Sermon Transcript



Well, investors on Wall Street are always looking for the next startup that will explode in growth and produce all kinds of business profits.  For example, if you had invested in some initial public offerings many years ago and just bought a few shares of some companies like Microsoft or Apple, maybe Amazon, you know, if you had bought them when they were IPOs, initial public offerings, you’d be very wealthy today.  You’d make a lot of money.  And investors are always looking for those kinds of opportunities on Wall Street.  Well, I want you to imagine for a moment the church of Jesus Christ as an IPO 2000 years ago.  There were just a handful of people who thought that it had any chance of getting off the ground, let alone fulfilling and achieving the worldwide impact and vision by its founder.  The investors, if we could call them back then, were poor.  They were afraid.  They were uneducated.  And they were powerless against the mighty Roman Empire, let alone the politics of religion that they faced in Jerusalem.



But here we are 2000 years later.  The story of what happened following the death, the burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ is an amazing story.  Some call it a revolutionary story that is worth telling.  So much so that even Hollywood has picked up on the storytelling value of the early church and has produced some movies of late about the early church.  But long before Hollywood saw the storytelling value of what happened 2000 years ago following the resurrection of Jesus Christ, there was a medical doctor named Luke who thought it was worth writing down, too.  All the events that took place in the early days of the early church.  And we have a record of what Dr. Luke wrote down under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.  It’s called the Acts of the Apostles.  It’s the fifth book in your New Testament, following Matthew, Mark, Luke, John.  And then if we went to Romans without Acts, there’d be some parts that are missing.  We would need somebody to fill in the rest of the story.  And that’s what the book of Acts does for us.



Now, the book of Acts is part of a two-volume anthology written by Dr. Luke.  In fact, we talk about it as Luke/Acts.  The book of Acts was always meant to be read alongside The Gospel According to Luke.  And when Luke wrote these two volumes, you can tell by the introduction to both books he’s writing to a guy named Theophilus.  Now, we don’t know much about Theophilus.  There’s speculation that he might have been an attorney, and he was a friend of Dr. Luke.  And he wanted Luke to use his investigative research skills that he might have learned as a medical doctor and to come up with some proofs, some convincing proofs that what these followers of Jesus, let alone Jesus Himself, claimed was actually true.  And if you go to Acts 1:1, you get this sense that these two books go together, because Luke writes, “In the first book, O Theophilus,”—the first book being The Gospel According to Luke—“I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen.”



So in the first book that Luke, which is The Gospel According to Luke, he says, “I dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach.”  Well, some people, including the devil himself, thought that when Jesus was crucified, it was the end of the Nazarene.  You know, “we put an end to this guy.”  No, when He was crucified, buried and rose again from the dead, it’s as though Jesus came out of that grave and said, “I’ve only just begun.”  And so Luke writes about the beginning of all that Jesus did and all that He taught, but Acts writes about what He continued to do through the early apostles.  And it’s a fascinating ride.  It’s a fascinating book.



Now, in one sense, the book of Acts is kind of like a history book.  And you’ve got to read it that way.  It’s less prescriptive and more descriptive about what happens.  We don’t get out theology necessarily from the book of Acts, although there are many lessons that we can learn.  And we see the God of the Bible acting out through the apostles that He empowered through the Holy Spirit.  It’s more descriptive of what happened, less prescriptive.  The prescriptions we get as we read further on in the New Testament.  That’s important to understand as you come to the book of Acts and interpret the book of Acts even for our times.



But even though it reads kind of like a history book of the early church, to me it also reads like a revolutionary call to action.  A revolutionary call to action.  And I want you just to think about that just a little bit.  I’ve titled this message “Jesus the Revolutionary.”  Now, think of some of the revolutions that come to our mind in history where governments and political systems have been toppled by “We the People” and revolutionaries who rose up.  I think of the French Revolution.  I think of the American Revolution.  And these and other revolutions like it topple governments, overthrow oppressive political systems.  There is something in our history known as the industrial revolution.  And this transformed the economy of America.  And many people believe we are living in a post-industrial revolution age.  And over the last 50 or 60 years there has been a technology revolution that has certainly changed the way we do life today with computers and, you know, all that kind of stuff.



