Thursday, September 29, 2016

Jesus' New Apostle: Who Was? Who's Next? (Acts 1:16-22)

“[Prayer meeting] went on for several days. During this time, on a day when about 120 people were present, Peter stood up and addressed them as follows: ‘Brothers, it was necessary for the Scriptures to come true concerning Judas, who betrayed Jesus by guiding the mob to him… So now we must choose someone else to take Judas’ place and to join us as witnesses of Jesus’ resurrection. Let us select someone who has been with us constantly from our first association with the Lord – from the time he was baptized by John until the day he was taken from us into heaven
(Acts 1:16, 21-22, The Living Bible)

Judas’ life was very tragic. Judas was “chosen to be an apostle” (v.17) but he betrayed Jesus. After he “bought a field with the money he received for his treachery,” he then “falling headlong there, he burst open, spilling out his bowels” (v.18). But Matthew 27:5-7 explained that Judas “threw the money onto the floor of the Temple and went out and hanged himself… the chief priests talked it over and finally decided to buy a certain field…” Is this a contradiction account? No, I think when Judas hanged himself, his dead body fell headlong (head first). And when the Scripture said Judas bought a field it was actually the chief priests who bought it using Judas’ treacherous money because they cannot take back the ‘blood money.’ So, technically, the field bought by and belong to Judas. No contradiction. The point is: Judas betrayed Jesus, he then hanged himself, and his money was used to buy a field.

The apostle Peter realized that someone should be appointed to take the place of Judas, who had fallen into sin, and committed suicide. He remembered two verses in the book of Psalms and one particularly says “Let his work be given to someone else to do” (Acts 1:20, Psalms 109:8). Interpreted as someone should take Judas’ place as an apostle. For me, it is a terrible thing to do works for God in the beginning but because of sin – continuous sin without really repenting from it – God rejected him and have another take it over. May this will not happen to us!

So the apostles lead by Peter selected two men who had also been with the Lord Jesus from the beginning and were witnesses of His baptism, death and resurrection. Their names were Joseph Justus (also called Barsabbas) and Matthias (v.23). Then they “prayed for the right man to be chosen: ‘O Lord, you know every heart; show us which of these men you have chosen as an apostle to replace Judas the traitor, who has gone on to his proper place” (v.24-25). Then they cast lots and the lot fell on Matthias, who was therefore numbered with the apostles [although we never hear of him again]. Casting lots? No, we don’t need to do that anymore. Now that the Holy Spirit and the Scriptures has been given, we don’t need to cast lots to know God’s will. But we do need to know these, as a conclusion:

#1 Being an ‘apostle’ or as Christ’s follower in general, doesn’t guarantee good ending. Don’t be like Judas, who betrayed Jesus in the end. We need to keep believing in Him; #2 God already chose who would become our leader. It doesn’t mean we don’t need to pray but all the more this should encourage us to pray so that God’s will become our will’s [Note: Many people nowadays claim to be an ‘apostle’, these are the qualifications outline by Peter: 1) He must be someone who have accompanied the apostles all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among them; 2) He must be someone who are there beginning from Jesus’ baptism to the day when He was taken up to heaven; and 3) He must be someone who witnessed Jesus’ resurrection. Now, are the self-claimed ‘apostles’ today fulfilled these criteria? Fyi, I believe in apostolic ministry] and; #3 Though you might not be the chosen leader, like Joseph Justus, in Christ you are chosen of God! Amen.


Best Blogger Tips

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Jesus Unites Us: Why Prayer Meeting is Very Important? (Acts 1:12-14)

Then the apostles returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day’s walk from the city. When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. Those present were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. They joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers
(Acts 1:12-14,

Lord Jesus ascended to heaven (1:9) from the Mount of Olives, near Bethany. After the angels told the apostles that He would surely come again, they returned to Jerusalem, about 5/8 mile or about 1 kilometre (my NIV note) away. They stayed there as Jesus had commanded (1:4) and spent the days in “constant prayer” in an upper room. I noticed that Jesus’ disciples had a habit of praying together. This was part of Jesus’ legacy to them. Remember when they asked Jesus, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1)? Jesus examples of constant prayer had influenced His disciples all over the world. Prayer is a wonderful privilege and every true Christian should seek the Lord’s face in prayer every day.

