The Story Part 28 – New Beginnings
Key Bible Reference: Acts Chapter 2 verses 42 to 47
and verses 44 to 45 .
The Big Idea: To introduce the Kingdom of God and to talk about how Jesus demonstrated the Kingdom and that he calls us to pursue the Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.
Talk Notes and Summary
To listen to the talk online, please click here.
To download the talk, please click here.
At the start of our service we watched a Youtube clip from The Simpsons. You can watch this by clicking here.
The US Department of Justice publish a book called “What to do if your child is missing”. It describes what to do if your child is missing and there are various key points about what you need to do, and one of the key points is this: never stop looking. This is what God does for us he never stops looking.
God has this pursuit plan – the way he keeps looking for us. Starts with a special group of people – the people of Israel who he created to be a light to the world. Then he sends Jesus – this is phase 2 and he was to be the light of the world. Today we discover phase 3 – the church: the body of Jesus.
In the book of Acts in the New Testament part of the Bible we read the story of the first church. You can read about it in Acts chapter 2 verses 42 to 47. Click here to read it.
The massive, diverse, multi cultural crowd of 3,000 believers becomes a community of Jesus followers and Jesus seekers. God is finding his lost children and creating a thriving family. There are no singular pro nouns in this passage; there is no he, she, I, it is all they, everyone, all. The diversity becomes unity by the power of the Holy Spirit.
This is a big challenge to us, because we have an “I” mentality in our society and in the UK church. I like this, I like that, I don’t like this, I don’t like that, I want this, I need that. That attitude is unknown in this church in Jerusalem.
And look what was happening in this church:
• They were together – there was community
• They gave to those who had need – caring
• They ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God – celebrating the goodness of God
• Daily people were being saved – finding God – communication
These things are amazing, I read this and think I want that, I want that. How is that possible – wouldn’t you want it?
The answer is found right at the beginning of the passage in verse 42: they devoted themselves – commitment.
This word devoted meant:
• To continue to do something with intense effort
• To move forward in a particular direction
• To keep going despite difficulties
• To persevere
And by the way those difficulties that they were facing weren’t trite, they weren’t about missing their favourite TV show or giving up some of their free time. Their difficulties were being arrested and thrown into the Roman arena to be mauled by lions or hacked up by gladiators. But they kept going because they had such a vision and experience of what God was doing.
Is our vision of church big enough to inspire us to that kind of commitment? It was for these guys and that in my view is why they saw these incredible things happening.
Questions and reflections (to think about on your own or to discuss in your small group)
1. What would you do if it was your child that had gone missing? How hard would you search? Why?
2. How does it make you feel to know that you are a child of God and he never stops looking for you?
3. What do you think of when you think of the word church? Is that what God and Jesus had in mind?
4. What does it mean that the church is the body of Jesus? What implications does that have for the church?
5. Do you think that the kind of church described in Acts chapter 2 is still possible today, 2000 years later?
6. How does it challenge you to realise that there is no ‘I’ or ‘me’ in the description of the church in Acts 2? Have you ever been guilty of that ‘I’ and ‘me’ kind of thinking when it comes to church?
7. Now that you understand a bit more about that word ‘devotion’ how does it make you feel? What difficulties do you face in giving your full devotion to your local church? How does that compare to the difficulties faced by those first Jesus followers, 2000 years ago?
8. What are you going to do to expand your vision of the church as the body of Jesus? What might that mean for you?