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A Little Ocean Ambiance
A Study of the Church:
Acts 1: 9-14
Pastor Mark Montgomery
Ambassador Baptist Church
- Acts 1:9-14
- "And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight."
"And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;"
"Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven."
"Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day's journey."
"And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James (the son) of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas (the brother) of James."
"These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren."
There are three things I want us to notice in this passage of Scripture. First of all I want us to see the reasons for the ascension. This is the ascension taking place here. Jesus Christ was crucified, He was buried, He rose again. We celebrated that a few weeks ago on Easter Sunday. He communes with his disciples for forty days on earth after His resurrection and then He ascends up into Heaven and that is what's taking place here in verse number nine.
The Bible says, "And when He had spoken these things."
He's been talking to them in the previous verses. Giving them that final commission. That they are going to receive power; remember they'd asked the question, "Are you going to set up the Kingdom now?" Remember that from two weeks ago. "Are you going to set up the Kingdom now?" Are you going to set up the Kingdom now?" He said, "That is not the issue right now. Right now understand that you are going to receive power from the Holy Ghost in a few days." We know that took place on Pentecost and He said, "This power will make you to be a witness unto me." Over in Jerusalem, we talked about that. Our local area. Judaea, an area that would be similar to ours, but we would never reach anybody that would come to our church. To go and evangelize people, but they are never going to come to our church or give tithe money, or anything like that. Jerusalem, Judaea, Samaria cross-cultural, people that are not necessarily like us. They may not be the same socio-economic status as us. They may not be the same color as us. They may not have the same education or the same nationality. But going cross-culturally to evangelize. And lastly He says, "To the uttermost parts of the world." So He finishes this great commission and
verse number nine says,
"When he had spoken these things,.... he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight."
Now the question is, why did Christ ascend? What was the reason for it? Would you not assume if you were writing the script, wouldn't you assume that Christ could do a lot more good walking on earth than he could do up in Heaven? Wouldn't you assume that? He is eternal , He's still God here on earth. Wouldn't it be great if when coming to church this morning you could come and listen to Jesus instead of listening to me? Amen. Wouldn't that be great? Can you imagine getting to sit in the Sunday School Class, and instead of being with Charlie,being with Jesus. How's that? Wouldn't that be wonderful? Sure it would. To have Jesus come to your door on visitation. To be able to be with Him. Wouldn't that be great? Why didn't He do it that way? Why did He choose, in the Father's will of course, to go back to Heaven.
I think there are several different things that took place as a result of the ascension. We won't take time to look at all of them. But let's just look at a couple of them that really have relevance to us today. Go with me if you would please to John 14. Here is one of the reasons why Jesus Christ ascended up into Heaven and it is a great blessing to you and I.
- John 14:16
- "And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;"
"Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you."
- verse number 26
- "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, what soever I have said unto you."
We see Jesus Christ is talking to the disciples here. He starts off John 14, "Let not your heart be troubled." He had told them that He was going to go to be crucified and He was going to be executed and He was going to die and they were of course very upset about this as you would be. This is Someone that you have been following now for three years. He is Messiah, you have claimed Him as Lord. Simon Peter's great confession, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God." And now He tells us He is going to be executed. This is a cause for great concern for the disciples. They don't quite understand it all yet. They don't get it all yet. In fact we know after His resurrection the disciples didn't believe right away. So they really don't understand all that's going on. All they know is that He's going to die and they don't like the thought of it. They are concerned and He says, "Hey, don't be troubled about it. Here is one of the things that is going to happen. I'm going to die. I'm going to buried. I'm going to rise again, then I'm going to ascend and you're not going to see me anymore. But I am going to send a Comforter.
Look at verse 16,
"He shall give you another Comforter."
