The Promise of the Holy Spirit
It seems to me that Acts 1 is not only a chapter, but also a state of Christianity. The disciples’ demeanor in this first chapter is akin to the condition of many believers’ attitudes today.
The disciples in Acts 1 had Jesus. They had the promises of Jesus. Yet their minds were esteeming material and national issues above spiritual matters.
As Jesus spoke to them about the soon coming of the Holy Spirit, their minds were on the national condition of Israel. “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6). The disciples reasoned, at that time, that the fruit of the Spirit’s work would be Israel having its own autonomy and righteousness.
Jesus corrected their theology. “It is not for you to know times and seasons which the Father has put in His own authority” (Acts 1:7).
The disciples were preoccupied with world events rather than personal devotion. They wanted prophecy fulfilled around them rather in them. They were intruding on God’s authority. This was not to be their occupation.
Jesus wanted their minds centered on the promise of God. He wanted them to be waiting for the anointing of God that they might be witnesses to the world.
The disciples then watched Jesus be taken from their midst. They were reluctant to leave the spot where Christ ascended. Angels had to remind them of the promise and move them forward.
Feeling abandoned, the disciples slowly made their way from Bethany to the upper room where they had previously celebrated the last supper with the Lord. There were about 120 men and women gathered. They prayed with one accord.
Nothing seemed to happen among the little gathering. Peter seized the leadership and demanded that a new man be inducted into the band of disciples. He cited a prophecy from the Psalms. He required that this apostle had to be a follower of Christ from His baptism by John, to His recent resurrection from the dead. From those gathered in the upper room, two men were selected. The disciples had no inkling which man was the right man, so they prayed and cast lots.
Believers without the baptism of the Spirit behave in like manner. They often have a preoccupation with national improvement. Their interests lie in moralizing society rather than seeking the fulfillment of God’s promises in their lives. They often study the times and seasons and compare world events for some relevancy to biblical prophecy in order to prove to themselves the reality of the belief system they adhere to. They are without direction. There was a time when they met Jesus, but now He is absent from their midst.
They have biblical practices. They pray. They believe the Scriptures. However, they look to their own understanding and “casting lots” to determine the will of God. There is no realization that God will speak and direct. The attributes that they look for in leadership are outward. They choose the standards. There is an emptiness and a desperate need of the Holy Spirit in these disciples.
How bleak the Bible would be if the first chapter of Acts was the standard for Christian behavior! There is a marked difference between the demeanor of the disciples in Acts 1 and the rest of the book of Acts. Jesus never meant for believers to stop at the first chapter. He never intended for believers to be content with the Word of God and prayer without the anointing and indwelling work of the Holy Spirit.
Can you recognize the symptoms of Acts chapter 1 in your life? Then move quickly to the second chapter. Wait on Jesus to fulfill the Father’s promise to you. Ask, seek, and knock on heaven’s door until He sends the Holy Spirit upon you.