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),
    O__________
    G_____________________________
    P__________
    M_____________________________
  • 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:

What Jesus Kept Doing (Acts 1:1-11)

The Church is not what it should be. The Church is constantly disappointing. The Church constantly lets us down. Why is the Church the way that it is? Why does it do the things it does?

After was raised from the dead and returned to His Father in heaven, maybe we got it wrong? Maybe the first followers tried to be faithful for a little while, but then the Church grew popular. It grew in influence. Did it become a tool for people looking to wield power? Did the Church fall into the hands of politicians sometime in the early centuries of the Church?

What do we do if that was true? Do we just be Christians out on our own? Do we have to be part of an organisation? Isn’t that just an idea that came so that the Church could control people?

Why is the Church the way it is? Have we lost our way? And could we ever be the sort of Church that Jesus wants us to be?

You may believe that the Church has lost its way recently, or sometime after the Reformation, or in the Middle Ages, or perhaps when Emperor Constantine was converted.

Questions and ideas like the ones I’ve just referred to are some of the reasons why we’ll be spending some time looking at the Book of Acts.

Acts is an account of what really happened in those days after Jesus’ Resurrection. And the Book of Acts shows us how we can be the Church Jesus wants us to be. And, in fact, Acts teaches us that Jesus’ Church is doing what He wants it to do, and is being what He wants it to be. And the Book of Acts is a call for you, and for me, and for us as a Church to join in with what Jesus is doing.

Right at the start of Acts, in verses 1 to 11, we see two essential things we must know and we must believe if we are going to be the Church that Jesus wants us to be. First, we must be confident because Jesus’ ministry continues (v1-5). Secondly, Jesus goes upwards, so we go onwards (v6-11).

The Church isn’t an organisation that we can shape according to our own ideas and preferences. And neither is it a tool to control gullible people. The Church is the way Jesus is working in the world, by His Spirit, until the day when He returns to reign forever.

  1. Getting Our Bearings (v1)
  2. Be Confident Because Jesus’ Ministry Continues (v1-5)
  3. Jesus Goes Upwards, So We Go Onwards (v6-11)

Sunday 5th May 2018

Review questions:

  • Who wrote Acts (v1)?
  • Who is Acts to (v1)?
    What is Acts about (v1)?
  • What did Jesus teach about after the resurrection (v3)?
  • What is about to happen (v5, Lk 24:47-48, Joel 2)?
  • Why do we need the Holy Spirit (v1 & 5)?
  • What is the Kingdom’s nature (v6-7)?
  • What is the Kingdom’s domain (v8)?
  • When is the Kingdom’s timing (v9-11)?
  • What is our role (v8)?
  • A question I have:
  • A truth to share:
  • How I should live:
  • Prayer:

Draw Near, Hold Fast, and Gather Together (Hebrews 10:19-25)

If you knew that God would give you whatever you asked Him for, what would you ask for?

We are here today to hear God’s Word and to remember the sacrifice of Jesus by celebrating the Lord’s Supper together. Mark records Jesus’ sacrificial death and His resurrection, and Hebrews 10:19-25 tells us what Jesus’ sacrifice means:

It means He has gone into heaven (4:14), and that He has gone into God’s presence for us (6:20), but also that we can come to God through Him (10:19). And that makes a huge difference to how we should live.

But before we get into the passage, let’s get our bearings:

In Hebrews, the author emphasises that Jesus is superior to angels & the Law (Chs 1-2), to Moses and the Promised Land (Chs 3-4), to priests and Melchizedek (Chs 5-7), and to sacrifice and the old covenant (Chs 8-10). Jesus is superior to them all, because Jesus is the ultimate revelation of God.

And because Jesus is superior, the hearers of Hebrews (including us) should remain faithful to Jesus despite the pressures on us to abandon Him.

Our passage today (Hebrews 10:19-25) is a summary and application of chapters 1-10. And its message is clear: Jesus is superior to the OT sacrifices because 1. He allows us to draw new to God (v19-22), 2. so we should not give in to the pressures around us to be quiet about Jesus, but keep confessing our hope in Him (v23), and 3. keep meeting together to stir up each other to love and serve because Jesus will return (v24-25).

So, Because Jesus is the Greatest Sacrifice, We Draw Near, Keep Confessing, & Gather Together.

Sunday 29th April 2018

Review Questions:

  • Jesus is s___________________r. (Hebrews)
  • Why can’t we be near God (Genesis 3)?
  • How can we be near God (v19)?
  • What is ‘the curtain’ (v20)?
  • What does God give (v22)?
  • Why should we talk about Jesus (v23)?
  • How can I provoke/encourage other believers (v24)?
  • Why should I come to church (v25)?
  • A question I have:
  • A truth to share:
  • How I should live:
  • Prayer:

‘You, Follow Me!’ (John 21:1-25)

Many people think that the end of chapter 20 in John would be the perfect to finish the book. In fact, some try and suggest that chapter 21 added later; there is no evidence for that. John’s words in verses 30 and 31, ‘Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.,’ seem to be a good conclusion for the book.