Jesus Christ was a great comfort to the disciples. Don't you think? When they were on the sea of Gallilee and the great storm came up and they said, "Master, carest thou not that we perish?" Don't you think He was a great comfort to them when He stilled the winds? I thing He was. Don't you think He was a great comfort to them when they witnessed the feeding of the five thousand and another time the feeding of the four thousand? Don't you think He was a great comfort to them? When they had troubles when there were problems, when they were sent out to be great witnesses earlier in Matthew chapter 10 and things like that? Don't you think Jesus Christ was a great comfort when they saw the miracles? Jesus Christ was a great comfort to them. He says, "Hey, I'm going to send you another Comforter and He's going to abide with you forever." Who is this Comforter?
Verse number 17,
He's "the spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him:"
Do you ever wonder why unsaved people do strange things? Biblically speaking. I mean Christians do strange things too. But do you ever wonder why unsaved people don't see the Scriptures the way you see the Scriptures? Do you ever wonder why they can go out and do all sorts of things and it never seems to bother them? Do you know why? Cause they don't have the Holy Spirit. That's what the Bible says. They can't receive Him. They cannot, verse number 17, "they cannot receive Him because they don't see Him and they don't know Him." They don't know the Holy Spirit, because they have rejected the Jesus Christ who sent the Holy Sprit. They've rejected the Heavenly Father who sent the Holy Spirit. What does the Bible say if you have rejected Jesus Christ, you have rejected the Father. Is that it? We saw earlier here Christ says if you've seen me, you've seen the Father. So if you have not seen Christ than you haven't seen the Father. That's the corollary that goes along with that. Someone rejects the message of Jesus Christ, they've rejected the Father that sent Him and they can't possibly have an indwelling ministry of the Holy Spirit when they have rejected Jesus Christ as Savior.
Now go with me to John 16:7. Why is Christ ascending?
- John 16:7
"Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away:"
"It's good for me to go away." You think the disciples thought it was good for him to go away? No. The disciples thought it was good for him to stay. Christ says, "No, no, it's good for you. It is expedient for you that I go away." He's talking about His ascension here.
"for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you but if I depart, I will send him unto you."
"And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgement:"
"Of sin, because they believe not on me;"
"Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;"
"Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged."
"I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now."
"Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come."
"He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you."
What does Christ say there in the early part of that passage? If He had not gone back to the Father you and I would not have the indwelling ministry of the Holy Spirit. You look at the disciples. What happened when they got the indwelling ministry of the Holy Spirit. On the day of Pentecost, what took place? I am not talking about the cloven tongues of fire or speaking in tongues. What happened? When they got the Holy Ghost they went out and did something for God.
I would not be serving God, I would not be doing things for God if He had not sent His Holy Spirit. He says to the disciples, "There's things that you don't understand. There's things about me you don't understand and you're not capable of understanding them now, but when you get the Holy Ghost you'll be able to understand them."
Aren't you glad you have the Holy Spirit today? Aren't you glad you got the Comforter that is with you all the time that has taken up indwelling. A permanent ministry within you, if you're born again. If you are not born again you don't have that. The Bible says that. But if you have been born again you have an indwelling Holy Spirit. You have continual comfort. You have a continual Teacher of the Word of God. You have a continual Guide into all truth. You have a continual empowering from the Holy Spirit. We wouldn't have had it if Jesus Christ hadn't ascended.
Secondly, go with me if you would to Hebrews chapter number 4. The reasons for the ascension. First of all to send the Holy Spirit. "If I don't go. He won't come," Christ says. Hebrews 4, He went to Heaven so that He could be our great High Priest.
- Hebrews 4:14
"Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens"
Do you see it? Christ did not assume His high priestly role until he passed into the heavens. Alright. Do you see how it works?
"Seeing that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession."
If we didn't have a great high priest, we would struggle with our profession. We would struggle with our eternal security. We would struggle with our salvation, but we don't have to do that because we have a great high priest.
- Verse 15,
"For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities;"
Have you ever gone to someone and tried to explain to them the problems that you are going through or the struggles that you are having and they just don't get it? Ever had that? People have come to me, as Pastor, and they try to explain, and there are some things I just haven't experienced. I mean, I can try and give some Biblical counsel. I don't think you have to experience everything to be able to explain what the Bible has to say about things. But if you come to me with the loss of a spouse, I've never experienced the loss of a spouse. I've never experienced the loss of a parent. There are a lot of things in this life that I've not experienced and so I don't necessarily have the experience to know what's going on inside your head. Again, I know what the Bible has to say but maybe I haven't experienced it. But the Bible says we don't have a high priest like that. We don't have a high priest who cannot be touched by our infirmities. He understands.
