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Acts Devotionals

The Kingdom

Every person belongs to a kingdom. We often hear of the Zulu kingdom, but in reality every person belongs to an ethnicity within a nation which is a kingdom. A good example is the United Kingdom comprising of England, Scotland and Wales with Northern Ireland. South Africa is a Kingdom comprising many ethnicities, languages and nations. I recall a brother saying to me that I was too patriotic. What he did not understand was that I am firstly and African and secondly a South African. Our nation, your kingdom and your people (all ethnicities) are important to you. Then add in your political ideology … that would lead to being patriotic irrespective of the political party you are affiliated to. Jesus has some teaching about kingdom (Israel) and Kingdom (the Kingdom of God) in the verses that follow in Acts chapter 1.

Ac 1:4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” 6 So when they met together, they asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. Ac 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

The general tendency in Israel was that they expected prophesy to be fulfilled in a king David type of Messiah King to come and restore Israel into the Davidic Kingdom of old. They expected and wanted a Messiah King who would fight their wars, develop a mighty military machine, deliver them from the iron claw of the Roman Empire, improve the economy through trade, reduction of taxation and job creation. This ideology is so similar to the theological persuasion that says Jesus is coming to reign on earth, based at Jerusalem for 1,000 years.

1) A crucial instruction.

Ac 1:4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.

They needed to be based in Jerusalem if they wanted the special gift God the Father had promised. Jesus had spoken about this gift often. Verse 4 exposes this gift as the Holy Spirit and so does verse 8.

(1) Firstly we need to know when Jesus spoke of this gift. To do this we need to turn our focus to John’s Gospel. As we do so, I will only touch on selected matters that are associate with the Holy Spirit.

(a)

Jn 14:15 “If you love me, you will obey what I command. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me.”

The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth is referred to by Jesus as “the Counselor”. Note that the Spirit is “another Counselor”. Two things flow here …

(i) Jesus is a Counselor. He implies this by saying He is going and will ask the Father to send “another” Counselor.

(ii) Right here were are again exposed to the Triune God! “I” is Jesus, God the Son, then there is the Father, God the Father and the Spirit of Truth is God the Holy Spirit. Jesus promises that the disciples (and all Christians) will not be orphaned … saying He will come to them! He will ask for the Spirit to come, yet He will come preventing them being orphans. Again we need to see the unity of the Godhead because as the Spirit comes, Jesus being equally God is with Him.

(b)

Jn 15:26 “When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me. 27 And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.”

Here we see Jesus sending the Spirit and one main purpose is evangelism!

(c)

Jn 16:7 “But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8 When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; 10 in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11 and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.”

Apart from the crucial ministry of the Holy Spirit mentioned here, we see that Jesus in the body cannot be in more than one place at a time. He was limited by His human body. The Spirit, being spirit may be everywhere all the time!

(d)

Jn 16:12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.”

Jesus is Lord of lords and King of kings. He therefore must be glorified. He must be made much of … this is why the Spirit will only speak what He hears … which is the Gospel Message and what the shape of a relationship with Jesus will be like. You see … although we can’t get there today, there is a Kingdom and Jesus is the King of that Kingdom. The King must be made much of because He alone is the Ruler of the Kingdom. (2) Secondly we need to know why they needed to stay in Jerusalem. After all Jesus was arrested and crucified here. This was where the Roman Empire had their headquarters and the Jewish spiritual leaders known as the Sanhedrin were based here where the temple was with it sacrificing. Pentecost was in 40 days and Jews from all over the known world would be present. We will deal with chapter 2, but for now, the Spirit was going to reverse the Curse of the Tower of Babel, opening the doors of God’s Kingdom to all peoples everywhere. As He arrived at Pentecost He cemented the Work and Person of Messiah Jesus as the New Covenant making the Old Covenant obsolete. Your salvation and my salvation finds its roots in the Spirit’s arrival at Pentecost because this was the start of world evangelism!

Dear Lord, although we will say it again often, thank You for the Holy Spirit who has guided us to Jesus. Amen.

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