Category: Sermons

The Best Church (Acts 2:41-47)

We are not the best church in Benalla. The best church is big, with the best preachers, the best teaching, the best kids programs, the best music, the best friends, the best fellowship, the best resources.

It’s not that we plan to be a bad church. But I doubt that there is a church in Benalla (or anywhere) that could meet all the expectations I have or you have to be the best church.

Every church will disappoint you. Every minister will disappoint you. But I (as a minister) and we (as a church) seek to be honest about that.

We will never be everything you want in a church. But often our expectations are unrealistic or even misplaced.

The question is: What sort of Church does God call the best? In Acts 2:41-47, God gives us a sketch of everything the Church should be.

  1. Begin with Repentance and Faith (v41)
  2. Make Four Essential Commitments Together (v42, 44-46)
  3. Trust God for Three Inevitable Results (v43 & 47)

That’s how can we be the Church God wants us to be.

Sunday 24th June 2018

Review questions:

  • The Church begins with _________________ who ______________________________ (v41).
  • What is repentance?
  • Can I lose my salvation by not repenting enough? Yes/No.
  • If I don’t repent am I a Christian? Yes/No.
  • How do we access the Apostles’ teaching (v42)?
  • What is ‘fellowship’ (v42)?
  • Why does ‘breaking bread’ matter (v24)?
  • When to you set aside time to pray (v42)?
  • What does God give when the Church has these 4 commitments? F___________ (v43), F____________ (v47) & F____________ (v47)
  • John 13:35 “______________ one another.”

Repent and Be Baptized (Act 2:36-42)

The advice of every feel-good movie or TV show for teenagers for adults is ‘Follow your heart.’

But the human heart is not the innocent source of wonderful dreams and desires. If we saw our hearts as they truly are, we would be disgusted. Sometimes we get a glimpse at other people’s hearts, when their words and actions reveal their attitudes and motivations. And often, we don’t like what we see.

But what if we saw ourselves, our hearts, as they really are?

If you want to see your face, you can try looking directly at it, but you’ll only see the end of your nose. You could look in a mirror, but then you’ll see yourself flipped over the wrong way. The best way to see yourself is in a photo taken by someone else.

And the best way to see your heart, is to see it as God sees it, for Him to show it to you.

That’s what God’s Word does. God tells us in Acts 2:36 that the people of Jesus’ day crucified Him, even though He was both Lord and Christ (God’s chosen Saviour and the universal ruler of everyone).

We could imagine people murdering the Son of God if they didn’t know about God. But these were Jewish people, who had received God’s blessings for two thousand years, who had heard God’s Word for two thousand years. Yet, they and their leaders made sure that Jesus was executed, even though He had never done anything wrong.

And, God tells you and me that if we were there, we would have done the same thing. We do not love the Lord our God with all our heart (Deuteronomy 6:5). Instead, we live like He is dead and we are the rulers of our little kingdoms. We make ourselves kings, who like the kings of Jesus’ day, crucified the Lord of glory (1 Corinthians 2:8).

The picture of our hearts is bad viewing. God shows us in Jeremiah 17:9-10:

The heart is deceitful above all things,
and desperately sick;
who can understand it?
“I the Lord search the heart
and test the mind,
to give every man according to his ways,
according to the fruit of his deeds.”

God knows how bad our hearts are, and He will give us what we deserve. So, what can we do?

There is an answer, there is a way of escape. And many in the crowd at the Day of Pentecost found it. They asked Peter:

  1. What Shall We Do? (v36-37), and he replied,
  2. Be Baptized Because of God’s Promise (v38-42)
  3. Repent, and Keep Repenting (v38-42)

And the answer is the same for me and you.

Sunday 17th June 2018

Review Questions

  • Our hearts are ___________________ (Jeremiah 17:9-10)
  • The truth is, I am a __________________
  • Jesus is ___________ & ____________ (v36).
  • What does baptism mean (v38)?
  • Is baptism needed for forgiveness? Yes/No
  • Is baptism needed for obedience? Yes/No
  • Covenant-baptizers believe that God still makes promises to believers & __________
  • Are all baptized children saved? Yes/No
  • Do circumcision and baptism mean the same thing (Col. 2:11-12)? Yes/No
  • Baptism is about God’s p________________
  • What isn’t repentance (v38)?
    • Re______________________ at being caught,
    • Feeling re_________ for the consequences
  • What is repentance (v38)?

