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Dr. Walter D. Huyck Jr. D.Min.

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Many Infallible Proofs

Foundations For The Church

The Anticipation of the Church

Acts 1.6-12 cf. 11

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[The beginning of the book of Acts reveals some undeniable foundations for the Church and Christians.  These foundations include,] 

  • [The Glorious Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ]
  • [The Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ]
  • [The Mission of the Church]
  • [The Anticipation of the Church]
  • [The indwelling Holy Spirit and His Power]
  • [The continuing work of the Church.]

[We have considered the foundations of the physical resurrection and ascension of our Lord.  We have also considered the foundation of the Mission of the Church which is to proclaim the gospel message to all people.  We now come to the foundation of the anticipation of the Church which deals with the impending return of our Lord in glory.] 

[There are clearly two contexts in which this anticipation might find its persuasion.  There is the eminent return of our Lord at the pretribulation rapture of the Church and there is also the second advent of our Lord at the end of the tribulation period when our Lord will set up His millennial kingdom.] 

[In the midst of our text these angels say,] 

[Acts 1:11 11 . . . Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.]

[It is as if they are saying, time is of the essence, you must get to work.]

[Our Lord has gone on a journey into heaven and He has committed His kingdom into our hands.  We are His stewards and there is work to be done.  Now we must be about this work.   This anticipation is the catalyst that will compel us into the work of our Lord’s kingdom and will keep us from becoming apathetic to our responsibilities.  Our Lord Jesus Christ is coming again, and there is no time to be gazing up into heaven.]

Concerning This Anticipation We Must Consider,

A.     The Coming Of Our Lord (vs 11) [– The angels said, . . . this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.  Just what did these angels mean when they said these words?  Were they cautioning these early Christians to watch for the second advent or the rapture of the Church?] 

1.      The Second Advent of our Lord (Rev 19.11-19; Zech 14.3-4; Matt 24.26-30; Isa 34.4; Rev 6.14) [– Likely the most descriptive passage in the Bible that speaks of the second advent of our Lord is,] 

[Revelation 19:11-19 11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. 12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. 13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND Lord OF LordS. 17 And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; 18 That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. 19 And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.]

[This event occurs at the end of the seven year tribulation period and is anything but a secret and sudden appearance.  We notice in verse nineteen that the armies of the world were assembled in anticipation of our Lord’s coming.  Everything in the tribulation period points toward this Revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ as King of kings and Lord of lords.] 

[There are those, called preterists or A-millennialists, who try to persuade people that this event has already taken place.  That all of this was fulfilled in 70 A.D. with the fall of Jerusalem to Titus of Rome.  They claim that we are already living in either the Millennium or on the new heaven and new earth.  They claim, like the Jehovah’s Witness’, that our Lord returned spiritually rather than physically to the earth.  The problem with their position is,] 

        [Our Lord is not physically here – The Bible is clear, our Lord Jesus Christ will physically return at His second advent.] 

[Zechariah 14:3-4 3 Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. 4 And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. ]

        [Our Lord’s coming will be undeniable – Our Lord’s second advent will be anything but a surprise.  Our Lord said that His second advent will be seen by all.  He said, ] 

[Matthew 24:26-30 26 Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. 27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 28 For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together. 29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: 30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. ]

[The Bible indicates that the heavens will be rolled apart like a scroll (Isa 34.4; Rev 6.14) and our Lord and His armies will come riding through on white horses, clothed with glorious light and wonder.] 

[For these reasons and many more we know that our Lord has not yet returned at His second advent and His physical return to earth for His millennial reign will be fully anticipated and expected.] 

2.      The Rapture of the Church (1 Thess 4.13-18; 1 Cor 15.51-57; 2 Thess 2.3-8) [– Since these angles could not have been warning these early saints to watch and anticipate the second advent, then they must have had in mind the rapture of the Church.  We know that the word rapture is not found in the English Bible, actually it was found in the Latin translations of the Bible in reference to the taking out of the Church.  What we call the rapture is the sudden taking out of the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ immediately preceding the Tribulation Period.  The Rapture is best revealed in 1 Thess. 4.13-18 and 1 Cor 15.51-57.  The timing of the Rapture is undeniably revealed in 2 Thess. 2.3-8.] 

[In these verses we learn that the rapture will be sudden, occurring in the twinkling of an eye (1 Cor 15.52), thus reminding us that it will occur as thief in the night (1 Thess 5.2; 2 Pet 3.10).  Those who are a part of the rapture will meet the Lord in clouds (1 Thess 4.17), where these early Christians last held their Lord in their gaze.] 

[Hence, we now know that these angles were setting the rapture of the Church into the minds of these early Christians, so that they might have the sudden and imminent return of their Lord as a foundational anticipation for their work in ministry.] 

