The Plan Of Christ Jesus For His Church
Book of Acts 1:1-14
The Book of Acts is the first chapter, “the beginning of the truth of the history of The Church”, which is the Body of Christ, and just as important, The Bride of Christ.
This is the time called by some “the Church Age” that began at the ascension of Jesus, Our Lord and will not end until He returns in the clouds to get His Church. This called the “Rapture”!
And the “Church Age will be ended by the “Rapture”!
The Book of Acts was written by Luke. Luke was not one of the 12 disciples pick by Jesus. But Luke was an educated man and is mentioned as a physician. Luke was a doctor.
We may not realize it but there are medical journals as far back as 3000 BC and medical schools at least as far back as 500 BC.
There is strong evidence that suggest the Book of Luke was written about or very near 63 AD before the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD.
The “theme” of the Book of Acts and the command to the Church, can be seen in Chapter 1:8:
This verse is called by some “the Great Commission”
Act 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
The greatest thing we see here is that the Church had no power until the Holy Ghost began this new function after the ascension of Our Lord!
We must also remember this other command of Jesus to His disciples:
Mat 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
The Book of Acts describes to us the spread of Christianity and the establishment of many houses of God which were called “churches”.
That word Church means: “The Lord’s House” and a place to worship God in “spirit and in truth”!
The word “church” comes from the Greek word “ecclesia” which means “an assembly”.
The church “in the beginning” depended entirely on Jesus Christ and the Power of the Holy Ghost for everything and “today” the church still depends entirely on Jesus Christ and the Power of the Holy Ghost and this will not change during the Church Age!
There will never be a new message to the Church!
There will never be a revised message to the Church!
We already have the complete, ever living, Word of God!
In the Bible, the Church denotes the whole entire body of the “Redeemed”, all those whom “Our Father in Heaven has given to His Son Jesus Christ.
All those that have their name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life!
Jesus Christ writes down the name of every one that calls on His name, and each one is a member in good standing in His Church!
Heb 12:23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, [which are written in heaven], and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,
Heb 12:24 And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.
*****Act 1:1 The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,
Act 1:2 Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen:
The author of the Book of Acts is closely tied to the author of the Book of Luke. We have already said that Luke was an educated man, and in fact he was a doctor, a physician and it shows as he wrote while inspire by the Holy Ghost.
Col 4:14 [Luke, the beloved physician], and Demas, greet you.
Luke also says that he had a perfect understanding of the life, the death, the burial, and the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
We find that in the Book of Luke:
Luk 1:3 It seemed good to me also, [having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first], to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus,
This “perfect understanding” could have only come through the Holy Spirit!
Luke affirms to what we already know, that salvation can only come through Jesus Christ:
Act 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: [for there is none other name under heaven given among men], whereby we must be saved.
We know the world still rejects the truth of God’s Holy Inspired Word!
This Theophilus was probably a real man but that name means “Lover of God” or “Friend of God”!
This Book of Acts will show us at least these two things:
1.) We will see the threat of the Jews who rejected Jesus Christ and Christianity.
2.) We will see the spread of Christianity throughout the Roman controlled world.
3.) This book presents Christianity as distinct from Judaism “but also as the fulfillment of Judaism”, which is still also rejected by most Jews because they are still blind to the Gospel.
Luke will show us in the Book of Acts that Christianity follows in the historical pattern and is based upon the foundation of Judaism.
The proof of that can be found in the words that Jesus said to the woman at the well of Samaria:
Joh 4:22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: [for salvation is of the Jews].
Joh 4:23 But the hour cometh, and now is, “when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth”: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.
Joh 4:24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him “must worship him” in spirit and in truth.
The Book of Acts will also reveal to us that the Apostle Paul had the same Christ given authority as that of the Apostle Peter and the other Apostles.
The Book of Luke told us of the things that Jesus did BUT the Book of Acts tells us what Jesus continued to do because of what He taught to the Apostles through the Power of The Holy Spirit.
There is a strong emphasis on the Holy Spirit in this book and it is through the Power of the Holy Spirit that the Church has strength.
