Picking this back up -- not for you, the readers, but for myself.
Current assignment: Keep a journal about my "meditation and learning based upon the book of Acts" from April 13th to April 30th, 2009. Each journal entry should have three parts: revelation, interpretation, application. On the days that I have no significant revelation, there will be no post. The journal will be kept here.
I will attempt to use this journal to help prepare for the 1,000 word paper I will be writing, entitled, "Essential Characteristics of Apostolic Christianity."
v2 "through the Holy Spirit [Jesus] had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen."
Jesus/Holy Spirit gives commandments to Apostles
He chooses Apostles
v3 "He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God."
He presented Himself to them
He spoke of the Kingdom of God
v4-5 "He commanded them... to wait for the Promise of the Father... you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit..."
Waiting was an important step, required to receive the Promise of the Holy Spirit.
v8 "You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."
The Holy Spirit gives power to witness.
v11 "Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven."
They received a promise of His return.
v13 "And when they had entered, they went up into the upper room... [The 11 Apostles] all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers."
They were unified
They prayed together
They allowed women to join them
They embraced the physical family of Jesus
v20-22 "Let another take his office... Therefore, of these men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out from among us, beginning from the baptism of John, to that day when He was taken up from us, one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection."
Replacement was present when Jesus was baptized
Replacement was present at the resurrection
John 1:33-34 "Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit."
The replacement would be ready to receive the Spirit at Pentecost.
The replacement would be living a life in light of the power of the resurrection, and thus would not fear death.
The replacement would know of the coming kingdom of God, and Christ's return
The purpose of the replacement was to join them as a witness, to fulfill a role. Apostleship is a large task, best accomplished with a group. Jesus chose 12 for a reason...
v24 "And they prayed and said, "You, O Lord who know the hearts of all, show which of these two You have chosen to take part in this ministry and apostleship... and they cast lots, and the lot fell on Matthias. And he was numbered with the eleven apostles."
Apostles are chosen by God, thus prayer was employed in the decision, and lots were used to complete the decision.
1. God chooses Apostles, and marks them by giving them His commandments.
2. He reveals the ways of His kingdom to them so that they may operate in it effectively.
3. God releases power of the Holy Spirit to those who wait upon Him and seek Him in prayer.
4. The power is used to be a witness, a major role of an Apostle.
5. The Apostles are concerned with His Return, and the coming of His earthly reign.
6. The Apostles embrace the rest of the brethren, and join with all of them in prayer. They do not consider themselves elite in a way that would exclude women or family.
7. The Apostles were prepared for the release of the Holy Spirit.
8. The Apostles did not fear death.
9. The Apostles were not one-man-shows, they were unified, and worked as a group.
10. It was not decided by the favoritism of men, or a "vote." Casting of lots, and leaving it to chance may seem risky, but probably less risky than human decision making, as Jesus did not judge on the outward appearance.
Essential Characteristics of Apostolic Christianity:
- Intimate knowledge of the Ministry of Jesus and the Holy Spirit
- Living for a future kingdom
- Receiving the commands of the kingdom