The Rest of the Story
Presenting The Christian Message
The Promise of Power
Jesus’ followers understood that Jesus was the Son of God and that He would establish the Kingdom of God on earth. However, they had not fully understood His purpose as the sacrifice for man’s sin. Consequently, they were somewhat discouraged after his death. But after being witnesses to His resurrection, the disciples’ hopes were restored. At one point after the resurrection, they asked Jesus, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” The disciples thought the time for the kingdom of God on earth had surely come. But there was more to the plan.
Jesus told them not to concern themselves with when the kingdom would appear—at least as it related to time. Instead, He instructed them to wait in Jerusalem until they were endued with power by the Holy Spirit. With this power, they would spread the good news of the kingdom of God and salvation from sin to all nations, not just Israel. Shortly after receiving these instructions, the disciples watched as Jesus ascended into heaven and disappeared into a cloud. As they gazed into heaven, two men dressed in white assured them that Jesus would return again in like manner.
The Holy Spirit Poured Out
About ten days later, Jesus’ followers were all gathered together in one place, and the promise of power was fulfilled. The Holy Spirit came upon one hundred twenty people in such a way that it sounded like a mighty rushing wind! The Spirit appeared to them as flames of fire that lit upon each one of them.
The noise of it was such that it was heard by people all around the city, and they gathered to see what was going on. A disciple named Peter, stood up and explained to the crowd what had happened. He told them that Jesus who had been crucified was the Christ. He explained that death could not hold Him and that He was risen from the dead and had sent the Holy Spirit. This was the plan of God coming to pass that had been spoken of by the prophets centuries before. Peter exhorted them to be saved from their corrupt condition by believing on the name of Jesus. He told them that if they would turn from their sins and be baptized, they too would receive the Holy Spirit. About three thousand people believed and were baptized that day!
Filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, the followers of Jesus began to spread the message of salvation and do the same kinds of miracles and works that Jesus had done. Now the disciples understood their part in the plan. They would carry God’s plan of salvation to all nations, preparing the earth to receive the King, the King who would bring peace on earth! The Plan continues today.
The Plan Marches On
There have been many struggles in taking the good news about Jesus Christ to those who are still under in sin. Many Christians have suffered and even lost their lives at the hands of wicked men who resist God. It is easy to wonder why God has allowed His plan to stretch out over so much time. Why prolong the struggle? The reasons may be many, but we must first realize that God ins not bound to time and space as we are. A thousand years to God is like a day and a day is like a thousand years.
Another reason is because of God’s loving patience. It is not His desire for anyone to suffer eternal judgment. Therefore, He offers the gift of salvation to generation after generation offering the opportunity to believe in Jesus Christ and repent of sin.
Another reason God waits is because He is preparing a people who will rule the earth with Jesus when He returns. This preparation involves the tests of time and trials. Character and faithfulness are developed as we endure difficulties. Through these tests, God finds those who will be faithful for eternity.
Yes, God could have made us like robots, simply programming us to act according to a specific plan. But God is not a robot and since we are created in His image, neither are we. We have been given the ability to choose right or wrong, whether to have companionship with God or not. To be made in God’s image is a high privilege. We are invited to be part of His plan and His plan is marching on.
The Kingdom of God on Earth
When the good news of the kingdom of God has spread to the ends of the earth, Jesus will return again, but not as a sacrifice for sin. When He comes again, He will come as a conquering King. He will judge all those who resist Him and establish His Kingdom throughout the entire earth. He will correct all injustice and complete the plan of restoration. At that time, immortality and eternal life will be a present reality for those who have trusted and follow Jesus.
God’s plan of restoration is a reality. It is taking place right now. It is confirmed every day in the lives of hundreds and thousands of people who have experienced the life-changing power of forgiveness through faith in Jesus Christ. There is much more to this plan than what could be written in this short account. But the question for you is, “Will you be a part of His kingdom when it appears?”
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