A Clear Mission To Witness

Just As The First Disciples, We Are Called To Be A Witness To Jesus

Jordan Hill
Oct 17, 2021    58m
On the day of Jesus' ascension, he commissioned his disciple to be witnesses to His truth. This message from Acts 1 reminds us that just as the first disciples, we are also called to be a witness to Jesus. Video recorded at Grapevine, Texas.

messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

Jordan Hill : [00:00:04] I think God is going to do a powerful work in us because we're going to dive deep in his word. And specifically, we're seeing what he has done with the gospel going out, that's pretty much what we're going to see in this book. And I think God's going to show us some mighty powerful things by almost taking us back. Do you know what I mean? Like, it's easy for us to sit here today, and we see this amazing building and these amazing people here, and we think about that there are almost two billion believers in the world right now. But it can also, we often can lose sight of the fact of like, how did we even get here? Like, how did this all happen?

Jordan Hill : [00:00:41] Well, it can all be attributed back to this moment, this moment in this passage where we see the commission to go out and be a witness for Jesus. Jesus is going to tell his disciples, spoiler alert from a whole sermon, that you were to be a witness for me in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the Earth, that commission starts here. And in fact, the idea of being a witness is so prominent that you could say it is the through-line through the entire Book of Acts.

Jordan Hill : [00:01:17] The word witness, or other forms of its word, is going to be used over thirty-nine times in the Book of Acts, over thirty-nine times in this book, so it really is the through-line of which this entire book is. Because Jesus gave the disciples this clear mission to be a witness, it was extremely clear that this is what I want you to be, this is who I'm making you to now be, to be my witnesses. To go out, and be disciples, have a clear mission to be a witness. But it's not just for them, it's for us today, too.

Jordan Hill : [00:01:56] So, this book, Acts, it's a historical narrative, and as we read it, we're going to be tempted to one constantly put ourselves in, which I suggest us to not do, right. But what we do is, we see history, that these events actually happened, and it's being told in a story form, so we see some principles by which we live our lives. And so we know as disciples we are grafted into his family, and then we're called to go out and be witnesses to what the work of what Jesus has done in our lives. This isn't just for these few men here, this is for all of us, this is how the gospel went out because people were being witnesses where they were testifying to what Jesus had done.

Jordan Hill : [00:02:46] In fact, it didn't just stop with these people, Rodney Stark, who's he's a biblical historian, tracks the progress of the gospel in his book The Rise of Christianity: How the Obscure, Marginal Jesus Movement Became the Dominant Religious Force in the Western World in a Few Centuries. I love that title. So, his research showed that based upon every sociological analysis that we have. At the time, around 1 A.D., there were around seventy-five hundred Christians around that time, the early birthing of the church, around 7500 Christians at the time.

Jordan Hill : [00:03:31] Ok, what's incredible, though, is that by the time you get to 312 A.D., when Constantine converts to Christianity, over half of the Roman Empire professed in Jesus Christ. It was so powerful that the government actually converted to Christianity so that they didn't lose their power. Now, some did that out of true form, but some of that was just basically doing what politicians do, I've got to just keep my power, so yeah, I'm a Christian now.

Jordan Hill : [00:04:00] Now, that is incredible, because if you think about it at one point, the Roman government was trying to suppress the spread of the gospel. Now the gospel and Christianity is growing and spreading so fast that they're now essentially flipping the government, like, that happened. Can you imagine that? Can you imagine that happening today? Like that happened. How did that happen? Well, Rodney Stark would attribute it to this, his research showed that every Christian was planted to be a witness and make more disciples, and every church that was planted had the expectation to plant more churches. See, every believer then, was clear on the mission of what they were called to do, and that was to be a witness for Jesus Christ.

Jordan Hill : [00:04:00] I love how Christopher Wright puts it, he says, "Actually, it's not so much the case that God has a mission for his church in the world, as that God has a church for his mission in the world. Mission was not made for the church, the church was made for Mission, God's mission." You can almost think of it like this, a mission missional God gives the world his church. I love that, because if you go around to different churches, you see all these different mission statements. And again, I love our mission statement here at 121 is, leading people to live for Jesus Christ, that's nothing new, that's not that groundbreaking. Like, I love it, obviously, I work here, and I live my life for this place. And if you go to other churches, they have similar mission statements, it's all basically kind of the same thing, it's just whoever can be creative enough to make it sound different.

Jordan Hill : [00:05:48] But what we see here, is a missional God gives the world his church. Now the question is, are we going to actually step into our calling? That's the question for us. And what we're going to see here is these disciples, they kept clear on their mission, but I think kind of keeping in mind four basic principles to stay clear from the very beginning, we see this at the very beginning. That one, they kept the main thing, the main thing. They were able to stay focused because they kept the main thing, the main thing. They remained dependent upon the Holy Spirit. They knew exactly who they were, and they lived it out. And they trusted in the promises of Jesus. Guys, that's how the gospel started in Jerusalem, and now we're here today. Like, think about that, we're here today because the gospel went out here at this moment. The question is, are we going to step into our turn? Will we step into our turn? So enough of me chatting, enough of me talking, let's go to the text.