But when I say Jesus is a revolutionary, He’s a revolutionary of a different kind.  He never commanded an army.  He never wrote a book.  He never had a family.  He never lived in a big city.  He never did all the kinds of things you would think revolutionaries do.  But His teaching was revolutionary.  It was completely revolutionary.  Certainly consistent with the Judaism of His day, but He was moving forward the plan of God and the purpose of God and the prophecies of God as they were fulfilled.  And He was revolutionary in that sense in His teaching, even though He said at one time, “My teaching is not My own.  My teaching comes from the One who sent Me.”  And I always keep that in mind as a pastor.  My teaching is not my own, certainly if Jesus’s teaching was not His own.  We teach and preach the Word of God and the teachings of Jesus.  But Jesus was a revolutionary in that sense.  A revolutionary of a different kind.



Dallas Willard wrote a book many years ago about the character of Christ in us.  And He titled it appropriately, Revolution of the Heart.  And in that sense, Jesus is a revolutionary who travels into the deep recesses of the human heart.  And His goal is to do more than just rescue us from the penalty of sin and from the power of sin, which He does through His death, burial and resurrection.  But His goal is also to give us a new purpose, to revolutionize our mission and even our destiny in life.  And He does that in a number of ways spelled out in all kinds of stories in the Gospels and in the book of Acts.



Let me just give you one brief story.  Remember a guy named Peter?  Peter was a guy we meet in the Gospels, and he was a fisherman.  And Jesus met him on the shores of Sea of Galilee one day.  And He says, “Peter, I want you to follow Me, and I’ll make you a fisher of men.”  That was revolutionary language.  “Peter, I’m gonna revolutionize your heart, and I’m gonna revolutionize your purpose, your mission and your destiny in life.”  And we know the story of Peter through many ups and down, through even a time when He denied Jesus three times on the night that He was arrested and hours before His crucifixion.  But Peter becomes a guy in the book of Acts that God used in a powerful way to carry out His purpose and the mission of God as Jesus gave it to His disciples.



And Jesus is still in the business of revolutionizing hearts and revolutionizing our purpose and our mission and our destiny in life.  And the book of Acts is a wonderful story of how that happens.  And it’s continuing today.  Acts is 28 chapters, but we’re living in Acts 29.  We are still the church of Jesus Christ 2000 years later.  Name me a company that started and has a 2000-year-old growth curve.  You can’t find one.  You won’t find one anywhere on Wall Street.  But if you had invested…better yet, if you had embraced this revolution known as the church of Jesus Christ, letting Jesus Christ by faith revolutionize your heart, rescuing you from the penalty of sin and from the power of sin, and then allowing Him to revolutionize your vision and your mission in life, friends, that’s the church.  That’s the exciting aspect of being a part of this thing called the church of Jesus Christ.  And book of Acts tells the story of when the church was in an incubator, when it was just in its infancy and in those early years.



Now, Acts 1:1-11 is the focus of our study this morning.  And, yes, it reads a little bit like, you know, a history book.  But I find in these opening paragraphs a four-fold revolutionary call to action that still applies to us today, friends.  And there are some things…if we’re going to embrace this revolution that’s been going on for 2000 years, this revolution of the heart and of purpose and mission and destiny in life, there are four things that we need to embrace as well.



This call to action, number one, has to do with having confidence in the claims of Jesus Christ.  You’ll never embrace, fully embrace this revolution until there is a certainty in your heart about the claims of Christianity and of Jesus Christ Himself.  Look at what Luke says in verse 3.  He is writing to Theophilus.  And he says, “[Jesus] presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.”  Now, again, there is some speculation that this Theophilus to whom he is writing might have been an attorney who is saying, “Luke, my friend, give me some investigative research and give me some proofs about this Jesus and about His followers.”  And Luke does his research.  He writes The Gospel According to Luke.  Now he is writing Acts.  And it was important for Theophilus and for anybody else who would read this to know that there were facts that substantiated the claims of Jesus Christ.