It is the Holy Spirit that is “the shield” of the church:
2Th 2:7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: [only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way].
Jesus had told them:
Joh 14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, [he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you].
The Church can work only as the Holy Spirit dictates the Words of Jesus!
Those that removed the Work of the Lord Jesus Christ are not part of the Church:
This the prophesy of the end of the Church Age and the Laodicean Church.
Rev 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
If Jesus is outside and knocking on the door to get in then He is not part of that church.
We can see this happening before our very eyes!
*****Act 1:3 To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:
Luke had already said that he had a perfect understanding of all these things about Jesus and he now says there were many infallible proofs.
The Greek word “tekmerion” is used here and it is the only place this word is used in the New Testament. This tells us that the evidences for Jesus Christ’s resurrection were not based on philosophical speculations but on “Certain Facts”.
There is no other event in the Bible that is more confirmed than the “bodily” resurrection of Jesus Christ and that grave is still empty. This cannot be said of any other religious leader.
Jesus Christ died for “all” our sins and He arose again for “all” Our Justification!
There are 10 or more appearances of the resurrected Christ to the disciples!
That empty tomb, that remarkable change in the disciples who are now the Apostles, and in the development and the spread of the Church as a result of this preaching of the Cross and of the Resurrection are also proof!
The change of worship from the Sabbath to Sunday, “The Lord’s Day”.
The long observances of “Easter” by the Church.
The long observances of the “Lord’s Supper” since that first one with Jesus and His disciples.
The teaching of the full immersion of “water baptism” which is in type, The Death, The Burial, and the Resurrection of the Body of Christ.
The written testimony of every Holy Ghost inspired writer of the New Testament.
The “absolute fact” that if the Body of Jesus could have been found “it would have been found”!
These are additional proofs that cannot be denied!
As Jesus was victorious over Satan in His 40 days of temptation. He witnessed to His disciples for 40 “of this greater victory” over Satan!
Heb 2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; “that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death”, that is, the devil;
Heb 2:15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
*****Act 1:4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.
Act 1:5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.
Waiting on God for the anointing of the Holy Spirit is the condition of all our blessings in the Lord. When we are saved and employed by Christ Jesus, He will give us a much better Spirit than we had!
John the Baptist had “immersed” the disciples in water and they were shortly to be “immersed” in the Holy Spirit!
John the Baptist had said:
Mar 1:8 I indeed have baptized you with water: but “he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost”.
The Greek word “baptizo” means “immersion” and “not sprinkled” in both instances!
In accordance with the Promise of Jesus:
Joh 14:16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
Joh 14:17 Even the Spirit of truth; “whom the world cannot receive”, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
Paul wrote that all believers were to be baptized in this same manner:
1Co 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
Again, Baptism means “a full immersion” and not just a sprinkling!
If you get a sprinkling of the Holy Spirit “you are not indwelt by the Holy Spirit”!
We must be “fully immersed” in the Holy Spirit!
Tit 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, “by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost”;
Tit 3:6 Which “he shed on us abundantly” through Jesus Christ our Saviour;
Abundantly not sparingly!
*****Act 1:6 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou “at this time” [restore again] the kingdom to Israel?
Act 1:7 And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.
It should be very clear to anyone who studies the Bible that the Lord will, at some future time, RESTORE the kingdom of King David, to Israel.
The Bible teaches to the Church Age:
Act 15:15 And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written,
Act 15:16 After this “I will return”, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up:
Act 15:17 That “the residue of men” might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.
Jesus was specific that this was not a concern for His disciples. Not then and not now!
The Church has other things to concentrate it’s time on, which is specifically to the command of our next verse 8.
We know that Jesus Christ was 100% man but He was also 100% God and Jesus says that not even His human side knew when the Father would do these things, although His God side had to know when these things will happen.
The Bible gives us much information about “when this time may be near”, which if we open our eyes we can know that Jesus could come any day now, as their is no dominant prophesy that has not already been fulfilled about the Church except the Rapture!
