Down Since Day 1 (All scripture in the NLT)
(read) Acts 1:15-26
- Knowing God’s will.
– Verse 16, “The scriptures had to be fulfilled…” concerning Judas and his betrayal of Jesus. (Use this time to talk about Judas, him denying Jesus.
– Look at the life of Judas:
– Judas was “down since day 1”, OD “original disciple”, walked with Jesus through everything.
– He had every opportunity but CHOSE to betray Jesus. He is NOT in Heaven!
– Read verses 16-19 again. Judas did not repent. Being sorry is not enough.
– It almost seems like Judas was set up for failure. Manipulated, turned into the fall guy.
– Sometimes the will of God looks like very bad things. This makes it hard to discern and understand sometimes, but it is part of the plan.
– Jesus didn’t make Judas the betrayer, he just recognized it in his heart.
– Jesus knows the future, and knew what Judas would choose, just like he knows what YOU will chose. We have free will.
– This was all according to the prophetic plan. Without this YOU and I would not have salvation.
– Seeing the betrayal of Jesus in such a wicked and personal way must have been devastating to the disciples.
Luke 22:21-23, “But here at this table, sitting among us as a friend, is the man who will betray me. 22 For it has been determined that the Son of Man[c] must die. But what sorrow awaits the one who betrays him.” 23 The disciples began to ask each other which of them would ever do such a thing.
– I know we have all been blindsided by an “enemy within the gates”. The struggle becomes knowing how to respond.
– Jesus being betrayed by a brother and sent to die unjustly must be stopped! How can this awful thing be God’s will? Immediate relief of the harm must be the right plan, right?
– Luke 22:49-51, (after Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss) 49 When the other disciples saw what was about to happen, they exclaimed, “Lord, should we fight? We brought the swords!” 50 And one of them (Peter) struck at the high priest’s slave, slashing off his right ear. 51 But Jesus said, “No more of this.” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him.
– The crushing moment must have seemed unreal, and unbearable! But it is the foundation for eternal life FOR US ALL! God has a plan!
– Another example: Poverty alleviation in the majority world. Poverty is complex, Americans seem to only see it as a lack of material resources. There are 3 phases of poverty alleviation:
– Relief: Immediate intervention to prevent catastrophic results. “Stop the bleeding”.
Ex: Hurricane Katrina, supplying immediate food, water, and shelter.
– Recovery: Establishing a return to normalcy. “Start the healing”.
Ex: clearing roads and rebuilding houses.
– Development: The hard work of growing in skills and education, equipping people to be better ready to ride out the storms in the future.
– We often want to give “relief” when what is needed is “development”. This creates a culture with its hand out. The goal is to have people help themselves, NOT to rely on rich white people.
– This seems like injustice, and allowing unnecessary suffering. But the misuse of “relief” delays God’s plan of development and discipleship for His dear children, here and around the world.
God’s ways are not our ways. His will is not our will:
Isaiah 55:8-9, “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. 9 For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.
Eccles. 8:16-17, 16 In my search for wisdom and in my observation of people’s burdens here on earth, I discovered that there is ceaseless activity, day and night. 17 I realized that no one can discover everything God is doing under the sun. Not even the wisest people discover everything, no matter what they claim.
- Choosing God’s will.
– Read verses 20-26
– Peter and the gang are choosing the replacement for Judas. They need to choose God’s will, even if it goes against man’s wisdom.
– They needed someone who was “down since day 1”. They had criteria, and they prayed to God to reveal His choice.
– Matthias was chosen and promoted. Barsabbas was not.
– I wonder how many in the crown of 120 thought that Barsabbas should have been the guy?
– I think I know how Barsabbas felt: (Todd started attending in 2008, hired 2012)
– Example: Todd getting hired full time, and not me. This was God’s will, and I am okay with it, even if some people didn’t understand it. God’s will is perfect, and I am more than blessed!
– Barsabbas was “down since day 1”. I think he was fine with the decision, and continued to serve as he always had. I think his heart was in the right place, or he wouldn’t have been considered in the first place.
– Example: I’ve had many people tell me they have been called to preach, or to be a pastor.
– That’s great, “What area of ministry are you serving in now?”
– I always say, “Be patient and wait on the Lord. Children’s ministry or the cleaning ministry is a great place to start.”
– This reveals the heart condition behind the desire to lead. To serve, or to be seen?
– You must choose to follow God’s will, and trust his plan, even if you don’t understand it.
- Trusting God’s plan.
– Read (Mark 4:36-41)
– The disciples seem more afraid of Jesus displaying his power, than they are of the storm.
– The storm at sea was scary and dangerous, and they feared for their lives. But it was a known quantity. They understood it, and had weathered it before.
– Jesus’ power was “terrifying” because they didn’t understand it, and couldn’t predict it.
– When they cried out to Jesus, he calmed the storm, but they were still out in the sea with a flooded boat!
– God’s plan may be hard to understand, but He still knows what he is doing, even when you don’t.
– This is actually a huge encouragement to me! When I see Jesus move in my life and the life of those around me it builds my faith, and my trust in Him.
– The difference between Judas and the other disciples is that they knew God was going somewhere with all this.
– They didn’t understand the plan or all the stops along the journey, but they stuck with Jesus from day 1, until the end. They trusted that Jesus had a plan.
– Judas “jumped ship” in the middle of the storm. He lost faith, that I assume he had possessed at one point. Maybe he never truly believed, or maybe he let the world water down his faith?
– 1 Cor. 8:2-3, Anyone who claims to know all the answers doesn’t really know very much. 3 But the person who loves God is the one whom God recognizes.
– Proverbs 3:5-6, 5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. 6 Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.
– Where are YOU at tonight? Are you Trusting God’s plan, or choosing your own?! – prayer –