Jordan Hill : [00:07:01] Let's go to verse 6 of Acts 1 starting in verse 6, "So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority." So if you write in your Bible, or you highlight in your Bible, I highly suggest highlighting or writing in this. We see right here, from the jump, right, they are called to keep the main thing the main thing, I love this because this shows us that our God is continually patient with us. These disciples had been with Jesus for his entire ministry, every single day, 24/7, they were with him. They saw what he was doing, he was teaching them, and then after he rises from the dead, we see at the very beginning of that, he was with them an additional 40 days, and he is specifically teaching them about the kingdom. And what do they do, after all this time with him, they ask him the wrong question?

Jordan Hill : [00:08:06] Now, I don't know about you, but it takes me a long time to kind of figure out what Jesus is telling me, I might be the only one in here who does that. But this should give us comfort because these guys still are like, hey, I know you constantly taught us that you were doing something bigger, and it wasn't just about Israel, and it's not just about us becoming the supreme military, political, ethno-state power, but are you still going to do that? You almost wonder if Jesus was just like, (heavy sigh)? Thankfully he's not, because he's the Prince of Peace.

Jordan Hill : [00:08:40] But I find this so interesting, he doesn't really answer their question, I mean, he kind of does. But more so, like they're asking, hey, when do you come back to do this? He's like, listen, I want you to just focus on the main thing, don't worry about when I'm coming back, don't worry about these things that you cannot control. Do you see right there? He says that the Father has fixed by his own authority. So if the Father fixed it, that means its past tense, cannot be undone, and it's by the Father's authority, that means you and I, them, they can't do it, so he's like, don't worry about that, stop worrying about this. Here's what I want you to focus on, keep the main thing the main thing.

Jordan Hill : [00:09:32] And over and over in the Bible, we see similar types of refrains of this. We see this in Matthew 24 verse 43, we see this in First Thessalonians 5, Second Peter 3:10, and Revelation 16:15. It's like there's tons of scripture of, thankfully, of God just saying, listen, guys quit getting caught up in when I'm coming back, quit trying to read the tea leaves, right, quit giving your money to this organization, that man, they're the ones who cracked the code. Jesus is coming back in 1980. We cracked the code, this time it's 1990. We cracked the code, it's Y2J, Y2Jesus coming back. We cracked it, we're the ones...And he's like, listen, Jesus at one point said, the Father hadn't even revealed it to me yet when I'm coming back, and you think you're going to know? Yeah, right.

Jordan Hill : [00:10:28] So he is saying, don't get caught up in that, don't worry about that, here's what I want you to just stay dead set focused on, that I am coming back, and this is what I want you to do, I want you to be my witnesses. I'm coming back, be my witnesses, that's it, just stay focused right on that. Like, it shouldn't surprise any of us that Jesus does come back, he said he's going to do it. Now, in some respect, it might shock us, but like if he comes back tomorrow, which he might, should we be that shocked? Whoa, what? He said he's going to do it. So in fact, he actually says just stay alert, stay focused, because I'm coming back.

Jordan Hill : [00:11:24] Now, for us to do that though, for us to stay focused, for us to step into our mission as being a witness, we have to remain dependent upon the Holy Spirit. And so we see right here, going back to the text, in verse seven and eight, Jesus then says, "It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. 8But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you." But you will receive power, that word power, it's the Greek word dunamis, it's where we get our word for dynamite. It's this explosive type, powerful power, that actually causes us to do something. So Ross kind of mentioned that last week, again, the baptism of the Holy Spirit. So at conversion, we are baptized with the Holy Spirit. So when you had your heart opened up to the truth in the beauty of the gospel, that Jesus Christ took all of your sin’s, past, present, and future, and he paid for him on the cross, and then he buried them in the grave. And when he rose up again from the grave, he then proved that all God's wrath had been poured out, and then he freely gave you his righteousness. And now you are justified, which means, just as I never sinned before. If your heart has been opened to that, at that moment of conversion, you were then immersed with the Holy Spirit.

Jordan Hill : [00:12:54] One of my favorite examples of what that looks like is in the Old Testament, actually, we see Samuel anointing King David, and he takes a ram's horn, and he fills it up with oil and he pours it all over David, and David's dripping with oil. And he says the Holy Spirit then comes and rushes upon him and that he has favor with the Lord all the days of his life. So it's this idea again, at conversion, we are sealed with the Holy Spirit, and we're immersed in him, we are covered in the Holy Spirit. And also, right, so that is the baptism of the Holy Spirit, there is no other baptism.

