Sermon:  Lack of Acts

Summary:  God will see to it that his purposes are carried out in spite of ourselves, 
whether it be human limitations, aversions, or outright disobedience.  We can be 
faithful and carry out his purposes the joyful way, or be disobedient, and carry them 
out the unjoyful way, as the Jerusalem church did.

Know:  God's purpose has always been that his people be a light to those close by and 
to those far away through the teaching of the Gospel, which is not an impossible task, 
but a rather simple one.

Feel:  Courage and motivation to carry out God's purpose for the Gospel

Do:  Reflect on the aversions we have in sharing the Gospel.  Discuss what Jesus might 
have done if he had chosen out time period and our area to have ministered in.  
Identify ways we personally can carry out Christ's purposes in our lives.

Text:  Acts 1:1-8

Scripture Reading:  Isa 42:6

1.  When Bible tells story of Bible heroes
	a.  Pulls no punches
	b.  Shows all warts and failings of humans
	c.  God is the hero of the story
2.  Did we miss this in Acts?
	a.  Usually characterize Acts as how Apostles obeyed Great Comission
	b.  Look closer, it records their reluctance to obey the Great Comission
	c.  In spite of their reluctance, God saw that his purposes were met

I.  Survey of God Carrying out His Purposes
	A.  Old Testament
		1.  Isa 42:6-7 - God's Servant to be a light to the Nations
		2.  Isa 41:8 - Servant is Israel  
	B.  Gospels
		1.  Lk 2:29-32 - Light of Revelation to the Gentiles
		2.  Ministered in Samaria
			a.  Lk 9:51-55 - Samaritan Village
			b.  John 4 - Woman at the Well in Samaria
		3.  Jesus ministered to Gentiles in Gentile areas
			a.  Lk 8:26 - Geresenes - Demoniac
			b.  Mk 8:9 - Fed 4,000 in the Decapolis - 7 baskets
			c.  Mt 15:21-28 - Tyre & Sidon, Canaanite Woman
			d.  Mt 8:5-13 - Centurion's Servant in Capernaum
			e.  Mt 16:13 - Cesaerea Philippi
				- Found something interesting on this one Wed. eve.
				- Gates of Hades not prevail - Not gates of church
				- Image is of the church storming the gates of Hades
				- Paints the church in offensive rather than defensive 
		4.  Imaging the Disciples reaction
			a.  (Lk 24:21) - Notice what they didn't say
				- Hope for redemption of Israel
				- Didn't say and be a light to the nations
			b.  (Luke 24:45-48)
				- Jesus made his purpose explicit
				- His followers were to be storm troopers
	C.  Book of Acts
		1.  (Acts 1:8) - Jesus gave a plan, go out when receive power
		2.  (Acts 2:5-11) - People from the nations - Did the Apostles go out
			a.  Acts 5:28 - Filled Jerusalem with their teaching
			b.  Acts 6:7 - Number of disciples kept increasing in 
			c.  Did they go any further?  No
		3.  (Acts 8:1) - Scattered through Judea and Samaria, not Apostles
		4.  (Acts 8:4-8) - Phillip (not the Apostle) went to Samaria
			- Acts 8:25 - Peter and John preached in Samaria on the 
			   way back to --- Jerusalem - that's the wrong direction
		5.  Acts 10:9ff - Peter and the sheet of unclean animals, 3 times
			a.  Acts 10:36 - Word which he sent to sons of Israel
			b.  Acts 10:43 - Holy Spirit got Peter to say it - for all who 
			c.  Acts 10:44 - God did something unusual - Holy Spirit fell 
			     on those Gentiles before they were baptized
			d.  (Acts 10:47) - Would Peter have had misgivings on 
			     baptizing a Gentile?  It took this unusual action for Peter 
			     to get it
			e.  Acts 11:1-3, 18 - Jews in Jerusalem objected that Peter 
			     went to the home of a Gentile
	D.  God shifts gears
		1.  NEW APOSTLIC GROUP - Paul and Company
			a.  Did you realize there were other Apostles?
				- Acts 14:14 - Paul and Barnabas
				- Rom 16:17 - Andronicus and Junia
				- Gal 1:19 - James the Brother of Jesus
			b.  Why these other Apostles?  
			c.  It was as if God said - If they won't do it, I'll get someone 
			     who will do it
		2.  A.D. 70 - Jersusalem was Destroyed
			a.  No longer was Christianity centered there
			b.  Tradition says Thomas went to India
			c.  Tradition says Andrew went north of the Black Sea
			d.  Like Acts 8, God had to shake them up 
		3.  Truly the Hero in the Book of Acts is God!

