Here’s the sermon outline for “Church in WAITING” (Acts 1:12-26), preached at Cross of Christ Fellowship in Naperville. You can find the audio here.
Acts 1:12-26 “WAITING”
INTRO: Waiting in Chicago traffic; seasons of waiting (Abraham, Egypt, 40 years in dessert, Messiah)
-Christians go through seasons of waiting: (spouse, job, relief, help)
-The scene we are looking at today in Acts is a time of waiting, waiting for the promised Holy Spirit.
M.S. In times of waiting, God cares for His people and gives them grace to follow Him.
RECAP: Acts is part 2—the continuation of all that ‘Jesus began to do and teach’
-GOSPEL of Luke is part 1: Jesus is Son of God who brought kingdom of God to Earth and came to save us from our sins.
-Acts tells us about the establishment and expansion of the kingdom of God on Earth through the church.
-Acts 1:1-11: 40 days of resurrected Jesus with his apostles, teaching them about the Kingdom of God.
-Promise and Commission: H.S. is coming (waiting in Jerusalem); you will be my witnesses; Jesus ascends to heaven
TODAY: Church in waiting: 10 days of waiting in Jerusalem for the promised baptism and empowering of the HS.
-Brief period, but part of God’s plan for His Church, right before they began gospel ministry in power of Spirit.
*WHY DOES IT MATTER?
-We see that part of God’s plan for his people included a time of waiting—God also gives us times/seasons of waiting.
-We see faithfulness in times of waiting, as God’s helps his people as they wait: God helps us as we wait!
In times of waiting, God cares for His people and gives them grace to follow Him.
I. WAITING IN JERUSALEM (READ 12-14)
-The apostles obeyed Jesus’ instructions (Acts 1:4) to ‘not depart from Jerusalem’ (12)
-They trusted what Jesus said and obeyed him.
-They were waiting for the ‘promised Holy Spirit’ to baptize them and give them power for ministry
*APP: In times of waiting, it is good to obey God.
-Saul is the example of how we should not act in times of waiting: 1 Samuel 13:8-14
-Saul “forced himself” (v 12)
-Looked pragmatic and practical, but was sinful.
EXAMPLES TODAY: marry an unbeliever; sex before marriage; arrogantly putting self forward; impatience; disobedience; grumbling;
–In times of waiting, it is good to obey God and experience the grace of obedience.
-The apostles gathered with other believers (13-14)
-11 apostles listed (v13)—NOTE: no Judas Iscariot
-Others believers too: women; Mary, the mother of Jesus, and his brothers
–NOTE: Jesus’ family did not accept him as Messiah in his life, but did so after his resurrection.
QUESTION: What was this group doing as they were waiting?
-“WITH ONE ACCORD WERE DEVOTING THEMSELVES TO PRAYER”
APPLICATION: In times of waiting, pray and experience God’s grace through prayer.
-Praying alone; Praying with others: church, spouse, friends, CG.
II. REPLACING JUDAS ISCARIOT 15-26
We learn how the apostles replaced Judas Iscariot. We see God’s care for his church in providing Matthias and leading them in this.
-Peter, the leader, stands up (15)
-Peter was one of the main leaders of the Early Church, and we see his leadership here.
-‘about 120 persons’=this was size of Early Church (parable of mustard seed: Matt 13:31-32)
-Scripture (specifically, the Psalms) predicted Judas’ defection (READ 16-17)
-Judas betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver, and led the priests & soldiers to Jesus who arrested him. (16-17)
-Judas was guilty and responsible for his wicked behavior
-At same time, God was sovereign, and predicted & ordained it to be.
-BOTH are taught in Scripture and we most hold both.
-Luke recounts some of the details of Judas’ death (18-19)
-These give additional details to what we read in Matt 27:3-10
-“acquired a field”=technically, the priests used his money to buy it after he died.
-“falling head long be burse open”=he hanged himself, so probably body fell and broke open after
-These accounts are compatible, not contradictory.
-Peter recognized the apostacy of Judas and need to replace him was spoken of in Psalms (20)
-Defection predicted (Ps 69:25); Need to replace Judas (Ps 109:9)
-Jesus taught Peter and apostles how to read Scripture (Luke 24:27)
–NOTE: The apostles were led and informed by God’s Word.
*APP: In times of waiting, it is good to be led and informed by God’s Word.