If you count how many of the apostles left after Jesus’ ascension, you’ll find out that there is one person missing – Judas Iscariot. He wants his own agenda and political version of messiah, thus rejected Jesus as the Suffering Messiah. He also loved money rather than Jesus, fall into temptation by listening to Satan’s lies and sold Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. When Judas realised what he had done, he didn’t repent but went out and killed himself. Both Peter and Judas denied Jesus. But as for Peter, he quickly repented of his sins and was restored with the apostles and become their leader again. Others who were praying in the upper room were “the women” who had loved and followed Jesus faithfully. One of them was “Mary the mother of Jesus,” and with her were “his brothers” [Jesus’ step-brothers, refer to Mark 6:3 for their names]. These brothers did not believe in Jesus at first (John 7:5) but after His death and resurrection, they realized that He was truly the Son of God, the Saviour of the World.

Now, imagine this with me: imagine the different kind of people gathered in the upper room (Close your eyes first, and imagine). Let me just select few of them here – Peter was very impulsive and acted cowardly, but after this he became bold and courageous; James was selfish, conceited, vengeful and fiery, but after that he became committed apostle for Christ and courageous even to the point of death; John was like his brother, James, very judgmental and power-craze but after that he became bold, loving and compassionate; Thomas was so doubtful and inquisitive but then he became courageous and faithful to the end; Simon was a Zealot, which means he was very patriotic and loyal to the nation but he became a changed man, passionate and sacrificial in his service for Christ; Judas (or Jude) and James, the brothers of Jesus, were very sceptical of Jesus’ identity as the Son of God soon became leaders of Jerusalem church and both authored the Epistle of James and Epistle of Jude; among “the women” was Mary Magdalene, who has been identified as a sinful women (perhaps a prostitute) and was possessed from seven demons, now became a faithful follower of Jesus and being listed as having a leadership role among the women.

All of them “joined together constantly in prayer” (1:14). This is very encouraging to me – and I hope to you too. Their Lord and Master is one, Jesus; their common faith and love is one, Jesus; their uniting power is one, Jesus. Even though we come from difference sets of background, gender, race, ideology and status like Jesus’ disciples – in Christ – we are one. Praying together (or prayer meeting we called it today), have the power to unite us together. As we pray, we wait for God to act among us. Oh yes!


Best Blogger Tips

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Jesus' Ascension: Between Heavenly and Earthly Visions (Acts 1:9-11)

It was not long afterwards that [Lord Jesus] rose into the sky and disappeared into a cloud, leaving them staring after him. As they were straining their eyes for another glimpse, suddenly two white-robed men were standing there among them, and said, ‘Men of Galilee, why are you standing here staring at the sky? Jesus has gone away to heaven, and some day, just as he went, he will return!’”
(Acts 1:9-11, The Living Bible)

In John 1:14 we read that the Word became flesh and dwelt among men. In John 16:28 Jesus said that He had “came from the Father into the world and will leave the world and return to the Father.” Jesus came a long journey into this world to do His Father’s will. Here Jesus is going back to heaven, to His Father. Jesus loves His Father and we know that the Father loves His Son. This love exchange should make us very glad because indeed, God is love!

The apostles were so surprised that they stood there staring in amazement up into heaven. So two angels (two white-robed men, no doubt were angels) appeared to them and told them plainly that this very same Jesus would come back again in the same way as He had gone into heaven. “This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven” (NIV). What can we understand from this passage? I want to quote John R. Stott commentary in The Message of Acts (1990) here:

First, Jesus will come again. “He has gone, and they must let him go; he will return in his own good time, in the same way… There will be important differences between his going and his coming. Although his coming will be personal, it will not be private like his ascension. Only the eleven apostles saw him go, but when he comes ‘every eyes will see him.’ Instead of returning alone (as when he went). Millions of holy ones – both human and angelic – will form his retinue. And in place of a localized coming (‘There he is!’ or ‘Here he is!’), it will be ‘like the lightning, which flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other’” (page 50).

Secondly, the angles implied, until Jesus comes again, the apostles must get on with their witness, for that was their mandate. “There was something fundamentally anomalous about their gazing up into the sky when they had been commissioned to go to the end of the earth. It was the earth not the sky which was to be their preoccupation. Their calling was to be witnesses not stargazers. The vision they were to cultivate was not upwards in nostalgia to the heaven which had received Jesus, but outwards in compassion to a lost world which needed him… First, Jesus returned to heaven (Ascension). Secondly, the Holy Spirit came (Pentecost). Thirdly, the church goes out to witness (Mission). Fourthly, Jesus will come back (Parousia)” (page 51).

Obviously for us today, we must remember these 2 important truths: #1 Heavenly vision: Our hope is sure! Jesus is alive and He will come back again to unite us to have fellowship with the loving Father.  And #2 Earthly vision: Between Jesus’ going and coming, in the power of the Holy Spirit, we must go into the world for Jesus! Amen.

