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July 29, 2020 8:00 am
Waiting is hard. It's even harder when you don't know how long you'll have to wait when Jesus left his disciples. He told them their mission.
But instead of giving them marching orders.
He gave them waiting orders wait for the Holy Spirit. Stay tuned out for the Bible study our Ms. Dr. James Boyce looks at what the disciples did as they waited for God's timing and power. Welcome to the Bible study our the radio and Internet program with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act likely when Jesus told the disciples to wait for the Holy Spirit. They did wait, but they use the time for preparation. They met for fellowship, prayer and study and choose a new leader to fill their ranks. Let's listen as Dr. Boyce explains regarding in our study of acts to the second half of chapter 1 that speaks of a period of waiting on the part of the disciples in Jerusalem. Prior to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, which is described in chapter 2000 interesting. We put the data together, we discover that that was a period of 10 days.
Disciples apparently didn't know at the time how long it was going to be the Lord had said to them that they were to wait in Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit should be poured out. Not many days hence.
I was an indirect reference and they waited. Probably not knowing exactly when that promise of the pouring out of the Holy Spirit was to be fulfilled out when we look at this from our perspective, that is, recognizing as we do now that the Holy Spirit came Pentecost in the Pentecost was the feast of weeks and that the feast of weeks was that time in the Jewish year when the first sheaves of the harvest were presented. The harvest of firstfruits before the great harvest. All this is very significant and symbolic. Certainly when these events took place on Pentecost. Please early Christians who were Jews well steeped in the Old Testament traditions understood immediately what the symbolism of the day involved the great blessing that they experienced on Pentecost where these thousands of people believe in payment of the church was why the very symbolism of the day, only the firstfruits about great response to the gospel that they were going to say is that gospel was preached.
First of all in Jerusalem and then in Judea and Samaria, and eventually as I chose this to the far reaches of the world, but at this time as I say they didn't know that all they know is that the Lord had been taken from them in the heaven and that they were sent back to Jerusalem to wage for his coming earlier when we first began to talk about acts.
I pointed out that in some ways it's parallel to that Old Testament book of Joshua is a bridge book. It's walk between the. Of the Gospels, which describe the life and ministry of Jesus Christ and the epistles that come later in describe and give instructions for the church as we know it, even in our own day bridges that. Just as in the Old Testament book of Joshua bridge. A preparation in the wilderness and the. Settling down in the lab I noticed a number of interesting parallels and here right at the beginning of this book we find very interesting parallel with Joshua. Recall from our study that after the people of Israel crossed the Jordan River in the land when we would've thought it was time for them to move immediately on the fortified cities and attack them when they were still caught off guard by this unexpected passage across the Jordan when it was at flood stage instead of that, we find that God told the people to wait and consecrate themselves in a four day period in suit, crossed the Jordan on the 10th of the first month and they waited a Guild out where I observed the Passover where they circumcised all of those were born in the wilderness where they did a number of other things under the 14th so that was a four day. That's exactly the same thing we find here we find this delay where people action and we read this book. It's even called the book of acts, speaks of action we would think that what we should see right away is action. Things should start happening only spirit should come at once, because the Lord has gone back to heaven right away. The gospel should be preached in things you begin to happen spiritually instead of that we find this period of delay know sometimes we have.
It's like that in our own lives and is worth saying we need to face it squarely that these are often the hardest periods of all for us to live through his Christian want to do something or what is even more significant. We want God to do something and when God doesn't do something we say. Well, things have gone wrong. Something's not going right thing should be happening. I'm really a Christian I really on track with God that is not necessarily the case and lest we forget that we have in this reminder of what happened with the Christians. An example for ourselves. I said that it was. Of waiting, it was not however a. A lot of inactivity. It was actually a period of preparation, which is what times of waiting for sometimes in periods of waiting we can understand how the preparation is taking place at other times we can't, God is doing things in our life. We can't see our lease were not aware of these developing character, perhaps, and we very seldom see that we don't see in others. We don't see it in ourselves sometimes received. Sometimes we don't but is nevertheless a period of preparation and this is what God was doing with these early Christians what you say as we look through the second half of chapter 1 the things that they were led to do things they did instinctively are the things they did in response to the teaching of Jesus Christ that were preparation for them before Holy Spirit was actually poured out in the great blessing we find in chapter 2. Now think of these would be one of the time. First thing I want you to say is that this Sunday. Was a period of obedience side to obey when you're not given anything to do but sometimes the greatest obedience comes right there staying put, because that's what you are to do this was a period of obedience because if you read verse 12 and compare it with first floor earlier on, you find that what they did in verse 12 was a direct response about the Lord Jesus Christ told him to do. In verse four.
