January 16, 2022
Pastor Craig Ledbetter
Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland
I. Introduction and Review
A. This year, we are going through the Book of Acts, verse by verse
B. We are in Chapter 1
C. Luke is writing to ‘Theophilus’ – to all those who Love God
D. He is writing about what happened to Christianity after the resurrection of Jesus
E. This morning we will watch as a small, baby church in Jerusalem does some “house-cleaning”, and Peter will end up making a theological mistake.
A. The Ascension of Jesus (Acts 1:9-10)
1. Acts 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.
2. Jesus visibly ascends – defies gravity and rises up into the sky
3. He disappears into a cloud (remember this cloud for later)
4. A slow rapture
a. There are seven raptures described in Scripture, starting with Enoch in Genesis 5
b. Don’t let anybody tell you there is not a soon rapture of Christians!
5. Stunned disciples are fixated on what they just saw
a. Acts 1:10 And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, …
b. They were not expecting this
c. Disappear maybe, but for Him to just go up and up, what breath-taking!
6. Notice the particulars
a. Jesus goes UP physically
b. Goes into and disappears into a cloud
c. All from a small hilltop called the Mount of Olives just outside the eastern gate of Jerusalem
7. Everything will happen in reverse when Jesus returns
a. The very SAME Jesus will physically appear in the skies
1) The same Jesus that you gladly followed for 3/12 years
2) The same Jesus that you saw die on the cross 40 days ago
3) The same Jesus you saw alive again in the upper room time after time since His resurrection
4) The same Jesus that just told you to look forward to the coming of the Holy Spirit
5) That same Jesus will come again – He will come down!
b. And He will come in the clouds (Matthew 24:30; Revelation 1:7)
1) Telescopes won’t see Him coming
2) Radar won’t sense His arrival
3) He will blast through a cloud one day, and the whole world will see a flash of lightning blaze across the sky from end to end as He returns!
4) Matthew 24:30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
5) Revelation 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.
c. And He will come right back to the mount of Olives
1) Not go to the UN
2) Nor to Times Square in NYC
3) He is headed to the eastern gate of Jerusalem, touching down first on the top of the Mount of Olives just before the Battle of Armageddon begins!
8. This is Jesus’ SECOND Coming at the beginning of the Battle of Armageddon
B. What To Do Now That Jesus is Gone (Acts 1:10,11)
1. Two men appear with the eleven apostles (they just appear and startle the disciples)
a. Acts 1:10 And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;
b. They are obviously angels
c. These are the same angels that were present when Jesus walked out of the tomb
2. They ask, “Why are you looking up into the sky now?”
a. Acts 1:11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? …
b. “Jesus has left… He is gone!”
c. “There is nothing more going to happen for the moment”
3. “What are you supposed to be doing?”
a. A very good question
b. They needed to stop sky-gazing and get busy doing what Jesus had told them to do
1) Go back into Jerusalem – into the very heart of enemy territory – Jerusalem was not friendly to Jesus (crucified Him), and it was not welcoming to Jesus’ disciples
2) And assemble together THERE. Not look for a safer place, but right in the very heart of danger, and trouble!!!
3) And wait there
4) And pray for Holy Spirit power for them to live like Christ in this present world!
C. The First Church Assembles (Acts 1:12-15)
1. The CHURCH actually started back in Matthew 10, when Jesus began His church with His apostles
2. But the Church got on their own two feet in Jerusalem here in Acts chapter 1
a. They are starting to do things without Jesus personally telling them, and pushing them
b. Acts 1:12 Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day's journey. [ABOUT A KILOMETER]
c. Acts 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.
d. Acts 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.
3. They had A SPECIAL MEETING PLACE (Acts 1:13)
a. Acts 1:13 And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room
b. That upper room was their meeting place
c. It was made into a regular meeting place for the Christians – they had loads of memories there – it was a very special place for them to meet
d. And they knew they had to meet together!
e. Christianity is not an individual thing – it is a gathering of local believers together
4. They had A FEW PEOPLE (1:13)
a. They started with the 11 apostles, some women, and Jesus’ brethren (step brothers)
b. Acts 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.
c. All the eleven apostles by name are there except Judas Iscariot – he committed suicide
5. They ASSEMBLED TOGETHER
a. That means they were in their places – a church is not a place, it is PEOPLE!
b. The gathering together was not haphazzard, or come as you please – but they all were bound together like a family – BRETHREN!
c. At that time they assembled every day – maybe just stayed and slept on the floor
d. But especially on the First Day of the week – Sunday – because that was the day Jesus arose from the grave!