Both Lord and Christ (Acts 2:29-38)

Identity matters. It’s the first thing we want to know when we meet someone, ‘Who are you?’

We ask it more subtly: ‘What do you do?’ ‘Tell me about your family.’

It might only take a moment to discover that someone is not who you thought they were!

When I was 10, my parents took us to a conference. It ran for a couple of days at a centre on the outskirts of Sydney. It was a nice spot, with good food, but the talks were so boring (for a 10 year old, anyway).

A day or two in, yet another speaker was introduced. As the talk went on (and on!), I slouched down, then sprawled out and put my feet up on another seat.

In moments, an older man came over and told me to sit up. “Don’t you know who that is?!” he said.

“That the Governor of New South Wales. He represents the Queen. Would you be sitting like that if the Queen was in the room?”

Well, I’m sure I sat up straight for the rest of the talk!

See, knowing who someone is matters because some people have authority over us. Imagine:

  • a child who treats their parent like their friend,
  • or an employee who treats their boss like their mate,
  • or a person who treats their God like their enemy.

That’s what happened to Jesus. He, the eternal Son of God, came to us, and we treated Him like a criminal. We hated Him. We rejected Him. We killed Him.

And one reason why people hate Him and reject Him and consider Him dead to them is because they do not know or will not see who Jesus is.

And that’s why we need to do more than invite people to church. Yes, invite them. But getting someone through those doors will not change them. What will change them is introducing them to Jesus.

And that’s why we want everything we do here to be about Jesus: ‘Who is He? What did He do? What must I do to know Him and serve Him?’

The answers to those questions are here in Acts 2:29-38:

  1. Jesus is the Resurrected Christ, of Whom David Prophesied (v29-32)
  2. Jesus is the Ascended Lord, Who Poured Out the Holy Spirit (v33-25)
  3. Repent Because Jesus is both Lord and Christ (v36-38)

Sunday 10th June 2018

Review questions

  • David lived __________ years before Jesus.
  • How did David know about the Messiah (v29-31, 2 Sam 7)?
  • Christ/Messiah means:
  • Which 3 roles were anointed?
  • What does Jesus’ resurrection prove (v32)?
  • Why is Jesus at God’s right hand (v33)?
  • LORD means _______________________ (v34, Psalm 110:1)
  • Lord means _______________________ (v34, Psalm 110:1)
  • Why is Jesus greater than David (v34-35)?
  • Who does Jesus rule (v35)?
  • Has Jesus always been Lord & Christ (v36)?
  • Because Jesus is Lord and Christ, what should I do (v36)?

This Jesus (Acts 2:22-28)

The whole of Christianity depends on this one historical fact: Jesus of Nazareth rose from the dead.

Only this fact can explain the boldness of the disciples, the existence and growth of the Church, and the new life and eternal hope believers demonstrate.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is at the heart of what it means to be Christian. Christians may disagree about baptism or church government, but if we do not believe that Jesus rose physically from the dead, we are not Christians. It is not enough to have faith like Jesus had, we must have faith in Jesus and what He did.

What does that faith believe? We are told in Acts 2:22-28:

  1. Jesus is a Man (& God) (v22a)
  2. Confirmed By God (v22b)
  3. Who Could Not Stay Dead (v23-28)

Sunday 3rd June 2018

  • What historical fact does Christianity depend on?
  • Did Jesus die? Spiritually/Physically.
  • Did Jesus rise? Spiritually/Physically.
  • How will I rise? Spiritually/Physically.
  • What proves Jesus is God (Lk 24:52)?
  • What didn’t Jesus do (Heb 4:15)?
  • ‘Attested’ (v22) means _______________
  • Jesus’ miracles were great in n_____________, n___________, & n____________.
  • Who was responsible for Jesus’ death (v23)?
  • Who planned Jesus’ death (v23)?
  • Who is responsible for my sin?
  • Why didn’t Jesus stay dead (v24, 27, Rom 6:23)?
  • How can I belong to Jesus (Mk 10:17, Rom 10:9, Gal 2:20)?
  • A question I have:
  • A truth to share:
  • How I should live:
  • Prayer:

Poured Out On All Flesh (Acts 2:1-21)

Are you a Pentecostal Christian? That term is often used to identify Christians who believe that the Holy Spirit is presently at work in the world, giving spiritual gifts to believers, and working through believers in supernatural ways. And if that’s all we mean by being a Pentecostal Christian, when I hope every believer here can say, ‘Yes!’ to that question.