Jesus was with them before his ascension into heaven. He said do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my father promised what you've heard me speak about that in verse 12.
After he's been taken back to heaven. We read.
Then they returned to Jerusalem. So Jesus, I go back to Jerusalem and wait and when we get verse 12 we find that that is precisely what they're doing is not easy to do, we might say. As we look at it from our perspective, not going great deal about the situation. Well, what else could they do. Actually there were a number of things they could've done and furthermore that they had been doing before Jesus gave them the commandment know what happened immediately after the crucifixion they had looked upon Jesus as the Messiah. They had this idea in their minds of a political earthly Messiah, one who is going to drive out the Romans.
He had to be living to do that when he was dead. Well, that was just the end of the political dream as far as they were concerned, and so they went all because as we would say what else could they do. The Emmaus disciples were going back to a mansion.
The other disciples were scattering back to Galilee. I suppose Lazarus and Mary and Martha went back to their home in Bethany and was nothing there to hold them together.
Jesus was gone. So they went home. Here Jesus is gone again, and yet they don't scatter anymore because you see, now they are conscious disciples of the risen Lord and the risen Lord and told him to go back to Jerusalem. Another thing I might've done which we often do is get on about the business of living their lives. Most of them had businesses before Jesus called them to be disciples. We know that a number of them were fishermen, and perhaps they were involved in other things as well. During our 40 day.
There was a time which they went back to Galilee began to take up fishing again. Peter specially led the way on that because Peter was not inclined to sit around and do nothing. He was the archetypal American descent get all their things to be done. So let's get on with it. Let's go fishing good on that they could've said well Jesus left us again on the way back to heaven. He said he come back when that's going to be. After all, there's a life to be lived with only 30 years older 25 years old 40 years old or whatever may be many more years ago we just have to gone with his business of living. After resume our occupations. We have to pick up again where we left off when he called us to go this kind of itinerant ministry years ago Jesus told him not to do that. He said you go back to Jerusalem and you wait there because I'm going to send the Holy Spirit not many days hence and so they did we talk about obedience, we have to understand that one of situations. Perhaps a situation in which we must learn obedience is when we can't see why it is were doing what were doing say they were going back to Jerusalem to wait for an indefinite period of time.
I guess they might've said to themselves. Now why should we be waiting if he's going to send the spirit why doesn't he do it now or whatever waiting like we know how long it's going to be this just seems really pointless. Why they were thinking along spiritual lines. They would've said there are people. The one there's work to do their cities to be evangelized and think I really pointless.
I suppose for them to stay in Jerusalem gathered as they were in the upper room that you know it's times like that that we really do learn obedience. See if we can give a reason for what were doing and where not necessarily learning obedience. What were really doing is trusting our own ability to reason things out there doing it because we think it's the best thing to do. We have to do that.
There's nothing wrong with that.