Luke says here that after He Himself died and suffered, that He “presented himself alive… by many proofs.”  Just circle that phrase “many proofs.”  Two other translations of the Bible call them “many convincing proofs.”  The old King James translation says “many infallible proofs.”  I’ve said for years Christianity is an intelligent faith based upon reasonable evidence.  It’s based upon reasonable evidence.  It’s based upon many convincing proofs.  Not scientific proof.  But science is not the end all/be all in proving something.  They’d like to think it is.  But I’m talking about the kinds of proofs that we find in a court of law.  You see, Theophilus might have been an attorney.  He used to a different burden of proof, meaning that something is true or not true based upon reasonable doubt.  And here is what Luke does.  He does his investigative research into the church of Jesus Christ, into this startup called the church, into the claims of Jesus Christ.  And he says based on their biggest claim that He rose from the dead, that He suffered and then He appeared alive to His followers by many convincing proofs.



Now, what are some of those proofs?  Well, the apostle Paul lists what we call the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus in 1 Corinthians 15.  He says He appeared to the apostles, to the twelve.  He appeared to 500 people at once.  He appeared to James, which was the half-brother of Jesus.  He appeared to many people.  And then Paul says, “And then He appeared to me.”  Luke is the one in his gospel in Luke 24 that talks about another post-resurrection appearance of Jesus when He appeared to two men who were walking along a road toward a village called Emmaus.  And these two men were dumbfounded by all that had happened during Passover in Jerusalem, the crucifixion of Jesus, this rabbi from Nazareth, and all this discussion now about how He’d risen from the dead.  And they were just kind of scratching their heads about that.  Jesus comes and starts walking with them and starts having a conversation with them.  Finally interrupts the conversation and He says, “Oh you foolish guys, you’re so slow to believe what all the prophets said about how the Christ must suffer.”  And the Bible says He took these two men through Moses and through all the prophets, through a journey through the Old Testament, and showed them how everything that had just happened in Jerusalem, about the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, was prophesied through the Old Testament.  These guys get to their destination in Emmaus, and they’re, like, “Hey, you know, we need to go sit down and have a Starbucks together and talk about this a little bit more.”  They didn’t recognize Jesus attitude.  But suddenly their eyes were opened, the Bible says, and Jesus disappears.  So that’s a pretty fanciful story.  But remember, He was in His glorified body, His post-resurrection body that was not limited by space, time and matter.  And what we find in the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus is He could appear here and appear there.  Much like, perhaps, we will have capacities in our glorified bodies in heaven.



My point is this.  We will never embrace fully the revolution of Jesus Christ and get fully on board with it until we’re convinced of at least the number one claim and the linchpin of Christianity, which is He is risen and He is risen indeed.  Are you convinced of that?  Convinced of that enough to let Jesus revolutionize your heart but also revolutionize your purpose, your mission and your destiny in life.



I remember when I was in college and just a couple years out of college I came to what I would call a crisis of faith.  I grew up in a Bible-believing, gospel-preaching church, and I came to know Jesus as my savior in middle school.  But when I was in college and a couple years out of college I knew what I believed, I didn’t know why I believed it.  And it brought me to a crisis.  And like Luke, I started doing some of my own investigative research.  And I investigated the investigators, because there are people who have been investigating this story for 2000 years.  And I read books like Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, a former atheist and an agnostic when it comes to the claims of Jesus Christ and then somebody who investigated things.  I went and learned from his investigation.  I read books by Josh McDowell like More Than a Carpenter and evidence that demands a verdict.  I got a hold of anything I could read.  I did my own personal investigation, because at that point I couldn’t afford to have a faith that just some preacher delegated to me or that my parents might have had or somebody else.  I needed to know that I knew that there were many convincing, infallible proofs.  And I went through a season.  And you know what?  I came out of that believing that this Jesus is who He says He is.  And His claim and His followers’ claims that He rose from the dead is true beyond a reasonable doubt.  And I joined the revolution.



