Our Part in Changing the World
ChangePastor Jerry Gillis - January 29, 2023
Community Group Study Notes
- Have someone in your group give a brief recap of Sunday’s message, highlighting the primary Scripture passages and main idea of the message.
- How did this message strengthen, confirm and/or correct your previous ideas about our part in changing the world?
- Describe your circle of influence. Where do you work? Who are you in relationship with? What activities do you participate in regularly? As you consider your circle of influence, identify ways in which you can be faithful where you are.
- In what ways are you behaving or believing you are the “king or queen” of your own kingdom?
- Spend time praying as a group. Pray to be people filled with the Spirit, so as to make much of Jesus in the words you speak and the way in which you live your life.
Spend time reflecting on this statement: “There is a 29th chapter in Acts, and the Holy Spirit is writing it through us.” Journal a response to these questions:
How is God writing chapter 29 through you? How are you contributing to the great story of what God is doing in the world?
- Well, good morning to everybody. So glad that you're here. It's so great to see you as always. If you're like me and you read stories, you get set on how you want an ending to a story to go, and you want a satisfying ending to a story. I think everybody does, obviously, whether that's a book or TV or movie, whatever. There was a 20th century Irish novelist named James Joyce, one of the most famous during that timeframe. And he wrote a book called "Finnegan's Wake," and he began the book actually with a sentence fragment. And then he ended the book with a sentence fragment that brought you back to the front end. And I don't know, for some people they might have thought, man, that was an exceptional ending. For other people, they were going, ah, that was gross, I hated it. And for other people they weren't sure quite what to do with it. But depending on the ending and how something ends, we have a tendency to either be satisfied or unsatisfied or confused or surprised or whatever, right? And, but we need an ending, right? That's why when kids write stories, they'll write whatever, there was a mouse and the mouse had a family and ate cheese and went to Bermuda and the end, right? They just end it, right? The end, you're always gonna get the end at the end of every kid's story, right? It's just how it has to go because we need an ending. And in our cultural palette, we've gone more away from books, even though I'm more of a reader, but we've let TV shows and movies and those kinds of things be what tells us the stories that we consume even more than just books, right? And in our cultural palette, there's many shows and movies and all that have had endings that we have argued about, endings that we've felt satisfied about, or endings that we felt like are really bad or whatever. For instance, there's a show called "The Sopranos." I've never seen it in my entire life, never watched one second of it, but I guarantee you people in Buffalo have. That's for sure, there's no chance that that didn't happen in Buffalo, all right? A lot of Italians here. But the ending of the show, apparently, I mean it was really talked about a few years ago, is like the very last episode. It just literally kind of in the middle... Just went to black. Everybody went, what? What? They thought the power went out or something. And everybody's like, that's not a satisfying ending. That's terrible. Right? Or maybe you remember this show, "Seinfeld." The last episode of that show is these all knuckleheads right here in a jail cell talking about nothing, arguing about nothing, right? And everybody just kind of went, this is how it ends. This is stupid, right? And so everybody was kind of unsatisfied with that ending. Or maybe we are confused by an ending, like the movie "Inception," if you've never seen it, then whatever, it doesn't matter. But there was a spinning top at the very end to determine what reality you were gonna be in. And you never saw whether the top stopped spinning and what was going on, and you didn't know what reality you're in. I'm still... I'm confused. The show "Lost," right? I don't know if you saw the end of that show, but you know what it made you? Lost. That's what it made you. You were completely lost by the end of that show. And you have theories, but your theories were just as good as whatever everybody else's theories were. And so you were like, okay. And then there's some surprise endings. There was this movie called "The Book of Eli" with Denzel Washington, my favorite actor. And if you know, you know how that movie ended, you just kind of went, wait, what? Wait, what? And you did that also at the end of "The Sixth Sense." Remember, he was dead the whole time and you didn't know that. And you're going, hey, you spoiled it. It came out in the eighties, it's your problem, right? I mean, there's no spoilers when movies came out decades ago, it's like you just have to get over yourself, right? Or there's some really satisfying endings. Some of