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Sermon24-25 Acts1 Guide

Acts 1:1-11, theme verse Acts 1:8

The praise and honor and glory be to our heavenly Father who seeks true worshipers who worship Him with the Spirit and truth.

In the Pentecost Sunday, I pray that His grace of the application of all the benefits which Jesus earned for us and also the glorious ministry of the proclamation of His kingdom by the power of the Holy Spirit may be full in our life. During last over month, after we meditated on the Gospel of Luke which is the story of the ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus, from this week, we would like to look into details on the Acts which is the evangelism story of His disciples who received Great Commission from their Lord to proclaim His good news to Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria and then to the end of the earth. Therefore we would like to learn few lessons, while investigating today’s text Acts 1 together.

1)    The “Acts” is the second installment of Luke’s two-volume account of the ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus in the volume 1 and the story of the beginning of the early church in the volume 2. It is an account of God’s plan of salvation consummated in Jesus Christ and going out to all peoples both geographically from Jerusalem to Samaria, Syria, Asia Minor, Greece, and Italy and ethnically not only to Jews, but now embracing Gentiles of every nationality. And the book of Acts reflects the continuation of Jesus’ ministry after his death and exaltation in Acts 1:1.

2)    And the Acts is composed of introduction and three church planting movements; I mean,

a)     In 1:1-26, Luke summarized again Jesus’ ministries after His resurrection to ascension, as the bridge between the Gospel of Luke and Acts,

b)    In 1:12-6:7, Luke recorded the story of the church in Jerusalem from its birth through the coming of the Holy Spirit to its expansion by the power of the Holy Spirit,

c)     and in 6:8-9:31, it was recorded the story of church in Judea and Samaria, after being scattered through the persecution after the Martyr of Stephen. 

d)    And then in 9:32-28:31, it was recorded the story of church expansion to the end of the earth in which Paul who joined with Barnabas in church in Antioch went spread the Gospel to the end of the earth, I mean, to Turkey, Asia Minor, Greece and even to Rome.

3)    Specially in Acts chapter 1, Luke recorded the response of the disciples in response to the Great commission of Jesus in the Luke chapter 24 and also the theological foundation for their proclamation of the Gospel. I mean, as we saw last week, Luke recorded in Luke chapter 24 that Jesus

a) encountered

b) and recovered the joy of His disciples who ran away when Jesus was captured and crucified, yet perplexed, discouraged and hiding themselves with fear even after He was raised from the dead

c) recovered again their faith by telling them the reason and meaning of His death and resurrection after opening their mind to understand

d) and commanded them the great commission in the Holy Spirit

e) and told them to stay in Jerusalem until they were clothed with the power from on high in order to take their mission,

and then in response to His great commission, in Acts chapter 1, Luke recorded the response of His disciples that they were all praying together, after electing the empty position of twelve apostles, while waiting the coming of the Holy Spirit who would give them the power as the witnesses.

4)    I mean, Luke says that all the ministries which we can see in the gospel of Luke and in the Acts were all founded on the Trinitarian ministries, as 1:7 says, all things  regarding the kingdom of God, such as when, how and what happens, in the Kingdom of God are under the Sovereignty of God, in other words, everything is under His own authority, I mean, God plans His creation and providential care, salvation and judge and recreation of New heaven and New earth and He leads toward the accomplishment and consummation with Sovereignty as the owner of history. That’s why Robert O’Toole said in his book “The Unity of Luke’s History” that the verbs which Luke frequently used in His Books, reveals God’s Sovereignty in Lukan theology: For example, the verb “plērō“ in Acts  1:16, 3:18; 13:27; 14:25, meaning “to fulfil” represents that God accomplishes what He prophesied in the Old Testament. And also the verb “horizō” meaning to determine” in Acts 2:23; 10:42; 17:26,31 and the verb “tassō” meaning to designate in Acts 13:48 and 22:10 represents that God not only determines the destiny of individuals including Jesus, but also the timeline of history and geography of all nations. Among them, the most important verb is the verb “dei” in Acts 1:22; 2:16-21; 3:18; 9:6,16; 13:46; 15:15-17; 17:3; 19:21; 23:11; 25:10; 27:24; 28:25-28, meaning it is necessary, binding represents that God plans, leads and accomplishes His Will. Therefore in His Books, Luke tried to say that according to God’s Will and plans and leading,

a)     Jesus had to be suffered, died and resurrected in third day after His death in the cross,

b)    and His Spirit was sent to this world in the Pentecost to regenerate and sanctify His elect while endwelling in them and also to empower them to proclaim His good news to the world,

c)     while His disciples had to bear the persecutions because of this Gospel and suffer in His name,

to fulfill God’s Will as prophesied in the Old Testament including gentile ministry.