Best Blogger Tips

They Click it A lot. [Top 7 last 7 Days]

Thus far, I writes...

1 John Expositions 20 Pesan Kepada Pelajar Saya 2015 Resolution 2016 Resolution A.W. Tozer Abortion Abraham Abundance Action Actions Adoption Advice Alam Sekitar Alkitab Allah Bapa Amazing Ambition Anak Allah Anak Manusia Angel Anger Anointed Anslem of Canterbury Antichrist Apologetics Apolos Apostle Application Art Ascension Ask Assurance Athanasius Atheism Athenagoras Atonement Attitude Augustine of Hippo Authentic Authority Awake Awareness Back to Basic Doctrine Series Bahasa Iban Bahasa Kamek-Kitak Bahasa Malaysia Balance Baptis Baptism Baroh Ati Be Original Beauty Beban Belas Kasihan Believe Berdoa Berehat Berfikir Berita Baik Bersaksi bagi Kristus Bible Bible Study Biblical Manhood Billy Graham Biography Birthday Blessing Blood Boldness Book of Acts Expositions Book Review Boredom Born Again Borneo Brother Yun Bup Kudus Burn Up business/financial C.H. Spurgeon C.S. Lewis C.T. Studd Cabaran Calling Cara Hidup Care Celebration Central Theme Chance Change Character Charismatic Children of God Chinese New Year Choice Chosen Christ through the Bible Christ-Like Christian Fellowship Christian Living Christmas Church Classic books Coffee College and University Student Comfort Commend Commitment Communications Community Compassion Condemnation Confession Confidence Conflict Consider Jesus Consumerism Contentment Contribution Controversy conversion Conviction Corrie Ten Boom Counseling Covenant Creation Creativity Criticism Crucifixion Culture Curiosity Curse Dating Death Decease Decision_making Deliverance Dependence Determination Dietrich Bonhoeffer Diligence disaster Discernment Discipleship Discipline Discover Diversity Divinity Divorce Doa Doctrine Don Richardson Don't Give Up Don't Worry Dosa Doubt Dream Easter Easter Day Reflections Ego Election Elijah Emotions Empathy Emptiness Encouragement End Times Endurance Enemies Enthusiasm Environment Envy and Jealousy Eternal Life Eugene H. Peterson Evangelism Everyday Christmas Evidence of Jesus' Resurrection Evil Spirits Example Existence of God Experience Ezekiel F.B. Meyer Facebook Facts Failure Faith False Teacher Family and Relationship Fasting Fasting. Berpuasa Father Father's Day Fear Fear of God Feeling Firman Tuhan Focus Followers Forest Forgiveness Francis of Assisi Francois Turrettini Free Freedom Friendship Garden of Eden Gawai Dayak Generosity Gentleman Gentleness George Mueller Gereja Gifts Giving Glory Goals God God Sovereignty God-ward Thinking God's Plan God's Will Good News Goodness Gospel Gospel of Mark Gossip Grace Gratefulness Gratitude Great Commission Greatness Grief Growth Guidance Habit Happiness Happy New Year Harapan Hardwork Hari Krismas Hari Sabat Hate Hatred Healing Health Heaven Hell Hero Alkitab Hidup yang Bermakna Hidup yang Kekal High Priest History HIV/AIDS Holiness of God Holy Spirit home Homosexual Honesty Hope Hosea Hospitality Hubungan Peribadi Hukum Taurat Hukuman Humanity Humble Hypocrite Iblis Identity Imagination Iman Immanuel Incarnation Influence Initiative Insights Inspiration Integriti Integrity Intercession Prayer Internet Interpretation Isa al-Masih Islam Isu Semasa J. Oswald Sanders J.C. Ryle J.I. Packer Jadi Kamu Ingin Berpacaran? Jako Tuhan Janji Allah Jesus Christ Jesus Freaks Jesus the Only Way Jim Elliot John 17 John C. Maxwell John Calvin John MacArthur John Owen John Piper John Stott John the Baptist John Wycliffe Journey Joy Judas Iscariot Judging Others Judgment Justice Justification Kaleb Karl Barth Kasih Kasih Kurnia Kayu Salib Keadilan Kebahagiaan Kebaikan Kebangkitan Kebebasan Kebenaran Keberanian Kebijaksanaan Kehendak Allah Kejahatan Kejujuran Kekhuatiran Kelahiran Semula Keluarga Kemaafan Kematian Kemuliaan-Nya Kemurahan Hati Ken Blanchard