- Verse number 15 the second half,
"but was in all points tempted like as we are , yet without sin."
"Let us therefore."
Because He's a great High Priest, because He understands, because He ascended into Heaven.
- "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."
Aren't you glad today that Jesus Christ ascended to be your High Priest? Aren't you glad that He ascended to make intercession for us? Aren't you glad that when we sin we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous? Aren't you glad that when the accuser of the brethern, Satan stands before God and accuses us that our High Priest, Jesus Christ stands as our advocate? Aren't you glad for that today? And all of that is a result of the ascension. All those blessings I have and the fact that I can go to God in prayer are a result of the ascension. The fact that I can confess my sin through Jesus Christ, is a result of the ascension. All of that is taking place because Christ was willing to go back to his Father.
Go back with me if you would please to the book of Acts, chapter number 1. The reasons for the ascension, again there are numerous reasons, that's certainly not an exhaustive list, but just a couple that really have relevance to us today. He ascended so that He could give us the Holy Spirit. He ascended so that He could become our High Priest. So we've seen the reasons for the ascension, secondly I want you to see the return.
- Verse 10, the Bible says:
- "And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up,"
Now, I just want you to stop here for a second. What do you suppose the look is on the faces of these guys? Now, I'm not trying to be humorous here but at the same time you know we just read these things and you've been talking to the Savior who's crucified, dead, buried, rose again. He's talking to you. He tells you to do something and then He just starts going up. What would your response be? Do you just stand there and watch him go? That's the picture, while they stood there gazing up into Heaven and He just keeps going. The Bible says, "a cloud received Him out of their sight." They are standing there. Wouldn't you be? I mean, I just want you to get the picture here of what's going on. They are looking up in the sky and one minute He was talking to them and the next minute, I don't know how fast he went, but He ascends out of their sight, a cloud receives Him, He's gone, and they're just kind of standing there watching Him. If you ever watch a picture of the space shuttle blast off, everybody stands there and watches. Don't they? Even when it's gone. You can't see it anymore, they're still standing there watching it. I'm not so sure they don't have some sort of dumbfounded expression on their face, because they've never seen this before. This is different and He's told them He's going to ascend but we know some of the struggles that they have had along the way and all of a sudden He's gone. The Bible says, "The cloud took him out of their sight." And they are standing there and these two men show up. We know it's not two men. I think they were angels. The Bible says, "two men stood by them in white apparel." I think we have angels coming and talking to them. And these angels said unto them
- Verse number 11
- Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven?
So there's the picture. They are just standing there, dumbfounded, watching, wondering, and don't you suppose somewhere in the back of their minds some of them are thinking, "What do we do now?" Don't you think that is crossing somebody's mind? What do we do now? "Why are you looking up into Heaven?", he says. "This same Jesus which is taken up from you into Heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into Heaven." That is a tremendous promise from the Word of God.
There are three things about it I want you to see. First of all I want you to see Christ's return is inevitable. It is inevitable.
What does the Bible say?
"This same Jesus"
Not another Jesus. Not a different Jesus.
"this same Jesus, which is taken up form you into heaven, shall so come (again)"
The same Jesus that went is the same Jesus that's coming back. He was taken up, you men of Galilee. You watched him go. He's coming back again and the Bible says not only is He coming back, but He's coming back in the same manner as you have seen him go. Very interesting. We won't take time to look at it here, but Revelation 1:7 says, "Behold he cometh with clouds." How did Jesus Christ go up? He went up into the clouds, didn't he? The Bible is very clear here. He's coming back the same way that He went.
