Summary: Community, A Mission Plan, Urgency
A PARTNERSHIP WITH PURPOSE - Like Ripples in a Pond
Acts 1:1-11 (p. 758) November 6, 2016
Go back with me in scripture to a time at the end of Jesus’ physical ministry here on earth…He’s shared the passover meal with His followers in the upper room, He’s washed their feet as an example of servanthood and it seems just before they head to the Garden for prayer…and eventually His arrest…Jesus once again tells them He’s “going away, and where He’s going they cannot follow now…but that they would follow later.” (John 13:36)
Peter argues with Him…“No way…I’d die for you.”
And Jesus says “Peter, before the rooster crows you’ll tell people you don’t even know me…3 times.”
It’s real…it’s somber…this conversation is one of preparation…Jesus is saying “goodbye.” They know it…you can feel it.
But Jesus intersperses the conversation with a promise…He says, “I will ask the Father and He will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever - the Spirit of truth.” (John 14:16)
He says, “All this I have spoken while still with you. But the advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name will teach you all things and remind you of everything I’ve said to you.” (John 14:25-26)
When this advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father - He will testify about me…And you must also testify for you have been with me from the beginning.
He’s giving them a heads up about what is about to happen…As the world has hated Him…it will also hate them…and He doesn’t want them to lose hope and fall away.
One of the last things He tells them about the promised Gift of the Holy Spirit is this:
JOHN 16:4-15 (p. 753)
Powerful stuff, huh? To hear this foreboding warning, but also be promised help…Which do you think their minds were on most in this moment? Surely, the foreboding warning…“I’m leaving.”
Its like hearing someone say, “It’ll be OK” in the midst of a circumstance filled with doubt and fear…It doesn’t feel like it will be OK and to hear “It is for your good that I’m going away”…its even harder!
But it was wasn’t it? There would be an arrest, a scattering of the disciples in fear…a crucifixion and burial…and then a glorious, victorious resurrection.
God always had a plan…and Jesus knew the spiritual partnership that would happen 50 days after His resurrection would change His disciples…and their testimony would change the world….It started with this command:
I. WAIT FOR THE GIFT MY FATHER PROMISED
As we read earlier the book of Acts tells us Jesus prepared his disciples and after His resurrection He appeared to them over a period of 40 days.
The Bible says that Jesus made a number of appearances after His death. They were to a number of different people over a forty day period. The Bible specifically says that on Easter Sunday Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene, the women that came to Jesus’ tomb (Mary the Mother of James, Salome, and Joanna), Peter, and two disciples on the Emmaus road. He also appeared to the remainder of the Twelve Disciples with Thomas absent. Later he appeared to them with Thomas present. There was also an appearance to seven disciples on the Sea of Galilee. On another occasion he appeared to over five hundred people at the same time. There is also an appearance to James. Finally Jesus appeared to Saul of Tarsus - the man who became the Apostle Paul. These appearances convinced His disciples, beyond any doubt, that He had risen from the dead.
On one occasion during this time he sat down to eat with them and said, “Don’t leave Jerusalem…wait for the gift my Father promised, which you heard me speak about….For John baptized with water but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit. (Acts 1:5)
I’d share with you one of the best definitions of faith: “Waiting for what God has promised.”
After Jesus’ appearances after the resurrection, after HIs disciples and followers were firmly convinced He was alive don’t you believe they wanted to tell everybody? You betchya!
So why wait? Well, they’d proven what they could do in their own strength and their own power…And their own understanding of God’s plan.
In fact I believe verses 6 and 7 in our text prove what I’m totally about…Jesus command them to “wait” and immediately they ask “How long” and “when.”
“Lord, are you going to restore the Kingdom of Israel?”
Even now, after the resurrection, the picture they had for Israel and the Kingdom of God was far from what God had planned. Jesus tells them:
“It’s not for you to know times or dates, the Father has set these by His own authority.”