Three Phases of the New Birth

After giving sight to a blind man, Jesus preached He was the Light of the world. Many of the religious leaders realized He was accusing them of rejecting Him. Jesus said, "I am the good shepherd", and as the Good Shepherd He protects His sheep. One of Jesus’ most dramatic miracles occurred when He raised Lazarus from the dead. Those who believe in Jesus recognize Him as the Light of the world, the good Shepherd, and the Resurrection and the Life.

The Last Christian Retreat

Jesus shared deep truths with His disciples on the night before His crucifixion, known as the “Upper Room Discourse”. Jesus, their Lord and teacher, washed His disciples’ feet and gave them a new commandment: to love each other. He compared Himself to a vine and His disciples to branches—branches that bear fruit because of the life in the Vine. Jesus prayed for His church to live in unity with Him and with each other; to know and demonstrate His love.

The Acts of the Risen Christ

The Book of Acts records the founding, beginning and work of the Church as it obeyed the Great Commission. The promised Comforter-the Holy Spirit- arrived to indwell believers, with signs that have never been duplicated. Luke shows the Purpose of the Church, the Promise and the Power given to the Church, and the Performance that resulted from the Preaching of Peter. Acts has no ending, so in a way every believer is part of the last chapter today!

The Visible Fingerprints of the Invisible Church

The first century Church and our local church today, should have ten visible characteristics: Evangelism-sharing the Gospel all the time as a lifestyle, Teaching- spiritual growth as a result of studying the Scriptures, Fellowship-time with one another, Worship-celebrating worship of the Lord, Prayer-time with God, Unity-all things in common, Diversity-all are unique but those differences make them stronger, Plurality-more than one pastor to share the work, Empathy- truly care for each other, Equality-they are the same.

The Visible Patterns of the Invisible Church

In Acts we see seven patterns of the Church unfolding. 1. Giving: Believers shared generously. 2. Civil Disobedience: God was the supreme authority. 3. Church Discipline: Those who lied to the Holy Spirit were removed dramatically, to keep the Church pure and holy. 4. Gifts: Spiritual gifts to serve the church. 5. Martyrdom: Stephen was the first to die for his faith. 6. Simony: Those who attempt to buy or influence leadership with money. 7. Healing: Miracles were common.

Patterns of Pentecost

In Acts chapter six we read about Stephen’s arrest, his sermon summarizing the Old Testament to the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem, and his martyr’s death. Two important events occurred after the death of Stephen: The Pharisee Saul, who later became Paul the apostle, was impacted and God used the persecution to scatter the Christians to take the Gospel to the regions beyond Jerusalem. The book of Acts records a “perpetual Pentecost” as a result of the early church’s obedience.

How to Make a Disciple

In Acts, Saul of Tarsus, persecutor of the Church, has a dramatic encounter with the Risen Christ, becomes Paul the apostle and immediately begins proclaiming Jesus as the Christ. Paul becomes a missionary, a writer, and one of the most influential Christians! His ministry is marked by preaching, trouble wherever he goes, beatings, imprisonments, shipwrecks, miracles and thousands led to Jesus. Paul lays the foundation for the Church while fulfilling the Great Commission to the Gentiles.

The Personal Pentecost of Paul

The conversion of Saul is an astounding display of the Holy Spirit’s power. God took Saul, an adamant opponent to the Gospel, and transformed him into the Apostle Paul, the greatest missionary of the Gospel. As a result of his new faith, and his commitment to reach the world with the Gospel, Paul forfeited all of his worldly success and reputation as a Pharisee, “counting all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus….”

The Patterns of Pentecost Plant the Church

The Great Commission has four main parts (going, making disciples, baptizing, and teaching). We can see all of them in the Book of Acts as God clearly showed that the Gospel was for everyone: Philip preached in Samaria and then to the Ethiopian, and Peter shared the gospel with the Roman soldier Cornelius. Paul and Barnabas further show this as they proclaim the Gospel from Jerusalem and Judea and to the “uttermost parts of the earth.”

The Preaching of Paul

Paul tried to relate the Gospel without being offensive in Athens, by quoting Greek poets and bringing a message about their “unknown god”, yet few believed. Later we see Paul preaching the Gospel more simply and letting God convict the hearer. Paul went to Jerusalem even though he would no doubt be in danger and suffer. Truly, Paul did all things for the sake of the Gospel, and, like Jesus, made loving the lost his primary priority.

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