We have two comings of Jesus and we need to make sure that we keep them distinct. I believe that He's talking about the millennial return here. I don't believe that He is talking about the rapture. I believe He's talking about the millennium because in the millennium or before the millennium Jesus Christ comes back to earth. Is that correct? Zachariah 14:4 says that He will set His feet upon the mount of Olives. By the way, where did He ascend from? Mount of Olives. That is what it says there in verse number 12." From the mount called Olivet." He ascended up from the Mount of Olives. Zachariah 14:4 says He's going to come back again to the Mount of Olives and when He does that He's going to destroy His enemies and set up the millennial kingdom. This is not the rapture. What happens in the rapture? Does Jesus Christ come all the way back to earth at the rapture? The Bible says we will meet Him where? In the air. "And so shall we ever be with the Lord." Two different comings. You can not confuse the two. Sometimes we tend to jumble them all together but they are distinct in the Scriptures. You need to make sure you keep them that way. Jesus Christ coming back in the air.
- I Thessalonians 4:16, 17,
"We shall meet Him in the air."
- I Corinthians 15:52,
"For the trumpet shall sound and we shall be raised incorruptible and shall be changed."
This is going to happen at the rapture. The rapture's going to come, then seven years later we have the return of Jesus Christ, where He comes back to earth completely. But here's the question. If Jesus Christ came back in the rapture today, would you be ready? See the Bible tells me that I should watch, for I don't know when He's coming back and He's talking in those passages of Scripture about the millennium. The rapture's going to take place seven years before that. Are you ready if Jesus Christ were to come today? If the trumpet sounded today would you be ready? See He says, "this same Jesus," is coming back. He's coming back. Are you ready if Jesus Christ should come today? You say, "Well, I don't think He's going to come today." What does the Bible say, "In such a time you think not the Son of Man cometh." Such a time you think not. When you think it's never going to happen that's the exact time. Oh, people are always setting dates and they are always wrong. The Bible says they will always be wrong. When somebody thinks it's not going to happen that's when it's going to take place and the second coming of Christ could be today. Are you ready? Are you born again? Are you sure you are on your way to Heaven? If Jesus Christ came right now and we were raptured out, those that are saved, would you be left behind? You say, "Oh, I don't know. I know what I'd do if that happened and I was left behind. I'd get saved right away." No, you wouldn't. The Bible says that they will be believe strong delusion. That they all might be damned who rejected the truth and I'm paraphrasing there a little bit. But the Bible is very clear in II Thessalonians that people that had an opportunity to be saved before the rapture don't get a second chance after the rapture. They will be damned and that's the Bible expression. They will be damned because they didn't want to believe the truth. They chose to reject the fact that they were sinners and on their way to Hell but Jesus Christ died for them. And was buried and rose again for them. They rejected the fact that they needed to repent of sin and call upon Him as Savior. They rejected it. They didn't want to be bothered with it. They didn't want to believe it and they will not get a second chance after the rapture. And by the way my friend, if you're sitting here today and unsaved, you won't get a second chance after the rapture either. It is inevitable. It is going to happen in God's time table. The only reason it hasn't happened already is because God is long suffering and wants people to be saved. The skeptics were around back in Peter's day. Doesn't He say that in II Peter. The scoffers would arise saying, "Where is the promise of His coming? Oh, you said he was going to come back and He hasn't come back yet. He's not coming." What's Peter's response? He says, "a thousand years unto the Lord is like a single day." Jesus Christ has been up in Heaven for two thousand years. That's nothing to God. He may not come for another ten thousand years. He may not come for another ten minutes. I don't know and neither do you. Are you ready? See He ascended so that He could come back again. "This same Jesus," He said, "is going to come back again." So it is inevitable, the second coming of Jesus Christ.
Secondly, it's inspirational. The fact that Jesus Christ is going to come back again ought to motivate me today. Do you understand that? If you're saved, it ought to motivate you. If you're lost it ought to motivate you. If you're on your way to Heaven you should be motivated by the second coming of Jesus Christ. If you're on your way to Hell you should be motivated by the second coming of Jesus Christ. We won't look these up, I'll just quote them for you.