B.     The Circumspection Of Our Lord (Eph 5.14-17; Matt 24.42-44) [- This is our watchfulness or our caution in regard to the soon coming of our Lord.  Why did these early Christians need to have the anticipation of our Lord’s imminent return in their hearts and minds?   What would the foundation of an imminent anticipation do for them and us in our Lord’s service?  About a circumspect or watchful walk and life Paul wrote,] 

[Ephesians 5:14-17 14 Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. 15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, 16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. ]

[Our Lord said,] 

[Matthew 24:42-44 42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. 43 But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. 44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. ]

If we would be watchful then there must be,

1.      A Perception (2 Pet 3.3-4) [– Do you understand my Christian friend that our Lord Jesus Christ will return soon and very soon.  We are but a blink of an eye away from the rapture of the Church.  With each passing second we are a second closer to the moment when we will look upon our Lord in our glorified bodies in the clouds with Him, and this world will be catapulted into the tribulation period.  Yes there are many who say,] 

[2 Peter 3:3-4 3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, 4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.]

[Statements like, “It has been two thousand years and your Lord hasn’t come yet” ought to cause us to be more alert than ever.  These angels sought to establish an essential foundation for the ministry of the Church in the hearts and minds of these early Christians.  This foundation of the anticipation of the sudden appearance of the Lord in glory was and is essential to the continuing and fervent ministry of the Church.] 

[Lose your perception of the imminent appearance of the Lord and lethargy and apathy will quickly set into ones life and the ministry of the Church.  If the Lord is not soon appearing then why worry about sharing the gospel message with those around you, there will always be another day and opportunity.  The anticipation of the soon coming of the Lord is essential to the fervent ministry of the Church of our Lord.] 

2.      A Preparation (Eph 5.15-16) [– Our perception of the imminent return of our Lord will lead us to make the needed preparation for our work in the ministry of our Lord.  As we discovered when we examined the foundation of the Mission of the Church, the Church is meant to be a training ground preparing the people of God to do the work of the Church in our world.  Lose your anticipation of the soon coming of the Lord and you will soon begin to waist precious time.  You will not redeem the time.] 

[Ephesians 5:15-16 15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, 16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. ]

[Why should you learn to be a soul-winner?  So you can share the gospel with everyone you come in contact with.  Why?  Because you may not have another opportunity to share the Gospel with them.  Why? Because Jesus could rapture us into His presence at any moment and once the Church is raptured there will be terror on the face of this earth for seven years.] 

[Few in the Church today are preparing themselves to do the work of the ministry, which is sharing the gospel with everyone around them.  Because they have lost their perception of the soon coming of the Lord and their lost perception has led them to a lack of preparation.] 

3.      A Preoccupation (Matt 24.44; 1 Thess 5.1-9; cf. 1 Thess 4.13-18) [– Therefore be ye also ready . . .  – The watching of the goodman of the house leads me to understand that he would have been alert and watching.  He would not have been sleeping, he would have been alert and ready.  This man is motivated to protect and secure his home and family.] 

[In 1 Thess 4.13-18 we have the best known discourse in the Bible concerning the rapture of the Church.  It tells us that there is coming a day when the trump will sound and the voice of the arch angel will be heard and we will be taken up to meet the Lord in the clouds, which is the last place these disciples in Acts 1 saw our Lord; in a cloud.  What an incredible glorious day that will be, and we all groan for that occasion.  But look at what the text goes on to say,] 

[1 Thessalonians 5:1-9 1 But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. 2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. [This is the Rapture, the second advent will be anything but surprising.] 3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. [This is the tribulation period] 4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. 5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. 6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. 7 For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. 8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. 9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,]

[My Brothers and sisters in Christ we ought to be preoccupied with the imminent rapture of our Lord.  When the rapture occurs we ought not to be caught up as if we were unaware, but we should have been expecting and anticipating that it would happen at the moment that it does happen.  The only way this can be realize in our lives is for us to live every moment at the threshold of the rapture.] 

[This anticipation will then become our motivation for the decisions we make in our lives.  Instead of being overly preoccupied with how I can prosper in this world and life, the circumspect child of God asks first, what will my decisions do for the kingdom of my Lord in light of His imminent return.] 

C.     The Cleansing Of Our Lord (Eph 5.25-27) [– Our understanding of the soon coming of the Lord ought to cause us to walk in watchfulness of His coming.  So what will be the result of this circumspect walk in our personal lives?] 

1.      The Evidence of Purity (Eph 5.25-27; 1 John 3.1-3) [- Our Lord’s desire for His Church is revealed in,] 

[Ephesians 5:25-27 25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.]

[Our Lord deeply desires that His Church might be a pure and spotless Church.  Is there a way that we can measure whether or not we are anticipating the soon coming of our Lord?  John wrote,] 

[1 John 3:1-3 1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.]

[Purity is the evidence of a Christian life lived out in anticipation of the soon coming of our Lord.  Purity in a Christian’s life is essential if they will be effective in their service to our Lord.  Purity will impact your influence upon the Church of our Lord and your ability to reach the lost for our Lord.] 

2.      The Evidence of Presumption (Matt 24.48-51) [– Those who do not anticipate the imminent return of our Lord will do many things in their life, but they will not be prepared when our Lord returns and their judgment will be certain.  Our Lord said,] 

[Matthew 24:48-51 48 But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; 49 And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; 50 The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, 51 And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.]

[Foundations are important and essential.  Let us understand as we embark upon our study of the book of acts that the foundations indentified at the beginning of this book on the work of the early Church were essential for them and are essential for us.  Let us establish and build upon the foundation of the anticipation of our Lord’s soon return.] 


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