What do you say after Easter? After the greatest earth-shaking event ever to happen on our planet? The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the game-changer – the moment that the power of God and the divinity of Jesus was forever proven.
And he was shown to be the Son of God when he was raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit. He is Jesus Christ our Lord.Romans 1:4 (NLT)
The Gospel writers all told the story of Jesus, but one followed up with a sequel. Dr. Luke followed up his Gospel with a book we call simply, Acts. Some call it Acts of the Apostles, others Acts of the Holy Spirit.
In my first book I told you, Theophilus, about everything Jesus began to do and teach 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven after giving his chosen apostles further instructions through the Holy Spirit. 3 During the forty days after he suffered and died, he appeared to the apostles from time to time, and he proved to them in many ways that he was actually alive. And he talked to them about the Kingdom of God.Acts 1:1-3 (NLT)
For forty days after the resurrection Jesus taught the apostles. In Acts 1:4-11 is an account of the final moments of Jesus on earth.
– He promised them the coming of the Holy Spirit (4-5)
– He assured them that the Father had a plan for the Kingdom (6-7)
– He mapped out for them the spreading of the Gospel around the world
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”Acts 1:8 NLT
*It Begins at home (you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem)
* Spreads to communities and people groups nearby (and in all Judea and Samaria)
* Encompasses the globe (and to the end of the earth.)
Jesus ascended to Heaven (9 And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.)
The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command. When he had cleansed us from our sins, he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven.Hebrews 1:3 NLT
Disciples began a time of watching and waiting ( 10 As they strained to see him rising into heaven, two white-robed men suddenly stood among them. 11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!”)
We are the Waiting Witnesses of Jesus Christ. We await his return, we witness to the truth about Jesus while we are here. The witness our world needs today …. because Jesus makes a difference in the world.
Identify the Difference Jesus Has Made in Your Life.
This is good for our own hearts – to remember and to consider how important our commitment to Jesus really is.
Hebrews 10:32 says, “Think back on those early days when you first learned about Christ. Remember how you remained faithful even though it meant terrible suffering.” This reminds us of our earliest convictions that led to obedience. What were the convictions that led you to believe, to be baptized, to become a part of the church? This feeds feeds our willingness to talk to other people about what a difference He has made in our lives. This gives us strength as we recall that whatever sufferings we have endured, we see that Jesus carried us through – and He will now.
Be Ready to Share that Difference in a Widening Circle
Notice the outward motion of the mission of Jesus as he places the Kingdom agenda in the hands of the disciples. We might use the terms Home, Parish (county), State, Country, World. We may or may not operate in all of those arenas, but we should make it our goal to be missionaries in at least one of those settings. This is especially important when we realize it is core to what a disciple of Jesus is. It is not dependent on good circumstances. It is not just an add-on – it is what Jesus calls us to do. Acts 17:6 … “These who have turned the world upside down”
The Only news the whole world needs to hear is the Best News about Jesus Christ that can save the soul. On a regular day there are many stressors, struggles, and stumbles in our lives. In a pandemic world, it is exponentially more so. Now more than ever, the truth about Jesus is needed. Jesus has made a difference in your life, and He can make a difference in the life of anyone who turns to Him.
Be Mindful of the Return of Jesus
“Men of Galilee,” they said, “why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!”Acts 1:11 NLT
This should give us a sense of urgency – there are many to win. This should give us a sense of security – Jesus is coming…we love Him and He loves us! This should give us a sense of navigation – the truth about Jesus gives us direction, support, encouragement, and strength for each day.
For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. 12 And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, 13 while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. 14 He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds.Titus 2:11-14 NLT
God’s Grace is revealed in Jesus. This gives us guiding principles for living godly lives. This gives us a great hope as we look forward to the day of His return. This gives us a daily path forward – doing all the good we can.
Identify the difference Jesus has made in your life….
Be ready to share that difference in a widening circle…
Be Mindful of the Return of Jesus
These are centering principles when life gets off the rails … and they can help us as we contemplate them each day.