Small Beginnings (7)
But those who wait on the LORD
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40.31
Rarin’ to go
No wonder they were so fired up and rarin’ to go. The eleven disciples had just spent the most electrifying forty days of their lives with Jesus. He had shown Himself to be alive by many infallible proofs. They’d seen Him appear and disappear out of a room, drive schools of fish into their barren net, reveal Himself to followers here and there, and join them in meals and fellowship.
For forty days Jesus reviewed and enlarged upon His teaching about the Kingdom of God (Acts 1.3), reminding His disciples of Old Testament promises and the parables He’d spoken during His earthly ministry, and adding more clarity, vividness, and color to flesh out their prayers for the Kingdom to come on earth as it is in heaven.
No wonder we find them, in Acts 1.6, eager to get on with the Kingdom and everything that goes with it: “Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, ‘Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?’” They had bought into the vision and were all about taking their place as rulers alongside their risen Lord.
The disciples had been through forty days of pre-game pep talks, and now they wanted to launch out into the field and claim the prize.
But Jesus told them they had to “wait” (v. 4).
Wait for what? Wait how?
The promised Spirit
The Kingdom of God does not come apart from the Spirit of God (vv. 5, 8). The Spirit of God is the power of the Kingdom, the holy spiritual energy that enables people to overcome entrenched self-love, reach up to God in worship and yield to Him in service, and take up the daily work of seeking and advancing the rule of King Jesus unto righteousness, peace, and joy in the Spirit (Rom. 14.17, 18). Before the disciples could get on with the work of the Kingdom, they would need to receive the promised Spirit of God.
The Spirit of God, when He came, would give them a new heart, a heart that could be shaped to love God and neighbor with increasing fervor and effects (Deut. 30.1-10).
The Spirit of God would teach the Law of God to the followers of Christ, and give them power to fulfill that Law, so that the path of love for God and neighbor would be clear and they would be able to walk it faithfully (Ezek. 36.26, 27).
The Spirit of God would bring forth the fruit of true spiritual life, life that rises above mere self-centeredness and the priorities of the world into the virtues and gifts that make for selflessness, caring, giving, and ongoing transformation into the image of Jesus Christ (Gal. 5.22, 23; 1 Cor. 12.7-11; 2 Cor. 3.12-18).
The Spirit would empower them to embrace the rule of King Jesus for every area of their lives, and to live and proclaim that rule as the Good News of Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, and reign (Acts 1.8).
And the Spirit would bond all believers together in peace and love, to build the Church of Jesus Christ into a holy, beautiful, and joy-filled temple of God (Eph. 2.19-22; Ps. 48.1, 2).
The disciples were to wait for the Spirit, for Him to come and indwell them; to convict, fill, and teach them; to lead them into all truth; and to give them the power they would need to fulfill their calling to the Kingdom and glory of God (1 Thess. 2.12). Until the Spirit came, there would be no Kingdom; and apart from the Spirit, there can be no Kingdom progress or advance.
Together in prayer
But how were they to wait? Go fishing again, and hope the Spirit shows up on the shore, a fire going and fish on the barbie?
Of course not. The disciples went to Jerusalem and gathered with a hundred or so of their friends and other disciples, and they commenced a ten-day prayer meeting, waiting on the Lord in prayer and crying out to Him to send the promised Spirit (cf. Ps. 40.1). We know that the disciples prayed continuously, even though there would have been much coming and going during those ten days (children to feed, jobs to do, errands to run, and so forth). They could not have known how long they would have to keep up their waiting, but they believed that the good things of the Lord would come to them if they were patient and persistent in this effort of united, specific, extraordinary prayer.
Ten days later was the festival of the first fruits – Pentecost. Jews from around the world assembled in Jerusalem to give thanks to God for the first fruits of their harvest. Little did they know that many of them would actually become that harvest, as the Spirit fell and thousands were converted to Christ and transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the Kingdom of God’s own Son.
That meeting of a hundred and twenty or so praying believers may not have seemed like much of a way to begin the coming of Christ’s Kingdom among men. But it was precisely what He ordered, and it therefore could not have failed.
Do we desire the coming of Christ’s Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven – powered by His Spirit, working in and through His people, for revival, renewal, and awakening? Then we must seek it in prayer, taking our stand together as watchers on the wall, taking no rest and giving God no rest until He fills and empowers His Church and sends us to the world as His witnesses once again (Is. 62.6, 7). The Good News and all the good things of the Kingdom will come to us, but only if we will wait together for a fresh upwelling and outpouring of the Holy Spirit of God.
1. Why is it important that believers join together to seek a further coming of the Holy Spirit?
2. How would you define the terms revival, renewal, and awakening? Are these aspects of the Kingdom of God worth praying about and working for?
3. What groups of believers can you enlist to begin seeking the Lord for a further upwelling and outpouring of His Spirit unto revival, renewal, and awakening?
Next steps – Transformation: Begin praying today for more of the Spirit unto revival, renewal, and awakening. Enlist others to join you.
T. M. Moore
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission.
To Those Who Wait
- T.M. Moore
- September 21, 2018
Here is the way to revival, renewal, and awakening.
Small Beginnings (7)
T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.