Highlights in Acts-Chapter 1
After recounting what information Jesus gave to His disciples, Luke directs our attention to a sight to behold. Jesus assigns a mission of major magnitude to His soon to be created church. He reveals to them the coming provision of the Holy Spirit's indwelling Presence and power to enable them to carry out their responsibilities. Keep in mind that they were listening to a man they saw killed and now He is not only alive but He is with them! While they are mulling over the reality of His Presence and internalizing His statements to them, their eyes are transfixed by one of the most unusual sights in all of history. They saw a man, but more than a man, the Son of God, start to rise from off the ground and ascend upward, and disappear into a cloud. (Just try to think how it would impact you, if you saw someone that you knew was dead and now you see him alive and he interacts with you giving you an astonishing bit of news and a humanly impossible commission. While you are trying to digest all of this, he suddenly defies the law of gravity and rises into the sky until he vanishes into a cloud). Before His followers could begin to grasp all this, they are suddenly aware of two beings in white apparel that must have seemed to come out of nowhere. These men, apparently angels, ask them why they are still gazing into the sky. The implication, I suspect, is for them to get going on their mission. These angels added that this same Jesus would one day return again to earth in the same way they saw Him leave. We may live to see the reverse of what they saw! Jesus is indeed coming again to set up His reign on earth. For now, the saga continues. We need to carry on, where those before us left off. Selah! The same Person, Presence and power awaits our involvement. Ron
"….not by might, nor by (human) power, but by My Spirit, saith the LORD of hosts." (From Zechariah 4:6).
Highlights in Acts-Chapter 1
Some have reasoned that this account of Luke's should be titled: "The Acts of the Holy Spirit," instead of "The Acts of the Apostles." However, we should keep in mind that it was, in fact, the acts of the Holy Spirit through and for the Apostles and others. This account by Luke, the physician and historian, was addressed to a man, apparently an individual of distinction. He is addressed in Luke !:3 as, "…most excellent Theophilus." (It will prove a valuable exercise to read Luke and follow that up by reading Acts). Together, they cover the life of Jesus and after His death, the birth of His Church and its reach to the "….uttermost part of the earth." (From Acts 1:8). Jesus met with His Disciples after His resurrection for forty days, instructing them and preparing them for what lay ahead. Their thoughts and desires were still much centered on the restoration of Israel's Kngdom. (See Acts 1:6). They were soon to learn that the Lord had in mind for them an entity that would spread the Gospel to the ends of the earth. That process continues today! He also informed them that a Source of power was to be available to them, enabling them to carry out the mission He was assigning to them. Before ever Israel was to become the capitol of the world, Jesus' plan was a Spiritual entity that would bring Jew and Gentile together, in a saving relationship with Himself, incorporating them into a Spiritual body, the Church. They were to be filled with the Holy Spirit, taught to depend on His working, and take part with Him in an exciting adventure. This adventure is fraught with danger, difficulties and delights. We, who are born again, are to become a part of that adventure today. Selah! This (ongoing) two thousand year adventure gives us, who are His, an opportunity to see the acts of the Holy Spirit operate through and for us, in our times! Ron
"But ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you..." (From Acts 1:8).
Finally (I hope!), I no longer have to go to the library to post articles. We are in our new apartment and I am back online (with some "bugs" to still be worked out). Downsizing from 8 rooms to 3 is no cinch! Enough personal.
