C. (v.28) God will correct our thinking if we let Him, “God has shown me”

D. (v.29) God will use us if we’re willing, “How can I help?”

III. The Gospel has Always Been About the Kingdom

A. From the beginning, John the Baptizer and Jesus preached the “Kingdom of Heaven”

B. From the beginning, the family of faith was meant for “all people” (Jesus’ statement at the cleansing of the Temple)

C. Galatians 3:26-29 Gives us the completed big picture

IV. Conclusion

Question: “What are your Kingdom expectations?”


“The Living Church” series – Part 17 (5/17/20)

Acts 10:1-8 “Never Judge a Man by His Appearance”

Note: 9:32-43 (will be reviewed & connected to next week)

Intro for today: (personal story of a friend’s appearance)

  • There is a powerful principle given to us in I Samuel 16:7 when Samuel was looking at the sons of Jesse for a new king to anoint, “For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
  • Jesus further built on this truth by identifying the heart as more important than appearances

Read 10:1-8

I. Cornelius on the Outside Represented What the Old Peter Despised

A. Ethnically – Gentile (Italian Cohort-“Italian Roman”)

B. Politically – Roman occupier

C. Positionally – Commander of Roman soldiers- “Centurion”

Note: A typical Roman ‘centurio’ as described by Vegetius of the 4th Century,

“The centurion in the infantry is chosen for his size, strength and dexterity in throwing his missile weapons and for his skill in the use of his sword and shield; in short for his expertness in all the exercises. He is to be vigilant, temperate, active and readier to execute the orders he receives than to talk; strict in exercising and keeping up proper discipline among his soldiers, in obliging them to appear clean and well-dressed and to have their arms constantly rubbed and bright.”

(as quoted by Carlos Marcelo Shaferstein, Historian)

  1. Socially – He lived in Caesarea Maritima (a monument port city built by Herod the Great to honor Caesar which represented Jewish compromise and Roman paganism)

However, (as I Samuel 16:7 teaches), that is not what God saw:

II. Cornelius on the Inside Represented What God Values

A. (v.2) Devout – a description of sincerity

B. (v.2) Feared God – a professional combat soldier, but feared God.

  • Like Acts 9:31 & Proverbs 9:10 he acknowledged God for Who He truly is
  • Godly fear produces a realization of our need for Him and pride lowers

C. (v.2) W/ his household – He led others to embrace the One True God (in a pagan context)

D. (v.2) He gave alms (gifts) – he was generous with his resources

E. (v.2) Prayed to God always – he was a man of purposeful prayer

III. Cornelius was a Man God Heard

A. (v.3) The angel called him by name – God knows us individually

B. (v.4) His prayers were documented – God is aware of our prayer and petitions

C. (v.6) His prayers were answered – God responded to his sincere petition (even though he was a gentile Roman Centurion)

IV. Conclusion


  • What do you consider most in others?
  • What do you focus on for yourself?


“The Living Church” series – Part 16 (5/10/20)

Acts 9:26-31 “A Quiet Strength” (Mother’s Day)

Intro: Mothers embody a quiet strength. As the story of Saul pauses in Luke’s narrative, there is a summary of the church that reflects a similar quiet strength:

Read 9:26-31

Based on verse 31, let’s consider 5 components of quiet strength:

I. A Quiet Strength is Peaceful

A. There is the peace of Christ on the inside (John 14:27)

B. There is a seeking of peace on the outside (Romans 12:18)

(a person of peace)

II. A Quiet Strength Builds Others Up

A. Quiet strength recognizes Christ as Cornerstone/Builder (I Peter 2:4-5)

B. Quiet strength focuses on the individual (I Thess. 5:11)

C. Quiet strength is done in love (I Corinthians 8:1)

III. A Quiet Strength Walks in the Fear of the Lord

A. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (Prov.9:10)

B. The fear of the Lord is the substance of Godly courage – (consider Moses, Joshua, and Nehemiah)

IV. A Quiet Strength Draws Comfort From the Holy Spirit

A. Through His reassuring presence in our heart

B. Through His guiding of our thoughts (2 Cor. 10:4-5)

V. A Quiet Strength Influences Others

(They were multiplied)

A. Individuals

B. Family

C. Extended family

D. Friends of family

E. Vocational

F. Synergy in the Church

VI. Conclusion

Question: Are you person of quiet strength? Are you influencing others in it?


“The Living Church” series – Part 15 (5/3/20)

Acts 9:1-25 “Chosen to Serve”

Intro: The Lord does as He pleases and it pleased Him to meet up with Saul of Tarsus to change his life and the lives of many others as a result.

Read 9:1-25

4 parts of the process for Saul:

I. The Lord Confronted Saul

A. Saul was on a mission

  • He genuinely thought he was weeding out heresy
  • He didn’t listen to his own mentor (Acts 5:33-40)

B. Saul was a “chosen” vessel

  • “Chosen” is a term that connotates favor toward the vessel
  • This means it was motivated by love-not just strategic or practical

C. Jesus considered aggression against the Church as against Him personally (Why do you persecute Me?)

Note: Application for us is that sometimes the Lord must confront us for our own good and He does it out of love.

II. The Lord Redirected Saul

A. “Arise and go” – limited information is often God’s way

B. 3 days blind – Saul put in a position of deep contemplation & waiting

C. The Lord then provided information and confirmation (Ananias)

Note: Sometimes the Lord must redirect us to be more effective. In the process there may be some days of “blindness” while waiting for information and confirmation.

III. The Lord Connected Saul

A. First, with Ananias as an individual connection

B. Second, with the Church (universal) through baptism (v.18)

C. Third, with the fellowship of believers (v.19)

Note: The Lord connects us on purpose. We must be willing to follow His lead and be connected to the people He brings. Church connection needs to be for the right reasons, not superficial or consumeristic ones.

IV. The Lord Empowered Saul

A. He was empowered to speak (v.22)

B. He was empowered with knowledge (v.22 & 24)

C. He was empowered to escape (v.25 – w/ help of others)

Note: The Lord empowers us for His work. We are beneficiaries of the empowerment, but it is for His glory!

V. Conclusion

Question: Has the Lord ever confronted you? Redirected you? Connected you? Empowered you? How and why?


“The Living Church” series – Part 14 (4/26/20)

Acts 8:26-40 “The Communication of Faith”

Intro: Communicating faith and Biblical truth can be intimating. Questions come to mind like:

  • What if I say something wrong?
  • What I’m asked a question I can’t answer?
  • What if it damages our relationship?

In Acts 8, we have the record of Philip (who was one of the original 7 deacons) teaching in Samaria, who was suddenly enlisted to go talk to someone:

Read 8:26-40

3 things about communicating faith and scripture:

I. We Must Follow the Holy Spirit’s Lead

(although an angel did the talking, it was God orchestrating)

A. Philip received no reason or explanation as to why (and it was a physical journey, not like after), but he went

B. The ministry he was doing in Samaria was both successful and promising (compared to a desert road with little to no people on it)

C. He was instructed to overtake the chariot as just the right time

II. We Must Speak God’s Word

There are several reasons why it’s important to be focused on the Word:

A. It is the foundation of faith – Romans 10:17 says, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

B. (v.35a) Philip started where he was at in his question

C. (v.35b) Philip “preached Jesus” to him – focused on Christ and His work

D. The word is to always be the points of reference (II Thessalonians 2:15)

(faith, relationships, politics, parenting, vocation)

III. We Must be Patient While God Produces the Fruit

A. God was already at work in the Eunuch’s life

B. God used the words of Philip to “connect-the-dots” of faith

C. The Eunuch is who asked for the chariot to stop for baptism (not Philip)

D. Remember the important balance – patience shouldn’t be to the point of not speaking, or speaking too much without patience

Trust the Lord with the balance!

