Sermon: “The Great Fifty Days: The Promise”
1st Sunday after Easter
Sermon: Part I “The Great Fifty Days ‘The Promise’”
Scripture: John 14: 15-31; Acts 1: 1-5
Prepared by Carl Schaefer
For Grace United Methodist Church
April 3, 2005
- Series: 40 Days (Resurrection to Ascension) 10 days to Pentecost = 50 days. All about the succession, mission, and the equipping the Saints.
- Today, we anchor this series in the “promise” of the Holy Spirit; let’s first look at the account in Acts – the promise before death, and after the resurrection.
- The first 5 versus of Acts are full of different aspects, like the preface to a book, a short summary follows:
- to whom the book is addressed – Thiaphilus
- Description about the book of Luke – all that Jesus began to do, and teach until the ascension – “the day he was taken up to heaven.”
- The institutions that will follow – “after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen”
- Giving witness to his resurrection – (proof of the resurrection) through eyewitnesses – “he showed himself to these men and game many convincing proof that he was alive.”
- Time frame – “He appeared to them over 40 days and spoke about the Kingdom of God.” Connects us with early part of Luke – remember Luke 5 – “I must preach the good news of the Kingdom of Heaven…”
- State of his physical form. – “…on one occasion, while he was eating with them…”
- The first set of instructions directly to those who would succeed him “the future church.”
- “do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift of my Father – promised…in a few days…
- Description of coming events: “…you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
- Let’s unpack what was promised – baptism?
- Back in John 14 – he referred to the condition of the promise: vs. 15 “If you love me, you will obey my commands.”
vs. 16 “And I will give you another counselor (Holy Spirit) to be with you forever – the Spirit of truth.” …Jesus confirmed his departure vs. 18 “But I will not leave you as orphans.” …the Spirit is the living, resurrected, ascended, presence of Christ…vs. 18 “I will come to you” ….Prophesy is a promise vs. (20) “on that day you will realize that I am in my Father” following the ascension.
- John 16 – Work of the Holy Spirit. Vs. 7 “It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you.” … The living Spirit of Christ replaces the physical presence of Christ. The presence of Christ will be all-present, not just in the one place of his physical presence. Assignment of the Holy Spirit is referred to in John 16: 12ff –15.
- The disciples had to be fearful … John 20: 19, “on the evening of that first day of the week (day of the resurrection) when the disciples were together, with the doors locked in fear of the Jews. Luke24: 37 “Luke says…they were startled and frightened” when they saw Jesus.
- Not orphans…left abandoned and stranded without directions. Jesus is
- assuring them of his resurrection
- giving them assurances of the former promises
- another set of instructions
- describing a new experience
- Baptism of the Spirit…not just the baptism of water…John’s baptism of repentance, but baptism, anointing, adoption of the Spirit (Pentecost)
- Announcement “I am alive” now you see me…soon not.”
- Remember the promise
- What will happen
Great fifty days is the preparation for the promise of the Spirit comes to pass.
- Part of the Good News – is to see one of Jesus’ first promises “come to pass.”
- Our salvation is a promise – remember Jesus’ word – to those who receive the benefits of the promise – back to the formula of previous covenants – one-way promise – “if you do this, this is what I will do.” John 14:15 “If you love me, you will obey what I have commanded” (If the disciples did start obeying his commands to stay in the City and wait, they would not have been in place for the promise to be fulfilled.
- Five short verses of Acts 1, full of what is to come – during the first 50 days.
- Lesson for us in Acts – we too are the benefactors of the promise; are we obedient to the spirit of one baptism.