Study Notes on Acts 1:1 – 14
Pray with a humble heart for Christ’s power and direction
1) Acts is The Story of the Risen Christ (v1 – 3)
- Early church history
- The continuing Acts of the resurrected Jesus Christ
- The work of Christ In His people by His Spirit (1:4,5)
It’s all about Christ – His people building His church by His power following His direction and timing!
2) The Risen Christ Working in His People (v 4,5)
The disciples had to wait in Jerusalem to receive the power of the Holy Spirit
- We need to pray for the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, and find our calling and energy from Him – how often do we do this?
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5
“For this is what the high and exalted One says— he who lives forever, whose name is holy: “I live in a high and holy place, but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.” Isaiah 57:15
- Christ dwells with the humble!
3) The Risen Christ Directing His People (v 6 – 8)
The Disciples Expectations
The disciples greatly desired the restoration of Israel’s political power among the nations. This was perhaps based on Jesus’ recent resurrection and promise of the Spirit (v6). However they were wrong in timing.
What the disciples expectations were:
- Some kind of national revival of religion and power
- Perhaps as King David was 7 years in obscurity and hunted by Saul, Jesus would be persecuted before being crowned King
- James and John had asked for top jobs in the government
(Mt 20:20,21) , as perhaps Christ had hinted the disciples would receive (Mt 19:28. Lk 22:28 – 30)
- Israel as the top nation with Jesus as King ruling through His extraordinary wisdom, teaching and healing ability
The future the Lord promises Israel is described in Isaiah 60:
- All nations coming to the Lord’s glory in Israel (v 1 – 3)
- Great wealth and the return of God’s people (v 4 – 9)
- Gentile nations serving Israel, perishing if they resist (v10 – 14)
- Peace and the Lord’s presence making a mighty people (v15 – 22)
Jesus had talked about pouring out His Spirit, and maybe from Joel 2:28 – 3:2 the disciples interpreted this as meaning the political Kingdom was about to be restored:
“And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.” Joel 2:28
“In those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather all nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. There I will put them on trial for what they did to my inheritance, my people Israel, because they scattered my people among the nations and divided up my land.” Joel 3:1,2
The Lord’s Direction
Israel wasn’t being immediately renewed, the timing is in the Fathers hands, not ours (v7).
- The disciples they were not immediately getting the top jobs
- The rich still oppressed the poor, the world was carrying on as normal
- They had to lose their ideas of kingdom governmental power in charge of subject states
- They had to have patience, the earthly order in perfect harmony with Christ’s will is going to happen (Phil 2:10) – but it will happen in His timing!
But the disciples did have a job to do in the meantime …
- They must be heralds of Jesus who has already been appointed as king over all, empowered by His Spirit to do so
- Taking the gospel to the ends pf the earth – the Roman Empire then extended 1400 miles as the crow flies from Jerusalem
“The present kingdom of God is not an earthly political or military kingdom but the reign of God, gradually transforming individual lives and entire cultures through the power of the Holy Spirit.”
“Every Christian needs to move out of Luke’s Gospel into Acts. Knowing about the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Christ is enough for salvation but not for Spirit-empowered service. We must identify ourselves with Him as our ascended Lord and allow Him to work through us in the world. The church is not simply an organization engaged in religious work; it is a divine organism, the body of Christ on earth, through which His life and power must operate. He died for the lost world; we must live to bring that world to Christ.” Warren Wiersbe
4) Our Dependency On The Risen Christ (v 9 – 14)
- Jesus had to ascend before the Holy Spirit could be given (John 16:7)
- The disciples’ response to Jesus’ direction? Prayer and worship (v13,14) – and probably praying for the promised Holy Spirit to descend upon them!