Summary: Much of life is out of our hands, but our lives are greatly influenced by the choices we and others make.
Bringing God Into Our Decisions
1. This was a very rough week for many people.
2. The Williams family had a traumatic time.
3. We had 8 surgeries in the church family within a 7 day period, all during one of our two busiest weeks of the year, camp time.
4. I have been through similarly hectic times before, although this is a record for surgeries.
5. During such times, a pastor has to make some tough decisions: where is my attention most needed? And, amazingly, it works out.
6. The bottom line is that we can only control so much.
7. The Apostles knew this; in out text, we find ourselves between the Ascension of Jesus and the Day of Pentecost.
8. Last week, I could not quite make it through the text, and I am not going to try to finish my message.
9. I do want to point out, however, that:
Not NECESSARILY for the Spirit to come
• Christ died on Passover, rose on First Fruits, and Spirit would come on Pentecost whether they prayed or not; they prayed to prepare themselves…
• 10 day period…perhaps similar to the 10 Day period before another feast, Yom Kippur: "…the beginning of the Ten Days of Repentance which culminate in the Day of Atonement…" Rabbi J. H. Hertz
• But to prepare themselves and to demonstrate that they recognized that God, and not they themselves, were in ultimate control.
Main Idea: Much of life is out of our hands, but our lives are greatly influenced by the choices we and others make.
I. How The Apostles ADJUSTED to the Judas’ Trauma (15-26)
1. The Apostles probably took it rough that one of their number had betrayed Jesus
• They had been together for roughly 3 years, the last year or more full time
• They traveled together, bunked together, ate together, taught together
• Judas’ was the treasurer, therefore trusted
2. When something is difficult to do, the temptation is to put it off; the secret to getting things do is to do the things you don’t want to do first…
A. They FACED the Ugliness of Reality (15-19)
1. This was the times in between the Ascension & Pentecost (10 days)
2. We should assume that Peter and the Apostles knew what they were doing
3. Perhaps Jesus instructed them to do this during the 40 days He taught them…
4. What Scripture had to be fulfilled?
Psalm 41:9 (of Ahithophel) “Even my close friend, whom I trusted, he who shared my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.”
John 13:18, “"I am not referring to all of you; I know those I have chosen. But this is to fulfill the scripture: ’He who shares my bread has lifted up his heel against me.’”
Zechariah 13:4-17 is a prophecy about the rejection of the Messiah, His evaluation as being worth 30 pieces of silver, and the money being paid to a potter.
5. When Judas went to hang himself, he failed and his body fell into the field; the priests bought that field with Judas’ thirty pieces of silver, and it became a cemetery for strangers who died while in Jerusalem.
6. They did not go along with the trend to excuse people of their wrongs; circumstances may make it easier for us to make wrong choices, but we are still responsible.
7. Criminals in prison: the knife went in, the gun went off…
B. They TURNED to the Scriptures (20)
1. The prophecies and teachings of the Old Testament are still relevant under the New Covenant; all Scripture is supernaturally inspired by God – the NT is not more inspired than the OT, nor vice-versa.
2. Whether these verses were prophetic of Judas or simply teaching a principle (my view), they sought to find their guiding principles from God’s Word
3. Even the Apostles were accountable to the authority of God’s Word
4. No one is above the Scriptures, for to be above them is to be above God
C. They PROACTIVELY Addressed the Need (21-22)
1. They knew the job of an apostle and spelled out the criteria
2. This is why we do not have apostles in the same sense of the early church
3. Required to have been a witness to the risen Christ…
D. They CONSULTED God (23-26)
1. They did not leave God out of the equation
2. Human wisdom is not enough; we must be under the Lordship of Christ; that means submitting our ideas, plans, and dreams to Him!
3. Note what they did not to: they did not put matters up to a vote.
4. Why not? When you have competitive votes, you have winners and losers, and you divide a congregation.
5. There was a consensus that two men were equally qualified, so they prayed and did the equivalent of tossing a coin…Perhaps Jesus even commanded them to determine a successor for Judas this way?