You Will Be My Witnesses

Scripture: Acts 1:6-8, Luke 24:25, Deuteronomy 19:15
Date: 07/07/2018 
Lesson: 1
"How can we learn to keep the reality, and promise, of the Second Coming always before us? How should this great truth impact all areas of our life, such as finances, priorities, and moral choices?"
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Hello, friends, and welcome to Sabbath School Study Hour here at Granite Bay Seventh-day Adventist Church. I like to welcome our online members and our friends joining us across the country and around the world for our study time together, and also to our members, and our visitors right here at the Granite Bay church. Good to see you here this morning. Very excited about what we'll begin this morning. We're starting a new lesson courtly.

The theme is on the book of acts. And so we're going to looking at lesson number one today. All about the book of acts, the early Christian church. This morning, we'll be looking at lesson number one that's entitled you will be my witnesses. And we'll get to that in a few moments.

But before we do, we do have a free offer. We'd like to let our friends know who are watching on Facebook and television, if you would like to receive a free copy of the book the Holy Spirit the need, all you'll have to do is give us a call on our resource phone line. That number is 866-788-3966 and ask for offer number 723. We'll be happy to send you the book the Holy Spirit the need. Also for those who are watching on Facebook, if you would like to get a digital download of the book right away, all you have to do is just text the code "sh099" to the number 40544 and you'll be able to get a link to download for free and read the book the Holy Spirit the need.

Well, before we get to our study this morning, as always, we like to begin by lifting our voices in song. I'd like to invite The Song leaders to come forward. We are going to sing with you like we do every week. This is a beautiful song that you'll find in your hymnal 183, I will sing of Jesus' love. And we're going to do all three stanzas.

I will sing of Jesus' love, endless praise my heart shall give. He has died that I might live, I will sing his love to me. Join with us, 183. Thank you so much for joining with us, and at this time, Pastor Ross is going to have our opening prayer. Dear Father in Heaven, what a privilege to be able to gather to giving your house on this your day this Sabbath, open up Your Word and read a very important passage and look at some important principles that we find in that first century church. And we do pray that you'd guide our study together this morning.

In Jesus' Name. Amen. Amen. Well, as mentioned just a little earlier in our introduction for our Sabbath school this morning, we're starting a brand new lesson courtly today dealing with the book of acts. The book of acts, of course, is the very next book after the four Gospels.

It describes the early Christian church, and there's a number of important lessons that we will find in our study through the book of acts. As mentioned, our lesson today, lesson number one is entitled you will be my witnesses. And that's going to be the theme of our study today. A little bit of background that I think might be helpful before we actually get into the lesson itself, a little background about the book of acts. We know where it is in the Bible.

It's after the four Gospels, but what do we know about it? The book of acts covers basically three critical decades in the early Christian church. That time period began with the resurrection of Jesus in a.d. 31 And goes all the way through to the first imprisonment in rome by the apostle Paul in a.d. 62. So the book of acts is written sometime after a.

d. 62. The book of acts does not specifically state who the author is but church tradition for many years has recognized that the author of the book of acts is Luke, the beloved physician, which you can read about it in Colossians 4:14. Luke was also a travel companion of Paul on many of his missionary activities. So he has a firsthand account of many of the things that are happening in the story recorded in acts.

Of course, Luke is also the author of the third Gospel, the one bearing his name, the Gospel of Luke. Now it is interesting when you look at the first few verses in Luke chapter one as well as the first few verses in acts chapter one. You'll notice some interesting similarities which also gives us a big clue as to the author, Luke being both the author of acts and Luke. Luke 1:1, it reads, "inasmuch as many have taken in hand to set in order a narrative of these things which have been fulfilled among us, just as those who from the beginning were eye witnesses and ministers of the word delivered unto us. It seemed good to me also having had perfect understand in all things from the very first to write to you an orderly account most excEllent theophilus," we'll talk about it in just a minute, "that you might know the certainty of these things which you were instructed.

" So that's the beginning of the Gospel of Luke and the author which we believe to be Luke is writing to someone by the name of theophilus, and he is telling him all about the life teachings and ministry of Jesus. And then if you look at the first few verses of the book of acts, you'll notice something similar. Verse 1 says, "the former account I made, "o theophilus," same person, "of all that Jesus began both to do and to teach until the day in which he was taken up." And then he goes onto talk about the ascension of Jesus in acts chapter 1 and how the Gospel went out to the world during those first centuries. So we understand that Luke was both the author of the Gospel of Luke as well as the book of acts. Who is theophilus? Well, not much is said about theophilus other than what we have in these two passages of Scripture.

But the word theophilus is a Greek name which means friend of God. And it is believed that theophilus was a Greek convert to Christianity and also a very good friend of Luke. Luke, of course, was also a gentile. And so Luke writes both about the Gospel of Jesus and then also the formation of the first century church, and he addresses it to his good friend theophilus. Now if you take the book of Luke as well as the book of acts and you put it together, you'll find that those two books comprise 27% of the new testament.

