| Last Minute Matters ----
Posted by: Rev. Jeff Dixon, Senior Equipping Minister at Covenant Community Church on Jan 2, 2002, 12:45
Topics: Power, Hope, Discipleship
Passage: Acts 1:1-11 |
In trip planning there are always last minute details. Before you go anywhere you must take care of all the things that need to be done. Some of you have scampered getting ready for trips. Taking care of the pets, flowers, mail, newspaper, etc. are all things that must be accomplished. Then just before the trip, crunch time hits and the details have got to be done. In Acts 1 we see that Jesus is getting ready to head back to the Father. In verses 1—11 I see Jesus taking care of last minute matters before He left.
Jesus had been on earth 33 years. He had completed His earthly ministry with His death and resurrection. In the 40 days that followed He displayed the need and ability to cover last minute matters in the lives of the ones He cared for. As we move through this Easter season, let’s take a glimpse at what He did.
First we see a Reality Check
(v.1-3) “after his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive.”
He took the time to prove to the disciples the reality of His resurrection. They had seen Him die, so they had the opportunity to see Him alive. The author Luke in his gospel (Luke 24) clumps together the post resurrection appearances. Now we discover that they took place over a 40 day period. . .that would make sense. One of the reasons is that the disciples were “a slow to grasp things” group (kind of like us at times). Jesus convinced them this was real!
There was a family traveling through the Pennsylvania Dutch country and they passed an Amish horse and buggy. . .one of the kids asked “Why do they use horses instead of automobiles?”
The other child in the car explained they didn’t believe in automobiles.
To that came the response “But can’t they see them?”
The disciples saw Jesus at work. They spent time with him.. . they knew. . this was for real!
There are times that we need to see the reality of God doing all He said He would do. The good news for us is that He does just that. If you need a reality check you get one.
Next we see a Priority Check in verses 6-7. In these verses He deals with their curiosity about the Kingdom of God. Jesus was teaching constantly about the meaning of His kingdom.
there is so much to do!
But the good news is that we don’t do it alone!
Here the disciples are asking what was a natural line of thinking, since He was back. . .is this the time, or is it over (they were anticipating a new era starting)? Jesus doesn’t answer them directly. Instead they have a task to do. They will be His witnesses. They are going to grow a relationship with him and Jesus gives them enough at that point to go with.
More important than the direct answer to their question, Jesus gets them to focus on their priorities. We must as well. We need to keep our lives focused on Kingdom priorities. . .sharing with others, growing, worshipping, and ministering. At times when the world gets swirling out of control, we must keep the main thing the main thing. It is amazing to find that when you keep your priorities in check, other things do go a bit better.
Next we see a Power Check.
Read verses.4-5 & 8. He shared with them that they would be empowered to be His representatives to the ends of the earth.
Whatever He had done, the disciples would now do. . .
Jesus promised them that the ministry would not happen in human strength. He would send them help. .they would have the power of the Holy Spirit
There is power. . .it is real. We need to keep our priorities in line. We understand there is much to do, but the good news is that we don’t do it alone. We are empowered supernaturally, by the Father Himself !
And that is great news !
On Wednesday, October 11, 1994, NASA’s MAGELLAN space explorer fell silent. It had circled Venus over 15,000 times since arriving in 1990, but on this day NASA did one final experiment that destroyed the craft.
WHY? It was out of power.
Without power it doesn’t matter if you have the most expensive piece of technology ever created. . .it is worthless without power.
Without Him, there is no power. With Him there is all that we need. He is reminding us that there is power.
Now see one Final Check.
(v.9) “After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.” Realize that Jesus had done
all He needed to do.
We ask, “Couldn’t He have done this or that, maybe just spent a little more time?” The fact was he had completed everything that needed to be done. It was enough
Now it was our turn...
We are saved. He has done the hard part. Now we are to get busy doing the things He has called us to do
He took care of the details and gave us the chance to be successful because He had taken care of all the last minute matters. . .
So what are we waiting for???
In getting ready to take a trip, if you take care of all the last minute details, and then never leave . . I mean . . .get everything packed and never pull out of the driveway or go to the airport, what have you done ?. . . NOTHING
Jesus took great care in covering all the last minute details. Don’t you think it is time we get busy for Him.
| Trip Planning Guide ----
Posted by: Rev. Jeff Dixon, Senior Equipping Minister at Covenant Community Church on Jan 2, 2002, 13:08
Topics: Love, Hope, Life
Passage: 1 Thessalonians 3 |
If I were going on a trip I would have to make arrangements. What way do I need to go? Where can I find fuel? Where can I stay? Will I be safe? Where is my destination and what will it be like?
In other words to get anywhere takes some planning or it is a process. As summer rolls around there are many that are planning to travel. In this article I would like for you to think about the divine process that should be happening in our lives. In 1 Thessalonians 3 we make some discoveries that will help us understand this.
I often teach that people are on a spiritual pilgrimage. Now they may not always recognize that fact but they are. I think the journey revolves round three questions:
Where do I get love?
Will Rodgers was lying . . .he must have met someone that he didn’t like. I don’t care how good the quote sounds, we all have people we don’t like. What we really want to know is where can we find not only someone to like us, but really love us?
Where do I get the power to live the holy life?
The only person that believes it easy to live a holy life has never tried it. We have thundered from the pulpit for years telling people to be something without telling them how to do it. The end result is that people haven’t found the answers they needed at church. It isn’t that God hasn’t done His part . . . He has. It is just that we haven’t communicated well what people need to hear.
Where do I get hope?
I have gotten more suicide calls over the past year than I have in all my years in my ministry combined. The search for hope is crucial for every person. When there is no hope, there is no reason to keep going.
It is a good thing that this passage addresses some of these questions. So let’s dig in and find out what is there.
Where do I get love? THE SOURCE OF LOVE IS GOD (v.12) “May the Lord make your love increase . . .”
Remember what John tells us: We love Him . . .(because we are good) NO! We love Him because he first loved us!
1 John 2:9-10—Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness. Whoever loves his brother lives in the light and there is nothing in him to make him stumble.
The truth is this; the closer you are to Him, the more you will love.
When you think about your spiritual maturity, one of the tests is your love level. The closer you are to him, the higher your love level will be. Love comes from God. Our prayer should be that we would allow Him to teach us to love more. That is where we find love.
Where do I get the power to live a holy life? The source of Holiness is love (v.13)— May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father.
There was a car transport truck that lost its lights so he turned the lights on in a car he was carrying. Later, another car saw him coming down the highway and the guy in the oncoming car ran off the road. When he was asked why he said, “I saw you coming and I figured if you were as wide as you were high, I was in trouble.”
Most of us when we think about holiness feel like we are in trouble. Being holy isn’t about giving something up. Instead it is something that begins to happen. When love comes in, holiness is the reality that begins to take place. Go to 1 Corinthians 13 and read it. One of things that always impresses me when I read that passage is that if you have love you don’t need to worry about all the other things
Allow His love to wash you all over.
Holiness will come as a result of love
The last question is Where do Iget hope? The source of hope is holiness. Read verse 13 again and finish the part of the verse that we didn’t read above, “. . . when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.”
As we grow to know Him better, we discover hope. Allow the Father to love and change you. The changes bring confidence. There is nothing better than knowing that you are loved. If you have met Jesus, you are changing because of that love. That should give you confidence.
One time Saint Francis was asked as he tended his garden, “What would you do if you knew Jesus was coming back tomorrow?” He thought for just a moment and said, “I think I would keep on tending my garden.”
Another thing that happens in our lives once we get serious in our walk with Christ is that we don’t worry about the questions anymore. We trust Him to do as He promised. Think about it.