The Kingdom Strikes Back (title borrowed from Ralph D. Winter’s Article “The Kingdom Strikes Back” found here The Kingdom Strikes Back
NOTE: SUNDAY POSTS ARE INTENDED TO BE USED ALONG WITH THE SERMON. IF YOU MISSED THE SERVICE, YOU CAN FOLLOW THE NOTES AS YOU LISTEN ALONG JUST LIKE YOU WERE THERE. http://www.threeriversc.org/#/sermon-audio
Luke likes sequels. Luke tells the history of Jesus’ work and ministry in themed sequence.
Luke 15 is a prime example of a trilogy of parables: the lost sheep, the lost coin and the lost son.
Luke wrote Acts, and he does some of the same things here. Acts 9:32-10:48 is a trilogy of healings: The healing of Aeneas, the healing of Dorcas and the healing of Cornelius.
The point of the parables in Luke 15 is that Jesus seeks the lost.
The point of the historical narrative of Acts 9:32-10:48 is that Jesus heals people and saves the lost. Whether physical healing or awakening of the spiritually dead to life, Jesus heals people and brings people to himself.
Saul had been ravaging the church but Jesus fixed that in saving the chief persecuter.
The kingdom strikes back.
10:1-48 is also a turning point in the narrative. As Jesus heals gentiles of their dead state in sin, the gospel pioneers to places Jews dared never to go and thus pushed them to expand their concept of the kingdom of God to include all nations.
The kingdom strikes back. The kingdom just can’t be held down.
Observations: what do we see/what does it mean?
1. The gospel is always moving toward the frontier not camping within the walls.
Note the movement of Peter in this section. Peter moves from a believing community to a believing community until he reaches the unreached.
Peter is encouraging the church and healing the sick and raising the dead and testifying to the power of Jesus.
The church is living in the fear of the Lord and the comfort of the Spirit and multiplying. As a result, the kingdom of God is expanding and the ministry widens (9:31).
If you look at a map, Lydda is west of Jerusalem, Joppa is further west on the coast and Caesarea is north up the coast.
The gospel of the kingdom moves outward not inward!
What do we do with this?
1. We are to fear the Lord and be comforted/counseled by the Spirit.
2. The church, fearing the Lord and being comforted/counseled by the Spirit, should be taking new territory.
3. The church must avoid an internal fixation (not neglecting the health of the church, rather understanding that healthy churches are not fixated on their growing comfort but on the expansion of the kingdom) and push for external engagement.
4. Constantly be looking for opportunities to multiply and expand and include others and grow in covenant community (RL groups / New TRC campuses by training up pastors / Church planting through training apostolic leaders).
2. The healing of Aeneas 9:32-35
Peter seems to have taken on the ministry of visiting and encouraging believing communities because they have all come from their ministry in Jerusalem.
Peter visits, brings healing by Jesus’ power and gospel proclamation.
The result is that Aeneas walks again and unbelieving people see and believe the gospel.
3. The healing of Dorcas 9:36-43
The disciples at Joppa hear of Peter’s proximity and send for him in light of Tabitha’s death.
Peter follows the call to come help.
Peter imitates Jesus in calling Tabitha to come to life, and she does.
This miracle becomes known to all of Joppa, and “many believed in the Lord.”
Peter stays there for a time to continue the work of encouraging the church.
What do we do with this?
1. We take seriously the need to encourage the church wherever she is scattered. So, we will go to and encourage and strengthen their hand whenever needed.
2. We understand that signs and wonders draw attention to the powerful kingdom of Jesus so that unbelieving people will be drawn to Jesus.
3. We disciple those drawn to Jesus and build up the church. v. 43
“And he stayed in Joppa for many days…”
3a. We can do this in RL groups as we invite lost friends to come and see.
3b. We can do this by inviting the wandering Christian to come and learn to follow Jesus with us.
4. The Healing of Cornelius 10:1-48
10:1-48 is a turning point in the story. From this point on we will see the church wrestle with how to include Gentiles and not make them try to be Jews and the explosion, as a result, of the kingdom of God to the nations.
There are great lessons here. We’ll unpack those as we walk through the text. But we want to make sure we don’t put on people cultural burdens that are not biblical.
This causes us to evaluate what we value and make sure our values are biblical not cultural.
10:1-8 The preparation of Cornelius
10:9-23a The preparation of Peter for frontier work
10:23b-48 Transformation of sinners to saints
What do we do with this?
1. We understand that Father is working out a providential plan.
2. We are to hear and obey.
3. We are to expect the Lord to expand our comfort levels.
4. We are to shamelessly preach the gospel.
5. We are to have the nations as our goal.
For the glory of God, we will disciple the nations, by being and producing radical followers of Jesus.
We, TRC, can’t reach all nations with TRC. But TRC can produce radical followers of Jesus and release them to the nations by sending them to their chosen nation, planting new churches that adopt nations, and generally ruining anyone who comes to us for a season to think about engaging the nations.
5. We must not give up on the vision. Rather we are to stay unified in it and push harder for it.
Psalm 147:1 “