you kind of held the line for all the "Harry Potter" stuff and the very last ending, you're going, okay, this was a satisfactory ending. Or of course, "Lord of the Rings" one of my favorites, right? "The Return of the King," very satisfying ending. Or the movie "Braveheart" freedom, right? We were all pumped at the end of that movie. It was fantastic. Was incredible way to end the movie. Or the movie "Rocky," right? Just the first one. The first one, right? He didn't even win, by the way. And we were still like, yes, yes, "Rocky 2" he won. And I was like, yes, yes. And then it got a little bit suspect after that, right? But "Rocky" for sure, right? And then "Shawshank Redemption," one of the great endings of all movies. I mean, it was kind of a unique... by the way, I'm not recommending any of these things. I'm just saying these were exceptional endings, satisfying endings. And then of course the "Avengers: Endgame," right? There were only 7,472 movies in the "Avenger" series. And then it finally ended, but it was an incredible ending, right? So regardless of the way that you look at endings, right? We all want one that is satisfactory to us. When we get to the book of Acts, we've got this story that's being told to us in the book of Acts, this historical story from Acts chapter one through Acts chapter 28. We've got this historical story that's being told to us and we're... It's an interesting way that we'll see in just a moment in how the story ends in the Book of Acts. In a moment, we're gonna be in Acts chapter 28, the very last chapter. But as you know, when you walk through the Book of Acts, you've got an extraordinary timeframe, 30-ish years that are being covered with the writing of the Book of Acts. It's covering about 30 years of time of the early church. It begins with the resurrected Jesus who is giving His disciples a commission to go into the world, but he tells them, "You'll need to wait until I supply the power for you to be able to do that. And that power is going to come by the Holy Spirit." And sure enough, by the time you get to Acts chapter two, the spirit of God at the time of Pentecost in Jerusalem where they were celebrating the festival, the spirit of God is poured out upon them. And it's a remarkable thing. 3000 people are added to the family of Jesus during that moment. It's extraordinary. And then they are meeting together and serving together, and people continue to be added to their midst, coming to know faith in Jesus Christ. They're seeing the wonders and the signs of the apostles to demonstrate the validity of the gospel and what God is doing in these moments. And then as they're loving one another and encouraging one another and people coming to faith, there's persecution that breaks out and it's at the hands of a man named Saul and he's seeing the persecution of the people of God. And then people are scattered all over the place, but as they're scattered, they bring the word with them wherever they go. And an incredible turn in the Book of Acts, the persecutor of the gospel becomes a proclaimer of the gospel. Saul comes to faith in Jesus, the very people that he's persecuting for following Jesus. He now becomes a follower of Jesus. And it's remarkable. And then we see his exploits and what God is using him to do, but then the Gentiles, the non-Jewish people are coming to faith in Jesus Christ. And now there's tension in the fellowship and everybody's going, wait a minute, do these people have to become Jewish in order to be a part of the family of God? Some people from Jerusalem were saying that. So they had a council in this council got together called the Council of Jerusalem with the apostles and the elders at Jerusalem, and they determined, no, everybody gets saved the same way. It is by grace through faith in Jesus. This is the only way people can be saved. So you don't have to turn into being Jewish, you don't have to be circumcised, and you don't have to embrace the dietary laws. And so you need to be able to learn how to get together and get along with one another and have fellowship together. And so they take that out of the Jerusalem council and Paul goes his way and he's got Barnabas and others that travel with him. He takes a few missionary journeys, he's planting churches all over the place. He gets arrested and he gets ship wrecked and he gets bit by a viper and then he ends up in Rome. And that's where we are in Acts chapter 28. Okay? That's the summary, summary of the Book of Acts. And then here's how Acts 28 ends after all of this. Here's how it ends. "For two whole years, Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed to all who came to see him. He proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance." The end. Now some of you're trying to figure out what kind of ending is this to the Book of Acts. This is... You're trying to figure out, wait a minute, is this a... Did this book end with a whimper or a bang? And is this just a boring old history book where... You've read history books, right? And they just kind of end whenever they end. And then that was the end of that, ta-da. It's not like a