"They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers." (NRSV)
Movement 1 - Teaching of the Apostles
Text - Acts 10:34-43
Question 1: What do the Apostles Teach?
3 movements of Peter’s speech:
- God shows no partiality
- The Word (living word) God sent is Jesus Christ
- God commands to preach to the people
I. - God Shows No Partiality
v. 34b- 35: ““I truly understand that God shows no partiality, 35but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.”
II. - The Word of God is Jesus Christ
v. 36-41: “You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ—he is Lord of all. 37 That message spread throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John announced: 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. 39 We are witnesses to all that he did both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree; 40 but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear, 41 not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, and who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.”
What does God’s living voice say? In other words, what is the ministry of Jesus - connected to Luke 4:16-21:
When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:
III. - God Commands to Preach
v. 42-43: “He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead. 43 All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
Question 2: Where does this take place?
Believer-space! Jesus’ ascension into heaven-space reorients us spatially in our world. The teaching of the Apostles unfolds in believer-space, our encounters with others. Believer-space is not locked in a building, the church was never a building. Ekklesia, the Greek word we translate as church, is a living, breathing, community grounded in a relationship with God and each other.
Most of the encounters after Pentecost take place outside of what we consider church. Peter and his companions preach and teach and heal in homes and public spaces. Paul works in public space. The encounters of the early Jesus movement take place in believer-space.
Question 3: Where does this move us?
Moves us out of this place (our building) and into other believer-spaces - that is wherever we encounter those who have faithfulness. Our theme as we move out into the world - Telling God’s Story!
Challenge to contemporary followers of Jesus – We, like Peter, need to be reshaped, have our vision altered to understand the radical nature of the statement God shows no partiality!
No greater time than now. Curious folks yearning for the living word of God. The Spirit is at work, shaping faithfulness. We are empowered to go out a meet it!