But, as with many stories, the main part of the story is resolved there, but there are a couple of loose ends yet to tie up. And one of them, which is crucial for the future of the church in John’s day, is ‘What about Peter?’ Peter is still in the shadows. Remember, he had denied Jesus three times in the courtyard of the High Priest, and yet he goes on to become a significant figure in the future of the church. And what about other people like him? Can anyone deny the Lord Jesus in public, and yet go on to minister in His name later?

What about the future? What does the future hold for us? What does Jesus know about the future?

All of these questions are here in chapter 21. And they are all questions which we need to turn our attention to, because as we saw in chapter 20, Jesus sends His followers out on the same mission which He had.

So we see here in chapter 21, three things:

  1. The Lord Reveals Himself by Serving (v1-14)
  2. The Lord Restores Sinners to Serve (v15-19)
  3. The Lord Redirects Speculation to Service (v20-25)

Sunday 22nd April 2018

Review Questions

  • Why were the disciples in Galilee (v1, Mark 16:7)?
  • Who recognised Jesus?
  • How did the disciples know it was Jesus?
  • What must Christians do?
  • What makes us love (Luke 7:27)?
  • What do pastors do?
  • How can I glorify Jesus in death?
  • What should I do instead of worrying about the future?
  • A question I have:
  • A truth to share:
  • Application:
  • Prayer:

‘That You May Believe’ (John 20:19-31)

The big question here is ‘What do you know? And how do you know it?’

Is a sunset beautiful? How do you know?

Husbands, let me ask you, do you know if your wife beautiful? And wives, do you know if you love your husband? How do you know? Can you measure it?

We actually know many things which cannot be observed, or measured, or learned from experience in the school of hard knocks. And if we restrict what we know to what we can sense, many parts of life will remain unknown to us.

In particular, there are many things which God’s Word teaches us which we could not know otherwise. And if we do not know them, if we do not believe them, then we are not alive at all. So, John tells us repeatedly in this chapter that what we believe makes all the difference.

  1. Jesus Equips and Sends Believers (v19-23)
  2. God Blesses Non-seeing Believers (v24-29)
  3. The Messiah Gives Believers Life (v30-31)

Sunday 8th April 2018

Review Questions

  • Do I believe what I can’t see? Yes/No
  • Why were the disciples afraid (v18)?
  • Why does Jesus say, ‘Peace!’ (v19)?
  • What is Jesus’ mission for us (v21 & 23)?
  • Why did Jesus breathe (v22)?
  • Why should we never skip church (v24-26)?
  • What does Thomas discover (v27-28)?
  • Why did John write (v30-31)?
  • A question I have:
  • A truth to share:
  • Application:
  • Prayer:

Long Live the King! (John 20:1-18)

We read in 1 Corinthians 15:17-19,

And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.

Sure, Jesus taught many great things which you listen to. Yes, Jesus did many good things which you try to follow. But if we asked your friends, what difference would they say the resurrection of Jesus makes to your life?

Does Jesus’ resurrection make a difference to how you live?

In John 20, we meet 3 people for whom the resurrection makes all the difference in the world: Mary Magdalene, Peter, and John.

  1. Fearing the Open Tomb (v1-2)
  2. Believing the Empty Tomb (v3-10)
  3. Declaring the Risen Son (v11-18)

Sunday 1st April 2018

  • When did Mary go to the tomb? Why?
  • Why would we serve Jesus?
  • What did Mary fear?
  • What did Peter & John see?
  • Why did John believe?
  • Why should have Mary expected a miracle?
  • Who did Mary expect?
  • Why shouldn’t Mary cling to Jesus
  • What is my Easter message about Jesus?
  • A question I have:
  • Application:
  • Prayer:

 

The King is Dead (John 19:17-42)

Why is Good Friday good? How can Jesus’ death be good? How can anyone’s death be good?

  1. The King is Disgraced with Criminals (v16-27)
  2. The King Finishes His Work (v28-30)
  3. The King is Dead (v31-37)
  4. The King is Honoured in Burial (v38-42)

Good Friday 30th March 2018

  • Why was crucifixion particularly bad?
  • Who did Jesus love?
  • What was ‘finished’?
  • How can we know that Jesus was really dead?
  • What does it mean that Jesus ‘gave up his spirit?’
  • Why is Good Friday good?
  • A question I have:
  • A truth to share:
  • Application:
  • Prayer: