Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God

26. Focusing on the Future – Part 1

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Acts 1:1-11
In my first book I told you, Theophilus, about everything Jesus began to do and teach 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven after giving his chosen apostles further instructions through the Holy Spirit. 3 During the forty days after he suffered and died, he appeared to the apostles from time to time, and he proved to them in many ways that he was actually alive. And he talked to them about the Kingdom of God. 4 Once when he was eating with them, he commanded them, “Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift he promised, as I told you before.5 John baptized with water, but in just a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” 6 So when the apostles were with Jesus, they kept asking him, “Lord, has the time come for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom?” 7 He replied, “The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” 9 After saying this, he was taken up into a cloud while they were watching, and they could no longer see him. 10 As they strained to see him rising into heaven, two white-robed men suddenly stood among them. 11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!”

As we continue in our series, “Living in the Reality of the Resurrection” we come to one of the most monumental and yet least mentioned moments in all of Scripture, the Ascension of Christ. This is when the Risen Savior returned to heaven to rein at God’s right hand. Its here in Acts 1 that we catch a vision of His Victory, that He not only died and descended into the grave but rose again and ascended into glory. As Jesus prepared to depart He gave His final instructions to His disciples and as we listen to the Lords departing words we will come face to face with the question will we obey or delay? It starts with the:
1. Proof – Vs 3
Why did Jesus spend 40 days with His disciples after rising from the dead? Why not just show himself once and then head to heaven? Because Jesus was about to give them a humanly impossible mission, go and share his salvation with a world that has just ridiculed and rejected Him. When it came to Christ the disciples needed to be completely convinced and so Jesus provided them with proof. We still have a Christ rejecting world today, probably worse than we did 20 years ago. The problem is not that the world doesn’t want to hear the message or that the message we share no longer has meaning. The problem is that the church is not convinced that we need to go with the Gospel and share the story of Salvation. How did the disciples come to a place of confidence and conviction by spending time with the Savior. Why is the church not convinced? Because we are not spending time with Christ. The disciples needed multiple exposures so they would no longer doubt. It was time with Jesus that took them from doubting disciples to devoted ones. It was during this time that He established His Lordship over their lives. So let me ask you how much time are you spending with the Savior? Many of us are not walking with Him in His Word, when it comes to the bible we are not bold because we don’t know His Word. Then there are those of us who are studying scripture but we are not spending time with Jesus. We end up with a head knowing instead of a heart going. Today when it comes to witnessing we have created a results driven model instead of relationship driven one. We are busy looking for a formula and missing the friendship. Just like the Lord’s Prayer we have turned it into a formula for results when in reality it really provides a framework for relationship. Why don’t we witness? Because we don’t start first walking with God in His Word, we are walking in the world first and then coming to the Word. Most Christians I know spend more time whining than witnessing because they spend more time in the world than in the Word. The disciples became confidently convinced by spending time with Christ and so should we. In verse 3, Luke tells us about 40 Days of Appearances, I wonder what would happen today if those of us who call ourselves disciples would spent 40 days with the deity? Forty days is a common time frame in Scripture. You remember that prior to starting His public ministry the Messiah endured the Devil’s temptation for 40 days in the desert, and now the tables are turned as Jesus triumphantly parades His victory over the evil one. At the cross of Calvary when the Deity died Satan thought He had won but three days later Jesus rose from the grave and revealed Lucifer as the looser. Today Satan wants to try and convince you that the world is winning but you need to remind Him that 2000 years ago Christ defeated death and the devil and that for 40 days Jesus paraded the proof. Satan may have tempted for forty days but it was the Savior who triumphed and paraded the proof for 40 days. Why don’t we witness because we are not convinced, because we are not spending time participating in the parade. What about you are you participating in the parade or are you attending the pity party? When we participate in the pity party instead of living as winners we start acting like whiners. It’s time for us to ponder the proof and then proclaim God’s plan. Who do you know that needs to hear about the love of Jesus?

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