When you really learn obedience is when it doesn't seem the best thing to do and yet you know that's what God has told you to do it so you do it for the sheer reason that he is told you to do it you're going through. In your life that is like that when you know what you should do but you don't know why you should do it or a period of delay in God's dealings with you when is it seems your on sex, but you can't quite get off that you'd like to, but you can do it. That's where God is put ULN learned that there is preparation for future work just in obeying God staying there varies with you, at least for the time being that's one thing they did was a second way in which they prepared for what was coming and that is that they gathered together, that is with one another Christian Fellowship read about in verse 14. They all joined together constantly was an interesting gathering this gathering in Jerusalem. There were the 11 disciples first of all there mentioned there in the passage Peter, John and James and Andrew much more of them open Thomason Bartholomew and Matthew that Satan James, a son of Alpheus and Simon the zealot and Judas son of James or Judas Iscariot to Genesis and the apostolic band and this was the other. Would Judas son of James 11 apostles and then in addition to that, who is the author of this book and who in his gospel as well, seems to have a special concern for the women, all the New Testament writers. He was the least chauvinistic Luke mentions the women that were there or where the women he says, and Mary the mother of Jesus and his brother so was that group gathered to the apostles.
Then we go on to find out in verse 15.
By the time Peter stood up to give his little speech concerning the election of the 12th to fill out the apostolic band the work hundred and 20 gathered was an interesting fellowship that they had in those days.
I don't know that hundred and 20 were but you can think some of the might've been Nicodemus and Joan interested in Christ, perhaps, was convicted in his conscience of the things that had happened leading up to his crucifixion. He may have been there. Joseph of Arimathea may have been there.
Emmaus disciples must've come back. We know they didn't perhaps they stayed on for this entire. It's hard to think that they would've gone away. And what about Mary and Martha, Lazarus other disciples nearby people to Jesus Christ and healed. We know because Paul says in first Corinthians that on one occasion Christ appeared to 500 brethren at once so was a real company already here in Jerusalem. The nucleus of the Christian church right of those people had gathered on this occasion the work at least 120.
We need to apply that to ourselves. It's a principle of what it means to be a human being to say that people need people about the worst thing that can happen to persons to be overly isolated from other people were to grow intellectually and socially, and spiritually.
We need other people and the people need people well Christians most certainly need Christian pattern of God's dealings of God stealing that when you become a Christian, you do not become a Christian and entering the isolation by the very fact that you become a Christian disciple of Jesus Christ you enter into that body of those who also are his disciples. That's why Jesus spoke about his body. That's why we speak of the church.
It's the company of the people of God and these early disciples were not owners. I said no, we really do need one another and we are all partners in the same thing and so they gathered together this kind of fellowship. That's another way in which we shall prepare we must bear for what God is going to do. I sometimes notice that when students in particular go away to college. The thing that seems more important than anything else as to whether they get on in the Christian life, whether they drift along for years, is whether in those first months of school they identify with Christians on the campus all I think there are a lot of things we need to Christian growth means of grace. We certainly need personal prayer and Bible study. We need to worship God in the company of the church at large. But one thing we need is sheer encouragement.
So I always say when our students at the high school level go away to college that what you really have to do is get in the Christian group right off doesn't make a great deal of what group it is just identify with Christians there in the campus and God will work through those others to hold you and build you up during those days of preparation. What he has for you in years to come by when I read verse 14. A moment ago. I'm sure you noticed that there is 1/3 item in their preparation. Not only did they practice obedience returning to Jerusalem and no doubt doing other things as well and fellowship by joining together constantly during those 10 days were also told verse 14 that they join together constantly in prayer.
See might've been a time of waiting but it was in the time of our inactivity in the spiritual sense there was work to be done so they prayed they prayed together as the text as they prayed together constantly. That's to say they were often frequently regularly in prayer. I asked the question whether they pray for during those days doesn't give us an answer, but sometimes we talk about prayer in terms of that simple little acrostic acts a adoration. See for confession D for Thanksgiving and asked for supplication. I can well imagine that they did each of those four things.
Certainly adoration. After all, God had just worked in their time and in their company and they had been witnesses about which was the very focal point of all world history, God sent his son, the Lord Jesus Christ God man to teach them and to die on the cross and then rise again from the dead. Certainly when they prayed in those days. Theodore God for his wisdom and love and grace in accomplishing such a great salvation in their time at salvation, which all of the Old Testament in all its forms. All of the prophecies of all types that led up to.
