"...having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end." (John 13:1) Jesus Loved Them!? Ha! They were a ragtag bunch of renegades. Loved them to the end. Knowing what they were doing behind His back and what they would be doing, even knowing what was in their heart. Their past, their present, their future! How do we know Jesus loves us?
It Happened.?! Jesus' resurrection is the single greatest hope-giver. Ever! He has power over death. Even more so, He has the gift of eternal life. It is the singularly unique aspect of the claims of Christianity. The evidence of the resurrection of Jesus demands a verdict that it was true. But, imagine being a little closer to the event. Your life would become controlled by it. You would not be able to get it out of your every waking thought. Unless you were a resurrection denier—your only other choice.
Do you have them? Saul, the man imprisoning the first Christians had a 'come to Jesus' moment and began working for Him instead of persecuting Him. The man given the assignment to pray for and baptize Saul asked God why. The Lord said, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake.” Are you baptized and filled for God's use?
When the 'religious establishments' core beliefs about death are challenged, they attack the church and Believers. Stephen was stoned for his sermon on the unbelief of Israel and his sermon launched the persecution of the emerging church by Saul.
Last week we looked at how the Spirit was establishing the church and how He draws people together. He was doing something miraculous in Acts 4 where people were holding everything in common. Satan decided to use Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5) to corrupt the integrity of the event. HOLD ON TO YOUR SEATS FOR THIS ONE!
The church today doesn’t look like the early church in many ways. Does it matter? What did Jesus say for us to do? Go, Make Disciples, Baptize, Be His Witnesses. He didn’t specify one format or way or structure. He described the spiritual look of it, not the physical.
By studying the way God acted in history, we become attuned to the ways God is active among us today. We must be sensitive to the way the Spirit moves in our midst and in the world to join in the mission. The local church is our home base we start from. It was miraculously born in 30 A.D. and Acts details this exciting time! Come along the journey with us.