We must remember the prophesies that remain are mostly for the Second Coming and the Church will be Raptured out of this world before that time!
If we noticed the words of Jesus in verse 5, we know that John the Baptist had spoken of being baptized with the Holy Ghost and with fire BUT Jesus said nothing about “fire” in verse 5.
WHY, we might ask? Because the “baptism of fire” is the “future judgment” after the Church Age when the nation of Israel will go through the Tribulation period!
Mat 3:11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, “and with fire”:
Mat 3:12 Whose fan is in his hand, and “he will throughly purge his floor”, and gather his wheat into the garner; but “he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire”.
We should not be confused thinking that the appearing of “the tongues of fire” is a baptism of fire!
Act 2:3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
Those Apostles had every right to ask all these questions and Jesus did not rebuke them for doing so. They knew that Jesus had proven Himself to be the Messiah by His Resurrection.
What they did not understand was the “Church Age”. The period of time between the prophecy and the restoring of Israel.
So what is God doing today?
Act 15:14 Simeon hath declared [how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name].
God is forming His Church out of the Gentiles!
And what is the purpose of this Church? Again, Verse 1:8!
*****Act 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
This is the command of Our Lord Jesus Christ to His Church. The “Power” to form the Church must come by the “Power of the Holy Ghost”.
What does the title Ghost mean? This is an old English word that is equivalent to soul or spirit.
It is the translation of the Hebrew word “nephesh” and the Greek “pneuma”, both meaning “breath,” “life,” “spirit,” the “living principle”.
The Holy Ghost or Holy Spirit, whichever you prefer as they are interchangeable, is the “Breath Of God”!
This is much more than a dynamic preaching style!
It is the “boldness” and “grace” to be a “witness” centered on the Wisdom of the Word of God!
It can be said that every Holy Ghost filled child of God will possess the “Fruit of the Spirit”.
Gal 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
Gal 5:23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
Gal 5:24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
Notice the word fruit is not plural. The fruit of the “Spirit” is all these things. We do not get one and not get all the rest!
To be a witness is not only a “Command” directly from Our Lord Jesus but it is also a fulfillment of prophecy!
We can see that we are to witness at our homes(Jerusalem).
We can see that we are to witness to our communities.(Judaea)
We can see that we are to witness to the adjacent communities in our nation(Samaria)
And, we can see that we are to witness in every location where humans dwell on the face of this Earth.(uttermost part)
Mar 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into “all” the world, and preach the gospel to “every” creature.
Mar 16:16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; [but he that believeth not shall be damned].
Our witnessing is to be the “Gospel of Jesus Christ”.
There is no other message of the Church more important than this, His message!
Pro 14:25 A true witness delivereth souls: but a deceitful witness speaketh lies.
It is the Holy Ghost that will decide who goes where, like to a foreign land BUT we are all to work at home!
Eph 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
Eph 4:12 “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ”:
These 3 things are the function of the Church!
*****Act 1:9 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.
Notice this verse does not say Jesus got in His spaceship and went up. It does not say Jesus had some kind of special spacesuit either.
This ascension of Jesus was a slow upward movement until He was out of sight because of the clouds!
And, There was only a cloud that received Our Lord.
What kind of cloud was this?
Joh 17:5 And now, O Father, glorify thou me “with thine own self” with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.
Where have we seen this cloud?
Exo 13:21 And the LORD went before them by day “in a pillar of a cloud”, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night:
Exo 13:22 He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.
This same Jesus:
Heb 1:3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and “the express image of his person”, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;
Heb 1:4 Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.
Col 1:15 “Who is the image of the invisible God”, [the firstborn] of every creature:
Col 1:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
Col 1:17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
From the Beginning till the End:
Rev 5:12 Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.
Rev 5:13 And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, “and all that are in them”, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, “and unto the Lamb” for ever and ever.
*****Act 1:10 And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;
Act 1:11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
Jesus Christ went up in His physical “Glorified” body!
Jesus is sitting on a physical “God Made” throne!
Heaven is a real place!
Heaven is not just some dimension in time!
