The Empire of the Spirit (Empire of Grace #5)

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After being crucified and resurrected, Jesus continued teaching His followers about His coming empire. He told them to wait for it, wait for it. And then it happened. The Holy Spirit came. God's power was made available to Jesus' followers just like it had been to Jesus. And all of this was because Jesus has been enthroned at God's right hand.

He will come again in glory. Until then, we wait, and we testify to the reality of His empire.

This week we read Acts 1:1-11:

1 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. 
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.” 
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. 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. 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.”

Daniel 7:13-14:

13 “I saw in the night visions, 
and behold, with the clouds of heaven
      there came one like a son of man, 
and he came to the Ancient of Days
      and was presented before him. 
14 And to him was given dominion
      and glory and a kingdom, 
that all peoples, nations, and languages
      should serve him; 
his dominion is an everlasting dominion, 
      which shall not pass away, 
and his kingdom one
      that shall not be destroyed. 

And Acts 2:1-4, 14-41:

1 When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. ...
14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. 15 For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. 16 But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel: 
17 “ ‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, 
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, 
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, 
      and your young men shall see visions, 
      and your old men shall dream dreams; 
18 even on my male servants and female servants
      in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy. 
19 And I will show wonders in the heavens above
      and signs on the earth below, 
      blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke; 
20 the sun shall be turned to darkness
      and the moon to blood, 
      before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day. 
21 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ 
22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— 23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. 24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. 25 For David says concerning him, 
“ ‘I saw the Lord always before me, 
      for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken; 
26 therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; 
      my flesh also will dwell in hope. 
27 For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, 
      or let your Holy One see corruption. 
28 You have made known to me the paths of life; 
      you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’ 
29 “Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, 31 he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. 32 This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. 33 Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. 34 For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says, 
“ ‘The Lord said to my Lord, 
“Sit at my right hand, 
35 until I make your enemies your footstool.” ’ 
36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” 
37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” 40 And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” 41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.  

And, finally, Acts 28:23, 30-31:

23 When they had appointed a day for him, they came to him at his lodging in greater numbers. From morning till evening he expounded to them, testifying to the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus both from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets. ...
30 He lived there two whole years at his own expense, and welcomed all who came to him, 31 proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance. 

After being crucified and resurrected, Jesus continued teaching His followers about His coming empire. He told them to wait for it, wait for it. And then it happened. The Holy Spirit came. God's power was made available to Jesus' followers just like it had been to Jesus. And all of this was because Jesus has been enthroned at God's right hand.

He will come again in glory. Until then, we wait, and we testify to the reality of His empire.

This week we read Acts 1:1-11:

1 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. 
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.” 
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. 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. 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.”

Daniel 7:13-14:

13 “I saw in the night visions, 
and behold, with the clouds of heaven
      there came one like a son of man, 
and he came to the Ancient of Days
      and was presented before him. 
14 And to him was given dominion
      and glory and a kingdom, 
that all peoples, nations, and languages
      should serve him; 
his dominion is an everlasting dominion, 
      which shall not pass away, 
and his kingdom one
      that shall not be destroyed. 

And Acts 2:1-4, 14-41:

1 When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. ...
14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. 15 For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. 16 But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel: 
17 “ ‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, 
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, 
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, 
      and your young men shall see visions, 
      and your old men shall dream dreams; 
18 even on my male servants and female servants
      in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy. 
19 And I will show wonders in the heavens above
      and signs on the earth below, 
      blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke; 
20 the sun shall be turned to darkness
      and the moon to blood, 
      before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day. 
21 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ 
22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— 23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. 24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. 25 For David says concerning him, 
“ ‘I saw the Lord always before me, 
      for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken; 
26 therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; 
      my flesh also will dwell in hope. 
27 For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, 
      or let your Holy One see corruption. 
28 You have made known to me the paths of life; 
      you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’ 
29 “Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, 31 he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. 32 This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. 33 Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. 34 For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says, 
“ ‘The Lord said to my Lord, 
“Sit at my right hand, 
35 until I make your enemies your footstool.” ’ 
36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” 
37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” 40 And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” 41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.  

And, finally, Acts 28:23, 30-31:

23 When they had appointed a day for him, they came to him at his lodging in greater numbers. From morning till evening he expounded to them, testifying to the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus both from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets. ...
30 He lived there two whole years at his own expense, and welcomed all who came to him, 31 proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance.