In Acts 1:9-26, the Apostle Paul’s physician, Luke, says this:
“And when he had said these things, as they were looking, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they were looking stedfastly into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; who also said, ‘Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye looking into heaven? this Jesus, who was received up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye beheld him going into heaven.’
Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is nigh unto Jerusalem, a sabbath day’s journey off. And when they were come in, they went up into the upper chamber, where they were abiding; both Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James. These all with one accord continued stedfastly in prayer, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.
And in these days Peter stood up in the midst of the brethren, and said (and there was a multitude of persons gathered together, about a hundred and twenty), ‘Brethren, it was needful that the scripture should be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spake before by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who was guide to them that took Jesus. For he was numbered among us, and received his portion in this ministry.’ (Now this man obtained a field with the reward of his iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the [middle], and all his bowels gushed out. And it became known to all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch that in their language that field was called Akeldama, that is, The field of blood.) ‘For it is written in the book of Psalms,
“Let his habitation be made desolate,
And let no man dwell therein”:
“His office let another take.”
Of the men therefore that have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and went out among us, beginning from the baptism of John, unto the day that he was received up from us, of these must one become a witness with us of his resurrection.’ And they put forward two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. And they prayed, and said, ‘Thou, Lord, who knowest the hearts of all men, show of these two the one whom thou hast chosen, to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas fell away, that he might go to his own place.’ And they gave lots for them; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.”
In this passage, Luke describes Jesus’ ascension, His assembly, His apostate, and His Apostle.
In verses 9-11, Luke describes Jesus’ ascension into heaven. He begins by saying that, after Jesus promised the Apostles that He would send the Holy Spirit to empower them to be witnesses of Him from Jerusalem to the uttermost parts of the world, He was lifted up while they watched Him, and a cloud took Him out of their sight. Furthermore, he continues, as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going away, 2 men in white clothing, or holy angels, stood next to them, and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven” (1:11, NASB). What did they describe when they said that He would come in just the same way in which He went into heaven? His second coming, during which He will come with a cloud to deal out retribution to those who do not obey His gospel.
In verses 12-14, Luke describes Jesus’s assembly, which begins with the Apostles returning to Jerusalem from the mountain from which Jesus ascended, called Olivet, near Jerusalem, being about half a mile away, the maximum distance that religious Jews were allowed to travel on the Sabbath. Then, he says, when they had entered the city, they went to an upper room where they were living, including the Apostles Peter, John and James, Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son Alphaeus, Simon the former zealous insurrectionist, and Judas the son of James. While assembled, Luke says, they were continually devoting themselves to prayer with one mind, along with the female disciples, Mary the mother of Jesus, and Jesus’s biological brothers.
In verses 15-20, Luke records Peter’s teaching on the apostasy of Judas. He begins by saying that, while the disciples were assembled in the upper room, Peter stood in their midst, which consisted of about 120 people, and told them that “. . . the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit foretold by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus,” since he was counted among the Apostles and had a share in their ministry (Acts 1:16, NASB). Luke adds that Judas got a field with the money he was given for betraying Jesus, his wickedness, and falling headlong from the rope with which he hanged himself, his intestines gushed out in the field, which became known to all living in Jerusalem, so the field was called “the field of blood.” Then, he continues to record Peter as giving the reason that Judas had to die as an apostate: the book of Psalms prophesy that Judas’s homestead would be made desolate, that no one would dwell in it, and that another man would take his office of Apostle.
In verses 21-26, Luke describes the addition of the new Apostle to replace Judas. Luke records Peter as saying that, as a result of the Psalms’ prophecies about Judas and his replacement, it is necessary that from the men that were with the Apostles all the time that the Lord Jesus was with them on earth, beginning with John the Baptist’s baptism of Jesus until the day that He ascended, one must become a witness with the Apostles of the resurrection of Jesus. So, Luke goes on, the assembly of about 120 people put forward 2 men: Joseph called Barsabbas, or “son of the Sabbath,” who was also called Justus in Latin, and Matthias. Then, he says, they prayed and asked the Lord, who knows the hearts of all men, to show them which of the two He had chosen to occupy the service and “sent out” apostleship from which Judas turned away to go to his own place. Finally, he concludes, they drew lots for the candidates, like drawing a straw from many straws, and it fell to Matthias, adding him to the 11 Apostles.
