Faithlife
Faithlife

Where it Begins

Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
· 1 view

To teach the church how the ministry of evangelism and missions is supposed to begin at home and reach out to the uttermost parts of the earth.

Notes & Transcripts

WHERE IT BEGINS

ACTS 1:8
Acts 1:8 NASB95
but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”
AIM
To teach the church how the ministry of evangelism and missions is supposed to begin at home and reach out to the uttermost parts of the earth.
INTRODUCTION
THE FIRST DISCIPLES
Jesus gave His disciples instructions to begin sharing the gospel in Jerusalem and reach out the uttermost parts of the earth. In the early years of my ministry, the mission mindset of many was to stop funding missionaries around the world and use all of the money to support more missionaries at home. This mindset has shifted in a totally opposite view over the past few years. Currently, we want to reach the uttermost parts of the world and forget those who live in our neighborhoods and communities. Perhaps this is good place to share some words of wisdom from a New Testament scholar.
Holman New Testament Commentary: Acts B. Witnesses of the Lord’s Message (vv. 6–8)

Notice that the call to witness is not limited to any select group of people since it spreads from the apostles to the 120 believers and on throughout the pages of Acts. Nor can we restrict it only to service in our own churches or to some kind of “professional ministry.” Every believer should be a “world Christian,” able to function for the Savior from the other side of the street to the other side of the world.

TWELVE
The very first very important truth we need to understand is Jesus was alone following His baptism, which was the beginning of His earthly ministry. Every ministry must start somewhere and for Jesus it was from square one. Let’s read how it began from Matthew’s account.
Matthew 4:18–22 NASB95
18 Now as Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who was called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. 19 And He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 Immediately they left their nets and followed Him. 21 Going on from there He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and He called them. 22 Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him.
Matthew 4:18-
THE TWELVE
It is wise to notice the twelve were called one at a time. There was no magic poof and the group was formed. Beginning with Peter, Jesus called them one at a time. Even though I had never understood this before now, reading about the call of Peter, James and John in this first group became what we know as the inner circle.
Another passage teaches us the twelve were chosen following an all night prayer meeting.
Luke 6:12–16 NASB95
12 It was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God. 13 And when day came, He called His disciples to Him and chose twelve of them, whom He also named as apostles: 14 Simon, whom He also named Peter, and Andrew his brother; and James and John; and Philip and Bartholomew; 15 and Matthew and Thomas; James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon who was called the Zealot; 16 Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.
.
This helps us to understand the importance of prayer when we are choosing the most important team who will work with us in sharing the gospel of Jesus.
The ministry of the twelve is recorded in and . Matthew gives us the most detailed list of their ministry responsibilities, which included proclaiming the gospel of Jesus. On this particular mission, they were instructed to preach only to the Jewish people in Israel. This does not mean Jesus did not want to reach the Gentiles. Jesus cares about everyone, but the ministry had to begin somewhere.
;
Matthew gives us a very detailed list of their ministry responsibilities, which included proclaiming the gospel of Jesus. On this particular mission, they were instructed to only preach to the Jewish people in Israel. This does not mean Jesus did not want to reach the Gentiles. Jesus cares about everyone, but the ministry had to begin somewhere.
The ministry began with Jesus and increased to twelve, but it did not stop there.
SEVENTY
Later we learn Jesus appointed seventy and sent them to every city where He was going.
Luke 10:1 NASB95
1 Now after this the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them in pairs ahead of Him to every city and place where He Himself was going to come.
Luke
In other words, the seventy would prepare the cities for the coming of Jesus. This should have a familiar sound to our generation. We should be busy preparing the city of Oakdale and the areas surrounding Oakdale for the coming of Jesus.
In other words, the seventy would prepare the cities for the coming of Jesus. This should have a familiar sound to our generation. We should be busy preparing our city for the coming of Jesus.
Jesus pointed out a very important truth to the seventy about their mission.
Luke 10:2 NASB95
2 And He was saying to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.
Luke 10:2-
There were not enough laborers to get the job done. The truth is, there will always be a need for more laborers. How were they instructed to get more laborers? Jesus asked them to ask the Lord for more laborers. From where do you think the needed laborers would come? Obviously doing the work of sharing the gospel and winning the lost to Jesus is the best way for the Lord to give us laborers for His harvest.
Luke
Luke 10:3 NASB95
3 “Go; behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves.
Jesus told them the work of evangelism and missions would not be an easy task. He also gave the seventy additional instructions about their ministry.
The ministry began with Jesus, increased to twelve and then to seventy, but it did not stop there.
ONE-HUNDRED TWENTY
Acts 1:8 NASB95
8 but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”
Jesus spoke these words just before He ascended into the heavens.
Acts 1:9–12 NASB95
9 And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. 10 And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. 11 They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.” 12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away.
Acts 1:9-12
In the very next scene, 120 gathered to pray before the Day of Pentecost. This means the number had grown from twelve, to seventy, to, at the very least one-hundred twenty.
Acts 1:13-15
Acts 1:13–15 NASB95
13 When they had entered the city, they went up to the upper room where they were staying; that is, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James. 14 These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers. 15 At this time Peter stood up in the midst of the brethren (a gathering of about one hundred and twenty persons was there together), and said,
None of these numbers happened instantly or without prayer and hard work. Winning the lost is never an easy task, but it must be done if we grow and glorify the Lord.
The ministry began with Jesus, increased to twelve, then to seventy, then to one-hundred twenty, but it did not stop there. At the end of the second chapter of Acts, we learn about three thousand were added to the one-hundred twenty.
Acts 2:41 NASB95
41 So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls.
The numbers still did not end with three thousand. We learn in the fourth chapter of Acts how “the number of men came to about five thousand.”
Acts 4:4 NASB95
4 But many of those who had heard the message believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand.
Acts 4:
I really wonder how many people were in this group. Apparently, they only counted the men in this particular number.
The twelve, seventy, one-hundred twenty, three thousand one hundred twenty, five thousand men plus women and children should give us a better understanding of where it begins.
CONCLUSION
Do you remember what I told you in the beginning of this message? Let me jog your memory. In the early years of my ministry, the mission mindset of many was to stop funding missionaries around the world and use all of the money to support more missionaries at home. This mindset has shifted in a totally opposite view over the past few years. Currently, we want to reach the uttermost parts of the world and forget those who live in our neighborhoods and communities.
Holman New Testament Commentary: Acts B. Witnesses of the Lord’s Message (vv. 6–8)

Notice that the call to witness is not limited to any select group of people since it spreads from the apostles to the 120 believers and on throughout the pages of Acts. Nor can we restrict it only to service in our own churches or to some kind of “professional ministry.” Every believer should be a “world Christian,” able to function for the Savior from the other side of the street to the other side of the world.

The truth is very simple. We are probably not going to be very effective anywhere in the world if we will not walk across the street or down the road in our own communities. We can never quit trying to reach our state, nation or the uttermost parts of the earth, but we need to know the community is where it begins.
The community is where it begins.
Prepared for First Baptist Church Oakdale - August 20, 2017
RELATED MEDIA
See the rest →
RELATED SERMONS
See the rest →