A. Diagnostic weekend – June 9th-12th.
B. A team of about 7 people will be here to interview as many people from Southside as they can
C. There will be an all-church meeting on Sun, June 12th where an initial oral report will be presented.
D. We’ll be asking a lot of you that weekend to come in for an interview and then attend the all-church meeting to participate in the report.
E. Why study Acts?
- Intro Acts Series: The Gospel Chronicles: How God Shapes and Builds the Church. A Study in the Book of Acts Part 1 – Part 1 (Acts 1-9).
- We will be in Acts 1&2 for the next 3 weeks.
- In addition to the themes covered in the first few chapters of Acts (that Dana spoke about last week), I can think of at least 3 similarities between Acts 1 and SBF…
- The Christ followers were a people in transition…as we’ll see, things didn’t turn out the way they expected.
- In the midst of some anxiety and disappointment, they began to connect the dots and run with a vision they never expected.
- A relatively few people (120) blossomed into a church that reached its full redemptive purpose.
F. 7 Refocusing questions that we will address here at Southside during this transition season:
- Who has God shaped us to be? (Core Values)
- Why do we exist as a church? (Biblical Mission)
- Where is God leading us in the future? (Fresh Vision)
- Whom has God called us to reach? (Ministry Focus)
- Which ministry model best facilitates our vision? (Building authentic community)
- What ministry goals can we believe God for?
- What is our plan for ministry for the next 2-3 years? (Strategic map)
G. What’s a Core Value? An enduring belief, a preferred choice. Core values are the essence of a church’s identity.
- Those few, select distinctives that are non-negotiable.
- Where is Southside’s God-given potential for greatness?
- There is a difference between stated values and practiced values. Stated values are often religious values that people/churches think they should
have. Practiced values are the unique distinctives that a church is actually doing. Practiced values ask the question, “What are we currently doing that has the potential for greatness?”
- There is a difference between implicit values and explicit values. Implicit values are implied values – while they may be clearly formed or articulated, they are not stated. Explicit values are definitive and clearly stated. Churches, with explicit, practiced values know who they are and who they aren’t. All opportunities for ministry are evaluated in the light of God given values, mission, and vision.
H. Today we will look at some of the practiced, implicit values that launched the church in Acts. These implicit values are salted through the first 2 chapters.
I. We can think of it like a football game – we don’t know what play they called in the huddle, but when they run the play we find out what play was called.
A. Implicit Values of Acts (Alternatively known as The Church I Would Join)
1. They were Kingdom Focused — Acts 1:3 (NAS) “To these He also presented Himself alive, after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days, and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God.”
a. The Kingdom of God – Quite simply is: The rule and reign of God.
- The KOG is our destination.
- Jesus established the Kingdom at his first coming and will consummate the Kingdom at his second coming. Jesus reaches into eternity and pulls it into the present – and stakes it into the ground with the Cross. “We live in the presence of the future.” “The already and the not yet.”
- As we live in the presence of the future there is paradox (seeming contradiction). We are saved, but working out our salvation; we are sanctified, yet being sanctified; we are healed yet being healed. It’s both present and future
- One of the most dynamic aspects of the present reality of the KOG, is that within it is the power that raised Jesus from the dead is made available to us. The Greek word is dunamis – the same word we get “dynamite” from – and which we find in Acts 1:8.
- The Church is the fruit of kingdom activity.
- The demands of the Kingdom are that we repent; we are to place God first, and follow him at any cost.
b. Kingdom is a gospel word – along with the Cross and Grace that form a theological construct to help us see the under-girding of the gospel throughout the Bible from Genesis to Revelation:
- The Cross – Speaks of the Atoning Work of Jesus Christ
- This is shorthand for the “5-Fold Christ Event”: 1) Virgin Birth, 2) Miraculous Ministry, 3) Degrading Death, 4) Victorious Resurrection, 5) Missional Ascension of Jesus Christ.
- Apart from the atoning work of Christ, we would be forever guilty, ashamed, and condemned before God.
- The way of God is suffering/humility – and then glory. This is what baptism is supposed to be about – I will die to my previous life and come alive to God – and the gospel of Jesus Christ.
