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Decisions, Decisions

Acts: Christ Builds His Church  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented
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Decisions, Decisions
AG: A 32-year-old man was just appointed president of the bank he worked for. He never dreamed of being president, and certainly not at such a young age, so he was a bit intimidated. He sought the advice of his gray-haired predecessor: “Sir, what has been the secret of your success?”
The old man responded, “Two words: right decisions.”
“That’s really helpful, and I appreciate it,” the young man replied. But he was hoping for a bit more help than that, so he ventured on. “Can you be more specific?” he asked. “How do I make right decisions?”
The wise, old man simply responded – “One word: experience.”
Well, that thoroughly frustrated the young executive. “That’s just the point of my being here,” he said. “I don’t have the kind of experience I need. How do I get it?”
The old man smiled. “Two words,” he said: “wrong decisions.”1
TS: The Apostles, in obedience to the Lord’s directive had just returned to Jerusalem. Luke records that they were full of joy and went into an upper room where they continued in prayer and making intercession. It also says that they were united in this activity. All of these characteristics are those that God wants to see replicated in all of His churches.
It is also apparent that these believers which numbered at this point about one hundred and twenty persons also spent time in the study of the Scripture. Jesus stressed over and over its importance and that Scripture everywhere testifies of Him. The DNA of a living church is one of a church which believes and studies the Scripture.
We know that they were studying the Scripture in that when the report came about Judas’ suicide. Peter decided that they needed to find a replacement for him. 2
He sees a need and instantly launches into action. He gets up and says, “Folks, we need to find a replacement for Judas.” Judas' suicide after betraying Jesus, left them with 11 apostles. Feeling there needed to be 12, he tells the disciples they need to choose a stand-in.
Now Bible scholars differ as to whether Peter did the right thing.
• Some believe PAUL was really the 12th apostle, so Peter jumped the gun on God here. He had been told to wait, and instead took action. God had already chosen Paul as the 12th.
• Others believe God was forming a new spiritual “people of God” called the church, and in order for Jews to accept a new entity not based on Jewish ethnicity, it needed to be patterned along the lines of God’s earthy people, the Jews, who had 12 tribal leaders. Since the Scripture said he needed to be replaced, Peter acted on God's revealed plan.
I won’t argue over whether Peter was right or wrong; I just want us to observe what happened. 3
The first decision of the first church was a leadership decision, and it was a very important decision since leadership can make or break an organization, especially one that’s just getting started.
RS: When you have a decision to make, utilize the supernatural resources you have at your disposal as a child of God. Utilize your spiritual assets of the Word of God and prayer. 4

1. Be Unified (12-14)

Acts 1:12–14 NKJV
Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey. And when they had entered, they went up into the upper room where they were staying: Peter, James, John, and Andrew; Philip and Thomas; Bartholomew and Matthew; James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot; and Judas the son of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.
EX: The Unified church Prayed
Jesus had put together the church
12 apostles, 11 at this point
70 Disciples He had sent out
Luke 10:1 NKJV
After these things the Lord appointed seventy others also, and sent them two by two before His face into every city and place where He Himself was about to go.
In addition to that 82, the total number was 120
from the thousands who had followed briefly, 120 were still there after His arrest, execution, and resurrection.
This was the inner core of the most faithful
They were unified
all in one accord
gathered together with a common purpose: to wait for the Holy Spirit
Agreement with common beliefs: the person and work of Jesus
They prayed
They spent their time seeking God
Prayer- a solemn request for help or expression of thanks addressed to God 5
Supplication: the action of asking or begging for something earnestly or humbly.
This was a united body of believers
AP: We would do well to follow them
In context of this message, we as a church make decisions.
Starting from a place of unified prayer sounds great to me!
As humans, we can often start from much different areas
Our own glory
If we as a group need to make a decision and we are already divided, that interferes in the decision making process.
We must work to preserve the unity of the body
Around Jesus- His person, teaching, and work
Around Core beliefs-
the trustworthiness of God's word, its Doctrine
If we are careful to walk in love with each other, unity around Jesus and the Word will be preserved.

