Acts 1:4 Wait For The Promise

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Acts 1:4

And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; 

In this preparation period between the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus He prepares the disciples for the next phase of the kingdom coming on earth. He orders them to stay in Jerusalem until the outpouring of the Spirit would come. The promise of the Spirit comes from both the Father (John 14:26) and through the Son (John 15:26) to not just one or two people of God, but to all of God’s people. In the past, the Holy Spirit came upon a person in a peculiar way (such as Ezekiel in  2:2, 3:24) and for a specific reason. But here in Acts the Holy Spirit will indwell all of God’s people who are in relationship with Christ Jesus. As A.W. Pink says, “What, then, is the great distinction between the Mosaic and Christian eras? the answer is, God’s grace was then confirmed to one nation, but now it flows out to all nations” . The uniqueness of the promise of the Father is that He will now extend Himself not just to Israel or to the 12 Apostles of the Lamb (John 20:19-23) , but to members of all nations, including and especially Gentiles.  He will do so intimately and subjectively to each individual bearing witness to him or her of Jesus Christ and of their sonship with Him (Romans 8:14-16, Hebrews 10:15) .

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Acts 1:3 (Part 3) Speaking About The Kingdom

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and speaking about the kingdom of God-Acts 1:3b

The kingdom of God is never explicitly defined in the Bible. Yet, the Bible testifies to much of what the kingdom of God is, how the kingdom of God would come, and even of what the kingdom of God would look like-at least to some extent.  In His earthly ministry Jesus spoke more about the kingdom than He spoke of any other single subject. For instance, in Luke 17:21 Jesus taught that the kingdom of God is within His people and not so much outside of His people. That is to say, God’s kingdom work is primarily wrought through the hearts and lives of His people by the power of the Holy Spirit. This internal work inside of His people over time has lasting effects upon the rest of the world that is fallen in sin. As the Holy Spirit transforms lives through the Gospel of the kingdom, the world becomes more like the kingdom of Christ (Revelation 11:15) . The kingdom would not come in ways observable as many thought. Jesus taught that His kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36) and that the kingdom is more valuable than treasure hidden in a field (Matthew 13:44) . He taught that the righteous will shine in the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 14:43) and that the kingdom is like a mustard seed (Matthew 13:31,32) . He taught that God’s people have been made by God into a kingdom and that in Him they are priests and they reign and shall reign on the earth (Exodus 19:6; Revelation 1:6; 20:4)  . The mustard seed growing into the full tree that it becomes is more than a picture of the faith of each individual believer. It is a more glorious picture of the kingdom of God, and its expansion, that shall have no end (Isaiah 9:6-7) . It is the picture of the kingdom of God to whom all the nations will flow to eventually (Isaiah 49:6; 60:3, 5) . His kingdom shall have no end. 

Jesus is the central figure in the kingdom of God. Jesus is the one to whom every knee in heaven and on earth will bow and every tongue confess as Lord (Isaiah 45:23; Philippians 2:10) . Jesus is whom the Old Testament scriptures spoke about in law and in prophet (John 5:39) . Jesus explains this to two disciples on the road to Emmaus in Luke 23:14-27, when Luke testifies that Jesus, “… beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.”- Luke 24:27

To not see Jesus in the Old Testament can lead to misunderstanding the whole message of the Old and New Testament along with the uniting thread that runs throughout the Testaments.

Jesus is preparing His disciples for the next phase of the kingdom. This next phase and how it fits into the biblical prophetic landscape would become more clear on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2:1. By the time Peter stands up and preaches the first sermon after the resurrection and ascension of Jesus, the very nature of Peter’s sermon indicates that much of what Jesus spoke about to the disciples for these 40 days was an explanation. It is a more detailed explanation of how the Old Testament prophecies have found their fulfillment in Jesus and how they shall find even more fulfillment in the arrival of the Holy Spirit and the expansion of the Gospel. There will be much more to be said regarding this in Acts 2:16-41. 

Crucified With Christ

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“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”- Galatians 2:20

William Hendriksen comments, “Salvation is, indeed a very personal affair: each individual must make his own decision, and each believer experiences his own fellowship with Christ, relying upon him with all confidence of his own heart. Then also this faith is personal as to its object: Christ, not something pertaining to Christ, but Christ himself.”

I am not sure I recall ever reading anything by the apostle Paul in the New Testament where he personalizes the love of Jesus Christ in the way that he does here in Galatians 2:20. Paul is peeling back the surface of everything peripheral and speaking of that which means the most to him in his entire universe. Jesus and the love of Jesus. He says that Jesus “loved me and gave himself for me.” How about you? Are you relying upon Jesus with your whole confidence and trust or are you relying upon someone else’s confidence in Jesus, or someone else’s testimony of Jesus? Is He personal to you? Does the depth of His love melt your heart and so direct your life that you can say truthfully, “I have been crucified with Christ”? Can you see that the life you now live in the flesh is lived by faith in the Son of God, himself?

