04/11/10 Why Stand Ye Gazing?

Posted by Pastor Steve Siegrist on Tuesday, April 13, 2010 Under: Sermon

Text: Acts 1:1-14 (HCSB)

“Which also said, Ye men of Galilee
, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” Acts 1:11 KJV

Intro: This was Jesus' last day on earth. What He did is a most powerful and critical message for believers. The disciples came together again. This is apparently a different occasion, a specific time planned by Christ when He would ascend back into heaven. He must have arranged for the apostles to gather all the disciples together (over five hundred) at one location. What He had to announce would be a momentous occasion.

1 Corinthians 15:6 (HCSB)  “Then He appeared to over 500 brothers at one time, most of whom remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep.”

The first scene. Jesus promised the kingdom. Picture the scene: over five hundred disciples stood in some remote spot, probably on the top of a mountain. They surrounded Christ. One of the disciples asked Christ a revealing question: "Was He now going to restore the kingdom to Israel? Was that the reason He had called everyone together, the reason for His stressing the importance of the meeting so much?" The revealing thing is this: the disciples were still thinking in terms of an earthly, physical Messiah, of a physical and material rule and reign for themselves and their nation, Israel.

The second scene. Jesus assigned the believer's great task- the great commission. The believer's equipping power was to be the Holy Spirit.  God's very own Spirit was to dwell within the heart and life of the believer. No greater power could ever be possessed by anyone.

The third scene. Jesus' ascended before the disciples' very eyes. Christ needed to dramatize and enforce His final departure. Since His resurrection He had been appearing and disappearing spontaneously, at will, as though by thought or light. This departure was to be final. He would never return again, not as He had been doing. Therefore this departure needed to be different; it needed to be impressed and enforced in the minds and consciences of the disciples once for all.

The fourth scene. There was the prophecy of Jesus' return.  The cloud was apparently the Shekinah glory. Christ had said He would return to earth in the clouds of. Seeing such a dramatic ascension confirmed for the disciples (and for us) that Jesus' promise of returning to earth will take place just as He said. This same Jesus who will return is the One who ascended into heaven. The Jesus in heaven is the same Jesus the disciples knew - the One who was their Lord and Savior; the One who came to earth to be their close companion, their Advocate, their Mediator, their Representative before God. Therefore when He returns, He will be coming back to receive all believers unto Himself. He will be coming back that we may all be where He is!

That is the backdrop, this is the Ascension of Christ, Jesus’ last moments on earth, and questions filled the minds of the disciples. Before Christ left He clearly gave us marching orders! The disciples stand with eyes heavenward scanning the sky for a last look at Jesus. The two men in white apparel said something that we still need to hear today: “Why stand ye gazing into heaven?”

1. They Must Stop Gazing and Obey Their Lord (v. 4) “While He was together with them, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem
, but to wait for the Father’s promise. “This,” [He said, “is what] you heard from Me.”

They have been told to tarry in Jerusalem, they are not now in Jerusalem they must leave where they are and go to Jerusalem and when they arrive there great things will happen!

- Some need to find the will of God for their lives
- Others know God’s will but have not begun to obey
- When the disciples obey the first directions others will come
- They must stop gazing and get going

Believers have to hear about the promise of the Spirit before they can receive Him. A believer cannot sit with a wandering or preoccupied mind and be filled with the Spirit of God; he cannot expect to be filled with the presence of God and never center his mind upon the things of God. The believer has to hear and focus his attention upon, hunger and thirst for the things of God. He has to center his life upon God's Spirit in order to receive the promise of the Spirit. 

15 "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever. 17 He is the Spirit of truth. The world is unable to receive Him because it doesn’t see Him or know Him. But you do know Him, because He remains with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I am coming to you. 19 “In a little while the world will see Me no longer, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live too. 20 In that day you will know that I am in My Father, you are in Me, and I am in you. 21 The one who has My commands and keeps them is the one who loves Me. And the one who loves Me will be loved by My Father. I also will love him and will reveal Myself to him.” John 14:15-21 (HCSB)

If you love Him you will obey Him!

2. They Must Stop Gazing and Go to a Very Important Prayer Meeting. (v. 12-14) “Then they returned to Jerusalem
from the mount called Olive Grove, which is near Jerusalem - a Sabbath day’s journey away. 13 When they arrived, they went to the room upstairs where they were staying: Peter, John, James, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James. 14 All these were continually united in prayer, along with the women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, and His brothers.”

See what they did: They went to Jerusalem
, they went to the Upper Room and what happen next is the most important thing the church can do today, prayer meeting in the Upper Room. They put away all their differences and waited for the coming of the Holy Spirit!  When the day of Pentecost had arrived, they were all together in one place.  Then they were all filled with the Holy Spirit!”

3. They Must Stop Gazing and Start Fulfilling the Great Commission. (v. 8)

They were to be His witnesses … so are we! They must launch a great evangelistic outreach. Evangelism is the missing word in the church today. We must return to the greatest task on earth.  What are we doing to evangelize the world?

18 "Then Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20 (HCSB)

4. They Must Stop Gazing and Live in the Light of Christ’s Return (v. 11)

“This same Jesus” will return.

- The One who cared for the lost and dying
- The One who wept over hurting people
- The One who died and rose again

When He returns we must stand before Him, when He returns we must give an account of our stewardship - No time for gazing … the time is short.

Conclusion:
Why Stand Ye Gazing? Get on the Move, Seizing the Moments to Serve Our Coming Lord, get er done! Vance Havner said:  “We have no business living ordinary lives in such extraordinary times.” When you stop gazing, what will you do first?

In : Sermon 


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