Welcome Home everyone.
We are here in the final passage of Acts chapter 1.
We have seen how God is preparing the Apostles for Pentecost and a launch to ministry/missions.
My big idea for today is that we should see God as sovereign and in control in every way imaginable. My prayer for us today is that as we internalize the grandness of the Lords reach in our lives, we would become more and more confident in his promises and trusting in His word. If you have your Bibles today you can join me in Acts chapter1, verse 15.
In those days Peter stood up among the believers (a group numbering about a hundred and twenty) 16 and said, “Brothers and sisters, the Scripture had to be fulfilled in which the Holy Spirit spoke long ago through David concerning Judas, who served as guide for those who arrested Jesus. 17 He was one of our number and shared in our ministry.” 18 (With the payment he received for his wickedness, Judas bought a field; there he fell headlong, his body burst open and all his intestines spilled out. 19 Everyone in Jerusalem heard about this, so they called that field in their language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.) 20 “For,” said Peter, “it is written in the Book of Psalms: “‘May his place be deserted; let there be no one to dwell in it,’ and, “‘May another take his place of leadership.’ 21 Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus was living among us, 22 beginning from John’s baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection.” 23 So they nominated two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias. 24 Then they prayed, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen 25 to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs.” 26 Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles.Acts 1:15-26
In order to help me share with you today, I have separated my thoughts into 3 sections or points. These points will focus on 3 aspects of God’s sovereignty.
and said, “Brothers and sisters, the Scripture had to be fulfilled in which the Holy Spirit spoke long ago through David concerning Judas, who served as guide for those who arrested Jesus. 17 He was one of our number and shared in our ministry.” 18 (With the payment he received for his wickedness, Judas bought a field; there he fell headlong, his body burst open and all his intestines spilled out. 19 Everyone in Jerusalem heard about this, so they called that field in their language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.) 20 “For,” said Peter, “it is written in the Book of Psalms: “‘May his place be deserted; let there be no one to dwell in it…’Acts 1:16-20
We read these passages about Judas’ betrayal of Jesus and I just cannot figure out how or why anyone would betray Christ in this way and then end their life like this. Through out history God has projected out of His will and into our lives by way of 3 concepts. Foreknowledge, Election, and Predestination.
I’ll start with God’s foreknowledge. the Scripture had to be fulfilled in which the Holy Spirit spoke long ago through David concerning Judas. God Has foreseen all of human history.
For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.Romans 8:29
And he tells us all about it in His Word; His depth of insight includes everything concerning the entire course of future events.
Even my close friend, someone I trusted, one who shared my bread,Psalm 41:9
has turned against me.
Jesus Quotes it again to freshen their memory John 13:18-19
“I am not referring to all of you; I know those I have chosen. But this is to fulfill this passage of Scripture: ‘He who shared my bread has turned against me.’John 13:18-19
19 “I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I am who I am.
The point that I’m trying to make here is that God has given us clues to what he has set into motion. He has clearly shown us where and how many of these things are fulfilled. And In the process, he is demonstrating His faithfulness and ability to keep every promise he has made to you and me.
Next is God’s Election.
who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood:1 Peter 1:2
Grace and peace be yours in abundance.
This is understood in the context of God foreknowing who will accept Him and who will reject Him and God respecting their choice. In this way, this is God’s election/separating the wheat from the chaff. In Judas’ case all of what happened was necessary to fulfill the scriptures. Christ had to be betrayed and crucified in order to make the sacrifice for our sin and the sin for all mankind. Two deliberate actions- a betrayal and a sacrifice. But by the election/choice from before the earth was formed, Christ made the decision to willingly lay down His life for us and He used Judas to bring about this moment. Not the other way around. Jesus didn’t die as a result of Judas’ betrayal.
Finally, is God’s Predestination. For eternity God pre-ordained all things which come to pass including final salvation or condemnation of humanity.
he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—Ephesians 1:5
Because I know that God has foreseen my future, I have confidence that He is not surprised by any event that may happen. He is in control. Along this line, I also know that God has elected/chose me and you for a purpose, that He will sustain us until His work in/through me and you is complete.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.Jeremiah 29:11
I am enough in Him. And He has Predestined/ordained all of the events in time and space on this planet and beyond.
being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.Philippians 1:6
I am secure in His plan.
I’ll move on to my next point.
