The Beginning of the Ongoing: Acts 1 (2)
Pray Psalm 51.10-13
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
And sinners shall be converted to You.
Sing Psalm 51.10-13
(Passion Chorale: O Sacred Head, Now Wounded)
Create in me a clean heart, renew me from within!
Take not Your Spirit from me because of all my sin.
Salvation’s joy restore, Lord, and keep me in Your hand;
thus shall I tell Your strong Word to sinners in the land.
Read Acts 1.1-5; meditate on verses 4 and 5.
1. For what were the disciples to wait?
2. To what did Jesus compare this?
The mention of “the Promise” would have cued up at least two significant ideas in the mind of the disciples.
Secondarily, the promises made to Abraham in Genesis 12.1-3 would undoubtedly have come to mind – a people blessed with the favor of God, provided for in every way, and extending the blessings of God to all the earth and every generation. God was about to fulfill this promise “not many days from now.”
Primary, however, because Jesus further clarified what He meant, would have been the promise of the Spirit, which was prominent in the preaching of such prophets as Joel, Isaiah, and Ezekiel. The baptism of the Spirit would fulfill the promise of Deuteronomy 30.1-10 and Ezekiel 36.26, 27, of a new immersion in the life of the unseen realm, one in which we are indwelled, suffused, instructed, transformed, and empowered by a Reality not of this world.
“Not many days” (v. 5). Isn’t that just like Jesus? He holds out incredible promises, and we take them, as we should, to be certain. But we cannot be certain precisely when or how those promises will be ours. That’s in the Lord’s hands. The disciples would still have to wait a bit for God to bring the Promise, but Jesus was making it clear: Their time of waiting was nearly at an end, and this Promise was well worth waiting for.
Treasure Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
Jesus told them to “wait for the Promise of the Father…” (Acts 1. 4).
This Christmas our daughter Kristy’s gift was delivered perilously early. I suggested strongly that she wait to open it. But waiting is very, very hard. She is notoriously bad about opening things when they arrive; and perhaps doesn’t even wait for the actual date of her birth or Christmas. She is a competent, smart, beautiful, loving and delightful woman of God. She just might be a little bad about this one thing. Anyway, she managed to wait until Christmas morning. It was even the very last thing that she opened. I mean, she really waited. And waiting paid off, for when she finally opened her gift, it was a sweet surprise and brought her great joy. Even she said she was glad she waited, because when she opened it, it was worth waiting for.
The disciples did exactly as Kristy did. They waited and it paid off supremely for them, too.
They were baptized with the Holy Spirit. The perfect gift at the perfect time. Worth waiting for.
God likes for His people to wait:
“Be still and know that I am God…” (Ps. 46.10).
“Wait on the LORD; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart…” (Ps. 27.14)
“Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him…” (Ps. 37.7).
“I waited patiently for the LORD; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry” (Ps. 40.1).
“But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength…” (Is. 40.31).
We are…”eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. For we were saved in this hope…we eagerly wait for itwith perseverance” (Rom. 8.23, 25).
“…wait for the Promise of the Father” (Acts. 1.4).
“To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation” (Heb. 9.28).
Waiting itself is a gift. And we will always continuously need to wait for sustenance from His gracious hand.
But there are some gifts that we can open now. It is allowed. Kristy concurs:
The gift of knowing God.
The gift of courage and strength to obey Him.
The gift of rest and patience to strengthen us for our days.
The gift of the Holy Spirit to lead us daily into our own Personal Mission Field.
The gift of Jesus’ imminent return to take us home to be with Him eternally.
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above…” (James 1.17)
Let’s tear off the bow and rip the paper and get busy Opening!
1. What makes the Promise of the Holy Spirit so special?
2. God likes His people to wait. What does it mean to wait upon the Lord?
3. Why do you think God doesn’t give us more specific information about the future?
Our Lord told the disciples the work they were to do. The apostles met together at Jerusalem; Christ having ordered them not to depart thence, but to wait for the pouring out of the Holy Spirit. This would be a baptism by the Holy Ghost, giving them power to work miracles, and enlightening and sanctifying their souls. Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Commentary on Acts 1.1-5
Closing Prayer Psalm 51.16-19.
Offer yourself as a living sacrifice to the Lord for today (Rom. 12.1, 2). Ask Him to use you for good in the lives of others and in building His Church.
Sing Psalm 51.16-19
(Aughton: He Leadeth Me)
No sacrifice, no offering would You have us, Your people, bring;
but broken spirits, cleansed of lies, and pure hearts You will not despise.
Refrain vv. 15, 18
Lord, open now our lips to raise to You sweet songs of joyous praise!
Thus let Your favor on us fall, and build and strengthen Zion’s wall!
Now build Your Church, raise high the wall of those who on Your mercy call.
And take our lives and let them be sweet sacrifices, Lord, to Thee!
T. M. and Susie Moore
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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.