What to Do While Waiting
for a Breakthrough
Acts: The Unfinished Story of the Church Series [2]
Acts 1:12-26
WHAT NOT TO DO WHILE
WAITING FOR A BREAKTHROUGH
• Depend on yourself: “Try to figure out on your own.”
 Self-reliance is the world’s main advice for life.
 It denies our fundamental need for dependence on God.
Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
don't try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God's voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
he's the one who will keep you on track.
Don't assume that you know it all.
Run to God! Run from evil!
Proverbs 3:5-7 [MSG]
WHAT NOT TO DO WHILE
WAITING FOR A BREAKTHROUGH
• Depend on yourself: “Try to figure out on your own.”
 Self-reliance is the world’s main advice for life.
 It denies our fundamental need for dependence on God.
• Depend on people: “Pull some strings of right connection.”
 It may only lead us to disillusionment.
 It’s better to trust in God rather than in man.
3Put
not your trust in princes,
in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.
4 When his breath departs, he returns to the earth;
on that very day his plans perish.
Psalm 146:3-4
WHAT NOT TO DO WHILE
WAITING FOR A BREAKTHROUGH
• Depend on yourself: “Try to figure out on your own.”
 Self-reliance is the world’s main advice for life.
 It denies our fundamental need for dependence on God.
• Depend on people: “Pull some strings of right connection.”
 It may only lead us to disillusionment.
 It’s better to trust in God rather than in man.
• Depend on luck: “Cross your fingers and just hope for it.”
 It makes us to be superstitious and lazy.
 Our hope is in God not in fate.
Are there any among the false gods
of the nations that can bring rain?
Or can the heavens give showers?
Are you not he, O LORD our God?
We set our hope on you,
for you do all these things.
Jeremiah 14:22
WHAT TO DO: FOLLOWING THE EXAMPLE
OF JESUS’ FOLLOWERS IN ACTS 1
1) While waiting for a breakthrough, we are to devote ourselves
to praying together in unity.
12
Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet,
which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day's journey away. 13And when
they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were
staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas,
Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon
the Zealot and Judas the son of James. 14 All these with one accord
were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women
and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers. (vs.12-14)
WHAT TO DO: FOLLOWING THE EXAMPLE
OF JESUS’ FOLLOWERS IN ACTS 1
1) While waiting for a breakthrough, we are to devote ourselves
to praying together in unity.
 In waiting together for the Holy Spirit in Jerusalem, they
devote themselves to corporate prayers—i.e., persevering
in prayer continually.
 In praying together, they were united in one accord
[homothymadón = with same passion/heart].
Importance of Corporate Prayer
- Adapted from “Sweet ‘Our’ Prayer” by John Piper (DesiringGod.org)
Praying together…
①Help us guard against the individualistic pride that seeks to be
admired for outstanding devotion.
②Helps but does not take the place of private prayer; instead
they deepen and strengthen each other.
③Protect us from carelessness and mindlessness in prayer.
④Reminds us that we are part of a larger family with a Father
who knows our needs and loves to meet them.
Importance of Corporate Prayer
- adapted from “Sweet ‘Our’ Prayer” by John Piper (DesiringGod.org)
The early church is marked by this lesson of praying together
(Acts 1:14; 2:42; 4:24–30; 6:6; 12:5, 12; 13:2–3; 14:23; 16:25; 20:36).
The results are:
•the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost,
•signs and wonders at the hands of the apostles,
•bold witnessing to the Word of God,
•the conversion of many priests,
•the sending out of frontier missionaries,
•the establishment of new churches,
•the rescue of apostles from prison,
•and last, but not least, the sweetening of a final farewell on a
beach in Miletus . . .
WHAT TO DO: FOLLOWING THE EXAMPLE
OF JESUS’ FOLLOWERS IN ACTS 1
1) While waiting for a breakthrough, we are to devote ourselves
to praying together in unity.
