The Going and The Coming

Day 48

We have now completed a forty-seven day journey through the Gospels with a revisiting of the Holy Week in our discovery of the Unvarnished Jesus. In the two weeks that remain in our Two Months of Discovery we will be in the Book of Acts where we will discover the ongoing ministry of Jesus through His church. The Book of Acts…twenty-eight chapters…during fourteen days…two chapters a day. It’s easy to do, but if you let it, it will be enormously exciting.

Next Sunday I will be preaching on the Ascension of Jesus and His ministry during the forty day interim between the His Resurrection and His Ascension. On the last day of April (Sunday, April 30) — the last day of our Two Months of Discovery — I will preach on the Second Coming of Christ. Then, during May, June, July and part of August, I will preach 28 messages from the book of Acts (Fridays and Sundays) — one chapter per message. From the Unvarnished Jesus to the Unvarnished Church. It will be a supernatural summer!


The end of the Gospels is the beginning of a movement called Christianity; a spiritual movement that has changed the world and is changing the world still. The author of Acts is Luke; Luke was a doctor turned historian and the traveling companion of the Apostle Paul. Luke had written the Gospel that bears his name from his interviews with the people who were eyewitnesses of the events surrounding the life of Jesus. Luke concludes His gospel with the ascension of Christ, but this was not the end of the ministry of Jesus on the earth. The ministry of Jesus continued, but in a different way — through His church. Luke is the man who is used by God to record the astounding advance of Christianity during its first generation. The book of Acts is a book of action and adventure. It is full of supernatural events; there are lots of angels and lots of dreams and visions. All kinds of people speak in tongues and prophesy. Demons are cast out, the sick are healed and the dead are raised. Other people are most definitely not healed, instead they suddenly drop dead or are struck blind. There are supernatural escapes from prisons, shipwrecks and snakebites. It is hard to imagine an adventure more filled with excitement and risk than what is recorded in Acts.

Adventure and the miraculous permeate Acts. Acts is the historical record of Jesus on the move. It’s impossible not to notice the priority of prayer and reliance upon the Holy Spirit in the book of Acts. These men and women turned the world upside down, not through conventional means, but by an audacious expectation of the supernatural. They constantly risked everything on the wager that God would show up and do His thing.

But the book of Acts is not a glossy account that only covers the highpoints. There are also trials (the hardship kind and the literal kind) and personality conflicts and church disputes and wrangling over doctrine and believers who don’t get a miraculous deliverance but instead get killed. The book of Acts is a faithful record of the good, the bad and the ugly. But even when things are bad and ugly, the Jesus Movement moves on and Christianity keeps advancing. It was that way then and it’s that way now.

So get ready for a fourteen day adventure through the book of Acts. We’ll be in the upper room with the wind and fire. We will see plenty of miracles…and plenty of trials. We’ll be in a shipwreck and hear lots of sermons that have this theme: Jesus is alive! Jesus is Lord! And when we reach the end, this will be the final word: Unhindered. No matter what obstacles hell may throw in the way, hell cannot stop the advance of the movement that Jesus began. The record of the book of Acts ends with chapter 28. But you and I are writing chapter 29 and we have our own adventure to live. Let’s go!


Acts 1 & 2

Since I will be preaching through the Book of Acts this spring and summer, I don’t feel a need to give a general commentary on our daily readings; there will be ample time for that in the twenty-eight messages I am preparing. Instead, my intention in these daily blogs is to share thoughts, ideas, feelings, impressions I have from our daily readings.

Acts 1 is the going and Acts 2 is the coming.

“As you saw Him go into heaven.” -Acts 1:11

“Suddenly there came from heaven a sound…” -Acts 2:2

Jesus goes into heaven by ascension and ten days later the Holy Spirit comes from heaven to empower the believers and give birth to the church.

The coming is all about the Kingdom coming. Thy Kingdom come. The Kingdom has been coming for a long time.

The call of Abraham was about the Kingdom coming.

The rise of the kingdom of Israel was about the Kingdom coming.

The oracles of the prophets was about the Kingdom coming.

The preaching of John the Baptist was about the Kingdom coming.

The ministry of Jesus was about the Kingdom coming.

The outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost and the birth of the church was about the Kingdom coming.

All of these things advance the coming of the Kingdom. When Jesus comes the second time the Kingdom will come in fullness and finality. Maranatha!

Notice how Peter connects the outpouring of the Holy Spirit with the coming of the great and awesome Day of the Lord (when the nations will be judged and the kingdoms of the earth will become the Kingdom of Christ)…

And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh…before the coming of the great and awesome Day of the Lord.
(Acts 2:17, 20)

The outpouring of the Holy Spirit leads all the way up to the coming of the Day of the Lord. But like the rains in Israel, there is an early and latter outpouring. The first installment began at Pentecost nearly two thousand years ago. The second installment began at Azusa Street a hundred years ago this month. Everything is moving toward the coming of Jesus Christ and His Kingdom. Maranatha!


The song stuck in my head today…

Ring Them Bells
Bob Dylan

Ring them bells, ye heathen
From the city that dreams,
Ring them bells from the sanctuaries
Cross the valleys and streams,
For they’re deep and they’re wide
And the world’s on its side
And time is running backwards
And so is the bride.

Ring them bells St. Peter
Where the four winds blow,
Ring them bells with an iron hand
So the people will know.
Oh it’s rush hour now
On the wheel and the plow
And the sun is going down
Upon the sacred cow.

Ring them bells Sweet Martha,
For the poor man’s son,
Ring them bells so the world will know
That God is one.
Oh the shepherd is asleep
Where the willows weep
And the mountains are filled
With lost sheep.

Ring them bells for the blind and the deaf,
Ring them bells for all of us who are left,
Ring them bells for the chosen few
Who will judge the many when the game is through.
Ring them bells, for the time that flies,
For the child that cries
When innocence dies.

Ring them bells St. Catherine
From the top of the room,
Ring them from the fortress
For the lilies that bloom.
Oh the lines are long
And the fighting is strong
And they’re breaking down the distance
Between right and wrong.