Summary: First sermon in a series on the Book of Acts emphasizing the work of Jesus the living Lord who Acts 1 teaches is LIVING, GIVING (the Holy Spirit) and RETURNING.
Jesus’s Last Days on the Earth
TEXT: Acts 1:1-2 – “The former treatise have I made Luke is referring to the Gospel of Luke], O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, 2 Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen.”
In the Book of Revelation Jesus is called “the Alpha and the Omega”—“the Beginning and the End.” Jesus is the beginning and the end of the book of Acts as well. The very first verse in the book of Acts begins with Jesus – Acts 1:1 – “The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach.” And the very last verse in Acts ends with Jesus – The last verse in Acts says that Paul was… “Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ…” (Acts 28:31)
So, though the book of Acts is really a book about the works of the Holy Spirit in the lives of the leaders of the early church, it’s fitting that the very first chapter should tell us about the last activities of Jesus while He was still physically on this earth. And, as always, Jesus is busy. In verses 1-11 there are three things about Jesus’ last activities that have tremendous implications for the entire history of the church that would follow—and consequently for you and me today.
Let’s look at them.
I. FIRST, WE LEARN THAT JESUS IS LIVING – Acts 1:3-4: “To whom [speaking of the apostles mentioned in verse 2] also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: 4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.”
Praise God, this book begins—not with a dead prophet, but a risen Redeemer!...Not with a deceased priest, but an alive Savior! Not a lifeless teacher, but a living Lord! And this fact is what explains everything else we will read about in the book of Acts.
Praise God for the resurrection of Jesus Christ! The fact that we see Jesus alive in this passage has enormous ramifications for the rest of this book and, in fact, the entire history of Christianity and the world! Let me share just two of those ramifications, while you write them down in your notes on the back of your bulletin:
1. First of all, when Jesus rose from the dead He proved beyond any shadow of a doubt that He was who He said He was.
Repeatedly Jesus made the claim that He was the Son of God—that He was, in fact, God Himself come in the flesh. In John 10:30 He said “I and my Father are one.” Furthermore, not only did Jesus claim to be God, He also declared that He is the only way to heaven. He said in John 14:6: “…I am THE way, THE truth, and THE life: NO MAN cometh unto the Father, but by me.”