Acts 1:15-26, A Special Election
Ill: Imagine that you and your spouse are quietly sleeping one night. During the night you hear a couple of noises in the living room, so you open your eyes. You look out and there’s a man standing in your room. You can only see the silhouette with the bright light behind him.
Ladies, you are locked onto the figure, stunned, shocked! You take your eyes off of him for just a second and look over at your husband…. What do you need to see at that moment? Do you want to see him sleeping? Do you want to see him white as a sheet? Scared and shaking? Weeping like a little school girl?
NO! In that moment you want to see rage, anger, indignation, a red face, balled up and clinched fists, and that look on his face that says, “I’m gonna get you sucka!” That man (who is usually tender and warm) becomes a raging volcano at the intruder, barks out a couple of orders at him, and the dark figure cowers and sprints out of the house.
In verse 16 we read that the Church in Jerusalem had an intruder, Judas Iscariot. He betrayed Jesus by handing him over to the council and Priests, who murdered him! It was a time when the church was worrying, afraid, asking, “Which of us is next to fall?” Maybe people were asking Peter, “What do we do with Judas? I don’t understand, wasn’t he one of us? Can I really trust the sincerity of our leaders? Is God really in control of this church?”
So, in verse 15 we read that at some point during one of their worship services “Peter stood up in the midst of the brothers.” He spoke to them that God was in control.
He took two Psalms in v 20, Psalm 69:25 about the betrayer’s judgment. Psalm 109:8 is about the election of another to his office.
The point of this passage is to remind you that though hell and the devil may shake the church, Jesus is always in control. Though life, the sinful flesh, and and the devil himself may shake your soul, Jesus is still in control!
Today, the god most preach is too small. He deals with moral issues. He helps with life skills. When evil like 9-11, death in the family, murder, molestation, happen, he says, “I feel you pain. I don’t know about Judas? Sorry, I kind of lost control of that guy, and he betrayed you. Woops, I slept through the whole home invasion!”
But the God of the Bible is so much more. In the midst of trial. When the bottom falls out of your life. When you lose you health, job, peace of mind, safety, when a close friend betrays you, when a child tells you “I no longer believe the Bible, Gospel, of in God.” That is when you need the real God!
Ladies, when you see that look of indignation and anger at the intruder on the face of your husband, you don’t think “O, he is so angry all the time…” No! You think, “wow, he really loves me!” The real God sees the intruder and looks at him with indignation!
Point: That’s the God Peter preached! That’s the God we need! The God who is in control!
Main Question: Why Look to God in the midst of trials?
1) The Spirit’s Plan is Invincible
In verse 16, Peter began his sermon saying, “The scripture had to be fulfilled!” Had to be, there was no wiggle room. IN verse 17-19 he described the punishment of Judas by God. He got his judgment in this life and the next! In verse 20 he shows which scripture, Psalm 69:25, “Let his homestead be desolate.” Peter’s point is: God’splan is invincible!
God wrote the Psalm 1,000 years earlier, when the prophecy was made about the final judgment for the betrayer of the King of Israel. One day he would be judged by God. God’s plan was in motion and must come about.
The Key phrase is “Scripture HAD to be fulfilled!” verse 16!
He went on to show in verse 21, “It is [absolutely] necessary that another take his place.” God has a plan in Psalm 109:8 (v20b) to fill the vacant seat on the Apostolate board! When that one would betray, then he had to be replaced! That was God’s promise! A righteous man would sit in his place!
Matthias is that man!
God is in control! This is the real God, the God who brings judgment upon criminals.
App: Very often preachers wimp out when great evil happens. They say, “well God allows thigns to happen, but he is not in control of them!” That means their God is not in control of anything! Because most of what happens in the world is evil!
The real God tells you in Psalm 69:25, “I judge sinners” – Judas is the prime example!
You need to hear this! Because even though it may seem that God is not in control now, and that sin is rampant and really ruling the world, God only allows sin to continue because he will one day bring every living soul into judgment!
God is in control!
This is also petinent to us tonight, in this place, at this church, as we embark on the new work in this new area!
2) The Church’s Witness is Inevitable
Q: Why did the man have to have the certain qualifications, 21b-22a? The Answer is in 22b, “One of these must witness!” The key word is “must!” He is bound to witness. God is in control. He appointed 12. He chose Mattias as that man!
The church was asking all kinds of questions, and Peter answered, don’t worry: God is in control!
God is in control of the witness, and he promises that the witness will be effective. God’s church is inevitable! God is an unstoppable force!
He will grow this church! He brings about the witness! So, We must witness!
Peter showed his faith in God in two ways! He said, brother, let’s pray! He placed the problem in the hands of God! (24).Because for Peter, God is in control!
Why? Because when we hand things over to him in prayer, that exercises faith that he is in control!
a) 24, Peter prayed…“Lord, who knows the hearts of all men… show us the man you chose!” (24).
I cannot tell you how many times I have been stressed and strained about one worry or another, and realize that I have not even bothered to pray about it. After praying, putting it in the hands of God, I get rest! I am at ease, because I know God can handle it. But I forget so often to put things into God’s hands!
Q: Is your God big enough? Is he in control?
Listen to the words of Peter, and pray this prayer, “Lord, who knows the hearts of all men, [help us]!” (24)!
b) Peter trusted God so much that he said, “Look brethren, we have two good men here, let’s let God decide!” So they roll dice! (25-26). Because in Proverbs 16:33 it says, the Lot is cast in the lap, but the decision is of the Lord!
“Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made the earth and heaven” (Psa 124:8)