Morning. David Sorn. Pastor of Renovation Church
A lot of churches around the country are opening their doors for the very first time this morning
We started last year on Oct 4th because October is the best month to start churches in.
This year, when you have an option of starting a church on a catchy day like 10/10/10, almost every possible church plant that was planning on launching sometime this fall is launching this morning.
So, when you think of it, pray for those churches this morning, and pray for them this week as they follow-up with people who are trying church for maybe the 1st time
Church Planting (starting new churches) is a really important thing because it reminds us that the mission is greater than ourselves.
From the beginning we’ve always tried to say at this church that it’s not ultimately about us.
Even if we grew to be the biggest church in the country, and bought the Target Center from the Timberwolves (cuz they got a new stadium after they won the 2017 NBA finals), even if we were a church of 50,000 people. We’re still not even making a dent.
We have to think outside of ourselves!
And I believe the best way to reach an exponential amount of ppl for Jesus is to plant churches.
We’re part of a network of church plants called the MnGrace network that stems out of Grace Fellowship and Dave Reno when he planted that church over 20 years ago
We were Grace Fellowship’s 18th Church Plant
And think about this:
Grace Fellowship is not a church that many Christians in MN have even heard of.
But if you add the attendance of their now 19 churches together, it equals 6,500.
If you put that into one church (w/ Grace), they would be the 2nd largest church in MN.
And yet, hardly anyone knows who they are.
And that’s just fine. Because we’ve gotta ask ourselves at this juncture in our church’s young life:
Are we more concerned about being known or more concerned about changing the world.
We’re more concerned about changing the world.
ACTS = CHURCH PLANTING
So why all this talk of new churches (church plants)
Well, not only do we hope as a church to help many other churches get started in our area some day, but we are starting a new series this morning called “GO: The Book of Acts.”
The Book of Acts is the story of the early church and how they started churches all over their area and throughout the known world at the time.
And they changed the world not just by starting one church and hoping everyone came to them and that church. They were willing to look outside of themselves
And I think as we work through this series, there’s a lot we can take from it, not just for ourselves, but for our church as well.
The book of Acts (which is short for Acts of the Apostles)…Apostle is like a Christian leader. It was the disciples in the early days. The Book of Acts begins right after Jesus has returned to heaven
It also is located right after the books about Jesus’ life in the Bible.
The New Testament goes: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and then the Book of Acts.
Acts slightly overlaps with the end of the Gospels, so in the first few verses, we get a few more details on what Jesus said to his disciples before he ascended into heaven.
A lot of people aren’t aware of this, but Jesus was on earth (making appearances) for 40 days after his resurrection.
Let’s take a look at what he said and what happened right before he ascended
(Acts 1:1-11) – NIV
1In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach (EXPLAINHOW ACTS WAS WRITTEN BY LUKE) 2until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. 3After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. 4On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit."
6So when they met together, they asked him, "Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?"
7He said to them: "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
9After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
10They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11"Men of Galilee," they said, "why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven."
RESTORE POWER TO ISRAEL?
There’s a few things worth mentioning here.
Take a look at verses 6-7 one more time
(Acts 1:6-7) - NIV
6So when they met together, they asked him, "Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?"
7He said to them: "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.
For much of the time Jesus was on earth, disciples thought he would restore power to the nation of Israel.
What does that mean?
During the time Jesus was on earth. Israel had been conquered by the vast Roman Empire and was currently under their rule.
The Jews knew that the Messiah would be a savior and a king, so they just figured (during their time anyway) that if he came, he would liberate them from the Roman empire
So when the disciples figure out Jesus is the Messiah…they think…hey…were gonna get set free from Ceasar’s rule.
Jesus informs them that he’s here to establish the kingdom of God, not the Kingdom of Israel.
And yet, even after they’ve seen him rise form the dead, they’re still asking, “Hey, so, when do you think you’re going to restore our country to power again?”
Important to note that these men who changed the shape of this world, were still just kind of missing it at the beginning of their ministry
That ought to give us a little more grace for people we think don’t have it 100% right?
We notice that Jesus semi-dodges their question and instead refocuses them on being witnesses to the ends of the earth
And I imagine that as time went on they slowly started to figure out that their mission was to bring people to faith in Christ.
Jesus leaving/ascending into heaven was a clue. The power of the Holy Spirit coming upon them was a clue…and so was the thousands of lives that were so radically changed. And eventually even the gentiles (non-Jews) accepting faith.
They finally got that Jesus wasn’t just on earth to bring power back to their country.
Which I think shows how easy it is for good intentioned spiritual or religious people to put more focus on their country than their God.
Not that helping one’s country is a bad thing. It’s a great thing.
But our allegiance is first to the kingdom of God.
THE DISCIPLES HAD TO WAIT
SO, in his last words to his disciples, on earth anyway, he gives them a short reminder of which kingdom they should focus on, but he also gives them some really imp. Instructions about timing
I mean think about this. Put yourself in the disciples shoes
They’ve just seen THE messiah be crucified, and three days later rise from the dead.
And on TOP OF THAT, he’s been randomly showing up, hanging out, eating with them, and giving them more instructions
Ugh…don’t you want to tell someone about that??
Yet, that’s not necessarily what they’re supposed to do.
Look at what Jesus said to them:
(Acts 1:4) – NIV
4On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.
Which we find out is the Holy Spirit. They’re supposed to wait for God to come on them in power.
Or, at the end of Luke, Jesus also says this:
(Luke 24:49) – NIV
I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high."
And then, after those instructions, Jesus ascends into heaven
And if you were the disciples what would you do???
Ever known a really good secret, but you couldn’t tell it?
And I don’t mean like a juicy secret you know about someone’s mistake.