I wanted to start a new series today but will have to begin tomorrow. Lord willing, I hope to do a series entitled "On Location with Luke." This is a somewhat longer series based on an eye-witness account by a physician, one who is also a very good historian. Luke witnessed outstanding events from a very important transitional time in the life of the early church. This account is loaded with vital information for any true Biblical church today. Jam packed with excitement and adventure, you won't want to miss any episode. Come each day and travel with Luke on a tremendous journey in the ancient world, in that time when the church began. Danger, triumphs, miracles, astonishing conversions, and much more await you, as we go "On Location with Luke." Selah! As we journey with the beloved physician, may I suggest that we compare our experience of Christianity with that of these early believers. If the passion of our walk is weak compared to theirs, let's ask the Spirit of God to re-ignite in us the flame of devotion and trust that was so common to them. Ron
How can we differentiate between what seems Spiritual and what is Spiritual? We can have the right vocabulary, the right behavior, the right facts, and the right habits, and yet not be genuinely Spiritual. For example, I might enjoy the Christian lifestyle without having my heart changed. I might "feel" that one should love the Lord, without my actually loving Him myself. I might even emotionally love the Lord without loving Him to the point of full commitment. I might read His Word out of interest but not be motivated to obey Him out of my love for Him. I might even behave like a Christian so that people will be impressed with me, pointing them to my accomplishments, instead of directing their attention to Him. Are we thrilled when He gets the praise or only when we are praised? My Bible reading might be out of duty or to impress others, rather then a longing to know more about Him. The book of our life has covers. Do those covers have Him for the content within or are all the chapters really about us? Selah! There isn't room on the throne of our hearts for two. He will only occupy what self has vacated. Ron
"….that in all things, He might have the pre-eminence." (From Colossians 1:18).
If someone begins to find the Bible interesting and questions begin to arise and that person decides to go to a local church to find out more, what might happen? Suppose that starting to attend, he or she finds that they like it at that church. Suppose, even further, that they like the people there and begin to attend regularly. If this local church is a Bible believing church, he or she could become very familiar with the conversation and preaching in that church. They could learn the "language." They might even agree with the Truth. Does all this mean that he or she has become a Christian? Perhaps, but not necessarily. I say, "perhaps," because some churches make very clear what is involved in being saved and if these hypothetical individuals truly receive Jesus, as Savior and Lord, then they are "real" Christians. However, if the issues are not clear, they could be (even without conscious awareness) acting out the role of a Christian without being one and all the while believing that they have the real thing. They could be so familiar with the Truth that they could miss out on their need to yield control of their lives to Jesus and yet look like they have. We need to search our hearts to determine if we have been genuinely converted. Selah! It is possible to have just enough Christianity to be inoculated against the real thing! Ron
"Examine yourselves, whether you are in the faith….." (From II Corinthians 13:5).
The making of a disciple is not greatly different from the making of a good soldier. First of all, there is enlistment. A disciple enlists when he or she receives salvation. Next, begins training. Just as there are military manuals, so God has a manual (the Holy Bible) for disciples. A soldier is under orders. A disciple is under orders. Following logically, there is commitment to a cause. A soldier has a cause. A disciple has the greatest cause of all. Along the way, there is hardship for both. A good soldier is given recognition and honor and so is a faithful disciple. A good soldier may be called upon for the greatest sacrifice. A disciple has presented himself or herself as a living sacrifice and they may be called upon to lay down their lives. A good soldier wears his uniform proudly. A disciple is proud to serve under the banner of the King of kings. A good soldier doesn't get sidetracked with the affairs of this life. A good disciple "comes out from among them" and is living a separated life. These are some of the comparisons. Selah! Have you enlisted? Ron
A disciple will respond to this challenge: "Thou, therefore, endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ" (II Timothy 2:3).
A born again Christian, having entered the road to Heaven by means of receiving Jesus, as Savior and Lord, has started on the most remarkable trip that anyone could ever make. It truly is the journey of a lifetime. To begin with, he or she does not travel alone. All the way, One goes with us to ensure that we get home safely. There are many hazards to be avoided. However, we have a travel guide, called the Holy Bible, to help us avoid these hazards. If we fail to follow directions, there are instructions on how to get help and undo the damage. There is beautiful scenery, all along the way. This is all pointed out in our guidebook. (For example, the Twenty Third Psalm gives us some beautiful scenery and also prepares us for when we come to the Valley of the Shadow of Death). We are furnished with information on how to avoid road fatigue and how to be rested and refreshed on our usually long journey. We learn to enjoy the whole trip, as we move toward our destination. We are provided with all necessary equipment for a good trip. This too is found in our guidebook, the Bible. We even have a GPS in Scripture to get us back on track, if we make a wrong turn on the way home. Selah! Have you begun the trip? There comes a time when the road can be closed to a person forever, if he stays on the wrong road too long. Ron
"There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death" (Proverbs 14:12).