Sequel & Requel - Acts 1:1-11 NIV
Start a new study today in the Book Of Acts. Why it’s important! - REQUEL. Then we’d better know how those early 1st century churches did church!
#1: The Book of Acts ________ where Luke’s Gospel ends.
“In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day he was taken up to heaven.” Acts 1:1-2 NIV
This is really PART 2. It’s a sequel. Just like a movie, the first scene is a recollection of the last scene in the original. Same here. Written by Luke. Disciple of Paul. Written to Theophilus, just like the Gospel of Luke.
#2: The Book of Acts is one more ________ that Jesus is alive.
“After his suffering, [Jesus] presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.” Acts 1:3 NIV
Luke’s gospel was all about the miracle of Jesus and the proofs that he was indeed the Son of God and the expected Messiah. Last chapter proof of his resurrection. Still alive! This is where we start in Acts. “Many proofs” / “appeared over 40 days”. That’s just the beginning. The rest of Acts is all about the proof too! These disciples who all ran away from the cross were changed by the empty tomb and the appearance of Jesus!
#3: Jesus’ instruction of __________ is one we struggle with too.
“Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Hoy Spirit.” Acts 1:4-5 NIV
Jesus gave them one last instruction. Wait! Wait in Jerusalem. Wait in Jerusalem for the gift promised. What was that gift? Spelled out in John’s gospel but recounted here - Holy Spirit. “Baptized” means fully immersed. We have this same need to be baptized in the Holy Spirit. It changes us! We operate in His power then and see miracles in our lives.
Before we move on… we struggle with WAIT too, especially for those of us with Type A personalities, naturally leadership types. We want to “get ‘er done!” But sometimes we move ahead of God in our own weakness.
#4: One answer to our prayers is _____________________ .
“Then they gathered around him and asked him,’Lord are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?’” Acts 1:6 NIV
Some things just haven’t changed. Jesus is trying to tell them how important it is for them to wait in Jerusalem for the Holy Spirit and they want to know if he’s ready to go take over Rome and the world. Can you tell that they are just not on the same page with Jesus? He knows He’s leaving in one sense (physical, bodily) and returning in another sense (Holy Spirit) and He knows this is actually better and crucial. So what does he say? Not “No.” Not “Yes.” Not “Not Yet.” The answer of verse 7:
“He said to them:’It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.’” Acts 1:7 NIV
Translation: WRONG QUESTION! You’re on the wrong track entirely. We do the same thing. We’re focused on the wrong problem. What we think is a problem isn’t really a problem at all. Jesus knows the big picture. We don’t. Here’s another translation: Let God be God! Not you! Most of our worries and answers to our prayers is taking on the authority of God the Father in our concerns. That’s not for us to know or worry about. “Times and dates” all about future. Live fully in this moment!
#5: Two themes of The Book of Acts:
Jesus brings them back to the important message He wants to communicate in verse 8 and in doing so sets the purpose for the rest of what follows. You want to know what the Books of Acts is all about - it’s right here in verse 8. Two themes…
1st Theme: ___________________ .
“You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you.” Acts 1:8a
Jesus states it as straight-forward as possible - You will need power to do the things I’ve given you to do and you will receive this power in only one way! When the Holy Spirit comes on you! We cannot emphasize this too much. Everything we read about that happens in a powerful and positive way in Acts comes from the Holy Spirit power moving and working through these disciples. Whenever something doesn’t go the way it should it comes from the disciples working in their own power (translated - their own weakness, their own ideas, their own strategy, their own sense of order and leadership and organization.)
This has not only been true for the leaders in the 1st century church (Acts) but it’s been the story of the entire church age ever since. Church history is filled with both miracles (Holy Spirit Power) and misery (working in our own weakness.) Most church historians will tell you that this change (of turning to our own power instead of Holy Spirit) happened quickly after the 1st disciples passed away. When we say we want to be a REQUEL church, it means we want to be like those first churches, working in and through the Holy Spirit’s direction and power!
2nd Theme: __________________________ .
“You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8b NIV
Let’s start this study with this idea firmly in mind - God ALWAYS has bigger plans and bigger ideas than we do. We want to see our little church here prosper. God wants His entire church all over the world to prosper. We are concerned about those inside these 4 walls. God is concerned about those inside AND OUTSIDE these 4 walls. We think in terms of Mansfield. God thinks in terms of everywhere!
This was true for the disciples too. They began with the idea of this being a part of the Hebrew faith in Jerusalem. God had in mind all Judea and Samaria and even to the ends of the earth! They started with the Jewish tongue. God had in mind all tongues. The biggest challenges the Acts churches faced came from their thinking too small, too parochial.
Before we leave this introduction we need to heed this warning…
#6: The church age will end _____________ it began.
“This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” Acts 1:11 NIV
Jesus ascends into Heaven and once gone they are all still standing there looking up. In this miraculous moment, it took God’s messenger (angel) to ask what they’re all looking at. Stop and think about this from God’s (and Luke’s) perspective and I think you’ll find just a touch of humor. “Uh, men of Galilee, why do you stand there looking up into the sky?” Men of Galilee, instructed by The Son of God, The Resurrected Savior, The One Who just gave you your marching orders - why are you standing here? Aren’t you supposed to be waiting in Jerusalem? Then aren’t you supposed to build the church to the ends? But we don’t have forever. This is an age of the church. It will end. Jesus will come back the same way he left. In the meantime, we have work to do.