Tim Carroll ©️2019

Acts 1:3 (Part 2) Forty Days

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“He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.”-Acts 1:3

“appearing to them during forty days”

It is a signature mark of God to do things in the manner of “forty”. God flooded the earth in Noah’s day for forty days and nights. Moses fled to Midian for forty years. The Israelites wandered in the wilderness for forty years. Elijah fasted for forty days. King Saul ruled for forty years. David ruled behind him for forty years. Solomon, David’s son ruled for forty years. Jesus was tempted in the wilderness for forty days. And Jesus appeared to His own for a period of forty days after His resurrection. It was also forty years from Christ’s death to the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem in AD 70. 

Here in Acts, the many proofs over the lengthy period of forty days is a time of testing for the disciples as they are being prepared for the full office of Apostle. Their faith is being strengthened in the realization that Christ, their Lord and Savior is with them continually. He is comforting them and reassuring them of the truths of the kingdom and of His lordship. This is a time where their dependence upon Him is firmly refreshed and their need of Him is made more evident than ever before. Jesus was preparing his disciples for the next phase and perhaps the biggest phase, of the kingdom enterprise.

How about you? Are you being reassured daily in God’s word and prayer that Jesus is risen, and that He is continually abiding with us as we abide with Him? Are you engaged in the activities of the kingdom out of the overflow of God living through you? Loving others? Sharing the Gospel? Making disciples? Is your relationship with Jesus more intimate today than it was yesterday?

Psalm 13:5 The Salvaging

 

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 But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.  – Psalm 13:5

Is this a good reason to rejoice? You better believe it! When the Psalmist says, “my heart shall rejoice in your salvation”, his is speaking from the deepest recesses of his existence. As far down as a man can dig, he has dug. It is in the seat of his being that the Lord has brought the greatest joy. His heart is rejoicing and shall continue to rejoice in being saved by God. The word “salvation” in the Hebrew is “Yeshuah” which is from the root “yasha” (yaw-shah’) . “Yasha” means “to deliver”. Yeshuah is Himself the deliverer and the one who delivers from sin. When one enters in to a relationship with Jesus, Jesus literally delivers and rescues that person from the power and the penalty of sin. Picture in your mind a sunken ship that divers have gone down to the bottom of the ocean and have pulled items from its wreckage. The items pulled from the ship are salvaged items. In a similar sense, believers, loved by God from before the foundation of the world, have in time and in history, been pulled by God’s grace from the wreckage of sin and death and have been placed in to the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. To be saved is to be salvaged from the wreckage of sin and death.  Is there a better place for anyone to be seated? From death to life. From sorrow to joy. From lost to found in Christ. God’s steadfast love has delivered His children from the bondage of sin and death. In the words of Colossians 1:13, “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, – Colossians 1:13

The Psalmist also refers to God’s love as steadfast. This word conveys the idea of faithfulness. God’s love is faithful love and is never failing love. How about you? Are you trusting in your own works of obedience as your salvation from the wreckage of sin? Or are you trusting in His steadfast love? Are you standing upon the cross and resurrection of Jesus as your only hope to being salvaged from the world of sin?

For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.  – Psalm 100:5

Acts 1:3 (Part 1) Alive After Suffering

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Acts 1:3a

“He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs…”

He presented himself and not someone else to them. He indeed had risen. This is a foundational point in the kingdom of God: God became flesh taking upon Himself a human nature and did so to die for the sins of the elect and to save God’s people (Matthew 1:21) . If Christ had not risen Christianity would have been proven false. But after His terrible suffering He presented Himself alive to them by many proofs. He appeared to Mary (John 20:16,17) and then to his disciples later that same day. He appeared miraculously in a locked room where the disciples were gathered and showed them his nail scarred hands and side. He also gave them His peace and breathed upon them the Holy Spirit (John 20:19-23 This was a foretaste of what would come some 50 days later at Pentecost) . Eight days later Jesus appeared in a room with locked doors once again. Thomas was with them this time and believed. (John 20:26-29) John records Jesus doing many other signs in the presence of His disciples, but that were not recorded. (John 20:30) He also ate a broiled fish before their eyes proving that He was indeed resurrected bodily and not a phantom or apparition (Luke 24:42,43) . He opened their minds to understand the scriptures as He taught them after His resurrection (Luke 24:45) . Christ was alive after He had died. This was the most pivotal and miraculous event in human history. It was also the lynchpin that connected the Old Testament law and prophecies with the new age of life and resurrection having broken through into the current age of sin and death. 

The Gospel is The Power of God Unto Salvation

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