IV. Conclusion

 Question: Which is the hardest part of the three:

  • Following the Spirit?
  • Speaking the word?
  • Being patient for the results?
  • Why?


“The Living Church” series – Part 13 (4/19/20)

Acts 8:4-25 “The Center of Faith”

Intro: As the church grew, things began to happen that help us understand much of what happens in our own time regarding genuine faith.

Read 8:4-25

I. There is Word-Centered Faith

(Remember how John began His gospel account-John 1)

A. It is an articulation of the Truth of Jesus: (like dot-to-dot) (v.4-6)

B. It is a receiving of the Truth of Jesus (John 4:41)

C. It produces joy from having learned the Truth of Jesus (v.8)

D. It results in a life lived according to the Truth of Jesus

However, as we see in the scriptures, we need to be aware of two other kinds as well:

II. There is Works-Centered Faith

A. Emotional ascent is temporary – consider (read) John 6:48-66

  • There was energy
  • There was hope
  • There was a crowd
  • Hard teaching thinned them out (and Jesus didn’t apologize)

B. Effort falls short – Galatians 1:6-9

  • From the beginning there were those peddling a works-based system
  • A “gospel” that includes additional requirements is heresy
  • A “gospel” that excludes repentance/faith exclusively in Christ is heresy

III. There is World-Centered Faith

(Simon is an example)

A. It accommodates pride (v.9-10)

  • There was the self-promotion
  • There was the “being heeded”

B. It accommodates envy (v.23)

  • There no longer was a “heeding” of him
  • There no longer was a crowd following him

C. It accommodates worldly values (v.23)

  • Simon was chained to habitual wrong (bound by iniquity)
  • Simon was fearful, but not repentant
  • According to early church father writings, Simon became the foundation of several heresies

IV. Conclusion

(recap) There is:

Word-centered faith

Works-centered faith

World-centered faith

Question: What do you see as the primary differences between the three?


“The Living Church” series – Part 12 (3/29/20)

Acts 8:1-15 “God is in Control”

Intro: Story – Someone once said when you bring home a baby, you bring home a little dictator! Yes, it seems we come into the world wanting to control! We say the words sometimes “God is in Control”, but what does that mean in practical life? Here are a few thoughts regarding the early church in Jerusalem and how it relates to us and daily challenges:

Read 8:1-15,

II. There are Events Outside of our Control

Things were going great in the church at Jerusalem before ch.6v8 (probably felt like it would always be that way!)

A. For them: Political/Temple leadership arrangement was not of their choosing

B. For them: God had foreordained the reduction of Jerusalem’s influence

  • Its reduction meant the gospel to Samaria and others was providential (John 4)
  • Its reduction meant new leaders stepping up (like Philip) was also providential

C. Application for us: Very little in life will remain constant and static – life is dynamic (story of a “dynamo” making power – harness the power of the flow)

Remember: God is in control of events…

  • Abraham – God laid out the next 400 years to him
  • Joseph – His trials were outside his control but completely in God’s
  • Moses – God’s judgement on Egypt was the bigger picture
  • Jesus – He was in the boat all along with the disciples during the storm (but was always in control-spoke peace into the storm, Mark 4:35)

II. There are People Outside of our Control

A. For them: Peers such as the Synagogue of the Freedmen and Stephen (Ch.6)

B. For them: Authorities such as High Priest and Saul (his actions were a direct attempt to control the situation even though his mentor Gamaliel had advised against it)

C. Application for us: People make choices that can affect themselves (and us)

Remember: God is in control of people…

  • Abraham – could not control Lot’s choices
  • Joseph – Brothers, Potiphar’s wife, fellow prisoner forgetting him
  • Moses – The people rebelling and complaining, the 10 spies spreading doubt
  • Jesus – Lies, schemes, abandonment, (but He was always in control)