So, are you living like Jesus could come at any moment, because He can?
Is your mind united with your local church in devoting yourself to corporate prayer?
Are you counted among Jesus’s disciples and do you have a part in His service?
Are you accompanying Jesus’s disciples?
Are you a witness to the truth of Jesus’s bodily resurrection from the dead?
Are you occupied with serving Jesus by serving your neighbor?
Do you understand why Jesus was raised from the dead? The Apostle Paul wrote about it this way:
“. . . I make known unto you brethren, the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye received, wherein also ye stand, by which also ye are saved, if ye hold fast the word which I preached unto you, except ye believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which also I received: that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried; and that he hath been raised on the third day according to the scriptures; and that he appeared to Cephas; then to the twelve; then he appeared to above five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain until now, but some are fallen asleep; then he appeared to James; then to all the apostles; and last of all, as to the child untimely born, he appeared to me also. For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.” 1 Corinthians 15:1-9
This is what the Apostle John said about the gospel in John 1:1-18:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him; and without him was not anything made that hath been made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in the darkness; and the darkness apprehended it not. There came a man, sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for witness, that he might bear witness of the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came that he might bear witness of the light. There was the true light, even the light which lighteth every man, coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and they that were his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he the right to become children of God, even to them that believe on his name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father), full of grace and truth. John beareth witness of him, and crieth, saying, This was he of whom I said, He that cometh after me is become before me: for he was before me. For of his fulness we all received, and grace for grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.”
This is what Christ Himself said about the gospel:
“. . . God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.” John 3:16-20
John the Baptist said this: “. . . he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on [stays directed toward] him.” – John 3:36
The Apostle Paul said this in Romans 2:4-16 and 1:18-32:
“. . . despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? but after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up for thyself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; who will render to every man according to his works: to them that by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and incorruption, eternal life: but unto them that are factious, and obey not the truth, but obey unrighteousness, shall be wrath and indignation, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that worketh evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Greek; but glory and honor and peace to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek: for there is no respect of persons with God. For as many as have sinned without the law shall also perish without the law: and as many as have sinned under the law shall be judged by the law; for not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified; (for when Gentiles that have not the law do by nature the things of the law, these, not having the law, are the law unto themselves; in that they show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness therewith, and their thoughts one with another accusing or else excusing them); in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men, according to my gospel, by Jesus Christ.”
“. . . the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousnessof men, who hinder the truth in unrighteousness; because that which is known of God is manifest in them; for God manifested it unto them. For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity; that they may be without excuse: because that, knowing God, they glorified him not as God, neither gave thanks; but became vain in their reasonings, and their senseless heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God for the likeness of an image of corruptible man, and of birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts unto uncleanness, that their bodies should be dishonored among themselves: for that they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile passions: for their women changed the natural use into that which is against nature: and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another, men with men working unseemliness, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was due. And even as they refused to have God in their knowledge, God gave them up unto a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, hateful to God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant-breakers, without natural affection, unmerciful: who, knowing the ordinance of God, that they that practise such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but also consent with them that practise them.”
Speaking of those that practice sin, the Apostle Paul uses this quote:
“. . . There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none that understandeth, There is none that seeketh after God; They have all turned aside, they are together become unprofitable; There is none that doeth good, no, not so much as one: Their throat is an open sepulchre; With their tongues they have used deceit: The poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness . . .” – Romans 3:10-14
This is my appeal to you, as written by the Apostle Paul:
“. . . we beseech you on behalf of Christ, be ye reconciled to God. Him who knew no sin he made to be sin on our behalf; that we might become the righteousness of God in him.” – 2 Corinthians 5:20b-21
This is how you become reconciled to God:
“. . . if thou shalt confess [acknowledge] with thy mouth Jesus as Lord [Greek: kurios, or Supreme in Authority], and shalt believe in thy heart that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved: for with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be put to shame. For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek: for the same Lord is Lord of all, and is rich unto all that call upon him [depend upon Him]: for, Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord [who He is, what He has done, and what He can do] shall be saved.” Romans 10:9-13