great ending, it's just the end of a history book. Is that what happened here? Or maybe did Luke, the guy who was writing this, did he just die? Left it unfinished? Answer, no. Does it feel satisfactory to you or does it feel like it still seems a little bit unfinished? Well, it's a fair question when we get to the Book of Acts, and I think it's not because when we look at the end that we go, did it end with a whimper or did it end with a bang? I don't know the answer to that. I would just say it ended brilliantly. Let me explain. I'm gonna show you kind of on one hand and on another hand how this book ended. So on the one hand, the story's finished. That's what we have in the book of Acts. On the one hand, the story is finished not just because it was, Luke ran out of paper or anything because Luke was doing exactly what Luke intended to do by the sending. In fact, Luke begins the whole book by telling us that Jesus changes everything and that what he does is going to change literally what's gonna go on in the entire world. Look at how he introduces the book in Acts chapter one, "In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day He was taken up to heaven." He's talking about the Gospel of Luke at that point. "After giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles He had chosen. After His suffering, He presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that He was alive. He appeared to them over a period of 40 days and spoke about the kingdom of God. On one occasion, while He was eating with them, He gave them this command, 'Do not leave Jerusalem but wait for the gift my father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you'll be baptized with the Holy Spirit.' Then they gathered around Him and asked Him, 'Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?' And He said to them, 'It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by His own authority, but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth.' After He said this, He was taken up before their very eyes and a cloud hid Him from their sight." See, this is how Luke actually introduces the entire book. And he says that the people that he has commissioned are going to go about doing what he said they were going to do. Acts chapter one, they get a commission that you're going to be witnesses of me in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. And guess what? That's exactly how the book fleshes out. This is exactly how it fleshes out you. You would be shocked to know... Unless you were maybe kind of pausing and picking up on this. You'd be shocked to know that Acts chapter one through chapter eight, verse three is all about Jerusalem. Acts 8:4 to chapter 12, Judea and Samaria. Acts chapter 13 to chapter 28, ends of the earth. You're going, huh? Yep. You see, Luke started it that way and then showed us through the book exactly how that was going to play out. But the question I guess that we ask is not Jerusalem and not Judea and Samaria, but this question about the ends of the earth. Like what did Luke mean when he said the ends of the earth? Did Paul being in Rome in a rented house, did this constitute going to the ends of the earth? Because maybe in your mind you kind of go, I don't know. I'm not sure exactly. Well, let me tell you what Paul was doing when he was there in that rented room, there were some people from... That were Jews that were coming and they were talking with Paul and wanted to hear what he had to say and arguing with him and not necessarily believing him. And he said, "Well, I'm gonna turn my attention to the Gentiles." He always would start with the Jews, but he knew that his mission was to the Gentiles. Here's how that went. It's in Acts chapter 28. Just back up a few verses in verse 24, it says, "Some were convinced." Some of the Jews. "Were convinced by what Paul said, but others would not believe. They disagreed among themselves and began to leave after Paul had made this final statement. "The Holy Spirit spoke the truth to your ancestors when he said through Isaiah the prophet, 'Go to this people and say, you'll be ever hearing but never understanding. You'll be ever seeing, but never perceiving. For this people's heart has become calloused. They hardly hear with their ears and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.'" So Paul says that to them, and then listen to what he says in verse 28. "Therefore, I want you to know that God's salvation has been sent to the Gentiles and they will listen." You see, the idea of the ends of the earth is synonymous with Gentiles. That's the same idea in Luke's account in the Book of Acts. In fact, if I were to pull you back to where Luke is recounting what Paul and Barnabas said in Pisidian Antioch, you would see that Paul actually uses ends of the earth and Gentiles synonymously when he quotes the scripture itself. Listen to what he says, acts 13, it says, "Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly, "We had to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles for this is what the Lord has commanded. Here's what he's commanded us. 