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Bible Commentaries

Bell's Commentary on the Bible

Acts 1

Verses 1-3

  1. Intro:
    1. Embryogenesis is the formation and growth of an embryo.
      1. A new human being progresses from a single cell.
      2. When an egg is fertilized it is called a zygote.
      3. When the zygote begins to divide it becomes an embryo.
      4. After 8 weeks it becomes a fetus.
        1. A zygote contains a full set of chromosomes, ½ from the male & ½ from the female cell in its inception.
      5. I see the book of Acts as the Embryogenesis of the Church.​​​​​​​
        1. It shows the formation & growth of the early Church.
      6. It’s a spiritual Zygote of the Holy Spirit & man coming together to bring about New life!
    2. Q: How has God’s Spirit moved in our country’s history since its inception?
    3. 1st Great Awakening (1720’s)
      1. Started: Dutch Reformed; spread to Congregationalist, thanks to Jonathan Edwards in Mass.(1734); which sparked George Whitefield & the Wesley’s in New England & the Middle Colonies(1739); next to the Presbyterians; Baptists; Methodists.
      2. Results: [1] Widespread conversion [2] Stirring of missionary interest [3] Founding of Evangelical Colleges (The Congregationalist started Yale, Harvard & Dartmouth, Presbyterian Princeton, and Episcopalian Penn and Columbia, & the Baptist started Brown Univ)
      3. At least 10% of New England was converted in the 1st Great Awakening.
    4. 2nd Great Awakening (late 1700’s) [due to Concerts of Prayer set up with diff pastors]
      1. Finney Revival’s (early 1800’s) N.Y.
      2. The revival of 1858 – Quite different. No great names attached to it, laymen were most responsible. Some say it was the Business people of N.Y. because of a bank panic, scared people into a new dependence on God. But the 1st outbreaks in U.S. in Virginia & the Carolina’s occurred among slaves. Ultimately over 100,000 African American’s were converted in the 1858 revival.
      3. D.L. Moody (late 1800’s)
    5. Evangelical revival:
      1. ​​​​​​​Azusa St. Revival in LA. (early 1900)
      2. Billy Graham (mid-late 1900’s)
      3. Jesus Movement(starting in late 1960’s) which we were birthed out of
    6. Some movements were started with God using popular individuals; some with the average Christian business men, some with folks getting together & pleading/ praying for revival; but each a deliberate, intentional, purposeful moving of the Holy Spirit.
    7. The book of Acts is simply history written with a purpose.
      1. It is the development of the early church.
      2. No person set out to create the Church. The Holy Spirit birthed it right into the very soul of His people.
    8. Q: Where is the Church today?
    9. J. I. Packer said, "The outside observer sees the Christian faith staggering on from gimmick to gimmick and stunt to stunt like so many drunks in a fog, not knowing at all where we are or which way we should be going. Preaching is hazy; heads are muddled; hearts fret; doubts drain strength; uncertainty paralyzes action. Unlike the 1st Christians who in 3 centuries won the Roman world, and those later Christians who pioneered the Reformation, and the Puritan Awakening and the Evangelical Revival, and the great missionary movement of the last century, we lack certainty. Why is this? We blame the external pressures of modern secularism, but this is like Eve blaming the serpent. The real truth is that we have grieved the Spirit...we stand under divine judgment. For 2 generations our churches have suffered from a famine of hearing the words of the Lord."
    10. G.K. Chesterton said, “Christianity has not been tried & found wanting; it has been found difficult & not tired.”
  2. INTRO TO ACTS!
    1. ​​​​​​​Interesting Nuggets:
    2. Q: What were Jesus last words(recorded words)? A: The Great Commission in Acts 1:8
    3. I love the intro in my Bible(Broadman & Holman), “The book of Acts is the story of the men & women who took that commission seriously & began to spread the news of a risen Savior to the most remote corners of the known world.”
