The Acts of the Apostles

Listen to Pastor John Sawtelle’s new series of sermons on the book of Acts.

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There are different ways to organize the substance of the book of Acts, but one profitable way is to read the contents of the book through the lens of its last word, “unhindered.” As Luke closes his two volume work, he presents Paul in a jail cell in Rome. Though Paul is jailed, the word of God is far from chained as Luke testifies that the preached word went forth “unhindered.” Acts accounts for that unhindered progress of the word in the preface to the book as it relates that this work would record the ongoing ministry of Christ. Before Christ ascended, he instituted the ministry of the word and promised the outpouring of the Spirit in order to cause it to be efficacious. The word went forth unhindered in the apostolic era just as it does today because Christ continues his ministry on earth while enthroned in power and glory at the Father’s right hand, through the ministry He appointed, in the power of the Spirit.
SUN 06/11/2017

Sunday Service | 53 min

During the 40 day period between his resurrection and ascension, Christ appeared repeatedly to his apostles. Luke accents the nature and mode of these appearances as he testifies that Christ presented himself visibly and that he presented himself alive. These visits were designed to give his chosen apostles firsthand experience of the reality of his resurrection in order that they might be made credible witnesses. To ground their assurance of these things Jesus furnished them with many convincing proofs in order to cause them to know that life had the last word, not death.
SUN 06/18/2017

Sunday Service | 46 min

Jesus’ command to the disciples to “stop departing from Jerusalem,” seems to indicate that the apostles had no focus or direction after Christ’s resurrection. They were meandering, drifting, and unfocused. But Jesus changed all of that with this command as He charged the disciples to stay in Jerusalem and wait for empowerment by the Holy Spirit so that they would be prepared to take the gospel to the nations.
SUN 06/25/2017

Sunday Service | 54 min

At the end of His 40 day ministry on earth after the resurrection, Christ publicly ascended from earth into heaven in the sight of His apostles. While the apostles were gazing into the heavens watching Christ depart from this earth, two heavenly messengers appeared and gave the apostles their marching orders. The thrust of the angelic message is that the ascension of Christ fundamentally changes the times, requiring action rather than inactivity. This message examines both the details and the implications of Jesus’ bodily ascension.
SUN 07/09/2017

Sunday Service | 59 min

At various points in the book of Acts, Luke slows down the narrative and provides a snapshot of a key moment in the life of the church. In Acts 1:14 we receive the first of these snapshots and this one spotlights the church on its knees in prayer. Positioned as it is in the context after Christ’s charge to be witnesses unto the ends of the earth, this passage shows the church’s response to that charge, praying with one mind and with great devotion for empowerment for missions.
SUN 07/16/2017

Sunday Service | 55 min

Just days after Christ’s ascension and before Pentecost, Peter stood up in the midst of the assembly of disciples and called for change. With the apostasy and suicide of Judas, the twelve had been reduced to the eleven and thus the apostleship was disfigured. Calvin explains that this deficiency had it not been addressed would have led to the gospel being dishonored before the world. In response to Peter’s admonition, the disciples nominated two men as a replacement and then cried out to Jesus to remedy the situation by disclosing his choice. The end result is that Christ directed the lot toward Matthias and reconstituted the apostleship.
SUN 07/23/2017

Sunday Service | 55 min



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