AND NOW IT BEGINS!
We are going to look today at the last day Jesus was on this earth with his disciples,now called apostles. There are two things talked about in the first chapter of Acts. First Jesus’ final interaction with his disciples/apostles. And secondly, what the disciples did as soon as Jesus went back to be with God the Father.
The first thing talked about in Acts 1 is one of the centerpieces of what we as Christians believe. In verse 3 we see it said after Jesus’ suffering, which includes, obviously, his crucifixion, Jesus appeared to his disciples alive over a period of 40 days. This was a time Jesus was reassuring his disciples it was okay. “What I came to do I have done.” Then he tells them, “Now it is about to become your turn.” Jesus was telling the disciples, “It is not quite time to start yet. Wait for the Holy Spirit, then it will be time.” Most all Christians believe in three distinct characteristics of God; God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
Throughout the history of the world each unique part of God has been actively working with men and women. God the Father was more actively involved with his people in the Old Testament times. God the son, Jesus, obviously came to earth with a particular mission and accomplished it. That mission, to pay the price for all of mankind’s sins past, present, and future, leads us to how God primarily works in our world since Jesus returned to God the Father.
In verses 4 and 5, we see Jesus is reminding his disciples to wait in Jerusalem until God the Holy Spirit comes and gives them power. Once that happens, then and only then, will it be time to begin. Jesus told them their primary mission, which had no limits. That mission is to take what you have heard and seen to the world. That message is that those living in darkness can experience the light of God in ways that no one has ever experienced before. Those living in bondage can be set free. Those who feel hopeless and helpless can live in victory. Man, what a message God has entrusted the disciples/apostles with!
Jesus had no more than said these words when he disappeared right before their eyes. Yet again, God the Father in His mercy sent two angels to explain what had just happened. The angels explained that just as you saw Jesus leave, that some day Jesus will return in the same way.
After all this happened, the disciples went back to Jerusalem to the place they had been staying. The remaining 11 disciples were there, as well as many women, including Jesus’ mother, Mary. Also among the group were other men, including Jesus’ earthly brothers. They gathered there in prayer asking for direction on how they should go forward. As most all of us know, one of the disciples had betrayed Jesus and killed himself. This, of course, was Judas. Since Jesus originally called 12 disciples, they felt they needed to replace Judas. As they were gathered waiting for the promised Holy Spirit, they decided to replace Judas themselves. We see they decided to cast lots between two men who had been part of Jesus’ followers from early on but were never actually among Jesus’ 12 disciples. The lot fell on a man named Mathias, so from that point on he was part of the inner circle with the other 11 disciples.
Jesus’ ascension happened 40 days after Jesus rose from the grave. On our calendar this year, it would have been on May 13. Can you imagine what it would have been like to have been one of those in that group who was almost always with Jesus? Jesus had ministered to literally hundreds of thousands of men, women and children. Yet there were just 120 people in that place seeking God’s guidance and waiting for their time. These men and woman had seen things that had totally changed their lives. And soon they would be the ones taking the lead in what would change the world forever. We are living in what is called the church age. During this time, the Holy Spirit of God is who is encouraging us and strengthening us to face whatever comes our way. Is the Holy Spirit operating today the same way he operated when power came to the disciples? That question will be a topic for another time. The fact is, though, that the same Holy Spirit that empowered the disciples and the early church 2000 years ago is still giving wisdom, strength and guidance to the church today.
Our God is still setting the captive free, bringing sight to the blind, causing the lame to walk, bringing hope to the hopeless. The only limits on God are the ones we put on Him. Over the next several weeks we are going to see how the Holy Spirit of God transformed ordinary men and women into the most vibrant, on fire people the world has ever seen. The question for you and me is are we ready for that to be us or are we already there? There is a lot that can be done right here in Cerro Gordo. Are we ready for the next chapter? And now it begins again!
Bible Study 9:30 Tuesday
June 2 Submissions for the June newsletter are due to Carol.
June 9 7:00 Executive Committee
Women’s Fellowship will be making strawberry pies to order. Stemming is scheduled for Saturday, June 12. Volunteers are needed. A sign up sheet for pie shells is in the back of the sanctuary. Pie pans to be used are in the kitchen.
Camp Emmanuel schedules and registration forms are available in the back of the sanctuary.
Please place your offering in the plates at the back of the sanctuary. Thank you for your continued giving!
Donation Box: VBS
First Sundays: food donations for food banks
Pastor Larry Traxler- (217) 454-2362
To keep up on Church of the Brethren news:
Denomination: www.brethren.org/news Sign up for Newsline by clicking link on left side of page.
District: iwdcob.org (click on newsletter link) and on facebook
Our pages: cerrogordocob.com (printed sermon, announcements, & calendar) and on facebook
Keep in Your Prayers
David Roe; Tera Runyan; Holly Flenner; Tim Laird; Carl and Wilma Cable; Larry Albro; Mike McCleery; Sherry Wright; Mike and Carol Seidenstricker; Sonna Hall; Brittany Wright; Evelyn Eads; Anna Gentry Thompson; Marlene & Arnold Schultz; Clyde and Nancy Fansler; Adiline Young; Kim Lehmann; Dylan Junior; Doug Fansler; Liza Yore; Candy Dobson; Anna Rose Larrick; Gary Jesse; Norm & Marge Starr; Shawn Cain; Robert Cripe; Mayo & Darlene Hanaver; Zola Copeland; Patty Cripe; Lauren Gross; Stacie Warren; Nancy Gorrell; many unspoken requests; Coronavirus crisis; healthcare workers and first responders; the families of the 580,000+ people who have died from COVID-19; those who are ill from the virus; the unemployed; school teachers, staff, and students; victims of natural disasters; victims of shootings; nursing home residents; the Nigerian church
Military and Other Services and their families
Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers
Our Mission Statement:
Love God, grow with others, serve faithfully, reach the lost, find peace.