ACTS 1:1, 4b, 6

Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
Summer 1997

Ac 1:1 “The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus
began both to do and teach.”

Luke the beloved physician wrote Acts. His “former treatise” was the New Testament book which bears his name. The Gospel of Luke is a biography of Christ, telling us what Jesus “began both to do and teach.” The book of Acts is a sequel, telling us what Jesus continues to do and teach through His people.
Jesus is still at work. The Gospel of Luke describes His ministry performed bodily on earth; Acts speaks of His ministry performed spiritually from heaven.
Everything believers do ought to be Jesus’ work. We merely continue what He begins. There is no place in kingdom work for self-glory. We must lose sight of ourselves, promoting not our name, but the name of Jesus. Jesus is in heaven representing us. We are to be on earth representing Jesus. For our World View to succeed, it must not be implemented under the name of John Marshall or even of Second Baptist Church. The banner we march under bears only the name of Jesus.
Dr. William Newell once said to the head of the China Inland Mission, “Oh, do pray for me that I shall be nothing!” The director kindly said, “Newell, you are nothing. Take it by faith.” We must ever come to the end of ourselves. Jesus is everything, we are nothing. “He must increase, but I must decrease” (JN 3:30).
Our burning passion should be for the world to see Jesus in us, for whenever the world gets a taste of Him, glorious things happen. The two who walked Him to Emmaus said, “Did not our heart burn within us?” (LK 24:32). The same burning can still touch people’s hearts. After being with Livingstone, Stanley said, “If I had been with him any longer I would nave been compelled to be a Christian.”

Ac 1:4b Jesus “commanded them that they should not depart from
Jerusalem,. . .”

Jesus told His disciples to stay together. Had Jesus not given them this command, they would have scattered immediately. Peter would have gotten disgruntled with the other ten and said, “I go a fishing.” James and John would have gone back to their boisterous “sons of thunder” lifestyle. Matthew would have remembered his good salary and returned to his tax desk. Simon the Zealot would have ended his “nice-guy” routine and gone after Matthew.
They would have gone their separate ways, but Jesus knew they needed to be together to be strong. Unfortunately, we often think we are spiritually stronger than we really are. We crave independence, but need each other. None of us can stand alone. While alone, Thomas doubted, and John the Baptist wavered. When away from the others, Peter denied. When by herself, Eve was ensnared by Satan.
Paul, for good reason, went everywhere starting churches. He was creating togetherness-groups, safety nets. We cannot succeed alone. We need each other. For our World View to succeed, it will require us all. I cannot do it alone. We will have to work together. I have a preacher-friend who once went to the St. Louis airport to watch planes take off. He said he wanted to see something moving he was not pushing. The World View cannot be my plan or your plan, but God’s plan shared jointly by us all. Together is the key operative word in our World View.

Ac 1:6 “When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying,
Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom of Israel?”

Jesus had been with His disciples three years, yet they did not understand the nature of His kingdom. They still expected Him to establish a political kingdom. Though their theology was awful, they had total confidence in Jesus’ ability.
The disciples deemed Jesus as absolute Lord, capable of anything. Though wrong in the details, they were right in having big dreams and huge plans, expecting Jesus to do something God-size. They had not always been this daring. When Jesus died, they lost their confidence, but His resurrection from the dead changed everything forever for them. They now believed Jesus was capable of anything.
Their theology was terrible, but their sights were high, and though we may have better theology than the disciples did at this particular moment, where are our sights? They spoke of power, we speak of weakness. They spoke of the world, we speak of our community. They spoke of an Empire, we speak of buildings. They longed to see things happen which were so unbelievable that all would have to say they were of God. Ninety percent of what our churches do today could be done if God were dead. We need dreamers who will attempt things so remarkable that if they are accomplished all glory would go to God. We need to resurrect the spirit of Carey, “Attempt great things for God, expect great things from God.”
Something was astir in the disciples. A dream had captured their imagination, and a passion was burning in their hearts. Before our World View can be enacted as a program, it must be a dream in our imagination, a passion in our hearts.

When the desire to tell all the world about Jesus becomes our obsession, nothing in the world will be able to contain us. Jeremiah, due to rejection, tried to quit speaking for God, but could not, for it was like a fire shut up in his bones.
Brownlow North was driven by passion. He preached like one who had just escaped from a burning city, his ear still stung with the yell of the dying and the roar of the flame, his heart grateful for his own wonderful escape. We, too, should tell the Gospel because we have a passion for lost and dying souls. Knox prayed, “Give me Scotland or I die.” Henry Martyn landed on the shores of India and cried, “Here let me burn out for God.” Young Mary Reed came home from India due to a sickness later diagnosed as leprosy. She sat down to die, but remembered a colony of five hundred hopeless, repulsive lepers she had seen in India. She returned and spent fifty-two years with them. Even after she was healed, she stayed.
This driving force within will be essential to the success of our World View, for reaching others always costs. For Christ, a world view meant wounds, blood, mocking, nakedness, rejection. For us it will mean heartache, time, agonizing prayer, money. This is no small commitment, but when we become burdened for the world we will be more like Jesus on the cross than we will ever be. If we truly love Him, we will want to be like Him. This is what enabled the disciples to do what they did. They loved Jesus more than anything else in the whole world. They were sold out to Him. He was the obsession of their lives. Nothing was as important as pleasing and imitating Him.
Our World View will entail sacrifice similar to Jesus’, and thus require more than just a surface commitment. A Holy Spirit generated intensity will be essential. A God-given dream will beckon us on, a God-given inner passion will propel us forward. Ask Jesus to keep a compass in our heart, and a globe in our view.