Jordan Hill : [00:13:30] What we see, though, is that this power that comes from the Holy Spirit calling us into an action manifest itself differently and at different times. That is what this power is, this power is the ability to actually do something. Now, there's a lot of debate on what that is, right? So in First Thessalonians, we see though, First Thessalonians 1:5 "Because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction." So do you see it right there? There's a clear distinction between power and the Holy Spirit, those are two different things. Our gospel came to you in power and in the Holy Spirit, so the Holy Spirit is empowering them to take the gospel out.

Jordan Hill : [00:14:21] So I love Sam Storms, a theologian who's helped me think through a lot of some of these things, he puts it like this, "The Spirit comes to us as a fire, either to be fanned into full flame and given the freedom to accomplish his will, or to be doused and extinguished by the water of human fear, control, and flawed theology." So it's like if you're in Christ, you've been immersed in the Holy Spirit, and now he wants to kind of go wild and do powerful things and powerful actions through us and it's, are we going to basically allow it? Are we going to be brave enough to step into that? So there's some debate on what this power is, so some people think it's like the ability to perform your spiritual gifts. So each and every one of us has been gifted differently by the power of the Holy Spirit, so maybe that's what he's talking about. Some people would say that right here, he's referring to the ability to perform the miraculous, the ability to perform miracles, because you're going to see here later in the Book of Acts like the Apostles go out and God does some miracles through them, they heal people, things happen, it gets wild at one point, wild in a good way. Martin Lloyd Jones, that's really hard with my accent to say that. Martin Lloyd Jones would say it like this, "That power is like you're a child and you're holding your father's hand, and then all of a sudden the fuse boxes of your love become so overblown that you know that you know that you know that God loves you, that God loves you, that God loves you, and you can't help but as you're walking down the street, tell somebody, my Father loves me, my Father loves me, my Father loves me." That's what he says that power is, I love that thought.

Jordan Hill : [00:16:09] I happen to think here, it's a bit of all of it. But the main point is for all of those things to advance the proclamation, advance the speaking, of the gospel, that's what it is. And here's why, because you and I can't actually save anyone, we're not the ones who actually can bring anybody to salvation, salvation is from God and God alone. We are saved by grace through faith, not of works lest any man should boast, it's the free gift of God that is salvation of Christ. So this power has to be simply for the gospel to go out. That somehow for us to accomplish our mission of being witnesses, we need the Holy Spirit to kind of till the ground, and as we speak, like Russ talked about, as we kind of speak seed out in there that he plants it and he waters it and he grows it. And I know that, because especially with the miraculous, what you'll see in the Book of Acts is every time there's some miraculous act that happens, there's always a proclamation of the gospel after, always. The supernatural, the miraculous, it cannot, hear me again, it cannot sustain somebody for long-term faithfulness in Jesus Chris, and it doesn't actually bring someone into faith in Christ.

Jordan Hill : [00:17:40] Do you know how I know that? There's tons and tons and tons of scripture that would actually back that up? Like, how do the Israelites who are in captivity for years all of a sudden get freed up because a guy who's being led by God plants a stick in the Red Sea and all of a sudden, the sea parts and I walk on dry ground? All of a sudden then, about a month later, I start freaking out and I take all my gold and I make it into an altar after just a wild night of partying because I'm worried about where is God? Like, how does that happen? Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead in front of a lot of people who are watching, and in fact, he's not dead, I love how the Bible puts it like he's dead, dead, he raises him from the dead and people at that moment go, nope, we got to kill him. What? What are you talking about? See, the miraculous can't actually sustain somebody for long-term faith.

Jordan Hill : [00:18:43] And I want to see more of that, I want to see the miraculous happen. I want to pray and see people in our body healed. I want people to have visions and prophetic words that encourage my faith, and I want to see demonized people be freed up. Like we've gotten to see some of that here, and I want to see more of it, but hear me, that does not sustain anyone for long-term faith in Christ. The only thing that will is the truth of hearing the gospel, that's what real power is, and we have to remain dependent upon God to do that, we have to remain dependent upon the Holy Spirit to do that. Colossians 4:3 says, "Pray for us too, that God will give us many opportunities to speak about his mysterious plan concerning Christ." That's power, because the Holy Spirit's sometimes is going to prompt you to step into situations that are a little uncomfortable, the Holy Spirit is going to charge you to go, hey, can you go ask that person if they need prayer. Hold on now, I'm at work, that can't happen. Yeah, I know, I know, but you're my witness, go. Actually, what we're going to see in the Book of Acts, over and over and over, that God called the disciples to go to places where actually just persecution and torment await them, over and over and over, why? Because God's doing a mission, God's doing a mission, and he's calling us to be his witnesses, and we must never lose sight of the fact that we know who we are in Christ.

