Summary: Acts 1-2 tell us God's story of our beginnings and reveal a lot about God's intention for all time. Here we explore briefly, three aspects or our relationship with God that these two chapters express.
(Read Acts 1-2 with slides showing the story unfolding)
These first two chapters of the book of Acts give us the earliest events of our church… His church that we are added into by God when we are saved. As a lesson today from these scriptures that tell us our story of our beginnings in Christ, let’s consider three aspects of our relationship with God in Christ that are all presented here for us.
I love the part in chapter one where Jesus ascends into heaven and disappears in the clouds. While I can’t quite picture what that looked like, I can just see the apostles starring up and gazing at the heavens. It was a time of change for them. Jesus was not going to be appearing among them as He has for the past 40 days. O, there will be a few appearances yet to come and we will read about some of them in the book of Acts. But the regular appearances and presence of Jesus physically, will not be the same again. What will come next is a powerful outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit and the gift of His presence in a way that fulfills God’s promises throughout the Old Testament prophets.
As they stand there looking into the sky, don’t you know their hearts and minds were full of unanswered questions.
Just before Jesus left them, as He tells them about the coming of the Holy Spirit, I can almost see Peter and John reaching for a note book and pen and saying, “Ok… Lord… so… when are you coming back?”
Isn’t this one of THE key questions that has constantly been with us since Jesus left? But Jesus didn’t tell us many details. He simply gave us what we need so that when He comes we can be ready. Jesus gave these guys a job. It was a commission that would take a lot more power than they could imagine. But Jesus told them that God would supply the power when He poured out His Spirit and then they would be witnesses everywhere to everybody.
The first aspect of our relationship with God in Christ is this: up-reach! We all need power from above to perform our Christian work here below. We need up-reach. Paul told the Colossians to set their minds on things above where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. We need to fix our hearts and minds in upreach mode.
How do you do that?
First, you quit asking questions about the end and start praying and seeking God in the present. Second, we need to obey the clear commands Jesus gives us. These apostles obeyed Jesus. They went where Jesus told them to go and waited for what Jesus told them would come and they devoted themselves to prayer and the word as they waited on God’s power.
Upreach is getting our hearts and minds in spiritual gear for God. When we do that it takes our attention off of unimportant things and distractions that bleed off our energies and weaken our walk with the Lord.
It is hard to imagine walking and talking with a teacher who has died on a cross and three days later risen from the dead and now has appeared over a 40 day period proving himself to be the Son of God. What in their lives was more important to them than Jesus? How did their time with Jesus impact their daily activities for the rest of their lives? They experienced upreach. And God opened up a whole new world to them and they would bring that newness into the lives of others as they bore witness to God’s word to them.
Upreach is what Peter preached to the crowds that gathered to find out what was going on after the Holy Spirit was poured out on them.
Peter pointed them to God’s word and God’s plan and God’s man! Upreach.
The second aspect of our relationship to God in Christ is this: Inreach!
Once the Lord gets our attention He begins to show us our condition. He looks into our hearts and lives and then takes a mirror and shows us what’s there.
Peter spoke for the Lord as he proclaimed the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus to the multitudes who were listening. This message was convicting because God was reaching into their hearts and minds to expose not only who Jesus is, but also their guilt in rejecting Him.
To reject Jesus is to crucify Him. To disobey Jesus authority is to sin against God’s authority. To order your life around any other priority than Jesus is idolatry. God reaches into your life and calls you to repentance and forgiveness of sin so that you will be a vessel ready to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit and live in and under God’s word, God’s plan and God’s man.