Sermon in a nutshell: You will be my Witnesses! (Acts 1:1-11)

Sermon in a nutshell: You will be my Witnesses! (Acts 1:1-11)
In May and June, we have examined through the book of Ruth, how an individual who was helpless and weak became a part of God’s history. Through the book of Acts, we will reflect on the theme through the acts of the people of the 1st century Christians.
The book of Acts is written as a letter to Theophilus (=God lover). It can be a person’s name but it can mean also all the people who love God. Luke wrote Gospel of Luke to tell the story “until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen.” Now in the book of Acts, Luke is going to tell stories after the ascension of Jesus.
If we call the Gospel of Luke a book about Jesus, the book of Acts is the story of the Holy Spirit. Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit to the disciples and he commanded them to wait for the Holy Spirit: “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 will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
When the disciples heard the command, they still had interest in the worldly Kingdom and asked Jesus, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” Then Jesus answered, saying, “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. In other words, Jesus said to the disciples not to spend their lives building up the kingdom of Israel but to be the witnesses of Jesus!
The disciples could not fully understand the commandment as they did not understand the mission of Jesus on earth. So they were looking intently up into the sky as he was going. Then suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them, saying, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” That means now we live in this in-between times. That means also that our mission is to spread this Gospel that God has forgiven all our sins through Jesus and everybody who accepts the truth will be saved. The final judgment will depend on this one mission.
So, we can tell these three points:
1. This book of Acts is written to and for all the people who love God.
2. We are now living for only one purpose, to be the witnesses of Jesus.
3. Our lives are intentionally put in between the ascension and the second coming of Jesus.
Our country, USA, is founded to achieve this mission. Pilgrim Fathers were called to this land to build a country that can prove the whole world that Jesus is the Lord. The first university, Harvard, was founded to teach the young people to spread the Gospel all over the world. UMC was blessed in our country to do this mission well. As long as we are faithful to this mission God will continuously bless our country and church. Throughout the book of Acts, let us pray for our country and for our church to do this mission while we are waiting for the second coming of Jesus, our Lord. Personally, I am going out to college campuses on Wednesdays to talk to the young people about Jesus. I will share one story a week with you about this. May God bless all of us who are willing to be the witnesses of Jesus!
1. When and to who have you talked about Jesus?
2. Who is Jesus to you?

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