#ChurchOnMission Series
  • At his ascension, Jesus commissioned his disciples to preach his gospel. That same mission continues today, unbroken and unhindered for almost 2,000 years since. The book of Acts is an encouragement for the church today as Christians contend for the gospel of Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. How did the disciples begin executing the biggest mission in the history of the world? The Bible says that while waiting for the Holy Spirit, they devoted themselves to prayer—they talked to God. The apostles led by following Scripture—through it, God responded. Consequently, the early church experienced success—but not without undergoing failure first. What can we learn from what they did? Join us Sunday ACTS #churchonmission.
1. The Master of the Mission - Christ is the Cornerstone Acts 1:1–11
  • The Church is the body of believers, both local and global, founded on Jesus Christ (God’s Son) and commissioned with proclaiming His true identity to the world.
Talk it Over Discussion Guide 
  • Interpretation - What is the text telling/showing us?
    • Jesus apparently appeared to and spoke with the Apostles a number of times after His resurrection. Verse 3 says He spoke to them about the kingdom of God. Scripture doesn't tell us much about what He said to them. What do you think He might have been teaching them? 
    • Verse 6 tells us that the Apostles were thinking about the restoration of the kingdom to Israel. What were the Apostles referring to? Did the Apostles yet understand about what was to happen and their role in it? What was the meaning of Jesus' answer? 
    • What is the Church of Jesus Christ? Describe it? What is the foundation of the Church? What are the boundaries and make up of the Church? 
    • When He answered their question about the restoration of the kingdom, Jesus gave them instructions. What words might you use to label or describe those instructions? What was to be the role of the Apostles in growing the Church as a result of what Jesus said? 
    • Why were the Apostles told to go back to Jerusalem and wait? What was going to happen and why did Jesus return to heaven?
  • Implementation - What should the listeners response be?
    • Put yourself in the picture with the Apostles talking with Jesus before He ascended. How do you think you would have reacted to His being taken up before your very eyes? 
    • What is our role in the building of the Church? How do Jesus' words to His Apostles apply to us? To you? What does His words mean to you in terms of your purpose in life? As you think about your answer, ask God to impress on you how you should respond in your every day life, and what things you perhaps should be doing differently. Then ask Him for the strength and heart to obey what He reveals to you.
Sermon Teaching Notes (as compiled by Pastor Dick Murphy)
  • Investigation - What's generally going on in this area of scripture?
The book of Acts in the New Testament was written by Luke, the author of the gospel account under his name that Luke, in fact, mentions in Acts 1:1 (the NIV translation says, “In my former book,” and the English Standard Version says, “In the first book.” The New American Standard translation spells it out, saying “The first account I composed ...”) Acts, then, picks up the story of the apostles and what they did to preach the gospel in obedience to Jesus' command to “make disciples” (Matthew 28:19).

Verses 3-11 provide more details of the days when Jesus remained on earth after His resurrection and up to the time of His ascension, and records Jesus' words to His apostles immediately before He ascended. The verses set the stage for what is to come in Luke's account which, more accurately, is called the “Acts of the Apostles.” Luke's purpose in writing Acts seems to be to set forth a history, in literary form, of the establishment and growth of the early church. However, if one considers the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles to be two parts of one work, then it might rightly be said that in his work, Luke seeks to tell, as one commentator puts it, “the story of 'Christian beginnings' ” (I. Howard Marshall, Acts, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries Vol. 5, p. 19).

Luke's account is aimed at both Jewish and Gentile readers in the larger sense, but was specifically composed to provide an “orderly account” (Luke 1:3) of the good news from the coming of Jesus as the Messiah, to and including His death, resurrection and ascension, and after His ascension, the proclamation of the message of salvation in Jesus by His followers starting in Jerusalem and then to Judea, Samaria and the ends of the earth. All the foregoing is to be seen as a continuation of God's mighty acts in history and the fulfillment of prophecy. (see, e.g., Acts 1:7 & 8; 2:16-35; 13:47) Acts is exciting reading as Luke writes with wonderful descriptions of event after event that make the reader feel as if he or she is actually present on the scene. And some accounts (e.g., Acts 20:6-21:25) are even Luke's personal observations and recollections from having been with the Apostle Paul as he traveled and ministered.

In the midst of the riveting accounts, however, is always the message of the gospel with a focus on the resurrection of Jesus (e.g., Acts 17:29-31). And as the book unfolds, it is clear that this message is for all who would come, starting with the Jewish pilgrims from “every nation under heaven” who were in Jerusalem at Pentecost not long after Jesus' ascension (Acts 2:5-12), to the Jews residing in Jerusalem (Acts 2:47; 4:33; 5:42), to people in Judea and Samaria (Acts 8:1, 5), to the Gentiles (Acts 10:44-48), and to all the world (Acts 11:19-21; 13:4-14:28; 15:41-19:41) including Rome itself (Acts 27:1, 28:11-16.)

The book of Acts, then, is what today we would call a “must read” about how the Church of Jesus Christ began. The book does not give us details of how the church should be organized, but rather provides a blueprint for outreach. It teaches us that the mission of the church is the proclamation of the gospel to others everywhere, in the power of God through the leading of the Holy Spirit. It shows us that there will be opposition to the proclamation mission of the Church. Jesus warned of such (John 15:18-21), and the opposition began early on. (Acts 4:1-22) But ultimately, there was – and is – no stopping the expansion of the Kingdom (Matthew 16:18).

As noted above, the first chapter of Acts provides more details of the days when Jesus remained on earth after His resurrection and up to His ascension (Acts 1:1-8), including Jesus' instructions to His apostles immediately before He ascended (Acts 1:7 & 8). Jesus had told them to stay in Jerusalem (Acts 1:4 & 5) and wait for the gift of the Holy Spirit to come. That is what the Apostles did. In Jerusalem, they gathered with the women, Jesus' mother and brothers, and others – a total of about 120 believers (Acts 1:13-15). Together they prayed and waited, and selected one to take the place of Judas among the Apostles.