Summary: God’s plan to save this world requires the fulfillment of His promise to believers.
Waiting for the Promise
Intro: Some people say that promises were made to be broken. That might be reality in some relationships, but with God, this is not the case. When He makes a promise, He keeps it! When people make promises to Him, He expects them to keep those promises, with His help. Jesus told his disciples about a promise that God the Father had made. This takes us back to the gospels, when Jesus said that the Father would give the HS to those who ask Him. Jesus told them He would be leaving them, but they would not be alone. The Father would send the HS to comfort them and help them live out their lives for Him, not for themselves. Acts 1 speaks about this promise.
As Luke begins to write the book of Acts, he is continuing where he left off at the end of the Gospel of Luke. Acts is really vol. 2 of the book of Luke. Incidentally, Luke is within 3% of the length of Acts. They both were about the maximum length of a standard scroll (between 32 & 35 feet long- abt. the same length as Matthew). So, as in vol. 1, Luke addresses Theophilus, a common Jewish name, meaning friend of God, or one who loves God. Theophilus was most likely a wealthy patron who sponsored Luke’s writing project. First century books (as well as books many today) would often open with a dedication to the sponsor of the book (kind of like a publishing company or financial backer). Luke’s goal in writing Luke was to create an accurate account of all that Jesus began to do and teach. As he continues with Acts, his goal seems to be to show how the life and teachings of Jesus impact the world, as the Holy Spirit works in and through the lives of those who follow Jesus. Acts tells us about a certain time and place, but the spiritual principles in it are still valid 19½ centuries after it was written. So as we look at the first 8 verses of Acts 1, we can see right away what God is up to. God’s mission is to save the world. Jesus came to set that plan in motion by His perfect life, death, and resurrection. Now, it is time for all believers to climb aboard and help carry out the mission of God to a lost world. We will see how that got started in Acts, but also how that should play out in our own lives. The main message for us today is this:
Prop: God’s plan to save this world requires the fulfillment of His promise to believers.
Interrogative: What is this promise, and how can it save the world?
TS: We are going to look at 3 truths as they relate to God’s plan and His promise.
I. The Promise of the Spirit Is to be Received by all Believers (Acts 1:4-5)
-Jesus told His disciples, "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit."
-In our text, Jesus is speaking of this promise in relation to His disciples. However, as we will see in Acts 2, when Peter quotes from the book of Joel, God’s promise of the Spirit is for all people. It was not just for the disciples, but for all who call on the name of the Lord.
-Before we go any farther, we must ask, “What is this gift of the baptism in the HS?” What did the disciples understand it to be? Well, most Jews were quite familiar with the OT prophecies that spoke about the outpouring of the Spirit. Those references were all in the context of the restoration of Israel and the final age or last days.
-So, when Jesus told His disciples to wait for this gift of the Spirit, they automatically thought that this must be the time for Israel to be restored. The last days of restoration, blessing, and prosperity for Israel must be very near. However, Jesus basically told them the nature of the promise. The promise of the Spirit did not signal the immediate rise of national Israel. Rather, it signaled the launch of powerful effective ministry that would bring many more people into right relationship with God. Jesus had a mission in store for them that would require this promise from the Father. That leads us to point 2.
II. The Power of the Spirit Is Needed More than Knowledge (Acts 1:6-8)
-It is not for you to know, but it is for you to be empowered by the HS. Knowing the timetable of the kingdom is not essential; however, doing the work of the kingdom in the power of the Spirit is of vital importance.