Summary: Introduction to study of Acts....two realities of building the kingdom of God....The blocks, God’s orders, and the mortar, our simple obedience.
Bible Teaching Ministry of
CEDAR LODGE BAPTIST CHURCH
a fellowship of faith, family and friendships
July 18, 2004
1The first account I composed, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach, 2until the day when He was taken up to heaven, after He had by the Holy Spirit given orders to the apostles whom He had chosen. 3To these He also presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God. 4Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me; 5for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
6So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” 7He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; 8but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”
9And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. 10And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. 11They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.”
The Upper Room
12Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away. 13When they had entered the city, they went up to the upper room where they were staying; that is, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James. 14These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.
15At this time Peter stood up in the midst of the brethren (a gathering of about one hundred and twenty persons was there together), and said, 16“Brethren, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit foretold by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus. 17“For he was counted among us and received his share in this ministry.” 18(Now this man acquired a field with the price of his wickedness, and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his intestines gushed out. 19And it became known to all who were living in Jerusalem; so that in their own language that field was called Hakeldama, that is, Field of Blood.) 20“For it is written in the book of Psalms,
‘LET HIS HOMESTEAD BE MADE DESOLATE,
AND LET NO ONE DWELL IN IT’;
‘LET ANOTHER MAN TAKE HIS OFFICE.’
21“Therefore it is necessary that of the men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us— 22beginning with the baptism of John until the day that He was taken up from us—one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection.” 23So they put forward two men, Joseph called Barsabbas (who was also called Justus), and Matthias. 24And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all men, show which one of these two You have chosen 25to occupy this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” 26And they drew lots for them, and the lot fell to Matthias; and he was added to the eleven apostles. Acts 1:1-26 (NASB)
Some two thousand years ago the disciples of Jesus stood on the Mount of Ascension and witnessed the dawning of a new kingdom. The course of history had been altered forever. Jesus, the God-man, the Eternal One, who had entered time, had charted a whole new course for their lives. Jesus talked about living in a new kingdom in a new way. And He gave them a new work to do!
As we begin studying that portion of God’s Word we call "The Acts of the Apostles", it is appropriate to see the context and purpose of Dr. Luke for setting down these words.
Introduction to the Kingdom
In verse 1, Luke the beloved physician refers to a previous letter of his to someone named Theophilus. I have a dear friend who tells “ugly jokes” on himself. Elwood says, “My parents almost named me Theophilus. When I was born I was so ugly that when the doctor handed me to my mother she took one look at me and said, that’s the-awfullest lookin’ baby I’ve ever seen.