Distinguishing Marks of the Infant Christian Church (Acts 2:42-47)

Acts 2:42-47

Who does not like a good photograph? Photographs capture the special times in life, the birthdays, weddings, and moments that crystalize what is important in life. Though cameras were yet to be invented at the birth of the infant Christian Church, Luke, the author of the Book of Acts, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, wrote down words that give us photographs of that church. The widest angle shot appears in Acts 2:42-47, after Peter’s Pentecost sermon. There we see what the church was doing in those early years. Those happenings represent what the one, true church has always been.

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We are all like Judas but do not need to share his fate (Acts 1:15-10)

Acts 1:15-20

The philosopher Alasdair McIntyre once said that for something to make sense it needs to be put into the context of a story. So many of our disagreements today stem from arguments over what the real story is. The Bible offers us a story that can be counted on, one that makes sense of the world we live in. This story can be trusted because it comes from God.

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What if only prayer can fix this? (Acts 1:12-14)

Acts 1:12-14

Prior to the day of Pentecost, Jesus’ disciples committed themselves to prayer in an upper room (Acts 1:12-14). Jesus told his disciples to wait in Jerusalem until they received the gift God the Father had promised (Acts 1:4). Never underestimate the power of prayer. God has many times used the prayers of his people to accomplish great things.

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Jesus told his disciples to wait (Acts 1:1-5)

Acts 1:1-5

At his ascension, Jesus told his followers, “…wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about (Acts 1:4).”

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Choosing the Good (Psalm 10)

Psalm 10

Hannah was one of the sweetest young ladies you ever could meet. She was bright and smart, graduating the top of her class in college. Upon graduating, she took a job at a non-profit that specialized in helping impoverished families. With her grades and newly minted credentials, she could have chosen a more lucrative career. Money, however, did not motivate Hannah. Her heart was warm and compassionate. She wanted to help those less fortunate than herself.

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Little People in a Big Universe (Psalm 8)

Psalm 8

When David penned the words, “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers,

the moon and the stars…(Psalm 8:3),” he did not know just how big those dots of light in the night sky were. Galileo had not yet used the telescope to observe the sky.

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Arise, O Lord, said David (Psalm 7)

Psalm 7

“Arise, LORD, in your anger,” “a God who displays his wrath every day,” “he makes ready his flaming arrows.” You might not expect to find those words in the Bible. Yet, they are the words of David when his enemies pursued his life for unjust reasons. (Psalm 7)

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The Sign of Jonah (Luke 11:29-32)

Luke 11:29-32

The greatest of human arts cannot compete with the theater of nature. No human artist has ever been able to top the beauty of a flower. No human-made scent can outdo the fresh smell of a forest in the spring. A skyscraper looks merely mechanical when compared with a mighty oak tree. God’s multi-sensory handiwork surrounds us.  

Now look at humanity. Does any other creature possess the ingenuity and plasticity of the human mind? Can an ant take apart genetic material and put it back together to make a vaccine? Can an aardvark explore, learn, imagine, dream, and envision a future and make that vision a reality like human’s can? God stamped his image on humanity in a way he did not with any other creature.

People often ask for a sign to show them God exists. But look around, the signs are everywhere.

The Jews of Jesus’ day asked him for a sign to validate that he was who he said he was (Luke 11:29). How obstinate could they have been? He has surrounded us with signs through all the years of our existence. If that were not enough, he cast out demons, calmed storms, turned water into wine, and healed the sick. Yet, still they had the nerve to ask for another.

He responded that the only sign they would receive would be the sign of Jonah. Jonah was an Israelite prophet sent to preach against the wicked city of Nineveh. Jonah did not want to go, but, when God compelled him, the Ninevites repented and believed. People keep asking for a sign, but unless a person repents and believes even the wicked people of Nineveh will stand at the judgement against their obstinance. (Luke 11:29-32)

The late teacher and theologian R.C. Sproul once said: “…unbelief is not an intellectual problem. It is not because there is as paucity of evidence, or that God has not made himself clear: the problem is a moral problem. We don’t want to believe, because we know that if we acknowledge that God-ness of God and the deity of Christ, that means that we must repent, and therein lies our pain and resistance. In spite of a world filled with the light of the majesty of God we shut our eyes and [remain] in darkness.”

Jesus stands before you with arms wide open. Will you open up your eyes to him?

Was Jesus possessed with a demon? (Luke 11:15-26)

Luke 11:15-28

One day after Jesus drove a demon out of a man, some people accused him of casting out demons by Beelzebul, the prince of demons (Luke 11:15).

What was Jesus doing two thousand years ago? Whose side was he playing for? Satan, the prince of demons, or God? If Jesus worked for Satan, he made for a bad employee. At every turn in the road, Jesus diminished Satan’s power rather than strengthened it.

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Lord Teach Us to Pray, Part 8

Luke 11:1-13

We conclude what became an eight-part series on Jesus’ lessons on prayer from Luke 11 with Jesus’ assurances of God’s goodness in responding to our prayers. Jesus gives two basic illustrations to make this point.

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