    4. Book Overview:
    5. Written by Luke. It’s Volume 2, in a 2-part work.
      1. Luke was a close friend & traveling companion of Paul.
      2. Ps: We will be having the actor David Payne back out, Wed night Sept.12th, Prisoner of Passion” Paul in prison w/Luke by his side, & a slave girl.
      3. Many believe Luke wrote both Luke & Acts while in Rome w/Paul. 2.5.3.1. Paul wrote in 2nd Timothy, “only Luke is with me.” (4:11)
    6. We know Luke was a Gentile & a Physician.
      1. The Anti-Marcionite prologue to Luke’s Gospel(2nd cent a.d.) states that he was a native of Antioch, Syria, never married, & died in Boeotia(Bee-o-shee-a/ Ancient Greece) at the age of 84.
    7. Luke wrote in the early 60’s (he ended Acts w/Paul still awaiting trial in prison)
      1. The Emperor Nero had not yet tuned against the Christians (64 ad)
    8. It records the acts of Peter(ch.1-12) & the acts of Paul(ch.13-28).
      1. Peter used “the keys” to open the door of faith to the Jews(2); the Samaritans(8); & the Gentiles(10).
      2. Paul took the good news to the Gentiles in the Roman Empire.
    9. Some say the best title would be The Acts of the Holy Spirit through the church!
      1. ​​​​​​​This book then is for every Christian who wants to experience the power of the Holy Spirit & be a witness for Jesus Christ “to the end of the earth”. (Warren Wiersbe; With The Word; pg.705)
      2. Q: Do you want to experience the power of the Holy Spirit in your life?
      3. Q: What part does God want you to play in taking the good news to the world? It simply starts with 1 phrase, like Paul used in 9:6(read).
    10. We can also break it down into 3 sections:
      1. Ch.’s 1-7; 8-12; 13-28.
      2. Each focus in on: a particular audience, a key personality, & a significant phase in the expansion of the gospel message.
        1. i.e. Jerusalem – Judea & Samaria – end of the known earth.
        2. Each expansion was brought on by persecution.
        3. But they were able to watch the gospel message penetrate geographical, social, racial, & religious barriers.
      3. So Acts 1:8 really outlines the book!
  3. THE EMBRYONIC CHURCH! (1-3)
    1. ​​​​​​​(1) Do & teach – Don’t you just love the order?
      1. May we not just be known for our sayings, but of both our sayings & doings!
      2. And, may it be said that our doings did not clash with our sayings!
    2. Jesus began both to do & teach - Acts is an account of the continuation of Jesus’ work, through the Holy Spirit, in the early church.
    3. (3) Many infallible proofs - The word “proofs” occurs only here in the NT, and looks at demonstrable evidence in contrast with evidence provided by witnesses.
      1. In other words, the Resurrection was proven by touch, sight, and feel.
      2. Luke 24:39 “Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”
      3. 1 John 1:1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched this we proclaim concerning the Word of life
    4. Questions to Ponder: (Think, Dream & Ponder with me on these!)
    5. Q: What is God going to do in/with our church by going through this?
    6. Q: What is God going to do in/with me by going through this?
    7. Q: How do we or how should we judge if the Spirit is working in our church/in us?
    8. Q: Is our God limited to moving how He did during the Jesus Movement? (i.e. afterglow’s?)
    9. Q: Is it about us experiencing something, or the world experiencing Him?
    10. Q: Would we be satisfied with a world won for Christ & the Father blessed with worshipers…or do we need more?
    11. Q: What if God wanted to emphasize only the boldness of faith in this next spiritual awakening would we be ok with that?
    12. Q: What will the next Jesus movement look like? How will it be different? Who will He use?
      1. (Look what it changed last time: youth came back to church; the music style completely changed; the spotlight became what was on the inside, not on what you wore to church; it focused once again on the Essentials of The Book, & not the opinions of The Majority; it took a total different direction then the church was going at the time)
    13. Q: What will the next Jesus movement look like? How will it be different? Who will He use?
    14. Q: Will you offer yourself to pray for, to be used in, & to be open to HIS next move? (moving is changing, & changing is growing)
      1. ​​​​​​​Growing Faith lives each day with eternity in view! Growing Faith isn’t afraid to embrace a vision greater than oneself. Growing Faith isn’t afraid to take on a God sized assignment! Growing Faith invests in the most important thingsPeople!
