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The Anticipation of the Spirit

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The Anticipation of the Spirit

Luke 24:50-53 & Acts 1:1-11

I.          ME

            A.        I have to admit something to you…I am a sucker for cliffhangers!

            B.         I admit – I feed off cliffhangers because it incites within me an                                        anticipation for what is going to happen next.

II.        WE

            A.        I think we all need to admit it – we love the thrill of anticipation, don’t                            we?

            B.         Oh, it may not be over movies or TV shows – call me carnal.

                        1.         But what about Christmas as a child?

                                    a.         Do you remember that feeling of anticipation?

                                    b.         Hardly being able to go to sleep Christmas Eve knowing                                                            that first thing in the morning it was present time.

                                    c.         And for those of us getting older in life, we relive that                                                     excitement as we watch our kids or grandchildren.

                        2.         How about your wedding day?

                                    a.         I was reminded of my personal feelings as I watched                                                     Marvin Verwys pace the floor wringing his hands.

                                    b.         I remember that butterfly in your stomach feeling just as I                                                           walked out in front of all the people and looking at my                                                   bride.

            C.        I think if we were to admit it, most of us love a good cliffhanger, because                                   it incites within us that feeling of anticipation and excitement for what is                            going to happen next.

III.       GOD

            A.        Did you know that this is exactly what we find at the end of Luke’s                                Gospel?

                        1.         Luke 24 ends like a cliffhanger

                        2.         It leaves us hanging and ought to incite within us that feeling of                                        anticipation for what is going to happen next.

            B.         Setting the Scene

                        1.         Jesus was been raised from the dead, because sin and death could                                             not hold Him.

                        2.         And as we continue on through these weeks between Easter and                                               Pentecost, we have been studying how Jesus slowly began to                                        reveal Himself to others.

                                    a.         Private Appearances beginning with Mary at the tomb and                                                         then the two disciples walking on the road to Emmaus.

                                    b.         Last week, we saw Jesus making a Public Appearance to                                                          the disciples, saying “Peace be with you”.

                                                - Emphasizes the new reality or new relationship based on                                                         the work of Christ.

                                                - Christ is our Peace for He has restored our relationship                                                           with God by sacrificing Himself in our place.

                        3.         PD said last week that because of this new relationship in Christ,                                               the disciples were given a new assignment…

                        4.         A reassignment to be more precise …. To be His witnesses!                                         (READ Luke 24:45-48)

            C.        Now – I don’t know about you, but I have been trying this week to put                                     myself in their shoes.

            D.        Allow me the opportunity to take you on the journey…

                        1.         As committed followers of Jesus, we probably witnessed first hand                                the Triumphal Entry as mobs of people came to pay homage to                                           their king by shouting, “Hosanna!  Blessed is he who comes in the                                                 name of the Lord!  Blessed is the king of Israel!”

                                    a.         We most likely witnessed the amazing turn of events from                                                          shouts of jubilation to shouts of rage as they shouted for                                                             Barabbas and called for His crucifixion.

                                    b.         We may have watched in horror as they stripped him of                                                             his clothes, beating him with rods.

                                    c.         We may have seen his flesh torn and blood shed as they                                                            whipped him.

                                    d.         We also may have heard the pounding of the hammer as                                                            they fastened his feet     and hands with rusty spikes to a                                                            wooden cross to die the death of a vile criminal.

                        2.         I imagine plunging into despair much like Cleopas and his friend                                                 heading to Emmaus when they said, “We had hoped that he was                                                the one who was going to redeem Israel.”

                        3.         BUT NOW – here He stands, bodily right in our midst,                                                             proclaiming our new relationship with God and giving us a new                                      assignment as His witnesses.

                        4.         I don’t know about you, but I would have been looking for the                                      door.

                        5.         He’s ALIVE – let’s get this mission started! I’m ready!  Let’s get it                               on!

            D.        REVERSAL:  But I would have been wrong!

                        1.         Notice Luke 24:49 – the word “but” could be rendered “so”.

                        2.         Jesus said, “Stay in the city and WAIT”

                        3.         Wait for what?  All Luke tells us is “to be clothed with power from                                on high”.

            E.         Luke finishes his Gospel with these words in 24:50-53 (READ)

            F.         Cliffhanger…Excitement…Anticipation!

                        1.         After Jesus ascension, Luke leaves the disciples in the city waiting                                              for this power to cloth them.

                        2.         What a great set-up for a sequel…and you know what?

                        3.         We have it!  It is called the book of Acts.  You cannot read Luke                                              without continuing to read Acts, so turn to Acts 1

            G.        Note Luke’s expansion of the promised power from on high (Read Acts                                  1:1-5)

                        1.         Promised Holy Spirit is a GIFT (vs 4)

                                    a.         God’s promise to send HS was not given out of compulsion                                          or relunctance.

