September 12th 2010
Rhema Community Church
Sermonic Pericope: ESV Acts 1:12-26 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day's journey away. 13 And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James. 14 All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers. 15 In those days Peter stood up among the brothers (the company of persons was in all about 120) and said, 16 "Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus. 17 For he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry." 18 (Now this man bought a field with the reward of his wickedness, and falling headlong he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out. 19 And it became known to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the field was called in their own language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.) 20 "For it is written in the Book of Psalms, "' May his camp become desolate, and let there be no one to dwell in it'; and "'Let another take his office.' 21 So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us- one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection." 23 And they put forward two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also called Justus, and Matthias. 24 And they prayed and said, "You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen 25 to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place." 26 And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.
Sermonic Theme: The Ascension of Jesus Christ. (The Doctrine of Divine Necessities)
Sermonic Subject: Apostolic Authority (The Necessity of Prayer)
Sermonic Tension: Did the Apostles make the right decision? (Disciples are made not born.)
Sermonic Point: Your ability to make Godly decisions is based upon your willingness to persevere in prayer.
Sermonic Sentence: The goal of every Christian disciple is to persevere in prayer until your decisions become Godly.
Sermonic Goal: Persevere in pray before you decide.
Sermonic Question: Will you persevere in pray over your next decision?
Sermonic Cross Reference: ESV Zechariah 14:4 On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives that lies before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west by a very wide valley, so that one half of the Mount shall move northward, and the other half southward.
ESV Psalm 69:25 May their camp be a desolation; let no one dwell in their tents.
NLT Proverbs 16:33 We may throw the dice, but the LORD determines how they fall.
Sermonic Help: The final day of Christ’s postresurrection ministry did not take place in Galilee. That may have been the site of the largest assembly of His followers, as we have just seen; but His actual departure was from the crest of the Mount of Olives, not far from Bethany. There was something especially fitting that this should be the point of His departure, since from the prophecy in Zechariah 14:4 we know that the Mount of Olives will be the place of His return in the day of Armageddon. As He sets His foot down there, a mighty earthquake will split the hill of Olivet into a broad valley running from west to east.
We have no way of knowing how many of Jesus’ disciples gathered on the summit of Olivet for that last memorable interview with their Lord, on His final day of earthy ministry. Perhaps there were about 120 there, judging from the statement in Acts 1:15. It is conceivable that the “over five hundred brethren at once” (1 Cor. 15:6) were there rather than up in Galilee. Matthew 28:16 only mentions the Eleven as being certainly of that number; yet the Eleven may have simply been a core group, and a great many more may have gathered around them. On the other hand, if there were over 500 assembled at Olivet on Ascension Day, it is unlikely that 380 of them would have disregarded Christ’s solemn instructions and would have failed to tarry for the specified ten days until Pentecost (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4), when the Spirit would descend from heaven on them.
As the disciples gathered about Jesus to take their leave of Him before His departure to heaven, they asked Him one question of pressing importance: Will the kingdom of God very soon be established on earth? They were anxious to know what their Lord’s plan was for the triumph of His cause and establishment of His sovereignty over all the earth. In response to this question, Jesus does not correct their underlying premise—that He some day will establish the kingdom of God on earth—but indicates that there will be intervening times and seasons in phraseology reminiscent of the Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24:5–14), with its clear indication that much would have to happen before the present age would draw to its close. It was unnecessary and inappropriate for them to know about the exact date of the Second Advent; their task was simply to carry out the Great Commission and spread the gospel to the very ends of the earth (Acts 1:7–8).
As His final gesture there on the hilltop near Bethany, our Lord lifted His hands to bless His disciples (Luke 24:50); and in that attitude He was suddenly lifted up from the ground, to disappear from their sight beyond the clouds. As they stood there looking up, transfixed with wonder, two angels suddenly appeared beside them (perhaps the same angels who had greeted the visitors to the empty tomb) and assured them that Jesus would some day return to earth in bodily form—in the same form as they had seen Him ascend to heaven. With this glad assurance ringing in their ears, they made their way down from Olivet in order to spend the next ten days in communion and prayer, until the outpouring of Christ’s Holy Spirit came on them all at Pentecost.
In Acts 1:18 the apostle Peter reminds the other disciples of Judas’s shameful end and the gap he left in the ranks of the Twelve, which called for another disciple to take his place. Peter relates the following: “He therefore acquired a plot of land [chōrion] from the reward of wrongdoing. (This could mean either that Judas had already contracted with the owner of the field that he originally had wanted to buy with the betrayal money; or—as is far more likely in this context—Peter was speaking ironically, stating that Judas acquired a piece of real estate all right, but it was only a burial plot [chōrion could cover either concept], namely, the one on which his lifeless body fell. Acts 1:18 goes on to state: “And he, falling headlong, burst asunder, and all of his inwards gushed out.” This indicates that the tree from which Judas suspended himself overhung a precipice. If the branch from which he had hung himself was dead and dry—and there are many trees that match this description even to this day on the brink of the canyon that tradition identifies as the place where Judas died—it would take only one strong gust of wind to yank the heavy corpse and split the branch to which it was attached and plunge both with great force into the bottom of the chasm below. There is indication that a strong wind arose at the hour Christ died and ripped the great curtain inside the temple from top to bottom (Matt. 27:51). This was accompanied by a rock-splitting earthquake and undoubtedly also by a thunderstorm, which normally follows a prolonged period of cloud gathering and darkness (Matt. 27:45). Conditions were right for what had started out as a mere suicide by hanging to turn into a grisly mutilation of the corpse as the branch gave way to the force of the wind and was hurtled down to the bottom.
Sermonic Title: “GOOD CHOICE or GOD’S CHOICE”
Sermonic Structure: (There are six moves within this pericope)
I. THE APOSTLES ARE IN PRAYER (vrs.12-14 Obeying Christ they return to Jerusalem [hostile territory], entered into the house, and went into the “upper room” attempting to get as close to heaven as humanly possible so that they could talk to God. Acts 1.4)
II. THE APOSTLES ARE LISTENING TO PETER (vrs.15-16)
III. THE APOSTLES HAVE A PROBLEM (vrs.17-20 Jesus has left and the Holy Spirit has not yet come. The apostles are attempting to fill an empty space/ a vacancy, void in their lives and ministry.)
IV. THE APOSTLES WILL CHOOSE ONE OUT OF TWO PEOPLE (vrs.21-23 Listen to the criterion given.)
V. THE APOSTLES PRAY ONE MORE TIME BEFORE THEY PICK (vrs.24-25)
VI. THE APOSTLES PICK MATTHIAS TO TAKE JUDAS PLACE (vrs.26 Just because you are chosen don’t become arrogant and smug remember the last person who had your job was a devil. John 6.70)