Summary: How does a church with a sense of expectancy act
Living in Expectation
My daughter is reading a book that appears to be a popular book in the homes of mothers who are expecting today. It has a catchy title and I’ll bet some of you have seen it, too. It’s entitled, “What to Expect when You’re Expecting.” Isn’t that a great title? The book seeks to prepare mothers for the birth of their baby by answering common questions and even providing a month-by-month account of what mothers can expect while they’re expecting.
I thought of this book as I studied the passage this
week. What you have here in Acts 1 is an account of the days preceding the birth of the church. We’re going to see in Acts chapter 2 the birth of the church. Pentecost is the birth of the church. It is at Pentecost that the Holy Spirit comes upon the apostles, equipping them with power to take the Gospel and share it with the the world.
So there’s a sense in which the apostles in Acts 1 are expecting. In verses 4 and 5 before Jesus ascends into heaven He tells them to stay in Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit comes to them. So they’re expecting. They are awaiting what would be the day of the birth of the church.
As we look more closely at these verses, we’ll learn from the apostles how to be a church with a sense of expectancy.
Every time we gather we should gather with a deep sense of expectancy about what God will do in us and through us. We should gather together with expectant hearts.
What does a church look like when the church has a sense of expectancy?
How do the church members behave who gather with expectancy?
I. There will be a Longing for the Lord’s Presence (9-11)
Remember, Jesus has just spoken what we are calling the key verse of the entire book (8).
What happens next (9)?
This is what we call the ascension, the ascension.
Jesus literally ascended up into heaven to sit on His throne at the right hand of the Father. After He arose from the dead He appeared to many over a period of 40 days; then He spoke those last words to the apostles and then He went up into heaven. The Bible says, “a cloud received Him out of their sight.”
Imagine what that must have been like! The Bible says they “looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up.” There is a longing in their gaze, a wonder whether they would ever see Jesus again. There is a longing in their hearts to have the Lord Jesus Christ with them forever.
Notice what the angels say to them in next two verses (10,11).
“Don’t be discouraged. He’s coming again. Just as you’ve seen Him exit, so you will see Him come again.” Just as he left, He will come again.
It is the longing in the apostles’ hearts that triggers the response of the angels. The apostles are acting as though they will never see their Lord again and that’s why the angels respond as they do.
I hope our church will always gather with a sense of expectancy, longing for the Lord’s presence in our worship services and in our Sunday school classes. I hope we’ll always be in prayer that God will be present in our midst in a way that defies explanation.
And just as we long for His presence in Spirit, I hope we also long for His physical presence. Do you long for the return of Jesus Christ? Sometimes I think, “Wouldn’t it be great if the Lord returned today!” He is returning again. He is coming back.
II. There will be a Love the Lord’s People (12-14)
Now as I read those verses over and over what struck me was the great love these apostles had for one another. The Bible says they “continued in one accord.” That means they were united. There was unity among these believers as they prayed for one another and sought God together.
Who is there? The apostles, some unnamed women and Mary, the mother of Jesus, and His brothers.
So here are all of the apostles in one accord, in unity. They are united together in prayer and supplication for one another as they seek God together. It’s a beautiful picture of what the church is supposed to look like.
III. There will be a Looking for the Lord’s Plan (15-26)
The apostles sought God’s will in everything they did and we should, too. We should always ask, “God, what is Your plan for this church? What would You have us do?”
A. The business of the Church must always be
conducted in the atmosphere of prayer.
We learn this from verses 12-14. Those who took part in this business meeting had been present at the prayer meeting. It is only in this way that we can know the mind of the Lord.