Rev Con Despinidic 22nd May God’s wonderful promise foretold
Pentecost and beyond no 2. Psalm 150 Luke 24:36-53
The Book of Acts is referred to as the Acts of the Apostles; I believe that it can also be described as the Acts of the Holy Spirit. In it we see how God wonderfully intervened in the life of His people- How He challenged and equipped them for service and ministry.
I am encouraged and challenged in my own Christian walk as I think about these things. I need, we need not only to be encouraged but to understand that in the same way that God provided what was needed for His church to come into being, to live to grow. He does so today and we are corporately and individually recipients of His marvellous blessings and provision.
I wanted to get across to you that we are never alone and God always provides for His people, everything that they need, no matter what that may be.
As we read through Acts we see that the reception of God the Holy Spirit in the life of every individual believer was radicle- and had a wonderful life changing transformation in the hearts and mind of those individuals: – this is no different to today- Praise God!
When we read through the Book of Acts: – We can observe the faith and tenacity of God’s people in good times and bad times. This wonderful historical account of the life of the Church in the first century encourages each one of us in our daily walk with the Lord Jesus.
We see that they had experienced the same sought of faith issues that we do. I know that we live in different times and in some ways we may be more sophisticated than our forefathers in the faith-BUT we can never get away from the truth that as members of the human race, God’s wonderful creation, our spiritual needs are the same they never change. The faith challenges that they faced are no different from those we face today.
Everything dovetails together, we cannot separate the book of Acts from the rest of the New Testament- Acts chapter one and the end of Luke 24 go hand in hand.
The Lord Jesus was crucified and had risen from the dead-this was dramatic and the 11 Apostles and the rest of the disciples were still reeling from the emotional shock that this had on them-
This was a new era in their lives and a new era in the life of all humanity!
Reading through the Gospel of Luke we find that the Lord Jesus appeared to the 11 remaining apostles- The two from Emmaus have just told them of their experience on the road home and how they had recognised the Lord Jesus- they were excited, and to use their own words, “their hearts were strangely warmed” what a great expression!
The Lord opened up the Old Testament Scriptures and described to them Who He was and Why He came.
This news was urgent it was important the 11 apostles must hear this they thought to themselves- and as they were witnessing to them, the Lord Himself appears amongst them: “Peace be with you” was His greeting. As I read between the lines I hear the following: ‘Chill out guys, be calm- I get it that you are frightened and agitated- a lot has happened for you to get your head around!’
I find the way Luke describes the scene really encouraging, I love the way the Lord speaks to His followers:- “why are you troubled and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.” Luke 24:35-40
Vs 44ff “This is what I told you while I was still with you; Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, and the Prophets and the Psalms.” 45 Then He opened their minds so that they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them: This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day.
The risen Christ teaches His followers the significance of the Cross and the OT Scriptures- It is all part of a wonderful plan, – this plan included more, there was something else.
Hear the words of the Lord Jesus, see what they say to your heart:- “47 repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” What a great message;
a. Repentance and forgiveness, they must go hand in hand- God’s forgiveness is for all-
b. Repentance is the response to God’s grace and forgiveness; it is the response to God’s Holiness.
c. Repentance is not a magic potion to summon God’s forgiveness or grace- It is always the result of His Grace-
d. When we have our eyes and ears open to the truth of the Gospel; The Lord Jesus Came to save the sinner- then the response to that is to repent.” The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, nor wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. “2 Peter 3:9 (We will see this when we look closer at Acts chapter 2)
Grace and salvation is a free gift from God. “For it is by Grace you have been saved, through faith- and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8,9.
Repentance is the act of saying you are sorry- and seeking to turn around, do a U-TURN from one attitude to another is extremely important and therapeutic. The Bible says: that “if we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness”
Secondly: 48 You are witnesses of these things. They had seen the glory of the Lord in their lives and in the life of those around them- Indeed we too can witness the wonder of salvation, not only in our lives but in those lives around us.
Thirdly: “49 I am going to send you what My Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”
? Be patient God’s timing is important.
? God always keeps His word!
? They would receive His wonderful Holy Spirit and the blessing and provision that this entails.
According to Luke there is more: “50 When He had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, He lifted up His hands and blessed them. 51 While He was blessing them, He left them and was taken up into heaven. 52 Then they worshipped Him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy 53 and they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.”
1. Worshipped Him
2. Great Joy
Just thinking about this excites me- imagine if you had been with them?
What enthusiasm there must have been?
The Lord promised them “power from on high” along with this power came responsibility and a God given task- go tell the world – share the news of repentance and forgiveness- tell it to all, this is no secret!
But first they had to patiently wait- stay in the city till the time is right- for the Day of Pentecost was approaching.