That is the largest contribution of any single author in the new testament. Paul refers to Luke as a gentile coworker, and he is the only non-jew to be an author of a portion of the new testament. Now it's interesting to note that the largest amount of work by a single author in the new testament is a non-jew, it's Luke. Now it's not by chance then that Luke's main hero in the book of acts is the apostle Paul because Paul refers to himself as the apostle to the gentiles. Luke was a gentile.

Almost two-thirds of the book of acts is dedicated to the missionary activity of the apostle Paul. Now in addition to talking about the apostle Paul and his missionary work, there are also three very important themes that keep repeating in the book of acts. The one is the sovereignty of God and his divine purpose. The second is the exultation of Jesus as both Lord and Savior. And the third, very important one, is the role of the Holy Spirit in empowering and guiding the church for mission.

So the book of acts is in essence the story of those who were originally called by Christ to take the Gospel to the world. And the question that we're going to be looking at both today and through the next coming weeks as we study the book of acts, we're going to be asking ourselves what can we... We believe we're the ones that are called by God in the final days of the earth's history to take the Gospel to the world, what can we in these last days learn from the experience of those back at the beginning of the Christian era? What lessons do we learn from them that we can apply to ourselves? Well, with that as our background, let's go to our first lesson. As mentioned, it's entitled you will be my witnesses. And you'll see we have a memory text right there on the top of the page.

And it's acts 1:8. I'm going to read it right out of the lesson courtly, it says, "you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you'll be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea, in samaria, and unto the ends of the earth." Now who spoke these words? If you look in your Bible, it's in red ink, isn't it? It's the words of Jesus. Jesus is giving a great commission to his disciples. In essence, it's a repeat of the great commission that you can read in Matthew 28, worded a little bit differently, but Jesus says, "you ought to be my witnesses." He says to his disciples, start with those nearest to you. When Jesus gave them the great commission or said these words, he was on the mount of olives just before his ascension.

The mount of olives is right across from the kidron valley to Jerusalem, the disciples then went to Jerusalem and they were spending time in prayer and the Holy Spirit came upon them. Then they began to witness first in Jerusalem and then the area surrounding Jerusalem which would be Judea, and then they went a little further north to the area of samaria, and then from there, around the world, being faithful to the commission given to them by Christ. So now acts chapter 1 re-quotes for us the final instructions that Jesus gave to his disciples. And something that was very important to the disciples was a promise that Jesus gave them. He said that, "you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you.

" So the disciples then returned back to Jerusalem, and they are in earnest prayer asking for the Holy Spirit in order to go forth and be the witnesses that Jesus wants them to be, to take the Gospel to all the world. And of course that first century church, they were not the only ones who were given the great commission to take the Gospel to the world but we find in the book of Revelation a remnant who have a special message to take the everlasting Gospel to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. And where do we find that end-time Gospel commission? In Revelation 14. We might even touch on that a little later in our study today. It's interesting, note the word Gospel.

What does the word Gospel mean? It means good news. Did the disciples have good news to take to the world? Absolutely. Jesus had come. He had provided a perfect sacrifice that could atone for our sins. Good news that Jesus is our high priest ministering in the heavenly sanctuary, good news that Jesus was to come back and claim his own.

Good news brought hope, brought power to people around the world. And we still have that good news to take to the world. Now Sunday's lesson is entitled the restoration of Israel. There are two kinds of messianic prophecies that we find in the old testament. The one is a kingly Messiah who would rule on the throne of David and liberate Israel from the enemies.

But the old testament also portrays a servant Messiah or a suffering Messiah who would come and save his people from their sins through his atoning sacrifice. Now which of those two ideas of Messiah do you think the jews preferred? Well, without a doubt, they liked the Kingly Messiah. They wanted Jesus to come and liberate them from their enemies, the Romans. They wanted a Messiah who would rule on the throne of David and turn Israel back into that glorious nation during the time of Solomon and the time of David. They were looking for an earthly Messiah, someone who would make their lives better here on the earth.

But Jesus, when he came the first time, he came not as kingly Messiah but he came as a suffering Messiah. He came to provide a means of salvation. When Jesus began his earthly ministry, he would often say repent, this is also something that John the baptist said, "repent for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand." Well, just the words the Kingdom made a lot of people excited, and they had these grand visions of glory when Israel would be this great nation once again, and they would have all their needs met, and they wouldn't have any of the enemies oppressing them. But then Jesus goes on to explain what exactly he means when he says, "the Kingdom is at hand." There are two phases to the Kingdom. The first is what we call the Kingdom of grace.

Jesus came to establish a kingdom of grace here on this earth through his sacrifice, through the work that he came to do. But the Bible also speaks of the Kingdom of glory that Jesus directed his disciples to look towards for the future, a kingdom of glory that is yet to come. In the Lord's prayer, "thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done." That is a future kingdom of glory that the followers of Christ were to look towards. Now Jesus, of course, was very clear on these two phases of Messiahship, the Kingly phase which would follow after the servant phase.

