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First Things First (Acts 1:12-26)

Sermon on 12 July 2020 by Pastor Gauis


Introduction

There were times when the disciples did not know what to do; they learnt to put first things first. That is, the important things first. We’ll look into this in Acts 1:12-26 – the selection of Matthias over Judas.



Message

So they nominated two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias. Then they all prayed, “O Lord, you know every heart. Show us which of these men you have chosen as an apostle to replace Judas in this ministry, for he has deserted us and gone where he belongs.” - Acts 1:23-25

Barsabbas and Matthias were followers of Christ. We know that Judas Iscariot was the one who betrayed Jesus, and, feeling guilty afterwards, hung himself. The 11 disciples then prayed for a replacement. The Lord led them to choose in an unexpected way.

Then they cast lots, and Matthias was selected to become an apostle with the other eleven. - Acts 1:26

For such an important decision, they cast lots. In our modern day, casting lots seems to be a game of luck. But remember that God knows everything. Why did God lead them to do this? Let’s go back to the earlier versus to look at the priorities of the disciples.

After Jesus ascended to heaven, the disciples were left without their Lord, their leader. Naturally, they were at a loss.

Then the apostles returned to Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, a distance of half a mile. When they arrived, they went to the upstairs room of the house where they were staying. Here are the names of those who were present: Peter, John, James, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James (son of Alphaeus), Simon (the zealot), and Judas (son of James). They all met together and were constantly united in prayer, along with Mary the mother of Jesus, several other women, and the brothers of Jesus. - Acts 1:12-14

1. Prayer – to Talk to God

The 11 apostles were joined together with the mother of Jesus and the brothers of Jesus. They prayed. Prayer is not about using big words, or having long repetitions to impress others. Prayer is simply talking to God. God is omniscient. Our Heavenly Father knows our needs before we say anything to Him, but He enjoys our communication with Him. Do we find opportunities to talk to Him? We are taught to pray without ceasing (1 Thess 5:17).

2. Passage – to Hear from God

During this time, when about 120 believers were together in one place, Peter stood up and addressed them. “Brothers,” he said, “the Scriptures had to be fulfilled concerning Judas, who guided those who arrested Jesus. This was predicted long ago by the Holy Spirit, speaking through King David. Judas was one of us and shared in the ministry with us.” - Acts 1:15-17

Reading the bible is about hearing from God.

Peter continued, “This was written in the book of Psalms, where it says, ‘Let his home become desolate, with no one living in it.’ It also says, ‘Let someone else take his position.’” - Acts 1:20

Let their homes become desolate and their tents be deserted. - Psalms 69:25

Let his years be few; let someone else take his position. - Psalms 109:8

3. Purpose – to do the Will of God

“So now we must choose a replacement for Judas from among the men who were with us the entire time we were traveling with the Lord Jesus – from the time he was baptised by John until the day he was taken from us. Whoever is chosen will join us as a witness of Jesus’ resurrection.”- Acts 1:21

The will of God is to witness for the resurrection of Jesus. This person would have a task – to join the apostles as a witness of Jesus’ resurrection. After praying, it came down to two men - Barsabbas and Matthias. Upon casting lots, Matthias was selected. As mentioned, casting lots seems unthinkable.

The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord. - Proverbs 16:33

It is not about the method of selection. The main thing is that every decision is from the Lord. Often, we do not have a lot of information and we make do with whatever we have to decide. But we learn from Proverbs 16:33 that every decision is from Him. As we learn to put our trust in Him in prayer, in reading the passage, let us be guided by His will.

Closing

Seeking God should be the first priority.

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. - Matthew 6:33

Let us always come to Him in prayer, in His passage and word, and fulfil His purpose.

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