Title: Time to Represent
Text: Acts 1:1-8
Introduction: Cancer is represented by an abnormal growth of tissues that grow into tumors at the expense of healthy tissues by infiltration or metastasis, meaning changing location. However, these tumor growths can be benign meaning they grow but not spread. Using cancer as a metaphor as for how we are as Christians should represent Christ, it is sad to say that many of us are benign in our growth. We grow be we don’t spread. God wants metastasis from His churches moving to different locations with the Gospel. But in order for us to metastasize, we have to have some thing like cancer in us that grows, mobile and powerful that takes over wherever it goes. Growing and spreading is the only way for the church to represent Christ. Now is the time to represent Christ!
RQ: How are you to represent Christ correctly? Our text today shows us how we can effectively represent Christ in the world.
Luke opens the book of Acts giving Theophilus a synopsis of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He tells him of the promise that Jesus would give to the apostles when He was taken up to heaven. He showed himself for 40 days speaking of Kingdom of God. During the gathering, Jesus gave them very a critical command. There are two things we must note as encouragement in this passage. Luke is giving the gospel message to Theophilus. Why is this important? The name Theophilus means “one who loves God”. One, there is always good news for the ones who love God. Two, we can note in verse 4 that Jesus was with them gathered together. They that were assembled had something in common. They all had an experience with Jesus Christ. My beloved, when you are gathered together with others who have an experience with Christ not only is He there with you but you will see something is about to happen. We see something is about to happen from what Jesus tells them in the text. He tells the apostles, “don’t leave Jerusalem, but wait…which is our first point today.
Before we are in a place to represent Jesus, we have to wait. Don’t go anywhere. Just wait. Why? It was because the apostles were about to receive some thing. That something was a promise from the Father from heaven. What they were going to receive was going to not only change their lives but the world forever! But they had to wait. To wait means literally to stay in a place of expectancy. When you wait you are looking forward to something happening. Waiting implies a level of faith, self-discipline and self-denial. But with these factors, we have a problem especially in our present age of instant information. We got microwave mentalities. We want things when we want them and how we want it to satisfy ourselves. We get impatient and selfish which causes us to get in trouble and not be fulfilled. If I would have waited to have sex my emotions would not be so tied someone that does love me. If you would have waited for a sale would you have saved a lot of money. If you would have waited for that traffic light you would not have got that ticket. When we don’t wait, we get into trouble. But the Bible tells us the blessing of waiting, “but they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint”. But I could imagine that there was a least one brother there at this gathering that just could not wait. He left Jerusalem too soon. And on his way back, I can hear his buddies telling him, “man you missed it”. You should have been there. My beloved, patience is a virtue. It is good to wait. In order for us to truly represent Jesus we have to be obedient to His instruction to wait on God in faith and in expectation that He is going to you something awesome. But another thing that hinders us from representing Jesus properly is we have…
II. The wrong focus at the wrong time
Children in school can be caught up in the wrong thing at the wrong time like with friends and in sports which under normal circumstances is not a bad thing in right time and season. But their priority is to get an education. As an adult Christian we get so caught in Kingdom building and concerned about how others are impacted by sin while we should be making sure that our house is in order first. We got the wrong focus at the wrong times. These things are not necessarily bad things to focus on but you have bigger priorities to deal with. Look at the text in vv.6-7. While talking to Jesus, the apostles posed a very fair and important question that would impact their livelihood because it would be the fulfillment of the prophecies of old that would release Israel from Roman oppression. They said to Jesus, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom of Israel”? This is a fair question to the resurrected Christ. But the operative word in the question is “time”. Jesus kindly tells them it is not for you to know the time or seasons that the Father hath put in his own power meaning set by his authority. This was only God’s business to know. In other words, Jesus was telling the apostles to mind your own business. Stay in your lane! Stay focused. You are looking for the wrong thing for now. The right thing at the wrong time can be detrimental. Jesus’ coming back this time was of a spiritual nature to prepare the world for His final judgment. The apostles had the wrong focus at this time. In essence, they were out of order. God is God of order. Having the right focus at the right time is all about being in order. When you are in order, you may not necessary like how things are handled but the power flow in an effective way giving God glory.
We can’t have the wrong focus if we want to represent Christ. Not only that but people should be able to see some thing in us that identifies with who or what we represent. In order to represent someone or some thing, you have to display the character, authority and the message. But the only way to do this is to be entrusted by and have some thing deposited by the source you are representing. Jesus redirects the apostles’ focus to what He as in store for the world. Jesus says to them in v. 8a “but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come up you… This leads us to our next point.
III. Welcome the Holy Spirit
In order to receive some thing, you have to welcome it. You have to welcome the Holy Spirit into your heart. The apostle were about to receive the power that would enable them to continue the ministry of Jesus. The Holy Spirit is the 3rd person of the Godhead. It was important for Jesus to leave so the He could send the Holy Spirit. In the flesh, Jesus is restricted. In Spirit, he is omnipresent thru his recipients. But our problem is we can’t receive the Holy Spirit because He is not welcome in our lives. We indirectly hold up a “your not welcome sign” in our lives by the way we live. The Holy Spirit is not going to dwell in an unclean vessel. He can’t dwell when sin abounds. I Cor. 6:19, “Know ye not your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost”? Some of us need to repent so the Spirit can move in your life. Some of us got too much flesh and no spirit. You don’t get more of the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost gets more of you when you welcome Him in. It is not until you welcome the Holy Spirit into your life you can truly represent. But if you want the Holy Ghost, I dare you to yield right now! Welcome Him in. Now when he dwells within, now you can represent and be witness.
In verse 8b, Jesus says that you shall be my witnesses….The word witness means more than the legal sense of seeing an event. The word in the Greek “Marturos” means one who has information or knowledge of something and one who can give information, bring to light or confirm. When you have the Holy Spirit and the Spirit has you, you got more than info and knowledge of Jesus. You have Him in His fullness moving in your life fulfilling God’s purpose. But I want raise a question, are you a witness? Do you possess the knowledge of Christ in your life? Can you confirm or bring to life the Gospel of Jesus? But the reason why we can’t be true witnesses is that we not only don’t have the Holy Spirit but our lifestyle hinders our witness. You don’t spread the Gospel by cussing folk out. You don’t inform people about Jesus while we are doing the same ungodly things the world is doing. You don’t show your knowledge of Jesus by trusting in Oprah or the lottery before you trust in the word of God. You can’t even confirm the message of Jesus by speaking in tongues or singing as a demonstration of the gifts of the Spirit. You do it by bearing fruit mainly the fruit of love. Jesus said that they will know you are my disciples by your love!
Jesus goes on to tell the apostles where their witness will start. The text says “in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth”. Let me tell you what this means for them. Start with the Jews in your own town then in your region of Judea. Then go to Samaria, the ones with mixed religion. Then go to the places that don’t know God. What this means for us is that we start where we are. Then go out to the neighborhood. Then out to another. Then out to out to the world. But let me better illustrate this. It is like drop a rock in a body of water. The waves start where the rock is drop and move outward. And the size of the rock you drop is directly proportional to the size and the strength of the waves you make. Tried Stone, God’s wants us to a ripple effect make big waves in spreading the Gospel starting where are, then to our neighborhood, then out to the world. But first we need power!
Close: We need power! Luke 24:49 tells us how to get power. Tarry in the city… The old church prayed at the altar… until something happened…. How much shall your Heaven give that ask for the Holy Spirit!!