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Replacing Judas (Acts 1:12-26)

February 19, 2014

Reflecting on the Passage:

Here at East Point Church, we have begun a new sermon series entitled “Acts: The Spirit and the Church in the World“. This week sermon provided us with a vivid picture of God’s mercy to those He chooses. Pastor Carter helps us see our need of Christ as our Great High Priest to intercede for His own, lest they perish with the wicked. The focus of this sermon is on how the disciples and Apostles sought God’s Word and Will for answers to the present enigma, namely, replacing Judas.

All These with One Accord

Acts Series

All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers (Acts 1:14; ESV).”

After the Ascension, prayer would be the cornerstone of the ministry to which God has called the disciples. They would become prayer warriors. Pastor Carter emphasized that devoted meant that those who accompanied the Apostles in the Upper Room, intentionally, continually and fervently prayed. What made them do this? The text does not tell us explicitly, but we can infer from the text two things: 1) they were not sure what to do; and 2) there was an elephant in the room.

Something needed to be said and done about Judas Iscariot. After praying, the Bible says Peter spoke up, revealing two important things to us about the disciple and the ongoing ministry in the book of Acts: 1) their trust in God’s Word (v.16-18) and 2) their trust in God’s Will (v. 21-26).

Their Trust in God’s Word

Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus. For he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry…reward of his wickedness (Acts 1:16-18; ESV).

Could Judas have chosen not to betray Jesus Christ? The simple answer is no; not if, as Peter says that the Scripture were to be fulfilled.  Judas had to betray Jesus (cf. Jesus Birth or Death).  Judas is an enigma, difficult for us to really understand, because he shared in the ministry of Christ.  The disciples saw the need to put all things in the context of God’s sovereign Word, even the difficult ones. This is instructive for us. Before we seek, before Holy Spirit comes, that for which we are waiting and speaks to us, let us search for what He has already said and find some direction there!

It was their understanding of God’s sovereign Word that allowed them to begin to understand who Judas really was. It is not sitting around trying to see who Judas was, instead they sought to understand what God’s Word said, and that allowed them to understand who Judas was and what he did. The difference between Peter and Judas was not Peter’s activity; it was Christ’s and His interceding for Peter (Luke 22:32; John 13:21-30).

Judas forfeited his share among the disciples, and thus he had his share among the wicked; the faithless, who will have their share in the lake that burns eternally, there is the reward for the faithless, there is the reward for the wicked (Rev. 21:8).

Their Trust in God’s Will

So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from usone of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection. And they put forward two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also called Justus, and Matthias.  And they prayed and said, You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place. And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles (Acts 1:21-26; ESV)?

In replacing Judas, the Apostles not only trusted in God’s Word, but also in the Will of God. Notice that there are three elements of this choice as they seek to distinguish Barsabbas and Matthias: 1) the qualification, must have been called by Christ, 2) the determination, submitting to God’s sovereignty by casting lots, and 3) the obligation, must become with us a witness to His resurrection. The call to be an apostle was a call to die, it was a call to leave everything in order gain Christ.  The Greek word for witness in v. 22 is marturos, the word from which we get the word martyr – signifying that the apostle God chose would follow the other Apostles, losing their lives for the sake of the Gospel.

Have you been called to be a witness of Jesus Christ?

If you are saved, and really saved, then the lot has fallen on you to sacrifice and to give up your life for Christ. Really, is that you? If so, your life should be then on a similar mission, for anyone who would follow after Christ, Jesus says “must deny themselves, take up their cross and follow Me” – and be willing at any moment to get up on that cross and sacrifice your own self, your own feelings, your own lusts, your own desires, so that you might be a witness to who Jesus Christ is!

Every day, the Christian is called to die just a little bit more to self, and to live just a little bit more for Christ, everyday!  Until that day when you find that there is no more self, and there is only Jesus, at that time you are gone; you’ll be forever in the presence of the One for whom you died and now live (Gal. 2:20).

Listen to this week’s full sermon for free.

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