- Acts 10:42, the Bible says:
- "(Christ) was ordained of God to be the judge of quick and dead."
"he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world"
- II Timothy 4:1
- "Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;"
- Christ is coming back as Judge.Jude verse 14 and 15
- "Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,"
"To execute judgement upon all"
There is going to be a judgement on believers. Revelation 14:10 says we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ. Revelation chapter 20 speaks about the Great White Throne Judgement. My friend, when Jesus Christ comes back there is going to be a judgement. When He comes back at the rapture, the believers are going to be taken out and great tribulation is going to come upon this world and great judgement upon this earth is going to come. The believers are going to be taken out and they are going to go to the bema seat, the judgement seat of Christ. There is going to be a judgement on the world and a judgement of believers, when Jesus Christ comes again at the rapture.
When He comes again at the second coming and puts His feet upon the mount of Olives and establishes His millennial kingdom there is going to be a judgement upon the world then too. I believe the Scripture says that no unsaved person will enter the millennial kingdom. They are all going to be cast out into Hell. It's going to happen. There is going to be a judgement when Jesus Christ comes. And the angels say, "Hey, He's coming back. Why are you standing here? Why are you wasting you time?" Can we put it that way? "Why are you standing here looking up into Heaven. He told you something to do. He's coming back. You better go do it." And the fact that it has been two thousand years since He left means His coming is two thousand years closer than it was. If He's coming, why are we standing around doing nothing. He said He was coming back. We better go do something. We better go fulfill His commission. We better get alone with Him. We better spend some time in the Word of God. We better be telling other folks about Jesus Christ. We better be living for Him. Hey, He's coming back!
II Corinthians 5. Look with me if you would please. In verse number 8 he's talking about being absent from the body and being present with the Lord.
II Corinthians 5:9
"Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, "
- Whether we are with God or whether we are still alive here on earth.
- "whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him."
Are you acceptable in God's sight? The Bible says that Christ made me accepted in the beloved. I was unacceptable because of my sinfulness. I am unacceptable because of my sinfulness, but God accepted me through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. You see. He made me acceptable, who was unacceptable. He says, " We want to be accepted of Him." If you are unsaved today you are not accepted. You are not accepted in the beloved. You are not acceptable of God if there's never come a time in your life when you repented of sin and called upon Him to save you. You are unacceptable.
As a believer is He going to look at me when I stand before Him in judgement and say, "Well done thou good and faithful servant."? Is that what He's going to say about you? Are there going to be rewards and crowns for us to cast at His feet. Or are we going to be saved, the Bible says, "Such as by fire."? And just have some wood, hay, and stumble that burns up at the judgement and nothing to show for our service unto the Lord. Nothing to show for our years of Christianity. It says we want to be accepted of Him. "Why?" verse 10, "for we must all." (He's speaking about believers here.)
"we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that everyone may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad."
We are going to stand in judgement. We are going to stand in judgement after Christ comes back and the Bible says He's coming back. So we need to be ready. We are going to stand in judgement before Him.
- Look at what verse number 11 says.
- "Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord"
What does that mean? Knowing the fact that I am someday going to stand before a Holy God and give account for my life as a believer. And knowing the fact that an unsaved world is someday going to stand before God and give account for their rejection of salvation. Knowing the terror of the Lord, what do we do verse 11? We persuade men.The judgement of God which is forecast to us by the second coming of Jesus Christ ought to motivate us to be busy persuading men about their need for salvation.
But you know why we don't go out winning souls to Jesus Christ? I mean there are a number of reasons, but one of them is that we're not really convinced that Jesus Christ is going to come right away. We've got plenty of time. Somebody else will get to it. I'll get there eventually, but I'm too busy right now. I know my relative's unsaved but hey, somebody will get to them eventually. You know somebody else will talk to them. I'll get there. Hey, Jesus Christ might come tomorrow and it's too late. Do you know what I'm saying? Christ might come the next five minutes and that person that you've been thinking about witnessing to, that family member that you're going to get to eventually, they die and go to Hell. "Knowing the terror of the Lord, we persuade men." Knowing that God will cast that lost soul into the pit of Hell and torment forever, ought to motivate us to do something, shouldn't it? We are motivated to pursuade men. That word labor means to strive and it's a striving based upon love. It's a laboring, a working based upon love. We want to be accepted or well pleasing to him and we are persuading. And that word persuade means to cause to believe by our words. We are not just living the Christian life, which is necessary, but we are going and giving the Christian life verbally to people.