Some who call themselves Pentecostals insist that to be a believer, you must have something more than faith in Jesus; you must also speak in tongues, like the disciples did at Pentecost. But that’s not what the Scriptures teach. Pentecost is a unique event, when God announces that because of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, a new era of world history has begun. This new and final stage of human history is marked not by the languages believers speak, but by the message we proclaim: that there is certain salvation for all who call on Jesus’ name.

The message of Pentecost is this: All believers have the Holy Spirit to declare God’s salvation because Jesus is coming again to judge; So repent and believe.

We find this message in three parts:

  1. Rejoice that God Sends the Promised Holy Spirit (v1-4)
  2. Marvel That Many Hear the Mighty Works of God (v5-13)
  3. Repent Because A New Day Has Begun (v14-21)

Sunday 27th May 2018

*Sermons are now downloadable again by clicking on the three dots at top right.

Review questions:

  • Did the Church start at Pentecost (Acts 7:38, note ‘assembly’ = ‘church’)? Yes/No
  • Pentecost: 50 days after __________________
  • W_______ & S_________ are the same word.
  • Was it windy (v2-3)? Yes/No.
  • Why did the disciples speak in other languages?
  • I can know I have the Spirit if I cry out “________________________” (Rom 8:14-17)
  • What were the disciples telling (v11)?
  • God starts by c_____________ing. (Jn 16:8)
  • What did Joel prophesy about (v20-21)?
  • What remains of God’s plan (Lk 24:47)?
  • Who receives the Spirit (v17-18)?
  • What is God’s message (v21)?
  • A question I have:
  • A truth to share:
  • How I should live:
  • Prayer:

Sermon Downloads Fixed

Our attention has been drawn to the fact that recent sermons have not been downloadable. This issue has been fixed, so you will now be able to download the weekly messages again.

God Will Have His Way (Acts 1:12-26)

How many times have you looked at your life and thought, ‘I didn’t think it would be like this’:

  • ‘I thought things would be easier than this’
  • ‘I thought I’d be more successful than this’
  • ‘I thought I’d be married by now’
  • ‘I thought our marriage would be good by now’
  • ‘I thought our kids would be okay by now’
  • ‘I thought the church would be better by now’
  • ‘I thought they’d have got what they deserve by now!’

This passage is a surprising one. Last time, we saw how Jesus went up into heaven and told His disciples that not many days later, they would be clothed with power from on high when God poured out the promised Holy Spirit (v8).

Yeah, they were told to wait in Jerusalem, so we read about them going back there (v12), but why don’t we go straight to chapter 2, when the Spirit comes?

Well, there’s that uncomfortable truth as they gather in someone’s upper room that only 11 of the Apostles are there. It’s not the way things were going to be. Does that mean God made a mistake?

When things don’t turn out how we expect in life and family and church, has God made a mistake? Have we ruined God’s plan?

Well, we need to remember God’s message to us here in Acts 1:12-26: God’s plan is indestructible.

We see this in 3 ways:

  1. The Wicked Will Be Judged (v12-20)
  2. The Scriptures Will Be Fulfilled (v16-20)
  3. Jesus Will Have His Witnesses (v21-26)

Sunday 13th May 2018

Review questions:

  • God’s plan is _____________________
  • What did the disciples do (v14)?
  • While you wait (v14-17),
  • Inspired means ______________________(v16)
  • We’re too _______________
  • Why did Jesus choose 12 disciples (v17, Mtt 19:28)?
  • Are God’s ways like ours (Is 55:9)? Y/N
  • What are the 4 qualifications for an Apostle (v21-22, 26)?
  • Can there be Apostles today? Yes/No
  • Who chose Matthias (v23-25)?
  • Does God change His plans? Yes/No
  • A question I have:
  • A truth to share:
  • How I should live:
  • Prayer: