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Apr 29, 2018

Time Out: Team Meeting

Passage: Acts 1:8

Preacher: Tim Badal

Series: Unfinished


We are coming to the end of the first half of the book of Acts. We have just finished Acts 12, which gives us a natural break in this book. So we’re going to stop for our summer break right here. We have seen how God’s Great Commission for His church has been lived out in places like Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria. We’ve seen the church take strong root in Jerusalem. Then men like Philip, Stephen and even Peter began to reach out to Samaria. Then recently we’ve read how some of the “uttermost parts” of the world were beginning to be reached—but we’ll leave most of those accounts until we pick up the series this fall.

Today we’re going to do a recap of what we’ve covered so far in Acts. Then this summer we’ll move over to Hebrews 11, studying various biographies of the great men and women mentioned there who lived by faith. We’ll call this series “Heroes,” in which we’ll see how God took ordinary people and used them to do extraordinary things—and we’ll learn that God can do the same things through us today.

I’m calling a “timeout” this morning so we can have a team meeting. We’ll review what we’ve learned and what we’ve been called to, and hopefully will have time to consider where God may be leading us in the future. Let’s go back to our starting point in Acts 1:8, which is the key verse for the entire book. Many of you who have studied the Bible know this verse well.

Before Jesus ascended into heaven, He essentially called a last team meeting with His eleven disciples. He tells them, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” As we have seen, God’s promise was true and we are a byproduct of the greatest movement that has ever taken place. Now we have a part to play in that unfinished work, so let’s look at the work God has given us to do.

In the world of sports, there are moments when a timeout is needed. A timeout can change the course of a game. It can calm nerves. It can allow a team to catch its breath. A timeout is an opportunity for a coach to reset the game toward their advantage. It allows them to plan the next few minutes of the game.

Tim outs have played pivotal parts in some of the biggest games in sporting history. Timeouts are normally called by the coach, but there are days and games and events so big, so important, that sometimes God—with His celestial hands—has to form a T and say, “Time out.”

Remember the 8th inning back in 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio? Aroldis Chapman, the relief pitcher, had just given up a home run that had broken your pastor’s heart. Rajai Davis hit a two-run home run to tie a game that the Cubs had in hand. Once again, Cubs Nation believed they surely were cursed. Another 108 years would go by, they thought, before they would ever taste victory. But then something amazing happened—as if God was cheering for our team. God called a timeout—a timeout that would allow something very amazing to take place. About a year ago I was given a book by someone here in the church by an author named Tom Verducci. The Cubs’ Way chronicles the World Series run for the Cubs. This is how he describes that moment in history:

Rain. Seventeen minutes of rain. Not in torrents and sheets, but just too hard and too much to play baseball. It was almost midnight. Joe West, the crew chief umpire, ordered play stopped and the field to be covered. The Cubs began walking back to the clubhouse, their heads dropped and their faces blank. It was the look of a team that knew something bad had happened to it.

The Cubs blew a three-run lead, four outs away from their first World Series title in 108 years, and now they would have to try to win an extra-inning World Series game seven as a road team, something that had never been done before. “Guys. Weight room. It won’t take long.” The strong voice that pierced the quiet belonged to Heyward, who had struggled to hit all year after signing a $184 million contract, who began the World Series on the bench and who was hitting .106 for the post season.

Heyward was calling a “players only” meeting. Directly behind the visiting dugout at Progressive Field is a weight room about 50 feet long and 20 feet wide. One by one, the Cubs traipsed in. “When we got in,” first baseman Anthony Rizzo said, “the mood was definitely down. All of us were just kind of pacing.” Then Jason started speaking.

Heyward began, “I know some things have happened tonight you don’t like.” “At first, I was afraid it was going to be negative,” catcher David Ross would say later. “I thought this was nothing any of these young players needed to be hearing.” But it wasn’t that at all. “We’re the best team in baseball for a reason,” Heyward said. “Now we’re going to show it. We play like the score is nothing-nothing. We’re going to stay positive and fight for our brothers. We’re going to stick together and we’re going to win this game.”

Other players began to speak up. “Keep grinding, Chappy. We’re going to pick you up,” speaking of closer Aroldis Chapman who had given up the game-tying home run. “This is only going to make it better when we win.” “With that short speech, our whole viewpoint and perspective changed,” Kris Bryant said. “The darkness over us suddenly lifted. Right then I thought, ‘We’re winning this game.’”

The entire delay took only 17 minutes, but a different team came out of the weight room from the one that had entered it. The players returned to the dugout, and Cub Nation would experience the greatest turn of events and experience the sweet taste of victory. A team meeting changed everything.

We could just close in prayer now. [Laughter]

Acts 1:8 is in the middle of Jesus’ team meeting with His disciples. For the last 40 days Jesus had been walking and talking and eating with them, speaking about the Kingdom of God. During that time there had been a multiplicity of responses from His disciples. But now as the 40 days were coming to an end, Jesus began to talk about leaving them. They all knew what that meant. The last time He left, everything fell apart. Even the great leader Peter had disowned Jesus three times. They all had gone running for their lives. Now He is telling them, “I’m going to go.” Every alarm in their heads probably went off. “We are not equal to this task, Jesus. What makes You think we are able to accomplish the work You have?”

In that team meeting of eleven disciples—men who were closer to Jesus than anyone else—Jesus spoke words that would change everything. I don’t know how long that team meeting lasted, but Luke doesn’t make it seem that long. Jesus said, “I am going to give you power.” He literally said, “I am going to clothe you with strength, so that you will change the world with My message.”

Over the next days, those men embarked on the greatest movement the world has ever seen. Two thousand years later, on the other side of the globe, you and I are singing, praising, praying, preaching and living in light of and receiving the joy from that great message. The message we have is the same message Jesus gave them back in Acts 1. A team meeting can change everything.

But when we start asking about our place in that plan, like the disciples, we can come up with excuses about why we can’t do what He’s asking. Many of us have walked into this room today, and the last thing we want to hear is a “Rah, rah, rah, let’s go get ‘em” pep talk. Like the Cubs walking into a dugout, we feel defeated. It seems as though every time we think we’re ahead, we really aren’t. We sense that something bad is going to happen.

Or maybe this week has been one of those weeks for you. You don’t feel like you’re part of a winning team. Life is hard. The perpetual fight against temptation and sin has you defeated. Trials have taken away your joy. The burden of following God and living according to His precepts is harder than anyone warned you it would be. You’re far away from victory.

As we close out the first section of Acts, I want us to have a team meeting. I want to remind you of what our Savior and Lord said which was true for the disciples then and is true for every follower of Jesus Christ today. For the last 21 weeks we have studied the first half of Luke’s history, chronicling the fulfilled promises of God. He has given His followers everything we need to accomplish the goals before us.

Any good study of Acts always points to Jesus and the power of God made available through Jesus by the Holy Spirit. We’ve seen God fulfill His promise to give us everything we need by the Holy Spirit. We need to take that promise and leave this place excited—not walking around like those who are about to lose a game, but like those who are going to win the greatest victory ever known to man. As the great hymn says, God has given us the victory through Jesus Christ.

So how do we begin to walk this out in our lives? There are three things we need to understand about the calling God has given us, things that I want to encourage you with.

Be assured: God empowers us for this work.

I want you to realize that God will empower us for the work He calls us to do. In Acts 1, the people of God are pretty bewildered concerning the next steps Jesus has for them. They have not understood His mission from the beginning, nor have they understood their part in that mission. Now He’s telling them He’s going to leave them to be with His Father—and it won’t be a three-day journey. He tells them that while He’s gone, there is a job He wants them to do.

Every once in a while when I’m going to be away from home for a long day, I will give my sons jobs to do. I’ll say, “Before I get back, I want you to clean your room. I want the bathroom clean.” I might ask them to mow the grass. It usually amounts to about an hour of work during the eight hours I’ll be gone.

Jesus was far more demanding. He told His disciples, “I’m going to leave, and I want you to change the world while I’m gone.” I wonder if that seemed to be a really tall assignment to them. He said: “I want you to be My witnesses in Jerusalem,” and they may have thought, “Well, that might not be bad.” It’s kind of like telling my sons to clean their rooms. “Okay, we can do that.” But then Jesus continued. “You also need to be My witnesses in Judea.” Oh. “And Samaria.” You’re kidding. “And to the uttermost parts of the world.” We need to remember that these eleven disciples only spoke Hebrew. Jesus was asking them to change a world where other languages were being spoken. These men had never traveled more than 50 miles from their homes—and now He’s saying they were going to reach the ends of the earth? If I had been one of the disciples, I would have thrown a yellow flag. “Jesus, there is no way we’re going to be able to accomplish this!”

Luke doesn’t tell us, but I wonder if there were excuses like, “I’ve got to stay close to Mom.” “I don’t travel well.” “I don’t speak well in crowds.” “I don’t have the personality like You do, Jesus.” “I’m not gifted enough.” “I don’t know what to say.” “I don’t work well with cross-cultural ministry.” The excuses could have gone on and on and on. But Jesus gave no room for excuses. He said, “You will do this,” as if it was already done. Let’s remember, when Jesus says something, it already is done—amen? He says, “You’re going to change the world, and you’re going to reach the far-flung parts of the world. In fact, it’s already done—you just need to be faithful with your part in that process.”

When we hear that we’re called to take the gospel to a world that needs it, many of us make excuses upon excuses upon excuses. “Well, I’m not like Pastor Tim or small group leader so-and-so. I don’t have that kind of personality. I don’t have their gifts. I don’t speak well in front of crowds. I don’t have the faith of that missionary we just prayed for in New Guinea. I don’t have that ability.” When we speak like this, we’re rendering ourselves exempt from the command of God.

I want you to realize that Jesus gives no room for exemptions. There’s no opting out. Why is that?

This work is specific in nature.

The second word Jesus speaks in Acts 1:8 is “you.” I did a study of this word in the original Greek, and you means you. You. You in the back. You, the one sleeping in the chairs. You. It means me. If you are a Christ follower, this calling is for you. But you might say, “Wait a minute. He’s talking to the apostles. How could He be talking about me?” There are two reasons.

First, He says, “You will receive power.” Well, who is the you that receives power? Ten of the 14 times that Luke speaks about the filling of the Holy Spirit, he is talking about non-apostolic individuals. So when people were filled with the Holy Spirit, ten of the 14 times it was people who were other than the eleven to whom Jesus was speaking. They are random people. They are no-name people. Some of them aren’t even Jews. None of them walked with Jesus. They never did miracles. They were people like you and me. That means the power that Jesus promised them wasn’t just given to the eleven who were with Him at that moment. It’s actually given today.

I heard a story this week of a congregation member who talked about her experience of being filled by the Spirit in a powerful way. She looks back even now to that moment when she was assured that God had a plan and purpose for her to serve in her generation.

God wants to fill people with His Spirit. He didn’t just fill eleven; He fills every one of us at salvation, but also in new and awesome ways in moments after that. So the power is available to us; therefore, the command is for us.

Second, what they were called to do wasn’t completed. “I want you to go into all the world.” While the first church did that with great obedience, they did not complete that task. There are still people groups today that are untouched by the gospel of Jesus Christ. So if Jesus gave them a task that He said they would finish, the “they” wasn’t just the apostles. Because we have the same filling of the Holy Spirit and because the task is still “Unfinished,” we—the “you” of His command—still have a job to do. You and I are called to be great evangelists for the faith where God has planted us. This might be in our homes, in our communities, in our workplaces—or God might even allow us to go to the ends of the earth.  

This work demands God’s strength.

How were these men going to accomplish their mission? Jesus had already told them, “Apart from Me, you can do nothing.” They’re listening to Jesus, wondering how that would work if He was going away again. Then they watched with their own eyes as Jesus ascended into heaven, then the angels told them specifically, “He’s not coming back—at least not until the end of this age.” But how were they going to do their work without Him? He had told them, “I’m going to give you power,” which was the gift of the Holy Spirit. That power would enable them to do everything God called them to do.

When Alfred Nobel discovered a new and incredibly powerful explosive device, he looked for a word that would describe it best. He had an intern who knew Greek, so he told Nobel, “The Greeks have a word that fits what you’ve discovered: dunamis.” Nobel said, “I like that.” It’s where we get our word dynamic. So Nobel applied the word dynamite to his explosive new invention.

Jesus says essentially, “I’m going to give you dunamis—dynamic, explosive power.” It was a power that was seen throughout the book of Acts. It was a power that enabled these ordinary men to speak with boldness. The same Peter who couldn’t speak bravely to a servant girl on the night Jesus was arrested, spoke in Acts 2 before thousands of his kinsmen. He told them they had murdered Jesus, but that God in His mercy had provided the opportunity for them to repent and believe on Jesus as Lord.

Later in Acts 7 we see Stephen, a man who was not one of the original apostles, was given that same power. In the same Spirit—the same dunamis, the same dynamite Peter had received—Stephen also preached a message that knocked people’s socks off. God wants to give us that kind of power. You might be thinking, “I don’t have that ability. I don’t have oratorical skills. I don’t speak with that kind of eloquence.” Remember, one of the greatest spokesmen for God was a stammering, stuttering man names Moses (Exodus 4). God said, “Don’t worry about it. I’ll put the words in your mouth.” Many of us have no idea about the opportunities we’re missing because we hide behind the excuse that we don’t speak very well. Do you think God is sitting up in heaven biting His fingernails, thinking, “I really hope so-and-so doesn’t talk? I wish I could help them. I’m just up here handcuffed. I’m unable to give them the right words.”

No. God says, “You’re My child. I’ve saved you from your sins and now I’ve given you this calling to accomplish this job.” If we’ll take Him at His word, He will give us all we need. One phrase that has served me well as a pastor is this: “God doesn’t call the qualified; He qualifies the called.” A lot of us are waiting to get our credentials before we share the gospel. But God says, “Go and do it. I’ll take care of the qualifications as you go. I’ll give you what you need.”

How many of us have been in seemingly impossible situations, where we’ve asked God to give us the words—and He has done so, using them in powerful ways? He gives us dunamis power to speak on His behalf. We also are given this power to endure suffering for the glory of God. We’ve seen this to be true often in the first 12 chapters of Acts. Terrible things took place. Stephen, who was proclaiming God’s truth one moment, was being killed in the next (Acts 7). All the while, in the middle of his suffering, he was forgiving those who were killing him. We see the same pattern with Peter, as well as with the death of James. Over and over again, God gave these men the ability to show His power in the middle of their sufferings.

Some of us need that dynamite power right now to endure the struggles we face. God wants to give it to us. He wants to clothe us with the power to endure suffering and hardships for His glory and for our good. It’s God’s strength that allows us to accomplish the things we’re called to do.

This work is guaranteed to be successful.

Scholars often ask, “Was Jesus speaking a word of prophecy or a word of command?” Was He saying, “As I look into the future and see the work you will be doing, I see that it will be successful”? I would answer that, “Yes, that’s what He sees.” God knows the end from the beginning and the beginning from the end. As the omniscient God, Jesus knew they were going to succeed. He would never have sent them out to fail. So when He said, “This is what you are going to do,” in that sense it was a guarantee that they would in fact accomplish these things.

But it’s also a word of command—a command that came with a promise. “If you are faithful, I will give you success. By that I mean this gospel word will not return void.” Does that success imply each one who hears the gospel will believe it? No. We see that happening in the book of Acts quite often. Some people, like Simon the magician, believed for a moment, but then saw the Spirit’s power as a means to earn money and asked if he could buy it (Acts 8:9–25).

There were other people who not only would not accept the gospel they had heard, but in fact became enraged by it. As a result, the apostles and other followers of Christ were hated and even killed. How can we see this reality as something that can be called success?

It is success because with the martyrs’ blood the gospel has continued to be spread. The church of Jesus Christ has grown and multiplied at such an amazing rate that from the original eleven who heard the message, now billions of people throughout human history have accepted that message, have walked according to its truth and have received mercy from the One Who proclaimed it, leading to eternal life in Christ. We are guaranteed success.

Be attentive: God employs us as His witnesses.

God says, “You are My witnesses.” The word “witness” is the Greek word martus. It was a common judicial word which would have made sense to them in that culture. A martus was one who spoke in a legally binding way as someone who had observed an event.

Witnesses are those who encounter a situation.

If you’ve ever been a witness to a crime or an accident, you were able to learn through your senses something that actually was taking place. These men to whom Jesus was speaking had personally experienced much about the message of the gospel.

First, they had experienced the life-changing power of the words of Jesus Christ. They also had experienced the miracles He had performed. They had watched as He made cripples whole. They had seen demon-possessed people brought to their right minds. They had seen the sick healed and even the dead raised up to life again. They had also experienced Jesus’ power over the storms. John says later in 1 John 1:1, “We have seen with our eyes…”

But most significantly, they had seen Jesus die, then on the third day they had seen Him alive again. John writes that they had touched Him with their hands. They had eaten with Him. They knew it was not a fable—He was the real deal. They were valid witnesses. Over a dozen times in Acts Luke uses the expression “witnesses.” These men were Christ’s witnesses, His martuses.

Witnesses are those who embrace it as fact.

Not only are witnesses people who encounter specific situations, they also embrace what they see as fact. When you’re called into the courtroom and the judge asks, “What have you witnessed? You were there on Route 47 and Bliss Road when the accident happened. What took place?” Do you start saying, “I don’t know if I saw it in a dream, or if I was in a trance, or if I imagined it all”? No. If you start talking that way on the witness stand, the judge will say, “Get out. We’re not here to hear about your dreams or what you think you saw.” A martus is one who embraces what they have seen as being fact. “I know what I saw and what I experienced. It happened just the way I’m about to describe.”

Witnesses are those who share their experience with others.

These apostles had embraced what they knew about Jesus as fact, but it didn’t just stay with them. A martus is one who shares their experience with others. You cannot be a witness if you don’t tell people what you’ve experienced.

So now you’re in the courtroom, sitting in the witness seat, and the attorneys begin to interrogate you: “Tell us what you saw that day when that accident happened.” Do you refuse to answer them? No. You have to open your mouth. “Did you see the cars crash into each other?” “I’m not saying.” “Did you see anyone injured?” “I can’t say.” If that’s your response, you have rendered yourself a non-witness. A witness has to be one who has encountered a situation, embraced what they saw as being fact, then is willing to share what they saw with others.

The disciples, others in the early church, and even us today—if we’re unwilling to share how we have experienced Jesus, we are not witnesses. We’re living in contradiction to the very command Jesus gave as He was departing: “Be My witnesses.” We have to share what we know to be true with others.

Witnesses are those who share their experience with others while enduring cross-examination.

Finally, we have to be able to endure cross-examination. The word martus doesn’t look like “witness” at all. Often the derivative of a word will look like its origin. Witness and martus don’t seem connected. But there is another English word that does look like martus, and that’s the word martyr. A martyr is a person who speaks of something as being true and then is willing to endure cross-examination from others—even those who would deny what they say. They might be denying that that witness was even there, or that he saw things correctly, or that what he claims is actually factual. They will even refute the right of a witness to give testimony at all, doing everything in their power to trip up the story and prevent the witness from speaking. This was what we read about in Acts.

At first it began with low-level persecution, like bullying. Then it moved to imprisonment. Next came mob rule, where people picked up rocks and stoned Stephen. Then finally we read in Acts 12 that the rulers decided to cut off the heads of Christ followers.

So if we’re also called to be martuses, we must be willing to endure cross-examination from others. When we share what Jesus has done in our lives, some people will respond, “No way.” It might start out small. “What are you talking about? You’re crazy. That didn’t happen.” Yes, it did. “We don’t want you to keep talking about this—so keep your mouth shut. If you can’t, there will be consequences.” A witness is one who endures to the end.

Oh, how in our day we need churches full of martuses! It is sad that we live in a country so free, with so much opportunity. The one thing we have been given by our government as a constitutional right is the freedom of speech, yet we hide—not because they’re going to cut off our heads, not because they’re going to imprison us, not because they’re going to take away our rights—but because we might get a little negative feedback, or we might lose the opportunity to sit at the popular kids’ table, or we might be viewed as a weirdo.

The devil has shut us up. He’s thinking, “I have so many more tricks in my bag, things I had to use with the early church. But with this 21st-century church, all I need to do is a little ‘boo!’ and everybody shuts up.”

Oh, how we need witnesses who will go out into their communities, their workplaces and their world, being willing to share what Christ has done in their lives, no matter what comes their way. When we do that, the world will be changed—as it was in the book of Acts. We need to be attentive and ask ourselves: are we being the witnesses God has called us to be?

Be active: God is extending His reach through us.

Some time ago in one of our small group studies, I quoted a Scottish pastor named William Arnot who lived a century ago. He said, “To every Christian, two things must be said: you have need of Christ and Christ has need of you.” I got some feedback from some of those who heard me say this, who pointed out that Christ has no real needs. That’s true. It’s not like God is looking for someone to fix up this world and can’t figure out what to do. For some reason, God has seen fit to leave us here on earth to accomplish one thing that we can’t do in heaven.

Let’s think about this. Fellowshipping is not our number one priority here on earth. It’s a priority, but it’s not number one. We’ll have all of eternity as Christians in heaven for fellowship. Worship is not our number one priority as Christians, because worship will continue to go on eternally. Is it a priority? Yes. How about prayer—talking with God? It needs to be a priority in this age, but it’s something that will continue after this age is over. Preaching is important, but preaching will go on as we continue to experience God’s revelation throughout eternity.

Brothers and sisters, I can only think of one thing that we won’t be able to do in heaven as Christians that we can do here on earth, and that is to share the good news of Jesus Christ with lost people. After all, there will be no lost people in heaven to witness to.