5)    And also even though in the Acts, Luke emphasized a lot on the power of the Holy Spirit, yet, we should not conclude that Luke followed the Jewish perspective of the Old Testament in which the Holy Spirit only worked outward or the Hellenistic understanding of the Holy Spirit in which the Holy Spirit is the power which works in them, since Luke depicted the Holy Spirit in the Acts as a Person of Triune God who speaks to His people and calls His people to minister for His kingdom. On the other hand, we’d better to understand the reason why he focused a lot on the power of the Holy Spirit was actually he wrote the Acts on the mission which was achieved by the power of the Holy Spirit and also we cannot doubt that he followed Paul who was his teacher and companion of his mission who understood the gradual ministry of the Holy Spirit in the sanctification of the believers.

6)    And also secondly we should not understand that their prayer was the precondition or the root cause for the coming of the Holy Spirit, even though it was written that they devoted themselves to the prayer while waiting for the coming of the Holy Spirit. Because the coming of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2 was rooted on the Will and redemptive plan of God, not on human efforts or prayer. In other words, the church has to rely on the coming of the Holy Spirit, yet could not induce or control the coming of the Holy Spirit.

7)    Through today’s Bible verses, we would like to learn few things. Firstly, even though the coming of the Holy Spirit was totally rooted on the will and plan of God, but it does not mean that there’s no need to pray, because Acts 1;14 clearly says that they devoted themselves to the prayer while waiting for the coming of the Holy Spirit, and also the Holy Spirit descended to Jesus while He was praying after baptism in Luke 3:21-22 and also Jesus said in Luke 11:13 that God the Father will give the Holy Spirit to those who ask. Therefore even though God sent the Holy Spirit to His people based on His plan and will, yet also He made them to pray while waiting, because through prayer,

a)     God prepared their hearts,

b)    made them desire the Holy Spirit and pursue God’s Will

c)     and also made them endure while waiting

d)    and finally trained their faith through prayer.

Secondly, we need to think about the kingdom of God which His disciples proclaimed. In other words, the reason why God sent the Holy Spirit was not the inauguration of His kingdom, rather the expression and proclamation of the already inaugurated kingdom of God. I mean, when Jesus seated in the righthand of God in the heavenly coronation and became the king of this world and also in the world to come and started His heavenly reign, in the earth, the Holy Spirit came and gave birth to His church to start Jesus’ earthly reign through the Holy Spirit and His church, so that the coming of the Holy Spirit is its sign and pledge of His dominion in His kingdom so that the coming of the Holy Spirit was the sign and pledge of His dominion in His kingdom. Therefore finally as Martyn Lloyd-Jones said “If we regard the Kingdom of God as the rule of God, the Kingdom of God is present now wherever the Lord Jesus Christ is acknowledged as Lord and the church is the expression that His kingdom and reign was inaugurated already,” the coming the Holy Spirit and the birth of the church is the expression and proof that His kingdom was already inaugurated so that the proclamation of His kingdom is to reveal that we are experiencing His reign in us already and also that we are living in that reign of God. Therefore I pray that on this Pentecost Sunday, I pray that the marvelous ministry of the power of the Holy Spirit may be full in us by the Holy Spirit who came to dwell in us to regenerate, sanctify, empower, while making us enjoy the righteousness, peace and joy in Him to the glory of God.

Key Questions as Small Group Activity

Q1 According to today’s sermon, the Holy Spirit whom God sent to His elect not only regenerates and sanctifies them but also makes them proclaim His good news. So, after looking at our life whether we enjoy all those grace of the Holy Spirit or if there is some area where we need His grace, I hope you could share your thought and idea with your team members together.

Q2 And also, even though the coming and empowerment of the Holy Spirit is the grace in His will and plan, God also makes us pray so that in our heart, He induces the desiring heart for the Holy Spirit and His ministry. So after reviewing our life and checking whether we have those desire and passion for the gospel, I hope you could share your thoughts and experience with your team members.

Love you. Thank you. God bless you.

Prayer Note

Dear ( God’s attribute which you found Today ) God!

Thanks for ( something you received through the sermon or  even during the week )

Praise, gratitude and glory be to You, Lord!

Today, I realized my sin (pains) that ( the sin God reminded through the sermon ),

please forgive (or heal) me and help me not to repeat ( the sins you recognized   ).

I learned that ( something you learned through the sermon                                    )

Please help me to live in that (  learned way of life                                                )

I pray in ( Jesus’ attribute you find ) Jesus’ name. Amen.


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