      2. It’s being in mission with Jesus Christ! (mission = assigned task: a particular task given to a person or group to carry out)
        1. It is whether or not we are willing to accept God’s mission, as our mission?
        2. If we do…Warning!
    15. Warning: The Devil always fights the church when the church is on the move!
    16. Charles Spurgeon used to say that Satan never kicks a dead horse!
    17. Satan knew that the church was on the move, so he attacked it.
      1. In Acts 2 we read that 3000 people were converted.
        1. Then what happened? According to Acts 4, Satan came like a lion and had the apostles threatened.
        2. In Ch.5, Satan came like a serpent, influencing Ananias and Sapphira to infect the church with their lying and hypocrisy.
      2. If Satan can’t win by persecution from the outside, he will try pollution on the inside.
      3. Then Satan came as the accuser in Acts 6. One group of widows accused the other group of widows of taking over. “We are being neglected,” they said. Satan likes to get the saints to accuse one another.
      4. Then according to Acts 12, Satan came as a murderer. James was killed, and Peter was put into prison to be kept for execution.
    18. Next time(1:4-8) we’ll look at Power.
      1. Jesus didn’t only promise the Holy Spirit’s Presence to His disciples, but also a desperately needed transfusion of Power! (Swindoll; Christ at the Crossroads; pg. 146)
      2. “The Task ahead of you is never as great as the Power behind you!”

Verses 4-8

  1. Intro:
    1. Communion: During worship. Romulo will lead.
    2. Pollsters report that 72% of Americans don’t know their next-door neighbors!!! (Bill McKibben, in the Age of Missing Information, Signs of the Times, February, 1994)
    3. Some scholars estimate that over the 30 year span of the book of Acts, the Christian church grew from 120 to 100,000 among Jews alone.2[obv greater w/Gentiles]
      1. Therefore if taken only as a “church growth study”, Acts would qualify as a valuable source for discovering principles & procedures for spreading the gospel.
  2. CHRIST’S FAREWELL ADDRESS! (4-8)
    1. WAIT…UNTIL! (4,5)
    2. Wait – Also see Lk.24:49.
      1. This waiting/tarrying lasted a whole 10 days, no longer.
    3. In Christian service there is a delicate balance between spending time w/the Father (in worship, praise, & intimacy), & in obeying the Fathers commands in ministry outreach.
      1. Waiting in the upper room, where they spent a good part of 10 days, must have been a sweet time of “peace, quiet, prayer, fellowship, & thanking Jesus for all He meant to them”.
      2. Times such as these, in warm fellowship w/other believers in the presence of God, are precious!
      3. But then suddenly the “until” hits!
    4. Until – The until takes effect & they receive the power they’d been waiting for.
      1. From then on it was “lights, camera, action.”
      2. It was time for ministry & practical application of the power they’d receive.
      3. Within 24 hours, they had produced 3,000 unpolished disciples, who needed care & nurture in their Christian faith.
        1. And the action sparked that day, lasted the 30 year span of the book of Acts!
    5. “We must not allow the time spent in preminstry spiritual formation to extend indefinitely.” (Ibid; pg.53)
      1. Allow me to add a PS here: I said earlier, “In Christian service there is a delicate balance between spending time w/the Father (in worship, praise, & intimacy), & in obeying the Fathers commands in ministry outreach.” - We must always maintain that balance!!!