That doesn’t of course mean that we stop praying or preaching or worshiping. That’s not what I’m saying. But we need to realize that God has left us here for a purpose. After all, if evangelism is not needed, then as soon as each of us gets saved He would take us on out of here. No, God has a job for us to do. He is going to use us as His hands and feet to reach out to a world that needs Him.

This reach might surprise you.

The early church experienced some surprises. Surprise number one: When Jesus told them what they were going to be doing, what they thought they were and what they became were two very different things. I’m going to speculate concerning their thoughts. Based on their own testimony later, I suspect they doubted their ability to do what He was asking. If Peter had been told in Acts 1 all the things he was going to do, I believe he might have responded, “No way. I’m not Your guy. I can’t do that.” But God surprises us by enabling us to do things we never would have thought we could do.  

I am a key witness, a martus, to this truth. If you had told my mother during my teenage years that this boy was going to pastor a congregation, my mom would have grabbed at her heart and fallen over dead. I once told my Sunday School teacher, when he told me to quiet down, “One day people will listen to me.” His response was, “Why?” I said, “Because I will preach, I will teach, and I will do great things.” I had no plan to do them, of course, but I just wanted to tell that teacher something. To which he quickly responded, “The only way you will ever be a preacher is in the Illinois State Penitentiary.” So when I say nobody saw this coming—nobody saw this coming—except God.

We need to realize that God has a story line for each one of us that will surprise us. You are way more gifted than you ever give yourself credit for. You are way more filled with the power of the Holy Spirit than maybe you even recognize right now, and God wants to write a story with your life. But you have to be willing, by faith, to take the first step. That’s what the church did and they were surprised by who they became.

This reach can cause you to be stretched.

Second, the church was surprised by who they were called to reach. The disciples were probably thinking, “Hey, I’m going to reach Jewish people. That makes sense. I speak Hebrew. I know the Jewish customs. I know some Jewish jokes. I know the Jewish festivals. I’ve got this.”

Jesus said, “For the first couple years, we’re going to do a trial phase with the Jewish people, so you can get your feet underneath you. But then I’m going to send you to Samaria.” “Where? No!” “I’m going to send you to the Gentiles.” “No way! I don’t even like them.”

Yet Jesus stretched them from Judea into Samaria, and then to the uttermost parts of the world. He breaks down racial divides. He breaks down prejudices. He breaks down superiority complexes. Sometimes we’re going to be surprised by who we’re reaching out to.

Think about it. The church in Sugar Grove has grown into a place that now worships at five campuses. And in one of those campuses, a language is spoken that I don’t understand. My Spanish teacher would have told you that. I’ve got nothing. Keith visits there, where Pastor Nico preaches, and reports back, “I don’t understand a word he says. But those people are being changed by Jesus.” And that’s all that matters, right?

Then we go upstairs and it’s like the United Nations there. Languages are being translated and songs are being sung in different languages. Village Bible Church is being stretched, because God is bringing the nations to us. If we say, “No, Lord, I can’t go there,” then there’s a problem. The early church models for us what faithful ministry looks like. It is going to surprise us, and it is going to stretch us.

So what does a life that follows the Great Commission look like? What does a church that follows the Great Commission look like? It’s going to look like one that’s uncomfortable. The early church enjoyed lots of great things, but they also endured a lot of hardships and problems and logistical challenges and spiritual oppression. They experienced a lot of heartache that produced crying and sadness.

This reach saves more than you know.

If you’re uncomfortable in your Christian life, God is at work. If you feel a bit uncomfortable here at church, that’s okay—God is at work. It’s okay that we’re surprised and stretched because God uses this message through our lives to save many. We’re going to reach the world, and this reach will save more than we know.

The ministry you’re living out in your neighborhoods has a greater saving power than you realize. The impact of this church is resulting in more people being saved than we will ever know. There will be a day when God will gather us together and we will see the great multitude of people, then we will become fully aware of the impact God has made through us. In order for that to happen, it’s like that 2016 Cubs team in Game 7. We need to take the assurances of what we’ve been told in this team meeting and we need to leave this place a different people. We need to leave with different priorities, a different viewpoint, and a different understanding of our current situation. We need to have the confidence to recognize that we’ve already won the game.

So let’s get out there and let’s do the work God has called us to do.



Village Bible Church  |  847 North State Route 47, Sugar Grove, IL 60554  |  (630) 466-7198  |

All Scriptures quoted directly from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.                                     

Note: This transcription has been provided by Sermon Transcribers (