I. "WILL YOU AT THIS TIME RESTORE THE KINGDOM TO ISRAEL?"
A. Jesus has just told them that they are going to receive the promise of the Father in just a few days.
1. For the forty days after His resurrection, He has been telling them about the Kingdom of God.
a. That glorious age when the Son of God will reign over the whole earth.
b. The wonders of His kingdom.
c. The glories of His kingdom.
2. Now when He promises that in just a few days they are going to receive this promise of the Father, it is a very natural question to ask that if this baptism of the Holy Spirit will coincide with His setting up of His kingdom.
3. It is true that they were expecting Him to set up the Kingdom of God in just a short time.
a. They lived in expectancy of the kingdom being set up in their life time.
b. There were even rumors going around that Jesus had promised that He would set up His kingdom before John died. John sought to correct this rumor in his gospel.
c. Paul had taught the Thessalonians about how wonderful it would be when Jesus returned and set up His kingdom.
d. They also were expecting that to take place during their lifetime. When some of the believers had died before Jesus returned to set up the kingdom, they were in great mourning for them, for they felt that they, by dying prematurely, had missed the opportunity to live with Jesus on the earth during the kingdom age.
e. Paul wrote his first letter to them to correct this misunderstanding.
4. Paul believed that the coming of Jesus was very close.
And that, knowing the time, that now [it is] high time to awake out of sleep: for now [is] our salvation nearer than when we believed.
The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.
a. J.B.Phillips translates 1 Cor. 7:29
. All our futures are so foreshortened, indeed that those who have wives should live, so to speak, as thou they had none. There is not time to indulge in sorrow, no time for enjoying our joys; those who buy have no time to enjoy their possessions, and indeed their every contact with the world must be as light as possible, for the present scheme of things is rapidly passing away.
5. In one sense it is true that we are all of us just one breath away from eternity.
a. In my first pastorate in Prescott, Arizona, I was of the opinion that Jesus was coming very soon.
b. We had a lady in the church who had been a missionary, and now was working at the Whipple Veterans Hospital.
c. Whenever I would speak of the nearness of the Lord's return, she would say, "Yes, I believe that the Lord is coming soon, sooner for some of us than others."
6. In talking of His coming again, Jesus continually warned of the importance of watching and being ready, for He would be coming at a time when the world was not expecting Him.
Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.
Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.
Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?
Blessed [is] that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.
Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.
7. I think that the Lord wanted them to live in that expectancy of His immediate return.
a. It gives an urgency to getting the gospel message out.
b. It helps us to keep the right perspective concerning material things.
c. It promotes a life of purity. "He that hath this hope in him, purifieth himself even as He is pure."
B. This question was off the mark, however, for Jesus was not then talking about His coming kingdom, but He is talking about the power they are going to need to be His witnesses to a doubting hostile world.
C. This is why Jesus dismisses the question with the declaration that it was not given unto them to know the times that the Father had put put in His own hands.
D. But getting back to the subject. They will receive power after the Holy Spirit had come upon them to be witnesses unto Him both in Jerusalem, all Judea, Samaria, and to the uttermost parts of the world.
1. The Greek word translated power is dunamis.
a. It is the word from which we get our English word dynamite.
b. There is another English derivative, and that is dynamic.
c. I must say that I like that better. There are too many Christians that are blowing up, rather than living that dynamic life of Christ.
2. This word dunamis is used many times in the New Testament, and is often translated mighty works, other times miracles, and still another time virtue. (Jesus perceived that virtue had gone out of Him.) The word translated virtue is the same Greek word. Power had gone out of Him.
3. Jesus is talking about the power to be His witness, in Acts 4
And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.
E. They had been commissioned to preach the gospel to every creature throughout the whole world.
1. From a human practical standpoint, that was an utterly impossible command.
2. It was humanly impossible for those few persons to carry the message of Jesus Christ to the whole world.
3. I am certain that they must have been overwhelmed by the command.
4. Jesus now shares with them the power by which they will be able to fulfill this command. "You shall receive power after the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be witnesses unto Me, both in Jerusalem, all Judea, and Samaria and unto the uttermost parts of the world."
5. You see, Jesus never commands us to do anything, but if we are but willing, He will grant to us the power necessary to do it.
6. Paul wrote to the Romans:
For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed,
Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.
And my speech and my preaching [was] not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:
For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.
F. I believe that Jesus was also giving them the formula of how their task was to be accomplished.
1. You begin in Jerusalem.
2. You then spread to Judea and Samaria.
3. Then you go to the uttermost parts of the world.
4. This is exactly what we see in the book of Acts.
a. They began in Jerusalem until it was said by the authorities in making charges against them:
Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man's blood upon us.
b. They then went to Judea and Samaria.
And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.
Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.
Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them.
c. In the next step, they began to take the gospel to the world.
Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.
As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.
And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid [their] hands on them, they sent [them] away.
So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus.
d. And thus began the taking of the gospel to the world, which they were eminently successful in doing.
We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,
Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love [which ye have] to all the saints,
For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel;
Which is come unto you, as [it is] in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as [it doth] also in you, since the day ye heard [of it], and knew the grace of God in truth:
If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and [be] not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, [and] which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;
G. It is interesting how that the Calvary Chapels seem to be following that very same formula.