      2. What I’m saying is, “don’t become a professional “tarrier”!”
      3. If we don’t have the intimacy we won’t have the power!
        1. It’s as necessary as food is to the human body.
        2. But food, like tarrying, can be overdone.
      4. We must arise from our upper room & head into the marketplace of Murrieta & over to the shops of Mongolia!
    6. (5) Baptized with the Holy Spirit – Unfortunately differences of understanding about what is meant by the baptism of the H.S. have been used by the enemy to separate segments of the body of Christ for almost 100 years.
      1. Sincere believers on all sides are seeking the same thing, namely, the unobstructed power of the H.S. in their lives & ministries.
    7. There are 3 separate terms used for the power-bestowing event Luke’s talking about
      1. Baptized w/the H.S. – used only 1 more time in Acts (11:16).
        1. When Peter explains what happened in the house of Cornelius (See 11:15,16; also 10:44-46).
      2. The H.S. has come upon you – (epi)
      3. Filled w/the H.S. – we have repetitive times individuals are filled with the Spirit.
      4. There are many discussions, disagreements, & arguments on how many times one can be baptize or filled w/the Spirit; Whether it occurs at salvation, or is subsequent to conversion; Whether there is initial physical evidence to certify that it happened, or not is more important to some than others.
      5. I think we can all agree on this: “We need to receive the supernatural power of the H.S. in our lives & our ministries to the greatest extent possible in order to serve God well in our world.” (Peter Wagner)
    8. He has provided us with a power for our daily living.
      1. It’s the difference between running an automobile w/o oil & with oil.
      2. You can’t run it w/o gas, the car would stop.
      3. But try running it w/o oil. It will run for a little while, but the repair bill is always costly. So it is w/the Christian life!
    9. A good example was at a Coffee Shop yesterday in Blythe:
      1. Our waitress kept filling up or warming up our coffee.
      2. But as she did it, she would always spill it over the top & into the saucer
      3. Good picture of the H.S. wanting to re-fill & overflow each of our lives!
    10. AT THIS TIME? (6,7)
    11. The times & seasons/dates of such things were matters within God’s own purposes & authority.
      1. Instead He directed the disciples toward their task which was to be His witnesses.
    12. (7) Deut 29:29 “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.”
    13. Also note, Israel - Some believe God is completely done with Israel & the church has become the fulfillment of all future prophecies.
      1. If this was so, why wouldn’t Jesus have said, “Haven’t you understood yet? There isn’t going to be any kingdom.”
    14. POWER & WITNESS! (8)
    15. Jesus’ last words – yet not as a dying man, but as the Lord of Glory!
      1. He taught them in Jn.14-16 that He was going back to heaven to represent us, & that we were to be here on earth representing Him.
        1. He would be in heaven as our ambassador, & We would be here on earth as His ambassadors.
    16. Power – Power for what? - Power for daily living in thousands of ways!
      1. Ex.31:1-11 God filled individuals with the Spirit of God to do sewing & embroidering & dress-making! (vs.10, for Aaron & the priests)
        1. And in all manner of workmanship (3,5).
      2. It’s for the laborer who does his job everyday in his own strength, or asks, “Lord, help me to work that I can reveal You in my hard labor.”
      3. It’s for the salesman who does his job everyday in his own crafty way, or asks, “Lord God, I don’t want to lie about my product. I’ll say things exactly as they are & not oversell it.”
      4. If you think you’re full, He will leave you empty. If you admit you’re empty, He will fill you up with all strength & power & might…for the Christian life!
    17. Witnesses –
    18. Explain E1-E2-E3: [E-stand for evangelism; the # represents the # of barriers that must be crossed in order to do it]
      1. E1 – Monocultural evangelism. The only barrier is to move outside the church (also called the stained-glass barrier).
        1. Too many Christians fail to cross it.
        2. You don’t have to learn a new language; don’t have to eat different foods; don’t have to adapt to new behavior patterns.
        3. Just have to communicate the good news to people very much like themselves.
      2. E2 & E3 – Both of these are Cross-cultural, the difference is one of degree.
        1. E2 – example would be Anglo-Americans evangelizing Mexican-Americans because the cultures have comparatively minor differences.