2. Search the Scriptures (15-20)

Acts 1:15–20 NKJV
And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples (altogether the number of names was about a hundred and twenty), and said, “Men and brethren, this Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke before by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus; for he was numbered with us and obtained a part in this ministry.” (Now this man purchased a field with the wages of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his entrails gushed out. And it became known to all those dwelling in Jerusalem; so that field is called in their own language, Akel Dama, that is, Field of Blood.) “For it is written in the Book of Psalms: ‘Let his dwelling place be desolate, And let no one live in it’; and, ‘Let another take his office.’
EX: They turned to Scripture
Peter quotes 2 OT passages:
Pss 69:25 & 109:8
Notice he says The Holy Spirit spoke by the mouth of David
He is describing the inspiration of Scripture perfectly
The Bible is God's word recorded by human authors
Never loose sight of the fact that God is doing the talking
He was moved to act based on God's Word
The Bible said the betrayer would be replaced, so Peter said we need to replace Judas!
AP: We must live by the Scriptures
I know it is often mentioned, but 2 Tim 3:16-17 is important!
2 Timothy 3:16–17 NKJV
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Peter recognized the Psalms as God speaking.
We must recognize the Bible as the Word of God
From cover to cover God has spoken to us and still speaks
Many decisions are made for us already:
Just put the Bible into practice!
Notice these verses again:
Profitable for:
doctrine- what we believe
Reproof- tell us when we have done wrong
Correcting- show us the right way to do what we were doing wrong
Instruction- laying out the path upon which we walk
This makes us complete and equipped for living a godly life
If we have studied and learned the Bible, we can't go wrong as we live it.

3. Spell out the Parameters (21-23)

Acts 1:21–23 NKJV
“Therefore, of these men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John to that day when He was taken up from us, one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection.” And they proposed two: Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias.
EX: They set the requirements of the role of apostle:
There from Jesus' baptism forward through ascension
The new Apostle had to have followed Jesus His entire ministry
Perhaps he was 1 of the 70 which had been sent out
they were nameless earlier
I think they were definitely one of the 120 here waiting
He had to have seen the works of Jesus and hear His teaching
By the way: these requirements are why I don't believe we have the office of apostle today.
Some religions have hundreds going by this title
Others push the succession of only 1, Peter.
Either way, I can't see how they can fulfill this requirement set out in Acts 1.
After all of this, they narrowed the field down to 2
2 men Joseph and Matthias
AP: Write out the factors involved in the decision.
The world even follows this piece of decision making
Use a Pro/Con List
Weigh the Options
list them out and examine the factors involved
Sort through the options and narrow down on a decision
No sin in using wisdom The Lord has given us.
Keep in in line with God's word
Honestly examine all your options and then you can.......

4. Seek God's Answer and Do It! (24-26)

Acts 1:24–26 NKJV
And they prayed and said, “You, O Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which of these two You have chosen to take part in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.” And they cast their lots, and the lot fell on Matthias. And he was numbered with the eleven apostles.
EX: The sought God's Direction
In prayer
They asked God to make the choice
They wanted to know His will in the matter
In casting Lots
The method they used was distinctly OT: They cast lots
Proverbs 16:33 NKJV
The lot is cast into the lap, But its every decision is from the LORD.
We don’t see this practice again in the New Testament because after this the Holy Spirit came, and one of His ministries in our lives is to GUIDE us.
After they sought God's answer, they put it into practice:
Matthias was chosen by the lot, so they named him to take Judas' office
AP: We too must seek God's answer
The Bible-
the whole process had begun based on Scripture
We must search the Bible to see what it says about our decision
Does God explicit say to do or not to do something?
Then you have your answer!
Has someone in Scripture gone through a similar circumstance?
see how God worked there and look for principles to apply
Use a topical BIble and/or a topical search online to start
CAUTION: don't take a verse or phrase out of context!
Pray about the decision
Ask God to reveal His plan
James 1:5–8 NKJV
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
Once we have heard from God, we do His will
We have the leadership of the Holy Spirit
Follow His voice
Do what He says to do
God should direct our lives for His glory


Are you struggling with a decision today?
Seek God's solution!
Let us pray
1 (Ted W. Engstrom and Edward R. Dayton, editors, “Murphy’s Law,” Christian Leadership Letter, February, 1981, p.1;
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