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Sermon: “The Great Fifty Days: The Promise”

1st Sunday after Easter

Sermon: Part I “The Great Fifty Days ‘The Promise’”

Scripture: John 14: 15-31; Acts 1: 1-5

Prepared by Carl Schaefer

For Grace United Methodist Church

April 3, 2005

  1. Series: 40 Days (Resurrection to Ascension) 10 days to Pentecost = 50 days. All about the succession, mission, and the equipping the Saints.
  2. Today, we anchor this series in the “promise” of the Holy Spirit; let’s first look at the account in Acts – the promise before death, and after the resurrection.
  3. The first 5 versus of Acts are full of different aspects, like the preface to a book, a short summary follows:
    1. to whom the book is addressed – Thiaphilus
    2. Description about the book of Luke – all that Jesus began to do, and teach until the ascension – “the day he was taken up to heaven.”
    3. The institutions that will follow – “after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen”
    4. Giving witness to his resurrection – (proof of the resurrection) through eyewitnesses – “he showed himself to these men and game many convincing proof that he was alive.”
    5. Time frame – “He appeared to them over 40 days and spoke about the Kingdom of God.” Connects us with early part of Luke – remember Luke 5 – “I must preach the good news of the Kingdom of Heaven…”
    6. State of his physical form. – “…on one occasion, while he was eating with them…”
    7. The first set of instructions directly to those who would succeed him “the future church.”
    8. “do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift of my Father – promised…in a few days…
    9. Description of coming events: “…you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

  1. Let’s unpack what was promised – baptism?
  2. Back in John 14 – he referred to the condition of the promise: vs. 15 “If you love me, you will obey my commands.”

vs. 16 “And I will give you another counselor (Holy Spirit) to be with you forever – the Spirit of truth.” …Jesus confirmed his departure vs. 18 “But I will not leave you as orphans.” …the Spirit is the living, resurrected, ascended, presence of Christ…vs. 18 “I will come to you” ….Prophesy is a promise vs. (20) “on that day you will realize that I am in my Father” following the ascension.

  1. John 16 – Work of the Holy Spirit. Vs. 7 “It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you.” … The living Spirit of Christ replaces the physical presence of Christ. The presence of Christ will be all-present, not just in the one place of his physical presence. Assignment of the Holy Spirit is referred to in John 16: 12ff –15.
  2. The disciples had to be fearful … John 20: 19, “on the evening of that first day of the week (day of the resurrection) when the disciples were together, with the doors locked in fear of the Jews. Luke24: 37 “Luke says…they were startled and frightened” when they saw Jesus.
  3. Not orphans…left abandoned and stranded without directions. Jesus is
    1. assuring them of his resurrection
    2. giving them assurances of the former promises
    3. another set of instructions
    4. describing a new experience
  4. Baptism of the Spirit…not just the baptism of water…John’s baptism of repentance, but baptism, anointing, adoption of the Spirit (Pentecost)
  5. Summary
    1. Announcement “I am alive” now you see me…soon not.”
    2. Remember the promise
    3. Instructions
    4. What will happen

Great fifty days is the preparation for the promise of the Spirit comes to pass.

  1. Part of the Good News – is to see one of Jesus’ first promises “come to pass.”
  2. Our salvation is a promise – remember Jesus’ word – to those who receive the benefits of the promise – back to the formula of previous covenants – one-way promise – “if you do this, this is what I will do.” John 14:15 “If you love me, you will obey what I have commanded” (If the disciples did start obeying his commands to stay in the City and wait, they would not have been in place for the promise to be fulfilled.
  3. Five short verses of Acts 1, full of what is to come – during the first 50 days.
  4. Lesson for us in Acts – we too are the benefactors of the promise; are we obedient to the spirit of one baptism.

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