And my question is, are you there?  Are there any lingering doubts?  If there are, do your investigation.  Your eternal destiny depends on it, let alone, you know, what your purpose and mission is in life.  That’s the first call the action.  To have confidence in the claims of Christianity.



The second is to connect to the unlimited power of God.  Let’s read on beginning in verse 4.  “And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, ‘you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.’  So when they had come together, they asked him, ‘Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?’  He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.  But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you.”  Let’s stop right there.



It’s clear from the early paragraphs of the book of Acts that anything that looks like explosive growth, the kind of (0:19:00.1) growth that a Wall Street investor would just salivate over, depends on the Holy Spirit.  So understand the flow of what’s happening time-wise on the Jewish calendar.  There were seven Jewish feasts on the Jewish calendar, four of which we say were fulfilled prophetically at the first coming of Jesus Christ.  So during the week leading up to Jesus’s crucifixion you have Passover, Unleavened Bread, and the Feast of First Fruits or the Feast of Weeks.  Passover- Jesus died on Passover as the ultimate and final Passover lamb that takes away the sins of the world.  The Feast of Unleavened Bread commemorated the times when they wandered in the wilderness for 40 years and received the manna, the bread from heaven.  Also a picture of Jesus who said, “I am the bread of life,” and so forth.  Three days after Passover when Jesus rose from the dead, that was the Feast (0:20:00.0) of First Fruits.  Why?  Because Jesus, according to the New Testament, is the first fruits of our resurrection.  In other words, the first of many more to come.  Fifty days later is another feast known as Pentecost.



Now, Luke tells us that these many proofs, the many post-resurrection appearances of Jesus, took place for 40 days following His resurrection.  And for 40 days He talked to them about the kingdom of God.  He probably corrected some of their misunderstandings about it.  But He went around appearing to people and talking to His disciples.  Many convincing proofs.  Many infallible proofs, Luke tells us.  But around the 40th days He ascended back to the Father.  That left 10 days until Pentecost.  And Jesus told His disciples, “Go to Jerusalem.  Sit down and wait.”  Now, that’s hard for any of us to do, right?  To wait?  I don’t like to wait.  I like to get up and go.  But He told them to wait.  Why?  “Because you will fail,” is the implication, “apart from the resources of Holy Spirit that will enable you to carry this work out.”



And here we are 2000 years later.  And if there’s any sense of a powerless church or you're feeling powerless to live this thing called the Christian life, I’m gonna tell you it has everything to do with your relationship to the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit fell upon people in particular places and times in the Old Testament.  And Jesus was with His disciples, but He had to ascend to the Father so the Holy Spirit would come to be in the disciples and so that they could connect and activate, as it were, the power of God.  Not only to live this thing called the Christian life, but to carry out the bold mission that we’ll talk about in just a moment.



Now, there’s a whole lot of theology that we can get into in the Holy Spirit, and I don’t have time to go into it this morning.  We will in coming days.  But just understand this.  There are two baptisms in the Bible.  One is water baptism, the other is Spirit baptism.  They both have to do with identification.  In water baptism we’re identified with the death, the burial, the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Jesus says, “Go into the world and make disciples.”  And the first thing you do is you baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  You encourage that disciple to go public with their faith and, as a picture, to identify with the death, the burial and the resurrection of Jesus Christ.



If the resurrection of Jesus Christ demonstrated the power of God, it was the coming of the Holy Spirit that delivered the power of God to the early church.  And the baptism of the Holy Spirit, which is one of many ministries of the Holy Spirit, happens at the moment of salvation.  When by faith, Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit comes to live inside of you.  You’re baptized or identified this time with the body of Christ.  Now, the question is, do you have the Holy Spirit?  And the answer is yes.  If you’re a believer in Jesus Christ, you have the Holy Spirit.  He came to live inside of you at the moment of salvation.  And guess what?  You’ve got all the Holy Spirit you’re ever gonna get.  He is the earnest money deposit on our faith.  That’s called the baptism of the Spirit.