Jordan Hill : [00:20:32] So let's go back to the text, if we remain dependent upon the Holy Spirit, we then step into our calling. Acts 1:8, "And you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Jesus gives the disciples a clear directive on who you are to be, a witness. See, a witness is more than just simply what you do, a witness is who you are. Now, then who you are, fuels what you do, right? So, because of what God has done in my life, because of the fact that he has reigned deeply in my heart and now he is my Lord, I act differently than I did before, I think differently than I think before, I don't go to places that I used to go, because Jesus is Lord, I do things that are different. If you are here, if you're here today and you don't know Jesus Christ, I'm so glad you're here. Listen to me, you and I are different, we're different, I have a hope that you do not have, and I want you to have that. I have a purpose in my life that you do not yet have, but it's freely available for you, and I'm praying and asking God will open up your eyes to that reality. We're not the same, I've got a hope in me, and I should never be ashamed of that, and in fact, it's my calling to go out and live that out. It's my calling, to every single day, no matter what I do, live out the fact that I am called to be a witness. Now, notice that he calls them to be his witnesses, he doesn't tell the disciples, I want you to be philosophers, I want you to be theologians, I want you to be leaders, kings, he doesn't say any of that. Now, some of that might happen after, right, we get some of the most beautiful, I mean, we get theology of Jesus through these fishermen, through these shepherds, which is incredible. Why? Because they were simply first supposed to be witnesses, everything else comes in under that.

Jordan Hill : [00:22:55] So I just have to kind of ask us this today, like, are you living this out? And if you're not, maybe you've never actually been a witness to the power of Jesus Christ in your life. Maybe you're not witnessing and testifying because you have nothing to testify to. Or maybe you're not doing that because at one point you did, but then you're not daily seeking God, pausing to just reflect on God, and what God is doing in you every single day of your life. See, no day is just an ordinary day, no day is an ordinary day. God is doing something in you every single day where he's conforming you into the image of Christ, or what Paul would talk about, actually that you and I are being transformed from one degree of [inaudible] to the next. So every single day is an opportunity that the risen Savior is working on your heart and molding you into the image of Jesus. So maybe you're not witnessing because you're not pausing enough to actuall think about like, God, what are you doing in my life? And it's an opportunity for us to step into it today, it doesn't matter who we are, it doesn't matter what we do for a living, whether you're a doctor, or you're a lawyer, or you're a teacher, or you're just a student, if you're in Christ, you've been made a disciple and a witness to him.

Jordan Hill : [00:24:37] We're going to see later, it's all my favorite stories, Peter and John, they get taken before a council and they're supposed to just basically take questions as about to something miraculous that happened. And look what happens, Acts 4:13, they say, "Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished, and they recognized that they had been with Jesus.", praise God, may that be said about me. Because first off, I'm not a super educated guy. And all of us, if we're just being honest, we're just a bunch of common people, we just serve an uncommon God. See, Peter and John couldn't help but just say, this is just what we saw, this happened, I don't know what you want me to tell you. Recant. No, because it happened. Sometimes that's all we got to do, we just simply have to say, hey, let me tell you what God's done in me. Like, sometimes we can make it so complicated that it actually keeps us from opening up our mouths and speaking the name Jesus, because we're afraid we're going to say something wrong, or really, we're just afraid we're going to mess up and this person might not like me, or could I lead them away from Jesus? I don't know. And so next thing you know, we just shut our mouth and we sit there, and we let an opportunity go by? When, all we have to do is be like, look, this is what God's done in my life. You can believe it or not, whatever, that's on you, but this is true. We're just called to be a witness.

Jordan Hill : [00:26:24] Kevin Black is a 121'er, a part of our family, and he's a pilot. And I want you to just hear, just an example of how he lives out his everyday walk with Christ, and how he kind of takes opportunities as a pilot to be a witness for Jesus.

Kevin Black: [00:26:42] My name is Kevin Black; my wife and I have been attending 121 now for about six months with our 12-month-old daughter. My grandfather was a preacher, we always went to church. I went to a private school, but was never really around nonbelievers too much, I wasn't too experienced with sharing my faith with our people, so I wasn't very comfortable with it. My first experience was working at a retail store where I was maybe one of two believers that I knew of. I guess the first time someone called me out on being different was, I knocked over a whole cart of shoes and I didn't cuss, and the girl that was walking past me realized that. And she goes, you didn't cuss. And I was like, no, I don't do that. And she was like, that's crazy, like, I don't know that I've ever met somebody that doesn't. And it was kind of my first eye opening experience of like, I don't have to be shoving the Bible in people's faces, that just being a Christian and living by, you know, your beliefs, shows and stands out to these people that maybe don't see that every day.