II.  Lesson:  God will carry out his purposes one way or another
	A.  One way - Through our Disobedience
		1.  I don't want God to carry out his purposes through me as he did 
		    Jonah, or Judas
		2.  I'm not going to spend time on this, this is not what we aspire to
	B.  Another Way - Through our Cooperation
		1.  Sometimes God has to shake us up as he did Paul 
			a.  Several of us were shaken up in the last couple week
			b.  I am sure it has changed some of us
				- Some have said it changed how I approach people
				- More attuned to what people really need - Gospel
		2.  God has some significant things over the last 3 years with us
			a.  Among the Kids: LTC, Camp, Service Trip to Arkansas
				- One of the elders in Mountain View wants to do 
				   something more Mission oriented in the future
			b.  Life Groups - God using it to strengthen our spiritual life 
			     and relationships with each other
			c.  And now -- We Care
				- 41 Local people participated in some way
				- 12 teams, 2 hours - Shared Gospel several times
		3.   ILL:  God led us right where he wanted us
			a.   Ray myself and Maya were together
			b.  We nearly walked by Anna's house because of the dog
			c.  She came to the door as we were walking away
			d.  God pushed her out the door and drug us back to her 
		3.  God has given us the tools we need - The Gospel
			a.  Shapes how we do ministry
			b.  Shapes how we work, study, and play
	C.  ILL:  Columbus, NE - Congregation of about 40 people
		1.  Some of the most effective were anything but professionals
			a.  One guy talked so fast because he was nervous
			b.  One of the ladies fumbled with her words and got lost
		2.  Ernest Lomax, a Cadre, God works through him powerfully
			a.  Soft spoken, gentle, loving man
			b.  He is 80 years old!
		3.  In spite of that, God used them to bring people to him
		4.  The Gospel is the power of salvation
			- Not your health, not good looks, not your ability, charisma
	D.  Which will it be for us?
		1.  Like Jesus led the Apostles out of comfort Zone, the Cadre led 
		     many of us out of our comfort zones
		2.  Fortunately for us, God didn't need to use persecution to shake 
		     us up, but used Cadre who are passionate about the Gospel
		3.  We "left Jerusalem" and stormed the streets
			a.  We did what Jesus did
			b.  We have been taking steps to make sure we are not like 
			     the 12 apostles and remained confined

1.  Intent was for Gospel to go to the lost (invitation)
2.  Lack of Acts - That was the 12, and we can learn from them
	- Can carry out God's purposes the hard way or joyful way
3.  Which will it be for us?


Small Group Notes:  Lack of Acts

Summary:  God will see to it that his purposes are carried out in spite of ourselves, whether 
it be human limitations, aversions, or outright disobedience.  We can be faithful and carry 
out his purposes the joyful way, or be disobedient, and carry them out the unjoyful way, 
as the Jerusalem church did.	

Open: (choose one)
- What place do you least like to visit?
- Which communication device describes how you communicate? (example:  chalkboard, 
television. megaphone, telephone, loudspeaker, ear piece, email, etc.)

Explore:  (Lk 24:46-49; Acts 1:1-8)

1.  How might the Apostles have responded emotionally to Jesus words in Luke and Acts?  
Why?  How do their actions throughout their ministry reflect this attitude?

2.  In what ways did Jesus demonstrate to his disciples that he was interested that they reach 
out beyond Judaism with the Good News?  

3.  Since the Apostles seemed content to stay in Jerusalem, how did God ensure that his 
message spread to the world?  What does this say to you about God?

4.  If Jesus were to have come in our time in our area, where might he go and what might he 
do in order to carry out his mission?  Would Jesus have taken a defensive posture or offensive 

5.  The Apostles saw the Gospel in action first hand by witnessing Jesus self-sacrificial love and 
obedience to God for the sake of us, who were lost.  How did/should this shape their vocation, 
friendships, life, ministry, and service?


5.  How should the Gospel shape your vocation, friendships, life, ministry, and service?

6.  What is your emotional reaction as God tells you to go to the lost with the Gospel?  Why?  
If it is a negative reaction, what can you do about it?

7.  Identify ways you can reach out beyond our "Jerusalem" with the Gospel.  How does our We 
Care Training fit into this?


Announcement:  Heartland Area Wide Worship Service is next Sunday Evening at Overland Park.