In 1983, a 50-year-old tradition was quietly dropped by the U.S. House of Representatives. The tradition involved the annual reading of George Washington’s farewell address on the occasion of his birthday. Democratic and Republican leaders decided it was useless to continue to read the lengthy address to a mostly empty chamber. “It’s too bad,” said a GOP aide, “but it’s time for this to be consigned to the trashcan.” The Calgary Gerald stated, “in past years, it was almost a religious act that the address must be read. Through war and storm for half a century, a member of each chamber has been chosen to read the address.” declared the newspaper heading, “nobody listens to washington’s farewell address.” Sadly, something similar is taking place in the Christian church. Fewer and fewer believers are listening to Christ’s farewell message. To his disciples Christ gave clear instructions – to go to all nations with the gospel. Acts is the history of the spread of the gospel and the work of the Holy Spirit on earth. The point of the book of Acts is to eliminate any excuses as to why you can’t participate in the advancement of the gospel. Whether you are young or old, weak or strong, smart or dumb, foolish or wise, God can use you if you are willing to be used. Today, I want to explain to you the ministry model that Jesus gave the disciples for making disciples of all nations. Acts 1:4–8, “ While He was together with them, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for the Father’s promise. “this,” He said, “is what you heard from Me; 5 For John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” 6 So when they had come together, they asked Him, “Lord, are you restoring the kingdom to Israel at this time?” 7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or periods that the father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the Earth.” God’s Purposes Are Bigger Than Our Plans Wait upon the Lord Acts 1:4–8, “ While He was together with them, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for the Father’s promise. “this,” He said, “is what you heard from Me; 5 For John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” 6 So when they had come together, they asked Him, “Lord, are you restoring the kingdom to Israel at this time?” 7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or periods that the father has set by his own authority. The disciples wanted to know when the final Kingdom was going to be set up. You can’t blame them. Jesus promised that each would occupy a seat on the throne. Jesus says, “you don’t need knowledge, you need power to accomplish the mission.” they didn’t need to know when He was coming back, they needed to know that he was coming back and more importantly, they needed to know what to do until He returns. Jesus warns them to slow down. “Don’t go out and start your own ministries in your own strength and ability. Wait for my plan and power.” Pentecost or shavout is called the feast of weeks. It is a time of showing joy and thankfulness for the harvest. On the first pentecost, Moses received the Word of God. Moses goes up the mountain and God comes down and gives him the law, and Moses speaks it to the people. On the Pentecost in Acts 2, God descends upon the disciples through his spirit, and they speak his word boldly to the people. Jesus wants them to wait because his plan was to bring Jews from the 4 corners of the world to Jerusalem to hear the gospel on pentecost. Pentecost was the second of the 3 pilgrimage festivals where Jews were required to make a trip to Jerusalem from all over the world. Jesus instructs the disciples to wait 10 days. Acts 1:3 says, “Jesus appeared to them during 40 days and speaking about the kingdom of God.” Jesus died on passover. From that day forward, Jews would count 50 omers or days until pentecost. Jesus appeared for 40 days and Oentecost is on day 50.
- Noah endured mocking and humiliation for 120 years while he constructed the ark.
- Abraham waited for 30 years before God came through on his covenantal promise.
- Joseph endured isolation in a pit and incarceration in a prison before realizing the promise God made to him 11 years before.
- Moses wandered in the wilderness for four decades waiting to enter the land that was promised.
- Jesus waited 30 years before he began his earthly ministry.
- Jerusalem is your home
- Judea is your city
- Samaria is your country