Jordan Hill : [00:27:56] So, yeah, so I got my pilot's license up in Wisconsin, and then found our way down to Fort Worth area. And now I fly for one of the regionals that's a feeder for one of the major airlines. Over time, spending time in the cockpit, opportunities just arose by me saying something about a guy from my church back home and then that would open the door. We have a unique situation in the airlines, our workplace, and we will maybe work two or three hours and you may never see that person again. And I think that's a great opportunity that we have to share the good news with people all the time, and if we don't share it with that person, we may never see them again. And I think as long as we are planting those seeds with those individuals, I think that's the most important thing. I've found that a lot of times people will ask me, and I don't have to necessarily approach them, and so they will start asking questions and we just gradually get that conversation going and we find ourselves with two or three hours sitting in the cockpit with nothing to really do but talk. And so, we've had some phenomenal conversations about my faith, about, you know, beliefs, and why I believe the things that I do, and it's a great mission field and opportunity to talk to them. We're called to be missionaries, and we're called to spread the gospel, and that doesn't matter what your office looks like if it's a cubicle, if you're a nurse, if you're a pilot, wherever you find yourself, the Lord will equip us with skills and the words and the answers to give to people when they ask questions about your faith or your beliefs.

Kevin Black: [00:29:53] So I happened to be scheduled with another pilot, and we were scheduled all month together, and we always joked that that can go one of two ways, it can be a really good month or a really long month. And shortly into the trip, our first trip, I found out that he was a Christian and it was the best month ever. We had Bible studies every morning, essentially Bible studies, while we were flying. At my last job we had, one of the experiences we had, was it was a very small airplane, there was no door between the cockpit and the passengers. And as the captain, I would turn around and give the safety briefing, and then I'd finish up the safety briefing, we were leaving Chicago. And there was a lady, there was only eight passengers in the airplane, and she said to me...I said, does anybody have any questions? And she said, yes, she said, do you know Jesus Christ? And I laughed and I said, yes, ma'am, I said, he's my Lord and Savior since I was seven years old. And she goes, well, OK then, we're ready to go.

Jordan Hill : [00:31:13] Like it'd be a little worried. But also, if you think about it, I mean, that took some guts from Kevin right there, he didn't necessarily know that she would respond that way. Even as he talked about, like having a Bible study with the other pilot, that still also takes some courage because it could go south pretty fast, and it could go south really fast because then the guy reports him. I love that, no matter where you're at, just step into what God's calling you to because he's constantly listening, he's using you, he's using you, and he's bringing other people in your life, and now he's using you to hopefully bring them to him. That's God's plan, that is his plan, there is no Plan B.

Jordan Hill : [00:32:10] So many people just say, oh, I wish God would just kind of like open up and just appear before people and go, hey, I'm real, and then bounce, like that would actually lead people to faith. Which one it wouldn't, but two, he has revealed himself. And it's through you, it's through his work, there's no other explanation than when you look at my former life to now, except for God, that's it. I didn't just go work on my anger, and I went to some peace seminars, and I tried to just control my breathing, and I just tried to figure out, OK, where's the tension? The tension is in my hands, which means, OK, I need to control my three breaths. I mean, that just stresses me out, first off, thinking that. I mean, that stuff is good, don't get me wrong, if you need to do that, you know, praise God. But listen, I have a peace in my heart that now I don't have to control everything because God's in control, and who cares? You heard it right there, right, oh, Kevin knocked over the shoes, didn't cuss because he knows Christ as his Savior. Who cares if you knock some shoes over, it's not that big of a deal, there's bigger fish to fry, if you will?

Jordan Hill : [00:33:21] So sometimes all we got to do is just step into our calling as believers, and I want to give us some tangible, some like real practical ways because again, I think we can overcomplicate it sometimes before we even step into the conversation. All we need to do, I got this from a book, I wish I was smart enough to think about this, so I got this from this book called, I Once Was Lost: What Postmodern Skeptics Taught Us About Their Path To Jesus, it's from Don Everts and Doug Schaupp. And what they did was, they talked to just a lot, like a thousand or so, who would claim to be postmodern skeptics who are now believers in Christ, and what they found was almost all of them had a similar pathway to Jesus.

Jordan Hill : [00:34:04] There's almost like they kind of walked through, almost all five of these thresholds that led them to Jesus. And so even right now, I want you to think if you're here and you're a believer in Christ, I want you think about somebody in your life that you know, doesn't know Jesus? They don't walk with him; they wouldn't acknowledge his existence. I just want you to think about them for a second. I want you to get them in your mind. Hey, and if that's you here again today, man, I'm so glad you're here, I would almost be willing to bet that you're somewhere on these thresholds, and who knows what God has planned for you? I do know this, though, if you're here today, that means God's drawing you in. He's drawing you in, so, hey, get ready, you might just meet Jesus today.