‘…and, “‘May another take his place of leadership.’ 21 Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus was living among us, 22 beginning from John’s baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection.” 23 So they nominated two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias. 24 Then they prayed, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen 25 to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs.”Acts 1:20-25
All of these events are under God’s eternal foreknowledge, election, and predestination. Even Judas’ willful and voluntary betrayal
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.Romans 8:28
God had a plan and he announced it in His word. He foreknew it therefore, He ordained His plan and moved forward. Here’s the thing, we will never know what God originally planned for Judas. Many of you, I know I’m the same. We will not know, this side of Heaven, God’s optimal plan for our lives. I know that God was calling me out as a child. What/where would that path have taken me. I’m grateful today for His providence in my life. The Eleven remaining Apostles believed that Chris’s purpose for having 12 disciples was important. The purpose was to “become a witness with us of His resurrection.” They selected those qualified.
Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus was living among usActs 1:21
A real Christian is not about what one may know about Jesus but, that he/she actually knows Jesus. The mark of a true Christian is one who lives day by day with Christ.
These qualifications were important because the decisions would have eternal significance.
And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, 30 so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.Luke 22:29-30
These 12 would have Authority in the Coming Kingdom. Here’s the rub, It is His Kingdom Come and His will be done. They prayed about it; they gathered those who met the qualifications. And left the decision to God, by casting lots. And never again would they cast lots because, the Holy Spirit would now direct them.
I’m going to begin to wrap it with this final point
Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles.Acts 1:26
When we ask God for direction, His holy Spirit will guide us. But we must be with Him in relationship. Living with Him day by day. How can we expect to hear from God if we aren’t in that close spiritual proximity? His purpose is perfect. His plan is perfect. His view of me and you is perfect in Christ Jesus. And His care and attentiveness to your life is perfect. Our hang up usually, centers around our lack of trust in Him.
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.Matthew 6:33
All the things we need in this life, God will provide.
Will you join me as we seek/trust in an authentic relationship united in Christ and each other? Rejecting division, embracing God’s reality in Jesus, and encouraging one another. It’s just between you and God. Here’s the thing, If we love God and abide in Christ we will find ourselves more and more loving each other. You will we more and you will love better. We will experience God in spirit and in truth and we will share that amongst each other. Share all the ways God has shown you mercy and grace.
Will you allow the Holy Spirit to stir faith in someone through your testimony? Would you join me as the Holy Spirit moves on us to be unified in the spirit of Christ? These are the kingdom values. This is truly the work of God. The intentional actions of the body of Christ.
Remember the devil seeks only to kill steal and destroy. Steal your freedom, kill your joy, and destroy your destiny for hope and love. But God has a plan! He’s stealing from your neighbor, your family, and your loved ones today.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.John 3:16
Jesus, He’s the Son of the living God, and we can receive from Him today His Righteousness, His purpose and His calling. Will you call on him today? Your salvation/forgiveness is just one prayer away. Will you trust in his ability to do what He said He would do? Will you believe today?
Many of you need a fresh touch from God today. Is there some form of unbelief or a fracture of trust as it relates to God in your life today? God wants to redeem and restore those areas of your life? He wants to restore Joy and hope for you today. You’re hearing this now and the Holy Spirit has brought someone or something to mind. He wants to speak life into this today. He wants to bring healing in this area today. There are areas of deep regret when it comes to your relationship with God and you have rejected Christ as your savior …It’s not too late
It’s not too late to humble yourself before him today, hold out your arms and open your hands to receive from him today. Will you say yes to Jesus, today? Will you bow your heads with me? Some of you already know the Lord, but maybe he’s put something on your heart that you need to deal with, you need to ask his forgiveness today. If that’s you will you just acknowledge that to him today. This is just you and God here.
Now someone here may not have that relationship with Jesus and today you’ve felt him tugging at your heart, you’ve been hurt, and you’re guarded, I know. Jesus is here and wants set things right in your life. If you’ll say Pastor, I want Jesus to be my Lord and savior. Remember, it’s just you and God here. Will you pray with me today, We’ll pray here as a family and you can repeat after me?
Jesus, I know that I’m a sinner. I ask you today for your forgiveness. I believe that you died for my sins and on that 3rd day, you rose from the dead. I ask you to come into my heart today. I trust and follow you as my Lord and savior. Guide me and help me to do your will. In Jesus’ name Amen.
“‘“The Lord bless youNumbers 6:24-26
and keep you;
25 the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
26 the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.”’