Now, it’s different than something called the filling of the Spirit.  The Bible never commands us to be baptized in the Spirit.  You know that?  It just happens at the moment of salvation.  But Ephesians 5 tells us, “Be filled with the Holy Spirit.”  That’s a command.  If the baptism of the Holy Spirit has to do with content—do you have the Holy Spirit?—the filling of the Holy Spirit has to do with control.  Does the Holy Spirit have you?  It’s not just that He’s resident in our life, He’s president of our life.  And let me just say it again.  We will never successfully live this thing called the Christian life, let alone fulfill and achieve the revolution that Jesus envisioned this church to be, apart from the enabling resources of the Holy Spirit.  The New Testament warns us against grieving the Holy Spirit, quenching the Holy Spirit, resisting the Holy Spirit.  You can have the Holy Spirit, but the Holy Spirit doesn’t have you.  It’s about yielding to Him.  Letting Him control your thoughts, your words, your responses.  Saying, “Lord Jesus, I can’t live this thing called the Christian life.  It’s impossible to live.  But live it through me, through the resources that You’ve given to me called the Holy Spirit.”  You see, friends, answering this call to action not only has to do with being confident and sure of the claims of Jesus Christ starting with His resurrection, but also then connecting to the power source that is in us as believers in Jesus Christ.  And this is what Jesus said when He says, “John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”  And He says, “You will receive power.”  Dunamis.  It’s where we get our word dynamite.  The capacity to live the Christian life, the power, the dunamis, to fulfill the mission comes through the Holy Spirit.  And there is a whole lot more that we could talk about there, but I’ve got to move on.



There is a third call to action, and that is to commit to the bold mission of the church.  Let’s pick it up in the middle of Acts 1:8 and read on.  Jesus says, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you.”  And then He goes on to say, “And you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”  You know, they wanted to talk to Jesus about prophecy and about the Father’s time and the seasons and is this the time for the kingdom to come.  And Jesus says, “Listen, it’s not for you to know all of that.  What you need to know is, first of all, you're gonna have to wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit.  And then when you have the power, then you fulfill the bold mission.”



I remember when I was in seminary one of the first courses that I took was called “Hermeneutics and Bible Study Methods.”  Doesn’t sounds like it, but it was a life-changing course to take, one of the first courses you take at Dallas Seminary.  And I had the privilege of studying under a legendary professor named Dr. Howard Hendricks.  And Dr. Hendricks, you know, taught us how to study the Bible.  And he used a process of observation, interpretation, application and correlation to a worldview.  What does it say?  What does it mean?  How does it apply?  How does it shape your worldview?  And I remember after taking the course I said to myself, “Oh, that’s how they do it.”  We have a course here that we teach in the Shores Bible Institute called “How to Study the Bible for Yourself.”  And it takes you through that process.  You take that course, you’re gonna say, “Oh, that’s how pastor does it.”



It starts with observation.  What does it say?  And I remember the first assignment he gave to us.  He always gave the assignments at the beginning of the class, which got you to class on time, because if you didn’t get the assignment at the beginning of class, you were on your own to get it for the next class.  So we were always there at the beginning.  And one of the first assignments as he was teaching us how to observe the text of scripture—what does it say?—he says, “Here is an assignment on Acts 1:8.  I want you to find 25 observations.  Make 25 observations on this verse and bring them with you to class next time.”  And we’re, like, wow, 25 observations in this tiny little verse?  So we go home.  And I, I struggled to make 25 observations on one verse of scripture.  And we come back the next time, and he collects all of the assignments.  And he says, “Well, how’d you do?”  And you could hear these collective groans across this large lecture hall with about 200 students in it.  And he says, “Okay.  Great.  For the next hour make 25 more observations on Acts 1:8.”  And we’re, like, “You’ve got to be kidding me.”  He was teaching us not only the power of observation, but also something about a very important central verse of scripture to this thing called the mission of the church.



