APR 24, 2016, 5TH SUNDAY OF EASTER

THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES | PART 4:  ACTS 11:29-30; 13:1-3

A Sermon by Pastor Chico Martin

 

The Jerusalem assembly chooses seven Spirit-filled men for the task of distributing food to the community of believers, so that the widows among the Greeks would not be neglected by the Jews (6:1-6). The assembly presented the men- all Greeks – to the apostles, who “praying, laid hands on them,” blessing their appointment.  In this manner, the church offices of elders –for ministry of the word – and deacons – for care of the church community – were established.   We observe (1) the deacons were lifted up by the assembled church; (2) for daily care of the church community, not for outreach to the city of Jerusalem; and (3) the elders prayed and blessed the deacons, but did not join them in their task, differentiating the roles between the two offices.  These verses show how the first church of Jerusalem adapted to its growing size and conflicts within its community; the church addressed its needs and resolved its conflicts with the involvement of the entire assembled body.   Continue reading

APR 17, 2016, 4th SUNDAY OF EASTER

THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES | PART 3:  ACTS 5:12-16

A Sermon by Pastor Chico Martin

The crowd packed Solomon’s Portico.  The sheltered porch outside the temple, overlooking a deep valley, was supported by a substructure of thick white walls on the spot first worked by King Solomon, the temple’s founder. There were so many people crowding the portico “that they even carried out the sick into the streets and laid them on cots and mats, that as Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on some of them” (ESV, 5:15), and they would be healed by his power.  In the extraordinary and unique time that followed the resurrection of Jesus and the sending of the Spirit to his church, the promise of Jesus, as recorded by John, was fulfilled: “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father” (John 14:12).  Peter’s shadow was so powerful that “The people also gathered from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing the sick and those afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all healed” (Acts 5:16).   Continue reading

APR 10, 2016, 3RD SUNDAY OF EASTER

THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES | PART 2:  ACTS 4:32-35

A Sermon by Pastor Chico Martin

Luke’s picture of the first church of Jerusalem renders the Ascended Lord, acting through his Apostles, as He continues the signs and wonders that characterize His earthly ministry and provokes awe and amazement inside and outside the church.   Signs and wonders inspired belief that the church was being gathered for the Messianic age, which Jesus had announced, and Chapter 3 of The Acts begins with an account of Peter and John healing a beggar “at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful,” a healing accomplished much as Jesus himself healed.  We are reminded that The Acts “describes what Jesus continues to do” and that “the disciples in Acts frequently mimic some facet of Jesus’ life.”[i]   Continue reading

APR 3, 2016, 2ND SUNDAY of EASTER

THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES | PART 1:  ACTS 2:42-47

A Sermon by Pastor Chico Martin

The Acts of the Apostles may be read for many reasons, and we shall focus principally on one: for applications we can make from Luke’s account of apostolic church life to church life today.[i]  That is, can we identify Scriptural principles of church life that are normative, which give us a model of the correct way of ordering church life?  By church life, we mean not only worship, but fellowship, service, evangelism, teaching, and our relationship with those outside our community.  We will also consider whether some elements of church life are called out in The Acts as commanded or prohibited, remembering that the authority of Scripture is the authority of a story, not of a rule book.   Continue reading