- Romans 3:23
- "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;"
- Romans 6:23
- "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
- Romans 5:8
- "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
- Romans 10:13
- "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."
Giving people the gospel, the gospel message verbally. A lot of people would like to live the Christian life and that's good and we do need to live the Christian life, but persuading men is not done by just living the Christian life. Knowing the "terror of the Lord" we talk to people. That's what it says. Knowing the "terror of the Lord" we talk to people and tell them about Jesus Christ. We tell them that He's coming again. We tell them that He's the Judge. It ought to motivate us. It ought to motivate us because people are going to Hell. It ought to motivate us because I'm going to stand before God someday and give an account. I'm going to give an account for people that God put in my path over and over and over and over again and I never one time gave them the message of salvation. I am going to give account for that. Family members, friends, coworkers, whatever it may be I am going to give an account for the fact the I never, ever, told them about Jesus Christ. Going to give an account for the community of Port Huron. Going to give an account for the fact that there are house after house after house after house after house that's never one time had somebody knock on their door and tell them about Jesus Christ. Going to give an account. Knowing the "terror of the Lord" we've got to go persuade men. We've got to persuade the unsaved to get saved. We 've got to persuade the saved to get right with God. We've got to be busy because Jesus Christ is coming again.
Lastly, go back to Acts 1. I don't want to spend a lot of time on this point. The second coming is inevitable, it's inspirational, and lastly it's informational. We well just give it to you and go on because we are running out of time. But do you remember their question up in verse number 6. They asked of him saying, "Lord wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom of Israel." The Greek tense there is continuous; they ask and they ask and they ask. It's an on going, "Are you going to do it now? Are you going to do it now? Are you going to do it now?" And He says, "Not now. This is not the time, but I'm giving you a commission. What's important is for you to go out and witness and evangelize for me." And He's carried out of their sight. Look what the angels say.
- Verse 11
- "this same Jesus, which is taken up form you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven."
You know what that is? That is the answer to their question. Remember their question? When are you going to establish the kingdom? Know when He is going to establish it? When He comes back to earth the second time. clear teaching I think in this passage of Scripture on the fact that Jesus Christ's second coming is going to be before the millennium. The pre millennial return of Jesus Christ. They said, "When is it going to happen. When are you going to reestablish your kingdom?" He says, "Don't worry about that now. You just serve me." And the angels said, "What are you looking for? He's coming back. What are you looking up there for? He's coming back and then He'll take care of the establishment of the millennial kingdom." So what do we see here? Jesus Christ goes up to Heaven. The reason: so that He can be our High Priest. So that He can send the Holy Spirit. He promises that He is going to return. It's a promise from the word of God. It's inevitable. It's going to happen. It ought to motivate us and inspire us to go out and serve him because we know the "terror of the Lord." We know what's in store and we need to go out and tell. It's informational so that we not get fouled up in all sorts of different eschatology. But we realized that Jesus Christ is coming again and the rapture is going to take place and then the tribulation, then the second coming of Jesus Christ, and then the millennium. It's informational.
Lastly, Acts 1:13,14, I want you to see the response of the ascension. We've seen it's reasons. We've seen the return. I want you to see the response.
- verse 12,13;
"Then returned they unto Jerusalem "
The first thing they did was obey, wasn't it. What does He tell them in verse number 4? He commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem. So the ascension takes place and the angels talk to them and what did they do? They obeyed. See, when you get a grasp on the second coming of Jesus Christ it ought to make you obey. When you realize that Jesus Christ meant what He said and He said what He meant and that He's coming back and if we love Him we are to keep His commandments. Particularly we who have the Holy Spirit indwelling us now. Who have the High Priestly ministry of Jesus Christ. We ought to obey! That's not a big thing, is it? I mean do you think maybe the disciples thought, "I mean we are right here in Bethany. It wouldn't hurt us to stay here. You know Mary, Martha, and Lazarus right down the street. It wouldn't hurt us to stay here."
