HOPE THROUGH RESURRECTION – THE TASK GO YE!
In the last couple of weeks, we have looked at why Jesus remained in the world for forty days before ascension into the glory of heaven
Last Sunday we said he remained so that we:
- May be strengthened
- May be Empowered
- May not doubt
- May be Established
- May be Assured
After the resurrection, we can testify that the disciples were not the same anymore; Peter preached boldly and performed many miracles. It was a clear demonstration that His power came from the affirmation of Jesus Christ and the empowerment by the Holy Spirit.
We said that Jesus knew the task that was ahead in establishing the church, so he ensured that they were empowered.
The task still remains today, and we are the disciples that must carry on with the work. We should turn to the holy Spirit to give us the strength, courage and insight to accomplish our work for God.
The church did not grow out of nothing but out of the sacrifice and empowerment the disciples received from the Holy Spirit. He was the promised counsellor that Jesus has given to us as we give ourselves to His service.
Today we look at the task that we must fulfill:
Acts 1:1-11 New International Version (NIV)
Jesus Taken Up Into Heaven
1 In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach2 until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. 3 After his suffering, he 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. 4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with[a] water, but in a few days you will be baptized with[b] the Holy Spirit.”
6 Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? 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.
What is the mandate of the church (You and Me) in the world today?
Luke gives us the answer: Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
- Jesus’s post-resurrection activities were a preparation of the apostles to be authoritative guarantors of the truth of his resurrection and the gospel’s content. Today we serve and participate in the same role for we have accepted that we shall be his disciples wherever we shall be. When the disciples were emboldened by the Holy Spirit, wherever they visited they were no longer ashamed of the Gospel because they knew it contained power of transformation.
Jesus qualified the disciples as authoritative guarantors of the truth by appearing to them post-resurrection many times over the period of forty days.( Verses 3)
- We do not speak our own knowledge and understanding, but we speak about the kingdom of God. Jesus resurrected that the kingdom of God may be established through the faith of many believers. God’s grace and mercy is focused on us to be co-heirs with Jesus Christ of his great kingdom.(Verse 3b)
The final reign of God has arrived “in the events of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ through whom we preach the good message
- The Gospel is Power: It is important that the church continues with its missionary mandate. The Gospel message that Jesus gave to the disciples has power to transform and change the world. The Gospel’s key salvation event happened. We have the empirical evidence of the empty tomb; we have seen through the appearances after resurrection that Jesus is risen. He is alive! and we can unashamedly invite the unbelievers to hear our evidence and consider salvation because we have witnessed the risen Lord and He has given us the power to witness. (verse 8)
- Wait upon the Holy Spirit: In verses 4-5 Jesus gave these instructions to the disciples; “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with[a]water, but in a few days you will be baptized with[b] the Holy Spirit.”
- Jesus promised that God will give the church all the resources it needs for their missionary mandate.
- Acts 1:8 sets out clearly what the church is to be doing until Jesus returns. Through a command-promise, Jesus told his disciples of the resources, content and scope of their primary task. The essential resource is God the Holy Spirit, who will come on them at Pentecost as he did on Mary at the incarnation (Lk 1:35).
- By this Spirit-baptism they will receive the supernatural ability to work miracles and preach effectively (Acts 4:7-10, 31, 33; 6:5, 8; 8:13).
- Their witness will be bold and will produce conviction leading to positive or negative decisions (2:37-38, 41; 4:8, 13, 31; 6:5, 10; 7:54-58).
We need to appreciate the power that we have because Jesus’s promise was fulfilled with the coming of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2
- Be Prepared: Jesus was not preparing the disciples to go to heaven even though this will be the reward we shall all receive when we are crowned. Jesus empowered the disciples through the Holy Spirit to go to war and conquer the world.
- Many times, we preach the gospel as if salvation is a reward. Jesus left a big task for us to ensure we leave no one behind. We shall be held to account for every soul lost in our watch! Isn’t that scarily?
- Jesus said go and make disciples of all nations. What Jesus meant was that we shall go into the world and without fear preach the gospel until all hear and get converted. We have become comfortable! The gospel we are preaching today is a Gospel of reward, who will change the world?
- We are empowered to influence the world to change. We need to be perfect examples in business (market place), in media, in education, in family life wherever we are it is our mission field. Today we must arise and be the agents of change that God has equipped through the power of the Holy Spirit. What will you do?
- Jesus did not just preach the kingdom of God in heaven but here on earth. That is why he fed the hungry, he healed the sick, he resurrected the dead, he comforted widows and orphaned children. He ate with the poor and rich. God wants every Christian to be like Jesus. It is our duty as the church to provide not only to our families but the community. Jesus told the young ruler to sell all he had and give to the poor and follow him. Many times, we have missed it by caring little about those in need. Jesus asked John to look after his mother (John 19:26-27); who are you looking after?
Verse 6 “Lord are you this time going to restore the kingdom of Israel?”
The disciples were wondering about the political kingdom that the Messiah came to establish.
- When would it come?
- What will be their role?
Interpreting from the prophets, they expected the Messiah to come and conquer the Romans and free Israel. But Jesus’s priority was a spiritual kingdom established in the hearts and lives of believers.
God sets the time table of all events.
- We so much want to see comfort in our lives.
- We complain when our lives are not comfortable as we would like.
- We feel in adequate that we do not have all we want,
- We feel as though God has forsaken us. Mathew 6:33 “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well”.
Verse 10: “They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going”
Many times, we spend looking and expecting rewards of his coming with the crown of glory and splendor; Jesus is saying GO TO WORK! The harvest is plenty.
We want from God; what do we have for him? Have we partnered with him to conquer the world for his kingdom? Are we missional disciples or Jerusalem comfort disciples?
Think about that.