Thy Kingdom Come
INTRO: Good morning. This morning we will continue in our study of the Book of Acts. Last week we discovered that this Book is really about Jesus.
I want to start by telling you a story I heard.
There was a couple who after spending a lovely evening out together came home to their children whom they had left in the care of a babysitter. They had a great night out together and were very pleased to find the kids fast asleep in their own beds.
The babysitter was about to walk out the front door when she said to the proud parents, "By the way, I promised Johnny that if he would stay in bed, you would buy him a pony in the morning."
I guess the point of the story is, don’t promise something you can’t fulfill.
Luke continues with the theme of Jesus, and he is now focusing on the days following Jesus’ resurrection. We know that Jesus appeared to His apostles on several different occasions.
Luke mentions one of those times in Acts 1:4 - “And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, "which,'' He said, "you have heard from Me;”
Luke tells us of Jesus appearing to some of the disciples in Luke 24:36-43 – “36. Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, "Peace to you.'' 37. But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit. 38. And He said to them, "Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39. "Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.'' 40. When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. 41. But while they still did not believe for joy, and marveled, He said to them, "Have you any food here?'' 42. So they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and some honeycomb. 43. And He took it and ate in their presence.”
I. Of course Jesus eating with His disciples isn’t the point I’m trying to make. The point is that Jesus never promises something which He does not intend to fulfill. Luke is telling us that Jesus instructed His disciples to remain in Jerusalem until the Father's promise, about which He had told them, came to be fulfilled.
A. What was that promise? The promise is the coming of the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, or Helper. Jesus said to His disciples in John 14:15-18 – “15. "If you love Me, keep My commandments. 16. "And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever, 17. "even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. 18. "I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.” I find that I must note here the phrase “another Helper” or as some translations have it “another Comforter”. It is the adjective allos (ä'l-los) meaning “another” which connects the Helper to Christ.
B. In Mark 1:4 we read; “John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.” John goes on and says that the time was coming when they would be baptized with the Holy Spirit.
1. Mark says in Mark 1:7-8 in speaking of John; “And he preached, saying, "There comes One after me who is mightier than I, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to stoop down and loose. "I indeed baptized you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.''”
2. In Acts 1:5 Luke continues quoting Jesus where He says – “for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
3. I don’t want to go into too much detail in this sermon about being baptized with the Holy Spirit but I will say this, in Acts 2:1-4 we find the fulfillment of that promise of Jesus that the apostles are baptized with the Holy Spirit.
II. At this time I would like for us to turn our attention to the Kingdom of God.
A. Have you ever been told something when you were a child and it wasn’t until later in your life you found it wasn’t true? For example have you ever heard these sayings?
a. If you break a mirror you will have 7 years bad luck.
b. The Easter bunny hides eggs around your house for you to find.
c. It is bad luck for a black cat to cross your path.
d. If you step on a crack you will break your mothers’ back.
e. If your upper lip itches you are going to kiss a fool.
f. If your nose itches you are about to have a visitor.
B. I don’t know where these concepts originally came from but I do know that many people still believe these things today. In our life we develop many concepts that are sometimes difficult to change. The reason I mention this is because the Jews were much the same in their thinking.
1. Whenever they talked about God’s kingdom they would have a different idea from what God had in mind.
2. In the days of Daniel, God prophesied through him that a kingdom would come. When Daniel interprets Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, he talks about kings and their kingdoms which are to come. He says in Daniel 2:44 – “And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.”
C. The apostles, like many Jews, thought that Jesus was going to establish a physical kingdom here on earth. They believed it would be an earthly kingdom that would conquer all of its enemies. They were itching to know when this great earthly kingdom was going to be established. When Jesus faced Pilate in John 18, Jesus said to him at verse 36, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.” Time and time again Jesus had to tell people that His kingdom was not an earthly kingdom but a spiritual kingdom.
D. Have you ever been longing for an event to happen in your life? Perhaps you looked forward to graduation day or your 16th birthday or your 21st birthday? Maybe you’re waiting for a visit from someone you know and love and you just can’t wait until that person arrives. Or maybe you’re waiting for a call from the doctor to tell you the results of some test that you’ve had taken, so that you can get on with the rest of your life.
1. The disciples were the same. They wanted to get on with God’s work. Luke tells us in Acts 1:6-7 – “Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, "Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?'' And He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.” They just did not fully understand yet what God’s plan was.
2. One of the biggest lessons we can learn as Christians is that we are working on God’s timetable—not ours. Maybe some of you are being a taught a lesson from God right now on patience. I know I am.
3. Maybe your longing for the day the congregation grows here at Chardon. Maybe you’re longing for a loved one or friends and family to become Christians. We’re all working on God’s timetable.
4. The Book of Ecclesiastes has a lot to say about God’s timetable. I’m sure we all know these verses. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 – “1. To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven: 2. A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck what is planted; 3. a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; 4. a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; 5. a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; 6. a time to gain, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to throw away; 7. a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; 8. a time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.”