III. Time is Outside of our Control

A. For them: the timeline of the church was on God’s schedule

B. For them: more time for Stephen would have made strategic sense/been desired

C. Application for us: We often don’t understand God’s timing because we cannot see the bigger picture as He does

Remember: God is in Control of time…

  • Abraham – waiting period for Isaac (tried to facilitate the prophecy w/Hagar)
  • Joseph – perfect timing for famine preparation/provision
  • Moses – 40 years waiting in the desert before the bush encounter
  • Jesus – He waited, moved and ministered specifically by the Father’s timeline

Two take-aways:

  1. Attempting to maintain control of events and people can be very problematic (Abraham, Saul, Peter)
  2. Hope is built on the truth that God is in control
  • He is with you “in the storm”
  • He is aware of the people and even providentially uses them
  • He knows waiting is tough but asks us to trust in the meantime
  • Romans 8:28 really is true…”for those who love God and are called according to His purpose”

Question: What have you learned about trusting that God is truly in control?


“The Living Church” series – Part 11 (3/22/20)

Acts 6:8-15, 7:54-60 “Determined Purpose”

Intro: There is a local man who walks to McDonald’s every day at the same time whether it’s sunny, raining, hot, cold, or storming. It absolutely does no matter what the weather is, he leaves at the same time. We see him on our school commute each day (before the virus intermission). He has what I call “Determined Purpose”. Yes, it may be just a trip to get coffee, but the idea is that he has predetermined that he is going…period.

Read 6:8-15, (story/recap Stephen’s sermon), 7:54-60

In consideration of Stephen, 3 things about determined purpose for the follower of Christ:

I. Determine to be Faithful

A. Be led by the Spirit (6:3) (yielding to His lead)

B. Walk by faith (6:3) (forward movement, live action)

C. Demonstrate good character (6:3) (building a reputation over time)

D. Commit ahead of time (like the guy walking, conditions are irrelevant)

II. Determine to be Truthful

A. Seek wisdom of the Lord, not man (6:10)

B. Speak of what you know to be true (which is enough 7:1-53)

C. Be mindful ahead of time:

  • There will be dishonest people (6:11)
  • Your words can/will be twisted (6:13)
  • Conviction always produces something (7:54)

III. Determine to be Graceful

A. Seek a “settled peace” based on Christ in you (6:15)

B. Look to Jesus for reassuring power (7:55-56)

C. Be an agent of forgiveness (7:60)

Being faithful is determining to make the walk…every day.


  1. What do you consider the hardest of the “determines”?
  2. What helps you overcome the challenges?


“The Living Church” series – Part 10 (3/8/20)

Acts 6:1-7 “Three Values of the Jerusalem Church”

Intro: Political mailers and ads often tout “values”. Conservative, traditional, small town, etc. to convey an idea about the personal character of the candidate. When we consider the early church, what were some of its values? In other words, what did they value most in their practice of faith? Let’s consider that question with verses 1-7 of chapter 6.

Read Acts 5:1-7

I. They Valued People (v.1)

A. There was significance in the church taking care of widows

  • The ancient world was generally very cruel to widows (but the church cared for them)
  • There was a mix of both local Jews (traditional Hebrew culture) and Hellenized (Greek speaking and culturally different) widows

B. Division is a constant danger (subtle and slow at times)

C. There was healthy respect for the Hellenist’s concerns

  • The Apostles didn’t ignore their grievance
  • The Apostles didn’t overreact
  • The Apostles acknowledged the problem instead of denying or deflecting

II. They Valued Ministry

A. They recognized the practical part of ministry

  • Ministry happens where we actually live
  • Ministry involves routine things (like bread)

B. They recognized the spiritual part of ministry (v.24)

  • They didn’t lessen their commitment to the Word
  • They didn’t neglect spending time in prayer

C. They recognized the need to prioritize both which brought balance and synergy

III. They Valued Disciple-making

A. They sought leaders from among the people (v.3 & 5)

B. They established qualifications

  • Good reputation
  • Full of the Holy Spirit
  • Wise
  • Which is further built on in 1 Timothy 3:8-13

C. They recognized and commissioned them with the laying on of hands (v.6)

D. The delegated ministry to them

IV. Conclusion

The values of the church at Jerusalem spoke for them. With priests coming to join (v.7b), the atmosphere must have been welcoming and compelling.