'I have made you a light for the Gentiles that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.'" You see, in essence, what Paul was saying when he was quoting the prophet here is that he was reminding everybody that the idea of reaching the Gentiles, the non-Jewish population, was the same thing as the ends of the earth. So what Luke is doing here at the very end of the Book of Acts, when he's showing Paul in Rome saying to the Jews, "You haven't listened. That's why I've gone and started speaking to the Gentiles." He's in Rome saying that. So Luke is demonstrating that what was commanded Jerusalem, Judea and Samari and to the ends of the earth or the Gentiles has actually happened through Paul's ministry. Now, Luke is also helping us be reminded that there is a once for all apostolic foundation that has been laid. Once for all apostolic foundation, of which Paul was a part. You know what's interesting is that what we don't see is we don't see all of the other apostles and where they ended up, right? We do know that Peter and Paul ended up in Rome. It's where both of them died, in fact. And we kind of have to consult church history because the scripture itself doesn't tell us about all these other apostles and where they ended up. And so we have to look at Eusebius who was in the third, late third, early fourth century. Or you go back further and you can go back to origin of Alexandria who was in the late second, early third century. And they tell us about Thomas, who went to India. They tell us about Andrew who went to Russia. They tell us about John who ended up in Asia and Philip in North Africa, and Matthew in Iran and Ethiopia and Bartholomew in Africa and Southern Arabia. So what Luke is showing us, is it just like Paul and just like these other apostles, that when Jesus said, "You'll be my witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth," that that actually happened, mission accomplished. That's what Luke is showing us here. That's why he ends this way. And that's why we have this sense that the story actually is finished from Luke's perspective. Now, another reason for that is because of what he puts in verse number 30 at the very beginning, he says this, "For two whole years, Paul stayed there in his own rented house." You know what's interesting about that for the careful reader of the Book of Acts? Is that you would hear that language for Paul's ministry in Corinth and Paul's ministry in Ephesus. And what Luke is trying to say is that this is no accident that Paul's in Rome. This is exactly where Paul should be, even though he got arrested and ended up there. No, this is for the outworking of the mission of God. This is why it's happening. And there's a reason by the way, that the very last words in the Book of Acts are without hindrance. Without hindrance. Paul is under house arrest, but the gospel is without hindrance. Paul is hindered, the mission is not. Jesus gave the command, the apostolic foundation has been laid. What Jesus said to do, it has been done. Basically Luke says, story finished. So on one hand the story's finished, ha. But on the other hand, the story is unfinished. It's true that Paul did not end right here. He did more stuff. He got released, actually, and he actually went on some other journeys. Spain I think being a part of that, by the way. Paul had the opportunity to minister after this timeframe. So this wasn't the full chronicle of everything that happened. But ultimately Paul would be arrested again and he would be murdered in Rome, he would be killed. So why didn't Luke actually put this in his story? Because I think that by the leadership of the Holy Spirit, we're seeing not only that the story is actually finished in terms of how Luke began it and how Luke ended it, but that the story is also to remind us that it's also not finished. That this apostolic foundation that has been laid has been laid once for all by the apostles to go into the ends of the earth and to share the beauty of who Jesus is. But that now, those of us who come after are building on that foundation. You see, let me say it to you this way. Acts 28 doesn't end the Book of Acts because you and I are living in Acts 29. We are now... Listen, we are writing the history in our day and age. The Holy Spirit through us is writing the history of the church right now. You see, Acts one through Acts 28 tells us about kind of the first 30 years roughly of the early church. And everything after that is Acts 29. It's the work of the Holy Spirit through the people of God forwarding the mission of God in the world. The Apostolic foundation has been laid, but now we have a responsibility. So what does that look like? If we are now writing Acts 29, how will we be remembered as the body of Christ? Corporately how would we embrace what we should be about if that's what we're doing? Well, the Book of Acts tells us at least two very important things for the local church, for the early church. And one is this is that churches need to be planted in places where the gospel needs to be heard. And here at The Chapel, we've been faithful to be a part of that for the last decade and a half, we've been busy about the process of seeing other churches planted. I don't really know exactly the number. It's 40 something that we've helped to plant or partnered to plant in our region over the last decade and a half. Because that's what we should be doing because the Holy Spirit testifies to that work in the Book of Acts. And also the partnership in the body of Christ that we recognize that though we here called The Chapel, we are a congregation of the church in the region and that we have brothers and sisters in Christ who go by different names at different places. But as long as they believe the gospel, believe Jesus is central to salvation. When we are fundamentally agreed on the mission and who drives that and who the king is, then we are brothers and sisters in this mission. Whether we are named The Chapel or whether we are named someone else in the region and we partner together for the sake of God's mission. This is a part of our responsibility as to what we do because this is about partnering with the Holy Spirit because of His work and His mission. But let me ask you a question on a personal level, how do we partner with the Holy Spirit personally so that we can ask this question, how do I do my part in changing the world? How do I embrace my role to actually see change in the world? Well, I actually think the last couple of verses of the Book of Acts with what Paul did gives us really good instruction. Remember, everything's given to us for our instruction. And although we're not the same as Paul, I think we can learn some things right here that will be helpful to us about how we can actually do our part in changing the world. Here's the first, do what you can right where you are, do what you can right where you are. Let me explain this to you. Here's what verse 30 says, "For two whole years, Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him." Some of you were going, okay, I didn't know after all of this, man, there's been so many ups and downs in the Book of Acts. It's extraordinary what God has done. I mean, Paul has been some places, he's seen some stuff, right? There was a guy when he was preaching who was I guess bored and he fell asleep and he fell out of a window and died. His name was Eutychus and Paul went down there, I don't know, and just laid his hands on him, prayed for him, and then he wasn't dead again. Paul was a part of that. That's extraordinary. Paul's a part of seeing demons flying out of people. That's extraordinary. Paul was a part of actually being beaten and left for dead. That's extraordinary. Paul had a vision of the third heaven and he says, "Whether in the body or outta the body, I do not know, but I got to hear and see inexpressible things." That's extraordinary. Paul was in a boat and there was a big storm coming up and everybody thought they were gonna die, but an angel showed up to Paul and said, "Don't worry, nobody's gonna die." And Paul told them, "Nobody's gonna die. My God said so" and they didn't. And then they were shipwrecked and went to an island. And at the island he was bitten by a viper and he should have died and he didn't. And everybody was like, what? This is Paul's life. And it ends in a Vrbo. It's like an Airbnb. It's not just that he rented a house in Rome, it's that he was under house arrest. Do you think that this is how Paul drew it up? You think this is how the apostle, the great apostle who had been so many places, seen so many things that he thought to himself, I just, I didn't know that I would just be here chained to someone in my own rented house where I can't go anywhere. It wasn't what he probably had scripted, but Paul, he knew that God is suffering. He knew that God does what God does for God's own purposes and that where he was wasn't an accident. So you know what Paul was doing? He was doing what he could where he was. Same's true for you. Listen to me, some of you maybe started out in your life of faith or maybe at some point in that life of faith you had visions of grandeur for how God was going to use you to change the world. And now here you are. It's not exactly how you drew it up. Maybe it came because who knows, right? Maybe there was a spouse that got ill and all of a sudden the ways that you were being able to do things, you can't do them anymore because you're caring for somebody in your care. Or maybe something happened, tragedy or disease or something and it racked your body and you're not able to do what you were thinking that you could have done. Or maybe you made some bad decisions, you made some mistakes, and now here you are. Listen to me. Do what you can where you are. God knows where you are and the story isn't done. You today can be used by God in your sphere. What God is asking is that you just make yourself available to Him right where you are because that's what Paul was doing. Even if it hasn't gone as planned for you, nothing is outside the boundaries of God's own sovereignty because he's sovereign. You can't get outside of those bounds. God knows where you are, knows what you're doing, knows why, he knows all of this. So just allow him to use you.
- Do what you can right where you are. That's one way you can be a part of changing your world. Secondly, proclaim the kingdom of God. That's point number two. Proclaim the kingdom of God. You say, Jerry, where did you get that? Watch this. Here's an next verse, "Paul, proclaim the kingdom of God." I know, my literal job is plagiarizing the Bible for a living. It's what I do. Nobody thinks I wrote it. I'm just telling you what the scripture actually says. So do what you can right where you are. Proclaim the kingdom of God. What do I mean by that? Here's the thing, the world that we live in has a very different story about the kingdom they experience. And in many ways they have very different stories, I should say, there's multitudes of them. One of them is the story that we are kings and queens of our own kingdoms. That really the only thing that we need saving from is things that make us unhappy because we are the rulers of our domain. We are the captains of our own ship. We are our own kings and queens. And so we have that kind of mindset or maybe we think that the kingdom is only one that you can see. And so what we do is we put so much faith and trust in politicians and in politics and in laws to be able to rescue us and give us the life that we need. I'm not saying that any of those things are bad, by the way, because they need to be used for God's purposes for good. It's important that we vote. It's important that we do all of these things. I'm not minimizing that at all. But if you've... Listened to this, if you've put all your faith eggs in that basket, let me tell you where you'll end up, empty and disappointed. And then the thing is, we don't even remember that because a few years later, we do it all over again. We just think to ourselves, ah, now this is what will save us. But we have a kingdom that's unseen, that's eternal, it's unseen only in the fact that sometimes we veil it, but if our lives are truly lived for the kingdom of God, it would be a kingdom where people would see love leading. That's what they would see. They would see love over hate. They would see forgiveness over cancel culture. They would actually see where humility is better than pride. Service is better than ego. Truth is more glorious than the lies or half truths that the world wants to offer us. There's a different kingdom among us because we have a different king. The king Jesus is the one that we proclaim, and as a result, we are different than the rest of the world. That leads me to the third reminder, and it's this, make much of Jesus. This is what Paul was doing, right? He was doing what he could where he was. He was proclaiming the kingdom of God. But notice what the verse says. It says, "He proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ." Make much of Jesus. We can see change in our world when we make much of Jesus. Notice that I didn't say you only make much of the church that you affiliate with. I didn't say you only make much of an undefined God that everybody seems to get along with because they've made him in his image. No, no, no. We are making much of Jesus because he is the fullness of the Godhead in bodily form. He is the second person of the trinity. He is the only one who can save. And it is Jesus who changes everything. We make much of Jesus just as Paul was making much of Jesus because that's the story of Acts, that Jesus changes everything. He changed the world through giving His life for the sins of the world so that we might not suffer the consequences of separation from God from all eternity. He changed the way that we view guilt because in His sacrifice, He became and took upon himself our sin. He became sin for us so that in Him we could become the righteousness of God. Jesus changes everything. He changes the way that we live because He is given to us and sent to us His spirit that leads us into all truth and who enlightens us to the reality of what Jesus is doing in the world and who forms in us the fruit of His own life led by love as the fountain head, such that it is no longer a selfish love, but it is a sacrificial love looking to the other first. Jesus changes the way that we even look at justice because we realize that while we should work for justice in this life, that God's heart is a heart full of justice, that even if we don't see it, He hasn't missed it. He sees everything and He will deal with everything in His time. Changes the way that we view the rest of the world because we realize now we don't have to perform for God. We don't have to perform for everybody else because of what God has done through His son, the Lord Jesus. It has come to us by grace and it is not for us now our performance. Jesus changes the way that we view death because He himself has died and has gotten up from the dead, never to die again. And promises us in 1 Corinthians 15 that he is the first fruits of resurrection and therefore we too will be like Him.
- [Congregants] Amen.
- Jesus changes everything. So brothers and sisters, we need to make much of Jesus if we wanna see change in our world, He is the change agent. He is the one who can do this work. But lastly, we live life filled with the Holy Spirit. If we want to see our lives being conduits for change, we have to live life filled with the Holy Spirit. Look at what verse number 31 says, "Paul proclaim the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance." Do you know that one of the characteristic natures of people that are filled with the Holy Spirit are boldness? I didn't say obnoxiousness, but boldness, a deep confidence in who God is and what God has revealed through Jesus. This is a part of what it means to be filled with His spirit, is that he will give to us that confidence in Him. In fact, if we were to look back when the disciples were all praying together because Peter and John had been captured and they'd been arrested and the Sanhedrin is yelling at them and telling them, "Never do this again." And and the disciples are there all praying together. Notice something. This Acts chapter four, "Now Lord consider their threats and enable your servants..." They're praying this, "'Enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant, Jesus.' After they prayed the place where they were meeting