We can actually read in Luke 17:24, 25, these are words of Jesus and he's trying to help his disciples understand the nature of his mission. And it begins in verse 24, it says, Christ speaking, "for as lightning that flashes out of one part under the heaven shines onto the other part under heaven, so also The Son of man will be in his day." Now what phase of Christ' ministry is Jesus referring to? Is he referring to his suffering phase or his kingly phase? Clearly his kingly phase, right? He's talking about the second coming of Jesus, Jesus comes as king of Kings and Lord of Lords. The very next verse however, Jesus references his suffering phase in verse 25, he says, "but first, he," speaking of Christ, the Messiah, "must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation." So yes, Jesus recognized his kingly Messiahship but he was trying to direct the attention of disciples to his suffering Messiahship first and the work that Jesus had come to do. On the road to emmaus, following the crucifixion of Jesus, early Sunday morning, there were two disciples that were walking back to emmaus. There were some reports that they had received that the tomb was empty and there was a lot of confusion as to what had happened to Jesus.

And the two disciples were on their way back to their home village of emmaus, and while they were walking, they were discussing the things that had taken place that very weekend before. And while they were walking, a stranger fell into step with them. Of course, the Bible tells us who that stranger was. It was Jesus. And as the two were walking discussing being sad, Jesus asked them, he said, "why are you so sad?" Now what manner of conversation is this? Disciples turn to Jesus, they don't recognize Jesus, but they say, "are you the only stranger in Jerusalem? Don't you know what's happened?" And Jesus said, "what things? What happened?" They begin to explain how that Jesus of nazareth whom they believed to be a prophet amongst them was crucified.

And now there were rumors that tomb was empty. Some have said he's risen from the death, and they were all confused, and they didn't quite know what to believe. And then Jesus said to them, "o fools, slow of heart to believe everything that the prophets have spoken." And then you find in Luke 24:25, Jesus said, "o foolish ones, slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken, ought not the Christ to had suffered these things and then to end to his glory." So Jesus began to explain to them these various messianic prophecies and how they would relate to the suffering phase and then follow it by the glory phase. Now a lesson for us today, if you look at the life of Jesus, the suffering phase came first followed by the glory phase. The disciples of Jesus need to recognize that the suffering comes first followed by the glory.

When someone becomes a follower of Christ, it doesn't mean that your life necessarily is free of trials or difficulties or that you might not have any sufferings. We live in a world that is filled with sin, sorrow, pain, and yes, even death. Yes, there is a time of trial, there is a testing of our faith, there is a suffering that must come first, but Christ has promised us that he will come again. And when he comes again, these mortal bodies will put on immortality, and there'd be no more pain, no more sorrow, no more death, forever we'll be with him and with those that love him. So don't get discouraged in your Christian experience if you experience some suffering or if trials come your way.

Recognize that Jesus went through the same experience, but there is a promise of a glorious tomorrow when Jesus comes again. You see, this world is not our home, we're just passing through. Our treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue. Now the hope of the Jewish people was for a kingly Messiah. That's what they longed for.

They wanted someone who would deliver them from their adversary, the Romans. Even John the baptist did not quite understand at first the nature of the Kingdom that Jesus had come to establish, even though John the baptist under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit pointed to Jesus there on the banks of the Jordan river and said, "behold the lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world." John was also to some degree sharing the hope of the Jewish people that the Messiah would rule from the throne of David, establish the nation of Israel once again. After John the baptist was arrested by herod and placed in prison, he began to hear a little bit about the work that Jesus was doing. How that he was going from place to place and teaching and healing the sick and so on. He began to hear that Jesus didn't seem to be too interested in establishing himself as king in Israel.

A few doubts came to the mind of John the baptist. So finally, he sent two of his disciples over to Jesus, and they had this simple question from John, "are you the one or should we look for another?" He began to wonder is Jesus the Messiah 'cause he's not establishing himself as king. Well, Jesus doesn't answer those two disciples immediately but rather he invites them to spend some time with him. And they witness that Jesus opens that eyes of the blind, and how the lame are able to walk, and how the Gospel is preached to the poor, even how the dead are being raised. And then after spending some time with Jesus, Jesus then turns to the disciples and says, "go back and tell John everything that you've seen and everything that you've heard.

" And the two disciples make their way back to the prison to tell John everything that they had witnessed concerning Jesus. And while the two disciples were heading away, Jesus turned to the crowd that had gathered around him, and he said, "what did you go into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? What did you go in the wilderness to see? A man dressed in fine apparel?" Jesus said those wearing fine apparel, they belong in palaces. "What did you go in the wilderness to see a prophet and yeah, I say more than a prophet?" "For of all of those born unto woman, there is not a risen one greater than John the baptist." Even though John the baptist had some doubts at times as to why he was suffering, why he was going through trials, Jesus still recognized John the baptist as one of his. He recognized John the baptist as having a very important work in the ministry that Jesus had come to do. We might go through trials and difficulties and sometimes we might even question, "Lord, why are you allowing this to happen to us?" It doesn't mean God doesn't love us.

It doesn't mean that we're not followers of Christ. But it does mean that we need to have endurance, and patience, and faith, and hold onto the promises that God has given us. Although two disciples went back and told John the baptist everything that they had seen and heard and that strengthened John's faith, and he was faithful, believing in Christ to be the Messiah all the way up till his death. Now despite Jesus's warnings to the disciples that he was to suffer and die, the disciples did not understand what Jesus was really saying. Their minds were clouded with these visions of grandeur, a kingly Messiah.