Question: “What values are being communicated by your life?”


“The Living Church” series – Part 9 (3/1/20)

Acts 5:12-42 “This Life”

Intro: I recently saw the beginning of a George Washington biography and unfortunately is a victim of history “revisionism”. It was an example of “deconstructing” the facts and writings and putting them back together to form a modern interpretation with an agenda driven narrative. For example, it’s problematic for a commentator to make pointed statements starting with “He was thinking…” or “He thought…”, without a letter, journal entry, speech or other form of expression to substantiate it. The study and interpretation of historical figures cannot be separated from their context. With the events of the early church in Jerusalem, it’s important (as with all scripture) to be aware of both the scriptural and literal contexts. One such teaching was Matthew 13:3-9, 18-23 (read) and with that parable in mind, let’s read the first portion of text for today:

Read Acts 5:12-32

In the middle of a jailbreak story, we get an insight into their approach to “this life” (v.20)

I. They Were Teaching Holistically (v.20)

A. They taught the big, complete picture

B. They scattered the same seed to everyone

C. “Greater Jerusalem” represents the first two groups (Matthew verses 19-20)

  • Seed on wayside soil
  • Seed on stony soil

II. They Were Focused on Obedience (v.29)

A. Temple leadership was like the thorn-filled soil

B. In the beginning, they engaged Jesus (at 12 years old an early ministry)

C. They even agreed with Gamaliel and took a wait and see attitude

D. Thorns grew and choked out any possibility of truly appreciating/receiving the gospel for what it is (and the messengers that carried it)

  • Jesus described it as “the cares of this world” and the “deceitfulness of riches”
  • They had heard the truth clearly from Jesus/disciples and witnessed miraculous power, but the “thorns” choked it out.

III. They Were Empowered by the Holy Spirit (v.32)

A. The good soil involves obedience

  • Peter connected obedience to themselves (v.29)
  • And to “this life” of following Christ (v.32)

B. We are surrounded by all four soils (that’s our context)

C. Obedience like v.29 is to be our approach

IV. Conclusion

Be consistent in sowing the seed. The soil is what makes the difference, so don’t get too distracted by what the crop is/isn’t.


“The Living Church” series – Part 8 (2/23/20)

Acts 5:1-11 “The Ways of Pride”

Intro: Personal story of a symptom of pride

Today we’re looking at a shocking moment in the Jerusalem church that highlights the reality of pride:

Read Acts 5:1-11

I. Pride is a Schemer (v.4)

A. There was premeditation (under no obligation or command to sell the land and give the money)

B. They recognized an opportunity for recognition (Barnabas 3:35-37)

C. They envisioned an end result focused on themselves (honored as charitable, etc.)

II. Pride is a Liar (v.4)

A. There was dishonesty with the church and the leaders

More importantly,

B. There was dishonesty with God

III. Pride is a Resister

A. There was an opportunity to tell the truth or a lie (v.4)

B. There was a “doubling down” (v.8) (dug in the heels)

IV. Pride is a Betrayer

A. Ultimately the truth comes out (v.9)

B. The church was shocked back to reality and the real possibility that sin can be present within the fellowship (v.5 & 11)

C. The “Law of the Harvest” always proves true (Galatians 6:7-10)

D. “And let us not grow weary in doing good” (Gal. 6:9)

V. Conclusion


  • Pride is a sneaky nasty thing
  • It can show up unexpected and in unexpected ways
  • Remember the Law of the Harvest…sow good seeds


“The Living Church” series – Part 7 (2/16/20)

Acts 4:23-37 “Strength under Control” (the concept of “praus”)

Intro: Personal story of motorcycles and power under control

Read Acts 4:23-37

Today we’re considering the reality that the early church leaders were empowered by the Holy Spirit to do great signs and miracles, but they did not seek to wield it for personal glory or revenge:

