Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Isaiah 40:27-31{ref]NIV New International Version Translations[/ref]
27 Why do you complain, Jacob? Why do you say, Israel, “My way is hidden from the Lord; my cause is disregarded by my God”? 28 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. 29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. 30 Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; 31 but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

eagleBackground

Chapter 40 begins the latter part of the prophecy of this book. In the former part the name of the prophet was frequently prefixed to the particular sermons, consisting of many burdens, many woes; this descriptions of many blessings. There was Isaiah’s description of the distress which the people of God were in brought about by the Assyrians and his prophesy of their deliverance and the captivity in Babylon and their deliverance again. However, before God sent his people into captivity he furnished them with precious promises for their support and comfort in their trouble; and we may well imagine of what great use to them the glorious, gracious, light of this prophecy was, in that cloudy and dark day, and how much it helped to dry up their tears by the rivers of Babylon.

It is the latter part we find much more; and, as if it were designed for a prophetic summary of the New Testament, it begins with that which begins the gospels, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness’’ ch. 40:3 ), and concludes with that which concludes the book of the Revelation, “The new heavens and the new earth,’’ ch. 66:22 ). We begin to see that all the mercies of God to the Jewish nation will resemble the glorious things performed by our Savior for man’s redemption, so they are by the Spirit of God expressed in such terms as to show plainly that while the prophet is speaking of the redemption of the Jews he had in his thoughts a more glorious deliverance.

And we need not look for any further accomplishment of these prophecies yet to come; for if Jesus be he, and his kingdom be it, that should come, we are to look for no other, but the carrying on and completing of the same blessed work which was begun in the first preaching and planting of Christianity in the world.

Biblical Truth

It is silly to worship false gods like the stars. Also, it is silly to think that God can forget you. If we look to the questions in verse 21, here we find answers in verses 22-23 telling us that God is greater than any other king. God will never become tired. God is also so great that we will never understand his mind. These verses end with some of the best promises in the Bible. They do not only mean when our bodies are tired. They also mean when our minds and spirits are tired too! An eagle soars, lifted by the winds he does not see or create but have been provided by our Creator. We too will be lifted by our God, by things unseen to us, so that we are no different than the eagle.

Items for Discussion

  • What are the things in our world today that make the human spirit weary?
  • What are the things in our world today that lift the human spirit, giving it strength?
  • Step back from what you have just discussed, how much of what exhausts us is something we can control?
  • Of those things that lift our spirits, what is the role of our church today to be at the forefront of those activities?
  • An eagle rides the winds aloft and does not fight contrary pressures. The eagle is a great example of “going with the flow.” How would you compare that message to a person’s daily life and the pressures of our world?

 

Acts 1:1-11
1 In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. 3 After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. 4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” 6 Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” 9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. 10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”

Background

Theophilus is the name or honorary title of the person to whom the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles are addressed (Luke 1:3, Acts 1:1). It is thought that both Luke and Acts were written by the same author, and sometimes argued that the two books might have originally been a single unified work. Both Luke and Acts were written in a refined Koine Greek, and the name “Theophilos”, as it appears in the original writings, means friend of God or (be)loved by God or loving God in the Greek language. No one knows the true identity of Theophilus and there are several conjectures and traditions around an identity. In English Theophilus is also written “Theophilos”, both a common name and an honorary title among the learned (academic) Romans and Jews of the era. Their life would coincide with the writing of Luke and the author of Acts. For our study today, who Acts was written for is not of importance other than, it was written for us today, to understand that God has provided His church all it needs to succeed.

Biblical Truth

Luke’s begins by stressing all of what Jesus began to do and to teach (v. 1). Acts also provides a forward-looking continuity with what Jesus continued to do and teach (as in 2:47; 9:34; 14:3; 16:14; 18:10). Luke begins by focusing on Jesus’ post resurrection preparation of the apostles to be authoritative guarantors of the truth of his resurrection and the gospel’s content. Luke notes here that the now risen Lord instructed the apostles who he had personally chosen through the Holy Spirit (Lk 6:13), thereby linking his words and his work with the message and mission of the church.

Jesus establishes that the apostles can be considered guarantors of the truth of the resurrection by appearing to them repeatedly over a period of forty days (Acts 1:22; 10:41-42). The many pieces of empirical evidence could lead to no other conclusion than that he was alive. During his post resurrection appearances, Jesus spoke to the apostles about the kingdom of God. The “Kingdom of God” became for Luke a phrase for the message of the early church (see 8:12; 19:8; 28:31). That message was that the final reign of God had arrived “in the events of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, and it was now the role of the church to proclaim these facts, to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom of God” (Is 33:22; Zech 14:9; Lk 11:20).

We also find here our basis for belief that the gospel’s key salvation event has actually happened. The empirical evidence of the empty tomb and the resurrection appearances point steadily in only one direction: Jesus is alive! We can boldly and unashamedly invite unbelievers to hear our witness and consider the evidence. That is the “Good News.”

Luke closes with Jesus’ command to wait for the Holy Spirit’s coming (1:4-5; see also Lk 24:49). Jesus gave this instruction on a number of occasions. Jesus promises that in a little while God will supply the church with all the resources it needs for fulfilling its missionary mandate. As Christians, if we have not done so, Luke calls us to take up the power that is already ours, all because Jesus’ promise was fulfilled at Pentecost.

Items for Discussion

  • The apostles are witness to the message from Christ, we are empowered – When do you feel that way?
  • What activities of the world make you feel like you have no control?
  • So it is God’s world, God is in charge, God provided us Christ to reconcile you to Him, God empowered us with the Holy Spirit to stand up against the pressures of the world-What should we be doing?
  • If someone asked you to simplify, what is the good news of the Gospel’s message-what would you tell them?

Discussion Challenge

  • If we are to ride the currents of our world’s winds, where will we take our church?
Share