        2. E3 - example would be the Indians Nate & Aide minister to down in Oaxaca.
      3. Most people are won to Christ though E1 evangelism. It has always been this way & always will be. It is the easiest, most natural, & most effective kind of evangelism.
        1. Jesus was a monocultural evangelist [1st 120 saved were Jews]
        2. That’s why Mike & Lori Ramsey went to the P.I. – They made disciples, raised up nationals, then turned the church over to Pastor Mark there in Iloilo.
    19. Jesus promised them power for this world-sized task!
      1. This is the 5th appearance of Jesus’ Great commission.
      2. Mt – Make disciples of all nations. (28:19)
      3. Mark – Preach the gospel to every creature. (16:15)
      4. Luke – Repentance & remission of sins should be preached in his name to all nations. (24:47)
      5. John – As the Father sent me, I also send you. (20:21)
        1. 4 of the 5 (John the exception) specify the international, global scope of the evangelistic task mandated by Jesus.
      6. On another occasion Jesus said, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.”
        1. This seems to indicate that world evangelism is not an endless task, but that it is on a divine time line.
      7. The specific goal is to plant the outposts of the kingdom of God, which are principally Christian churches, in every nation, ethnos, or people groups.
        1. It’s making sustainable national churches around the world. (Part of CCM’s “Vision Statement”.)
        2. “Some missiologists are suggesting for the 1st time in Christian history that there is light at the end of the Great Commission tunnel!” (Acts of the Holy Spirit; Peter Wagner; pg.56.)
        3. The body of Christ has human resources, material resources, & the spiritual resources to complete the task.
      8. Of course no human plan or strategy could possibly accomplish the task. It can only be done w/the extraordinary outpouring of supernatural power through the H.S.
    20. The most challenging task that lies ahead of us is the 10/40 window. (Show Map)
      1. It was Christian mission’s strategist Luis Bush who started calling this rectangular area "the 10/40 window".
      2. He used that easy-to-remember name because it lies across Africa and Asia from 10-40 degrees latitude north of the equator.
    21. Missions statistics of the 10/40 Window:
      1. Center of population: 2/3rd of the world's population, more than 3.2 billion people, live in the 10/40 Window.
      2. Unreached and unevangelized: 95% of the people living in the 10/40 Window are unevangelized. Many have never heard the Gospel message even once.
      3. Good news: There's a difference between unreached and unreachable. In 1989 there were only 4 known Christians living in Mongolia. That country now has an estimated 10,000 indigenous believers.
      4. Christian TV: Can now be received in many closed 10/40 Window nations.
      5. Poverty: 85% of those living in the 10/40 window are the poorest of the world's poor.
      6. Least evangelized cities: 1/2 of the world's least evangelized cities are in this window.
    22. People ask, “Isn’t my neighbor next door just as important?”
      1. The answer is, of course it is important to share the gospel with all!
      2. But why we emphasize this 10/40 window is in regards to “access” or lack of access to the gospel, a viable church, or even the Scriptures.
    23. Think about it, if the Iron Curtain came down, w/such little previous warning, a series of similar events over the next few years could radically change the political landscape of the world, & topple some of the most formidable traditional barriers to the gospel. (Peter Wagner)
      1. What can we do?
      2. Well we can be praying for this very thing!
      3. Praying for this very region. For cross-cultural missionaries to go into this region; Finances to be designated there; get Translations underway.
    24. God’s power, is available to God’s people, who want to do God’s will, and be God’s witnesses!” (Warren Wiersbe; With The Word; pg.706.)
    25. Jerusalem, Judea & Samaria, & to the end of the earth –
      1. “Maybe the ends of the earth imply those who have gone the farthest away from Christ?” (Spurgeon)
    26. To be His witnesses in both word and deed means communicating the verbal content of the Gospel and living God’s way and not our own.