- Grace – The unmerited favor of God. Acceptance is given to us freely at God’s expense. Martin Luther calls it, “the great exchange.”
- It’s important that we understand there is common grace and saving grace happens when we take up residence within the KOG.
- Definition: All that God is, lavishly poured into you.
- Jonathan Edwards speaks of grace as, “the very Holy Ghost dwelling in the soul and acting there as a vital principle.”
2. They were Humble, Prayerful, & Unified — “And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying…14These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.” Acts 1:13, 14 (NAS)
a. Humble prayers of confession and repentance before/with God and one another.
b. Corporate prayer leading to intercession – reminding the Lord of His word/promises.
c. Unity is a fruit, not a goal
3. They were Holy Spirit Empowered –
1:4Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me; 5forJohn baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
2:1,4And when the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place…4And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit…
a. John 4:24 — God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.
b. Eph 5:17-21 – 17So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
18And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, [we apparently need to be continually, or regularly, filled with the HS – Why? Because we leak!]
19speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord;
20always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father;
21and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.
c. Two points
- (Jn) We are to seek to live in the healthy tension of spirit and truth.
- (Eph) HS infilling occurs when our hearts are worshipful, when we are grateful, and we walk in mutual submission.
d. John Piper: “Mission exists because worship doesn’t.” (Supremacy of God In Missions)
4. They delivered Contextualized Gospel Presentations — 16No! What you see this morning was predicted centuries ago by the prophet Joel” Acts 2:15,16 (TLB)
5. They engaged in Honest/Straightforward Gospel Presentations – Acts 2:23, 36…
23this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death.
36“Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ–this Jesus whom you crucified.”
6. They were Outward Focused (Missional) — “Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.” Acts 2:41 (NIV)
a. There is a missional refocusing going on in the Church today.
b. We are all called to be missionaries. The Father sent the Son, the Son sent the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit send us.
c. Changing metrics…
7. They were Intentional About Discipleship and Authentic Community (They lived Community in the context of Discipleship) – Acts 2:42-47
And they were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43And everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. 44And all those who had believed were together, and had all things in common; 45and they began selling their property and possessions, and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. 46And day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, 47praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.
8. As a result of living out these values – they were Fruitful
a. “A sense of awe,” or a healthy fear of the Lord (v.43)
b. Wonders & signs (v.43)
c. Community (vs.44-47)
- Enthusiastic joy
- Favor with all the people
- Salvation’s (v.47)
A. What does it mean to be Gospel centered? (Or, Christ centered?)
B. My experience is that the North American Church has lost, or squandered, much of the power – and the breadth of the Gospel.
- I have been reminded recently that the Gospel is not advice – it is news. It is, in fact, the ultimate Good News. Sunday mornings are not the place to give advice.
- Gospel-centered ministry is rooted in remembrance. On Sunday mornings we are to remind one another primarily of what Jesus Christ has done, not what we must do.
C. Many of us have tended to view the Gospel a message that we responded to many years ago – and then moved on from. Yet the Gospel is more like an ocean. It is deep, and wide, and vast.
- We are called to view, and engage, and respond to the gospel with every passage of Scripture we read, or study.
- I would suggest that the essence of Christian maturity is when the Gospel itself gets worked in – and through our lives.
- Here is my goal for you – and for Southside: My aim is that you would experience Jesus (my goal for you is experiential) as the sovereign, risen, living, Lord of the universe – and as the source and the content of your real hope and joy. Two things are necessary:
- God’s liberating truth
- God’s liberating grace.
4. What is the evidence of salvation?
- What is your deepest desire?
- True Christians have conflicted desires to be sure. True Christians struggle, and sin, and mess up – to be sure. Yet, the deepest desire of the true Christian is for Jesus and the unfolding of the gospel.
- Non-Christians – and you could say false Christians also have conflicted desires, yet their deepest desire is for themselves, or for ease, or comfort – something other than the person of Jesus Christ. (The simplest definition of idolatry is making a good thing an ultimate thing.)
Next week: Persistent and Passionate Prayer (Acts 1: 13-14).
 Jonathan Edwards, TREATISE ON GRACE.