As a matter of fact, they were even arguing amongst themselves as to who would be the greatest in the Kingdom that they thought Jesus was soon to establish. They didn't quite understand the nature of Christ kingdom even after the resurrection. They didn't fully understand Christ's mission. As a matter of fact, we have somebody that's going to read for us acts 1:6. Now this is after the resurrection, disciples are asking Jesus a question.

"Therefore, when they had come together, they ask him saying, 'Lord, will you, at this time, restore the Kingdom to Israel?'" So there you can see the disciples, this is even after the resurrection, they thought, "okay, now the time has come and Jesus has provided a sacrifice for sins and now the time has come for him to establish an earthly kingdom, and to be king, and restore Israel back to its former glory." Well, Jesus does not answer them too directly with reference to when the Kingdom would come, but he does answer them in verse 7, "and he said unto them, 'it is not for you to know the times and the seasons which The Father has put under his own authority." And he goes on to talk about their mission, "you'll receive power and you ought to be my witnesses." You know, even today, there are individuals even in the Christian community that have misunderstood the nature of the ministry, the work that Jesus is doing. There has been no end of those who have tried to predict when the Kingdom of glory is to come. People have tried to predict when Jesus would come. And time and time again, they have been disappointed. And Jesus says, "no man knows the day or the hour when Christ will come.

" So it's not for us to try and speculate when Jesus will come rather what we ought to do is to do the work that Jesus has revealed to us. There are truths in Scripture that are clear and plain, and we ought to take those truths and do our very best to be faithful to the mission given to us by our Lord and not speculate in these things that the Bible has not revealed. And now the disciples were not alone and their misunderstanding of this important time period when the Kingdom of glory would come. As mentioned, there are many even today making all kinds of predictions. But the question that we're asking when studying through the book of acts, "what does their experience teach us today with reference to our experience?" A little closer to home with reference to the adventist movement and the Seventh-day Adventist denomination, in the early 1800s, there were a group of believers, who based upon their study of the prophecies of Daniel chapter 8, some of the prophecies of Revelation, came to the conclusion that the Kingdom of glory, Christ's second coming would take place at the end of the 2,300 days, Daniel 8:14, "after 2,300 days, then the sanctuary shall be cleansed.

" And based upon their study of the book of Daniel, they did some math and they figured out in Daniel chapter 9 that the beginning of the 2,300 days would be with decree to restore and we build Jerusalem in 457. And they calculated the math and it came to 1844. They read the verse, "after 2,300 days, then the sanctuary shall be cleansed," they thought the sanctuary was the earth, and the cleansing of the sanctuary would be by fire when Jesus comes back the second time. Thus, the Kingdom of glory would come at the end of the 2,300 days. But Jesus did not come back in 1844.

Just like the disciples who were looking forward to the establishment of the Kingdom of glory during their time saw those early adventist believers were looking for the establishment of the Kingdom of glory. They didn't quite understand a special ministry and work that Jesus was to do for them in heaven before he comes back as king of Kings and Lord of Lords. Just like the disciples didn't truly understand the nature of the work that Jesus was about to do in heaven for them until after, he ascended up and the Holy Spirit came upon them. So this group of believers didn't fully understand their mission in taking the three angels' messages to the world until after they had gone through that disappointment. As a matter of fact, this is such an important point in history that there is an entire chapter in the book of Revelation dedicated to this experience of the early advent believers in 1844.

You find that in Revelation chapter 10. That's a fascinating study. We don't have time to go into all of the details, I want to just quickly give you an overview so I can draw out a lesson that I think we need to recognize today, a lesson that we can learn from the experience of the disciples back in the first century. Revelation chapter 10 talks about an angel coming down from heaven. And the angel has a little book that is open in his hand, and he sets his one foot upon the earth and his other foot upon the sea.

And then he lifts his hand towards heaven and swears by him that lives forever and forever who made the heavens and the things that are in the earth and the things that are in the sea and the things that are there in... That there should be time no longer. But at the sounding of the seventh trumpet, when it shall begin to sound, then the mystery of God will be revealed as he has declared unto his servants, the prophets. And then John hears a voice, a voice from heaven that tells him to go and take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel. And John was to eat the book.

The book would be sweet in his mouth, but as soon as he swallows the book, it will make his stomach bitter. Are some of you familiar with that prophecy? Now what's that prophecy all about? Well, the angel coming down from heaven represents a heaven-sent message that is coming to the earth. The little book that's open in the hand of the angel represents the book of Daniel, a little prophetic book of Daniel. It has this mysterious time element. And when John is told to eat the book, it represents those in the early 1800s who took the little book of Daniel and studied it, to eat it means to study it, to receive it.

Jeremiah 15:16 says, "thy words were found and I did eat them and they were unto me the joy and rejoice into my heart." So here are these early advent believers based upon their study of the book of Daniel, they reached the conclusion that Jesus is soon to come. They are looking forward to the coming of Christ just like the disciples of all who were looking forward to the establishment of the Kingdom of glory here on the earth. But when Jesus did not come, they were bitterly disappointed. But God had a purpose in leading them through that experience. Just like the disciples after Jesus was crucified and finally resurrected, that kind of realigned their thinking with reference to Christ's mission.