-It is good in all times, but we are particularly helped in times of waiting.
-In times of waiting, we feel the pressure to compromise. Here we desperately need God’s Word to inform us.
-In times of waiting, stay in God’s Word and experience His grace to help you follow Him.
-A REPLACEMENT for Judas was Needed (21-22)
-Requirement: Needed to be with them during all the time of Jesus ministry, and resurrection appearance
-Commentators: Judas needed to be replaced because of his apostacy. Others were not replaced after death
-THERE are NO living apostles today.
-Two options are put forward (23)
-These men met requirements, and possibly both could have done a great job.
-But the apostles are not sure who should be chosen: Joseph (Barsabbas/Justus) or Matthias.
–NOTE: The apostles are preparing for next season of ministry (Acts 1:8)
APP: In times of waiting, take wise steps to prepare you for what is next.
-My friend waiting for spouse—trying to be most godly man he can be.
-QUESTION: How can you take steps forward in maturity as you wait on what God has for you?
-Prayer for DIRECTION is made (24-25)
-They sought God’s help and guidance for this important decision.
-Recognized God’s greatness: Lord, who know the hearts of all,
-God knows YOUR heart, if you believe and love him; your fears and hopes; your needs!
-Prayed for guidance: show which one of these two you have chosen 25 to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from
which Judas turned aside to go to his own place
-Jesus chose the apostles (1:2), and he would choose Judas’ replacement.
-Jesus SHOWS whom has chosen (26)
-The apostles cast lots (26a)
-Equivalent of casting dice but with an awareness of God guiding and directing.
-OT precedent (Josh 18:6—dividing land; 1 Chron 25:28—dividing up labor duty in temple; Jonah 1:7)
-Jesus SHOWED that he chose MATTHIAS as the lot fell on him (26b)
-Jesus caused the lot to fall on Matthias
-Here we see God’s care and grace for his church as they wait.
QUESTION: Should we cast lots or dice today in seeking guidance from God?
–Stott: important when reading Acts to recognize the distinction between description and teaching.
-All the events in Acts are not necessarily there to teach how things normally or should happen but what did happen then
-If a teaching or action is clarified in rest of NT, we need to follow explicit instruction.
-Zero other mentions of casting lots to receive direction from God in the NT
-ALSO, this event did occur before the baptism of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2
-Normal way today of making decision is Scripture guidance, prayer, and acting in wisdom (reason & common sense), providence
-EXAMPLE—Considering spouse: Scripture, prayer, wisdom, providence.
MAIN IDEA: In times of waiting, God cares for His people and gives grace to follow Him.
HOW DOES THIS ALL APPLY TO US TODAY AS WE GO THROUGH SEASONS OF WAITING?
Faithfulness in waiting: God calls us to faithfulness in times of waiting. We aren’t given a pass to sin because it is hard to wait.
-It would be reckless and sinful for me to drive on sidewalk and pass all the traffic because I’m tired of waiting.
-God calls for holiness in our lives as we wait.
-But often we do sin in times of waiting. We find it hard to patiently wait.
-WHY IS IT SO HARD TO BE GODLY AS WE WAIT?
-We think we are in control and get to dictate time/schedule—we think we’re God! -We distrust God’s timing and plans—and so like Saul, we try to force things.
-We mistakenly think what we’re waiting for can satisfy—only God can.
JESUS: Came to Earth to save us from our sins, including our sins in times of waiting.
-He never sinned in his life, and showed us perfect waiting: 30 years till he began his ministry (Luke 3:23)
-His death on the cross covers all our sins. If we believe in him we will be saved.
-KING: Jesus is God and king, and gracious and kind. He gets to decide the timeline for our lives.
-WISE: Jesus shows us the wisdom of God in salvation. If God was wise in salvation, He is wise in making us wait.
-SATISFYING: Jesus leads us back to delight in God. Only God can satisfy.
-TODAY, we can come to Jesus for help in times of waiting: He gives us fresh grace as we wait on God.
-All of the Christian life is a waiting life
-We wait for Jesus to return; We wait for God to make all things right
-Non-Christian life is also a waiting life
-There is a day of Judgment coming, and God will hold you accountable for all that you have done
-Hell is a real place, and we wait for the day when many will go there.
-Come to Jesus today, and be assured of waiting for eternal life, not eternal death.
*In times of waiting, God cares for His people and gives grace to follow Him.