I want to enlarge a little upon what we read in verses 23-31. Here we have recorded a conversation between the rich man and Abraham.
The wonderful knowledge beyond the grave. He recognises Abraham though he could never have met him! (Matt 17:4).
He asks for mercy. Verse 24. How sad it is to feel a need of mercy when it cannot be had and all the time it could have been enjoyed, it was ignored and rejected!
Please read Proverbs 1:24-31.
How clearly will the lost sinner see and feel the difference between himself and the redeemed. “And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom,” verse 23. He is afar off amongst the redeemed.
Sinners often take great pains to get far away from Christians. How different will be their thinking in eternity.
2. God’s rewards are full rewards. The word “full” is often translated “perfect”, there will be a wholeness to God’s rewards. Our reward is God Himself. “After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward,” Genesis 15:1. In heaven we will enjoy God in a fashion we cannot conceive of here — S. Cat Q. 1. Men shall yet see that “Verily there is a reward for the righteous: verily he is a God that judgeth in the earth,” Psalm 58:11. It is a sure reward, Pro 11:18. God’s rewards are visible, Matthew 6:4.
3. Let it be noted that the wicked will also receive their rewards. Psalm 91:8; 94:2: Isa 3:11.
We take up again our consideration of the Saviour’s command to His disciples on the eve of the greatest mission ever launched.
We thought of the fact that the disciples were utterly unready for this great enterprise and the Lord knew it but set them on the path to being made ready.
They were to ‘tarry’ before Him in prayer, Luke 24:49.
We will take the matter a little further tonight.
We noted how that we must beware of distractions. That happened to the disciples. Peter took it on himself to initiate an election to replace Judas. Let us ever note that nothing came of this act! The man chosen, doubtless a good man, is never mentioned again after Acts 1:26.
When they did get down to prayer please note its character:
1. It was informed prayer. They knew what they were to seek in prayer. “Tarry . . . . until ye be endued with power from on high.”
2. It was intense prayer. Acts 1:14. “Supplication.” See Luke 2:37 for an example of this intensity.
3. It was persistent prayer. “Continued.” There were 10 days between the Saviour’s ascension and Pentecost. I am sure after the diversion cause by the ‘election’, the rest of the time was devoted to prayer. 10 days from Tuesday evening will take us until this day next week. Can we maintain a spirit of prayer until then. If we did, I have no doubt that we would see a mighty answer!
“Little Prayer, Little Blessing!
Some Prayer, Some Blessing!
Much Prayer, Much Blessing!”
4. It was united prayer. “With one accord . . . And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place,” 1:14, 2:1. May God unite our hearts in this matter!
5. It was expectant prayer. “They were all with one accord in one place.” They were still there 10 days later for they expected the Lord to answer them. May the Lord give us this confident expectancy!
“And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: and if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him,” 1 John 5:14-15.
We come to the final study on this topic. Ten days have passed since they had received the command: “And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high,” Luke 24:49.
We have considered a number of matters regarding that wonderful time of prayer.
Yet, it was just like any other genuine prayer meeting! I hope our times together here are just like that prayer meeting long ago.
It is not the character of the prayer meeting or the people attending it that brings down God’s power. That lies in the hands of the sovereign God Who answers according to His will and purpose.
The glorious blessing of Pentecost is not due in the least to the character of those engaged in the prayer meeting.
We must surely take heart from this truth!
Consider verses 1-4 of Acts 2.
1. Note the unity displayed. This was of God. He had united them during the 10 days of preparation. Note how it continued to mark the gatherings of the disciples. 1:14, 2:46, 4:24, 5:12, 8:6.
2. Note the spirit of expectancy. They were sitting! Attention is marked by a ‘sitting up’! All school children know that! Here was a calm and confident waiting for the answer.
3. I am sure that they were aware of the symbolism of the Pentecost. It was a time marking the giving of the Law of God on Mt Sinai. It was also marked by the offering of the fruits of the harvest, Exodus 34:22, Deuteronomy 16:10-12.
4. The manner of the Spirit’s coming indicated something of the consequences that would follow. “And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting,” verse 2. This was Sinai-like phenomena!! A. It occurred just after dawn. (Day was fully come, verse 1). B. It was sudden. Cit was a Heavenly sound. D. It was disturbing, a ‘rushing mighty (Greek word from which we get ‘energy’) wind’.
5. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Note the word ALL. Not just the apostles but all there. The fulness of the Holy Ghost is you all, young and old, all Christians here tonight.
They spoke God’s Word in the proper languages of the visitors present in Jerusalem for the feast.
Nothing can enable us to preach the “whole counsel of God” like the infilling of the Holy Ghost.
May that be our experience and that of the Evangelist, Rev Morrow, here in Kilskeery in these weeks of mission and on into the future.
As we stand on the verge of another gospel mission here in the church, we are exactly where the disciples were here in this chapter and in chapter 1 of Acts.
We are totally unready for the task ahead! Nothing that we ourselves can do will make us ready.
But in the Saviour’s word there is hope and guidance and assurance of help given us.
1. The Lord Jesus knew the unready state the apostles and disciples were in.
“But tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.”
No matter what they had heard or seen or experienced in the past they were not ready! Even so is it with us.
Dear Christian learn that tonight.
2. Tarrying in prayer would bring them to a state of readiness.
First appearance of this word ‘tarry’, Matthew 5:1. ’Set’. It means to sit down. “Be still, and know that I am God,” Psalm 46:10.
‘Be still’ means ‘be feeble, faint, cease.’
What could be easier for us tonight than to simply sit down and acknowledge our nothingness and weakness to God.
Let that be the sole theme of this prayer meeting and if it is, we will have taken great steps toward readiness and effectiveness of witness in this mission!