I think that it must've been a time of confession for them. They were getting ready for work that Jesus had for them to do, and they must all of them of been very conscious of their sin.
We see Peter merging here in these chapters banner was a born leader.
God did use greatly as a leader, but Peter, you remember, had denied his Lord on the occasion of the Lord's arrest disseminated in his trial in Jerusalem when Peter followed a far off and people were along with the entourage of the high priest asked him are you one of this man's disciples.
Peter said no or not. Why would you ever think such a thing and finally they got onto his accent.
They said why you don't have an accent from Judea June at your Galilean. You must be one of his disciples, and we're told that when they began to press it to them.
Peter denied that he was Christ disciple even were told with some cursing.
She swore order to try to convince them that he wasn't really a follower of Jesus Christ. Certainly Peter as he gathered on this occasion, prayed with the others must've confessed his sin.
He must've set all Lord Jesus Christ forgive me for betraying you as I did for denying that I was your disciple on the night of your arrest and the others well there. They didn't do that.
They have scattered. I think as I put the pieces together, what were told in the Gospels of those last days that when Lord Jesus was arrested in disseminating and they scattered that they must've scattered away from Jerusalem knew that his enemies would come from Jerusalem and he was being taken there for trial why they would to God to Jerusalem and gone the other way back to Bethany, which is where they been spending all the days previous.
And so they were gone. When Jesus was brought into Jerusalem and tried and walked and eventually survived when we read about those who were present that the cross was the women and John Peter but we don't read about the other.
That's because, in my judgment, they just weren't there. Certainly they must've had back to confess before God.
They must've said we can hardly believe that the crucial moment.
We are so fearful really ran away to save our own skins, they must report that out before God because Lord said, I've chosen you to be apostles and you're going to be my witnesses and you're going to be my witnesses.
Here the very city of Jerusalem and the company of those who caused by arrested and crucified me, and not only here in Judea and Samaria and eventually to the uttermost ends of the world in the company of the Gentiles. They must've thought of themselves. How is it possible that we could be his witnesses.
We were so weak and who have failed so grievously, so they must've confessed that other sins as well and they must've given thanks, thanks for all that God had done. Thanks for all the Lord Jesus Christ to talk them during those 40 days. Thanks for forgiveness for restoration for a task, and for each other and for life and health and all those other things that I think they must've prayed in supplication to asking God for the strength to do the task was before them.
I think they must've even prayed for the coming of the Holy Spirit which you told him to wait in Jerusalem to expect.
Sometimes people get hung up on that you know they say God is going to do something if it's in the sovereign will of God for them to accomplish certain thing. Why, then, why prayed authorities going to do it anyway is a great misunderstanding about God works all its true God is the sovereign Lord is your Lord is the Lord of history. God does what God will do, God accomplishes his purposes.
The disobedience of men does not frustrate them but when God accomplishes his purpose. He does it through means going to save someone he doesn't by leading someone else to go to them with the gospel and speak to them about Jesus Christ. When God accomplishes great things in the world, especially in times of great revival. He always does it by leading his people to pray.
So they must've prayed for that. I think they must've pray for the coming of the Holy Spirit in blessing when the Holy Spirit came and strength to stand up and be counted when the Holy Spirit came upon them, and preach the gospel clearly and they must've prayed for great blessing.
Of course, that's exactly what God did you know those who have studied the revivalists of the church look back over those times of great blessing in the church have pointed out again and again that they were always always always preceded by times of great prayer by Christian people. Sometimes it wasn't a large number often. It would be a small number that would gather together to pray always prayer the people of God come together and say God bless us pluses lessons see when you're inclined as we are to be critical of what is happening in the lives of other people work when you look at a church or Bible study or something and you find something there. You don't like it you want to say to somebody else.
All that's not so good order.
