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!”
After looking at the proof we come secondly to the:
2. Power – Vs 4-5
What is fascinating here is that after spending 40 days with Jesus the disciples are told to wait to witness. Imagine how they felt after spending time with the Savior, their fear had been replaced by faith, they were pumped up and ready to preach and Jesus said wait. Why did they need to wait to witness, power, they needed the help of the Holy Spirit. It doesn’t matter how you feel because the gospel is not carried forward on feelings but by the Power of God. The truth is feelings never take the church very far. Unfortunately today feelings have become the fuel for many followers. As a result we say things like, “I didn’t feel very moved today, or I don’t feel fulfilled”, and so we switch churches searching for a place where we can feel better. We end up finding a church where for a while our feelings are fulfilled and everything is great, that is until our feelings are no longer being filled. We even feel about things that are not really meant for us, I regularly here Christians complimenting or complaining about worship as they say I liked or I didn’t like the worship today, instead of asking the question did God like the worship today. When did worship become about us? When feelings became our fuel. But when worship becomes about us it’s no longer worship it’s just words with music. What is the difference between worldly music and worship the one being worshiped? How about we talk about marriage for a moment and what’s really moving most marriages today? Its not a commitment based on conviction about Christ’s Word it’s the flutter of fleeting feelings. What’s driving the disease of divorce, feelings, we are a society that is constantly falling into and falling out of love because we are letting feelings drive the bus. Emotions are not the engine that engages and moves the church we need His power. It’s time for the church to come back to the power plant that God promised, the provision of the Holy Spirit. In order to effectively witness the disciples needed to wait on God for His power. Many of us have a witnessing problem because we have a waiting problem. We end up becoming disillusioned disciple instead of dependable ones because we are following our feelings instead of following the Father. Jesus started with proof, facts not feelings, and to the proof he added His power. Not only do we need to ponder the proof but we need the provision of His power is we are to pursue His:
3. Plan Vs 6-8
You notice right away that when it comes to the plan there is a problem
a. Confusion Vs 6
The disciples might have been convinced they were also confused when it came to whose kingdom they were working for. Notice the question that occupied their thoughts and time with Jesus: “has the time come for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom?” It’s easy to get distracted with what we want, and when we do it becomes about our kingdom not the Kings. They spent their time with Jesus talking about what they wanted. When you are with Jesus what do you talk about, is it your wants or His Will. You see no matter how convinced we are, and no matter how much conviction there is if we are confused about whose Kingdom we are serving we will be fruitless and fail. Today much of our passion is pointless because it’s not pointed at His kingdom but ours. Jesus confronted their confusion with:
b. Clarification Vs 7
Jesus responded by reminding them that it’s not about our feelings and our wants its about the Father and His Will, “The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know.” Like the disciples we tend to focus on the future instead of focusing on the Father. Instead of being obedient to the plan the disciples got caught up in the picture. And just like the disciples we too get caught up in wanting to know the big picture instead of participating in the plan. Don’t get distracted by the details, leave the details to the Deity. Its here that we come to the:
c. Commission Vs 8
Here’s the plan we are to witness first in:
1. Jerusalem – That is our surrounding area, our neighbors, co-workers, family and friends.
2. Judea – That is farther out from home base, it’s the outlying towns.
3. Samaria – That is still further out and encompasses our nation.
4. The ends of the earth, what we might call foreign missions. If you are not being faithful to fish where it is familiar what makes you think you will fish when you are far way?
Have you caught God’s vision, His kingdom is much bigger than yours. Are you going to settle for a mediocre mission or the Messiah’s mission? Where are you participating in His plan when it comes to, The Jerusalem’s, Judea’s, Samaria’s and the ends of the earth?