Pretty soon, I’m going to stop referring to this as a “theological study” of the Book of Acts, but not quite yet,
Because this “theological study” is not coming from a “theological book.”
Generally speaking, if you want an open study of theology then turn to Romans or Galatians.
And we probably can’t find a clearer illustration of this than the subject before us tonight.
I’ve entitled this message, “The Theology of Waiting.”
The resurrected Lord Jesus “being assembled together with them (the apostles), commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father.”
We’ll get to that promise in just a minute, but we won’t deal with it much tonight.
What can we learn about waiting?
I have three points for you tonight: Wait WHAT; wait WHY and wait WAY.
The Lord Jesus commanded the apostles to wait in Jerusalem.
We need to remember that the Holy Spirit hasn’t seen fit to given us a detailed chronology of events since the crucifixion.
In fact, I have to admit that I get confused looking at all the bits and pieces of information scattered across five, or more, different New Testament books.
Jesus met His disciples at various places during the last 40 days.
But now they are back in Jerusalem.
Jesus was “assembled together with them” when he commanded them to stay in Jerusalem.
It appears that they had been traveling, vacationing and resting for 5½ weeks,
How many days were there between the Passover and Pentecost? (50)
The Lord Jesus commanded the apostles to wait in Jerusalem for the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
We now know that this occurred on Pentecost.
We will probably have a message on the baptism of Spirit later, so we won’t go into detail now.
But we see the fulfillment of this promise in Acts 2.
So Jesus’ command to wait for that baptism no longer applies to us today.
Even more important than the special coming of the Third Person of the Trinity, is the still future special coming of the Second Person.
There is still need for patience and the art of waiting.
Why was it so important to wait until Pentecost about ten days away?
Why wasn’t the promise of the Father fulfilled up there in Galilee?
I don’t have any authoritative answers to these questions, but I can make some guesses and observations.
When the day of Pentecost was fully come, and the promise of the Father was kept,
Peter stood up with the rest of the eleven and began to preach to the confused crowd.
He said, “This is that which was spoken of by the prophet Joel,” and then he quoted Joel 2:28-31 in Aramaic, but he didn’t quote the last verse in that chapter.
Let me read Joel 2, and you can follow along in Acts 2:17 if you like:
And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.
And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.
The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.
And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.”
Zechariah 12:10 says, “And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications.”
We aren’t the least bit surprised that the city of Jerusalem is THE place; it has always been THE PLACE.
That was where Abraham offered up his son to God.
And that was where God offered up his son for Abraham.
That was the city of David, the representative of the Lord Jesus.
That was the focal point of centuries of ancient history.
We aren’t surprised that the apostles are summoned back to Jerusalem and told to wait their for the promise of the Father.
Here is where the lives of the apostles again intersect with ours.
We live in a world that tries to promise instant gratification.
It is so slow that it drives me crazy.
I set the timer for 2 minutes thinking that I would take a peek at it and zap it for another minute or two if I had to.
The Lord graciously encouraged me to take a look after about 10 seconds, and I saw that my chicken pot pie was sitting in an aluminum dish.
It was never meant to be cooked in the microwave.
I had to warm the oven to 400 degrees and then cook my lunch for 30 minutes after that.
I was not particularly pleased.
He’s constantly stepping across and putting His foot on the break peddle.
Why did the apostles have to wait more than a week for the blessing of the Spirit?
I can’t tell you for sure, but it might have been a test of their faith.
They were to spend that time in Jerusalem, where the Saviour had been crucified.
This is about a month and half since the cross.
He will be preaching to the same people who were jeering at Christ hanging up there on the cross.
Generally speaking they don’t look like the best audience.
They may have seen the resurrected Lord several times in recent weeks, but they are still in the process of being changed.
And will be until they are endued with power through the Holy Spirit.
Are they willing to leave their families for another extended period, in order to receive the promise of God?
Perhaps it was to test or strengthen their faith.
Perhaps it was to strengthen their Christian character.
Look at verse 12: “Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day’s journey.
And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James.
These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.”
What was the likelihood that God the Father would not keep his promise?
God CANNOT lie and cannot fail to keep a promise; it would be contrary to His God-ness.
No, it was essential that the apostles remain in Jerusalem.
The Lord was governing that as much as He was the coming of the Holy Spirit.
It is obvious that for God to guarantee the final outcome, He must also guarantee and control the details and specifics which produce that outcome.
It might be said about the salvation of a soul.
What if the church locked itself into a nice big hall stocked with food and drinks?
Or what if the church made that a week of camp, with games in the morning, swimming and fishing in the afternoon, and with a devotion time in the evening?
I can’t say one way or the other, but I have my opinion.
It was the way that they waited; it was how they waited.
What if we met every day for a week, both at 6:30 in the morning and 7:30 at night, spending just a single hour in prayer each time beseeching the Lord for His blessings?
What do you think would happen?
I am not looking for another Pentecost, but I should like to see some Pentecostal power.
The authority and ability to do the work of God is found in the Lord Himself.
And we need to learn to wait on Him for that power.
That is what this is all about.
This is one place where the theology of this chapter meets with the practical areas of our lives.