They also needed to recognize that they work as God's people as his disciples, it was not over, but it had scarcely begun that the Gospel had to go to all the world, so those who went through the great disappointment of 1844, came out of that experience realizing that their work was not finished, but it had scarcely begun. Then it was that they were able to read further and began to understand about the heavenly sanctuary with Jesus' ministers as our high priest and that Jesus has entered into a special final phase of his high priestly ministry. And at the end of that special cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary, then Jesus will remove his priestly robe, put on his kingly robe, and come back as king of Kings and Lord of Lords. But it was important for them to go through that experience so that they could get a clearer and fuller understanding of their mission and the work that Christ was calling them to do. Now let's apply that to ourselves individually.

Why is it that sometimes we face trials and difficulties? It's not because God does not love us, it's not because God does not care, but maybe God is allowing us to go through an experience so that we can learn something about him and something about ourselves. Maybe he is giving us an experience so that we will have a testimony that we can share with somebody else to encourage them. So the experience of the disciples of old and the experience of the early adventist believers, they all teach us a lesson for our time even today. Yes, nobody likes trials and difficulties. But Jesus said, "we will have them in this world, but do not be afraid," Christ said, "for I have overcome the world.

" Claiming his promises, holding on to him in faith, he is able to work all things out, ultimately, for the good of those that love him. Now on Monday's lesson, the title is the disciple's mission. And instead of indulging these speculations of when the Kingdom would be established, as the disciples did, Jesus gave them a very important specific work. And we find in acts 1:8, this work that Jesus gives his disciples, and someone will read that for us. "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you shall be witnesses to me and Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and samaria, and to the end of the earth.

" All right, well, thank you. That, of course, is our memory text for this week's lesson. In this great commission that Jesus gives in acts chapter 1, it repeats a number of the principles that you find in Matthew 28, but there are four important elements that are highlighted with reference to the disciple's mission. The first is the need of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, "you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you.

" Now of course, this is in harmony with an old testament prophecy concerning a special outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the believers. Joel 2:28 says, "and it shall come to pass afterwards that I will pour out of my spirit upon all flesh, your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions." This prophecy is actually referenced by Peter on the day of pentecost when he got up to preach. And he actually referred to this prophecy. But the prophecy doesn't end in verse 28, in Joel 22:28. It actually goes on verse 29 and talks about the great and dreadful day of the Lord.

It talks about a great earthquake. Well, now we know that the great and dreadful day of the Lord is indeed the second coming of Christ. That did not occur in the first century a.d. So what happened at the time of pentecost was a partial fulfillment of this prophecy in the book of Joel. But there is a broader fulfillment for our time, a special outpouring of the Holy Spirit just before probation closes.

I'm going to talk for just a few moments about this special outpouring of the Holy Spirit, what brings this about. Now in the ministry of Jesus, we can see three different phases of Christ ministry. The first phase took place here on the earth. We call that Christ's prophetic phase. Jesus did the work of a prophet when he was on the earth, he preached the Gospel, he healed the sick, he performed miracles, he provided a sacrifice for our sins.

Jesus was anointed for his prophetic phase of ministry in Luke 4:18, when it says, "Jesus, the Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to preach the Gospel to the poor." So when Jesus was baptized there in the Jordan river and the Holy Spirit came down upon him in the form of a dove, that was Christ anointing for his prophetic work here on the earth, the work of a prophet. Something else that is important to note, whenever Jesus is anointed, his followers receive a blessing as well. When Jesus came to the earth and he was anointed with the Holy Spirit, those who were with him experienced wonderful blessings. The sick were healed, the blind had their sight restored, the lame were able to walk, even the dead was raised, the Gospel was being preached. So if you spend time around Jesus, when Jesus is anointed for something, you end up receiving a blessing.

The second anointing with reference to Christ and his ministry occurs when Jesus ascends up to heaven and he is anointed as priest ministering for us in the heavenly sanctuary. In Hebrews 8:1, we read, now this is the main point of the things that we are saying, "we have such a high priest who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the majesty of the heavens." So when Jesus ascended up to heaven, he was anointed for this work as high priest. When Christ was anointed as high priest, what happened to the disciples gathered there in the upper room in Jerusalem? The Holy Spirit came upon them with power. Now back in Bible times, when someone was anointed to be a prophet, or anointed to be a priest, or anointed to be a king, how were they anointed? Well, it was with oil. Oil was placed upon their head.

You can read the old testament accounts, it talks about the oil placed upon the head, it would run down of the beard and would drip down on to the earth. Today, when we are talking about anointing service, it's just a little drop of oil that we place on somebody's forehead if they're sick when we pray for them. But the anointing in the Bible times involved a whole lot of oil being poured over the head and dripping down on to the earth. So when Jesus was anointed as our high priest in heaven and he began his priestly ministry, the anointing of Christ dropped down on to the earth so to speak and the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples with power. We call that the early rain.

