Introduction: Acts 1:1-4.
What Jesus Christ has began to do and teach in the Gospel continued by the Holy Spirit in the book of the "Acts of the Apostles”. The risen Christ personally prepared the apostles for His ministry by demonstrating the reality of His resurrection. This book is addressed to Theophilus, which means “Dear to God” and to the church in general. There is no reason to suppose that Theophilus was not a real person. He may be a believer who was interested in Christ and his ministry. Before Christ ascended to heaven, He appeared at least 10 times to His followers to prove the reality that He is alive. The central theme of the apostolic preaching was the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is mentioned about 22 times in the book of Acts. Jesus spoke to them about the kingdom of God. It is a reference to the Messianic Kingdom Jesus would establish one day (Dan 7). Just prior to His ascension, Jesus commanded His apostles to wait for the promise of the Father in Jerusalem (1:4). Christ also promised about the coming of the Holy Spirit in His upper room discourse (Joel 2:28; Acts 2:16; John 15:26). The Holy Spirit now takes up His residence permanently in the believers and baptizes them perfectly into the body of Christ which is the church (1 Cor 3:16-17; 6:19; 12:13). This was also promised by John the Baptist (Matt 3:11). The Church is Jesus’ vehicle for continuing His work in the world today.
The Ascension of Jesus: Acts 1:6-7.
The disciples were confused about the true purpose of Christ’s coming into the world. Jesus did not answer the question concerning the precise time when God will restore the kingdom to Israel. God will fulfill His sovereign plan and purposes for the universe in His own appointed time. But Jesus wanted the apostles to wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit will come upon them, they will be empowered to become His witnesses in the world (1:8). The indwelling Spirit motivates us to grow spiritually and empowers us to proclaim the good news of Christ. For God has not given us a Spirit of fear but of power, love and self control (2 Tim 1:7). Holy Spirit gives us boldness and persuasiveness in our witnessing. The primary task of apostles was to become Christ's witnesses in the world whom they had seen with their own eyes. Sharing about Christ is supposed to be the overflowing experience of heart that truly loves Jesus because of what he has done for us. It is witnessing Christ who had changed our life forever.
The promise of Power for Witnessing: Acts 1:8-11.
Chapter 1:8, gives the outline for the entire book of Acts and worldwide evangelism. Jesus unfolds the divine plan of witnessing here. The witnessing begins in Jerusalem and then moving outward to the end of the earth (1:8). God always wanted His redeemed people to witness His greatness (Isaiah 43:1; Psalms 107:1, 2, 21). God says of Israel in Isaiah “You are my witnesses and my servants whom I have chosen” (Isaiah 43:10). God commands us to declare His glory among the nations (Psalms 96:3). God has called us out of the darkness into His marvelous light to proclaim His praise (1 Pet 2:9). If we do not witness Christ, how will people ever know of God’s love and grace? (Rom 1:14-15). Our witnessing and life should go together (Matt 5:16). All believers are indwelt by the Holy Spirit but only when we are filled by the Spirit we become effective witnesses (Rom 8:9). We should prayerfully seek God to empower us with his Spirit. Some one has said "The Holy Spirit is a promise to be received, power to be released and a person to be personally acknowledged. The book of Acts shows the centrality of the gospel proclamation in the great commission of disciple making. Having commissioned His disciples, a cloud took Jesus out of their sight. Throughout the scripture this cloud speaks of the visible presence of God (Ex 13:21; Matt 17:5; 24:30). Jesus was once again restored to the glory which He had with the Father before (John 17:4-5). He will return in glory for all to see on the Mount of Olives soon (Rev 1:7: Phi 3:21; Zechariah 14:4). The disciples were comforted by two angels by reassuring them of Christ return in glory.
Mathias Chosen to Replace Judas: Acts 1:12-26.
The disciples returned to Jerusalem with great joy and waited there for the promise of the Holy Spirit. There was great unity among them and their fellowship was centered in the risen Christ. They continued with one accord in prayer. Prayer always unites believers. There were women, men and members of Christ’s family in that gathering of the disciples. It seems Christ’s brothers had believed in Him after His resurrection (John 7:5; Act 1:14). The phrase “With one accord” is found many times in the book of Acts. Prayer was an integral part of the early church. In almost every chapter in the book of Acts we find a reference to prayer. Early Christians recognized that the true power needed for the disciple-making mission comes from God alone. Peter has become the recognized leader among the apostles. He was enabled by the Holy Spirit to understand the defection of Judas Iscariot. The defection of Judas was a fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy (Psalms 41:9). Both the Old Testament and the New Testament are important because all scripture is given by the inspiration of God (2 Tim 3:16). The twofold criteria for the replacement for Judas were, he must have been with the Lord from the baptism of Christ unto His ascension and also he must be a witness of the Christ’s resurrection (1:21, 22). Seeking the will of God by casting lots was a normal Hebrew custom (Pro 16:33). The disciples believed in the divine providence of selecting the most qualified person to fill Judas vacancy. The lot fell on Mathias. Only 120 disciples were present in the upper room. They prayerfully waited for the Holy Spirit to empower them. Today God reveals his will to us through His word as we wait on him in prayer. Pray that you would have an deeper appreciation of Christ and empowered with the Holy Spirit to declare the gospel.