Handing the Baton


Sun, Oct 30, 2022

Teacher: Yale Wall Series: The Acts of the Apostles Scripture: Acts 1:1-26

OCTOBER 29, 2022

The Acts of the Apostles


The Context

Acts 1:1-3

In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, 2 until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. 3 He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.

This book was written by Luke. Acts, is really kind of like a continuation of the Gospel According to Luke. The book of Luke is part 1, talking about what Jesus did. The book of Acts is part 2, talking about what followers of Jesus did
with everything they got from Jesus.

"The Acts of the Apostles" is literally the Action steps that the followers of Jesus took based on what Jesus told them.

The clearest picture we can get of the church 
is to go back to the source,
 and look at the people who learned directly from Jesus. 

Today, we try and base everything in the church on scripture,
 but the outworking of some of those things we do 
is like a giant game of telephone.
… the original intent can so often get messed up in 2000 years!

Acts 1:1 tells us that it's written to Theophilus. We don’t 100% know who Theophilis is, but we do know this: It was written to a real person, who really existed. Knowing that this was written to a single person, makes this all more personal as we read it too.

The reason he wrote it to Theophilis is in Luke 1:

Luke 1:3-4
to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.

This is a historically accurate eyewitness account, written by a doctor who is obsessed with specificity to tell us exactly what happened, so that we can do it too.

Jesus Rewiring Our Thinking

Acts 1:4-5
4 And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

So first off, Jesus tells the early church to stay, and wait for the Holy Spirit.  But the apostles had questions:


Acts 1:6-7
6 So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.

Instead of giving them the answer they were really looking for, Jesus instead told them that they were going to continue his legacy:

Acts 1:8-9
8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” 9 And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.

Getting to Work

Acts 1:10-11
10 And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, 11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

The angels tell the men that Jesus was going to come back the same way in the future, but they need to get to work.

The First thing they do is spot on! They go to the upper room, and they pray.


Then Secondly, Peter stands up and preaches scripture. He updates people on what happened to Judas, and then he calls up Psalm 109, and quotes verses that are talking about Judas.

Acts 1:20
20 “For it is written in the Book of Psalms,
“‘May his camp become desolate,
    and let there be no one to dwell in it’;
“‘Let another take his office.’

Matthias Replaces Judas

Without waiting on the Holy Spirit, they read scripture about having someone else take Judas’ office, so they go for it and pick one. Two men who witnessed the resurrection are put forward, and they pray for God to show them which one to pick.

Then, this is how they officially pick one:

Acts 1:24-26
24 And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen 25 to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” 26 And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.


Essentially they rolled the dice, and Matthias was picked. We see him 1 more time in Acts 2, then never again.

The first thing they were told to do was to wait on the Holy Spirit, and instead they cast lots. In my opinion, they jumped the gun, and they were using cultural tools for a spiritual battle. Had they waited, I think it might have been different outcome.


And that I think is the FIRST and MOST IMPORTANT lesson in Acts:

We need to get to work, and live out the Great Commission, but we NEED to do it with the power of the Holy Spirit.

God gave us this monumental task: Take the gospel to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the end of the earth. But, if we do it without the power of the Holy Spirit, we are sunk.


Connection Card


  1. I will commit to take the Gospel to someone in my Jerusalem this week.
  2. I will pray for my state and my country.
  3. I will pray about going on a mission trip, or adopting a missionary by giving financially or praying for them.



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