Summary: When Jesus ascended from the Mount of Olives to His throne in glory, He left His church in an attitude of expectancy. How can we develop an attitude of expectancy?
AN ATTITUDE OF EXPECTANCY
INTRO: Some of the most exciting periods of our lives are the times of anticipation. I can remember counting the days until a birthday or Christmas or the end of a school year. Expectations quicken our steps and brighten our eyes as we reach out to future dreams.
When Jesus ascended from the Mount of Olives to His throne in glory, He left His church in an attitude of expectancy. How can we develop an attitude of expectancy?
I. WE CAN WAIT WITH EXPECTANCY.
For three and a half years, Jesus had prepared His disciples for the mission before them. He had taught them with words that burned in their hearts. He had challenged them with the Great Commission. Go make disciples of all nations. In the last moments of His earthly ministry to them, He gave them the final command, “WAIT!”
Wait? Surely not wait! But yes, that is His word. And that is often His word for us. We pray for something we believe is God’s will, and His answer comes back, “WAIT.” We work diligently as the Lord has commanded us and look for the results from God’s supernatural anointing, and God says, “Wait for this seed to grow.”
Look at verse 7. There is a principle in this verse: “He said to them: ‘It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by His own authority’” (NIV). Time is in God’s hand. We often fail to understand this truth.
God answers our prayers and works in our lives according to His timing, not ours.
Our response to God’s word must look inconsistent to Him. When He tells us to do something urgently, we are shy and cautious. But when He says, “WAIT,” we whine like a child with a bee sting, wanting to do it now!
The secret to waiting is expectancy. When you believe God will do what He says, you will not give up waiting for His timing. Many times I have told people, “The world’s time limits are not God’s time limits.” Don’t stop waiting for God to answer. We can wait patiently when we expect God to be true to His word.
II. WE CAN WATCH WITH EXPECTANCY.
We often misinterpret our Lord’s statement, “No one knows about that day and hour” (Matt. 25:13, NIV). We hear someone setting a date for the return of Christ. We quote that verse and assure ourselves the end of all things is not really at the door. IN FACT, JESUS WAS TELLING US TO BE ALERT BECAUSE HE COULD RETURN TODAY.
Like the early church, we can live with an attitude of expectancy that makes us watch for the coming of Christ in His glorious kingdom. The early church did not expect only that Christ would return. Jesus told them to wait for the promise of power from the Holy Spirit. They waited and watched for God to keep the promise that began with Pentecost.
Are you expecting God to keep His promises in your life day by day? Do we come to church expecting God to work in our Bible study and worship services? One of the characteristics of a healthy, growing church is an attitude of expectancy.
III. WE CAN WORK WITH EXPECTANCY.
The words of the angel ought to ring continually in our spiritual ears, “Why are you staring at the sky? This same Jesus is coming back just like He left.” Expecting Christ’s return will drive us to do more than wait and watch.
ILLUS: One summer the city of New Orleans celebrated the fact that at its city pools not one drowning had occurred. To celebrate, more that two hundred lifeguards and guests held a pool-side party.
Although four lifeguards were on duty and half the two hundred guests were certified lifeguards, one of the guests drowned unnoticed. The body of the victim was not found until the lifeguards began clearing the pool at the close of the party.
Today we are surrounded by certified professionals in every phase of religious life, yet a person gets in over his head and drowns. Nobody notices. Everybody is busy having a good time at the party, they don’t take time to care.
We are God’s witnesses; people need the gospel. We are His servants; we must minister in His name.
Expect God to use your life as you work for Him. Have you ever been hesitant to teach a class or to visit or to do any number of other things for the Lord? I have found that expecting God to work through us is a key to faithfulness in God’s work.
CONC: Do you have an attitude of expectancy? Expectancy to wait and watch and work for the Lord?