Easter’s Over - What Do We Do Now?
Acts 1:4-8 

Good Morning to all of God’s People from the Voices Of Hope Evangelistic Team on this Sunday after Easter!   It’s such a blessing to be able to worship with you today wherever you are!  I thank God for the opportunity to serve Him and to share His message with the world through today’s technology!   

Let’s pray:
Father, As we gather together through the internet, I ask that Your Truth saturate our hearts today.  Help us to stay focused on You.  May the truth in Your Word guide our lives.  I pray that our hearts will overflow with joy and that we will have a strong desire to share the good news of Jesus' life, death and resurrection wherever we go.  May our lives model Christ in all we say and do.   In Jesus’ name, Amen 

Our Message today is titled “What Do We Do Now?”  Our scripture comes from the New Testament Book of Acts, Chapter 1, verses 4 through 8 and you can be turning there in your Bibles. 

The week leading up to Easter Sunday is a very fascinating time in the life of churches.  Many churches celebrated Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and then Easter with special services and music.  The church builds toward Easter for weeks but then as soon as Easter is over, it’s almost like back to business as usual. Normal services, normal activities. 

But Easter Resurrection is not just a one-day celebration. It is not a single event for the year; it is a celebration for the entire life-time of the world.  

But it certainly wasn’t back to business as usual for Jesus’ disciples and followers.  They had just experienced the heights of euphoria to the depths of depression and then euphoria again…Jesus was back! He was resurrected from the dead and had appeared to them on Sunday. 

All that Jesus had gone through was over; His earthly body has been resurrected and His mission to redeem man has been completed. Easter has been instituted and the very foundation of the New Testament Church has been secured. 

After Jesus’ resurrection and before His Ascension, Jesus gave us our purpose.   As believers, Jesus told us in Matthew 28:19: “Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”  

As Christians, we have a task to complete, a job to finish and a mission to accomplish; we shouldn’t get complacent or lethargic and fail to fulfill our responsibilities as believers.  We should be looking for opportunities to share the Gospel with the lost.   As we go about our daily lives, are we doing this?  Have we found any opportunities? Are we really looking for opportunities?   If we refuse to fulfill our charge, Jesus can and will use others to carry out His mission. 

Now reading from Acts 1, verses 4 through 8:  1 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.  5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.  6 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?  7 And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.  8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.  

In these scriptures, Jesus answers our question, “What do we do now?” and shows us three things we should do after Easter. 

First, verses 4 and 5 tell us that there is a time for WAITING. 

After Easter is over, Jesus shows us that this is not the time to hurry on to the next event in our lives, but a time to stop, to reflect, to let the true meaning of what we have just experienced change our lives.   

So, the disciples returned to Jerusalem to wait.  In verse 14, maybe we see our answer to our question, “now what.” “They all joined constantly in prayer.” For those of us thinking, “What are we waiting on, let’s get out there and share Christ with the people in our lives,” maybe this period after Easter is a time for us to do the same. Maybe we should think about what we have just experienced at Easter; what it means, reflect, pray, discern. 

A youth at a Sunrise Service said something I thought was truly insightful.   He said, “Have you let Easter change your life, or did Easter only change your day?” 

What did Easter do for us? Are we the same today as we were several weeks ago, or do we have a new excitement about Christ, a new feeling about who we are, a better understanding about who we would be if Jesus hadn’t traveled to the cross? 

Second, in verses 6 and 7, we see there is a time for WONDERING. 

Do we ever wonder why Jesus had to die on a cross?  Billy Graham once said, “The cross shows the seriousness of our sin, but it also shows us the immeasurable love of God.”    

We were so covered in sin that we were not even worthy of the CRUMBS beneath the Lord’s table. But God is a God of mercy, of love, of forgiveness. No matter how bad we think we are, no matter what we have done, no matter what is in our past, the cross is even bigger.  God’s love and forgiveness still covers us. We can’t just KNOW this, we need to OWN this, we need to CLAIM this and be changed by it! 

Even as we have been waiting and wondering, there is still one more thing for us to do. 

Third, in verse eight, we see there is a time for WORKING.

