A Systematic Expository Study of the Word of God

 

Study 2: PRAYERFUL PREPARATION FOR THE PROMISED POWER

Acts 1:12-26

 

Before His ascension, His being “taken up into heaven”, the Lord had commanded His apostles and believers “that they should not depart from Jerusalem but wait for the promise”. He promised: “ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence”. What were they to do during the waiting period? Were they to be busy on some personal projects while waiting? Were they to be idle while waiting? While waiting for the promised power, were they to think, plan and strategize on networking with religious bodies in the land? “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and HE SHALL DIRECT THY PATHS”.

 

They returned unto Jerusalem, went up into an upper room and “all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication”. They were waiting for the coming of the Holy Ghost and they remembered what Christ had taught them. “Jesus also, praying, the heaven was opened, And the Holy Ghost descended upon Him” (Luke 3:21,22). “How much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ASK HIM?” (Luke 11:13). “If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink. This spake He of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive” (John 7:37-39).

 

PRAYING WITH ALL THE FAITHFUL, TARRYING ASSEMBLY

Acts 1:12-15; 2:1,46; 4:24-31; 15:25; Romans 15:5,6; Philippians 2:2-5; John 17:17-23; Luke 11:5-13; 18:1-8; Acts 6:2-4; Ephesians 6:18; Matthew 18:19.

 

The Apostles and all the disciples, indeed the whole assembly were earnest in prayer to God for the fulfillment of Christ’s promise. They all waited, in one accord, in unity of faith, perseverance and fellowship, asking for the outpouring of the Spirit upon them. Christ had promised to send the Holy Spirit; and their faith in His faithfulness led them to fervent, importunate, united praying. We receive the power of the Holy Spirit through praying. The promise of the Father revealed the will of God; praying to receive the baptism and power of the Holy Ghost is God’s will for all believers in Christ.

 

Many Christians spend a lifetime praying for a thousand blessings and benefits one by one. These benefits and blessings come through the Holy Spirit. The Spirit convicts, converts, regenerates, transforms, heals, helps, delivers, empowers, enlightens, guides, comforts, intercedes, reveals mysteries. He is the Spirit of truth, the Spirit of life, the Spirit of grace, the Spirit of holiness, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of love, the Spirit of glory. The early church prayed until they all received of His fullness.

 

PROPHECY CONCERNING A FALLEN, TREACHEROUS APOSTATE

Acts 1:16-20; Psalms 41:9; 55:12-15; 109:8; Luke 24:27,44-46; Matthew 26:23-25; Mark 14:10,11,18-21,44-46; Luke 22:3-6,21-23; John 6:60,66-71; 13:2,18,19,21-30; Matthew 27:3-10; 2 Peter 2:20-22.

 

Judas Iscariot was one of the disciples of Jesus Christ. He was “numbered with us and obtained part of this ministry”. He was called by Christ to “be with Him, and that He might send them forth to preach, and to have power to heal sicknesses and to cast out devils” (Mark 3:14,15). Judas, with the others “went out, and preached that men should repent” (Mark 6:12). He also had a unique and special responsibility among “the twelve” (John 13:29). Though he was continually outwardly associated with Christ, his heart was divided and he had departed from the Lord in his heart (Hosea 10:2; Hebrews 3:12-14). “The cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lust of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful” (Mark 4:19). He soon became a thief (John 6:70;12:6) and stole from the bag. He covered up his sinful character so cleverly that the other disciples did not know of his backsliding and apostasy (John 13:25-30). “The love of money” was the root of all his evil (1 Timothy 6:10). Covetousness had stolen his heart, he “erred from the faith and pierced himself through with many sorrows” and eternal damnation. The Lord, in mercy, warned him many times, but all the warnings fell on deaf ears. For Judas, the pull of money was stronger than the pleading of the Master.

 

“Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place” (Acts 1:25). With all the messages he heard, all the miracles he saw, all the money he had, all the ministry he obtained, all the mysteries he witnessed, all the ministrations of mercy he received, all the mighty men he associated with, he still perished and went to hell. Be warned; beware; watch and pray. Remember Judas. Remember Lot’s wife, remember Judas. Remember Balaam, remember Judas. Remember Achan, remember Judas. Remember Ahab and Jezebel, remember Judas. Remember Gehazi, remember Judas. Remember Ananias and Sapphira, remember Judas. Remember Demas, remember Judas. Hell is unending, everlasting, eternal, forever; remember.

 

PROCESS OF CHOOSING A FELLOW, TRUSTED AMBASSADOR

Acts 1:21-26; John 15:27; Acts 13:22; Luke 6:12,13; Hebrews 4:13; Jonah 1:7; Proverbs 16:33; Acts 6:2-6; 9:15-17; 13:2-4; Galatians 1:15,16; 1 Corinthians 15:9,10.

 

There was a prophecy still to be fulfilled – “Let another take his office” (Psalm109:8). And there was a divine example still to be followed – “And when He had removed him (Saul), He raised up unto them a man after Mine own heart, which shall fulfill all My will” (Acts 13:22). To fill the vacancy, the qualifications were stated and two men were nominated (Acts 1:21-23). They prayed, asking the Lord “which knowest the hearts of all men” to reveal His choice. Then they cast lots and the choice was made.

 

The casting of lots was used only during this period of transition, before the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. No other Apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, teacher, minister or Christian worker was chosen by casting lots. Even in the Old Testament, no leader, priest, king, prophet, captain, builder, worker, husband or wife was chosen by casting lots. Moses and Aaron were chosen by God (Psalm 105:26). Joshua was chosen by God through Moses (Numbers 27:18,19). David was chosen by God through Samuel (Psalm 78:70). The Apostles were chosen by Christ after praying (Luke 6:12,13; Acts 1:2). Paul was chosen by the risen Lord and by the Holy Ghost (Acts 9:15,16; 13:2; 22:14,15; Galatians 1:15,16). Please note the involvement of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in the choice, call and commission of Paul, the Apostle. Let us also learn that the choice of Matthias did not hinder or limit the usefulness of Barsabas, Stephen, Philip, Silas, James, Timothy, Titus, Apollos and many others. The Lord is still calling, choosing, sending and using people today (Isaiah 6:6-8; Acts 8:4).

 

 

 

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