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August 18, 2021

Going Deeper: Intro to Acts Bible Study Series

MEET YOUR FEATURED BLOGGER

Have we met? I’m Stephen Posey. I’ll be your featured blogger for the next few weeks as we study the book of Acts together.

I love Jesus. My parents told me about Jesus when I was just a little boy. The more I learn about Him, the more He surprises me. I find Him infinitely interesting.

That’s not just because I’m a pastor and pastors are kind of supposed to be into Jesus. There’s honestly nothing I’d rather talk about, read about, daydream about, watch, listen to, or do than Jesus-y stuff. If you want to get me into a long conversation?

Ask me a Jesus-related question.
(Try me: bible@churchonthemove.com)

My wife and I have a 13-year old daughter, an 8-year old son, and a 5-year old son. Ruth and I are in our 25th year as part of the Church on the Move family here in Tulsa. I’m on the final leg of pursuing my Masters of Divinity as well as a Masters in Biblical Leadership from Western Seminary in Portland.

I currently serve on our Church on the Move’s Spiritual Formation team alongside two of my very best friends, Casey Shirley and Blake Zimmerman. They’re no strangers to In Motion. If you’ve read our blogs before, you’re familiar with their work. You’ll likely hear from them soon. They’re impossible not to love.

I think we have the most amazing job in the world.

We get to nerd out on the Bible, create discipleship resources for the local churches we love, and lead active learning environments that help people take significant steps to become more like Jesus. 

OUR CONVICTION ABOUT YOU


As Spiritual Formation pastors, we have a strong conviction about you, if you are a follower of Jesus. That conviction is this:

You are destined to become like Jesus.

Seems a little intense, I know. But before you tell me to calm down, let’s consider the story you’re part of. 


Way back in the beginning, God created humankind a certain way and for a certain purpose. More specifically, God distinctly chose to make us like Him, and commissioned us to rule as His bless-able image-bearing covenant partners in the earth.

Consider Genesis 1v26-27:

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.


Note: this was not just an Adam and Eve thing. They’re not named, here. This is a human thing. Image-bearing is one of the critical ingredients of what makes us human.


Our call to rule as God’s partners is the defining characteristic that differentiates us from the rest of Creation.

What makes you, you is a significant factor in what makes us, us. This means every one of the distinctive qualities you’ve had since birth–your gender, ethnicity, hair and eye color, how short or tall you are, the uniqueness of your laugh, the volume of your sneeze, what’s in your Netflix™ queue, how you like your steak cooked, whether or not you floss–all of it, somehow, is a representative of something about God!

Your uniqueness reflects God’s loving creativity. 

Living our your purpose as the one and only you, means we are somehow more fully us. Community requires diversity. Somehow it rings out a tone that works together in harmony with the full orchestra of humanity as an embodied expression to the world of what God is like. You (and we) were created on purpose and for a purpose.


From page one of the Bible on, one of the biggest plot points is around that divine calling. As each story progresses in complexity, a simple question remains: Who will make good on that calling? Will anyone live as a faithful image-bearing covenant partner with God? Is it even possible to reveal God’s goodness, beauty, abundance, justice, and peace in a world so broken by sin?

Hopefully, you know the answer. It’s Jesus.

Yes, Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah and Savior of the world through His death, resurrection, and ascension. He also lived life as the ideal human and he faithfully fulfilled the Genesis 1 mandate to be fruitful and have dominion. Jesus was God’s bless-able, image-bearing covenant partner. He created a community of love, forgiveness, beauty, righteousness, justice, and peace.

Colossians 1v15 says Jesus is “the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.” Hebrews 1v3 tells us Jesus is, “the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature.” 

I’ll be honest. I paused writing right here for a moment of worship.  How could you not love a Jesus like this?

So, here’s a question you might have: Since Jesus accomplished what no human could, that whole “image of God” commission is over, right? Au contraire, mon ami!

The victory of Jesus was not just for His sake, but for ours.

Jesus said He came that we might have abundant life (John 10v10). His coming to earth was not just for the benefit of what happens after we die. Jesus, by His Spirit (more on that idea in this study), liberates us from the tyranny of sin—our former capricious, unjust master. Following Jesus means we have the power to become like Him. In fact, it is our destiny.

Consider 2 Corinthians 3v18:

“And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord.”

Two things worth noting from this soaringly hopeful passage. First, notice the words “being transformed.” We tend to think of transformations as happening all of a sudden, but if you’ve ever experienced transformation in any area of your life, you know it almost never happens in an instant. Yes, there are key inflection points in each of our respective journeys, but real life-change happens moment by moment, little by little, here a little, there a little, over time.

Becoming like Jesus, partnering with God as His image-bearer in the world, is a radical transformation for most of us. But it happens over time, “with ever-increasing glory.”

Secondly, did you catch the very end of the verse? This transformation of ours to become more like Jesus? It comes from God! Philippians 2v3 says “it is God who is working in you both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” In other words, it’s a partnership. We really are God’s bless-able, image-bearing covenant partners. We really can be transformed to become more like Jesus.


ACTIVELY LEARNING VS. PASSIVE CONSUMPTION


This is where Bible study comes in. Down through the ages, the people of God who spent time with God’s Word most became most like Him. This is the reason we’re offering this Going Deeper: Acts Bible Study Series as a resource to you. We want to help you live out your destiny in Christ!

So for the next several weeks, I invite you to see this simple Bible study as a kind of active learning environment.

You’re not just a consumer of content, here. You’re here as a contributor to this much larger story.

As you slow down to read Scripture, consider its meaning, and seek to apply it to your life, you are participating in the victory of Jesus and becoming more like Him.


I want to know your observations. What occurs to you in this study that hadn’t before? I want to know your big questions. What doesn’t seem to make sense? What seems confusing or unclear? I’d love to be a tour guide to you in this process. Email us anytime: bible@churchonthemove.com with “Acts Blog” in the subject line.

Make plans to join us next week for Going Deeper: How to Understand Acts ask “What sort of book is this, exactly?” Until then, go do some Jesus-y stuff, would you?

Grace and peace to you.

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