Why Do You Stand Looking into the Sky?

And just like that Easter is over… The decorations are being put up, the candy is slowing (or not so slowly) being consumed, and our work schedules have returned to normal. Like most churches, Tunnel Hill Baptist Church filled her calendar with special events to bring people to our church in hopes that they might hear the Gospel and be saved.  We have experienced some success and we hope that we will see even more success in the weeks to come from those efforts.  However, I think we all have a temptation to stop and relax for a little bit now that the Easter Season is over. As I pondered this, I was drawn to the events that happened in the first chapter of Acts.

Jesus said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”

And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:7-11)

There is a ton to unpack from this passage but I want to draw your attention to two things.

  1. Before Jesus ascended, He gave us a task.
Despite the disciples having loads of questions, Jesus only tells them two things:  You will receive power from the Holy Spirit & you will be My witnesses.
 
This was what we need to know in order to continue on in this life after Easter.  First, we would receive power from God.  One of the most fantastic and yet overlooked realities of the Christian life is our relationship with the Holy Spirit.  I find it both frustrating and annoying to hear how people constantly try to do the things of God relying on their own knowledge or abilities.  We have been empowered by God to do fantastic and wonderful things through his Spirit.  We need to set out to do the work of God, but not through the carnal means of the world.  Churches and individuals should not and cannot rely on personality, marketing, or entertainment to reach a lost world.  The world is already using these things and they will always do a far better job than we can.  We might see short-term success, but we will make very few disciples.
 
Instead, we need to allow the Spirit to work through us and draw people to God.  We need to be shining examples of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  We need to come alongside people and stay with them for the long haul.  We need to constantly point people toward Jesus, his grace, and his example.  At first, people will not understand what we are doing; sometimes we will not really understand either.  But eventually, Lord willing, they will begin to see the truth and the truth will set them free (John 8:32)

 

  1. The Angels had to give the Disciples a push
Once we understand the first part, we are allowed to give a little laugh at the second part.  Jesus has commissioned his followers to go and be his witnesses.  He then ascends to Heaven and the clouds obstruct their view of Jesus.
Then, his followers just… stand there.We should all understand why.  I am sure that every reader would do the same thing.  I have never seen a man fly up into the sky and I am sure I would stare for a while to see if He came back down!!
 
So the angels gave them a little push.  It is one of the questions in the Bible that make us stop and think, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky?”  The angels confirm their hopes that Jesus would indeed return, but it would not be today.  Their statement serves and a gentle reminder.  They are being reminded that they have work to do.  They were called to go and be His witnesses, but they could not do that if they continued to stand there and stare at the sky.
 
The same is true for us today.  Since we have the same task, we also need the same reminder from time to time.  We have not been called to sit and relax.  We are not here merely to be a check-mark on an attendance sheet or to fill a space in the pew.  We are His witnesses, and as witnesses we have to tell people about Jesus.  We have to tell them who He is, what He has done, and how we have experienced Him in our own lives!!!

Did you know that there is not one time in Scripture that a pulpit is mentioned?  Yet there are several times where Paul, Peter or another disciple was in the market or walking along the road, and they share the Gospel with people who believed and were saved. You are crucial to the fulfillment of the Great Commission and it won’t happen just in the church building.  It will happen where you work, play, and live. So what are you waiting for?  Quit look up at the clouds and let’s do something TOGETHER!!!!


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