The Chosen Few – Acts 1:1-2

What do we believe was the membership of the First Baptist Church by beginning Acts 1? (120)

Approximately how many disciples saw the risen Lord just a few days prior to close of this chapter? (500)

How many Apostles were there before the addition of the Apostle to the Gentiles? ( 12)

Do you suppose that there were any of the 500 who had been jealous of the apostles during the days of Jesus’ ministry?

In addition to simply being along side the Lord Jesus very often, hearing Him and witnessing His miracles,

Those apostles had been granted power work miracles themselves.

It doesn’t appear that the rest of the disciples had this great gift.

And the apostles had seen many come to Christ through their ministries; what a blessing.

So did any of the other disciples, ever get jealous of the inner-circle twelve?

We can’t know for sure.

Do you suppose that there were any of the 120 who later were jealous of the apostles in the Book Acts?

In chapter 8, one of the new disciples, a man named Simon,

Saw how the Holy Spirit worked through the Apostles, and he was clearly covetous.

If there were any who were jealous, did they have any justifiable grounds for their jealousy?

Turning that around, do you suppose that any of the apostles ever had regrets that they were apostles?

Did any of the Lord’s prophets want to quit and leave the ministry?

Could any of the apostles ever gotten depressed and wished they were merely church members?

Ministerial depression is a very common problem.

As I have said, it is my intention to try to walk a tight-rope in the course of these messages.

I want us to look at the theological facts which lie behind many of these verses,

And at the same time, I want this to be as practical, and as fun, as possible.

And for this evening I want us to look at the “The Chosen Few.”

This isn’t a history lesson on the Korean War, although that is a very interesting subject.

I want us to think about the “apostles whom Jesus had chosen.”

First, let’s consider THE FEW.

It might be interesting to see if any of us, or all of us together, could name all of Jesus’ apostles.

Turn to Matthew 10:1-5:

“And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.

Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother;

Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus;

Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.

These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded….”

Now let’s read essentially the same thing in Mark 3:13-19:

“And he goeth up into a mountain, and calleth unto him whom he would: and they came unto him.

And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach,

And to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils:

And Simon he surnamed Peter; and James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James; and he surnamed them Boanerges, which is, The sons of thunder:

And Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Canaanite,

And Judas Iscariot, which also betrayed him: and they went into an house.”

By the way, if we were only looking at Mark 3 it might be argued that these twelve were not yet “apostles.”

But there is no doubt that they were:

First, Matthew calls them “apostles.”

But there is more than just that:

What is the Greek word which is translated “apostle” (“apostolos.”)

The word translated “send” in “send them forth to preach” is “apostello.”

Those first disciples were apostles from the moment of their invitation and reception into the church.

And that was not true of any others who joined with them as time went on.

So the first of the Lord’s churches was certainly very special and in some ways unique.

For example, there is the obvious fact that it was directly pastored by the Lord Jesus Himself.

The Head of this church here in Post Falls, is the same Lord Jesus.

But unfortunately for you, you have to cope with this stumbling, bumbling and mumbling under-shepherd rather than directly with Christ.

And then, the entire membership of first church, at least in initial months, were all ordained preachers.

I’m not sure that there has ever been a church since whose charter members were all ordained.

And even if there might have been one or two, to have twelve of them was certainly very special.

On the other hand, perhaps the Lord is trying to show us that every member is supposed to be one of His servants.

I wonder how many disciples the Lord had by Mark 3?

Do you suppose that there might have been four dozen or perhaps a hundred,

But 90% of them were more committed to their jobs, their political ideals,

Their families and themselves than they were to the Lord,

So out of that hundred the Lord chose 12 to become members of His first church.

Do you suppose the Head of the church was more interested in quality than quantity?

And if that was case, what do you think the Lord thinks about all the drones who fill His churches today?

(Oops, I said that would try to make these messages “fun” didn’t I?)

Last week, when we looked at these verses my second point was in regard to Jesus giving commandments unto these apostles through the Holy Ghost.

We talked about commanding without necessarily communicating.

It is the Holy Spirit Who takes the spoken word and makes it come alive in the heart.

