Beginning at Jerusalem Dan Lightfoot 1473
This is a lesson you can use in sharing the gospel. All of us want to save souls. We want to take people to heaven with us. We want to touch their lives with love and grace and meet their greatest need for forgiveness. That same desire consumed the life of Jesus. And just before He ascended into heaven he told His apostles: "...you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth." (Acts 1:8)
1. They would begin in Jerusalem. But what were they to witness to?
2. Jesus had spent 3 years preparing them for that. And it all came together just a few days earlier:
But the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated. 17 When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful. 18And Jesus came up & spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven & on earth. 19 Go therefore & make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father & the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; & lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." (Mat. 28:16-20)
3. We call it the great commission -- it was their marching orders. And it defined their lives as they scattered to the corners of the earth to preach it, ultimately giving their lives in completion of that task.
4. It still defines the mission of the church. It is the foundational purpose for all that we do. (worship, benevolence, fellowship, edification, missions, buildings, campus ministry, etc …)
I. Sharing the Gospel
A. I used to be a gunslinger. (Bible gunfighter)
1. hand always twitching. Ready for a Bible gunfight.
a. Boom! Gun smoke. Have Bible, Will Travel.
b. A Bible bullet for every occasion…
c. Won the arguments, but lost the souls.
2. Frustrating. Could out-quote people, top their best arguments…
B. But the gospel isn't about winning arguments -- but saving souls.
1. Gospel began to be revealed to us in the Passover
a. Means "exempt" -- … from the death of the firstborn…
b. Christ is described as our Passover (I Cor. 5:7) -- meaning we are exempt from the wrath of God. That's good news.
c. "What can wash away my sins? Nothing, but the blood of Jesus" We are immune to the punishment for sin.
2. I Cor. 15:1-4 -- Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, 2by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. 3For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures"
a. good news--the tomb was empty!
b. & we can be saved by that gospel… when we obey...What do you mean, obey?
3. 2 Th. 1:8 -- When Jesus returns: "dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus."
a. Does God expect a response to His gospel? Surely. And if so, it must be the correct response!
II. The New Testament Story
A. NT in 3 sections: Mat., Mk., Lk., Jn. ACTS Rom. -- Rev.
1. Matt. wrote to Jews / genealogies
2. Mark wrote to Romans / no interest in genealogies / Jesus is grown & working miracles (power speaks to the Roman mind)
3. Luke wrote to Greeks / long stories (Acts 17, telling new things)…prodigal son, good Samaritan, rich man & Lazarus… & Luke's genealogy goes back to Adam...
4. John wrote to the church to counter the gnostic heresy.
a. It said: "In the beginning was not the Word, and the Word was not with God, and the Word was not God. 2He was not in the beginning with God."
 It said that God is good & man is evil, & you can't put the two together! & It came from paganism.
b. John stressed that Jesus was the Word, etc.
5. Each gospel ends with the D-B-R of Jesus… & at the end of each is an account of the great commission.
a. Mk. 16:15-16 -- "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned." --they'll stay lost.
B. Acts is the account of the apostles doing exactly that. If we want to know what Jesus meant, we just need to look at Acts.
C. And Romans -- Revelation -- letters written to Christians or churches
1. All of these people have already obeyed the gospel.
III. Following the Apostles' Lead
A. How did the apostles' fulfill the great commission? How did they teach people to respond to the gospel? Look at Acts 2.
B. In Acts 2 the gospel is preached for the first time. Heard … believed … & obeyed for the first time.
1. Now, John the baptist & Jesus preached good news (that the K. was near) -- but not the D-B-R, because it hadn't happened.
2. Acts 2 is the first gospel meeting!
3. & the Great commission is being fulfilled for the first time!
C. Note the progression in Acts 2
1. 2:1-4 -- The H. S. empowered the apostles (fulfilled Jesus' promise of Lk. 24 & Acts 1:8)
2. 2:5-12 -- everybody reacts to that! It was a miracle of languages.
a. 15 ethnic groups could understand in their own tongue.
b. Some even said, "They're full of new wine."
3. In 2:14, Peter stood with the 11 and preached.
a. It's 9 a.m.-- we're not drinking!
b. Then he says something really cool! "This is that... which was spoken by the prophet Joel…" (Joel 2:28-32)
 quotes Joel. It's a judgment on Jerusalem that ends with a note that says there's a way to be saved from that judgment! (v. 21) -- & he's going to tell us what it is!
4. 2:22-24 -- Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know-- 23this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. 24"But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power.
a. There's the gospel. Great commission is being fulfilled.
5. 2:25-31 -- quotes OT scripture to show that this is exactly what was supposed to happen.
6. 2:36 -- He sums it all up. "Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ--this Jesus whom you crucified."
a. Lord means ruler, master. Christ is Messiah or Savior.
b. If you submit to Him as Lord, you receive the benefit of Him being your Savior. It's a package deal.
c. But it hit their ears like a ton of bricks -- He's the Messiah, and we killed Him! What in the world are we gonna do?
7. 2:37 -- "Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Brethren, what shall we do?"
a. There is belief & conviction of sin. Pricked to the heart. They believed what Peter preached.
b. The gospel touches hearts! & they want to know what to do.
8. 2:38 -- Peter's speaking to believers. No need to tell them to believe.
"Peter said to them, "Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ (& 2 things will happen) for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."
1. Don't be afraid of the word "repent". It is necessary.
a. It does not mean a change of life. It means a change of mind and heart that leads to a change in direction.
b. John the baptist told the Jews in Mt. 3:8 -- "Now bring forth fruit in keeping with your repentance."
c. Repentance leads to a change of life… it's a process…
d. Too many think repentance is when you stop all the wrong & begin all the right. If that's the case, you didn't do it. You didn't even know all the right & wrong!
e. Repentance is the decision to live according to God's will when and as you learn it.
2. & what happened? v. 41 -- "So then, those who had received his word were baptized; & that day there were added about three thousand souls."
D. Note: "How many that day had a copy of the NT in their hand?" (0)
1. The great commission is just commencing. That day the gospel was preached for the first time. Heard…. believed… & obeyed….
2. Remember me saying I was a gunfighter? I'd pull out my Acts 2:38. Boom! & I'd get back shot by John 3:16. I'd fire back an Acts 22:16 and have to fend off a Romans 10:10. It was predictable.
3. And this dawned on me.
a. In Acts 2 the gospel was preached for the first time, etc.
b. Nobody could argue the way we do today. No one said, "Hey, Peter! What about John 3:16? Doesn't it say that 'whoever believes in Him should have eternal life?"
c. Peter would say, "John is up here preaching the same thing I'm preaching. He hasn't written John yet. & when he does he will not be contradicting what we are saying here today."
d. It's the same with any other verse. And this approach stops some confusion.
e. They had no choice but to accept the word of the apostles, or reject it…
4. When those believers repented and were baptized, they received forgiveness for their sins, & they received the H.S. -- and they were added to the church.
a. When we do what they did, we'll have what they had.
b. The sins that put Jesus on the cross were your sins. You, by the hand of lawless men have crucified and slain the Son of God. Your sins have separated you from God. And if you have not come to Him in faith, repentance and immersion, sin still stands between you and God, and you and heaven.
5. Do what they did…And become what they were… no denomination, no sect, no ism -- just NT Christians added to His church.
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