Jordan Hill : [00:34:51] So the first thing that we kind of see is people who go from non-faith to kind of start the process of coming to faith in Christ is that they first trust the believer who shares the gospel with them. Right, so all of us, first off, someone told us about the truth of the gospel, and they first had to trust the person who shared it with them, that's kind of the first step. Now, I want you to just think about this for a second, like how low a bar is that though? Like, you can almost think of it like this, like all we have to do as believers, is to be just nice, like the theology of just being nice. Like, how easy is that? How easy is it for you to just actually know your neighbor's name and say hi to them? And one time, hey, go give them like a meal and it's like, what is weird about you? What is different? How easy is that for us now? Like, we just have to build some trust, we just have to serve them. This is where John 13:35 would say, "By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” If you're just nice to somebody, it actually makes you different, it's wild.

Jordan Hill : [00:36:19] So then, somebody goes from trusting the believer to then now they're curious. OK, why do you act this way? Why did you do that? What we'll see, actually, in the Book of Acts followers of Jesus weren't actually called Christians because they don't have a word for that, they were called followers of the way because they lived their life in such a different way that it marked them to outsiders, it marked them to people who didn't have faith. Man, you do things differently, you serve like that, why do you do that? It's such a different way of living life.

Jordan Hill : [00:36:57] So then they go from curious to now open to change, and this is typically where God has to humble the individual, God has to humble somebody. We have to be humble enough to sit there and go, OK, what I'm doing, the purpose of which I'm trying to find in life is not working and I want change. Hey, I see that your kid made a mess, and you didn't freak out on him, I do this all the time, how do I stop doing that? Hey, I love how you and your spouse, you all have just such a great marriage, like what do you do with that? Ours is terrible, can you help us out with this? What is it that you do? Give me give me the book, give me the tricks, give me the video that I got to watch. They kind of got to be open to change.

Jordan Hill : [00:37:50] And then we get to this place where somebody is seeking, and hear me, this is where we have to be bold. And this is actually where I truly believe in my heart and in my guts that we're on the brink of a revival because so many people are seeking truth. The issue is us believers, we keep backpedaling to the culture. We keep getting put back on our heels, despite the fact that we're the ones who actually have truth, like truth is on our side. And we're not the ones who are stepping in and saying, you want truth, you want happiness, you want fulfillment? I've got the answer, and it's in Jesus. If you're a parent, you've heard this probably said over and over, if you don't decide for your kids, somebody else will. Well, listen, if your neighbor is looking for truth, if your neighbor is looking for peace, somebody else is going to tell him how to find it, and if it's not in Jesus, it's going to lead them into a perpetual crazy cycle where they keep trying to find it, and they keep trying to dig more, and they're not ever going to find it. So we have to be bold and brave enough to step in and go, I know what you're looking for, that's not going to work, I got it and it's in Jesus.

Jordan Hill : [00:39:15] We're going to see later in Act 17, Paul comes up to the Areopagus, and there are people there and they're giving sacrifices and they're praying to an idol of the unknown God. Which I think is just really funny, it's like people are just trying to make sure they're covering all their bases. Like, all right, in case we forgot to God, here's the God that you that you don't forget. And he comes in there and he doesn't just say, oh, you bunch idiots, he comes in there and he says, hey, you have a desire to be connected to God, and I love that, but you're missing it. He then later at this time he says, the god that you're seeing is not unknowable, and in fact, he's closer than you think, and he's pressing you into this moment in time, that you can find him. I love that, see, he flips it on them. They're seeking connection with God, they're going about it the wrong way, and he shows them that what they're doing is going to actually lead them to further disconnection from the real God, and he brings truth. Now, will we be bold enough to do the same? Because once that person gets to that place of seeking, boom, they then find Christ because they finally find the thing that they really long for. We just have to be bold enough to step into that.

Jordan Hill : [00:40:43] Now think about the individual that you might be thinking of right now. Where are they at in this? Where are they at in that timeline, that kind of threshold spot? I can think about a friend of mine and my wife's, he trusts me, he absolutely trusts me. He sees how I live my life; he trusts who I am, and he thinks a lot of me. He's pretty curious, he thinks what I do is cool, it's interesting. He thinks I'm a principled guy, I think that's awesome, right, it's pretty cool. We do some things, he knows about 121, and he loves the fact, he thinks it's really cool what we do, but he's not open to change. The world's telling him he's crushing it. Why does he need to change? In fact, in many ways, Jordan, listen, you probably need to change, you need to get in on what I'm doing. So guess what, do you know what I'm doing, I'm praying that God will just change his heart. I'm praying that God will just change his heart and will eventually show him that money, and things, and houses, and all this stuff, is not actually what really fully satisfies him. Because I can see from God's word, I know from God's word that if you love money, eventually you'll hate money. So I can just be bold enough to say, hey, I know, you think you got it all, it's not enough. And what's amazing is actually, I'm starting to just see some cracks in that armor where he's starting to... Now, there's one time he was just sitting there saying, man, I'm just so sick and tired of all this B.S... And I was like, OK. He didn't say B.S., by the way, but I'm not going to say that here. He's like there's just so much, eventually, you just get all this stuff, and I've got to give to this thing, and I got to buy this thing, and I've got to be a part of this thing, and I've got to be part of this thing, it's just it's all a bunch of B.S., and then he threw in a couple of other words that I don't want to say. And I was like, hey, you don't even know it, but there's like an entire book in here, in this thing, that talks about that same concept without like the cuss words. And it's like he's right there, he's getting there, now, he's starting to seek after different things, he's realizing that work is not all that it's cracked up to be, that there's got to be more to life than that. And I'm just hoping and praying, alright, God, give them truth, give me more opportunities to tell him I got the thing that you're seeking. The question is, will we be bold enough to step into that witness?