Kepastian tentang Penyelamatan Keperluan Keputusan Kereja Ajih Kesatuan Kesejahteraan Kesembuhan Kesetiaan Kesucian Ketawa Ketulusan Keutamaan Kindness Kingdom of God Kitab Ezra dan Nehemia Knowledge Kornelius Kuasa Kudus Laughter Law of God Laziness Leadership Learning Leonardo da Vinci Let Go Let's Blogging! Letters to Annie Lies Lifestyle Listening Loneliness Lord Louis Berkhof Love Make a Difference Malaysia Marginalize People Marriage Martin Luther Martyrs Masa Materialistik Maturity Max Lucado Media Sosial Meditation Meekness Membaca Meminta Tolong Memorizing Mendengar Menghakimi Mengumpat Mentaati Mentor Menunggu Menyelidiki Mercy Messiah MH17 Tragedy MH370 Tragedy Mikha Ministry Miracle Misi Mission Money Morality Moses Mother Teresa Mother's Day Motives Movie Mukjizat Murah hati Murka Tuhan Musa Music My Top 20 Lists My Top Book Lists Mystery Nabi Naomi Narnia Nasihat Nelson Mandela New Life Noah's Ark Not Ashamed Obedience Observing Omnipotent Omnipresent Omniscient Online Opportunity Optimist-Christian Attitude Orang Utan Oswald Chambers Our Wired Lives on Facebook Series Pain Palm Sunday Parable Paradise Passion Pastor Patience Paul Hattaway Paulus Peace Peduli Pekerjaan Peluang Pemerintahan Allah Pemimpin Pemulihan Pencubaan Pendamaian Pengajian Surat 1 Yahya 1 Pengampunan Pengarap Pengekalan dalam Keselamatan Pengetahuan Asas tentang Ajaran Kristian Pengidup Baru Penginjilan Pengkhabaran Pengorbanan Penyembuhan Penyesalan People Perbuatan Percaya Perdamaian antara Kaum dan Bangsa Perfect Perintah Allah Perkahwinan Persaudaraan Persecuted Church Persecution Perseverance Persistence Personality Perspective Persuasion Pertaubatan Pertolongan Perubahan Petrus Philosophy and Theology Picture Graph Pilihan Play Poet Politics Positive Thinking Potential Poverty Power Praise prayer Pre-Christmas Preaching Predestination Pride Priority Private Personal Public Problem Process Promise Prophet Protest Provider Puji Sembah Purity Purpose Putera Allah Question Quote Racism Radical Raja Random Issues Reading Reality Rechurch Reconciliation Redemption Reflection Reformer Rejection Remain Faithful Rendah Hati Renungan Repentance Respect Responsibility rest Result Resurrection Revelation Revenge Rewards Righteousness Rock Roh Allah Romance Rumah TUHAN Rut Sabbath Sacrifice Sahabat Saint Salvation Sanctification Santification Satan Satisfaction Save Second Coming Secrecy Seekers Self-Control Self-Image Selfie Phenomenon Sembiang Sensitive Serve Service Sex Sharing Shut Up Silent and Solitude Simplicity Sin Sincerity Sing Single Siri Kehidupan Kristian Slowing smile So You Often Quote Him? Soalan Social Media Son of David Son of God Son of Man Soul Space Speak Up Spiritual Health Spiritual Poverty Stand Firm Stop Baram Dam Strength Struggle Study Submission Success Suffering Sukacita Sukarela Supreme Surrender Tabiat Take Risks Talking Tanggungjawab Tattoo Teachability Teacher's Day Technology Temptation Test Thank You Thankfulness The Advocator The Apostles' Creed The Bread of Life the Cross The Devil The Flood The Good Shepherd The Helper The King The Light The Mediator The Message of Christmas The Nicene Creed The Poor The Sacrament The Smartness of God The Story of God The Trinity The Unforgivable Sin The Water of Life The Way The Word Thinking Time Tindakkan Tongue Traditions and Regulations Training Transfiguration Transformers Triniti Trouble Trust Truth Tujuan Hidup Unchurch Understanding Uniqueness of God Unity Unplugging Urgency Valentine Value Victory Visi Vision Vocation Volunteer Waiting Walk with God Warren Bennis Watchman Nee Weekly Motivation Winning Wisdom Witness woman Wonder Word-to-World Fellowship (WWF) Words Work World World AIDS Day Worship Wrath of God Writing Yesus Kristus You got to read this Yusuf Zig Ziglar