We at Bible Study Media want you to experience the glory of the Holy Spirit. Reverend Charlie Holt created the The Spirit-Filled Life to invite others to come under the Kingdom of God by first being baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. During this six-week study, you will explore how God’s will for you is to baptize, adopt, transform, equip, empower, and anoint you by, with, in, and through the Holy Spirit.
Read the first day’s study of The Spirit-Filled Life and remember: When God calls us to wait and simply trust without knowing what’s next, prayer is always a good choice. So devote yourself to prayer; pray for patience and wait upon to Lord.
Excerpt from Day 1 Devotional
Setting the Stage
READ ACTS 1:12-26
Have you received your gift yet?
That may sound like copy from an infomercial, but I’m actually talking about something very real and very important—the gift Jesus Christ promised His followers. You will remember that after Jesus rose from the grave, He astonished His disciples by appearing to them over a period of forty days in various places. Then, on the fortieth day, He assembled His disciples atop the Mount of Olives and instructed them to go to Jerusalem and wait. What were they were supposed to wait for? The outpouring of the Holy Spirit!
As Jesus explained to them, “…John baptized with water but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 1:5).
But before we talk about the Spirit’s momentous arrival on the Day of Pentecost, I want to set the stage for you.
The first time we read about baptism in the New Testament is actually when Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist (“John, the Baptizer”) before He began His earthly ministry. At this moment, when Jesus was talking with His disciples on the Mount of Olives, He was assuring them that they, too, would be baptized, only with the Holy Spirit.
The disciples responded to Jesus’ words with a question, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6).
At first, this question seems rather “off-topic,” no? In one sense, it definitely was. But in another, it was perfectly natural. Jesus had just proven Himself the Son of God by rising from the dead. The disciples were excited. Jesus was back, alive! But no sooner was He back than He was talking about going away again. They were not so excited about this. And they were confused.
If Jesus really was planning to leave again, they wanted to know one important thing first: Did He plan to reunite the kingdom of Israel before He went? Would He restore their nation to the center of world power and domination as they’d been hoping? Jesus answered this way:
“It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed
by his own authority. 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.”
Imagine the bewilderment of the disciples! Jesus refused to tell them anything about restoring the kingdom to Israel. Instead, He uttered some mysterious words about being baptized by the Spirit. Then He promptly disappeared into the clouds. “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” (Acts 1:9).
To add to the confusion, two men dressed in white appeared beside the disciples and asked, “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” (Acts 1:11).
Wow. That’s a lot to take in. So, what did the disciples do?
They returned to Jerusalem. Makes sense. They went back to their base, and to where Jesus had directed them to go. What did they do when they got there? “All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers” (Acts 1:14).
So far, so good. The disciples obeyed Jesus by going back to Jerusalem and devoting themselves to prayer. When God calls us to wait and simply trust without knowing what’s next, prayer is always a good choice.
But then, all that waiting and praying started to get old. Sound familiar? Peter—the disciple known for his impetuous spirit—wanted to do something, not just sit around and pray. What did Peter suggest?
Well, you will remember that the disciples were now down to eleven after the suicide of Judas. Don’t we need twelve? thought Peter. So he convinced the others that they needed to replace Judas and fill the empty spot.
They found some good men, cast some lots, and came up with Matthias as the “replacement” disciple. Now, here’s a question: When did Jesus ask the disciples to replace Judas?
I think the reason this story of Matthias is included in Scripture is to caution us about taking things into our own hands when the Lord’s timing seems a bit slow for us. We rush ahead instead of waiting on God’s guidance and provision. You see, there actually was a replacement disciple—but it wasn’t Matthias.
Interestingly, we never hear of Matthias again in the Scriptures. Who do we read about instead, throughout the entire book of Acts? Who became the famous apostle who wrote much of the rest of the New Testament? The Apostle Paul. Isn’t that interesting? The disciples used a game of luck, casting lots to choose Matthias, when God had somebody waiting in the wings, soon to be called through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Sometimes we jump into a decision when the answer is soon to be presented to us. I’ve done that many times. Have you? We try to solve our own problems when the Lord has a solution, and if we just wait a little bit longer, we will discover it!