Like, say you know someone’s pregnant, but they aren’t telling everyone yet.
Or, you just heard someone got engaged, but you can’t put it on facebook just yet because they need to tell their parents before you tell 600 of your friends.
The disciples now the best secret ever. God came to earth. Died on the cross. Rose from the dead. And He wants to forgive all your sins and change your life!
“Now just sit in Jerusalem for a little bit and don’t tell anyone.” WOW
And really they have three choices
One: They can sit in fear and nervousness and never say anything
Two: They can go out right away and start talking about who Jesus is
Three: They can WAIT for the Holy Spirit to come on them in Power and then go out and start talking about who Jesus is
Thankfully, they choose option THREE
However, they did have to wait TEN days.
Jesus ascended forty days after Easter Weekend, and it would be another ten until the day of Pentecost, which is when the Holy Spirit comes down on the disciples
But, they waited for those ten days, even though they didn’t have to.
I can imagine that they had to be itching to get going
And really, we are quite similar
The one difference is that we already have the Holy Spirit in us as Christians
However, we can still do a lot of God’s work with out God
Which is one of the most dangerous things about being a Christian
GOING OUT WITHOUT POWER
Because there are a lot of good things to be done in the world and unfortunately we can do them with out God
Feeding the hungry, helping the needy, taking care of your family, raising your children, telling people about God, teaching people about God
And the SCARY thing is ALL of that, CAN be done without God’s power.
We can do it on our own
We could do it all with out praying, with out waiting for God’s direction, without waiting for God’s power
You can raise your family without ever asking God for help.
You can even go serve the community without ever consulting God for his wisdom
You can EVEN do ministry. Lead your small group. Serve at church, without consulting God.
One of my mentors told me once, “David, you could probably last about 5 years as a pastor just on your talents alone. But without God’s help, you’ll never make it to ten. And you most certainly won’t be making an impact at ten years without God’s help”
Good words. It’s true. I’m not all that special on my own, and neither are you.
But the easy thing is to try and do it ourselves.
We get excited, and it seems like a good thing to do, so we go out and do it.
What about his power? His strength?
And what about his direction?
“Just because you’re doing good doesn’t mean you’re doing God’s will.”
Ever think about that?
You could be doing the best thing in the world and helping thousands, but if that’s not where God wants you or especially if you’re not doing it with Him, then it doesn’t matter.
Because God not only tells the disciples to wait for his power, he gives them direction.
Look at verse 8 again. Many have said this is the thesis statement or an outline for the book of Acts. It’s the direction they were to go:
(Acts 1:8) - NV
8But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
The disciples were given instructions and told a certain way to go.
PUT UP JUDEA/SAMARIA MAP
The disciples were not only told to wait for his power but to follow his directions/path as well.
I’m not sure we ask ourselves these questions enough though.
Are you waiting for God’s power before you do what you’re doing?
Are you relying on his Strength? No, seriously.
Are you getting directions from Him?
OR, are you just going out and assuming it’s okay.
The whole…when you step on a land-mine you’ll know it approach.
Shouldn’t we ought to wait for his strength, and his map first, so we can better avoid those land mines?
But I think what happens is…
1) We appear to be doing at least okay “good” in our life, so we don’t question it.
2) We just get so busy with other things that we forget how much we need to rely on Him.
We get even too busy to pray.
And in effect, we run on ahead of God
We’re already out in Samaria on our own instead of waiting for His power
And living that way is like:
Trying to drive a car without filling up with gas
It’s like trying to use an iPod without charging it
It’s like trying to watch TV with out plugging it in
If you want do something, go somewhere, you need power
And so do we.
If we want to make a difference for Christ…if you want to raise a Godly family…if you want to actually reach your friend for Christ… we NEED his power.
Let’s not fool ourselves into thinking we can do those things on our own.
And listen, be willing to wait for his power. It’s worth it.
Two years ago for Christmas, I got a GPS.
I didn’t get a GPS because I’m directionally challenged, I got one because I love to stare at maps. J
After I opened it up, I did what you are never supposed to do with new electronics.
Whenever you get a new phone, new ipod, GPS, whatever, they say that you should always let the battery charge extra long before you use it for the first time.
It extends the battery life and allows it to last longer as the years go by.
Well, I’d never done this before, but I was SO excited to use it, and connect it with the satellites, that even though it was charging in my car, I finally just pulled over, got out, and lifted it up to sky.
I just couldn’t wait the 5 hours it said to charge it. I wanted to get going now.
And you know what. The battery on our GPS has been absolutely terrible for 2 years now.
But sometimes we live our Christian lives that way.
We don’t want to take the time to really power up with God. We’ve got good things to do (as the disciples clearly did too), but we don’t want to wait.
We’ll do a little Sunday church here and there, but let’s get on with it.
But please, take the time to power up with God.
Let him charge your spirit.
Let him give you the power, the strength, the love you need to get through this world and impact this world.
And be willing to wait to be really “Powered up”
Sometimes it takes a while. But be patient. Just don’t go out after a charge here and there.
Let God really get in your heart and start charging you up. Changing you.
The disciples waited 10 days, but at the time, they didn’t know it would be 10 days. It could have been 100 days.
But they waited.
Because waiting for Him to fully charge you, and really speak to you, is going to make you way more effective than just randomly popping in when you feel really low.
So before you start running off without any power, make sure that you’re plugged in.
Make sure that your work, your service, whatever you do is a result of God moving through you
Because if we can submit to that, if we can be patient enough for that, then truly, all things are possible.
Copyright: David Sorn
Renovation Church in Blaine, MN
You may use this material all you like! We only ask that you do not charge a fee and that you quote the source and not say it is your own.