Originally preached November 18, 2012, by Rev. Jeremy B. Stopford
Today’s “Special”: “A Tailor Funny”
A tailor’s shop was next door to a very upscale French restaurant. Every day at lunch time, the tailor sat out behind his shop and ate his black bread and herring while smelling the wonderful odors coming from the restaurant’s kitchen.
One day the tailor was surprised to receive an invoice from the restaurant for “enjoyment of food.” So he went to the restaurant to point out that he had not bought anything from them.
The manager said, “Every day you sit outside our kitchen and smell our food while eating. We are providing added value to your lunch, and we deserve to be paid for it.”
The tailor stuck his hand in his pocket and rattled the few coins he had inside.
The manager asked him, “What is the meaning of that?”
The tailor replied, “I’m paying for the smell of your food with the sound of my money.”
We have been gleaning the Scriptures for instances in which the 3 Pillars of the faith – Peter, James, and John – learned lessons from the Lord. Today’s passage is not so much what they learned to do, but what they learned not to do. Let’s see if we learn, too.
KEY PASSAGE: “And when they had entered, they went up into the upper room where they were staying: Peter, James, John…these all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.” Acts 1:13a, 14
#1 THANKS FOR WHAT NOT TO DO
- They did not wait (Acts 1:4)
Acts 1 is Dr. Luke’s introduction to “The Acts of the Apostles.” Many believe this book should properly be entitled, “The Acts of the Holy Spirit.” Was it the apostles who did the work of the early church? Or was it the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives Who did the work? If THEY does the work, who gets the glory? THEY did. But if the HOLY SPIRIT does the work, Who gets the glory? Careful. Think about your answer before you give it. Turn with me to John 15:26. John Chapters 14,15, and 16 are the Savior’s intimate teaching on the ministry of the One He was going to send to earth in His place shortly after the resurrection. After the Holy Spirit would be sent, the Savior assured His disciples that through His ministry they would carry on in ways they could not have during Jesus’ earthly service. How so? For 3 years, the disciples were walking with the Savior, talking with Him, listening to Him, serving with Him. Observing Him. They could only be in one place at one time. Through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, and in the same Power that operates in our Savior, they would be able to fulfill the command of the Great Commission and “go into all the world and preach…and teach…and make disciples.”
All they had to do was wait. 10 days. In fact, they should have understood the Old Testament “Day of Pentecost”. 50 Days after the Passover. Our Savior was on earth for the first 40 days before He ascended back to Glory. So simple math, if you will, tells us – and should have told them – there are 10 more days before the Spirit is sent down. 10 days. 10 measly days.
Ps. 27:14: “Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!”
Psalm 37:9: “For evildoers shall be cut off; But those who wait on the Lord, they shall inherit the earth.”
Isaiah 40:31: “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”
B. They had no power (Acts 1:8)
Therefore, whatever they did before Acts 2, they did in their own strength!
Acts 1 is a sad commentary on how not to do ministry.
How do we know? Look at 1:15, “And in those days Peter stood up…”. Yes, he quotes Scripture. Don’t you think he has been reading and thinking much since Jesus ascended? He has been reviewing all the Scriptures concerning the death and resurrection of the Messiah. They are in there! Moses! The Psalms. The Prophets. They are in there! Peter has been thinking, “what has been happening to us?”. And don’t you think he came across Psalm 69 which he would know is a Messianic Psalm. He would read verses 24-25, as he shares in Acts 1, and thinks, “whoa! It was there all the time! Judas, who walked among us, would be the traitor among us. How did I miss that in Sunday school at the Baptist Church?” Well, perhaps that’s a slight liberty on Peter’s life. Then he would read Psalm 109:8-9 and see the words, “let another take his office.” And what must Peter have thought? “WE are God’s appointed ones to replace Judas with the 12th apostle.” So by casting lots – which seemingly were a perfectly good Biblical form of making choices – just look at those at the foot of the cross – they make their choice. They chose Matthias.
Look at 1:23-26. When was the last time you read about Matthias in the Scriptures? Right here – he was never heard from again. But other apostles were heard from again, in particular the Apostle Paul.
The Lord Jesus said, “wait.” WAIT! 10 days. 10 short days. They didn’t wait. Do we?
#2 THANKS FOR WHAT TO DO
Credit must be given to these early apostles, however. They were dealing with a whole host of emotions thrown at them and in them all at once. The Savior Who had been among them for over 3 years had been crucified. Buried. Rose again. Ascended to glory! And even the angels at the ascension said, “He will come again!!!!” They had much to take in! New truths. Fresh truths! Application of Old Testament truths!
And in the midst of their post-ascension scenes, in the midst of trauma they show all of us some wonderful foundations for thanksgiving.
A. They continued together (Acts 1:13) – they had disbanded at the time of the cross
They continued in one accord – not a Chevy or a Ford (Acts 1:14)
Of the 17 times the phrase “one accord” appears in Scripture, 11 of them are in Acts. That gives us an huge insight into not only the operation of the Holy Spirit in the early church, but also into the hunger of that early church to be the outward evidence of God’s love for the whole world! They were visible evidence of the application of the death, burial and resurrection of the Savior! “For God so loved the world that He gave His One and only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life!” (John 3:16)
* See also:
Luke 14:18 [in reference to the response to the invitation to come be with the Lord Jesus]: “But they all with one accord began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of ground, and I must go and see it. I ask you to have me excused.’” That’s the negative response!
And Phil. 2:1-2 [the classic passage on the unity of the New Testament church in Philippi]: “Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.” And this is the positive response!
B. They continued in prayer and supplication (Acts 1:14) “These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication…” Remember what they had begun with the Savior – just like our baby steps with Jesus. They were learning with Him how to have an intimate walk with Him. “Abba, Father” they heard Him pray. Now, with Him in Glory, they knew – they just knew – that in order to wait on the Savior their intimacy with Him was needed more now than ever!
C. They were people of the Scriptures (Acts 1:14,16). As said above, Peter did not simply pull these verses out of his spiritual rabbit’s hat! He was familiar with the Messianic Psalms. Our Savior had given the disciples lessons on the application of the Word of God. Peter actually listened! And as a result, the early church would be people of the Book. Once again is the probing question: are we?
Turn to Psalm 109, from which Peter guided his words of Acts 1
Note v. 8, from which Peter quoted (referenced above)
David is lamenting his enemies, while he himself is a man of prayer!
And note HIS conclusion, vs. 30-31 In the midst of his enemies, of his uncertainties, of his life, he is a man of thanks:
“I will greatly praise the Lord with my mouth; yes, I will praise Him among the multitude.
For He shall stand at the right hand of the poor, to save him from those who condemn him.”
The very psalm which is the root of Acts 1 is the heart of the thanksgiving of the pillars.
So… are we thankful? Are you thankful?
CLOSE IN PRAYER