3. Being Witnesses of the Resurrected, Ascended, and All-inclusive Christ
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Scripture Reading: Acts 1:8; 2:32-36; 3:14-15; 4:33; 5:30-32; 7:56; 20:28; 26:16; 16:31

I.     In the book of Acts the apostles and the disciples were witnesses of Christ—1:8; 4:33:

A.     According to the revelation in the book of Acts, everyone who is raised up and sent out by the Lord is a witness of the Lord—1:8; 26:16.

B.     In the New Testament the meaning of witness is primarily to bear a living testimony of Jesus Christ in His crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension—1:22; 2:32; 5:32; 10:39-40; 17:3, 18; 23:11; 24:14-15.

C.     Testifying requires experiences of seeing and enjoyment concerning the Lord or spiritual things; it is different from merely teaching—2:42.

D.     The Lord appointed Paul as a minister and a witness—26:16:

1. A minister is for the ministry; a witness, for a testimony.

2. The ministry is related mainly to the work, to what a minister does; a testimony is related to the person, to what a person is.

3. Paul was a witness of the things in which he had seen the Lord and of the things in which the Lord would appear to him—v. 16.

E.      In His ascension the Lord carries out His ministry in the heavens through witnesses, who testify of Him in His resurrection life and with His ascension power and authority—1:8; 2:32-36; 40; 4:33.

 

II.   The Christ revealed in Acts is in resurrection—1:3; 2:32; 3:15; 4:33:

A.     Through death Christ entered into another realm, the realm of resurrection:

1. Because Christ is the living One with an indestructible life, death is not able to hold Him—Heb. 7:16; Acts 2:24.

2. He delivered Himself to death, but death had no way to retain Him; rather, death was defeated by Him, and He rose up from it.

B.     We need to know Christ in the power, sphere, and element of His resurrection—Phil. 3:10-11.

C.     Christ’s resurrection was the focus of the apostles’ testimony—Acts 1:22; 2:32; 3:13, 15, 26; 4:33; 10:39-40; 13:33; 17:3, 18:

1. God glorified His Servant Jesus through His resurrection and in His ascension—Luke 24:26; Acts 3:13, 15, 26; 4:10, 33; 5:30-31.

2. The resurrection of the Lord Jesus points back to His incarnation, humanity, human living, and God-ordained death and points forward to His ascension, ministry and administration in heaven, and coming back—2:23; 1:9-11.

III.  The Christ revealed in Acts is in ascension—vv. 9-11; 2:32; 5:31:

A.     Whereas resurrection is a matter of life, Christ’s ascension is a matter of position, and position is a matter of authority.

B.     The Lord’s ascension was His initiation into His living and ministry in the heavens; this initiation brought Him into a new realm, that is, into the heavens where He now has His living and is ministering there.

C.     The Lord’s ascension brought Him into a new stage—the stage of a resurrected man living in the heavens as the center of God’s administration—Rev. 5:6:

1. This resurrected One is now sitting in the heavens to execute God’s administration—Heb. 12:2.

2. The resurrected Christ ascended to the heavens to be exalted by God and to be given the kingship, the lordship, and the headship over all things—Phil. 2:9-11; Eph. 1:22.

3. The ascended Christ has also obtained the throne, the glory, and all the authority in the universe—Rev. 5:6; Heb. 1:3; 2:9; Matt. 28:18.

D.     The ascended Christ is the Lord of all to possess all—Acts 2:36:

1. The lordship of Christ is one of the most important aspects of what He has obtained in His ascension—10:36.

2. Since the lordship of Christ was fully established in His ascension, we—the members of His Body—need to realize this heavenly fact—Eph. 1:20-21.

E.      The ascended Christ is God’s Anointed to carry out God’s commission to work out the spreading of the gospel and the building up of the church—Acts 1:8.

IV. The Christ revealed in Acts is the all-inclusive Christ—3:14-15, 25-26; 5:30-32; 7:56; 10:36, 39-43; 16:31; 17:30-31; 20:28:

A.     Christ is the Author of life—3:14-15:

1. As indicated by the Greek word rendered “Author,” Christ is the origin or Originator of life; He is the Author, the Chief Leader, of life—v. 15.

2. In Acts 3 we see the imparting of life into others, which is to propagate Christ; for such a propagation, we need the Lord as the Author of life, the source of life.

3. As the Author of life, Christ is the holy and righteous One—v. 14.

B.     Christ is God’s Servant—vv. 25-26:

1. God glorified His Servant Jesus through His resurrection and ascension—v. 13.

2. As the seed of Abraham and the Servant of God, Christ is the One in whom all the families of the earth—all the races, colors, and nationalities—will be blessed—vv. 25-26.

3. God sent back the ascended Christ as a blessing by pouring out the Spirit on the day of Pentecost; hence, the Spirit whom God poured out was the Christ whom God raised and exalted to the heavens—2:33; 3:13-15, 25-26.

C.     Christ is the Leader and Savior—5:30-32:

1. God exalted the man Jesus as the highest Leader, the Prince, the Ruler of the kings to rule over the world, and the Savior to save God’s chosen people—Rev. 1:5; 19:16; Acts 5:31.

2. Leader is related to His authority, and Savior is related to His salvation; He rules sovereignly over the earth with His authority that the environment might be fit for God’s chosen people to receive His salvation—cf. 17:26-27.

D.     Christ is the Son of Man—7:56:

1. Acts 7:56 reveals that Christ is the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God to be the comfort, encouragement, and strength to the one martyred for Him.

2. Stephen saw the ascended Christ as the Son of Man; this indicates that the Christ who is in the heavens still has His humanity; He still possesses His human nature.

E.      Christ is God—20:28:

1. Christ as our God is the Purchaser of the church, having obtained the church with His own blood—v. 28.

2. God secured, purchased, and redeemed the church with “His own blood” (v. 28), “the blood of Jesus His Son”—1 John 1:7.

3. Christ died on the cross as the God-man, and the blood that He shed there for our redemption was not only the blood of the man Jesus but also the blood of the God-man.

4. The blood through which God obtained the church is God’s own blood.

F.      Christ is the Lord of all—Acts 10:36:

1. All in Acts 10:36 refers to all peoples—1 Tim. 2:4.

2. The ascended Christ is the Lord of all the different races and peoples on earth; with Him, there is no respect of persons—Rev. 5:9.

G.     Christ is the Judge—Acts 10:39-43:

1. Christ has been designated by God to be the Judge of the living and the dead—v. 42.

2. Christ is a man to judge the world, designated by God in righteousness and proved by God’s raising Him from the dead—17:30-31.

H.     Christ is the Lord Jesus, the object of the believers’ faith—16:31:

1. To believe in the gospel is mainly to believe in Jesus Christ—v. 31.

2. To believe in the Lord Jesus is to stand on the person of Christ and all that He has accomplished, both of which constitute the belief, the faith, of God’s New Testament economy—1 Tim. 1:4.

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