And that was the power that started this great evangelistic work of taking the Gospel to the world. But according to Bible prophecy, there is to be a third phase of Christ ministry. Jesus has fulfilled his prophetic, his priestly, he is working on that right now, he is our priest ministering for us in heaven, but when his priestly work is finished, then he moves into his kingly phase, and he comes back as king of Kings and Lord of Lords. That has not yet happened. But Jesus is also anointed for his kingly work or kingly phase of ministry.

And when Jesus is anointed as our king, there is also a special blessing bestowed upon God's people here on the earth. Just like the early days of the church when the Holy Spirit came in pentecost, there is a special outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the latter days just before Jesus comes. And we read about this at the close of Christ's priestly ministry, Psalms 2:2. It says, "the Kings of the earth have set themselves and the rulers are taking counsel against thee." Now it's talking about this great day of armageddon when the nations of the earth have gathered their forces and are about to attack God's people in the last days. It says, "the rulers have taken counsel together against the Lord and against his anointed.

" So the anointed is Christ. Now Jesus is anointed in his kingly role. Something else interesting to know is that king David was anointed to be king before he actually took possession of the Kingdom. You remember the story of the rehoboam, The Son of Solomon? the Kingdom was eventually divided up between rehoboam and jeroboam, jeroboam was the one who took the 10 tribes of the north. Jeroboam was anointed to king of the 10 tribes of the north before he actually took possession of the Kingdom.

So Jesus is anointed to be king in heaven before he takes possession of the Kingdom, before Jesus comes back as king of Kings and Lord of Lords. There is a special outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the earth just before probation closes and the Gospel goes to all the world. We talk about this great loud cry record in Revelation chapter 18 where the earth is illuminated with the glory of God, it's the result of the special outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the last days. So the first emphasis that we see with reference to the commission God has given us is the need for the Holy Spirit. It is a response to the power of the Holy Spirit that we can be God's witnesses.

The second principle that we find from our memory text is the role of the witness. Acts 4:19 and 20 says, "but Peter and John answered them saying, 'whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than God you judge,"' and in verse 20, he says, "'for we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and what we've heard."' To be a witness for Jesus is to speak of those things that we have seen in her. Evangelism at its very core is sharing with somebody else what Jesus has done for you. Amen. Did the disciples have a testimony to share with the world? Absolutely, they had been with Jesus.

Jesus had done some amazing things for them. Do you have a testimony to share with the world? Has Jesus done some amazing things in your heart and in your life? Until we have a real experience with Jesus, we can't quite be his witnesses because evangelism is sharing what Jesus has done for you. That's, in essence, what it is, telling other people about Jesus. Point number three that we learn from our memory verse is the plan formations. Jesus has told the disciples that they were to start in Jerusalem and then expand their reach to Judea, and samaria, and then to the ends of the earth.

So when it comes to being a missionary, don't think that you have to pack up everything you have and go to some distant land to tell the people about Jesus, there is that part of being a missionary, but we can all begin by being home missionaries. We can start with those closest to us. We can start, so to speak, in Jerusalem and then expand that in our neighborhood, in our city, in our town. And yes, we might not be able to go to some distant land, but can we support those who can go and preach the Gospel? Absolutely. That's an important work that we have to do.

And then finally, the fourth plan that we have here is the orientation of this Gospel commission. During the old testament times, Israel was to shine for the truth of God's Word and all the nations and the peoples were to be drawn to them to hear the truth. So people would come to Israel to find out God's will. But in the new testament times, it's not the nations coming to us but rather it's us going to the nations. So there is a shift.

Old testament times, it was people coming up to Israel to find truth, in new testament times, it's spiritual Israel going out into the world. Thus, we have, in Revelation 4, the everlasting Gospel going to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. The Gospel has to go to everyone and immediately following the proclamation of the everlasting Gospel and the three angels' messages. The next thing that you see in Revelations 14 is the harvest of the earth, Jesus comes the second time, so one of the final works that is to take place before probation closes is the everlasting Gospel going to the world. You know, sometimes we sit in Christian communities and we have the Bible, and we know the Gospel, and we talk about Scriptures, and yet there are so many out there in the world who have never heard the name of Jesus, who are searching for purpose and meaning in their life, and yet they want to hear, they want to know.

And God has given us the work of sharing the good news with as many as we can. And by the way, there is no greater joy that anyone can ever have than the joy of bringing somebody else to Jesus. To do the work of a missionary is the greatest thing that can ever happen. All right, on Tuesday's lesson, it's entitled he will come again. And, of course, this is the promise that Jesus gave to his disciples when he was about to ascend.

That promise is also found in Revelation 14:1-3, Jesus said, "let not your hearts be troubled, if you believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house, there are many mansions," if it weren't outside, I would have told you, "I go to prepare a place for you," Jesus said, "and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will," what? "Come again and receive you on to myself that where I am, there you may also be." So Jesus before leaving his disciples, he told them he would come again. And that was their motivation, that was their great hope. Yes, Jesus would come again. Now Jesus also knew though that the devil would try to deceive people with reference to the manner of his coming 'cause the deceiver, the devil will do everything he can to deceive even if possible the very elect.

