As God's people await the promise of the Father, their preparation for the coming of the Spirit is a great example for us as well as their on-going example after the church was birthed.
1)They were obedient to Jesus' last words (Acts 1:4-5; Luke 24:49). "Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, "Which," He said, "you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now." Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day's journey away. When they had entered the city, they went up to the upper room where they were staying "And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high." And they, after worshiping Him, returned to Jerusalem with great joy."
2) They were a joyful and worshipful people (Luke 24:52-53). "And they, after worshiping Him, returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple praising God."
3) They were united in the Spirit (Acts 1:14; 2:1. 2:46; 4:24; 5:12; 7:57; 8:6; 12:20; 15:25; 18:12; 19:29. "These all with one mind (with one accord) to glorify Jesus Christ and witness to Him.
4) They were devoted to prayer together (Acts 1:14, 24; 2:42-43; 4:29; 6:3-4; 6:6; 8:15-17; 9:11-17; 10:2-5; 12:5; 13:3; 14:23; 16:25-34; 20:36; 21:5) "They were continually devoting themselves to prayer."
5) They knew God's Word and were obedient to it (Acts 1:16, 20-21). We see three incidents here in chapter one alone where they knew and obeyed God's Word: 1) "Brethren, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit foretold by the mouth of David concerning Judas, "For it is written in the book of Psalms, 'LET HIS HOMESTEAD BE MADE DESOLATE, AND LET NO ONE DWELL IN IT'; (Psalm 69:25) and, 'LET ANOTHER MAN TAKE HIS OFFICE.' (Psalm 109:8) 2) "Therefore it is necessary that of the men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us– beginning with the baptism of John until the day that He was taken up from us–one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection." (See Acts 10:39-42) 3) "And they drew lots for them, and the lot fell to Matthias; and he was added to the eleven apostles "The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord" (Prov. 16:33) ["This was the last act of the Old Testament era. One more verse, Acts 2:1, is the New Testament age, the age of the Spirit. The last dispensational act was an act consistent with the old dispensation, drawing of lots. (See Lev. 16:8) You'll never hear it again the rest of the New Testament because in this age we don't need that kind of direction from God. Where do we get our direction?…from the indwelling Holy Spirit who "shall lead us into all truth." (John16:13) But in that age, without the indwelling Spirit, God moved in very physical ways to reveal His will and so they drew lots." John MacArthur]
["The guidance of Scripture (Acts 1:15-23). His Word is still our lamp and light (Ps. 119:105), and we must obey what it says. God guides His people when they are willing to follow. If we are faithful to read God's Word, study it, meditate on it, and obey it, God will guide us when we have decisions to make. The Holy Spirit teaches us (John 14:26; 16:13-14) and directs us when we pray and seek the Lord's will. The Holy Spirit uses truth, not ignorance; so the more facts we have, the better. We should use our common sense but not lean on it (Prov. 3:5-6), for we walk by faith and not by sight. If we sincerely move in the wrong direction, the Lord will show us (Acts 16:6-10; Phil. 3:15), so we need not fear. It is good for believers to read the Word and pray together as they seek the mind of the Lord." Wiersbe, Warren W.: With the Word Bible Commentary. Nashville; Thomas Nelson ] (See attached Decision Making Guide)
There is nothing in Scripture that says adding Matthias to the twelve was a mistake, but in fact his choosing is confirmed by Scripture in Acts 6:2: "So the twelve summoned the congregation of the disciples and said, "It is not desirable for us to neglect the word of God in order to serve tables." Some argue that since he is never heard of again it shows this was a mistake on Peter's part as God had Paul in mind to replace Judas as the twelfth apostle. But none of the twelve are mentioned again after this chapter with the exception of Peter, John and James and later on Paul who was also an apostle but with a unique calling to the Gentiles. It was the defection of Judas, not his death, that caused Peter to ask the disciples to choose another to replace him. When James was later killed (12:2), no replacement was chosen for him. ["Except for Peter, James and John, this will be the last mention of the apostles by name. The unmentioned, along with Peter, James, and John, go on to significant ministries for our Lord, giving their lives to accomplish the goal of the Great Commission and with the exception of John they all died for their testimony. Thus the story of the Resurrection is powerfully authenticated by the willingness of the apostles to die rather than repudiate the truth of their testimony. People may lie when it suits their convenience, but will they cheerfully sacrifice their lives in order to perpetrate what they know to be a hoax? Not one of the apostles denied that he had been an eyewitness to the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. Not one of these men backed off their testimony and their personal witness to the resurrection of Jesus Christ; they sealed their witness with their own blood." Radmacher, Earl D. ; Allen, Ronald Barclay ; House, H. Wayne: Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Commentary. Nashville : T. Nelson Pub.]
Other noteworthy points in this section regard Mary and Judas. "These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers." Here we see Mary, the mother of Jesus (the Scripture never calls her the mother of God) praying to God with the others including Jesus' brothers. Again there is no Scriptural basis to pray to Mary (or any other human being -Catholic saints included) and certainly no Scriptural basis for her deity (Co-Redemptrix). 1 Timothy 2:5 says that "there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus", and therefore no creature can rightly be a mediator. Mary like all mankind needed the saving work of Jesus Christ. (Rom. 3:23) Also there is no Scriptural basis for her perpetual virginity as she had other children after she gave birth to Jesus. Since Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, His brothers and sisters were half-siblings. Jesus' siblings are referred to in Matthew 12:46; 13:55-56; Mark 6:3; John 2:12; 7:3, 5, 10; Acts 1:14; 1 Corinthians 9:5 and Galatians 1:19. Jesus had at least four brothers and two sisters. We know this because both the brothers and sisters are always spoken of in the plural and in Matthew 13:55 the brothers are named – James, Joseph, Simon and Judas. Here in Acts 1 is the last time she is mentioned in Scripture. Although she was not sinless she was a humble and godly woman of God and a great example for her courageous and costly obedience and faithful love for Jesus to the very end.
Judas – "And they prayed and said, "You, Lord, who know the hearts of all men, show which one of these two You have chosen to occupy this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place." (Acts 1:24) [‘Boy, that's shocking statement. Hell is the place where people belong who go there. Did you know that? They go there because it's their own place. Did you know that death doesn't change anything; it only crystallizes into permanency what you are in life. And by your own choice death becomes the securing of your own place. When Judas went to Hell it wasn't out of the ordinary. That's where he belonged for that's where he chose to go. He went to his own place…a fearful statement. Every man has a place in eternity that is his own by what he does with Jesus Christ." John MacArthur] Jesus calls Judas the son of destruction (or perdition- John 17:12) and a devil (John 6:70). Though Jesus knew Judas would betray Him and God allowed Judas to do it (for His purpose – the cross) Judas is totally accountable for his sin. (Also see John 6:64.)
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION AND APPLICATION
1. What is your main take away from the message and table discussion and how can you apply it to your life?
2. Joyful worshipers, united in the Spirit, devoted to prayer together, and knowledgeable and obedient to God's Word- which of these do you feel you and your church need to grow in? Discuss your answers.
3. Did you learn anything new about Mary or Judas?
4. How do you use God's Word and prayer to guide your decisions?