 In waiting together for the Holy Spirit in Jerusalem, they
devoted themselves to corporate prayers—i.e., persevering
in prayer continually.
 In praying together, they were united in one accord
[homothymadón = with same passion/heart].
 In waiting for a breakthrough, corporate prayer (as well as
individual prayer) must be on our top priority and
declaration of our dependence on God.
WHAT TO DO: FOLLOWING THE EXAMPLE
OF JESUS’ FOLLOWERS IN ACTS 1
2) While waiting for a breakthrough, we are to search and
meditate on the Scriptures as our anchor and guide.
15
In those days Peter stood up among the brothers
(the company of persons was in all about 120) and said,
16 “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. 17 For he was numbered
among us and was allotted his share in this ministry.” 18 (Now this man
acquired a field with the reward of his wickedness, and falling headlong
he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out. 19 And it
became known to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the field was
called in their own language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.)
20 “For it is written in the Book of Psalms, “‘May his camp become
desolate, and let there be no one to dwell in it’;
and ‘Let another take his office.’ (vs. 15-20)
WHAT TO DO: FOLLOWING THE EXAMPLE
OF JESUS’ FOLLOWERS IN ACTS 1
2) While waiting for a breakthrough, we are to search and
meditate on the Scriptures as our anchor and guide.
 On the side of their devotion is their diligent search, study,
and meditation on Scripture for a right perspective.
 Peter as the leader of the spiritual community leads this
process and draws a timely perspective from Psalm 69 and
109 concerning Judas Iscariot.
 In waiting for a breakthrough, Scripture must be also our
source of anchor and guide above all other opinions and
wisdom.
WHAT TO DO: FOLLOWING THE EXAMPLE
OF JESUS’ FOLLOWERS IN ACTS 1
3) While waiting for a breakthrough, we are to obey and trust
God’s guidance together.
21
So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the
time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22beginning
from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us
—one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection.”
23 And they put forward two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also
called Justus, and Matthias. 24 And they prayed and said, “You, Lord,
who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have
chosen 25 to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from
which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” 26 And
they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and
he was numbered with the eleven apostles. (vs.21-26)
WHAT TO DO: FOLLOWING THE EXAMPLE
OF JESUS’ FOLLOWERS IN ACTS 1
3) While waiting for a breakthrough, we are to obey and trust
God’s guidance together.
 In following the biblical principle and mandate, their
obedience is deliberate, communal, and God-dependent.
 To replace the 12th Apostle, they chose an Old Testament
method to seek God’s prompting and guidance. (For us, we
can rely on the leading of the indwelling Holy Spirit.)
 In waiting for a breakthrough, Obeying as well as trusting in
God’s guidance and prompting is essential for experiencing
God’s work rather than man’s work.
Sending Up Our Cries to the Same Common Father
I have often said it would be a thing very desirable and very likely
to be followed with a great blessing, if there could be some
contrivance, that there should be an agreement of all God’s
people in America, that are well affected to this work, to keep a
Day of Fasting and Prayer to God; wherein we should all unite on
the same day… Some perhaps may think its being all on the same
day, is a circumstance of no great consequence; but I can’t be of
that mind… It seems to me, it would mightily encourage and
animate God’s saints, in humbly and earnestly seeking God, for
such blessings which concerns them all; and that it would be
much for the rejoicing of all, to think, that at the same time, such
multitudes of God’s dear children, far and near, were sending up
their cries to the same common Father, for the same motives.
- Jonathan Edwards, 1742
THREE PRACTICAL QUESTIONS
FOR OUR EVERYDAY LIFE
1.
What must be changed in us to start devoting ourselves to
corporate prayer in unity? What is my first step in this?
1.
How do we keep Scripture as our daily anchor and guide—
individually as well as corporately?
1.
What do we need to obey and trust as God’s guidance as
Christ’s community in 2012? What is my part in this?
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Acts 1:12-26 What to Do While Waiting for a