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Word from Scotland

    by Sandy Shaw

How We Come into The Church of Jesus Christ
Date Posted: April 26, 2021

As we attempt to sweep through the Bible and have a quick overview of the Word of God we come to the book of ACTS. Acts is written by Luke - this is his second volume.

It begins after the resurrection of Jesus Christ - deals with the details of the Ascension - a much forgotten aspect of the life and ministry of Jesus.

We are dealing with around the first 30 years of the Church of Jesus Christ.

We then go on to read about that mighty day of Pentecost - when the Church of Jesus Christ was birthed - launched - in the Temple in Jerusalem - with thousands present and 120 disciples of Jesus - baptised in the Holy Spirit - anointed - filled.

And they ALL spoke in tongues - they ALL praised God in languages they had never learned. Those who were observing thought they were drunk - and Peter explained basing his explanation on the Scriptures - as to what God had done.

Here we are reading of how we come into the Church of Jesus Christ and how we are to behave once we come into the Church of Jesus Christ.

Luke was doctor - a scientist - a man used to being careful in observation and keeping records. He has examined the life of Jesus - now he is examining the life of the Church, and in these first 11or 12Chapters we have most of the basics of the Christian life.

When speaking in Uganda and Kenya at 3-day Seminars for Pastors and Leaders, I have taken these men through the first 15 Chapters of the book of ACTS.

On the Day of Pentecost, when Peter explains what has been happening, people want to do something - Acts Chapter 2verses 37f . – and Peter is simple straightforward and clear - repent - be baptised – receive the Holy Spirit.

Then we read of the importance of teaching - and these four basic areas of life in the fellowship of the Church of Jesus Christ.

Peter and John meet that cripple man - and he is healed - and Peter and John are imprisoned. Persecution has begun - within the first few days.

But there a boldness and a courage displayed by these apostles - and a fellowship which is so strong and reliable and supportive and prayerful.

God also keeps a purity within the fellowship during the first few weeks - hypocrisy is dealt with, severely - Acts Chapter 5 .

But then a grumbling arises - and people are appointed to deal with this unneeded problem.

The leaders would not be diverted from their priorities - and we read of that. Their priorities were prayer and the ministry of the Word. Priorities for leaders and leadership in the Church of Jesus Christ have never changed, or been altered or modified.

The Gospel begins to spread out of Jerusalem - when a man goes to Samaria - but the job is not done fully - adequately - completely - and Peter and John go down to Samaria to ensure that these new believers in Jesus are born again, just as the believers back in Jerusalem. Acts Chapter 8 .

Persecution increases - and we meet Saul of Tarsus who is responsible for the death of the first disciple of Jesus to die for his faith.

Saul is arrested by Jesus outside Damascus - and he is changed. Jesus sends him a friend to help him - Ananias. Saul is filled with the Holy Spirit - baptised in water - and then has something to eat. Look at his priorities. He then goes out to preach! The hunter is hunted. He has to escape.

Where will he go? Where can he go? Would anyone trust him? Was he a plant - a spy? Another man befriends him back in Jerusalem - Barnabas. Saul, now called Paul, has to be hustled off to his home city of Tarsus.

Acts now concentrates upon Peter - and he travels visiting all the needy ones.

God arranges from him to be brought north to Caesarea - where the Gentiles are opened up to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Acts Chapter 10 – and this lands Peter in trouble, as the Gentiles have come to faith in Jesus Christ and are ‘born again’. Peter explains fully to the Jerusalem leadership, and when they are satisfied that this was God at work, they had ‘no further objections’.

However, there is more trouble. James is killed. Up to now we have read of Peter, James and John - now James is killed. The intention is to kill others too. Persecution was growing fast.

Acts Chapter 13 - where we come to the first great missionary movement in the Church of Jesus Christ. Note how it is birthed.

And off Paul goes on three missionary journeys – each lasting between TWO and FIVE years.

There was a real problem facing the Church in Acts Chapter 15 - where people were saying you needed more than faith in Jesus Christ to be a Christian.

Later, Paul is arrested in Jerusalem - and has to flee yet again. This man has no rest - no time off - no easy period. He is imprisoned for two years in Caesarea - and then is shipped off to Rome - where the book of Acts ends.

The details of that storm on the Mediterranean are worth checking for accuracy – the currents – the movements of the ship – the type of cargo – how did they lash a ship that was about to break up – the climatic conditions at that October time of year.

Paul remains a prisoner - and writes some of the letters while imprisoned in Rome. We have the account of Paul's conversion 3times in the book of ACTS and he never moved away from how he came to faith in Jesus Christ – he never grew away from how he was ‘born again’. Some do!

If we did not have the book of ACTS, we would not know how to come into the Church.

Notice there were no buildings - no official clergy - no committees - or missionary societies to support the missionaries - people were financed by their converts.

There were no H.Q.'s and denominational divisions - and we are now up to around the year 65 A.D.

There is an emphasis on The Kingdom of God - the Name of Jesus - the power of the Holy Spirit.

These need to be three main focuses within the Church today.

“Loving Father God – thank You for the account of the birth of the Church of Jesus Christ – and how each time people came to faith they came in the same way – by the same door – Repent – Believe – be Baptised in water – receive the Holy Spirit. Father, thank You for having this repeated – at Samaria, and in Damascus – and Caesarea – and with the twelve men of Ephesus. Lord God thank You for repetition – because we can be so slow to learn. Watch over us and keep us faithful to the Scriptures, in Jesus Name. Amen.”

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Biography Information:

Alexander 'Sandy' Shaw is pastor of Nairn Christian Fellowship in Nairn, Scotland. Nairn is 17 miles east of Inverness - on the Moray Firth Coast - not far from the Loch Ness Monster!

Gifted as a Biblical teacher, Sandy is firmly committed to making sure that his teachings are firmly grounded in the Word.

Sandy has a weekly radio talk which can be heard via the Internet on Saturday at 11:40am, New Orleans time, at wsho.com.

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