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Book of ACTS: Acts 1:9-11

Book of Acts (Used with permision Hugo Cheng)

The Bible Teacher's Commentary

Paul J. Bucknell

The Kingdom Plan and Purpose

Acts 1:6-11 Kingdom Plan | Acts 1:6-8 Plan | Acts1:8 Power| Acts 1:9-11 United


Acts 1:9-11, The Lord's United Design, serves as the last of four parts in The Kingdom Plan and Purpose series on 1:6-11 that unites God's plan with His power, His mission with the Holy Spirit. Every strong believer clearly lives for God's purpose by the power of the Holy Spirit.

C) The Lord's United Design (Acts 1:9-11)

I hope that we all are beginning to see how the plan of God works together with the power of God. God never calls one to do a task that He does not enable him or her to do. We can think about this with parenting, student, witnessing, personal living, leading, etc.

Power and plan

It is important that we learn how to unite the power with the plan. When this happens, great things begin to happen. Before this happens, though, we are much like the disciples here. They stood gazing at Jesus' ascension and were rebuked.

Acts 1:9-11

9 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. 10 And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was departing, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them; 11 and 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."

Why were the disciples rebuked? The angels affirmed that Jesus had not only ascended but at the right time will descend. In other words, Jesus is alive. He is directing the church. This is such a critical point that will be repeated all the way through the Book of Acts.

Below is a diagram which shows Christ coming to earth (incarnation) and ascending to heaven (asension - these verses). The Holy Spirit would descend (see in chapter 2 of Acts) and work in all the believers until Christ comes again as the angels said.

Christ and Holy Spirit diagram

We cannot just sit on the sidelines. Oh, no. We are the players. The game is going on. You are responsible for your part. If you do not know what it is, then you better get close to God and find out. If you feel inadequate for your position, then call upon Him who strengthens you to rightly handle that job to His glory. Every believer not only has the Holy Spirit but is accountable to allow the Spirit of Christ to live through his life.

We dare not sit on the sidelines!

We need to stop being so attracted by the world. Is not the world increasingly getting evil? Why would you flirt with it? Why not instead become preoccupied with what God wants to do through your life. This is kingdom living. Being alert and ready to see God work in and through you. It is a total different mentality than the average Christian.

It is when we combine the divine power with the divine plan, we are set up on our feet, armed and ready for spiritual battle. Don't just think about what Jesus did, but focus on the implications of God saving you and imparting His Spirit in your life.

Misunderstandings of the Holy Spirit

Let's briefly mention three misunderstandings of the giving of the Holy Spirit.

  1. This does not mean that we are perfectly ready to do what we need to do. We sometimes are ill-prepared because of lack of study in God's Word. We do not rightly relate to the Holy Spirit. If you do not carefully study God's Word and mediate day and night on God's Word, then Christ will not easily be formed in you. We are not always fully ready, but if we at any point humble ourselves and straighten things out, we would see how the Holy Spirit would lead us even in those difficult circumstances.

  2. Having the Holy Spirit does not mean that you will be the student with perfect grades. It is important to excel in what we do, but we are differently gifted. Some however, are preoccupied with envy, want to get the best grades and will skip worship of God to get them. I rather flunk out of college then go to hell worshiping idols. Cut your hand off; remove your eye if it lead you to hell. Life is much more precious. We need to learn to trust God within our limitations. Rejoice in your limitations. They are God's gift to you. He has His special position for each of us to carry out His glorious will. It depends on the Holy Spirit. They were not to do anything but wait. But if we are out of communion with God, dare we do His work. I recommend that you humble your heart until things are right between you and God.

  3. Having the Holy Spirit does not mean that you will do all great and awesome things. We might get the impression with Peter's speech that this will happen. God typically works in regular ways. You might object, "But didn't you say that the Holy Spirit is God?" The function of the Holy Spirit is just like the life of Jesus, Jesus did many good 'normal' things. But God still lived through His life. It is more important that we do not limit what God can do by a lack of faith. Just because He does not always do God-sized things, this does not mean that He will not.

Be open to pray for the sick, witness to the lost, pray for the impossible. Try to sense what God would want to do through you even in dark and terrifying times. Be at peace.


  1. The reason God's kingdom is not expanding around us is largely because of this disconnect. We do not see how God's empowering us with His Spirit is related to how we should live out our lives. We might make room for a worship or cell meeting but do not orient our lives around His work.

  2. The worldly Christian has the Spirit but lives in his or her ease and comfort dismissing their obligation to actively carry out God's plan.

  3. The self-confident Christian is busy doing what he thinks is God's word, but it is not. It is of the flesh. He needs to repent from acting independently from God and remember that unless the Spirit of God empowers, it is of the flesh.

  4. The neat thing is that God is working in and through us. This is the whole story of Acts and now. Catch a vision of how God works and welcome His work in you. No matter whether you are a student, parent, boss, researcher, out of a job, etc., God will mightily use you.

This mini-series ends here. Feel free to look below for other resources or watch the video podcast of this message.

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