was shaken and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.'" You see, when we actually are filled with God's spirit, then we will be bold about the proclamation of making much of Jesus. But see, listen, only those... Listen, only those that have the spirit of Jesus have Jesus. You do realize that, right? Paul said it this way in Romans chapter eight. He said, "If anyone does not have the spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ." You see, for some you'll need to put your faith and your trust in Jesus because when we do that, Jesus baptizes us into His family by His spirit that dwells in us. This is how He does that. And so the only way for us to be filled with the spirit is to know Jesus deeply. But when people experience God's life in us, when people are around us, and here's what they come away with, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, goodness, self-control. They're kind of looking and going, wow, this is the kind of life that feels like it's from somewhere else. Yeah, it's from the kingdom that you can't see, but that I'm trying to reveal to you by the life of God in me. This is how people see change. This is a runway for people to be able to experience change. So let me ask you this. How is your story contributing to the great story of God? How is your story contributing to the great story of God? Are you serving him? Are you serving him right now wherever that is you are? Listen, whether big or small, I've had too many people say to me, "You know what? I just really think God's got big things for me. God's got big things for me." God's not gonna give you anything big if you've not been faithful in little, nothing. If you're just waiting it out for fame, if you're just waiting it out to have a bunch of followers and clicks and all of that stuff, buckle up. You may get that, but you won't get what God wants for you. And you may have actually asked for that which you didn't want. See, we gotta be faithful in whatever. Listen, wherever we are, do what you can where you are and say yes to the Lord. Are you stewarding your life and your assets to bring the reality of the kingdom of God to bear among you? Are you making much of Jesus or are you shrinking back? You're willing to talk to people at the level of an undefined God instead of talking about who Jesus is and what Jesus has done. And are you living your life filled with His spirit such that you realize you would be willing to boldly, not arrogantly, not brashly, not irritatingly, but confidently be able to proclaim the beauty of who Jesus is in your own world? You brothers and sisters are writing Acts 29. What does that story look like? And are you playing your part? Because the story does have an ending, the great story of God. It does have an ending, but the ending is the beginning, much like in "Finnegan's Wake," when this beginning line ended up attaching itself to the ending line, which brought it back to the beginning line. That's what's happening for us because Jesus will return. And when He does, He will judge. He will judge evil. He will judge everything as it should be judged, and He will bring with Him new creation and then forever He's our God and we are His people. And we don't even have words to describe this new reality. We don't have a vocabulary for that. It's so extraordinary. The ending of God's great story is so satisfying that we should want everyone to enjoy it. That's the story of Acts. That's it. This is the mission that He's given us. That the ending of the story is so satisfying, God's great story, that we should want everyone to enjoy it. But He has chosen us to play our part so that every man, every woman, and every child would have the opportunity to hear and to see the gospel of Jesus Christ and be able to say yes or no to that beautiful offer. Are you doing your part? Let's bow our heads together. We'll be dismissed in just a moment. And it's possible that I've been talking to some people in the room who've never before put their faith in Jesus and had their life transformed and had the spirit come and live inside. That offer is available to you, but you cannot do that on your own strength. It is a gift of God, not of our works. We can't work our way to God. 'Cause if we could, we could boast about it. Truth is, that we can only be saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. And if that's your need, when I dismiss this in a moment, I'll say amen to a prayer and there'll be some folks that'll be down front. Some men and women, both, that'll be down front, would love to take a moment, pray for you, pray with you. So don't waste any time. When I dismiss this, you come this direction and take one of these men or women down here by the hand and say, I wanna give my life to Jesus. I wanna surrender myself to Him. Maybe you just need somebody to pray with you because you're trying to work through how does God wanna use you in the place that you're in right now. They'd love to take a moment and pray with you down here. So I would encourage you to respond as God leads. Father, I come before you in the name of Jesus, because we have been in your presence in the fullness of this day. We are always in your presence. You know every word that I've spoken, you know every motivation of our hearts. You know right where everyone is in their world. You know exactly what you want to do to father them to a place where they can be used by you right where they are because you have chosen to work through your people for your mission. We thank you for the apostolic foundation that has been laid on our behalf and for our brothers who have given their lives for the furtherance of the gospel that we may be here today, but we have a role to play as well. And I pray that you would use us for your glory in whatever ways you choose to do that in an individual way, that we would listen to your voice, Holy Spirit, you'd fill us, that we would now have the boldness to make much of you, Lord Jesus, to proclaim a kingdom that is among us and a kingdom that is coming so that we can be about your business right where we are. Would you do your good pleasure among your people so that we can see change in this world that so desperately needs it. We pray this in Jesus name. Amen.