I don't like that approach it that way. Don't do that said, pray, pray that God will send revival and get together with somebody else and pray that God will send revival if possible get together with the person you're criticizing and it's as the people of God meet in that kind of a fellowship together obediently and prayerfully that the blessing comes something else I noticed here Peter when he stood up to talk about this matter of the defection company of the apostles began to quote Scripture says, verse 16 brothers. The Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke long ago through the mouth of David concerning Judas as he goes on later on eight" twice, once from Psalm 69 verse 25. The second time from Psalm 109 verse eight. Certainly Peter was studying Scripture in those days writing the other disciples must've been studying Scripture as well since two things go together in the Christian life prayer in which we talk to God and Bible study in which God talks to us. I think prayer is of great importance, but somebody is that I think wisely that when we're talking to God and God is talking to us. We better let God do most of the talking. That means that we should spend a lot of time studying word of God. What they study. During those days well certainly they began to search the Old Testament for the prophecies that concern the ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Presumably this is what Jesus himself had been teaching and doing the 40 days we have a clue what he did in that account of his ministry to the Emmaus disciples.
When he explained to them for Moses and the prophets and all the Scriptures the things that concerned himself. That is, each of the three divisions of the Old Testament. Jesus showed how God had spoken to explain what the Messiah himself would do when he finally came, must've begun to explain this to unfold the Scripture to remind them of these texts. When Jesus was taken back to heaven. I must've said well now that was really very interesting. Let's look these things up ourselves of the God of their Bibles and they began to walk what was the text to use my time and we were standing beside the sea of Galilee. I remember what he said from one book in the Old Testament was he quoting and somebody was advising he was going from the songs once all was it somebody would answer.
Well, it looks look it up. So under the Old Testament.
They looked up to see what verse it was Jesus was speaking about and they said you know I would never looked at it that way that's not the way I would've understood it but now I see it. That's what it's all about what I was talking about Jesus all along and so they went through all of these great texts. I would say that we have evidence for that because when Peter stood up, he preaches he did on the day of Pentecost instinctively began to speak about the Old Testament Scriptures. Those appointed Jesus and so did all the other apostles to because Jesus had sent them to Jerusalem to wait for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit that they must've been searching in the Old Testament to see what prophecies concern the Holy Spirit and the reason I say that is because when the Holy Spirit did come on Pentecost and Peter stood up to preaches first great sermon. He began with ET text from the Old Testament. From the book of Joel. The second chapter versus 28 to 32 the last days, God says I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy and so for the must've found that text during these 10 days of Bible study must've said Jesus is going to send the Holy Spirit is going to be poured out upon the church we had better find out what it is he's going to do and so they went to the Old Testament to find out about this they would sometimes say, as Christians, all we want God to bless our church or we want God to bless our family or we want God bless our Bible study on our nation or our city or whatever it may be the way God does, that is, the Scriptures as people come to understand what is written and respond to it and believe it and proclaim it other people in the world.
So if you find yourself in what seems to be a time of waiting in activity. Redeem the time as these disciples didn't become a better student more knowledgeable of the word of God is another thing that they did and it's the last of these five things I mentioning in this study, and that is that they recognize the need for leadership and they took steps to supply that need their cases involve the election of this man Matthias to fill the place of Judas, who had betrayed Christ now. I'm sure the God must've led them in this action. I say that because their people are starting this passage and have been critical of their actions and said well they were operating in the flesh at this. Not doing what they should have been doing, they chose this man Matthias by what is, as we would say by drawing slots and people of said well that was a pagan way of doing things. They looked at this man Matthias lady said well that's the last we've ever heard of him. They must've made a mistake and then I look at Paul and they say well, Paul was obviously God's choice to be an apostle, he was a positive course.
I don't think that's true the first place. Paul certainly was an apostle, but in a different sense. In some ways what's established here. Peter made a great point of saying that the one who was chosen must've been a witness of the life of Jesus Christ from the very beginning that is from the baptism of John doing, including the resurrection and possible didn't quite fit that is modified later on a hard time on occasion defending his apostleship likely that point and he said that his vision of Jesus on the road to Damascus was the equivalent of that.