      1. This is the central task of the people of God, but it can be only accomplished with power from the Spirit.
    27. Think of the most beautiful mailbox you’ve ever seen, maybe in a wealthy neighborhood. Now think of the oldest, weather-beaten one off an old dirt road. (Thought taken from, The Best of Vance Havner; pg.32,33.)
      1. The mailbox is important not because of what it is in itself, but because it belongs to, & is part of, something greater than itself.
      2. Both boxes can be equally trusted with a precious letter.
      3. But a mailbox “disconnected from it system” would be useless.
        1. It would neither receive nor transmit that stream of human communication for which it is made.

Verses 9-26

  1. Intro:
    1. I read an article entitled: A Tiger Bites its Tail. It’s about the F-11 Tiger that is notorious for being the first jet aircraft to shoot itself down. On September 21st 1956, during a test firing of its 20mm cannons, pilot Tom Attridge fired 2 bursts mid-way through a shallow dive. As the velocity and trajectory of the cannon rounds decayed, they ultimately crossed paths w/the Tiger as it continued its descent, disabling it and forcing Attridge to crash land the aircraft…The pilot survived. The problem…he was traveling too fast! He had flown below the trajectory of his bullets & 11 sec’s later, flew through them as their flight paths met
      1. You are also traveling too fast…if you don't have time to pray!
      2. If you're neglecting prayer, you're probably traveling too fast to hear the sound of God's voice. You're probably traveling too fast to know whether you are in the center of His will.
      3. Better slow down before, like the jet, you shoot yourself down!
    2. Last week we had Jesus’ last words, now we have His last sighting!
    3. Outline: Are We Better Off w/o Jesus? & History’s Most Powerful Prayer Meeting
  2. ARE WE BETTER OFF WITHOUT JESUS? (9-11)
    1. This event we call the Ascension, officially ended Jesus’ incarnation & His 1st coming to earth.
      1. It allowed eyewitnesses to see both the risen Christ on earth & victorious, and the eternal Christ returning to heaven to minister at the right hand of the Father.
      2. Contrast how Jesus came, humbling Himself in His move from Heaven to earth; and now how He leaves, exalted & lifted up!
      3. He will not appear in person to the world again until His 2nd Coming.
      4. [Not in cloud formations, nor in a frying pan, not even on a Tortilla!]
    2. But the question is, “Are we better of w/o Jesus?” – Jesus said yes!
    3. Jn.16:7 “It is to your advantage that I go away.”
      1. Why? If I don’t go away, the Helper(H.S./Comforter) will not come to you.
      2. Instead of Jesus being limited in His earthly body to one location at one time, now the Spirit would indwell every believer, equipping them for the task of evangelizing the world.
      3. The immediate presence of the 3rd Person of the Trinity was going to be more helpful than the immediate presence of the 2nd Person of the Trinity.
        1. They would have access to the only power source capable of binding & loosing those in spiritual darkness.
      4. So now Jesus expanded his earthly ministry from its geographically limited earthly dimensions, to its universal heavenly dimensions. (Shepherd’s Notes; pg.8)
    4. A Cloud received Him – A cloud often expresses God’s glory (pillar of cloud Ex.13:21)
      1. This is a reference to the Shekinah, the cloud of God’s glory.
      2. It is the visible manifestation of God’s radiant Glory.
      3. Therefore, the manner of Jesus’ departure was not at all ordinary.
        1. It goes beyond Enoch being taken up to heaven, or the departure of Elijah going up in his chariot of fire.
        2. It was a moment of remarkable splendor!!!
      4. He goes to the Father; sits a His right hand; takes the seat of cosmic authority; enjoys His coronation & confirmation as the King of Kings.
    5. They stared into the clouds so long that 2 angels had to come to move them along! (Peter Wagner; Acts of the Holy Spirit; pg.59)
      1. This brought the disciples back to their senses, & they went to Jerusalem where they joined history’s most powerful prayer meeting.
    6. Last week we read the Promise of Power(8); this week we find the Path of Power!
      1. Regarding Power A.C. Dixon used to say,
        When we rely on organization, we get what organization can do.