Maybe they thought they should go ahead and do something. Maybe they said, "We need to go and start evangelism right now. Let's go to Judaea and you run over to Samaria and you head over there at Ephesus and we'll go start evangelizing right now." I mean it's a good thing to evangelize right. We believe in evangelism. But Christ said, " You go to Jerusalem and wait. I've given you a commission but don't do it now. You go to Jerusalem and you wait." By the way just let me say this in passing and I think it's applicable here. Just because you are doing something under the guise of winning souls to Jesus Christ doesn't make it Biblical.
Got some materials yesterday of the big Ecumenical thing to try and evangelize our community by the year 2000. And all these different churches, the variety of theological stripes are all getting together. Everyone is taking a neighborhood. By the way our church is in somebody else's neighborhood. Somebody's going to come and win us to Christ I guess. All these different doctrinal positions are taking up areas. And they are all going to evangelize this area. Well, I'm all for evangelism but let me tell you what. The Bible doesn't teach ecumenism and we can not compromise doctrine under the guise of trying to win people to Jesus Christ. We must be obedient, then we evangelize. And by the way that's what the disciples do here. They had a command to evangelize but they had a command first of all to be obedient, to go back to Jerusalem. So they went. The ascension, and His promised second coming motivated them first of all to be obedient, so they obeyed. Secondly, they assembled,
- verse 15
- "And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,)"
Of course, Judas was gone by then. Not just eleven but a hundred and twenty. And they were assembling. The hadn't just gone back to their homes in Jerusalem, but they'd gone back, dare we say, to the church, and they were assembling together. What does Hebrews 10:25 say?
- It says,
"not forsaking the assembling of the ourselves together, as the manner of some is;........and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching."
They had just been told that Jesus Christ was going to come again. So do you know what they did? They assembled because Jesus Christ was coming again. We're two thousand years closer to the second coming of Jesus Christ and we find all manner of excuses not to assemble together. "So much the more," assemble so much the more as you can see the second coming of Christ coming. It's getting closer. It's getting closer. We need to assemble. We shouldn't have to pull teeth to get people to come to revival meetings next week. Shouldn't have to go and beg and plead and cajole and cry and give away prizes and awards for people to show up. We shouldn't have to do that. The second coming of Christ is coming. You ought to be here. It's that simple. You ought to be here. You ought to be here for you and you ought to be here for the unsaved people you can bring and the backsliders you can bring. You ought to be here. The second coming of Christ motivated them to obey. It motivated them to assemble.
- verse 14
- "These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication,"
It motivated the praying. They were assembling together and they were on their faces before God praying. I don't know what they were praying for. Maybe they were praying for the promise that God had given to them. I don't know. Maybe they were praying for the soon return of Jesus Christ. Maybe they were praying for the unsaved. Maybe they were praying for themselves that they were to have their faith increased. I don't know, but they were praying! See, the second coming of Christ motivates people to pray. Motivates them to obey, it motivates them to assemble, it motivates them to pray. We have an officers prayer meeting in the mornings. 9 o'clock on Sunday mornings. One of the reasons we do that is because Jesus Christ is coming again and we need some power in the pulpit. We need some power on this place. We can not win the lost to Jesus Christ in this community based on personality or knowledge or anything else. The one thing that's going to make a difference in this community is the power of God and the power of God's not coming until we pray. It's why we have Wednesday night prayer meeting. That's why we changed the format on Wednesday night so that we pray first and do Bible study later because when we did the Bible study first, when it got to be time to pray, the back door would start swinging. Nobody wanted to stay to pray. Not "nobody," but all these people get up and leave the Bible study and they wouldn't go pray. Man, we got to pray! Jesus Christ is coming! We have a prayer meeting Saturday night at 7 o'clock for the revival meetings. Now I know why some guys can't come, but I know a lot of guys that don't come either. 7 o'clock some Saturday night we've got to pray. Why? Cause Joe Mark doesn't bring a revival in his pocket. God sends revival in response to prayer of God's people. Jesus Christ is coming again, we've got to pray. That's why we pray in the Sunday School hour. That's why we have a pastoral prayer and we lead in prayer. That's why we pray, because we've got to have the power of God because Jesus Christ is coming again! Souls are dying and they are on their way to Hell and people need to change.
