The First Five: The First Decision – Acts 1:12-26

The First Five
The First Five

Series: The First Five – Acts 1:12-26

All sermons copyrighted.

The First Five: The First Decision

Acts 1:12-26

  1. Introduction
    1. connect to last week’s message
      • i. power of HS
      • ii. Jesus is returning
      • iii. –follow up from the ascension of Jesus.
    2. They walked less than a mile which was a sabbath’s day journey
    3. So Jesus ascended into heaven just outside the walls of Jerusalem on the Mount of Olives where he will return.
      • i. Many burial grounds on the east side for Jesus’ return
    4. The challenge of church…
      • i. How we make decisions says a lot about us as a church
      • ii. How we cooperate with one another says a lot about us as a church
      • iii. How we deal with not getting our way says a lot about us as a church
      • iv. How we see needs and deal with those needs in the church says a lot about us as a church
      • v. How we deal with conflict says a lot about us as a church
      • vi.

How to turn a disagreement into a feud:

  1. Be sure to develop and maintain a healthy fear of conflict, letting your own feelings build up so you are in an explosive frame of mind.
  2. If you must state your concerns, be as vague and general as possible. Then the other person cannot do anything practical to change the situation.
  3. Assume you know all the facts and you are totally right. The use of a clinching Bible verse is helpful. Speak prophetically for truth and justice; do most of the talking.
  4. With a touch of defiance, announce your willingness to talk with anyone who wishes to discuss the problem with you. But do not take steps to initiate such conversation.
  5. Latch tenaciously onto whatever evidence you can find that shows the other person is merely jealous of you.
  6. Judge the motivation of the other party on any previous experience that showed failure or unkindness. Keep track of any angry words.
  7. If the discussion should, alas, become serious, view the issue as a win/lose struggle. Avoid possible solutions and go for total victory and unconditional surrender. Don’t get too many options on the table.
  8. Pass the buck! If you are about to get cornered into a solution, indicate you are without power to settle; you need your partner, spouse, bank, whatever.
  9. Read Acts 1:12-17; 21-26
  10. 3 aspects of Church decisions
  1. The First Priority v. 12-14
    1. The first issue at hand was to come together in unity and pray
    2. There is power when the people of God are moving in one direction (not the british boy band) and are praying in unison for the will of God to be done
    3. Each of these individuals was rattled by the recent events
    4. they certainly were not simply coasting through this time period
    5. When the people of God get out of unison is when the church begins to crumble.
    6. It is commitment from all
    7. The group consisted of all of the disciples, the followers, and the women.
    8. This would have been so unusual for men and women to worship together
    9. Jesus lifted up the role of the woman
    10. Notice who else was there…Jesus’ family
    11. There was a time that Jesus’ family wanted to get him because they thought he was crazy. Mark 3:20-21
    12. They thought he was out of control
    13. They might have been embarrassed by his actions.
    14. They certainly did not believe in him
    15. At some point they decided to become believers in Christ
    16. You never know the impact you have on your family or that we can have on a community
    17. Our first priority as a church is that we move together as one body…this only comes through devoting ourselves to one mind and prayer together.
    18. This is why our Wednesday night prayer service is valuable, so please come.
    19. We need one another.
    20. Satan would like nothing better than to make a fracture in our body
    21. If there are two churches on the same corner, one is in unity and one is in discord, which one reflects Christ more.
    22. We would all say the one that is unified.
    23. We must devote ourselves to a consistent level of unity…not at the expense of truth for sometimes we must stand for what is right, but if we are following the Lord then unity is paramount.
    24. If you are not unified with someone in this church, then get it right.
    25. I have heard of 40 and 50 year old feuds in other churches that are still raging between families.
    26. Don’t let Satan steal our joy by driving a wedge between each other.
    27. Prayer and devotion to unity must be our first priority
    28. There can be union without unity: tie two cats together by their tails and throw them over a clothesline.
Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other? They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which each one must individually bow. So one hundred worshipers [meeting] together, each one looking away to Christ, are in heart nearer to each other than they could possibly be, were they to become ‘unity’ conscious and turn their eyes away from God to strive for closer fellowship.

A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God.

Our First Priority is to seek unity by seeking God individually and corporately.


