The anchor points we keep coming back to are these: The Apostles were people who had been with Jesus, so they knew Him, and that they were filled with the Spirit. What we are seeing in ACTS is evidence of Christ in them...His strength at work in a surrendered life.
Here's the opening minute of this Sunday's Message.
Labels are powerful aren’t they?
Some labels are good, helpful.
See a label on a bottle of something, you know what it is and whether you want to consume that product. Certain labels have a good reputation and some don’t.
Think about the Christian label.
When people hear that you are a Christian, what’s the first thing that comes to their mind? How about the label evangelical?
Charismatic label? Fundamentalist? Is that even a label?
How about Progressive? Conservative?
So many labels?
This was a time before Christianity had a label – it was at the beginning stages of the Movement. No label. No denomination. No category. Nothing. No baggage.
Later in Acts 11 when the gospel reaches some non-Jews up north in Syria are they given a label, which was Christians. Literally it means Messiah – People.
If you took on that label, what do you think that meant for your life?
If you embraced this Calling as a Messiah Person, what were the ramifications. The implications? To look like one of His Followers.
To resemble Him.
“They noticed they were simple and unschooled, but they had been with Jesus.”
Later on this movement was also called Followers of the Way.
Where did this term come from? Jesus’ words in John 14 “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me.”
I wish we could go back and get a taste of what it must have been like to be known as a Messiah – Person and not inherit all sorts of other baggage that can get so easily in the way of the good news of Jesus. Here, all the angel says is, “Go back to the temple, go back into harms-way, where you might suffer, and give the message of Life.”
Speak to the people the Message of Life – what was the Message? The giver of Life – Jesus.