by Pastor Dayton Burt,
Third Baptist Church, Fall River, MA
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Text: Matthew 28:16-20; Luke 24:44-49; Acts 1:8
We study today some of the last words of Jesus while he was on earth.
Illustration: King Charles IX, a modern Nero, exclaimed when dying, "What blood, what murders! Ah! I have followed wicked advice! I know not where I am. I am so perplexed and agitated. What shall I do? I am lost forever. I know it."
Queen Elizabeth's dying wail was, "Millions of money for a moment of time."
The skeptic Newport died saying, "O the insufferable pangs of hell!"
-- J.B. Chapman, Choice Outlines and Illustrations (Zondervan, 1947), p. 82.
TRANSITION: IT IS CLEAR FROM CHRIST LAST WORDS ON EARTH THAT THE MISSION OF THE CHURCH IS WITNESS
I. THE POWER (AUTHORITY)
OF THE WITNESS
A. THE HOLY SPIRIT ACTS 1:8
B. THE INDWELLING CHRIST MATT. 28:20
JOHN 15:5 I AM THE VINE, YE ARE THE BRANCHES: HE THAT ABIDETH IN ME, AND I IN HIM, THE SAME BRINGETH FORTH MUCH FRUIT: FOR WITHOUT ME YE CAN DO NOTHING.
C. THE HOLY SCRIPTURES HEB 4:12
II. THE PROGRAM OF THE WITNESS Acts 1:8
MARK 5:19 HOWBEIT JESUS SUFFERED HIM NOT, BUT SAITH UNTO HIM, GO HOME TO THY FRIENDS, AND TELL THEM HOW GREAT THINGS THE LORD HATH DONE FOR THEE, AND HATH HAD COMPASSION ON THEE.
MATTHEW 9:35 AND JESUS WENT ABOUT ALL THE CITIES AND VILLAGES, TEACHING IN THEIR SYNAGOGUES, AND PREACHING THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM, AND HEALING EVERY SICKNESS AND EVERY DISEASE AMONG THE PEOPLE.
ROMANS 1:8 FIRST, I THANK MY GOD THROUGH JESUS CHRIST FOR YOU ALL, THAT YOUR FAITH IS SPOKEN OF THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE WORLD.
III. THE PEOPLE OF THE WITNESS "YE"
B. ALL IN UPPER ROOM
C. ALL TODAY
There is a sense, of course, in which every Christian has an apostleship. We are all of us to be witnesses, no matter what our other calling, profession or labor. A generation ago there was a wealthy man in the midwest who was an outstanding Christian layman. People used to ask him what he did. He would reply, "I am a witness for Jesus Christ, but I pack pork to pay expenses." Your apostleship differs in degree but not in kind from the apostleship that was given by God to Paul. -- Donald Grey Barnhouse
2 CORINTHIANS 5:20 NOW THEN WE ARE AMBASSADORS FOR CHRIST, AS THOUGH GOD DID BESEECH YOU BY US: WE PRAY YOU IN CHRIST'S STEAD, BE YE RECONCILED TO GOD.
ACTS 2:44 AND ALL THAT BELIEVED WERE TOGETHER, AND HAD ALL THINGS COMMON; (WITH) ACTS 2:47 PRAISING GOD, AND HAVING FAVOUR WITH ALL THE PEOPLE. AND THE LORD ADDED TO THE CHURCH DAILY SUCH AS SHOULD BE SAVED.
IV. THE PRINCIPLES
Illustration: Howard Hendricks shares this insight about the value of learning: When I was a college student -- I worked in the college dining hall, and on my way to work at 5:30 every morning I walked past the home of one of my professors. Through a window I could see the light on at his desk, morning after morning. At night I stayed late at the library to take advantage of evening study hours, and returning home at 10:30 or 11 o'clock I would again see his desk light on. He was always pouring over his books.
One day he invited me home for lunch, and after the meal I said to him, "Would you mind if I asked you a question?"
"Of course not."
"What keeps you studying? You never seem to stop."
His answer, "Son, I would rather have my students drink from a running stream than a stagnant pool."
ACTS 2:38 THEN PETER SAID UNTO THEM, REPENT, AND BE BAPTIZED EVERY ONE OF YOU IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST FOR THE REMISSION OF SINS, AND YE SHALL RECEIVE THE GIFT OF THE HOLY GHOST.
ACTS 2:41 THEN THEY THAT GLADLY RECEIVED HIS WORD WERE BAPTIZED: AND THE SAME DAY THERE WERE ADDED UNTO THEM ABOUT THREE THOUSAND SOULS.
C. OBSERVING (THAT OTHERS MAY ALSO)
2 TIMOTHY 3:10 BUT THOU HAST FULLY KNOWN MY DOCTRINE, MANNER OF LIFE, PURPOSE, FAITH, LONGSUFFERING, CHARITY, PATIENCE,
PHILIPPIANS 1:27 ONLY LET YOUR CONVERSATION BE AS IT BECOMETH THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST: THAT WHETHER I COME AND SEE YOU, OR ELSE BE ABSENT, I MAY HEAR OF YOUR AFFAIRS, THAT YE STAND FAST IN ONE SPIRIT, WITH ONE MIND STRIVING TOGETHER FOR THE FAITH OF THE GOSPEL;
Witnessing Blunt common sense always characterized Mr. Moody. Once a man rose in one of his meetings to give his experience. "I have been for five years on the Mount of Transfiguration," he said. Instantly Mr. Moody interrupted him by the sharp question, "How many souls did you lead to Christ last year?' "Well, I don't know," answered the surprised man. "Have you led any?" then came sternly from the preacher. "I-ah-don't know that I have," said the man. "Then," snapped Mr. Moody, still more sternly, "we don't want that kind of mountaintop experience. When a man gets so high that he can't reach down and save poor sinners, there is something wrong."
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