As I am finishing up the final editing of my manuscript for my book: STRENGTH FOR TODAY (Daily Devotional Guide of the New Testament), I came across an outline I want to share with you because it is so encouraging. (This one is from the May 1st devotional, from Acts 1, entitled: "3 Final Promises"). Right before Jesus ascended to heaven following His resurrection, He made these final three promises to His disciples, and in turn, to us.
First, He promised them the PRESENCE OF GOD. "Wait for the promise of the Father, which you have heard from Me. For John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized by the Holy Spirit not many days from now" (Acts 1:4-5). Remember, when He was with them in the Upper Room (John 14-16), He told them that He would go away, but that He would send another "Comforter" to abide with them forever. Thank God for the promise of the Spirit to all who are believers in Jesus. Even though we do not have the Lord's presence with us physically, we have the Spirit's presence with us!
Second, He promised them POWER. "After this, you shall receive power, and you shall be my witnesses" (Acts 1:8). Yes, God has not only given us the Holy Spirit (His divine presence), but also His power to witness to the world. To all those believers who say they just don't have the ability to witness for Christ, I say: You are right, you don't. That's why God has promised us HIS power to do the job.
Third, He promised them the PAROUSIA. That is the Greek word for Christ's second coming. Actually, it was an angel who made this promise when Jesus was ascending to heaven: "Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as you have seen Him go into heaven" (Acts 1:11). Oh how wonderful is that promise! Nothing is more encouraging to me in this depressing world, this ungodly society, this anti-Christian culture we live in today, than the glorious truth of the soon coming of Christ!
Three promises you can count on: (1) His Presence (in the form of the Holy Spirit), vs. 4; His Power (to evangelize the world), vs. 8; and His Parousia (or second coming), vs. 11. Cheer up dear Christian. We are standing on the promises of God!