Heaven is not just some dimension of space!
Heaven is not just some black hole in space!
My God is real, His home is real, and therefore my home is real!
Joh 14:1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
Joh 14:2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: “if it were not so, I would have told you”. I go to prepare a place for you.
Joh 14:3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
SO, Who are these two men in white apparel?
They may have been the same two who stood by the empty tomb who told of the resurrection:
Joh 20:12 And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.
They may have been the same too men that came with Jesus to meet Abraham:
Gen 18:2 And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground,
Gen 18:3 And said, My Lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant:
They may be the two witnesses described in prophecy:
Rev 11:3 And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.
It is not so much important as to who these two are as the message they bring!
“why stand ye gazing up into heaven”
In other words quit standing around gazing up to the sky.
IT IS TIME TO DO WHAT THE LORD HAS SAID DO!
And the next message was this:
This “same” Jesus will still be in His glorified body when He returns.
He ascended to a cloud and He will descend from a cloud.
He ascended from the Mount of Olives and He will return to this exact same place at the Mount of Olives.
Zec 14:4 And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.
While will it be necessary for this earthquake. There was a Muslim king who was trying to defy the God of Glory and placed a cemetery between the Mount of Olives and the Eastern Gate of Jerusalem.
My question is if every Muslim goes to Heaven to 70 virgins then who is in all those graves?
Jesus will come in a cloud to get His “Church” but “He will step out of that cloud” So Every Eye Will See Him, at His Second Coming.
When He comes for the Church:
1Th 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
1Th 4:17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
When He comes to rule as King:
Rev 1:7 Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.
*****Act 1:12 Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day’s journey.
SO, What is a Sabbath’s Day journey?
A Sabbath-day’s journey, according to Jewish tradition, was about three-quarters of a mile. It was “the supposed distance” between the camp and the Ark that the priest carried it into the River Jordan the day Israel marched into Canaan Land.
Jos 3:4 Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure: come not near unto it, that ye may know the way by which ye must go: for ye have not passed this way heretofore.
*****Act 1:13 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.
Act 1:14 These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.
We find the 11 Apostles all in the upper room. Judas the betrayer had already committed suicide.
There had been many times of contention during their 3 and 1/2 years of training but not now.
Waiting on God for the anointing of the Holy Spirit is our condition of blessing and the fulness of “Power”!
All those that will be witnesses for Christ Jesus qualify for a better spirit than their own.
The Holy Spirit is God’s representative to each of us and will live within us!
This is also the first occasion of at least 30 times that “prayer” is mentioned in the Book of Acts.
There should be no doubt that “Prayer” is the greatest weapon we have. There are many things we as individuals cannot do, But We Can All Pray!
The ministry committed to every disciple of Jesus Christ is to bear witness of Him in all the world but we are powerless unless We Pray!
Eph 6:18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
It is also good to see that the earthly family of Jesus are also now all in one accord.
The Mother of Jesus. Mary had been at the cross and had seen her Son crucified. She had stood by her Son all her life because she knew the truth and now after His resurrection “all these that were with her knew the truth”.
Jesus Christ, her son was God in the flesh just as she had been told by Gabriel:
Luk 1:30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.
Luk 1:31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.
Luk 1:32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
Mary had been the subject of name calling and ridicule all her life but now she was surrounded by believers.
“and his brethren”
The step brothers of Jesus who had been fathered by Joseph “and not the Holy Spirit”, had never believed much about their older brother:
Joh 7:5 For neither did his brethren believe in him.
But, that had all changed since His resurrection and His ascension.
Who were these brothers?
Mar 6:3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him.
We will later see more about James, and even Jude wrote one of the Books of the Bible called by his name.
We have said many times. God has a plan for this world. We can be a part of His plan of “Salvation” or we will be left out of it.
BUT, We cannot have our own plan!
God laughs at our plans!
Psa 59:8 But thou, O LORD, shalt laugh at them; thou shalt have all the heathen in derision.
Psa 59:9 Because of his strength will I wait upon thee: for God is my defence.