(Acts 1:13-15) “And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren. And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,)
Let me introduce you to the people which gathered in the upper room immediately after the ascension. I would like to introduce all of them to you, but there were one hundred and twenty people in that crowd, so I must be considerate of the time. Let me make you acquainted with thirteen of these humble folk.
It would be improper to look at them as unusual people. Sometimes we do that to Bible people. We enshrine them. But they were just ordinary folk which choose to be obedient to the Lord. Have you noticed yet? Jesus bypassed the universities, He bypassed the educated, He circumvented the aristocracy. He skirted the upper eminence,
and places where the elite met, and went to the streets, to the country side, and to the fishing docks, where He gather to Him, not the rich nor prosperous, but people among the working class. Yes! The faithful which followed Jesus were ordinary people.
Of this ordinary following were the twelve. Peter and Andrew were brothers and were fishermen, along with James and John which were also brothers, sons of Zebedee.
Matthew and James the Less were, in all probility, brothers because they were both the son of one called Alphaeus. Matthew was a tax collector and there is a probability his brother was too. From the way scripture reads there is a possibility Philip and Bartholomew (Nathanael) were brothers (John 1:40-45). Little is known of Judas, Thaddaeus, or Thomas. Simon the Canaanite is a very interesting one. Bible commentaries call him Simon the Zealot, which infers he was a revolutionist. I don’t know why Jesus would chose him other than for a fulfillment of scripture Isa. 53:13 “—-and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”
Then the thirteen person I would introduce you to is Mary the mother of Jesus.
You must understand this, it is the Roman Catholic dogma which makes Mary, the mother of Jesus, into and eminence. When the fullness of time had come for Jesus to be manifested He did not go to a city, but to a remote and inconsiderate town, not to a palace but to a poor dwelling, not to the great and the learned but to lowly partisans.
In all of the choices Jesus made for His ministry, every time and without fail, He chose common people. No special talents, no outstanding personalities. They were ordinary people, just as ordinary as you and I.
The upper room people were just that; But……..
I. THEY HAD BEEN WITH JESUS:
Acts 4:13 “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.”
In all probility the 120 had been with Jesus. They were frist hand witnesses to the miraculous works of Jesus and for the most part had heard His teachings. They had followed Him from lofity mountain to windy sea shore, from the crowded city to the lonely country side. They had heard Him teach on every conceivable subject concerning how to live godly in this present world. They witnessed Him becoming angry with the money changers in the temple, they saw Him cry over Jerusalem, they saw Him love little children, and they saw Him work tenderly with the elder. They were with Him while He enjoyed the gayety of a wedding, they heard Him singing a hymn before going to the garden. They were there when He went into Jerusalem riding on a colt, and they was there when He was taken out of Jerusalem to be crucified. The upper room people had been with Jesus.
Later on, some of this same bunch, was called Christians.
It’s not hard to detect where people’s allegiance is directed. Some people can find it easier to be loyal to their dog rather than to God. People can be more devoted to politics than to God. There is a host of other things which will try to get our homage.
Some people say they have been with Jesus but are never with Him in prayer, never with Him in Bible reading, and are never with Him in worship. The outward appearance of Pentecostalism may fool some of the people some of the time but will not fool all the people all the time. We are good at giving God on the outside what He really wants on the inside. Our mannerism may open many doors for us, our scholastics may impress the populace, our charisma may present an air of completeness about us, but nothing, NOTHING, will every take the place of being with Jesus.
To be with Jesus you will learn love, you will learn forgiveness, you will learn forbearance, you will learn mercy, and many other traits of Jesus. This society needs to learn a few traits of Jesus. We could stand a few lessons in honesty, Christ like morals,
Christ like tolerance for our brother in the Lord.
One great concerto pianist said, “If I fail to practice on day, I know it, if I fail to practice two days, other pianist will know it, if I fail to practice three days everyone knows it.” How many days do we think we can go without being with Jesus and the world not detect it. The upper room people had been with Jesus.
II. THE UPPER ROOM PEOPLE WERE PEOPLE WHO PRAYED:
Jesus told them to tarry, yet they knew this meant more than just biding their time. They understood they were to tarry in His presence waiting for the promise. This is done through prayer-earnest prayer. The scripture said these all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication(to humbly ask for something).
