Pastor Barry Bruce/ The Gathering Church Brutal Love Series: Lesson 6
Waiting Acts 1:3-11, 1 Corinthians 15:1-8
You’ve all heard the words… ”you can’t hurry love, no, you’ll just have to wait”. Even God says so. As a matter of fact the Supremes number one hit by the same title originally came from a gospel song entitled “You Can’t Hurry God,” which was sung by Dorothy Love Coates and the Gospel Harmonettes, a Gospel group based in Birmingham, Alabama. That song says “you cant hurry God but He’s right on time.” Those of you who have come to trust Jesus Christ know that is true…can I get an “Amen”? (Lit. so be it)
In the book of Acts we read about the time period that the followers of Jesus had to endure while they waited for the “gift” His Father promised. That “gift” didn’t come until 50 days after the resurrection. Have you ever given up on waiting for something to happen because it just took too long? When waiting for something promised, hope must be kept alive for its delivery or a person will just give up (“where there is no vision the people perish” Proverbs 29:18 KJV). In God’s loving provision He considered this fact and gives His children supernatural vision while we wait on the total fulfillment of His promises. God did this for His church then and He continues to do this for His church today!
After Jesus’ suffering on the cross and His glorious resurrection He made multiple supernatural appearances over a period of forty days and then He supernaturally ascended into Heaven from the Mount of Olives before His disciples. The Apostle Paul gives us a little more detail on these supernatural events in 1 Corinthians 15:1-8: Jesus appeared to well over 500 people, most of whom were still alive at the time Paul and the other Apostles began planting the first churches. The beginnings of those early churches were based on those who relayed first hand experiences of seeing the supernatural event of Jesus rising from the dead. Though some conjecture that the New Testament was written 100-300 years after Christ died, the truth is that it was written before the close of the first century by those who knew Christ personally, had encountered him, or were under the direction of those who were His disciples.
Note: Being the detailed writer he was, Luke would not have failed to mention (in the book of Acts) the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D., or the deaths of James (A.D. 62), Paul (A.D. 64), and Peter (A.D. 65) in his account of the early church. The only possible reasoning for these omissions is that the book was written earlier than Liberal theologians give it credit for. There are some conservative theologians that hold to the view that the entire New Testament, including Revelation, was written before 70 A.D.
The church was therefore established by first hand witnesses of supernatural events and not by a bunch of mystics who believed in legendary stories embellished by controlling religious clerics. Make no mistake about it, God’s church was built upon the brutal and supernatural love of Christ and His Holy Spirit is the same force that propels the true church today! The true church also demonstrates this supernatural love on earth now while waiting for the return of Christ just as the disciples then waited for the promised Holy Spirit. Don’t stand there next to your chair “looking into the sky” we need to do something in reaction to His ascension! This same Jesus who has been taken into Heaven will come back. While we are waiting for Him to come we need to get busy and be His “witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth”. For us we might better say: in Hawaiian Gardens, and in all of Los Angeles and California, the United States and all other countries on the earth.
Seeing is Believing Acts 2:1-14, 38 John 14:9-11, 15-18, 25-27, 15:26-27, 16:7-11. Ten days after Jesus ascended the supernatural power of God was released upon His people, just as He had promised, on the day of Pentecost.
Note: Pentecost was a great harvest celebration of the Jews. The streets of Jerusalem were clogged with thousands of pilgrims who had come from every point of the compass to celebrate the goodness of God and the bringing in of the wheat harvest. Today Christians celebrate it as the day The Holy Spirit was poured out upon the church. Pentecost is celebrated the 50th day after Easter Sunday each year.
God’s people are to live by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7) but even Thomas was given supernatural proof in his doubt (John 20:29). In fact Jesus came producing miracles to show the proof of God to those that needed to see (Colossians 1:15). When Jesus addressed Phillip in John 14:9-11 He asked Phillip to believe on the evidence of the works He did. God’s love is so awesome that He provides supernatural proof of His presence through manifestations of His love. He promised that whoever would love Him and keep His commandments would be sent the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit continually reminds the believer of Christ’s presence, teaches us all things, fills us with God’s peace (John 14:15-27) and provides us with power (Acts 1:8) to preach and teach the gospel. The Spirit of God also produces the fruit of Jesus’ characteristics in us: Love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). He also distributes various supernatural “gifts” to believers to be used in ministry: wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discernment, speaking in tongues, and the interpreting of tongues (1 Corinthians 12:4-11). None of this would have been possible if Jesus would have remained on earth. He departed so that the Holy Spirit would be in all believers everywhere so we would testify about Christ and prove to the whole world it’s need for salvation. (John 15:26-27, 16:7-11). This is why supernatural power poured down that day and continues fill the true church today.
Supernatural Love Through You 1 Corinthians 13:1-13
We must understand that the Holy Spirit was released in believers to offer evidence of God’s presence and to spread the gospel— not for the ecstasy or entertainment of the individual or the church.
The gift of “tongues” that day was given to present every person present with the gospel in their own language (Acts 2:9-11). The Holy Spirit is given to believers to get the work of God done, not so that we can stand around looking up (in “spirit filled” worship) until He comes. He expects us to love others with this supernatural gift, and His instruction is clear. Lastly, we need to earnestly desire His Spirit to operate in us, remember it was the disciples that waited on the Spirit and not the other way around.