The disciples were living in the dreaded "meantime" between the Ascension and Pentecost. What were they to do? How should they live? Did waiting mean doing nothing? As they waited, prayed, rejoiced and worshiped some principles from the Word became clear to them. They acted in faith and reveal for us a way of dealing with disappointment.
Jesus said, "I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high." When He had let them out to the vicinity of Bethany, He lifted up his hands and blessed them. While He was blessing them, He left them and was taken up into heaven. Then they worshiped Him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God. Luke 24:49-53
For 40 days after the resurrection, Jesus continued to teach His disciples/apostles about the Kingdom of God. God's intentions were far bigger than the 11 originally imagined. In fact, the task was a "God-sized" task that required God's activity and provision. The assurances of Jesus in this paragraph give us hope.
Drama, intrigue, politics, riots, shipwrecks, martyrdom, miracles, rescues...and all this in the ancient world in and around cities like Rome, Corinth, Athens, and Jerusalem. This is the "stuff" of Acts. Get ready for a journey that explains our early days as a church and gives us direction for our part in His story.
There are some common misperceptions about the Person of God and His grace. As we remember Jesus today in this Communion service, we should be reminded of what grace really is for clarity and encouragement. :)
In Dallas Willard's helpful guide to kingdom life titled The Divine Conspiracy, he used the phrase, "A Community of Prayerful Love," to describe what life would be like if we applied the Sermon on the Mount in our believing communities. How different our families can "look" and "be" when we practice the teachings of Christ. Church-life can actually be a preview of Heaven when we embrace the abundant life Jesus offers through obedience to Him. At the heart of it all is prayer...
"For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures..." 1 Corinthians 15:3-4
Last week we considered the words that other people said to Christ while He was on the cross. This week we'll consider the words Jesus said to others. The contrast is profound. While He was being mocked, He was blessing. While He was being accused, He was caring for others. While the weight of the world's sin was on His shoulders, He was caring for us.
The cross is one of the most recognizable symbols in the world. It has been this way since the third century. It hasn't always been used properly or understood in the way the New Testament writers intended. Nevertheless, we consider it with Paul as a matter for glory...for it was on an old rugged cross that the destiny of mankind was altered forever (See Galatians 6:14).
We've studied the first three parts of the trial of Jesus. The ruling "religious body" known as the Sanhedrin, had declared Jesus guilty of blasphemy. The penalty was death but they could not legally carry out the sentence. They needed Rome to carry out their dirty work and as the Apostles' Creed says, Jesus "suffered under Pontius Pilate."
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