        When we rely on education, we get what education can do.
        When we rely on eloquence, we get what eloquence can do.
        But when we rely on the Holy Spirit, we get what God can do!”
      2. Regarding the Path the path to that power is prayer!
        1. ​​​​​​​This is the cry for God’s power through prayer.
  3. HISTORY’S MOST POWERFUL PRAYER MEETING! (12-26)
    1. ​​​​​​​PRAYER MEETING! (12-14)
    2. The 1st church was a praying church!
      1. Same upper room we’re not sure.
      2. Note who was there. 120 all together (15).
      3. We also know during the 10 days they “were continually in the Temple praising & blessing God.” (Lk.24:53)
        1. 10 days? – Pentecost = 50 days(i.e. from the Res.); minus the 40 days he walked the earth; leaves us the 10 days of waiting.
    3. This combination of praise, worship, with sincere prayer & supplication is an unbeatable formula for drawing near to God, opening ourselves to the fullness of the H.S. & hearing the voice of the Father. (Peter Wagner; Acts of the Holy Spirit; pg.60)
    4. Not only were the disciples persistent (10 days) & obedient (wait here), but they were also unified!
    5. (14) One accord – one mind(NASB) – They all joined together (NIV).
      1. A unique Greek word (its 10 of 12 NT occurrences are in Acts). This helps us understand the uniqueness of the Christian community.
      2. omothumadon[ μοθυμαδόν] is a compound of 2 words meaning to “rush along” and “in unison”. (Strong, J. (1996). The exhaustive concordance of the Bible. Ontario: Woodside Bible Fellowship.)
        1. See Ex.19:8 Septuagint used it here answered together.
        2. As the instruments of a great concert under the direction of a concert master, so the Holy Spirit blends together the lives of members of Christ’s church.
        3. The image is almost musical; a number of notes are sounded which, while different, harmonize in pitch and tone! ☺
      3. Q: How important then is this for our prayer meetings? “The Spirit desires a community of believers united in heart & mind in order to have power in prayer!”​​​​​​​
    6. Q: So is corporate prayer more effective than solitary prayer?
      1. It sure seems that way - And I believe the answer is in regards to the principle of agreement!
      2. Jesus said, “If two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven.” Mt.18:19
    7. The prayer of one person alone is certainly not wasted, but the prayer of two in agreement is better, & presumably the prayer of 120 in agreement is better yet!
      1. What about your church? What of your life?
        1. Q: Do you make plans on your own & then offer up a quick prayer asking God to bless it?
      2. Join one of our prayer meetings: Men(Tues 6:30-7:30 am upstairs); Women(Wed 9am, worship room; also Tues eve in Wenger home);​​​​​​​Persecuted Church Prayer(Sat 7:30am rm.113) [See green color in Bulletin]
    8. Prayer…with the women – interesting walls already coming down.
    9. With His brothers – James, Joses, Judas, & Simon. (Mark 6:3)
      1. James & Judas(Jude) known for their books in the NT.
      2. James became the leader for the Jerusalem church. (not John’s bro)
    10. Notice change from Jn.7:5 “for even his brothers did not believe in Him.”
      1. Which give us both a Warning & Encouragement?
      2. Warning – Jn.1:13 we are not born(again) of blood(blood relationship), nor of the will of the flesh(natural instinct), nor of the will of man(human volition), but of God.” [The birth of a child of God is not a natural birth; it is a supernatural work of God in regeneration]
      3. Encouragement – Hope for all, who previously rejected Him.
    11. BUSINESS MEETING! (15-26)
    12. (18,19) Luke records Judas’ suicide pretty graphically. {CSI Miami/Jerusalem}
      1. ​​​​​​​Augustine harmonizes this with the other hanging account – by saying he hung himself & then fell.
    13. (20) Peter said the H.S. spoke/predicted through David regarding Judas’ death & replacement.
