Acts 1:1 The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, 2 Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: 3 To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: 4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.
You’re back from the dead! The doctors restarted your heart in the Emergency Room after a coronary episode. Machines were attached to you for the functioning of your vital organs. And it was doubtful for a few days as you lay in ICU whether you were going to survive or not.
Your family gathered in the ICU waiting room in order to visit you, two at a time, at the designated hours. Your mate has gotten out the will, called the funeral home, and searched for those elusive insurance policies.
But you survived! Now you’re back home, virtually from the dead! Your strength is coming back as the physical therapist comes to the house and works with you each week. Your priorities are now different! You’re eating differently and seriously exercising. But what do you do now? Do you take that long awaited trip to get away from all stress? Do you contact distanced family members? Do you try to reestablish relationships, formally considered hopeless and without value?
The Lord Jesus Christ is back from the dead! He has met with two of his straying sheep on the Emmaus road, turning them back into the fold by revealing himself to be the bread of God, by breaking their natural bread for them. (Luke 24:30-31). Then he appeared to his disciples gathered in Jerusalem. (Luke 24:36). And in our above listed verses we find that, even up to the time of his departure point, he will not leave them for his long awaited trip back to the Father, until after he has given them his kingdom commandments through the Holy Ghost! He was still blessing them as he was carried up! Luke 24:51 And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven.
What wondrous love is this? O my soul! What a life lived for his sheep! He will not leave them without his unending love expressing itself in teachings that can only have righteous meaning as he finally dwells on glorious resurrection ground! But his priorities are not different. They’re just progressing to their designed end! For he never quits doing what he always did! All things are done for their edification!
John 13:1 Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end. 1 Corinthians 14:26 … Let all things be done unto edifying.
What an amazing loyalty is shown by the Person of the Living Word to deny himself those glorious pleasures in the Father’s presence, to recover those precious delights, basking in his love that he had with him before the world began! Proverbs 8:30 Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him; John 17:5 And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. 24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.
We cannot imagine such wonderful things as he would experience as the God man, to first bring humanity to stand on its own merit into the presence of the Ancient of days! (Daniel 7:13). Yet he remained for forty days after his resurrection, assuring his church that he was alive from the dead, before he ascended.
The Apostle’s Priority
And this was the consuming spirit of others of his disciples! For they too had the Spirit of Christ! They too stand on spiritual resurrection ground! For regeneration is being raised from the death of trespasses and sins! John 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.25 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. 26 For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; 11:25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
And whether that Spirit indwells either Incarnation, or regeneration, He always acts in each within the nature of His own holy character! Romans 8:9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
Listen as the Apostle Peter expresses the exact same urgency of purpose in his own ministry, prior to his being taken from natural life. 2 Peter 1:13 Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; 14 Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me. 15 Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance. 16 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. In these words you can also clearly see his ardent desire to continue a ministry to the church after his death.
And the Apostle Paul was willing to delay gaining his eternal glory in order to teach the elect of God! Phil. 1:21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not. 23 For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: 24 Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you. 25 And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith;
What glorious, self sacrificing commands are these! For the Apostle Paul had also been caught up to the third heaven. He had actually, like Enoch, walked so closely with the Lord in the Spirit, that he had been swept up into the glories of eternity! But listen to that in which he was most thankful! – not that unbelievably marvelous experience, – but in the afflictions and infirmities of the cross that fitted him to better serve the church!
2 Corinthians 12:1 It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. 2 I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. 3 And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) 4 How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. 5 Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities.
Moses’ Law & Christ’s Truth
The two mediators by whom the Lord gave his law were Moses and Christ Jesus. Moses was A son of God, but the Lord Jesus was God, THE Son! John 1:16 And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. 17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. 18 No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.
Moses’ law was a law written in stone, which, of itself, changed no man when he had heard it! Hebrews 7:19 For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God. Galations 3:11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. It could only bring in condemnation, but never regeneration!
But Christ’s perfect law of liberty , which is the gospel made effectual by the Holy Spirit, then has that effectual result, being mixed with the grace of faith in them that hear it! Hebrews 4:2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.
And Moses was setting forth God’s instructive word. But Christ was setting forth and actually declaring (that is, bringing God out into the open to be seen) God, the eternal Word! Christ, through the Holy Ghost (Acts 1:2), was writing the character of God, the Word, upon the fleshly tables of the hearts of those whom he had chosen!
James 1:23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: 24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. 25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.
We still don’t seem to understand that true salvation – true spiritual life, does never come by education, which only illuminates! It only comes by revelation, which enlivens! That, dear reader, is why he speaks of the true, spiritually enlivened believer as doing truth (John 3:21), and not as one “doing good.” For the kingdom is not just in words memorized in the head, but is of the power of the Holy Spirit effectually applying the Word-Person to the heart! 1 Corinthians 4:20 For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power. John 6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.
True salvation, like the effect of the gospel is by the revelation of the Person of God! John 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. The Apostle Paul did not say, “I know WHAT I have believed.” He clearly stated, “I know WHOM I have believed!” (2 Tim. 1:12).
It would seem that if those who assume themselves to be “gospel preachers” knew these basic, essential things, they would quit writing editorials in their study’s, bringing them to the pulpit, and reading them word for word, expecting salvation and edification to result! For we do not need to hear more opinions about the gospel, but the gospel itself, preached under the anointing of the Holy Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. Zechariah 4:6 Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.
The King’s Definitions
We notice in verse nine of this first chapter of Acts that it was when he had spoken these things … He was taken up. And just what were the “things” which he concerned himself with? He, as King of all kings, laid out unto the apostles whom he had chosen the things pertaining to the kingdom of God. (v.3). For it is the king alone who establishes the character and nature of his kingdom!
And in verses seven and eight of this passage he lays out for them the understandings of the kingdom’s power. First he tells them of the things which the Father hath put in his own power. There are things dangerous to the children which are useful to the family when used by the mature hands of the parents. And the children of the kingdom need be instructed concerning this also. Deuteronomy 29:29 The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.
Then in the next verse he instructs them as to how they shall receive power. It shall be afforded them as the promise of the Father. And for this they must exercise that which is to sustain and contain their souls! – Patience! Luke 21:19 In your patience possess ye your souls. For waiting on the Lord shall be a life long discipline in the christian experience. Psalm 62:5 My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him. But it is not an easy thing to do. It will necessitate the burning out of inordinate affections. Psalm 69:3 I am weary of my crying: my throat is dried: mine eyes fail while I wait for my God. But only therein is the final attainment of salvation! Matt. 10:22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. (That word endureth is the exact same Greek word translated patient in Romans 12:12.)
Therefore their patient endurance shall grant them, not the power of the Father, but the promise of the Father. And that which was promised, being the Person of the Holy Spirit, shall afford them their own power!
Pastor Gene Breed