Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.
The Scriptorium

Marching Orders

The book of Acts begins with a reminder and a mandate. Acts 1.1-3

The Beginning of the Ongoing: Acts 1 (1)

Pray Psalm 110.5-7
The Lord is at Your right hand;
He shall execute kings in the day of His wrath.
He shall judge among the nations,
He shall fill the places with dead bodies,
He shall execute the heads of many countries.
He shall drink of the brook by the wayside;
Therefore He shall lift up the head.

Sing Psalm 110.5-7

(Aurelia: The Church’s One Foundation)
The Lord at Your right hand, Lord, in wrath shall shatter kings,
when judgment by His strong Word He to the nations brings.
Then, all His foes defeated, He takes His hard-won rest,
in glorious triumph seated with us, redeemed and blessed!

Read Acts 1.1-3.

Preparation

1. Which work of Jesus is the subject of the book of Acts?

2. How did Jesus prepare His disciples for this work?

Meditate
Luke’s “former treatise” is, of course, the Gospel of Luke. It, too, was written to Theophilus, that he might know the truth of things that were being reported about Jesus (Lk. 1.1-4).

The book of Acts presents the first records of the ongoing work of Jesus Christ, what He continues to do from His throne on high (v. 2), by His Spirit, through His Church, and for the sake of His expanding Kingdom and glory.

What Jesus began to do (Acts 1.1) was to “bring near” the Kingdom of God, invading, investing, and driving back the kingdom of darkness and the works of the devil (Matt. 4.17; 12.22-29; 1 Jn. 2.8), and establishing a beachhead for the fulfillment of such Old Testament visions as Psalm 72, Daniel 2.44, 45, and Isaiah 9.6, 7. Acts will tell us what He is continuing to do from His throne at the right hand of the Father.

Three matters stand out in these verses, which cover a period of forty days (v. 3). First, Jesus went to considerable lengths to convince His disciples that He had risen from the grave (v. 3). We read about these encounters in Matthew 28, Mark 16, John 20 and 21, and Luke 24. If we are not persuaded that Jesus is alive and reigning in glory, we’re not going to be very likely to follow Him.

Second, Jesus reiterated His instructions to His disciples. He gave these in the form of commandments, not options (v. 2). Jesus fulfilled the old Law and now He gives the new Law. That new Law brings the old Law forward with new power and focus for the purpose of making disciples of all nations (cf. Matt. 5.17-19; 22.34-40; 28.18-20) and seeking the Kingdom and righteousness of God (Matt. 6.10, 33). This must be our burden and agenda as well if we call ourselves followers of Jesus Christ.

Finally, Jesus reviewed and doubtless added to all His previous teaching about the Kingdom of God (v. 3). The Good News Jesus proclaimed is the Good News of the Kingdom. The Gospel is not merely a gospel of salvation and eternal life. It is the Gospel of the Kingdom, of a new order and economy which has broken into the old sinful and dying world to bring new hope, new life, and new power for restoring the world for the glory of God. We have been sent like Jesus to seek, bring near, and advance this Kingdom in every area of our lives (Jn. 20.21).

These verses set the cornerstone for Acts. They will guide Luke in all his reporting of the exciting and almost unbelievable beginnings of the ongoing work of Jesus Christ.

Treasure Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
The first book of Luke was about “all that Jesus began both to do and teach” (Acts 1.1), and the second is about how Jesus’ command and commission in Acts 1.8 began to be fulfilled. It is “the story of the men and women who took that commission seriously and began to spread the news of a risen Savior to the most remote corners of the known world” (from NKJV preface to the Book of Acts).

“This must be our burden and agenda as well if we call ourselves followers of Jesus Christ.”

We will have confidence to carry this burden and agenda because we are sure of our calling; and we are sure of the Savior Who has called us.
“For thus says the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel:
‘In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength” (Is. 30.15).
“Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me” (Mk. 8.34).

We believe that He is alive: “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen!” (Lk. 24.5, 6).

We believe that He is ruling from heaven in His Kingdom: “For Yours is the Kingdom and the power and the glory forever” (Matt. 6.13).

We believe that we are members of His Kingdom, therefore we eagerly serve our living King: “…whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Matt. 20.26-28).

We agree to live gladly by the rules set forth by our King: “Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets” (Matt. 22.37-40).

As the Body of Christ, the unwritten third book of Luke, let us take up our marching orders and follow Him daily into our own Personal Mission Field, to “spread the news of a risen Savior” into our corner of the world.

For reflection
1. How do you know that Jesus is risen from the dead? What difference does that make in your life?

2. What commandments has Jesus given you, that you should follow day by day?

3. How does seeking the Kingdom and righteousness of Jesus serve to inform and guide your daily life?

What did he command? “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Great is the praise of the apostles, when they have been entrusted with such a charge, that is to say, the salvation of the world. John Chrysostom (354-407) Homilies on the Acts of the Apostles

Pray Psalm 110.1-4
Spend some minutes meditating on Jesus, exalted in glory. Praise Him for His excellent greatness, then offer yourself today as a “volunteer” to go to your world like the refreshing dew of the morning, bearing the grace and Good News of Jesus as you go.

Sing Psalm 110.1-4
(Aurelia: The Church’s One Foundation)
“Sit by Me at My right hand,” the Lord says to my Lord,
“until I make Your foot stand on all who hate Your Word.”
From in His Church the Savior rules all His enemies;
while those who know His favor go forth the Lord to please.

Filled with the Spirit’s power, in holy robes of love,
from early morning’s hour they serve their Lord above.
Christ reigns a priest forever, the King of Righteousness
and King of Peace who ever His chosen ones will bless.

T. M. and Susie Moore

You can listen to a summary of last week’s Scriptorium study by going to our website, www.ailbe.org, and clicking the Scriptorium tab for Sunday. For more about what Jesus is doing at the right hand of God, order a free copy of our book, What in Heaven Is Jesus Doing on Earth? (click here).

We’re happy to provide a free companion study to our study of the book of Acts. The Ongoing Work of Christ considers the book of Acts thematically. It is suitable for personal or group use, and you may have a free PDF copy of The Ongoing Work of Christ by requesting it from us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by clicking here.

T.M. Moore

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.
Books by T. M. Moore

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