                                    b.         Rather, God sent His Spirit as an expression of love and                                                            joy.

                                    c.         God was not going to leave His people to accomplish this                                                          renewed mission by themselves.

                                    d.         Reminds me of the Golden Calf Incident in Ex 32-34

                                                1)         After the people’s idolatry, God says in Ex 33:3…

                                    Go up to the land flowing with milk and honey.

                                    But I will not go with you, because you are a stiff-

                                    Necked people and I might destroy you on the way.

                                                2)         Listen to Moses’ response (33:15)

 

                                    If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us

                                    from here. 

                                                3)         Moses knew that God’s Presence was vitally                                                                important to Israel being the people of God in a                                                                         hostile and foreign land.

                                    e.         That’s why God sends His Spirit - He is not going to leave                                                        His people to accomplish this renewed mission alone.

                                    f.          He graciously provides His Presence in the person of HS.

                                    g.         Just as the HS descended on Jesus Christ at His baptism                                                           specially empowering Him to begin His earthly ministry, so                                             will the apostles be baptized in the Holy Spirit.

                        2.         In Acts 1:3 - Luke’s reference to Jesus speaking about the kingdom                              of God.

                                    a.         For Luke, the kingdom of God was not so much about a                                                           physical kingdom in a particular location.

                                    b.         Luke stresses more often that the kingdom of God refers to                                                       the extension and the expression of His rule and His reign.

                                    c.         Note that the disciples were still looking for a physical                                                   kingdom in Acts 1:6

                                    d.         Jesus makes it clear that the time or date of the physical                                                             kingdom is not to be their concern.

                                    e.         Instead, he explains that when the Holy Spirit comes, they                                                         will receive power to be His witnesses starting in Jerusalem                                            and spreading to the ends of the earth.

                                    f.          KEY POINT (read 2x)

                                                1)         When the Holy Spirit comes, these uniquely                                                                               empowered Spirit-filled apostles were to be sent out                                                     as witnesses of Christ proclaiming and living out                                                                        the reign and rule of God.

                                                2)         And by doing so, these apostles were extending                                                                        God’s rule and reign into the world.

IV.       YOU

            A.        Can you sense it?  Can you sense the anticipation?

            B.         Can you imagine their anxious excitement to see what would happen when                     the Holy Spirit would clothe them, “this power from on high”?

            C.        Their excitement was rooted in …

                        1.         New relationship with Christ

                        2.         Gift of the Holy Spirit, giving them a renewed mission – to be His                                               witnesses proclaiming and living out the reign and rule of God for                                               the world.

            D.        Don’t you wish you could have been there to experience that joyful and                                     energetic anticipation?

            E.         Oh, how I wish WE had something to anticipate that would drive us to                           joyfully and with reckless abandon extend the rule and reign of God to the                                   world.

V.        WE

            A.        Oh, but we do, don’t we?

            B.         Here in the 21st century, we sit as Christ’s church anticipating His                                              imminent return.

                        1.         He could come this very hour, this very day, this week, this month.

                        2.         We have no clue the day or the hour …

                        3.         But this we DO know…Jesus is coming again to establish His                                        earthly kingdom.

            C.        Yet while we wait in anticipation of that day, we are called by Christ to                          extend His rule and reign to those who are lost.

            D.        The church is to be clear examples of God’s kingdom on the earth.

                        1.         People should be able to look at the church to see what living                                        under God’s rule and reign looks like.

                        2.         Yet how too often, we get caught up in our agendas, our own soap                                            boxes, our own comfort levels, our own rights, our own pettiness.

                        3.         I would suggest that the reason the church so often mirrors the                                       culture rather than the kingdom of God is because we no longer                                                anticipate with excitement the imminent return of our Lord and                                                Savior Jesus Christ.

                        4.         And in light of this LACK OF anticipation, we have lost the                                           renewed mission to proclaim and live out God’s rule and reign.

Conclusion: As we prepare our hearts for the Lord’s table this morning, let us recommit our lives and our hearts to living as God’s kingdom people, extending His rule and reign to the lost as we anxiously await His return.

Communion

            A.        The ordinance of the Lord’s table is open to everyone who has in faith,                          placed their full allegiance in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

            B.         We come today to His table as His church, surrendering our lives to His                                    Lordship and surrendering our agendas to the final authority of His Word.

            C.        We come remembering His sacrificial death; we come in anticipation                              of His imminent return; and we come with a renewed sense of proclaiming                      and living out the rule and reign of God.

            D.        1 Cor 11:23-26

Benediction:

Acts 1:11

11        "Men of Galilee," they said, "why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven."

Hebrews 10:23-25

23        Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.

24        And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.

25        Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another-- and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

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