Waiting For Power From On High
– Acts One –


   Acts is the book that reveals the history of the New Testament church. If the book of Acts was taken out of our New Testament, we would never understand the rest of it. Luke is the author of the book Acts. He was also the author of the Gospel of Luke. Luke and Acts together make up about 28% of our New Testament. The book of Acts is God's divine book on the subject of church history.


   If we are ever to understand New Testament Christianity we must have knowledge of the beginning and growth of the church. The importance of the book of Acts is seen in the words of Acts 1:3. Luke spoke of those "To whom the Lord shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God."


   The common elements in all of the preaching throughout the book of Acts are: (1) Jesus fulfilled the prophecies of Old Testament, (2) Jesus is the Messiah, (3) He had a great miracle working ministry, (4) He was crucified as a sin sacrifice, (5) He was raised from the dead on the third day, (6) He now reigns as King of kings and Lord of lords, (7) He will come again, (8) The world will be judged by His word, (9) therefore,  all men everywhere  need to hear this message, repent of sins, be baptized for the remission of sins and serve God out of a heart of deep love.


   The events of the first chapter of Acts took place in the ten days that elapsed from the day of the ascension of Jesus Christ to the Jewish feast day of Pentecost. Luke begins with a brief review of the history of the life of Christ, His gospel and good works. The book of Acts, like the Gospel of Luke was written to Theophilus. The book starts with and stays with the theme of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. During the forty days following His resurrection Jesus had given much instruction to His disciples.


   Acts One provides a brief, but powerful look at Christ's ascension into heaven. His disciples were witnesses to the ascension. The apostles were commanded to go to Jerusalem and wait for power from on high. It was during this time that the disciples prayed in the upper room. While they waited Matthias was selected to fill the office of Judas.


   Jesus was presented alive – Acts 1:1-3: The book of Acts is a letter addressed to one man, Theophilus. It is, however, a message for everyone. It is a continuation of where Luke had left off at the conclusion of his gospel. In his gospel Luke wrote of what Jesus began to do and to teach. Jesus chose twelve men to be His apostles.  Just before His ascension to heaven he gave them explicit commands as to where they should go and what they should preach. "And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem." (Luke 24:46-47) Jesus' resurrection encourages our trust in Him and our salvation through Him.


   Jesus showed Himself alive after His sufferings and death. He was presented alive to speak things pertaining to the kingdom or church. During a forty day period following His resurrection Christ was not only seen of the disciples at certain times, but He was also heard by them. He spoke of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God, the Gospel dispensation, and concerning the doctrines of the Gospel they were to preach. Both the power and providence of God are seen in the resurrection, appearances and ascension of Jesus. Today Jesus still lives and because He lives Christians know that they shall live also.                               


   Jesus promised the Holy Ghost – Acts 1:4-8: The apostles were to wait in Jerusalem for the fulfillment of the promise of the father. The promise of the Father was that He would send the Holy Ghost upon the apostles. The apostles were to be baptized with the Holy Ghost in a few days! The apostles still had to learn that the preaching of the gospel produces the spiritual kingdom of Christ, the church. Jesus is not interested in some earthly kingdom.


   The apostles learned that they were responsible for preaching the gospel to every creature. Christians are responsible for the evangelism of the world in each generation. Every man on earth is lending his influence in behalf of either truth or falsehood. Faith in the risen Christ gave tremendous power to the apostles' preaching and it should likewise move us to evangelism.                                                         


   Jesus ascended to heaven – Acts 1:9-12: The apostles were allowed to witness the ascension of the Lord. The Lord Jesus was "taken up" because "up" is where God is. Heaven is where Jesus is now sitting at the right hand of God. The ascension of Jesus is in perfect harmony with the other parts of His history. Jesus' ascension was a fitting and natural termination of His earthly ministry.    


   This same Jesus who died to save us and that ascended back to heaven shall come again. He shall come in the same manner as He ascended. He will come in the clouds of heaven, and shall be attended with His mighty angels. He shall descend Himself in person, with a shout, and with the sound of a trumpet, to receive His own. They will meet Him in the air. (I Thessalonians 4:13-18)


   Jesus had said, "wait in Jerusalem” – Acts 1:13-26: Jesus had commanded the apostles to wait in Jerusalem. While they waited the disciples prayed, praised God and appointed an apostle. Matthias was selected to take the place of Judas that had fallen away from God. Let us never forget how wicked one can become who falls from his Creator. The work of Christ must go on even though some die and others desert the cause. Neither Judas nor any other who turns back to sin is suitable for heaven.                                       


   There can be no living apostles in the church today. Observe that specific requirements set forth for one to be an apostle. "Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection." (Acts 1:21-22) The choice for an apostle was to be from among the men, and not the women. Women did not bear any office, or exercise any authority in the church. An apostle had to be eyewitness of Jesus' resurrection; otherwise he could no be a witness at all.


      To become a Christian you must hear the gospel (Romans 10:17); believe in Jesus (John 8:24); repent of sins (Romans 10:9-10); confess Christ as Lord (Acts 8:37) and be baptized into Christ (I Peter 3:21). After baptism use your life to spread the gospel of Christ! “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.” (Mark 16:15-16)