  • Leadership is Important v. 15-17, 21-23
    1. With Jesus out of the picture physically, there needed to be a new leader of this band of individuals.
    2. The first leader to pop up was Peter
    3. Like a good leader he presents a problem for the people to solve. There was a level of trust between the leader and the people. I pray we can accomplish this kind of trust between us.
    4. Judas made a wrong choice
      • i. He made poor choices
      • ii. He was with them in mind, but not in spirit
      • iii. He a disciple to fulfill the prophecy from the OT
    5. Need for new leadership led to a decision
    6. They were weaker because they did not have all of their spots filled as disciples
    7. They had been 12 and needed to be 12 again
    8. They recognized the qualities they needed
      • i. Someone who had heard the teachings of Jesus
      • ii. Someone who had a track record of stick-to-itiveness
    9. Notice why they were needed…to be witnesses of the resurrection in an official capacity
    10. The two men were recognized by the group as being superior
      • i. Leaders will rise to the top
      • ii. Not always the obvious choice, but one of servant hood, passion for Christ, evangelism, teaching,
    11. We must be faithful to choose leaders that represent Jesus
    12. Are we as a church raising up leaders?
    13. Are we contributing to the discipleship of God’s people that men and women step forward when they are called on to lead?
    14. Some people want to be given leadership, but leadership must be earned.
    15. These two men were obviously respected by the community of believers
    16. They probably reflected who Jesus was and had obviously been witnesses to what Jesus had taught and had done
    17. God always provides leadership to the church
    18. We each have a spiritual gift and we need to use that gift for the glory of God in the church
    19. The church will have within its body enough volunteers, enough money given by tithes and offerings, and enough leaders. The problem is if we will be obedient and faithful to the call of God on our lives.
    20. These two individuals were called by God for leadership and they were ready.
      • i. They had studied under Jesus
      • ii. They had witnessed the things Jesus did
      • iii. They had been around Jesus and it was noticed
    21. If you are seeking to be a leader, then act like a servant and God will raise you up
    22. If you are a leader, then continue to give glory to God for your position
    23. If you know that God has called you into certain leadership, but you are fighting it then you need to step up
    24. Is God calling you into full time ministry?
    25. There are times that we will recognize we need additional leadership in an area, and we will ask the church to recognize new leaders. As the church we need to be spiritually prepared to bring forth those leaders.
In 1972, NASA launched the exploratory space probe Pioneer 10. According to Leon Jaroff in Time, the satellite’s primary mission was to reach Jupiter, photograph the planet and its moons, and beam data to earth about Jupiter’s magnetic field, radiation belts, and atmosphere. Scientists regarded this as a bold plan, for at that time no earth satellite had ever gone beyond Mars, and they feared the asteroid belt would destroy the satellite before it could reach its target. But Pioneer 10 accomplished its mission and much, much more. Swinging past the giant planet in November 1973, Jupiter’s immense gravity hurled Pioneer 10 at a higher rate of speed toward the edge of the solar system. At one billion miles from the sun, Pioneer 10 passed Saturn. At some two billion miles, it hurtled past Uranus; Neptune at nearly three billion miles; Pluto at almost four billion miles. By 1997, twenty-five years after its launch, Pioneer 10 was more than six billion miles from the sun. In 2001, it was heard from at nearly 8 billion miles from the sun on its 30th anniversary.

And despite that immense distance, Pioneer 10 continued to beam back radio signals to scientists on Earth. “Perhaps most remarkable,” writes Jaroff, “those signals emanate from an 8-watt transmitter, which radiates about as much power as a bedroom night light, and takes more than nine hours to reach Earth.'” The Little Satellite That Could was not qualified to do what it did. Engineers designed Pioneer 10 with a useful life of just three years. But it kept going and going. By simple longevity, its tiny 8-watt transmitter radio accomplished more than anyone thought possible.

So it is when we offer ourselves to serve the Lord. God can work even through someone with 8-watt abilities. God cannot work, however, through someone who quits.         Philippians 3:12-14   Hebrews 12:1   Mark 10:45

  1. It’s all God’s decision v. 24-26
    1. They left the decision up to God
    2. They desired to have his direction on the decision
    3. I am sure they could have held a vote of the people and they might have had success, but they trusted God through the casting of lots
    4. We often do not make decisions this way, so we need to be careful to be discerning
    5. Much like chance, but focused on God’s decision
    6. They did not lose unity after the decision 2:1
    7. How are we to discern decisions as a church body?
    8. For one we cannot always rely upon our own thoughts
      • i. We must commit to prayer
      • ii. We must be unified
    9. We cannot be prideful to leave God out of the decision
    10. We must be patient
      • i. Sometimes we can get overly excited about a decision, but we must temper that with being patient on the Holy Spirit
    11. Leaving it up to God does not lead us to inaction
      • i. A decision must be made
    12. Not always will we get our way
      • i. I am sure that little Joseph called Barsabbas’ parents were wanting him to get the nod
      • ii. It did not lead to him
      • iii. He was not chosen
      • iv. You do not see a lack of unity or oneness
    13. We must fight against the devil that would want to divide us and push forward toward what God has for us
    14. Church decisions have to be made carefully and with much prayer especially as they come to leadership.
    15. Let’s commit together early on to be unified as the body of Christ so that God might use us to be most effective in spreading his word.
    16. A husband and wife, prior to marriage, decided that he’d make all the major decisions and she the minor ones. After 20 years of marriage, he was asked how this arrangement had worked. “Great! in all these years I’ve never had to make a major decision.”
  2. Conclusion
    1. Reflections on I Corinthians and the Corinthian church
      • i. Problems with church discipline
      • ii. Problems with unity
      • iii. Instructions for spiritual gifts
    2. Satan would like nothing better then to cause disruption in the church and in individual Christian lives.
    3. Satan cannot destroy the gospel, but as we spoke about last week he can affect the telling of the gospel.
    4. We cannot be the most effective if we are divided
    5. Pray hard against what Satan would want to do here and pray earnestly for what God wants to do.
    6. If you get disgruntled, don’t stay that way
    7. Make things right between you in relationships and see how God unifies us in Him.