No doubt it was a bit different and as far as this matter of lots being a pagan customs concerned.
Actually it was Old Testament tradition, a very strong and good one will of God is often determined Old Testament times by the priest in the form which was Old Testament equivalent of that so just inventing something or falling in the pagan ways. They were actually following Old Testament precedent and more than that.
As we look at this in the context we see that it is been praying and studying the Scriptures and what the Holy Spirit had apparently brought to their mind. Were these texts quoted by Peter the concerned displays of leadership.
You see, as they study the word and prayed. I said to themselves you know if the Holy Spirit is going to call and we apostles are going to be price witnesses leaving this great advance of the gospel in the world. Well, when we have to get our house in order.
We have to have all of the apostles light up and since were missing one week after. Asked Lord Jesus Christ is going to choose to fill that 12 position so Matthias was chosen no sometimes we pray for revival. We say and we do it with a good heart.
We want you to bless the church convict to sin bring many to salvation bring about a revival in our time and that's very good that's true, but I wonder, do we ever stop to think what that would involve.
If a real revival should come. Most of us are quite ignorant of revival are great movements of the spirit of God. But you know is you read church history to find out what happens and such.
You find that it is well. I will call a very draining physically as well as spiritually draining time divisor revival people are under such conviction of sin that they present to the churches.
They don't want to go home. They one more instruction they want to be helped.
Individually, they want their sins dealt with in their life straightened out in their under conviction and I can't let go until God produces a change in their lives that large numbers doing the time like that. If you have such large numbers of people hungering for the gospel of the truth of God, how are you going to cope, even in terms of Christian leadership. Who's going to teach those people who's going to disciple them was going to counsel with them. When the Holy Spirit moves in such ways, see if we were serious about revival. We begin to make preparation and training the leaders that would be needed in such time. I say that with some knowledge because there is I've been told in Argentina and perhaps another South American countries something of a revival movement today and I've been told by people who know the state of the church that the preparation for this time of revival began years ago, churches began to pray for revival and asked themselves what they should do in preparation for it when revival eventually should, they said to themselves. Example, what are we going to do God sends a thousand more people into our church. They didn't have much money wasn't a question of saying that we have to build bigger churches will accommodate them when they come they said were going to have to handle it another way is going to handle that many people.
The only possible way we can do it is in the homes of the believers.
Each homes would have to be little miniature church added for to do that effectively while in the leaders of those homes have to be trained to handle spiritual fruit in such a time. So they began to train the leaders of their homes, mothers and fathers of their congregation to be host the little churches when the revival picture, they did a number of other things like that as well.
After they had not asked when preparation was complete. God for the fourth time of great blessing. I think the same thing is true of us even if we are not in a time of revival or even of the time of revival is delayed. All of these things I've been talking about here in the basis of acts. One of things that should be seated us in our fellowship really think about our church. We need to think along those lines I know about you but I'm very thankful for what God is doing. I think these are great days and the great days for our country as we see real spiritual interest in high places well is in other places at the same time that I say that I have to say that I'm not satisfied with what's happened. I look at our city and the work that needs to be done in our country and its drift in the materialism and sin of disobedience lysate or Lord send revival send revival in our time were serious about that. Actually, we have to get ready for. We have to begin to prepare.
We have to use these days awaiting believing that we use them in obedience to Jesus Christ blessing that we seek in our world desperately needs will call). Our father were thankful as we study this book of acts. The financial very very practical.
Treating us where we are. We know it's from a time which in terms of years as far away in terms of the experience of your people was as near as where we are right now. Father, we have studied different principles.
So, preparation, preparation for growth in this study, things which just because they are preparation are things we can do now. Father, we ask that you help us to be serious about this, not just read these things and say well that's wonderful how God acted in that early church, but rather is things that need to be present in increasing measure among ourselves. Preparation for that greater blessing that is yet to come. Pray in Jesus. You are listening to the Bible study hour with a Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals. The alliance exists to promote a biblical understanding and worldview.
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