Easter's Over...Now What
Last week we celebrated the resurrection! But can you imagine what it was like for the disciples? On Thursday they experienced the Last Supper with Jesus. Then suddenly He was led away and eventually He was crucified. The disciples literally scattered that night not sure what had taken place but they knew that their Master had been killed and they had seen Him die on the cross.
But then on Sunday they began to hear reports that His body was missing. Had He risen from the dead? Did He not tell us that He would? Then He was seen first by this disciple and then these disciples and finally by as many as 500 at once!
Luke tells us that Jesus presented Himself “by many infallible proofs” (Acts 1:3) to the disciples over a period of 40 days. I believe that these proofs were so well known at the time that Luke did not take the time to write them down because they were known.
J. Vernon McGee has noted: “There are ten recorded appearances of Jesus after His resurrection. His post-resurrection ministry, as revealed in His appearances, has a more important bearing on the lives of Christians today than does the three year ministry recorded in the Gospels.
The problem of the unbeliever today is not with the facts but with his own unbelief. The facts are available. I wonder whether anyone doubts that the Battle of Waterloo was an historical event. Very frankly, I believe that Napoleon lived, and I believe that he fought the Battle of Waterloo. But I have very little evidence for it. Actually there is ten thousand times more evidence for the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ than there is for the Battle of Waterloo, and yet there are people today who say they do not believe it. Where is the problem? The problem is in the heart, the unbelieving heart. There is a natural tendency for man to run away from God just as Adam did. Man turns his back upon God today. If you are an unbeliever, the problem is with you. The problem is not in the Word of God. He showed Himself alive by many infallible proofs. You can know if you really want to know. The problem is that you don’t want to know. The problem is not in the mind; the problem is in the will.
Let me insert a comment here about the Resurrection. There is a verse which I think has been twisted and distorted. The Lord Jesus Christ said, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me” (John 12:32). How was He lifted up? He was lifted up in the Resurrection, friend, lifted up from the dead. That is the message. Regardless of how much you talk about Jesus or how lovely you say that He is, the message is that He has been lifted up from the dead. He is risen! The reason that more people are not drawn to Christ is that there is not the preaching of a resurrected Christ.
We must preach Jesus crucified because there is where the penalty of our sin was paid for. But we had also better preach Jesus risen for there is our hope in eternity!
These disciples were so convinced of the RISEN Jesus that they were living boldly for Jesus. The Jews later stated of them that they had “turned the world upside down.” (Acts 17:6)
How were they able to “turn the world upside down”? I think there are at least four things that I can see in this passage that give us a hint.
1. They Saw
They saw Jesus crucified but they also had seen the risen Savior. Their king was not in the grave but He was alive! Not only was He alive but they had seen Him and He had transformed their lives.
· They had seen the blind receive sight.
· The lame to walk.
· The leper was touched and healed.
· He had fed the hungry.
· Cast the demons out of men.
· He had brought the dead back to life.
· He had eaten with sinners.
· He had met the prostitute where she was.
· He held their children.
· He had eaten with them.
· He had laughed with them.
· He had changed their lives.
They not only had seen Him but He had changed their lives.
2. They Obeyed
Not only had they seen Jesus and it changed their lives but it produced obedience. Jesus gave them specific instructions that day. They were not to leave Jerusalem. What did they do to obey God? They did at least three things:
a. Waited Being obedient means waiting often. We must learn to wait on God’s timing.
Many times we do not understand but God wants us to wait. Many times we want things now and God wants to teach us to wait on Him.
What about our PCI deal? We could go ahead and actually violate scripture or we can wait on God and see what He is going to do.
“Where would I be if God had answered all my prayers?”
b. Prayed They gathered back in the upper room and they “continued in prayer”
That word “continued” is a word that shows a continuing action. They started praying and very obviously for the next ten days they prayed. How long have you prayed today? This weekend? This week? I truly believe that we have not because we ask not, we ask not because we are not willing to sacrifice.
This week in our men’s small group we looked at the sacrifice that was necessary for us to be the men of God that we need to be. I also believe that is why it takes a real man to be a man of God. We don’t need wimps, we need to step up to the plate and be men!
c. United And we must noted that they were “in one accord”, they were united!
“Church would be okay if weren’t for all the Christians!”
Look at your church covenant. The very first section deals with the unity of the church:
To protect the unity of our church
-by acting in love toward other members
Romans 14:19 “Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.”(NKJV)
1 Peter 1:22 “By obedience to the truth, having purified yourselves for sincere love of the brothers, love one another earnestly from a pure heart.” (HCSB)
-by refusing to gossip
Ephesians 4:29 “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (NIV)
-by following the spiritual leaders
Hebrews 13:7 “Remember your leaders who have spoken God’s word to you. As you carefully observe the outcome of their lives, imitate their faith.” (HCSB)
The reason we want you to agree to and sign a church covenant is because we are going to be a church that is in unity. By signing this with all the rest of us you are agreeing that this is how you will conduct yourself, according to scripture. And I promise I will hold you to it. We will not put up with anything within this church that is not unifying. That doesn’t mean everybody is your best buddy but they are your brothers and sisters!
3. They Received Power
This is the Greek word “dunamis” and it is an inherent power. All of the words derived from the stem of this word have the basic meaning of being able and capable. When they received this power they would then be able and capable to do what Jesus wanted them to do. They were not going to do this in their strength but through the power that He would send to them.
Jesus had told them in Luke 24:49 that they were “to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”
All of this and verse 8 explains that the power of the believer and the church comes from God. It is not in our strength.
Look what took place in Acts 2:1-6.
4. They Used the Power
Look back at Acts 1:9-11. They were gazing but then they became obedient.
But not only did they receive power they used the power. Continue looking at Acts 2:7-14, 37-41.
Here are SOME of the results: Acts 2:41, 2:47, 4:4, 5:14, 6:1, 6:7, 8:6, 9:31, 12:24, 13:49, 14:21, 16:5, 17:4, 17:34, 18:8, 19:20.
In closing it is important to look back at verse 8 one more time. The verse reads “you shall be My witnesses.” It is important that we understand that the word “witness” is not an action, something that we do. It is what we ARE. We are witnesses! What kind of witness are we?
Are we standing gazing into heaven?
First we must have met the Master. Have you seen the Master today?
Have we obeyed?
Have we claimed the power?
Are we using the power?