1 In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, 2 until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. 3 He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.
4 And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
6 So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” 9 And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes,11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”
Picking up where the Gospel of Luke left off, the book of Acts describes how Jesus, having finished his mission in his life, death, and resurrection, begins to build his kingdom on earth through the power of the Holy Spirit. All the founders of major world religions have done everything they’re going to do and said everything they’re going to say, save One. Jesus is just getting started (Acts 1:1). Jesus’ mission now is to advocate for Christians, empower Christians through the Holy Spirit, and to make disciples of all nations through Christians and the gospel they proclaim. Is Jesus your Advocate? Are you on the same mission that Jesus is on?
Put yourself in the shoes of the early church. They were listening to the resurrected Jesus commission them, “And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.” (Acts 1:9)
1. What would you do or think if you were there?
2. Was there anything from the sermon, the big idea, or Acts 1:1-11 that stood out to you, challenged you, or confused you?
3. How does Luke 1:1-4 help us understand why we can trust the book of Acts?
4. How does Luke (the author of Acts) distinguish Jesus from other founders of religions, faiths, or philosophies in Acts 1:1-11?
5. What is the significance of Jesus ascending back to heaven? What does it mean for Jesus to be someone’s Advocate with God the Father? Can you think of any Bible verses that speak of Jesus as our Advocate or interceding for us?
6. In Acts 1:8, what does Jesus say we are empowered to do and what does he mean? What do you need to change in your life to make sure your focus is living the mission Jesus has called you to live?
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