Seasons of fear and dismay had swept over their souls, but they continued. Danger and intimidation had been their lot, but they continued, disappointment and sorry had been their experience, but they continued. Even the days ahead posed a real threat but they continued in prayer and supplication for power from on high.
For eight to ten days the prayer meeting continued. Men and women waded through distractions and the usual personal needs with hearts tuned to prayer with one accord–minds full of agreement. They had an awareness of their need–Holy Ghost power and the authority of Jesus Christ the Lord.
Earnest prayer does not need a leader. No one led this upper room prayer meeting but they, with one accord, prayed until the answer came. And it did come. Acts 2:2 “And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”
Where, O where, are the people today that will come forward in the presence of God with prayer. That will pray and continue in prayer until the answer arrives. The Church is in desperate need of those that can pray, possible the greatest need of the Church today is prayer. Prayer that can get answers, prayer that can move sinners, prayer that can shake the place wherein they pray.
III. THE UPPER ROOM PEOPLE RESPONDED TO THE SPIRIT:
One of the first things we must learn in responding to the Spirit is to follow leadership. Peter stood in their midst, unchallenged. Incredible! Awesome! No one even questioned his authority in being Pentecost’s first preacher.
Someone referred to The Pentecostals of Alexandria as being “Mangumites.” What’s wrong with that? There’s nothing wrong with people being loyal and obedient to their pastor.
In the upper room there was no argument, no debate, no hesitation about who would lead them. Peter took the reigns of the Church to guide it with the power of God.
We need to trust our leaders.
They responded to the Spirit by receiving the Holy Ghost. It was not mandatory that they receive the Holy Ghost. But they were glad to respond to the Spirit. These upper room people walked where no one had ever walked before but where multitudes would follow.
Not only did they respond to the Spirit in receiving the Holy Ghost but they continued to yield to the Spirit in worship. The multitude said “We hear them glorifying God.”
It wasn’t just a one day thing, but they continued in the Apostles’ doctrine with prayer and with singleness of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people.
(Acts 2:42-47) The Holy Ghost can use yielded people who will respond to his leading.
IV. THE UPPER ROOM PEOPLE FULFILLED GOD’S PURPOSE:
Peter didn’t hesitate, he declared this was what Joel had prophesied about many years before, the Holy Ghost which was to be poured out upon all flesh in the last days. It started with the upper room people.
“This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses, —-He hath shed forth this, which you now see and hear.” (Acts 2:32) It was God’s purpose and plan.
Jesus spoke of the expediency of His ascension and the necessity of the Holy Ghost out pouring. It was fulfilled in these upper room people.
Jesus honored their obedience when He added to their number about 3,000 souls in one day. And the Lord continued to add to the church daily “such as should be saved.” Jesus had said. “I will build my Church,” (Matt. 16:18). And now, they were seeing it happen. And His purpose, fulfilled in them, was the beginning for us.
The upper room people receive the promise, Holy Ghost, and marched into prophetic territory. These were our pioneers of the faith, the champions of our belief, in New Testament times. Yet, in them, I see hope for the Church on the threshold of the 21st century. I believe this decade is ours, with all its challenges and opportunities. Are we ready? Will God be able to fulfill prophecy and His purpose for the Church through us?
When we cultivate, and let grow, the attitudes of the upper room people toward Jesus Christ and His work in this world, with prayer and obedience to leadership and to the Scriptures, we will move toward an outpouring for our times. With hearts and minds in full agreement, we will receive the promise of our day–the mighty Holy Ghost power.
When our response to the Holy Ghost is without restraint, but rather with joyous exuberance and unswerving commitment to His purpose for His Church and His world, we too can see the mighty fruits of our harvest.
We can do it, because the Lord will equip His church. He will confirm His Word with signs following. He will send mighty conviction before His spirit-filled army. He will challenge the forces of darkness and win. He will challenge the powers of hell and will win. He will win through His Church empowered by the Holy Ghost. He will lead trembling souls out of darkness into His marvelous light through the preaching of His word.
That’s our calling. That’s our assignment. That’s our conquest.
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