|Create Date||June 25, 2018|
|Last Updated||June 29, 2018|
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What was the Apostles’ Teachings?
Redhill. 24 June 2018. Presented by Gordon Green
Acts 2:42 – “Every believer was faithfully devoted to following the teachings of the apostles.”
We can do a lot of good, excellent things in life but in an effort to do these things we get distracted and miss that which is the most important. What were the early Christians passionately committed to? They desired above everything else to know more of this Christian teaching – the apostles message. Can I say the same of myself today?
What was the content of the apostle’s teaching? End time prophecies? Healing? Casting out demons? Health and wealth? No “Every day they were in the Temple and homes, teaching and preaching Christ Jesus, not letting up for a minute.” (Acts 5:42). The apostle John was very clear about what he taught: 1 John 1:1-3. The apostles spoke, preached, taught, ministered the Lord Jesus Christ. They were completely consumed with Christ. He was their message, their teaching, their proclamation, their very life. And everything else flowed out of the intimate fellowship with him. The early Christians were utterly convinced that Jesus was alive out from death and now He reigned and was (and is) the only and ultimate King of all.
Luke opens the book of Acts by saying that his Gospel (the Gospel of Luke) was a record of “all that Jesus began to do and teach.” Immediately, where is Luke’s focus? On Jesus. The starting point, the basic fact is that Christianity is about Jesus. In fact Christianity is Jesus. Christianity is not a teaching, it is a person. Luke is saying; “I’ve written to you already about Him and I’m going to tell you more about him. I want to teach you about who Jesus is” Acts is the continuation of what Jesus did and taught through His Church by the Holy Spirit. And that focus continues throughout Acts (Acts 3:20; 8:5; 9:20). The message was “Listen, we have something to tell you about a person whose name is Jesus – and what we are going to tell you will revolutionise your whole life. It will change the way you see yourself and the way you see God”
Luke says that Jesus “began” The implication is that Jesus continues to do and to teach. That’s vital. The gospel is not only about what Jesus has done. He is still active. The message of the Church is not only of what He has done but of what He is doing – now. The story of Jesus does not end with his resurrection and ascension. When Jesus ascended into heaven He didn’t retire! The message throughout Acts wasn’t theology or a set of doctrines. It is a Person – Christ.
Challenge: Take any New Testament letter and count how many times the author addresses Christ. In Colossians1 for example there are 30 references to Christ. The authors were consumed with Jesus Christ. The apostles declared only one thing – the person of the Lord Jesus Christ.
What is the focus of the Old and New Testament? Jesus said in Luke 24:27 “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself “(Luke 5:39; 24:27). Jesus is the key that opens up the Bible. John Calvin “We ought to read the scriptures with the express design of finding Christ in them.” Charles Spurgeon: “From every town, village, and little hamlet in England, wherever it may be, there is a road to London… and so from every text in Scripture there is a road to the metropolis of the Scriptures, that is Christ. Your business is, when you get to a text, to say, ‘Now, what is the road to Christ?’…I have never yet found a text that had not got a road to Christ in it” Spurgeon’s point was that no matter what passage in Scripture, it will most definitely point the reader to Christ. Every time you open Scripture, look for the road that leads to Jesus. Even Jesus promised that all Scripture bears witness about Him (John 5:39).
But didn’t the apostles preach about the Kingdom of God? Realise Jesus is the embodiment, the incarnation of the Kingdom. You can’t have the Kingdom without the King. You can’t separate Christ from his Kingdom. If we do the Kingdom becomes a thing. In him is the Kingdom. Jesus is the reality of the Kingdom. When Jesus was asked where the Kingdom was answered that it was “among you.” He was telling the Pharisees that He brought the kingdom of God to earth. Jesus’ presence in their midst gave them a taste of the Kingdom life, as attested by the miracles that Jesus performed. Elsewhere, Jesus mentions His miracles as definitive proof of the kingdom (Luke 11:20). In fact, Jesus says, the Kingdom had already begun. God was ruling in the hearts of some people, and the King Himself was standing among them. Jesus was saying “I am the Kingdom. Wherever I am there is the Kingdom of God. In Jesus you have the rule and reign of God.
What about the Gospel. Didn’t the apostles preach the Gospel? The Gospel is not a string of blessings that God gives to us. The Gospel is Jesus given to us with all the blessings of God contained in him. Jesus is the Gospel. Jesus is the good news. You can’t separate the Gospel from Jesus. The early church regarded the four gospels as the Gospel - not 4 gospels, but 4 documents proclaiming one Gospel. And their content was Christ. The Gospel is the whole message of Christ.
What about the Father and the Holy Spirit? The Father only speaks about three times in the New Testament and focuses on His Son: “This is my beloved Son hear him.” Of course Jesus spoke about His Father a great deal. He came to reveal the Father. The role of the Holy Spirit in our lives is essential to direct us to something other than Himself – namely, Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit’s whole purpose is to draw us to Jesus, and to testify of Jesus. Jesus said the Spirit would glorify Him (John 15:26; 16:14). He is happy to be in the background, just as long as the focus is on Jesus. The Holy Spirit’s working often remains hidden.
Practically this means that if we are truly inspired by the Holy Spirit when we speak our message will be Christ. “Jesus will bleed through every word.” For those who teach the Bible that teacher will unveil Christ through the text. It means Jesus will be on our lips, leap out from our lifestyles. The reason we are not totally captivated, focused consumed with Jesus is because our eyes have not been opened to see his greatness. So what is your main focus in life? One way we can know is to remember that whatever you are focused on comes out of your mouth. It’s what you talk about most of the time. Some Christians talk about evangelism more than anything else. For others its church multiplication that matters most. Or memorising scriptures and learning theology..For others it may be leadership and its various principles. For others it may be missions, casting out demons, healing, miracles, end times, politics etc. But those are things - good things, excellent things. But Jesus is pushed off into the corner.
If you think about it, the Father, the Holy Spirit, the angels, all of creation, the scriptures, and the early apostles all pointed their fingers to Jesus Christ. The apostles declared one thing only – the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. The unsearchable riches, the glories, all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are found in him. Make Him the centre. Make him the circumference. And fill in the difference with Him as well.
Pray the prayer in Ephesians 1:17 for yourself to know Jesus “better”.