I. They Acknowledged God

A. They acknowledged His supremacy (v.24 “You are God”)

B. They acknowledged His authority (v.24 “Maker of everything”)

C. They acknowledged His Sovereignty (v.28 “whatever Your hand”)

II. They Asked for God’s Help

A. They admitted vulnerability (v.29)

B. They affirmed service the Lord (v.25-27 – models of David and Jesus)

C. They demonstrated faith (v.30)

D. They prayed for boldness to speak the Name in the face of threats (v.29)

E. They gave witness to the Lord and directed attention to Him (v.33)

III. They Lived in Grace

A. Grace was upon them from the Lord (v.33)

B. Grace was shown to one another (v.32)

C. Grace was evident to others (v.34-37)

IV. Conclusion


  • Are feeling intimidated?
  • Are you struggling with fear?
  • Are you tempted to react in your own power?
  • Remember, strength under control is God’s way…seek the Holy Spirit’s empowering to act, speak, and respond in His power.


“The Living Church” series – Part 6 (2/9/20)

Acts 4:1-22 “Facing an Unfair Audience”


  • So far in the narrative of the church, things have been going fine (people responding to the gospel, lives changed, Holy Spirit working, miracles and signs)
  • Then out-of-nowhere trouble showed up
  • They were singled out and put at a disadvantage

Read Acts 3:1-26

Today we’re considering three encouraging points when facing an unfair audience:

I. We Can Have Confidence in the Truth

A. Peter communicated the real truth of the gospel (v.12)

B. Peter presented the present reality as it really was (v.10)

  • “You crucified Jesus and God raised Him from the dead”
  • “It is in His name this man was healed”
  • There was no softening of the facts in order to be more diplomatic

C. Peter pointed out the truth of prophecy (v.11)

D. Peter echoed Jesus about the exclusivity of the gospel (v.12, John 14:6)

II. We Can Have Boldness from our Relationship with Jesus

A. Peter simply connecting-the-dots speaking in the same way Jesus modeled it (v.13) not sophisticated philosophy

B. They were “found out” to be simple fishermen “who had been with Jesus”

C. They had moved beyond the fear of being looked down upon by the Temple leadership and were comfortable with who they were (no more talk of pride-filled glory in a new political kingdom)

III. We Can Rely on the Purity of the Message

A. We are to speak of “what we know” (like Peter)

B. There are many confirmations for one willing to look (such as people glorifying God and evidence of a beggar’s changed life v.21-22)

C. There will always be the ones who refuse to accept/submit (and winning a debate with them will not cause them to surrender and accept the message-speak the truth in love and let the results be what they are)

IV. Conclusion

Questions: “Are you confident in the truth? Bold in your relationship with Jesus? Relying on the purity of the message?”


“The Living Church” series – Part 5 (2/2/20)

Acts 3:1-26 “Giving of What We Have”

Intro: Last week we considered some of the take-aways from the Jerusalem church. Next is the story of a generous act, but not in the sense of what was expected. Let’s take a look:

Read Acts 3:1-26

I. There was a Need

A. An obvious physical need

B. A less obvious spiritual need

C. Along with a social need

D. There are a variety of needs all around us

II. There was an Opportunity

A. It was a routine day – “a typical Tuesday”

B. It was familiar surroundings (including the beggar who was a daily presence)

C. It was a divine appointment (God takes routine moments and makes them extraordinary!)

III. There was a Willingness

A. A willingness to notice him

B. A willingness to identify the source of power

C. A willingness to act without knowing the full outcome ahead of time

IV. There was a Change

A. Physical healing (like the beggar sometimes)

B. Spiritual healing (the primary need)

C. Change in others as a ripple effect

V. Conclusion

Questions: “What do you have to give? And how can you give it?”


