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Final Instructions



All of us have been compelled in our lives to use textbooks as we progressed through the grades in our schools. Some of those textbooks were a chore to wade through and sometimes we felt like – what is the use in reading all this stuff? I am never going to need to know or use all this math, science, history, or grammar.

But, as time has gone on, we have come to realize that – well maybe some of that stuff was good to know and useful in my life.

This morning we are going to look at a textbook that we all need to read and follow its instruction. In fact, some of us brought that textbook with us this morning.

Well, by now you know that I am speaking of the Bible, God’s Word to us. And, in particular, the book of Acts.

Throughout this inspired textbook for Christians, we can trace the workings of the Holy Spirit of God through this textbook and by the men of God whom our Lord Jesus Christ had chosen to carry on His work on earth after He returned to His Father in Heaven.

What we see in the book of Acts is the carrying out of what the Gospel writer, Mark, says to us in His writing at Mark 16:20“And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the Word with signs which followed.”

In the words written we can see that from the death and resurrection of Christ, through the promise of the coming of the Holy Spirit, the ascension of Jesus, and the prophecy of the second coming of Christ, to the prayerful waiting upon God.

Looking into this portion of Acts, chapter 1 we will take a look at the earthly ministry of Christ after His resurrection and before His return to His Father. We will hear His parting words prior to His ascension, and the ascension itself.

Jesus wasted no time in preparing His disciples for the work He has called them to as He leaves this earth.

Throughout His time on earth, he has been instructing people in general, but more specifically He has been teaching His disciples to prepare and equip them for the work they would perform after He has gone to be with His Father.

So, His teaching to His Apostles was always continuous and always complete. They were present when He performed miracles and healings. They knew the work that Jesus expected them to accomplish.

Jesus’ parting words to His Apostles were in the form of a command. His close followers still were not understanding what he was saying to them. They asked, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the Kingdom to Israel?” Jesus, in Acts 1:6, seeing that they have pretty much missed all that He had said up to now, replied to them, “It is not for you to know times or dates which the Father has fixed for His own authority, but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth” (Acts 1:7-8)

The Apostles, at this time, were very much like we are at times – stuck with our preoccupation with the materialistic cares of the world, rather that the spiritual concepts Jesus tries to teach us.

Rather than being concerned with the timing of the events Jesus spoke about they would have done well to consider the nature of His teaching and His promises.

He spoke to them of a Promise – that a gift from God would be bestowed upon them after He had left them – that they would receive the Holy Spirit only a few days from then.

This waiting period Jesus informed them was both for their testing and for their preparation for the work they would engage in.

It was important for the disciples to be satisfied and tolerant to know that timing is still God’s secret. The same is true for us as His followers today. In Matthew 24:36 Jesus says this, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.”

And, in 1 Thessalonians 5:1-2 the Apostle Paul repeats pretty much the same teaching: “Now, as to the times and the dates, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you. For you know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night.”

However, Jesus wanted to leave His followers some encouragement, as they were to witness without speculating. They were to trust Him.

When Jesus had finished giving His final instruction to His disciples, He was lifted up and as we see in Acts 1, verse 9 – and “as the disciples looked on, a cloud received Him out of their sight.”

Two men, who appeared in white clothing stood beside them, asking the disciples a question. “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into Heaven.”

Someone has written these words concerning the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus:

“He is coming, this same Jesus.

Sweet the thought that soon the day

With its beams of light shall banish

Earth’s dark shadows far away.

This same Jesus______He is coming.

I shall see Him face to face,

In the saint-thronged courts of Heaven”

After Jesus appeared there on the mount called Olivet and after He had spoken to the Apostles, they returned to the Upper Room (Acts 1:12-14) where they were staying. The Scripture tells us who was among these men – Peter, John, James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James.

Their activity there was this – they were of one mind: continually devoting themselves to prayer. We might ask “Why did they spend much time in prayer?” They were thankful for the new hope that they have in the return of Jesus Christ to this earth. And they were grateful that they have access to Him through prayer, even while He is away from them.

Those are gifts we, today, must realize we have as well. Even in the physical absence of Jesus from the earth, we have the same connection with Him through prayer. We have the hope and the protection He has promised to us.

Our continuous ability to speak with our Father in Heaven should be the chief occupation of our time as His followers. Verse 14, again, tells us that they were “all with one mind, continuously devoting themselves to prayer.”

As we close, let us look at what the Ascended Christ provides for and to us:

  • The Ascended Christ is our Peace.

  • Our Peace is Perfection – because all barriers are removed.

  • Our Peace in Perpetual – because He lives forever – and we will as well.’

  • He is the Living Christ – He is Power

  • His character is joy, trust, and holiness.

  • His conduct is witness, work, and spiritual warfare.

  • The Second Coming of Christ is our Prospect; it is our Hope.

And at His coming, we will experience a personal reunion with our loved ones who have gone on before.

And, finally, we will experience and enjoy perfect satisfaction with Him.

So, don’t you want to be ready for that time?

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