6. They had UNITY (Acts 1:14)
a. Acts 1:14 These all continued with one accord
b. What an important thing to have as a group…
c. Being in agreement; a harmony of minds; of similar opinions or wills – unity
d. Based upon their belief in the living Lord Jesus Christ
7. WAITING (Acts 1:4)
a. Acts 1:4 And, being assembled together with them, [JESUS] 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.
b. What were they waiting for?
c. They were waiting for something to happen (they were expectant) watching the door
d. Waiting was hard – especially for Peter
e. But Jesus said gather together, and pray, and wait for God’s promise to be fulfilled
8. PRAYING (Acts 1:14)
a. Acts 1:14 These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication…
b. It turned out to be ten days of praying together
c. While they waited, they prayed, asking for the promise of the Father to happen to them – not exactly knowing what it was
d. Praying is hard. Day after day, hour after hour, praying, gets tiresome
e. After a few days, Peter has a thought – “We need to replace Judas Iscariot”
9. GROWING (Acts 1:15)
a. Started with a group of 15-20 the first day
b. Grew to 120 in just a few days – news spread that the disciples were not going away, but were waiting on something to happen! So believers gathered in that upper room
c. Acts 1:15 … (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,)
d. It was chocker-block crammed to the door with people
10. They also had PREACHING (Acts 1:15)
a. Peter got up and expounded the Scriptures
b. Acts 1:15 And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said…
11. That is what church ought to be like still today!
a. We are on our own – Jesus is not physically here, but WE stand in His place
b. We have a special meeting place – it could be in homes or in parks, but it is here
c. Thankfully we have a few people – some believers in Jesus
d. We assemble together, regularly – at least we SHOULD
e. We SHOULD have unity because we have a perfect Bible
f. We are WAITING for MORE of God’s promises to happen – and believe me they will
g. We are PRAYING to have the same power those early Christians needed to live godly
h. We should be GROWING like they did
i. And we have PREACHING, not just fellowship, and prayers
j. All that makes a pretty good church!
D. The Dangers of Rushed Bible Study (Acts 1:16-26)
1. Peter stood up and preached from the Bible – a good thing!
2. But he got a little ahead of God in its application
a. He wasn’t wrong about what he was about to preach, except in his timing
b. He knew that the Scriptures taught that Judas Iscariot needed to be replaced
c. There were supposed to be TWELVE Apostles, and now there were only eleven
He thought HE knew HOW God wanted
Judas replaced –
but as we shall see, Peter was wrong
1) And yes, apostles make mistakes – they do wrong and sometimes say wrong things – they are not infallible.
2) ONLY the Bible is right – not apostles, priests, popes, preachers or anyone else!
3) The Bible was written by the Holy Spirit, and He used men to write like you and I use PENS to write things down
3. Judas’ Suicide was Predicted / Prophesied (Acts 1:16,17,20)
a. Suicide can really affect people – especially a family, and a church
b. Churches are supposed to be strong enough to look to God and His Word for wisdom and stability when bad things (like a Judas) happen!
c. Acts 1:16,17 Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus. For he [JUDAS] was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry.
d. Acts 1:20 For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take.
e. Peter quotes from Psalm 109:6-8
1) Psalm 109:6 Set thou a wicked man over him: and let Satan stand at his right hand.
2) Psalm 109:7 When he shall be judged, let him be condemned: and let his prayer become sin.
3) Psalm 109:8 Let his days be few; and let another take his office.
f. Psalm 55:12-15
1) 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.
2) Let death seize upon them, and let them go down quick into hell: for wickedness is in their dwellings, and among them.
g. How did Judas die?
1) Matthew 27:3-10
a) Matthew 27:3 Then Judas, which had betrayed him [JESUS], when he saw that he [JESUS] was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, [TRIED TO GIVE BACK]
b) 27:4 Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that.
c) 27:5 And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.
d) 27:6 And the chief priests took the silver pieces, and said, It is not lawful for to put them into the treasury, because it is the price of blood.
e) 27:7 And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter's field, to bury strangers in.
f) 27:8 Wherefore that field was called, The field of blood, unto this day.
g) 27:9 Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued, whom they of the children of Israel did value;
h) 27:10 And gave them for the potter's field, as the Lord appointed me.
2) So, back to Acts 1:18,19
a) Acts 1:18,19 Now this man [JUDAS] purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out. And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood.
b) He attempted to delicately hang himself over a cliff
c) But the branch evidently broke and he fell all the way down into a ravine and something ripped him open, and he died a horrible death!
d) And that field became known as the field of blood – even to this day
e) The money that Judas had sold Jesus for, was used to buy the field that Judas dies in, just as prophesied in Zechariah 11:12,13!
4. The Scriptures also say someone needed to take Judas’ place (Acts 1:20)
a. Judas Iscariot was a devil – not a proper Apostle at all
1) John 6:70,71 Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve.
2) Jesus called Judas to follow Him, the same as He called Peter, James and John
3) Jesus empowered him to do all the miracles, and preach the Gospel
4) But Judas never was converted – only an outward apostle – inwardly, a devil!
