On Sunday at Restoration Church we began a series on the book of Acts. As a part of our worship service we studied Acts 1:1-11. In this passage we saw that after Jesus resurrection He was taken up to heaven. Before ascending to heaven He left the disciples some specific instructions about the mission of the Church along with the baptism with the Holy Spirit. He told them they would be His witnesses to Jerusalem, to Judea & Samaria and to the ends of the earth. As Christians, we recognize this instruction applies to us today. Our lives as followers of Jesus ought to witness to the repentance and forgiveness which Christ proclaimed in His first coming (Luke 24:46-47). Just as the disciples call to be witnesses started in Jerusalem, which is where they were, for Christians today the call on our lives is to be witnesses of the work of Christ from where we are. In addition, we should always be looking for how we can be involved in the proclamation of repentance and forgiveness in our region, nation and throughout the world.
A major theme throughout Acts 1:1-11 and the book of Acts as a whole is the power of the Holy Spirit at work in the disciples as they witness to the work of Christ in their lives. This power is directly tied to baptism as indicated here as well as in John the Baptist’s prophecy of the coming Messiah’s baptism (Luke 3:16). This led us to a closer examination of the various names we are to be baptized into (Matthew 28:16-20). In Matthew’s gospel, He records what has come to be known as the Great Commission, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son & the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you…” At Restoration Church we believe baptism to be a public declaration of our faith in Jesus as our Savior. While we do not consider it a salvific act, we do consider it an incredibly significant act in which we are declaring our allegiance to God the Father, Son & Holy Spirit. However, I have come to believe that a lot of the time we accept baptism from the Father and the Son, but disregard or misunderstand baptism in the Holy Spirit. To be clear, I don’t believe these to be separate baptismal events, but I do believe, as Acts testifies (Acts 19:2-6), it is important to know what you have been baptized into. Baptism in the Father is marked by repentance, this is similar to baptism as John the Baptist preached it. Baptism in Jesus is marked by forgiveness as I Corinthians 5:21 says, “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” Baptism in the Holy Spirit is marked completely immersing our lives in the purpose God has for us; being led by the Spirit in all we do rather than by our flesh (Galatians 5:16-17). In addition, baptism in the Holy Spirit is marked by both fruit (Galatians 5:22-23) & gifting (I Corinthians 12:4-11; Romans 12:3-8). There are many more passages upcoming in our study of Acts from which we will deal with these things in greater detail. But know this, as little or as much as you understand about being baptized in the name of the Holy Spirit, He lives inside You as a believer (I Corinthians 6:19-20).
Click here to hear Sunday’s sermon
This week we are studying Acts 1:12-26 for which I have included some questions below. If you are interested in joining us, we would love to have you. We will first study the text together during our Wednesday night community group, and then again during our Sunday night worship service. For more information, click here.
-What are the disciples doing in this text? What is the importance of the 12 Apostles?
-What were the requirements for Judas’ replacement? How did the disciples decide between their two candidates to replace Judas as an Apostle?
-What evidence does the text give for the Holy Spirit’s presence in the Old Testament? How should we understand New Testament writers interpreting Old Testament passages?
-Were there only 120 who believed & followed Jesus at this point?