He says, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you.”  Don’t try to do this in your own strength.  And when you receive that power, then you will be My witnesses.”  Now, one of the observations you make has to do with key terms, so I circled that term “witnesses.”  That was an observation.  He called us witnesses.  Again, a reason that some people think that Luke was responding to an attorney’s request for investigative research, he uses this word “witness” that Theophilus would have connected with.  We’re witnesses.



Now, there’s always a difference that we need to understand between the spiritual gift of evangelism and being a witness for Jesus.  There are some people in the body of Christ who have the gift of evangelism.  That is wonderfully seen in the ministry of Billy Graham, you know, crusade, large gathering evangelism.  Or a guy like Bill Bright with Campus Crusade.  One on one evangelism.  Not everybody has that gift, that spiritual gift.  But all of us have the responsibility to be His witnesses.  His witness.  To bear witness to what Christ has done in our life.  And Luke says that starts in Jerusalem, goes to Judea and Samaria, and then to the uttermost parts of the earth.  This is the bold mission of the church.  And always link Acts 1:8 to Matthew 28:19-20, the Great Commission, where Jesus told His disciples, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded to you.  And then He says, “Lo, I am with you always.”  You link Matthew 28 and Acts 1:8, and you’ll get a sense of what our mission is.  What our call to action is.  And again, we will never fully receive and embrace the revolution of Jesus Christ called His church until we commit to the bold mission of the church.



What kind of witness are you for Jesus?  You don’t have to be a Billy Graham or a Bill Bright.  But, you know, in your everyday conversations you’re leaving behind some aroma of Jesus.  Maybe just with the checkout person at the grocery store who may or may not know that you’re believer in Jesus Christ.  A conversation with your neighbor, your coworker, in the place of influence that God has given to you.  Your Jerusalem and my Jerusalem is my family, my neighborhood, my coworkers.  Start there.  And any time I talk to somebody who wants to go on the mission field, you know, to some exotic place to serve the Lord, you know, I think that’s great.  That’s wonderful.  And we need that.  My first question is, what kind of witness were you for Jesus in your Jerusalem?  You want to go to an exotic place in the world and tell people about Jesus.  Did you tell people about Jesus in your own neighborhood?  How about your own family?  Your place of work?  That’s where it starts.  In Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, the uttermost parts of the earth.



Some people see this as Luke’s way of giving us an outline for the book of Acts, because the book of Acts starts with the church in Jerusalem.  By Acts 28 we’re in Rome, the far ends of the known world at that time.  And here we are 2000 years later because disciples of Jesus Christ who took the mission of the church, the bold mission of the church seriously and embraced the revolution, who put this into practice.  What kind of witness are you?  What kind of witness are we as a church?  This is why as a church we say our mission is to glorify God by making disciples of Jesus Christ who go and make disciples.  That’s Acts 1:8.  That’s Matthew 28 and so forth.



So we’re talking about responding to a call to action here.  And we said it starts by having confidence in the claims of Christ, connecting to the unlimited power of God, committing to the bold mission of the church, and then, finally, clinging to the immminent return of Jesus Christ.  Let’s finish it up in verses 9 and 10 after Jesus gives them their marching orders.  It says, “And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.  And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven?  This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.’”  Now, this scene is known as the ascension of Jesus Christ.  Probably came around day 40 after His resurrection.  And He’s been appearing in a number of places.  He’s been talking to the disciples about the kingdom of God, giving them their marching orders again, clarifying any misunderstandings they have about scripture or any of that and preparing them for the coming of Holy Spirit.  And then, while they’re standing there on the Mount of Olives just across the Kidron Valley on the other side of the old city of Jerusalem, He starts ascending into heaven.  And the clouds envelope Him, and He’s gone.  You can just imagine the disciples sitting there with their heads, you know, tilted up like this and their jaw dropped down to their belly button.  “Where did He go?”  And the Bible says two men, angels, appeared to them and said, “Why are you guys gawking up into heaven?  This same Jesus who left you in the clouds is coming again.”



