Our message last Wednesday was also from Acts 1.
In fact this series was first intended to be a Wednesday evening Bible Study,
It is not out of control, but the eaglet has spread its wings.
And it’s my sincere hope that you are not disappointed in this.
As I suggested, it wasn’t actually the very first prayer meeting, but in some ways it was:
And it was the first prayer meeting that we can study in the Book of Acts.
It was not only the first business meeting since the ascension of the Lord Jesus,
But it very well may be the first actual business meeting of the “First Baptist Church of Jerusalem.”
That’s because they have swallowed the propaganda that there were no churches of Christ before Acts chapter 2.
I hope that you realize that the Lord Jesus gave us some important instruction about the doctrine of the church during His ministry and long before His death.
And I hope that you know that some of the things that He said about the church wouldn’t have made any sense to the apostles unless knew that they were already a part of the Lord’s first church.
In these verses – the largest passage that we have examined thus far in our study of Acts –
In these verses we have an interesting little bit of history.
But it hasn’t been our intention so much to see the history of this book, as it has been to look at the doctrines behind the history.
And what’s more, it’s not cold, dry theology that we’re studying, but living, practical 21st century theology.
If the Bible, and especially the Book of Acts, is not as current and relevant as the “Spokesman Review” newspaper, then we are wasting our time here this evening.
Tonight let’s consider three things: Judas explained, business completed, and prophesy fulfilled.
And with a little coaching that you could give me a short biographical sketch of his life and death.
I greatly fear that, not only, will many Christian parents be ashamed at the bema judgment,
But I’m afraid that they will be even more embarrassed that they themselves don’t know their Bibles.
After being Christians and members of the Lord’s churches for 20 or 30 years,
They haven’t applied themselves enough to learn and remember some of the simple Bible stories.
This man was one of the two primary advisors of King David – perhaps even his chief of staff.
We learn about him primarily in II Samuel 15 through 17.
David thought that Ahithophel was one of his closest friends as well as an advisor.
Unfortunately this man was more like a modern day politician than David realized.
And as the rebellion of Absalom was developing, this wicked son of David convinced the chief counsel of the King that it would be politically prudent for him to commit treason.
Ahithophel turned his heel towards David and gave counsel to the rebel.
Fortunately, God overturned those evil plans and saved the kingdom.
And Ahithophel became one of the very few suicides in the Word of God.
There are several different kinds of prophesies in the Old Testament:
One of them comes in the form of living parables,
This man was a type, or picture, or living prophesy of Judas Iscariot.
And if he come to see me, he speaketh vanity: his heart gathereth iniquity to itself; when he goeth abroad, he telleth it. All that hate me whisper together against me: against me do they devise my hurt.
An evil disease, say they, cleaveth fast unto him: and now that he lieth he shall rise up no more.
Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me. But thou, O LORD, be merciful unto me, and raise me up, that I may requite them.
By this I know that thou favourest me, because mine enemy doth not triumph over me.
And as for me, thou upholdest me in mine integrity, and settest me before thy face for ever.
Blessed be the LORD God of Israel from everlasting, and to everlasting. Amen, and Amen.
Day and night they go about it upon the walls thereof: mischief also and sorrow are in the midst of it.
Wickedness is in the midst thereof: deceit and guile depart not from her streets.
For it was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it: neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him:
But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance.
We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company.
Let death seize upon them, and let them go down quick into hell: for wickedness is in their dwellings, and among them.”
But when Peter was talking church about Judas, he doesn’t quote these Psalms, he refers to a couple others.
Psalm 69 is called one of the Messianic Psalms, because it so clearly talks about the Messiah while David talks about his own struggles.
Verses 1-4: “Save me, O God; for the waters are come in unto my soul.
They that hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of mine head: they that would destroy me, being mine enemies wrongfully, are mighty: then I restored that which I took not away.
For the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up; and the reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me. When I wept, and chastened my soul with fasting, that was to my reproach.
I made sackcloth also my garment; and I became a proverb to them.
They that sit in the gate speak against me; and I was the song of the drunkards.
Let their table become a snare before them: and that which should have been for their welfare, let it become a trap.
Let their eyes be darkened, that they see not; and make their loins continually to shake.
Pour out thine indignation upon them, and let thy wrathful anger take hold of them.
Let their habitation be desolate; and let none dwell in their tents.
For they persecute him whom thou hast smitten; and they talk to the grief of those whom thou hast wounded.”
Then he refers to a verse from Psalm 109.
For the mouth of the wicked and the mouth of the deceitful are opened against me: they have spoken against me with a lying tongue.
They compassed me about also with words of hatred; and fought against me without a cause.
For my love they are my adversaries: but I give myself unto prayer.
And they have rewarded me evil for good, and hatred for my love.
Set thou a wicked man over him: and let Satan stand at his right hand.
