Saturday, December 11, 2021

2021.12.11 Hopewell @Home ▫ Acts 1:1–3

Read Acts 1:1–3

Questions from the Scripture text: What had Luke previously made (Acts 1:1a)? To whom does he address this one? What did the former account describe? At what point did that account conclude (Acts 1:2a)? What had He done first to the apostles (verse 2b)? Which apostles? What else had He done to them (Acts 1:3a)? After what? By what kind and quantity of proofs? For how long (verse 3b)? Speaking to them about what? 

To be continued. Luke introduces Acts as the second volume of a two-volume work. In the first volume, the evangelist put together an account that was orderly (cf. Luke 1:1a, Luke 1:3b). He declares the intentionality of his history. He put together an account of what had been fulfilled up to that point (cf. Luke 1:1b). He describes those from whom, humanly speaking, he had obtained his information: eyewitnesses and ministers of the word (cf. Luke 1:2). He explains that the Lord gave him a complete (“perfect”) understanding of the things written in his gospel (cf. Luke 1:3). And he presents his purpose: that although Theophilus had already been instructed (literally, “catechized”), now he might obtain strong certainty about what he has learned (cf. Luke 1:4). 

Now, it’s time for volume two, which we commonly call “Acts.” Everything Jesus had fulfilled in the gospel of Luke is still just “all that Jesus began both to do and to teach.” It was only the beginning. In Luke 24:46–47, Jesus described how the Scriptures taught two necessary things: (1) the Christ suffer and rise from the dead the third day; (2) repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. The former are the things that Jesus had “begun” to do and to teach. Now, the latter are what Jesus continues doing. That is the subject of the book of Acts. 

Through the Spirit. It’s a marvelous thing that our Lord, even in His resurrected state, depended entirely upon the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:2) in His forty-day ministry to the apostles. The Spirit had visibly come down upon Him at the initiation of His public ministry. His entire earthly ministry was sustained by the Spirit. Now, they are to wait until He sends the Spirit down upon them. That ministry which is truly of Jesus Christ will always be dependent upon the Holy Spirit whom Jesus gives. 

By the Word. Yet, it would be a great mistake to think that dependence upon the Spirit looks like lack of study or unpredictable spontaneity. Through the Spirit, the risen Christ had given commandments (Acts 1:2). Through the Spirit, the risen Christ spoke of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God (Acts 1:3). In fact, these things were things that the Lord Jesus was teaching them from the Old Testament Scriptures (cf. Luke 24:44–48). The Word is the appointed instrument of Christ. The Word is the appointed instrument of the Spirit. Concerning the reality of the risen Christ. At the foundation of all of this, we find that “He presented Himself alive, after His suffering, by many infallible proofs. The story and advance of the kingdom is the story and advance of the King. God’s glory and Your good depend upon the reality and historicity of His physically resurrected occupation of the throne of glory. 

What should you expect from the book of Acts? How can this become effectual in your life and experience? 

Sample prayer: Lord, You have risen from the dead, ascended into heaven, sat down on the throne, and poured out Your Spirit. Forgive us for when we don’t feel our dependence upon You, or for when we are not sure of Your work by Your Spirit, or when we do not seek to see that work by Your Word. Use that Word, by Your Spirit, to finish Your work, we ask in Your Name, AMEN! 

Suggested songs: ARP1“How Blessed the Man” or TPH172 “Speak, O Lord

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