5) Judas was a fraud, and a liar, and a thief, and an accessory to murder
6) And in the end Judas went out and killed himself because of the guilt
b. So, there needed to be a replacement Apostle
c. Peter pointed out Acts 1:20 For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take.
d. Bishoprick means Judas’ “apostleship”
e. Peter was like most churches today – see a Scripture, and with little thought or study, just run with it! Come to wrong conclusions. VERY DANGEROUS!
f. The catholic church believes this proves “apostolic succession”
1) They believe that their Bishops are replacements for ALL the Apostles
2) That the Popes are all successors of the head apostle named Peter
3) But that is a made up doctrine not found in Scripture
4) Only Judas needed to be replaced
5) And even Peter got it wrong with the replacement!
5. Peter comes up with some Qualifications for the Replacement (Acts 1:22,23)
a. Acts 1:21,22 Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.
b. These were reasonable qualifications, but inadequate as you will soon discover
1) They needed a man who has been a true disciple of Jesus
2) And has been with the Disciples since John’s baptizing 3 ½ years earlier
c. Two men met the qualifications (Acts 1:23)
1) Acts 1:23 And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias.
2) Joseph Barsabas – also known as Justus
3) And Matthias (not the same as Matthew)
4) These men were probably from the 70 other men that Jesus sent out two by two, that were not apostles, but had faithfully stayed with Jesus
6. Peter Uses a Lottery? (Acts 1:24-26)
a. Peter has the men draws LOTS (lottery) straws, and Matthias is chosen (Acts 1:24-26)
1) Acts 1:24 And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen,
2) Acts 1:25 That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.
3) Acts 1:26 And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.
4) Does anyone see anything wrong with this?
a) Narrowing God’s choices down to TWO, and then flipping a coin?
b) That is NOT how to find out God’s will
c) Look at two young men and flip a coin asking God to show you which to marry
7. So, yes, Judas needed to be replaced, but Peter didn’t think he could leave it to Jesus to replace him
a. We often think we need to help out God
b. We can’t imagine that God can fix things without our worry, our panicks, our quick actions
c. Some things need to be left to God to fix, knowing the promises of God
8. So, Wrong Bible study can cause much confusion
9. Peter called the wrong man to be an apostle
a. Peter forgot one big qualification – it was JESUS who personally called all His apostles
b. So no matter what, no one could be an apostle, unless Jesus personally called them
c. And Jesus does this in just a few years in Acts 9 when Saul of Tarsus gets saved
d. He was Peter’s choice, not Christ’s
e. He has no apostolic powers (like Paul gets later)
f. This is the only time you hear of Matthias
10. Jesus later called Paul to replace Judas (Acts 9)
a. Peter’s preaching and actions here hindered Paul from being accepted by many other Christians that entire first century (1Corinthians 15:6-10)
1) 1Corinthians 15:6 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.
2) 1Corinthians 15:7 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.
3) 1Corinthians 15:8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. [I WASN’T THERE WITH ALL THE OTHE APOSTLES]
4) 1Corinthians 15:9 For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
5) 1Corinthians 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
b. Wrong doctrine can cause much confusion and damage
1) To this day, the Catholic Church believe their popes are successors of Peter
2) And modern charismatic Christians still allow men and women to call THEMSELVES apostles, when they are NOT!
3) There are no more Apostles – only twelve – just pastors, teachers and evangelists
4) If only Peter had just not been so impatient to replace Judas
E. Please, You Who Live on YouTube Preaching…
1. So many Christians are isolating themselves from everyone because of stupid YouTube teachings, fears, and scaremongering that is ruining MINDS & HEARTS
2. Not every “Bible teacher” is trustworthy
a. People can guide you, and help you search the Scriptures and pray with you…
b. But it is up to YOU to test what you hear
3. Not everything people teach is actually what the Bible is saying
4. Be very sceptical of everything you hear ME or anyone else teach
5. Even Peter made a theological mistake when he thought HE had to decide the will of God – Both Jesus and Paul said “test what I say”
6. Don’t be so easily deceived
7. And don’t be so rushed to come to conclusions
8. Be thorough, cautious and patient in study!
A. The Ascension of Jesus Thrills Us (Acts 1:9-10)
1. Because… Christianity is NOT Over
2. WE are still here, and…
3. We have a job to do, and…
4. Jesus is coming AGAIN! Amen!
5. And He won’t be mocked and crucified this time!
B. What Should We be Doing Now until Jesus Returns?
1. Keep this special meeting place a special place – THIS is our Upper Room!
2. ASSEMBLE TOGETHER in this special place
3. Develop Biblical UNITY – same heart, purpose, spirit and mind
4. WAIT expectantly for MORE of God’s promises to happen
5. PRAY to have the same power to live godly
6. We should be GROWING – soul-winning
7. Focus on PREACHING
8. And I think we will have a pretty good church!
C. Don’t Let People’s Confusion About things in the Bible stop you from crying out to Jesus Christ to save YOU! That part is clear!
1. You are a lawbreaker and in trouble with God
2. It is up to you to respond to the Gospel invitation that Jesus offers everyone
3. To believe and trust in Him to forgive YOU and save you
4. You can do it right now! Would you?