When he shall be judged, let him be condemned: and let his prayer become sin.
Let his days be few; and let another take his office.
Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow.
Let his children be continually vagabonds, and beg: let them seek their bread also out of their desolate places.”
In other words, we have in Ahithophel, a prophesy of one of the people around the Lord Jesus.
We have a lesson here about the foreknowledge and foreordination of Jehovah.
And Peter knew his Bible well enough to see, refer to, and to apply that prophesy.
Is in no way contrary to Matthew 27:5 which says,
For a hanging to work, the victim or the suicide must some how be hanging in such a way that he can’t hold himself up with his feet.
From these and other scriptures, it appears that Judas was filled with remorse after his betrayal of Christ.
He returned to the priests and tried to return their bounty money, but they refused it.
So he threw it down on the floor and sulked his way out.
Since this was during the Passover season, I’m sure that the priests didn’t contaminate themselves with blood money, and ordered some servant to gather the coins
Then Judas went, with a length of rope in his hand, out of the Essene gate on the south side of Jerusalem to the edge of the valley of Hinnom.
Hinnom was a deep, narrow ravine on the south of the city, where in the times past the idolaters of the city worshiped Molech and other false gods, sometimes with the burning of their own children.
This valley was sometimes called the Valley of Tophet.
It was used as an illustration of Hell and the Lake of Fire.
He both was hanged and smashed, fulfilling both scriptures.
The death of Judas is an intricate and accurate illustration of the end and judgment of any lost man.
He died because of his sins.
He died essentially at his own hands.
He died filled with remorse, but without genuine repentance.
He died over the fires of Hell.
And he died without anyone really caring that he was gone.
I have preached in the past that this meeting and the election of Matthias was totally wrong.
But, not only have I mellowed over the last twenty years, but I’ve gotten a tenth of a percent smarter.
And in fact, as an independent and sovereign congregation they could do whatever they wanted to do,
And quoting them I have said that since Matthias is never mentioned again after this chapter this is proof.
I have read that since the Holy Spirit had not yet descended on the church, so that they didn’t yet have Holy Spirit leadership for things like this.
I have argued that when God called Paul to be an apostle he was the God-ordained successor to Judas.
Okay, what are the Biblical facts?
The Bible doesn’t teach that the Holy Spirit ARRIVED on the Day of Pentecost;
John 20:22 – “And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost.”
What took place in Acts 2 was a demonstration of the power of the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit filling of those disciples.
That reduced the selection from all those baptized by John to the 500 who had met the risen Saviour.
Now, what was the testimony of Paul about Jesus’ resurrection in I Corinthians 15?
And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the TWELVE:
After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.
After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also.”
And it was not to the eleven and then himself, because he mentions himself later.
I think that it was to the original eleven and to Matthias who was a witness of the resurrection and by the time of Paul, included in their number.
It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables.”
Who were the twelve of Acts 6?
Acts 4:33 – “And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.”
Now, just let me point out some random things about this business meeting.
First, this is a pretty good sized congregation:
This congregation of 120 was larger than half the churches in existence today.
It doesn’t say that there were 120 people present, but that there were 120 “names.“
There was order and arrangement in that 120; this was not just a crowd of disciples.
I believe that it refers to the membership of the church in Jerusalem at that time.
For example, it is called the Body of Christ and the Bride of Christ.
And, of course, the Lord Jesus is the Head of His church.
The decisions that are made by the church, should not be personal choices, but the decision of the church body after diligently seeking the will of the Head.
Apparently, the eleven apostles determined the criteria for Judas’ replacement:
There was no room for a novice in this office, because there were troublesome times ahead.
And since, the key to the ministry of the church was the resurrection of Christ, it was essential that this man be a witness of the resurrected Lord.
So the list of possible candidates was fairly narrow.
And probably not all who witnessed the resurrection had been with the church from the beginning.
So the eleven nominated the two whom they felt were most fit for the post: Joseph Barsabas Justice and Matthias.
Lastly we come to the question of the LOTS.
There are those who believe that the church prayed and then Peter or some one had a fist of straws, of which Barsabas chose one and Matthias chose the other.
Others thing that it went something like the use of the Urim and Thummim in the Old Testament:
And it was determined that the fella who pulled out the white stone was God’s choice.
Here is a quote from a man named Dean Plumptre.
“The Greek word is not the same as in verse 17, and implies that Matthias was “voted in,” the suffrage of the Church unanimously confirming the indication of the Divine will what had been given by lot.”
Based upon that statement I looked up the word “numbered” in my Strong’s concordance.
His definition of the word “numbered” is:
“To deposit a ballot in the urn (i.e. by voting for) to assign one a place among, to vote one into place.
Or to vote against with others, i.e. to condemn with others.”
It basically boils down to: much prayer and then the vote of the congregation.
Thus, herein we have the theology of the Business Meeting.