Jordan Hill : [00:43:16] And this is why it's so important, this is why it is so important for us to stay clear to the mission that we've been given. How are people going to know unless we tell them? Listen to me, how are your neighbors, how is the person that you thought of, going to know unless you tell them? I'm most likely not going to meet that individual that you're thinking of, Ross is probably not going to meet that person, now if they come, now there's a chance you might invite them to a Sunday gathering, right, where they hear the truth about the gospel. But at some point, even if they do that, you have to broach the conversation of, like, hey, do you want to go to church? You have to step out and lead in that way. I can't imagine if you brought somebody with you today who's never been here to 121 before, and you're like, hey, what do you do on Sunday? Oh, nothing. Do you want to go to breakfast? Sure. I'll pick you up. Hey, where are we going, that's not McDonald's, what is that? Where are we at? Oh, there's a bunch of people here. We're in church, we're in a church right now? I didn't sign up for this, that's not happening. Now, if sometimes that happened to you, I'm sorry, we don't have food post-COVID anymore, so get your buddy to take you out to breakfast after. We have to step into our calling as witnesses.

Jordan Hill : [00:44:44] Paul, towards the end of Romans, in Romans 10, he's thinking about nonbelievers at this point and he says, “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); 9because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 11For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” So he's thinking about believers, he's saying, the word, it's right there, it's right there for you to be a believer. You're just so close, all you have to do is just believe in your heart and confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and you will not be put to shame because God will save you, that's what he's saying right here. And I know he's thinking of believers because then we see later on down the verse 14. I just imagine Paul sitting there thinking about them, sitting there thinking about the gospel going out, and he's thinking like, oh, it's just so close, it's right there for everyone, everyone, everyone, everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. But then he says in verse 14, "How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15And how are they to preach unless they are sent?" Did you catch that? He's thinking of the non-believer, and he's saying opportunity for faith and salvation is yours, it's theirs, but how are they to know unless someone tells them? How will they know that if they confess that Jesus is Lord, they will be saved, unless they hear about it? And how are they to hear about it unless someone tells them? And how is someone going to tell them unless you go and tell them; that's what he's saying right here.

Jordan Hill : [00:46:57] We can read on, and we actually see later in Romans, Paul is saying, I'm not trying to do any more work here, there's enough gospel work that's going around here, you can take care of this area. I'm trying to get to there because the gospel has got to get there to Spain, that's what you see later on. And he's saying. hey, I actually can't get there, you're closer, you go get them, you go out and tell them. Now, think about our context of being witnesses, God has placed people in your life, and hear me, how are they going to know unless you tell them? How are they going to know the truth and the beauty of the gospel unless you tell them? How are they going to know that there is a harsh but true reality, and I know it's hard to say, but it's true that if you do not believe in Jesus Christ, if he is not your Savior, you will spend eternity apart from God? And I know that's tough for us to say because we know people who are just good people, and we know people who are awesome, and fun, and just not these crazy like ax murderers. But listen to me if they don't know Jesus, they will spend eternity apart from God. And how were they to know that they have an opportunity to have life in Christ unless you, you, you tell them? That's why this is so important for us to be witnesses, because he's called people in our life, and all we've got to do is just give testimony to the fact that, man, God's real and look what he's done in my life, and it can happen for you too. And I know it's hard, I know it's hard, and I know it's going to increasingly get harder and harder. But we have the example here from the disciples to see what they did, was they trusted in the promises of Jesus.

Jordan Hill : [00:49:01] Let's go back to the word here. In verse 9, "And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, 11and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” Now, I want you to notice something, right, there are about five different phrases there to seeing. Now, a good Bible study principal, right, is to kind of circle repeated words. Well, that's essentially a repeated word, we see it over and over, looking, gazing, sight. Why, why is that? Because we're going to see later on that as they go out to be witnesses, they're going to experience more and more and more persecution. And this is why it's so important, they withstood it because they saw, like, they actually saw. I don't care what you do to me, you could try to beat me, torture me, and tell me that I don't see a chair right here, I see a chair, they saw it. And then we see in Acts 4, Peter's saying, "We can't help but speak to what we see." It's a powerful, apologetic that they saw. I love that.

