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The Pilgrim Path (1-6-2021)

The Pilgrim Path---Acts 1: 1-11

In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.

And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and in Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” 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. And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

WHY DO YOU STAND LOOKING?

Christianity is not just about feeling good, about getting things, about being nice, about thinking you are better than others, about judging others---it has a great deal to do with the Glory of God in Christ Jesus! The LORD Jesus does for us---what we could never do for ourselves: He lived perfectly---took the wrath of God for us---in His own body and soul---died and was resurrected the third day from the grave---to demonstrate He can keep all who trust Him forever! We exist for Him---and the key to happiness is to have no other will but His. Ole medical doctor Luke, wants Theophilus (seemingly a convert like Cornelius who believed Luke’s Gospel---Luke 1: 3), to begin to get a grasp of the full message of the gospel. Luke wants him to know that Christianity is actual---factual---verifiable. It is the real deal. There is nothing mythological about the testimony of Jesus Christ.

---The Gospel is factual---verse 3---many proofs stand behind it. No ancient manuscripts have the veracity that the New Testament possesses…Jesus was seen by 500 witnesses at once---after His resurrection---My---my…(First Cor. 15: 6).

---The Spirit was a hope for early disciples---He indwells us now! We are not alone because of the Comforter of Glory!

---The role we have is faithfulness---verse 7---We do not need to worry about complete Kingdom restoration---The LORD will make all things New---in the meantime---We are to be: Salt and Light for Him…

---The LORD we serve may have departed for a time---verse 11---He is going to Return in Power and great Glory! Thanks be to God! No time to “stand gazing” when so many are confused---and unaware of the truth of the gospel…It is an honor to be able to represent the LORD Jesus in this world as His ambassador (II Cor. 5: 20, 21). We each have a unique story of His redemptive love in our lives---we are meant to share it.

From James Montgomery Boice: …there is a plan to history. God is unfolding it. That plan does not have to do with the rise and fall of empires. It does not have to do with one race or people being more influential than another. The Bible does not even look at history as having to do primarily with individual successes or attainments. The meaning of history is in God’s work: God’s reaching down into the mass of fallen humanity and saving some hell-bent men and women, bringing them into a new fellowship, the church, and beginning to work in them in such a way that glory is brought to Jesus Christ. That is what Luke is writing about as he unfolds events.

HYMN

A hymn of glory let us sing; new songs thro’ out the world shall ring:

Alleluia! Alleluia! Christ, by a road before untrod,

Ascendeth to the throne of God.

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

The Venerable Bede, 673—735

Grace and Peace in Jesus, the Only Redeemer of broken and wretched souls, Pastor Jason