Dr. E. Dale Locke
Sermon Series: Chapter Two
Week 2: Divine Direction
- We’ve called this sermon series “Chapter Two: A Future With Hope” to reflect numerous “chapter two” transitions going on in our church:
- It reflects our church’s new “chapter” after having just celebrated our 20-year anniversary, and as we now merge with Good Shepherd United Methodist Church and launch our second Community of Hope campus.
- In June, Pastor Dale celebrates 30 years as an ordained minister (even though he looks way too young for that to be true)!
- It also reflects the many “chapter two” experiences going on in the lives of our people, as each of us transitions more and more away from life before Christ into a new way of life with Christ.
- At Easter, Pastor Dale preached out of Luke’s first book, which told about Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. This current sermon series is taking us through parts of Luke’s second book, the Acts of the Apostles, which Luke wrote to describe what happened soon after Jesus’ resurrection.
If there is an experience currently going on in your life that feels like a “chapter two” experience of some kind, share with the group about that and about what you are learning in the process.
- Pastor Dale shared about serving as a hospital chaplain early in his ministry. In particular, he shared about a man named Randall, who went through a near-death experience, but was brought back to life afterward. What did that story communicate to you about life and about God?
We all build our lives on something. The best foundation upon which to start a new chapter in your life is…
…the reality of the resurrection…
- Read Acts 1:1-11: In my former book (the Gospel of Luke), Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. 3 After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. 4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
6 Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 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.”
9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. 10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “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.”
What questions or comments do you have out of this passage?
- Note how Luke describes in verses 1 and 2 that he took time to research and investigate “all that Jesus began to do and to teach.” Have you ever taken time to research and investigate what Jesus did and taught to determine whether the Christian faith is really true? If so, what did you discover in that research? If not, why not?
- Read Hebrews 1:1-3: In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. 3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.
Read Matthew 16:13-16: When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” 14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
Every one of us needs to answer the question Jesus asked here. It’s the most important question we’ll ever answer. Who do you think Jesus is? What do the two passages above add to your understanding of who Jesus is? Tell the group who you believe Jesus to be and why.
N.T. Wright’s book Simply Jesus
- Read Acts 1:3: After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God
Pastor Dale encouraged everyone to go see the movie based on the true story of Lee Strobel’s life called “The Case for Christ.” Lee had been an atheist, and became very upset when his wife became a follower of Jesus. So upset, in fact, that he invested a lot of time researching Christianity in order to convince his wife that it wasn’t true. Check out the movie to see what he learned in the process.
If your faith reaches a crisis point, don’t back down and be afraid of it. Instead, push into it. Jesus can handle any questions and intellectual scrutiny. Why isn’t God offended by our questions and skepticism?
- Acts 2:32, Peter said, “God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it.”
One reason why 3,000 people responded with faith in Christ after Peter’s first sermon is because so many of them had actually seen Jesus die and seen him alive again. Another reason was because the power of the Spirit was present on that day.
…in the power of the Spirit.
Note what Jesus predicted in Acts 1:8: “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.”
What difference does it make when the Holy Spirit’s power is at work in you? What does the Holy Spirit do?
- What was the most meaningful or helpful thought out of this sermon for you personally?