Lessons from the Upper Room

bible opened on table with a notepad next to it and pencil.

As I continue my series in the Book of Acts, I would like to pick back up at Acts 1:9 and go all the way to the end of the first chapter. You can click here to read this section in the Bible online.  There are some lessons that can be learned from the disciples in the upper room but first, I would like to touch upon the ascension of Jesus Christ and His second coming. Acts 1:9 begins to tell us about the ascension of Jesus Christ. The scripture tells us, “Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.”. The ascension of Jesus was already promised to the disciples in John 7:33-34 (NKJV) which says, “Then Jesus said to them, “I shall be with you a little while longer, and then I go to Him who sent Me.  You will seek Me and not find Me, and where I am you cannot come.””. We know that God was the one who sent Jesus to Earth, and as scripture says He will return to who sent Him, which is God. The Book of Acts tells us Jesus was received by a cloud, the cloud was the presence of God in this case. We also have examples in the Old Testament when God appeared as a cloud. Moses wrote in Exodus 13:21-22 (NKJV) “And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night.  He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day or the pillar of fire by night from before the people.”.  We also know from the Book of Acts, that Jesus will one day return to us, Acts 1:11 (NKJV) tells us, “who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.””. I believe today that we are in the last hours before the rapture. I do promise you that I will do a teaching series on the end times after my current series on the Book of Acts. It is also confirmed that Jesus will return in a cloud in Luke 21:27 (NIV), “At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.”.

Acts 1:12 (NKJV) tells us, “Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey.”. The disciples have just returned to Jerusalem and if you read the first part of the next verse it mentioned they went to the upper room of the place they were staying at. I would like you to notice in verse 12 where it uses the term Sabbaths Day, which is the distance that Jews could walk on the Sabbath, which is roughly less than a mile. Verse 13 also provides a listing of all the current disciples in the upper room. In the next verse, there is an important lesson that we can learn from the disciples, and that is as Christians to come together with the same purpose, to seek God, and pray in the name of Jesus. Acts 1:14 (NKJV) says, “These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.”. The disciples prayed together in the Name of Jesus, whatever your need is ask for it in the name of Jesus. Jesus told us in John 14:13 (NKJV), “And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”.  Some synonyms for the word disciple are a follower, believer, and admirer. If you think about it every true Christian is a disciple, we need to come together and pray as one. I have been in several churches in my years of being a Christian, I recall one that had a prayer service every Sunday evening were people that came prayed together as a group. There were not many people that came, and sadly the attendance for that service dwindled down so much, that it got discontinued. Let me first say I understand that some people must work certain hours, and children have school activities that they participate in, but what about the Christians who do have the time to go to a church service, other than Sunday morning. I feel every church, regardless of denomination could benefit from having a prayer night throughout the week along with its Sunday and mid-week Bible Study service. Does Sunday football rank higher than God? Does your favorite TV Show rank higher than God? Do you put God first, or do you put entertainment from the world first? Did we not forget Romans 12:2 (KJV) which says, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”. God should and must be our priority in our life, and everything else can follow and He will provide for us. Matthew 6:33 (GNT) reminds us, “Instead, be concerned above everything else with the Kingdom of God and with what he requires of you, and he will provide you with all these other things.”.

Continuing through Acts 1:15-26, the disciples had a decision to make, they had to find another person to join them and take the spot of Judas Iscariot. As many of you know Judas was the disciple who betrayed Jesus. Acts 1:17 (NKJV) tells us, “for he was numbered with us and obtained a part in this ministry.”. Because he betrayed Jesus, he was just a ‘member’ of the disciples, but he was not truly saved. We should really drill down on Judas as Christians. There are many people in the church who are ‘members’, but they are just going through the motions. There are many Christians who get saved and do not have the desire to discontinue their sinful life. They go up to the altar say the sinner’s prayer and go back to their sin, but they still attend church every week, and they might read their devotion sometimes, but they never get serious with God. I’m not saying that when you become born again that you will never sin again, but you should have a strong desire not to sin and should correct yourself when you do fall short and seek God continually. When you become born again as a follower (synonym for disciple) of Jesus Christ, and you go back to your sinful life you are betraying Jesus Christ as your savior. I say that boldly after taking some time to study the word betray. Some synonyms for the word betray are break faith, break a promise, and break trust. When you proclaim Jesus as Lord of your life that is a promise to Him, that is putting your faith in Him. When you go back to your sinful nature you are betraying him by breaking that faith you proclaimed when you gave your life to Jesus Christ. If you read Acts 1:18 you can see that Judas died a shameful death in which he hung himself. In this part of Acts, it talks about the disciples having to appoint to someone to take the spot of Judas. If you read verses 21 and 22 you will see whoever they pick must be a man who was with the disciples during Jesus’s earthly ministry. In verse 23 they proposed two men, Justus and Matthias. Another important lesson we can learn from the disciples is to turn to God for guidance in decision making. I have taught on several times before on the topic of making decisions, as Christians, we must turn to God in all the decisions that we make. Acts 1:24-26 (NKJV) tells us, “And they prayed and said, “You, O Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which of these two You have chosen  to take part in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.” And they cast their lots, and the lot fell on Matthias. And he was numbered with the eleven apostles.”. The disciples knew that they had a decision to make, they looked to God and prayed and asked Him to reveal who was the one to pick to be among them as a disciple. If you notice in verse 26, it mentions that while they prayed, they cast lots. Casting lots was a custom of the Jews to put names on stones and place them in a container and shake it until one fell out, this was an acceptable method used to decide with prayer before the Holy Spirit came to them. Isn’t it great that we don’t need to cast lots like they had to?  We can pray in the Spirit and seek God on what the best decision is for us, and He will reveal His answer to us in a unique way for our own individual situation.

I would like to encourage you to follow these examples I have outlined from the disciples which are one to pray together as the church, and second to seek God in every decision you make by praying in the Holy Spirit. We must also keep in mind once we turn to Jesus Christ, and fully surrender our lives to Him, we must not go back to our old sinful nature. I would like to encourage you to click the subscribe button on this page so you can receive email alerts for when a new blog post is made available. My next teaching will be on the Day of Pentecost, please stay tuned for more!