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

A Line of Continuity

The work of Christ comes down to us. Acts 1.1-3; 28.30, 31

The Trials of Paul (21)

Pray Psalm 22.23.

You who fear the LORD, praise Him!
All you descendants of Jacob, glorify Him,
and fear Him, all you offspring of Israel!

Sing Psalm 22.23.
(Darwall: Rejoice, the Lord is King)
All you who fear the Lord, now praise His holy Name!
You children of His glorious Word, declare His fame!
We stand in awe of our eternal God, and on His mercy call.

Pray Psalm 22.24-28.

Pray that the ongoing work of Christ will continue to the ends of the earth. Ask God to use you to bring His Kingdom to earth as it is in heaven. Rejoice in King Jesus and His rule over all the earth!

Read and meditate on Acts 1.1-3 and 28.30, 31.

Preparation
1. What is the common focus of these two passages?

2. What did Paul preach and teach?

Meditation
The book of Acts began where the gospels left off, with Jesus adding to, clarifying, and enlarging His teaching on the Kingdom of God. This is the message He brought to earth (Matt. 4.17), as is clear in so many of His parables and other teachings. The book of Acts ends right where it began, with Paul – and by implication, the other apostles – preaching the Kingdom and teaching all things that pertain to Jesus.

A strong cord of continuity runs through the book of Acts and into the epistles and the book of Revelation. It is the Kingdom of God, which believers are called to pray for (Matt. 6.10) and seek as the defining priority of their lives (Matt. 6.33), and to which we have been called by the Lord (1 Thess. 2.12).

Jesus secured the Kingdom by fulfilling all righteousness, bearing the wrath of God for our sins, and rising and ascending to His throne with the Father. There, He received the Kingdom, and gave it to His saints, beginning at the first Christian Pentecost (Acts 2; cf. Dan. 7.13, 14, 18). The reality and transforming power of the Kingdom are embodied in the Spirit of God, Who empowers us for our calling (Acts 1.8).

When Paul instructed us to imitate him as he imitated Jesus (1 Cor. 11.1), he was saying, in effect, make the Kingdom of God – righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Rom. 14.17, 18) – your focus and your goal in everything you do. This is what Jesus began to do in the gospels and what He continued doing in Acts, the rest of the New Testament, and beyond.

The ongoing work of Christ is to seek and advance the Kingdom of God. If we are not seeking the Kingdom, we are not in the trajectory Jesus and the apostles set for us. What Jesus began to do and what Paul and the others continued doing is what we must be doing as well.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
The line of continuity which began with the creation of Adam and Eve and the mandate given to them to be fruitful and multiply (Gen. 1.1-31); then to the earthly appearance of Jesus Christ (Jn. 1.1-4) and His work of redemption (Jn. 3.16) and His work of doing and teaching the Kingdom of God (Acts 1.1-3); to His commandment to His disciples to “Go therefore and make disciples…” (Matt.28.19), with His instructions to wait for the filling of the Holy Spirit because “you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me…” (Acts 1.8); through the Holy Spirit-infused work of the early church (Acts 1-28); then finally to us.

But that is not the end of the story. That is merely the beginning. Because with God and His work, and His expectations for us, and His compassions toward us that never fail, “they are new every morning” (Lam. 3.22) we have the impetus to do the works that have been “prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2.10).|

The work goes on. Daily. Internally and externally. Always growing. Always working. Onward and upward in the work of the righteousness, peace, and joy of the Kingdom of God on earth; and then finally to the righteousness, peace, and joy of the Kingdom of God in heaven. (Rom. 14.17) It is a win-win situation.

Paul’s words are just the words of encouragement we need to continue busily in our Personal Mission Field until the day we are called to glory: “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2.15).

“Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ” (1 Cor. 11.1).

This is God’s Plan, there is no other.
The Good News of the Kingdom prospers and grows through us.
This is the line of continuity.
“This is the way, walk in it” (Is. 30.21)

For reflection

1. How would you explain the ongoing work of Christ to a new believer?

2. How would you explain the role of Personal Mission Field in continuing the ongoing work of Christ?

3. Whom will you encourage today in the ongoing work of Christ?

Let us seek to live more and more in the love of the Savior; to labor to glorify Him by every action of our lives; and we shall assuredly, by his strength, be among the number of those who now overcome our enemies; and by his free grace and mercy, be hereafter among the blessed company who shall sit with Him upon his throne, even as He also has overcome, and is sitting on his Father’s throne, at God’s right hand for evermore. Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Commentary on Acts 28.23-31

Sing Psalm 22.24-28.
(Darwall: Rejoice, the Lord is King)
For He has not despised the anguish of our King,
nor from Him hid His eyes, Who knew such suffering.
Let praise arise from all who love and serve the Ruler of the skies!

Then all the poor shall eat and praise with us the Lord.
Forever we His praise repeat and trust His Word.
Praise God above, all you who keep His vows and who His mercies love!

All nations shall repent and hasten to the Lord;
all those to whom His truth is sent shall praise His Word.
The Lord is King!  His sovereign rule on high now we His people sing!

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 theScriptorium tab for last Sunday. You can download any or all the studies in this series on Acts by clicking here.

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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 the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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