E. The disciples had to learn patience concerning the arrival of God’s kingdom. At the same time, it was also important for them to know and understand what Jesus promised them. They were to receive power when the Holy Spirit came upon them, and it was going to happen in God’s time not theirs. It was only when the Holy Spirit came and they received His guidance that they could get on with the work that God had planned for them to do. They were to be patient but notice Jesus doesn’t leave them in the dark about what is going happen to them.
1. He tells them what they have to do when the Spirit arrives. Acts 1:8 – “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Jesus tells them to stay in Jerusalem until “you receive power from on high but once you have that power, I want you to tell people all over Jerusalem about me, go to Judea and go to Samaria and finally I want the gospel of Christ to go all over the world”.
2. That is a real lesson for all of us. We can’t just sit back in our comfort zones expecting God to send people to our meetings. We need to be out there and witnessing for Christ. I know these days we may not be able to be “out there” physically but remember witnessing is not something you do, witnessing is what you are. Every time you open your mouth, every time you speak to your friends and family, every time you’re faced with problems, you are witnessing for Christ.
F. There was a little boy who went to Sunday school for the first time and his mother said, "What was it like? Who was your teacher?" The little boy said, "I don't know. I think it must have been Jesus' grandmother because He’s all she talked about."
1. That’s you folks, that’s me, that’s every one of us. Most people don’t read the Bible. They read our lives.
2. When people look at our lives and listen to us talking we are witnessing for Christ and when people see us living our lives they should see Christ living there.
3. Peter says in 1 Peter 2:21 – “For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps”.
III. The disciples should have already been aware of what was going to happen. Time and time again Jesus spoke to them about things which was about to happen... and they were fulfilled.
A. Jesus ascending into heaven is one of those predictions. Acts 1:9-11 – “9. Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. 10. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, 11. who also said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.''”
1. This is the fulfillment of the Lord's own prediction when He asked his disciples in John 6:62 – “What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before?”
2. Having issued these final instructions, Jesus began to bless the apostles according to Luke 24:50-51 – “And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. Now it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven.”
3. Before Jesus came to earth, He was with the Father in Heaven. The apostles saw Him begin His ascent back to the throne. Can you imagine being there when Jesus was taken up into heaven? I can visualize the apostles standing there with their mouths wide open, looking up into the clouds where they had last seen the Savior. What a sight that must have been!
4. While they were looking, Luke tells us in Acts 1:10-11- “ And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.''”
B. We are not specifically told but most believe these were angels and let me explain why. Just after the resurrection of Jesus, Matthew records in Matthew 28:2-4 – “ And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men.”
1. Luke in his gospel records Luke 24:4- “And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments.”
2. John in his account of the resurrection says in John 20:10-12 – “ Then the disciples went away again to their own homes. But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.” From this it seems very likely the two "men" who Luke says stood by the apostles are angels who appeared in the form of men.
IV. I mentioned earlier about patience and I believe the apostles give us an example of what to do while patiently waiting. Those who had seen Jesus ascend went into the city of Jerusalem. Their time of waiting wasn’t a sorrowful time. It was a time of joy.
A. Straight after Jesus is taken up into heaven Luke tells us in Luke 24:52-53 – “ And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God.” This tells me that the time of sorrow following the crucifixion of Jesus was over... and now the apostles realized the events they had witnessed were a reason for rejoicing.
B. Back in Acts 1:12-14 – “12. Then they returned to Jerusalem from the Mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day's journey. 13. And when they had entered, they went up into the upper room where they were staying: Peter, James, John, and Andrew; Philip and Thomas; Bartholomew and Matthew; James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot; and Judas the son of James. 14. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.”
1. When a woman becomes pregnant, if she goes full term, will carry that baby for about 9 months. What are the parents doing during this time? They don’t just hang around for 9 months and wait for the baby to be born. They get organized. They prepare the nursery; get food and diapers, toys and medicine.
2. What do we do today while we wait for God’s timetable? We do what these eleven did. We do what Mary, the Lord's mother did. We do what Jesus’ brothers did. We do what these other unidentified disciples were constantly found doing.
3. We wait patiently and we prepare. We prepare by presenting our bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God. We prepare by transforming our minds, learning what is good and acceptable. We prepare by teaching others through our words and our example.
4. The disciples prepared themselves for what was about to happen with prayer as they waited on the promised comforter. We prepare ourselves as we wait for Jesus return.
V. It was sometime during that period of waiting, that Peter addressed a group of about 120 disciples to find a replacement for Judas. Acts 1:15-19 – “15. And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples (altogether the number of names was about a hundred and twenty), and said, 16. "Men and brethren, this Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke before by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus; 17. "for he was numbered with us and obtained a part in this ministry.'' 18. (Now this man purchased a field with the wages of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his entrails gushed out. 19. And it became known to all those dwelling in Jerusalem; so that field is called in their own language, Akel Dama, that is, Field of Blood.)”
A. I wondered why Judas had to be replaced. Perhaps it’s simply because Judas had been numbered with them and had a part in the ministry the Lord had given to the apostles.
1. If you ever go to Scotland and mention the Battle of Bannockburn and the name William Wallace people will know exactly what you are talking about and what he did.
2. If you go anywhere in England and mention the year 1066 and the Battle of Hastings and the name King Harold II of England, people will know exactly what you are talking about and what he did.
3. If you go anywhere in the United States and mention Abraham Lincoln and the Gettysburg Address people will know exactly what you are talking about and what he did.
4. During the days of Jesus, if you mentioned the place Field of Blood and the name Judas Iscariot people would know exactly who and what you were talking about. Remember after realizing what he had done, Judas threw the thirty pieces of silver down in the temple and went out and hanged himself.
5. Judas was seized with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders. The chief priests did not want to put the blood money in the treasury, so they purchased the field in which to bury strangers as Matthew tells us in Matthew 27:10. Everybody in that group who Peter addresses would have been acquainted with the facts surrounding Judas' death and the purchase of the Field of Blood.
B. Quoting from Psalm 69:25 and Psalm 109:8, Peter told those who were gathered that the Holy Spirit, through David, had said the surroundings of Judas, would become desolate and another would be chosen to take his office.
1. Acts 1:20 – “"For”, said Peter, “it is written in the book of Psalms: 'Let his habitation be desolate, and let no one live in it'; and, 'Let another take his office.'”
2. To choose someone to take Judas’ place, they couldn’t just choose their best friend or someone who appeared to be spiritually mature.
C. The person they selected had to meet a certain criteria.
1. Acts 1:21-22 – “Therefore, of these men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John to that day when He was taken up from us, one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection.”
2. Whoever they were going to choose had to have been with the Lord from the time that John baptized Jesus, right up to the ascension of Jesus. They would especially need to have witnessed His resurrection.
D. Luke tells us in Acts 1:23 – “And they proposed two: Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias.” Folks, here is another important point for us to recognize. Peter sets out the physical requirements for who is going to replace Judas but ultimately it is God who knows best.
1. We can read of this in 2 Chronicles 6:30 – “then hear from heaven Your dwelling place, and forgive, and give to everyone according to all his ways, whose heart You know (for You alone know the hearts of the sons of men),”
2. They addressed a prayer to the One who knows people’s hearts better than any of us ever will as we see in Acts 1:24-26 – “ And they prayed and said, "You, O Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which of these two You have chosen to take part in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.'' And they cast their lots, and the lot fell on Matthias. And he was numbered with the eleven apostles.”
E. When we are faced with tough decisions in life, God needs to be our first protocol. When we pray for God to help us with any decision in life, we are doing two things.
1. First of all, you are inviting God to look into your heart and the hearts of others you are praying for because you know that He knows everyone’s hearts better than we do.
2. Second, when you pray, you are expressing complete dependence upon God to help you make the right decision.
F. That’s what these disciples were doing in the upper room. They were acknowledging their own inability to see into the inward thoughts of others and they were expressing complete dependence upon God for making a correct decision.
1. As I think on this I realize that they asked the Ruler of the Universe to guide the selection process so that the right man would be chosen. Matthias was that man. God chose Matthias to do His work at that time like He chose you and me to do His work in this time on earth.
2. That thought reminds me of 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 – “But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Those of you who are not Christians this morning can be assured of this; God is calling you today also.
As the hymn writer Fanny J. Crosby writes, “Jesus is waiting, O come to Him now, waiting today, waiting today, Come with thy sins, at His feet lowly bow, come and no longer delay. Calling today, calling today, Jesus is tenderly calling, is tenderly calling today.”
The stage was set folks and God’s timetable was about to come upon them.
Remember when Jesus taught His disciples how to pray?
He said in Matthew 6:10 – “Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” We don’t need to rehearse that prayer like some religious groups do today because as we are going to see next time, God’s kingdom has already come.
Jesus’ spiritual kingdom is about to come in Acts 2 and it is going to be established and His promise to His disciples of the Holy Spirit is about to be fulfilled.
May we always go to God in prayer for all the decisions we make in life and may He give us the patience we need to rely on His timetable while we await for answered prayers.
We learn from the New Testament how to be saved. We need to hear the word; believe in Jesus; repent of our sins; we must confess our belief that Jesus is the Son of God; and be baptized for the remission of our sins... If we follow these steps, the Lord adds us to His church.
Perhaps there is someone in the assembly today with the need to be buried with Christ in baptism. If you have never done these things, we urge you to do so today. If anyone has this need or desires the prayers of faithful Christians on their behalf, we encourage them to come forward while we stand and sing.
# 637 – “Will Jesus Find Us Watching”
Reference Sermon: Mike GloverPrint
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