You see, friends, embracing the revolution that is this thing called the early church and the church that we are today has something to do with clinging to the promise of His return.  We’ve got work to do.  This is not time for laziness.  It’s not time for laissez faire.  It’s not time to kick back and retire into…we’ve got work to do.  And Jesus is coming.  He’s coming soon.  I talk about clinging to the imminent return of Jesus Christ.  You know what imminent means?  It could happen at any time.  And it’s been imminent for 2000 years.  And you say, “Well, when’s He gonna come?”  I don’t know.  The Bible says a thousand years is like a day, and a day is like a thousand years to God.  So in His mind a couple days have passed.  He’s in no hurry, right?  And it’s not for us to know the day or the hour.  And when the disciples even asked Jesus about, “Is this the time?  Is this the season when the Father’s gonna fulfill the kingdom?”  “Hey, guys, don’t worry about that.  You’ve got work to do.  You’ve got a job to do.  And I’m leaving you shortly here, and I want to make sure you have all the resources you need to carry out the mission.”



And here we are today.  Part of what compels me, part of what just gets me up in the morning and gets me excited about fulfilling this bold mission of the church is knowing that any day Jesus could come again.  Do you know the next event on God’s prophetic calendar is something called the rapture of the church where we disappear out of this world as believers in Jesus Christ in the twinkling of an eye, the Bible says.  And that’s sets a seven-year prophetic calendar that culminates in the second coming of Jesus Christ.  You can go to Daniel 7, to Matthew 24, to revelation 19 and read about that exciting event in Bible prophecy known as the second coming of Jesus Christ.  And what you find is He comes in the clouds.  Because the angels said, “This same Jesus who left in the clouds is coming in the clouds.”  And as He left from the Mount of Olives, Bible prophecy says when He return He’ll set His feet right back on the Mount of Olives.  Now, if that doesn’t get you excited, if that doesn’t get you out of bed in the morning and say, “Okay.  What do we gotta do today, Pastor?  What do we gotta do?  What’s the mission?  What do we gotta do?”  Well, it’s real simple.  It’s real simple.  Make disciples of Jesus Christ who go and make disciples, right?  That’s Matthew 28.  That’s Acts 1:8.  That’s what we’ve got to be busy doing.



Paul writing in the New Testament says occupy until He comes.  Get busy and be found to be at work, fulfilling the bold mission and clinging to the return of Jesus Christ.  Let me give you one other incentive here.  One of the five crowns or eternal rewards that are mentioned in the New Testament are given to those who love His appearing, who didn’t forget what the angels said there.  He is coming again.  And they live everyday with that sense of expectation.  Time is running out.  Today could be the day.  Where can I be a witness for Jesus today?  And, oh, by the way, Holy Spirit, empower me to do that.  That’s what we’re called here to do.



And, friends, I would just leave you with this question.  Is that enough for you to embrace this thing called the revolution of Jesus Christ, enough for Him to revolutionize your heart from the inside out, but also enough for you to embrace a new purpose, a new mission, a new destiny in life?  You’re sitting here wondering, I don’t know why I’m here.  I don’t know why I do what I do.  I’m building my business, my family, my this, that.  Listen, make sure that your sense of mission and purpose and destiny in life has everything to do with this revolution that Jesus started 2000 years ago when He walked out of that grave and He says, “I’m just beginning.”  And we’re part of that beginning.  Let’s keep it going.  Let’s make sure it’s healthy.  Let’s make sure that when Jesus returns, He finds us busy about the business of carrying out the mission that He gave His disciples 2000 years ago.  Amen?



“Every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.”

Romans 8:28 MSG