“The Living Church” series – Part 4 (1/26/20)

Acts 2:40-47 “7 Timeless Take-aways from the Jerusalem Church”

Intro: “The difference between descriptive texts and prescriptive texts”

Read Acts 2:40-47

I. There was Preaching of a Complete Gospel (v.40)

  • Testified to the real story (v.14-39)
  • Exhorted, challenged and offered a chance to respond
  • Challenged them to separate to a new way of life

II. There was Public Testimony (v.41)

  • They were publicly immersed as a display of their commitment
  • There were 3,000 at once which means it was not a quiet event in the shadows

III. There was a Healthy Spiritual Balance (v.42)

  • Steadfast commitment
  • Teaching
  • Fellowship
  • Worship (through communion meal)
  • Prayer

IV. There was Validation (v.43)

  • With a confirmation of soul level resonance
  • With a deep sense of spiritual affinity

V. There was Authentication (v.43)

  • Authenticated the Apostles specifically as the leaders
  • Authenticated the message spoken by the Apostles
  • Was the beginning of a pattern to authenticate message and messengers

VI. There was Spirit of Generosity (v.41-45)

  • Context of previous chapters is important (who the people were and that many were sojourners)
  • Temporary situation, not a prescriptive text in the strict sense, but very revealing of their selfless attitudes after conversion

VII. There was Spiritual Harmony (v.46-47)

Harmony was produced by:

  • People that were full of gladness
  • People with an attitude of simplicity (humility)
  • People eager to give God praise

VIII. Conclusion

My Prayer for us this week is to reflect all 7:

  • Preaching of a complete gospel message with our life and words
  • Living a public testimony of Christ in us
  • Having spiritual balance
  • To be validated by the Holy Spirit
  • To be authenticated by the Holy Spirit to others
  • To have generosity
  • To live in harmony because of lives that are full of gladness, simplicity and praise


“The Living Church” series – Part 3 (1/19/20)

Acts 2:14-39 “The True Gospel”

Intro: Pick a major person or event from history. The facts of their life or the event are what they are, whether known or not. In other words, there is only one set of facts, regardless of whether the correct information is told, or even known. What actually happened, is what really happened. Telling the story of the gospel and the early church is the same way. The true gospel of Jesus; which are the facts of His life, death, burial, resurrection, ascension, establishment of the church, and sending of the Holy Spirit happened as they did, and communicating a true version is relating a biblically accurate one (not a loose or edited one).

Read Acts 2:14-39

I. The True Gospel is Doctrinal

A. Built on the foundation of the old Testament (v.16-21, v. 25-28, v.34-35)

B. Facilitated by the scripture:

“So then faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” – Romans 10:17 NKJV

II. The True Gospel is Historical

A. Jesus’ life on Earth divided time (even if modern historians try to change the reference to a non-Jesus acronym like B.C.E. etc.)

B. Jesus’ accomplished mission launched the church

III. The True Gospel is Transformational

A. The example of Peter

B. The new beginning (2 Corinthians 5:14-17)

C. The on-going transformation (sanctification) (Ephesians 5:8-21)

IV. The True Gospel is Available

A. It’s an open call (for now) (v.21, v.39, John 3:16)

B. It’s a personal call (Romans 10:9-10)

V. Conclusion

Questions: “What is the Gospel to you? How do you describe it to others?”


“The Living Church” series – Part 2 (1/12/20)

Acts 1:15-2:13 “4 Ways the Church is Empowered”

Intro: “Wireless”

  • Wireless listening devices (personal story)
  • They are enabled to do their work (playing music, voice by the base unit)
  • Holy Spirit enables us in the same way to produce something as ones “connected” and empowered

Before reading the text, there are a couple of points of interest:

  • Story of choosing Matthias
  • Description and context of Passover, crucifixion, resurrection, Offering of First Fruits in the Law of Moses, 40 days, ascension, Feast of Weeks in the Law of Moses (Pentecost-Hellenistic “50 days”)
  • Pentecost Feast was on a Sunday-The Lord’s Day

Read Acts 2:1-13

4 ways the church is empowered:

