Dr. S. Lewis Johnson introduces his series on the Book of Acts, expounding the book's salutation as a continuation of the things taught and promised by Christ for the church.
We’re turning to Acts chapter 1, verse 1 through verse 5 for our Scripture reading, and it’s a very brief section, but it’s the introduction to the Book. Let’s give attention to Luke as he writes these ancient words. Isn’t it thrilling to be able to open up a Bible, and to listen to a member of the early Church — a highly regarded member — give us some significant spiritually inspired information concerning our Lord and the apostles and the early Church.
“The former treatise,” Luke says, “have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach. Until the day in which he was taken up, after he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen. To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God. And being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father which, saith he, ye have heard of me.”
Now, the promise of the Father is not the promise of the gift of the Father, but the promise from the Father of the gift of the Spirit.
“For John truly baptized with water, but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.”
May the Lord bless this reading of his Word. Let’s bow together in prayer.
[Prayer] Father, we are thankful to Thee for the privilege of meeting in a meeting such as this, and we ask that as we consider this great document of the early Church, written by one of the companions of the Apostle Paul in his missionary journeys, that our hearts may be opened, that our minds may have the illumination of the Holy Spirit, and that the things that we study may be helpful to us, and fruitful for us in our Christian life and ministry.
Lord, we ask especially that we all may sense that the Lord Jesus Christ is still present in his church through the Spirit and still working as he worked in days of old. And, Lord, we ask in this body of believers, with friends and visitors, that he may continue to do his work to the glory of the triune God’s name. We give Thee thanks for the blood that was shed, for the redemption that we have, for the tasks that are given to us, and grace to perform, and may, Lord, we be able to do it. We pray for the elders, for the deacons, and for the members and friends and visitors who are here today, and we ask Lord, spiritual blessing upon each one of these individuals. May we all together have a fresh understanding, and then experience of the work of God in our lives. We ask Thy blessing upon us in this meeting, and in the meeting this evening.
We pray for the sick, for the troubled and perplexed, and for those who have difficult problems and difficult decisions to make, perhaps. We ask, Lord, that Thou would give guidance and direction through the Lord and the ministry of the Spirit. We pray for the whole body of Christ. We pray for the outreach of this particular body. We especially ask Thy blessing upon the daily Vacation Bible School which begins tomorrow. May, Lord, it be a rich time of growth and grace for our young people, and may it be a permanent thing in their lives. May the things that they learn be things that stand them in good stead throughout all of their lives.
We look back, Lord, upon the experiences of our youth. We’re grateful for many of them, and we ask that those who attend may throughout the remainder of their lives, be thankful for having been here to study the Word of God together. We pray that the needs of the Chapel may be met, especially the needs of our sick and bereaving, and we commit this ministry to Thee, all of the things that transpire here. May they have the touch of Jesus Christ upon them.
We pray in his name.
[Message] The subject for this morning in the bulletin is “Volume 2,” and obviously the connection by that title is made with the Gospel of Luke. The beloved physician, as Luke has been called, has already given us a magnificent book on the life of the Messiah, but here we learn that it is only one volume — one of a two-volume work, we should say — only Volume 1. He says, “The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and to teach.” So, in effect, God kept on talking and working after Luke finished his Gospel of Luke. And though his work had gone to press, well still the work of our Lord continued.
When I was growing up in Birmingham, Alabama, I still remember — I know most of you wouldn’t remember this, but I still remember when newspaper boys used to have extras on the street. And downtown in Birmingham, Alabama, from time to time, extras would be published by the newspapers, and the men who were selling newspapers on the downtown streets would walk up and down the streets shouting out, “Extra, extra.” And we would expect some unusual news. Now, some of you may not remember this, but they used to do that also in