It was a small town, small church, and a young pastor. The church could probably best be described as apathetic—lacking zeal. The pastor had inexperience in the ministry. It had the makings of an absolute disaster. But what God did would send a ripple effect all across America. That young pastor simply started preaching the gospel. As that young, inexperienced preacher preached, God started capturing hearts. Lives were being changed. Families were being changed. That young inexperienced pastor was Jonathan Edwards. The movement was the Great Awakening. Dream with me as Edwards describes gospel impact.
This work of God, as it was carried on, and the number of true saints multiplied, soon made a glorious alteration in the town: so that in the spring and summer following, anno 1735, the town seemed to be full of the presence of God: it never was so full of love, nor of joy, and yet so full of distress, as it was then. There were remarkable tokens of God's presence in almost every house. It was a time of joy in families on account of salvation being brought to them; parents rejoicing over their children as new born, and husbands over their wives, and wives over their husbands. The doings of God were then seen in His sanctuary, God's day was a delight, and His tabernacles were amiable. Our public assemblies were then beautiful: the congregation was alive in God's service, every one earnestly intent on the public worship, every hearer eager to drink in the words of the minister as they came from his mouth; the assembly in general were, from time to time, in tears while the word was preached; some weeping with sorrow and distress, others with joy and love, others with pity and concern for the souls of their neighbors. (To read the whole story- https://www1.cbn.com/churchandministry/a-faithful-narrative-of-the-surprising-work-of-god-part-1).
God has a way of taking little things and doing mighty things. So, why the book of Acts for the summer? Because as we are growing it is time for us to go to a totally different level of the mission God has given to the church. Read Acts 1:1-11, asking yourself these questions as you prepare for our Sunday Gathering.
- Who wrote Acts? How does Luke show this is a 2 volume work in Acts 1:1?
- What did the baptism of Jesus signify? How is the baptism of Jesus parallel to the church getting baptized with the Spirit?
- How does Acts 1:8 serve as a table of contents for the book of Acts? Jerusalem (Acts 1-7), Judea (Acts 8:1), Samaria (Acts 8:1), and ends of the earth (Acts 13-28).
- Have you ever thought everything would be easier if you could see, talk, and literally follow Jesus in person? According to Acts 1:8, what or who would be missing if Jesus was physically present?
- What is the mission of the church?
Our prelude this Sunday is "You Stand Alone." God gave this song to me while I was studying on vacation and thought how perfect this is for Acts 1 as Christ ascends the throne and stands alone. Enjoy. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kx4rQbnnnc8