That's why Jesus said, "if anyone says to you, 'look, here is Christ or there', do not believe it, for false Christ and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive if possible," who? "Even the very elect." Then he said, "see, I have told you beforehand." So there's a lot confusion even in Christian circles today with reference to the manner of Christ coming. Today, some people think that the second coming of Jesus is only symbolic or spiritual. Some people think that the second coming takes places at conversion or at death. And still others insist in what they call a secret coming or a secret rapture. But what we want to know is what does the Bible say concerning the manner of Christ coming.

You see, if we're not clear with reference to how Jesus will come, we're setting ourselves up to be deceived by a counterfeit so called second coming of Jesus. You see, the devil in the last days will do everything he can to deceive. The Bible says, "he can transform himself into an angel of light." So understanding how Jesus will come is important. Well, let's take a look then in acts chapter 1 and we will have somebody read for us verse 9. It talks a little bit about how Jesus will come.

Acts 1:9. Acts 1:9, "now when he had spoken these things while their watch too taken up and a cloud received him out of their sight." So can you imagine the scene? The disciples have gathered there on the mount of olives and Jesus is in front of them, he is sharing his fine great commission to them and while Christ is talking right before their eyes, they begin to see Jesus lifting up in the air. And they are just amazed as they watch and Jesus still speaks, and there he goes, and then a cloud envelops Jesus, and he is taken away from them, and still standing gazing up, suddenly two men appear next to them... And they have something interesting to say. Let's look at verse 10, "and while they look steadfastly towards heaven as he went up, behold two men stood by them in white apparel.

" Who are these two men? "The angels who also said, 'men of Galilee, why do stand gazing up into the heaven?'" Notice this, "this same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you have seen him go into heaven.' So the angels there said, "Jesus is going to come back the same way that he has been taken from you." Now were the disciples able to see Jesus when he ascended up and was taken to heaven? Yes. So the second coming of Jesus is going to be a visible event. You're going to actually be able to see Jesus coming. Were there clouds involved in Jesus being ascended to heaven? Since the clouds surrounded him, it's probably a cloud of angles there. Does Jesus come back in the clouds of heaven with all of his angels? Absolutely.

Could the disciples hear Jesus when he was talking to them and he was being lifted up of the earth? Yes, it says, "while he spoke, he began to lift up." So it was an audible event, you'll be able to hear Jesus when he comes again. And if you look at some of the other Bible passages, when Jesus comes again, there is going to be great shout, there's going to be a trumpet sound, there's going to be a great earthquake, the graves are going to open, and the righteous are going to be raised, those who are alive will be changed in a moment, in a twinkling of an eye they will caught up to meet Jesus in the air. Don't miss that part. When Jesus comes the second time, he does not appear walking around on the earth. Any person that claims to be Jesus who is walking about on the earth, no matter what kind of miracles they perform, they are not Jesus 'cause when Jesus comes the second time, we're caught up to meet Jesus in the air.

And we go with Jesus to heaven, we spend a thousand years of Sabbath in heaven. Then the new Jerusalem comes down from God out of heaven. So when you look at what the Bible says with reference to the second coming, it is a glorious event. You find these words in Scripture describing the second coming of Christ, Jesus comes with clouds, there is lightning, there is a trumpet, there is a shout, there is power, glory, angel's brightness, flaming fire. The Bible makes it very clear that there is nothing secret about the second coming of Jesus, but it's going to be the most spectacular event of all of history.

Jesus will come again. That was the hope of the apostles, that needs to be our hope was well. Well, let's take a look then at Wednesday's lesson preparing for pentecost. And Jesus gave the disciples a very important work to do that of taking the Gospel to the world. Acts chapter 1, beginning in verse 12, I'm going to read from verse 12 through to verse 13, and then we'll have somebody read for us verse 14, "after the Christ ascended to heaven, then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called olivet which is near Jerusalem about a Sabbath day's journey.

" When I read this, I couldn't help think of... A couple weeks ago, we were actually on the mount of olives on Sabbath and we walked a Sabbath day journey. We went down the mount of olives through the kidron valley up into Jerusalem into the same area of the old city where they actually thought it could very well be where this house was that the disciples had gathered in after the ascension of Jesus. The house is gone but they know roughly where the area is. It says, "and when they were entered in, they went up into the upper room where they were staying Peter, James, John, andrew, Philip, thomas, bartholomew, Matthew, James The Son of alphaeus, Simon the zealot, Judas The Son of James," and then verse 14 tells us what they did.

Acts 1:14, "these all continued with one accord and prayer and supplication with the women and mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers." What do you think the disciples were praying about there in the upper room? What did Jesus just told them before he ascended to heaven? He had told them that they were to be his witnesses, right? That they were to take the Gospel to everyone in Jerusalem, and Judea, and samaria, until the ends of the earth. I think when the disciples gathered together, they recognized that in their own strength, they could never do what Jesus had asked them to do. They were burdened with this great commission that Christ had just given them and they realized in their own strength it was impossible for them, thus they needed the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. They needed God's power in order for them to accomplish the work God wanted them to do. So as they gathered together, they recognized, "in order for us to do the work that Jesus has called us to do, we need the power that Jesus has promised.