Jordan Hill : [00:50:35] Now, just picture this right now, Jesus ascends, man, I'd love to spend more time talking about the doctrine of the ascension, right, it's a powerful doctrine, there's so much to it. I highly suggest that you dive in deeper into your life groups to talk more about why that's so important, right? I'll give you one just kind of thing to go on, what we see here is, this is actually the end, the culmination of Jesus' earthly work, and now he's ascending to his kingship, and now he's going to begin his heavenly work. He is currently, right now in this moment, he’s our advocate. So it's the ending of his earthly work, and now it's kind of the climax into his heavenly work.

Jordan Hill : [00:51:19] So there's so much happening right here in this time, we just don't have time to dig in, because what I really want us to focus on is the promise that these angels tell the disciples, the promise that Jesus is going to come back. I love how Kevin said it. I thought, man, Kevin, just keep on preaching preacher, let's go, you've got it. He's coming back. Now, just picture this, right, the disciples, their whole world has just been a whirlwind for the last three some odd years, and now Jesus says, OK, I'm going, it's yours. They're looking up, and he's slowly rising up on a cloud and they're looking up. Now, we don't know how much time passed, I would assume it's probably not that much time. All of a sudden two angels appear and they're like, hey, what are you doing looking up? I'll be honest, I'd be like, give me a second to like process. But I love that because they're like, again, keeping the main thing, the main thing, he's coming back, he said he's going to do it. Now, get going, get going, he's coming back.

Jordan Hill : [00:52:31] Now, these angels bring up something interesting, and this is why it's so important, and it's so powerful, as to why these angels said this promise that he will return again. They say, "Men of Galilee." These were Galileans, and they were to start in Jerusalem, a place that is not safe for them, it's not their home. And it wasn't that long ago that the city of Jerusalem had an uprising, and they then took this the disciples leader Jesus, and they crucified him. Now they're supposed to stay in Jerusalem, the place that is not a warm welcome for them, and then go out to places that will be harder to reach the more and more and more that they go. Why? Because they're going to experience more persecution, and they're going to experience more cultural differences and cultural barriers, that keep them from sharing the gospel. So they have to constantly go back to the fact that Jesus is coming back, he's coming back, that's what kept them focused on their mission to be witnesses, he's coming back.

Jordan Hill : [00:53:45] As I was thinking of this, I was struck by the fact that they say, "This Jesus.", I was struck by that. And then I thought about how John, at one point in his life, he was arrested by the Roman authorities of the day, and they sentenced him to death, and they sentenced him to death by putting him in a big old cauldron pot and burning him alive in oil. Well, he didn't die, and so it freaked everybody out, and what they then did was just put him on a boat and they shipped him to Patmos, this island out there and they exiled him on to this island. Well, it was on this island that he had his Revelation. John closes the Book of Revelation, and he's quoting Jesus at one point. And he says in chapter 22, the very end, it's one of the last things that he writes, "He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Period, close quotations, and he says, "Amen." Period. "Come, Lord Jesus!"

Jordan Hill : [00:55:03] And I want you to think about this for a second? I don't know if this is true, but I have to imagine, John, who's sitting there, deserted on an island, scarred, pain, in so much pain, because if you've ever been burned, you know, it leaves massive pain. He's sitting there alone; he's going to die soon. I wonder if he thinks back to this moment in Act 1:8, of the angels reminding him of the promise that he's coming again real soon. I wonder if he sits there, and he thinks about "This Jesus." The Jesus who he saw, the Jesus who was his friend. The Jesus, this Jesus, this friend of his who taught him how to pray, who said, give me all your anxieties because I care for you, who served him, who washed his feet, this Jesus is coming back soon. And as he is sitting there and he's thinking about the promises, he's probably just thinking back to just how he got here, and he just says, "Amen.", let it be so, Lord Jesus, comes soon.

Jordan Hill : [00:56:26] That day is coming for us, stay focused on the mission that God has for us because, amen, let it be so, come, Lord Jesus, we'll see a real soon. Father God, I thank you for the truth and the promise of the gospel, I thank you that you are coming again real soon. Oh, Lord, help us to live out our calling more and more each and every single day, give us moments where we can't help but share what you're doing. Father, thank you for every individual here and watching online, remind us of your promises and empower us and just fuel us to live out the work that you've done in our lives.

Jordan Hill : [00:57:36] Let's spend a couple of moments with the Lord right now and let him just seal whatever's going on in our hearts. And maybe this is a chance, again, that you've just been carrying something, this is an opportunity to leave it with him. Maybe this is a moment that you've kind of forgotten about what all God has done in your life, and it's a chance to just celebrate him, just spend that moment with the Lord.

Recorded in Grapevine, Texas.
Read More
121 Community Church
2701 Ira E Woods Ave.
Grapevine, Texas 76051