Marks of a Gospel Movement: “Christ’s Rule Empowers Us”

Passage: Acts 1:1-11
Guide for Group Discussion or Personal Reflection

Sermon Summary

Our church’s vision is to “see a gospel movement on the North Shore.” The book of Acts describes the first gospel movement, as God used the early church to powerfully extend Christ’s kingdom beyond Jerusalem, into Judea, Samaria, and even to “the ends of the earth” (1:8).

In essence, a gospel movement is Jesus continuing his own work through his people. In Acts 1:1, we’re told that the account of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection was only what Jesus “began to do and teach”—implying that he was continuing to “do and teach” through his people, the church. Jesus’ church continues Jesus’ own work of declaring his kingdom and living out the holistic implications of his rule. As the church, we are Jesus’s “witnesses,” declaring the reality of his kingship and kingdom with our words and with the shape of our life together.

The power for a gospel movement comes from Christ’s victorious rule and from the presence of the Holy Spirit. Christ’s ascension means that Christ rose to a place of victory and authority, and now sits on his throne, empowering the mission of God’s people. Because Christ is the already-victorious king, our work is simply to testify to his victory and invite people into it. Most importantly, however, we are empowered by the Holy Spirit—God’s own personal presence with us, who enables us to be and do all that we’re called to!

Sermon Outline

  • The Essence of a Gospel Movement (1:1-3, 6-11)
  • The Power for a Gospel Movement (1:4-5, 8)

Group Discussion & Personal Reflection Guide

Re-read the passage (Acts 1:1-11)

The Essence of a Gospel Movement (1:1-3, 6-11)

Q) INTRO: What comes to mind when you hear our church’s vision “to see a gospel movement on the North Shore”? Does it excite you? Overwhelm you? What do you think would be some “marks” that a gospel movement is taking place?

Q) Re-read Acts 1:1-2. Luke says here that in his “first book” he wrote about “all that Jesus began to do and to teach.” In what sense is Jesus still “doing and teaching” things today?

Q) Pastor Ben said that in a gospel movement, Jesus is continuing his own work. How does this truth change the way you view what a gospel movement is? How does this make a gospel movement different than other types of movements in the world today?

Q) Re-read Acts 1:6 and Acts 1:7-8. What were the disciples asking of Jesus? How was his response different than what the disciples were expecting?

Q) This passage teaches that God dignifies Christians who feel “ordinary” by including all of us in his mission. Do you ever feel like you don’t have what it takes to participate in a gospel movement? If so, what do you feel like you lack—experience? Gifting? Time? Money? How might this passage speak to your sense of inadequacy?

The Power for a Gospel Movement (1:4-5, 8)

Q) How would you explain Jesus’ ascension to someone who is not a Christian, in your own words, and using as little “insider terminology” (i.e. vocabulary that only Christians would understand) as possible? Practice sharing with others about what happened at Jesus’ ascension and why it matters.

Q) Re-read Acts 1:8. How does the word “witness” help clarify our role in God’s mission? What does it mean to be a “witness”?

Q) What is one way you, your family, or your friends can be a “witness” for Christ in this next week? Can you think of ways that our church has been a “witness” for Christ and his kingdom during the pandemic?

Q) Pastor Ben said that the “power” we receive from the Holy Spirit in verse 8 is not a “substance” (i.e. 15 “watts of power”) that God gives us, but is a way of describing how God’s personal presence enables us to be and do all we’re called to. Why does this distinction matter? Have you ever felt “empowered” by God’s presence? If so, when?

Q) Re-read Acts 1:4-5. Why do you think the disciples were told to “wait” for the Holy Spirit?

Q) In Acts 1:1-11, the Holy Spirit had not yet come into the original believers—see Acts 2:1-4 for the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost. Today, however (post-Pentecost) we receive the Holy Spirit when we first believe in Jesus. How, then, might we still apply this command to “wait” for the Holy Spirit? What happens when we don’t?

Additional Application Questions

Q) How else would you like to engage with God this week?

Q) How can you tangibly care for those in your community this week, both inside and outside of the church?

Prayer

Spend time praying for yourselves, our church community, the North Shore community, and our nation and world—particularly those most vulnerable.

 
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