I. There is Empowerment Beyond Natural Limitations (v.4)

A. Holy Spirit’s filling included all disciples (not just the 11 or most likely) (v.3)

B. Other languages – unique and specifically the listeners heard in their own first language, not a common one like Greek, Latin or Aramaic

II. There is Empowerment of Unlikely People (v.7)

A. Their heritage: Galileans were known as uneducated, less sophisticated, at times rough and rebellious

B. Completely without position or official recognition

III. There is Empowerment for God’s Glory (v.11)

A. True empowering from the Holy Spirit directs glory to God (not the messenger)

B. True empowering identifies God’s involvement and goodness

IV. There is Empowerment that Prompts Reactions

A. Many reacted by seeking answers (v.12) (as many will do today when presented truth)

B. Some reacted by mocking what they didn’t understand (v.13) (as many still do today)

V. Conclusion

Questions: “Are we empowered?” Constrained by our natural limits? Feel unlikely? Remember, it for His glory and expect various reactions


“The Living Church” series – Part 1 (1/5/20)

Acts 1:1-14 “3 Ways the Church was Established in Power”

Intro: 40 days with someone is long enough for the opportunity to have many good conversations. 40 days ago, it was the day the before Thanksgiving. Imagine having an important quest with you since then and every day was committed to having meals together and engaging in conversation. That was the case for the disciples and the time spent with Jesus between the resurrection and the ascension was powerful, encouraging, enlightening, affirming and necessary. Jesus didn’t leave the disciples to simply figure it out to preach a half-baked gospel. He spent weeks with them to answer questions, share new information, ease fears, correct misunderstandings, forgive sin, restore confidence and give guidance.

When we read Luke’s account of the origin of the Church, it’s the story of a unified fellowship moving forward (without all the future details) with a confidence in the Savior.

Read Acts 1:1-14

3 ways the church was established in power:

I. The Power of Jesus’ Resurrection

A. Proof of life (v.3)

  • 40 days of physical presence and seen by many (including 500 at one time-I Cor. 15:6)
  • Debunked false story of body theft being spread by Jewish leadership
  • Coupled with the fact that Romans proved He was dead by a spear to the lungs/heart, resurrection was undeniable

B. Proof of payment (Luke 24:44-49) His death fit all the specifications to meet the Law’s requirements (Paid in full)

C. Proof of a new body (I Cor. 15:50-58 – Last Adam, firstborn of the grave)

Power over sin and death achieved!

II. The Power of the Holy Spirit (v.7-8)

A. The Holy Spirit changes us

  • Initially in salvation transformation
  • On-going in sanctification

B. The Holy Spirit convicts of sin (John 16:5-15)

  • The Lost to be saved
  • Th Saved to be obedient

C. The Holy Spirit guides (John 16:5-15)

  • In truth
  • Only according the Father
  • Points glory to the Son (according the Father’s plan)

Power of the Holy Spirit’s presence and ministry!

III. The Power of the Message

(The job of a witness is to tell the truth of what they observed, did, etc., not to be creative and try to fill in the blanks)

Based on the early church’s example and the scriptural mandate:

A. We are to be witnesses of the scripture record

  • Not getting creative by “reading between the lines”
  • Not attempting to “fill in the blanks”
  • Not adjusting the text to be more palatable to a sinful culture
  • Not pulling verses from context to support non-connected points
  • Witnesses to the Biblical record!

B. We are to be witnesses to a changed life/active faith

  • Your personal story of faith and what Jesus has done in your life
  • Your personal story of on-going life as a believer (not glossed over, but an honest one)

C. We are to be witnesses to a future hope (Colossians 1:24-29) “Christ in us the hope of glory!”)

D. We are to be witnesses wherever we go as God expands the kingdom through us

  • Like He did with the early church (He orchestrated the process)
  • He does the same with us (guiding out steps)

Power of a message that changes lives!

IV. Conclusion

Question: “Is there power in your life?” If you have been transformed by Christ, then:

  • Prayerfully consider the power that lives in you (Holy Spirit)
  • Prayerfully consider the power of the message that changed you and can change others


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