And if you’ll remember I asked you about what was probably Jesus’ last commandment to those apostles.

It appears to have been the Great Commission:

“Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”

I think that we read that last, great commandment as it was recorded in all three synoptic gospels.

It is also repeated here in Acts 1 in a somewhat non-commanding sort of way:

“Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

So the last command that the Lord Jesus gave to his apostles through the Holy Ghost was to preach the gospel.

And what was His very first command?

Mark 3:13-19:

“And he goeth up into a mountain, and calleth unto him whom he would: and they came unto him.

And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach.”

Would it be improper to say that our first and last responsibility as a church is to preach the gospel?

Would it be wrong to say that what was the apostles command is also our command?

Nevertheless, the Apostles were a chosen few.

Now let’s consider THE CHOOSING.

“The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,

Until the day in which he was taken up,

After that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen.”

The word “chosen” is translated from “eklegomai” (ek-leg’-om-ahee).

In Strong’s Concordance it is just two words down the page from “eklektos” which is translated “elect.”

We could properly paraphrase this verse to say, “the Lord Jesus elected His apostles.”

That means, as we’ve already said, out of all the disciples that Jesus had at the time, He chose these twelve for special service.

The Bible teaches three kinds of election.

There is a national election: God chose Abraham, then Isaac & Jacob out of all the peoples of the earth.

Through these men, particularly Jacob, God chose the nation of Israel.

We see this in the Old Testament, and we hear it explained by Paul in the New Testament.

Even though there are a lot of people who seem to be mad at God for doing this,

It is nevertheless pretty hard to deny.

The second kind of election is unto salvation.

The people of the world, even since the time of Adam’s transgression, have been born dead in trespasses and sins.

There are none that do good, and none that seeketh after God.

The only way that any of these sinners will look twice in God’s direction, except to curse Him, is if the Lord first loves them and regenerates them.

The Bible clearly teaches an election unto salvation which was made before the foundation of world.

Without that election there would never be a saved soul upon the earth.

The third kind of election is unto various forms of service.

Out of all the disciples that Jesus had at the time, He chose these twelve for special service.

In I Corinthians 12 Paul talks about one of the Lord’s churches:

“Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.

Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?

Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?”

Paul’s questions here are all rhetorical – asked only for effect – because everyone knows the answer.

Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?

No, not all are apostles or prophets.

And why is that?

Because God has made that sovereign choice,

And God has equipped those servants to their various tasks.

And that leaves us with the question: how were these people chosen?

The answers are the same no matter which kind of election you want to study.

Were the twelve more qualified to be apostles than all of the other disciples?

Let’s see, we had several fishermen, a tax-collector and one child of the Devil.

Almost all of them were from Galilee and were therefore considered inferior by the Judeans.

There wasn’t a single former priest or Levite among them.

There weren’t any who were highly educated, and none who were trained in oratory or theology.

No, they were not particularly qualified before their call.

I knew a preacher once, who I thought was exceptionally talented in all the areas necessary to be a good pastor.

There is no doubt in my mind that he was far more qualified than I am.

But I am in the ministry today, and he is not, apparently because the Lord didn’t call him to the work.

“God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty.”

Why were these twelve chosen to become apostles?

Because God is sovereign and can elect whomever He wants.

And he doesn’t have to explain His reasons to any of us.

If God has saved your soul, then you need to thank and praise His name from yesterday to eternity.

And you need to tell other people what the Lord has done for you.

And then you need to consider and pray about whether or not the Lord has also chosen you to some special form of service.

I don’t believe that the Lord is choosing apostles out of us this evening – at least the same sort of apostles that Luke refers to here.

But the Lord is still calling prophets in the sense of preachers.

The Lord is still calling teachers and evangelists.

When I quoted I Corinthians 12 a couple minutes ago, I didn’t finish the chapter; please turn there.

“Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.

Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?

Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?

But covet earnestly the best gifts.”

We have the exhortation to covet the best gifts.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to be a special servant of the Lord.

There is nothing wrong with making ourselves available to the service of the Lord.

We will never be a part of the college of apostles; they were a very special chosen few.

But the Lord is still calling and equipping a few others for His service.

And we need to ask Him, whether or not He is calling us.