      1. Interesting, The Holy Spirit guided him through prayerful reading of the Scriptures.
      2. Order? – Continual devotion to prayer came 1st – along with a saturation of the Scriptures - & then came the activity that God desired for His people.
        1. That is exactly the path to power that produced the earth-shaking activity of the apostolic church!
      3. Once Charles Spurgeon was showing some visitors his church building. After visiting the large impressive auditorium he said, “Come, & I will show you the heating apparatus.” Expecting to see a dusty old room containing a broken-down furnace or possibly some clean, recently installed unit, his guests were surprised when he took them to a room where more than 400 members were kneeling in prayer. The power of the church came from the prayers of God’s people. It always has, & it always will.
    14. Whether your opinion is that Peter made the right decision here or not is to me irrelevant, because we don’t know. I think what is important is they went through the right process.
      1. Some say it was wrong because they limited God to these 2 men.
      2. Some say it was wrong because you never hear from this guy again.
      3. Some say it was wrong because it was Paul that fulfilled this position.
      4. Some say it was Peter being precipitous/rash again!
      5. I like that they take initiative & seek to hear from the Spirit on the matter. And how they did it by going to the Scriptures & thru prayer.
        1. His Word is still a lamp to our feet & a light to our path!
      6. Never hear from? – Neither do we hear from Bartholomew or Matthew again after this.
      7. Paul? – Paul could never have fulfilled this position because he didn’t meet the criteria of vs.21,22.
      8. Peter being rash? – It seems 10 days of “prayer, praise, worship, & supplication” was enough for 120 disciples to be in touch with the Father, to have known his will for Matthias!
      9. Besides – If the wall of the New Jerusalem has 12 foundations & the names on those are the 12 apostles(see Rev.21:14) whose name would be no the 12th? (Judas still?)
      10. And – at least if you’re Matthias you don’t have very big shoes to fill!
        1. I’m curious how this position felt?
        2. Hey, you’re the one that got promoted to…Judas’ position!?!
        3. Or, Wow, you’re an A-postle now!
    15. Matthias – no previous nor subsequent reference to him, but he must have accompanied with apostles all the time that the Lord Jesus went in & out among them(21).
      1. The monument to Virginia’s unknown Confederate dead bears this inscription: “Who they were none knows, what they were all know.”
    16. Cast their lots – This was a recognized way of ascertaining God’s will. (The Jewish NT Commentary)
      1. Prov.16:33 says, “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord,” which means “that what is attributed to chance, fate, luck, or coincidence is determined by God.”
        1. As Albert Einstein put it in objecting to quantum theory’s use of probability mathematics, “God does not play dice with the universe.”
      2. Urim & Thummim(Ex.28:30) - was probably a couple pebbles, different color or marking, that were placed in the High Priests pouch in his breastplate. [Aleph & Tav, or Alpha & Omega, “Lights & Perfections”]
      3. Other things used: {wood pieces, pebbles, pieces of pottery}
        1. [1] Wooden pieces placed in a bottle wit a narrow neck so only one could come out at a time. Then bottle filled w/water, float to top & then poured out.
        2. [2] Large opening & drawn out w/hand.
        3. [3] Thrown like dice.
      4. This is the last time it was used in the NT.
        1. For it seemed to be a lower plane of spirituality.
        2. But, the H.S. was not ye given; the bonds of OT tradition still understandably strong; after Pentecost the HS. would lead the apostles by perception & insight.
    17. We’ll continue next week with History’s Most Powerful Prayer Meeting!
    18. Until next week: If you're neglecting prayer, you're probably traveling too fast to hear the sound of God's voice. If you're neglecting prayer, you're probably traveling too fast to know whether you are in the center of His will.
    19. Better slow down before, like the F-11 Tiger, you shoot yourself down!
Copyright Statement
These files are the property of Brian Bell.
Text Courtesy of Calvary Chapel of Murrieta. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Acts 1". "Bell's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/acts-1.html. 2017.