Acts: Prescriptive or Descriptive?

In a desire to create multiple layers to my preaching, I’ll be supplementing my sermons with a few blog articles too. I pray they are useful to you.  Here is the first article: sunday-extra

There are many ways to ask this question: Is the Book of Acts theological or historical?  Are the events in Acts only describing historical events which mean nothing to the church today or are they prescribing specific theological truths the church should emulate?  Are the events recorded in the Book of Acts normative or unique?  No matter how you ask the question, my answer is always the same; Yes.  The events in Acts are both descriptive and prescriptive.

There are some events which are undoubtedly historical and thus, unrepeatable.   Acts chapter 2 is describing a unique and unrepeatable event.  Like the crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension, the Day of Pentecost is a one-time event describing the clothing of the church with power from on high (Luke 24:49).  “You could no more have Pentecost over gain than you could have the Crucifixion and the Resurrection over again” (Acts: An Expositional Commentary by Donald Grey Barnhouse, page 26). Is Paul’s salvation experience normative for you and me?  Should we see a great light and hear the voice of Jesus when we are saved?  Should we elect our deacons, elders, and team members by casting lots the way the early church chose Mathias?  These are just a few examples of historical one-time events described in the pages of Luke’s writing.  John Stott says, “It should be clear from these examples that not everything that people are recorded in the Acts as having done or experienced is meant to be replicated in our lives” (The Message of Acts by John Stott, page 8).

There is no doubt Luke describes events God has no intention for the church to recapture or recreate.  However, I think there is much in Acts Luke prescribes for the church today. We are to be filled with power from the Holy Spirit.  We are to be a bold witness for the Gospel.  We must model Paul and take the Gospel to every tribe, nation, and tongue.  Like the members of the early church, we must be committed to the cause of Christ, we must proclaim the Gospel boldly and with passion, we must be willing to sacrifice everything we own for the good of others and the glory of God, and we must be willing to even die for the sake of the Gospel.  Furthermore, the same God who breathed life into the church on the Day of Pentecost is the same God that breathes life into His church today.  Like the early church, God clothes us with power from on high. Therefore, go and live in that power, being a bold witness for our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.

Sunday Recap May 8, 2016

We had another great Sunday at First Southern Baptist Church. It was such an encouraging Sunday. First, wasn’t it a blessing to see all the children down front for the Children’s Sermon? It was so much fun talking to them and I was grateful and a little disappointed none of the kids said anything too incriminating about their mothers. I am so blessed to have a church filled with so many godly mothers. Thanks moms for all you do for all of us.

We also had the immense joy to see 8 families dedicate their 10 children to the Lord. Since we do not baptize infants, a time of dedication is especially important and meaningful. At the heart of a Christian dedication is a parent’s wiliness to set their children apart to God and His Kingdom. It is their promise to raise their children in such a fashion that the Gospel will be taught, modeled, and learned. It is their promise to do everything in their power to see their children raised in a Christian environment. I like this Billy Graham quote: “You can’t help the type of home you were born in but you can help what type of home your children are born in.” As parents dedicate their children, they are promising to raise their kids in a home where the children will one day find Jesus and place their personal faith and trusts in Him, and live lives worth of their calling.

Our primary passage was taken from Deuteronomy 6:4-9. It is called the “Shema.” Jesus was asked what the most important commandment was and He responded by quoting the Shema. We were reminded our greatest passion as a parent is to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, mind, and strength. We must then be passionate to impress upon our children the necessity of loving God with all their heart, soul, and strength. How do we impress this upon them? First, we model that passionate love of God. They must see it in us. Secondly, we must teach it. We talk about this love to our children we sit, walk, lie down or get up. In other words, we continuously talk about them in our normal everyday living. Finally, we share it with others. Your family is a witness to a lost and dying world. You must put these commands into practice in such a way the lost world see your love of God and they in turn begin to seek Him.

What actions steps can you take to develop this passionate love for God? What can you do as a family to better impress them upon your children? Meditate in the coming days over these things. Commit your ways to the Lord and He will bless you and your family.

Our numbers continue to stay up really well. Once again we were above the 300 mark. I always remind us, numbers are not the most important thing. However, they are one indicator of our general health. Remember, every number represents one person. This person may be lost without Christ, buried under a heavy burden, or simply needing the fellowship of a good church family. We do not care about numbers for numbers sake but we do care about them for people’s sake. The empty seats around our sanctuary need to be filled so the Gospel can penetrate all hearts of people in Salina.
This week we will look at selected scriptures in Exodus 6-10. We will examine lessons about God from the first 9 plagues. We will even answer the question, “Did God harden Pharaoh’s heart?” You don’t want to miss it.
I hope you are starting to realize when you miss one Sunday you miss a lot!

Prayer Requests:
– Remember to pray for our graduating High School Seniors. This is their graduation weekend.
Pray for me. Ask God to give me clarity when it comes to preparing Sunday’s sermon. Ask Him to fill me with His Spirit and to give me wisdom and insight to His direction for the sermon.
– Our church secretary, Roxanne, is having knee surgery on Monday. Pray for her.
Conner Fry is having tubes put in his ears tomorrow (Friday 5/13).
Mary O’Farell had back surgery on Wednesday and is doing better.
– Begin praying for our World Changer mission team. 21 of us will be going to Dallas to minister to area residents. Be praying for our team. In the coming weeks, you will learn about opportunities to help us get to Dallas.
Quick Thank-you
– Our children were in our services this Sunday. It is great having them worship with us. However, we are also reminded of what a great ministry our Kid’s Church really is. Thank you to everyone who helps in this important ministry. A special thank you to the Berg and Harvey’s. Keep up the great work.
– Our Awana Awards Night was held last night. It has been a great year. If I’m correct, it is the biggest year we’ve had numerically. Praise God. Again, numbers are everything but every number in Awana is one more student hiding God’s Word in their hearts. A special thank you to Fred Leepers for his work with Awana and thank you to everyone who works so diligently in this important Children’s ministry.