Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

In my first book I told you, Theophilus, about everything Jesus began to do and teach until the day he was taken up to heaven after giving his chosen apostles further instructions through the Holy Spirit.  During the forty days after he suffered and died, he appeared to the apostles from time to time, and he proved to them in many ways that he was actually alive.  And he talked to them about the Kingdom of God.   Acts 1:1-3 (NLT)

Luke, who wrote the Gospel that bears his name, was also the writer of Acts.  It is the only written record of the first thirty years of the early church (from the time of the resurrection to the imprisonment of Paul in Rome).  The theme is God’s Kingdom on earth.

During the forty days after His resurrection Jesus told his disciples a lot about the Kingdom of God.  Much of what he shared with them was instruction, or commandments about how they were to carry out His mission in the days ahead. 

What is the Kingdom?  The Lord's Prayer tells us precisely, "...Thy KINGDOM come, Thy WILL BE DONE in earth, as it is in heaven."[1]  The Kingdom of God is extant wherever, and IN whom-ever is doing His will.

Note, if you will, Luke tells us that Jesus proved to the disciples in many ways that he was alive – not just some ghost or vision.  That is a major stumbling-block for those who still have not accepted the free gift of God's grace for salvation - "PROOF"!  I have never met a skeptic who didn't say "prove it".  Yet, the resurrection of Jesus Christ is one of the most well-documented facts of history.  Jesus rose from the dead, and walked the earth for forty days with and among many people.  And, beloved, if the dead man never got up and walked, we have no hope, and no joy, and certainly no business spending all this time, energy and money on proclaiming a false kingdom. 

But in First Corinthians 15:1-8 there are no less than eight specific people or groups to which Jesus appeared after His resurrection.  And these were no midnight visions, no trances, or New Age séances.  Jesus ate and drank with these people; they felt the wounds in His flesh.  He sat with them in the light of day; He talked and taught and traveled with them.  This was no apparition, or disembodied spirit.  This was the living Son of God, raised from the dead, announcing with His own presence that the Kingdom of God was upon us! 

And this is the chief end of the book of Acts – to show the growth of the Kingdom of God, starting at Jerusalem in a small band of 120 disciples, and spreading to the uttermost parts of the world. 

It is still an unfinished story…the gospel is still being spread, and the kingdom is still advancing. 

The question every disciple of Jesus Christ must ask is, what part am I playing in the advancement of the Kingdom of God?

For You, Today

If you’ve asked the question (honestly), you have also laid out your plan for today. 

You will be looking for opportunities, led by God’s Spirit, to open a pathway of service and proclamation of the Kingdom wherever today’s work, tasks, or chores take you.

The Kingdom of God; don’t leave home without it – in you!

[1] Matthew 6:10, Luke 11:2

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