And Lastly and I'm done.
- verse 14
- "These all continued with one accord"
They had unity. Not a unity like they talk about today. In Ecumenical unity which denies the truth of Scripture and says that were all just supposed to love God and who cares what we believe. But a unity based upon the doctrine of the Word of God. They were united. I'll tell you what. When you get down to the second coming of Jesus Christ some of the piddly things don't matter too much anymore. Do they? We've talked about doing this. I don't know if we are going to do it or not. We've talked about switching the piano and the organ to different sides. A gasp goes through the congregation. You know, people have left churches because they switched the sides of the organ and the piano. They've done that. Fights have started in church, not necessarily fist fights, but verbal fights have started in churches because they dared to move the organ to the other side, because it's always been over here and it says right in Maccabees that you've got to keep the organ on this side, you know. You've got to do that! And all this different stuff and oh, I don't like the color of this and I don't like the way they did that and all this stuff that really doesn't matter a hoot. That stuff we get all upset about. I'm telling you what. If we worry about the second coming of Jesus Christ some of that stuff wouldn't matter. If we realized that people were dying and going to Hell it wouldn't matter what direction the piano faced. Wouldn't matter. If you knew some of the dumb stuff I hear about. The dumb stuff. Stan and I have laughed about dumb stuff. Haven't we? The dumb stuff. I'm sorry, that's why I'm not saying what it is cause maybe you said it. But some of the dumb stuff that we hear about. I mean there are legitimate gripes. Don't get me wrong and there are times when the preacher needs to be straightened out. I know that and some of you are very good at it. I'm serious though. There are times when I need to be straightened out and there are times that I say the wrong thing and there are times when I do the wrong thing. I'm not talking about that. There are times maybe when there's a problem, a Biblical problem that has to be addressed. But I'm telling you sometimes these little personal preferences that dissolve the unity of the body ought to be forgotten about, if were going out and winning souls for Jesus Christ. I'm not talking about doctrine. I'm talking about stuff that in the whole scheme of things doesn't matter a hill of beans. What did the second coming of Christ do? They obeyed. They obeyed something as simple as, "Go back to Jerusalem and wait." How many times have young people said to me, "What's the big deal about? You jump on this. What's the big deal? It's just a little thing." If it's just a little thing why won't you do it? Isn't that interesting. It's always a little thing when you want them to do it. It's not a little thing to them. It's just a little thing. That was just a little thing going to Jerusalem. They obeyed. They assembled with the church. They got together. They prayed. They got on their faces before God and begged for His power. And they had a doctrinal familial community where they were going to work together as a body to serve God. My friend Jesus Christ ascended into Heaven to be your High Priest, to send us the Holy Spirit. He's done that. He's coming again. He's coming in the air at the rapture. He's coming to the Mount of Olives at the beginning of the Millennial Kingdom. Both times he comes there's going to be judgement. If you unsaved, one of those times you are going to stand in judgement. The books are going to be opened, the Bible says and another book which is the Book of Life. If your name is not written in the Book of Life, the Bible says you will be cast into the Lake of Fire.
Revelation chapter 20 verse 15,
"Whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire."
Forever and ever. Are you ready? Believer, we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ. Going to give an account. "Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord," we persuade men. We obey. We assemble. We pray. We forget about the dumb stuff and surround ourselves with doctrine and doctrinal purity and we are united to win a lost world to Jesus Christ. He's coming again. Are you ready?
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