But in order to receive the power, in order to receive the Holy Spirit, we need to make things right amongst ourselves." It talks about them confessing their faults one to another, that we are united in prayer, that we are humbling the hearts, that we are earnestly seeking for this gift of the Holy Spirit. How do you suppose the latter rain will come at the end of time upon God's church? It'll come the same way. When the church has a burden for the great commission of taking the everlasting Gospel to those in our community, to those places around the world, those who have never heard the Gospel, when the church is burdened with the great commission, and we recognize that in our own strength we cannot do it, we need the help of God, we need the gift of the Holy Spirit, and we come together, and we make things right amongst ourselves and we earnestly seek the gift of the Holy Spirit, then the Holy Spirit will come with power. And there will be such revival that will take place in the church, a revival that has never been seen to this extent in the history of planet earth. There will be power, there will be miracles, the preaching of the Gospel will go forward, lives will be transformed, backsliders will be reconverted, it'll be a most glorious time in the church, and the Gospel will go forth to every nation, kindred, tongue with power and glory.

At that end of that time period, probation closes, seven last plagues, and Jesus comes. I want to encourage you this morning, we're looking at bright future in Jesus Christ. Amen. The best is yet to come. The best for the church, the best for us individually because Jesus is coming to take us home.

What a wonderful hope we have. But the gift of the Holy Spirit does not come unless we recognize our need of the Holy Spirit until we have a burden to do the work God's called us to do. I remember one of our evangelists was doing an evangelistic series at a little church that really didn't have a heart for mission or evangelism. Halfway through the meeting, the evangelist happened to hear one of the church members say to another church member, "I can't wait for these evangelistic meetings to be over, so all these people can go and we can have our church back." Well, that's not the Spirit of evangelism. You think the Holy Spirit is anxious to be poured down on that church? They don't recognize their need of the Holy Spirit.

They are not burdened with the commission of taking the Gospel to the world. And I hope right here at the Granite Bay church, we will never lose sight of our mission. Our mission is to share the three angles' messages with those in this community and we believe in a special sense with those all around the world. On Thursday, we have the first administrative action of the early Christian church that of appointing a successor for Judas iscariot. It talks about how they gathered together in the upper room, and they pray, and they select two individuals, and they do something a little unconventional, probably something that we wouldn't do at a nominating committee, but after selecting two individuals, they pray, and then they cast lots, and they chose one of the individuals, matthias to be a replacement for Judas iscariot.

Some people sometimes ask, "well, if it worked for them, shouldn't we be doing the same thing? Shouldn't our nominating committee get together every two years during nominating time, and just pick a bunch of names, and then start casting lots to see who's going to be the personal ministry's director, who's going to be the deacon or whatnot." Is that the way we need to work today? Well, probably not. The casting of lots was a traditional method of finding out God's will during old testament times. It wasn’t new in the book of acts. But what we do find is after the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples in pentecost, we don't have any further reference of church leadership ever casting lots to determine what God's will is rather through prayer and supplication and the study that were guided by the Holy Spirit in doing what God's will is. So it wouldn't appropriate for us today to cast lots to try and figure out what God wants us to do rather we should spend time in the word, spend time in prayer, and then take Godly counsel, and then follow the leadings of prophets.

As a matter of fact, this maybe a good thing for us to end on this morning, how can you individually know God's will for your life? First of all, to the law and to the prophets if they speak not according to this, there is no light in them. We need to study the word to know is this really what the Bible or what God would want me to do, does this contradict a statement or a commandment in the Scripture. I remember as a young pastor, I had a new convert come to me, and he was very sincere, and he said, "pastor, please pray, I just bought a lottery ticket, and I want you to pray that I win the lottery." He said, "it will be great blessing for the church." And I believe God can do all things. I had to say, "brother, let me explain to you a few things. God's not going to help you win the lottery because gambling is against the Word of God, right? There is some other way that God wants you to seek in order to meet your ends and be a blessing to others.

" So the first thing we do is confer with Scripture. Secondly, we want to spend some time in prayer. And it's appropriate if we're making a big decision in my life to speak to fellow believers and say, "you know what, this is the situation. Could you pray with me and for me that God would give me a sense of peace to know which direction he has me to go?" And the thirdly, seek Godly counsel, speak to those who you know, love the Lord and say, "what do you think?" And then thirdly or finally, fourthly, follow the providence of God, follow the doors that God opens. If you sincerely seek in the will of God, God is not going to leave you astray, right? If you sincerely pray and say, "Lord, not my will be done, thy will be done," and you humble your hearts, trust that God will lead.

And if you happen to be going the wrong way, believe that God has the power to redirect you and set you on the right path. Take God at His Word and he will lead and guide in your life. Well, that's our study for today, chapter one of the book of acts, just a great start to this book, I'm looking very forward to the next upcoming lessons dealing with the book of acts. For our friends who are joining us, just a reminder about free offer today. We do have a book.

It's entitled the Holy Spirit the need. It goes along with our study. If you'd like to receive a copy of the book, give us a call on our resource phone line, that's 866-788-3966 and you can ask for offer number 723. Or if you would like to receive a digital copy of the book, you can text the following code "sh099" to the number 40544, and you'll receive a link where you can download the book the Holy Spirit the need. Until next time, may God richly bless you.

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