Birth of the Mission

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The Triune God has a plan for the performance (activity & mission) of His people.

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Let me begin by clarifying a word in my sermon title: Birth. Birth does not mean beginning, even though that is what is documented on headstones and legal records! Life begins before birth. It was true of Jesus, our Savior made incarnate and it is true of every human since Eden. I’m not a biologist so I won’t declare beyond my knowledge base, but I think this is not restricted to mammals. Fowl and reptiles grow before the egg hatches and seeds germinate before they emerge through the soil.
Likewise, Acts 2 is not a “brand new phenom”. The Mission of God for His people after the resurrection had already been conceived in His mind and Jesus prepared His disciples for this before his crucifixion.
It is important for me to clarify up front that while this book is titled the Acts of the Apostles, we must remember that these acts all originate in the mind of God. Darrel Bock writes, “God is the major actor in Luke-Acts[i].” Patrick Schreiner words this thought as, “All earthly action has prior orchestration and plan[ii]”.

The Plan Originates with the Triune God (Acts 1)

Luke focused on the interactions of God through the person of Christ with the Nativity in Luke 2, but Luke 1 begins with the Triune God planning and working to impregnate Mary. Acts 2 will introduce the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, but Acts 1 starts by reflecting on the work of the Son and His return to the Father.
It is undeniable that the majority of this book describes the kingdom of God being spread, but before the spread Luke describes the Word of God, and before the Word was made flesh it was conceived in the plan of God.
According to what 2:23 labels God’s definite plan, Jesus announced that…

The Anticipated Spirit would Baptize (Acts 1:1-5)

1. total identity
o by going “into the water”, as Jesus’ baptism is described, we get the picture of being all-inclusive. The whole person comes in contact with the water.
o Baptism by the Spirit involved the whole person: your academic life, your sports life, your family life, your business life, your social life, your private thought life, your romantic life, all of you!
2. Declares & connects to Christ’s death and resurrection
o baptism into any religion carries an image of washing away the previous ideas and actions
o baptism in the Christian manner adds to washing, an identity of death and resurrection.
o Even Jesus baptism pictures death and life, although he NEVER SINNED. As the unique fully man and fully God, some have identified that Jesus had 2 wills (we see in the Garden of Gethsemane “not my will but thine be done”.) In Jesus baptism He makes public profession that He is dying to His human will and submitting to (bringing to life if you will) His heavenly will.
[I am NOT saying that Jesus became divine at his baptism! I am saying he declared his divinity at his baptism. Just as baptism doesn’t save us, but is a declaration that we are saved. It is this declaration that gets tested by the 40 days in the wilderness by Satan’s 3 temptations. And it is this declaration that gets tested the night of his betrayal.]
3. Water baptism declares “I have died to Sin and been made alive to Christ because Jesus died and was resurrected.” The Spirit’s baptism is also a declaration of “We declare we are identified with His mission”

The Ascending Son Issues Orders (Acts 1:6-11)

Craig Keener sets the Jesus story apart from all myths. In Greek stories, various heroes ascended to heaven, usually by dying and becoming gods (like Heracles on his funeral pyre).[i] V.11 makes a unique claim which gives Jesus unique authority.
What happens when a player disregards the coach and runs an alternative play? Hoosiers
The most frustrating part of the game of basketball to me is how the final 60 seconds of the game can drag on for minutes as each turnover seems to involve a time-out as the coach clarifies what he wants to happen and how the players are to respond in various situations. Acts 1:4-11 is the final minute of the final game of the tournament championship.

The Anxious Squad reveals their fallibility (Acts 1: 12-26)

They met for a week

Pentecost was 50 days after Passover. If 40 day passed since resurrection, plus the time Jesus was in the tomb, this prayer meeting most likely lasted a week.
We tend to think there is something noble about poverty (Jesus mentioned having no place to lay his head). And when wealth commands our attention it becomes a problem. But Joseph’s tomb loaned to Jesus most likely indicates a level of possessions. Holding a week-long prayer meeting (food and sleeping accommodations) would not have been cheap. Homes that had “upper rooms” tended to be the nicer homes of the city.
There is nothing wrong with having wealth, as long as it is used properly, and does not become an idol. Remember: some of Scripture is descriptive and some is prescriptive and the Apostles are never described as perfectly carrying out the plan.

They misapplied Scripture (Ps 109:8)

even good and godly people can sometimes get things wrong!

They acted before the Spirit moved

“knowledge is knowing what to do, wisdom is knowing when to do it.”
Transition: It is now time to take the ideas off the whiteboard and out of the playbook and enact them on the field.

The Performance Glorifies the Triune God (Acts 2)

The Power Surprised Everyone (Acts 2:1-13)

· 2:6 – they were bewildered
· 2:7 they were amazed and astonished
· 2:12 they were amazed and perplexed
· 2:8 asks “how is it that” – my senses/observation don’t line up with my assumptions.
We are living in a very divided time! Last Thursday evening a beautiful event happened on our football field as players, coaches, teachers, and fans from many (all?) churches of our county came together and united for one purpose. A Unified power superseded all the things that divide and separate! This Thursday we have a similar opportunity regarding our Sheriff’s office.

The Proclamation Saved Thousands (Acts 2:14-41)

· Peter’s sermon was rooted in Scripture (vv.16-21. 25-28, 34-35)

· Peter’s sermon centered on Christ (vv.22-24, 31-33)

Next weeks passage tells us explicitly: Acts 4:12 (ESV) — And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
I don’t need to know about your favorite athlete, actor or politician. I don’t care what E.F. Hutton says. The latest public opinion poll has no bearing on eternity. There are places for discussion and opinions, but when it comes to eternity, we need Jesus!

· Peter’s sermon called for response (vv.36-41)

The People Survived in Unity (Acts 2:42-47)

Two weeks ago I got to visit a little one-on-one with our ministry partner Cory Young. One thing he said that has stuck with me was the clever way he mused, “We can never outworld the world.” There are some things that our society does that the church of Jesus Christ will never do better than they do. However it is also true that there are some things that the Church of Jesus Christ is called to do that nobody can do better, especially when you find a church that is doing all of the things in vv.42-47. You may find some place in the world that serves more delicious food, but you’ll never find a place that provides better fellowship than when brothers and sisters in Christ are in unity. You may find places where the music sounds better or is more emotionally compelling, but you’ll never find a place that excels beyond the Body of Christ when it comes to needy sinners adoring the God who forgives.
· The uniqueness of the Spirit-empowered cooperation of the people of God is described as:
Worship - prayer & praising God
Instruction - apostles teaching
Fellowship - breaking bread together (meals & communion)
Evangelism - added to their number
Service - distributed the proceeds
Since the Covid pandemic believers have been asking, “Is online church, church?” Online church was not an option during the Spanish Flu 114 years ago. Which of these 5 can you do in isolation?
Notice the first part of v.44 - Together in body (closeness) & spirit (purpose)


The mission was given by the living Word of God to those in the kingdom of God who were to carry out the definite planof God.
Peter gives one example of what communicating this mission looks like. But the first 11 verses of chapter 1 and the last 6 verses of chapter two bookend Peter’s sermon with a unique reality.
Every pronoun in these paragraphs is plural. Jesus did not give the mission to Peter, it was given to those who were gathered. That mission did not pass down to the pastor on the platform, it has been passed down to all who call themselves followers of Christ.
My vision is not that people would hear my sermons. I don’t want to add to “my number”. The likes, shares,friends or followers of my social media are not the measure of a good pastor. As we embrace the mission of making disciples by each of us exercising our spiritual gifts in unity with one another, then the Lord will add to our number according to His timing those who are being saved!
We normally sing a song after communion as a testimony to our unity in Christ. Today I want us to sing that same song, only today I ask each of us to have in mind what it means to be part of a body that is working together to carry out the plan of God.
Song of Response #282...... “The Family of God
Benediction: Ephesians 6:23–24 (ESV) — Peace be to the brothers, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible.
[1] Darrell L. Bock, A Theology of Luke and Acts: Biblical Theology of the New Testament, ed. Andreas J. Köstenberger, Bibilical Theology of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2012), 99.
[1] Patrick Schreiner, The Mission of the Triune God: A Theology of Acts, ed. Thomas R. Schreiner and Brian S. Rosner, New Testament Theology (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2022), 31.
[1] Craig S. Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament, Second Edition. (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic: An Imprint of InterVarsity Press, 2014), 320.
[1] Ibid., 320.
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