We have far too many Christians today who are kind of like the disciples before Pentecost. They believe in Christ. They gather to worship Christ. They believe in His death and resurrection, but there is no power from on high in their lives. They are not making any impact in their world. There is no boldness to declare Christ. There is no power to live the Christian life. There is no transformation in their lives. They plod along struggling with the same issues and character weaknesses like they always have. It’s like they have an 8-cylinder engine but only about 1 cylinder is firing. 

It is not enough to just wait and wonder; there’s work to be done.  What are we doing to build up the Body of Christ?   There are four things I believe the Lord wants us to know. 

First, sharing the Gospel of Christ is not optional! It’s our MANDATE to obey! He doesn’t suggest we do it; He demands and expects us to do it. We are to go and tell!  Second, it’s our MINISTRY to engage! Every believer has been given a spiritual gift to use.  God has equipped us through the Holy Spirit to hear His voice and see the heartaches of those around us!  We need to get involved and use our ministry!  Third, it’s our MISSION to accomplish!  Missions begin at home and then spiral outward. We should have a heart for missions and ministry!  Finally, it’s our MESSAGE to proclaim! Jesus still saves! The wages of sin is still death! God has provided redemption to those who trust in Christ alone! There is no other message! If we fail at this, we have no other options. 

So, how is our spiritual walk with the Lord?  The Early Church set an example for us to follow. 

1. They walked in Joy because Jesus is alive! 

The early church must have had a new hope; a new joy in their lives that they never had before. That’s what happens when we put our faith in Jesus Christ. The confidence that we are never alone; the knowledge that we will never face anything that we and Jesus can’t handle together; the anticipation of heaven; all this enables us to walk in Joy. 

2. They walked in Obedience.

Before long, Jesus would be gone. That joy deep within their heart would never leave them. Faith keeps it burning strong. But God allows us to face life without Him physically walking beside us. What then? Obey. Just walk in obedience. There are many blessings to the obedient. Listen. 

Salvation: “Son though he was, he (Jesus) learned obedience from what he suffered and, because He was perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.” Hebrews 5:8-9 

Holy Spirit: “We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.’ Acts 5:32 

Eternal life: “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.” John 10:27-28 

God’s Love: “If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.” John 15:10 

Obedience opens the door to heaven’s blessings. Don’t think God will smile on us when we walk in willful disobedience. Don’t think we will enjoy the blessings of heaven if we are living contrary to God’s known will in our life. Walk in obedience and we will walk in His love. Walk in obedience and we will walk in His blessings. The Psalmist wrote in Psalm 84:11:  “For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” 

When we walk in obedience, the Lord will shield us from danger and shine His blessings on us. In fact, He will withhold no good thing from us. 

3. They walked in Service to the King.

We are saved to serve. That’s one of the reasons God doesn’t just zap us up to heaven when we repent of our sin. We need to grow. We need to mature. We need to become more Christ-like. As we do that, we are to build people up and minister to them. 

The Bible says in Romans 12:4-8: “4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.” 

Every Christian has a place in the Kingdom. Every Christian has been given gifts and talents that are to be used for the good of others. The Bible says in Ephesians 4:11-12: “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.” 

The ideal for the church would be that everyone knows their spiritual gifts and everyone is using them to disciple or prepare God’s people for spiritual work; then the body of believers would be built up and they would mature.

There are at least two stages of our spiritual growth; learning and teaching. When we first come to Christ, we need to spend time learning about Him and His will for our lives. The disciples spent three years with Jesus. Paul spent three years learning about Jesus (Galatians 1:18) before he began his missionary ministry.  The point is that when we first come to Christ, we need to immerse ourselves in the Bible and in Bible Study. We need to learn those big words and what they mean. We need to study theology. But then comes a time we graduate and get into ministry ourselves. 

Apparently, some didn’t want to do this even in the early church. The writer of Hebrews said in Hebrews 5:11-14: We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s Word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.” 

How are we doing at this? Are we feeding on milk or meat? Jesus said “GO – and make disciples.” He said to go to the “highways and byways” and bring them in.”

The book of Acts records that every day there was a Bible Study going on somewhere in someone’s home.   

Are we learning and growing each day? Are we passing on what we know to others?   What are we doing with the life that Christ purposely gave us?  

John 3:16 says: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” 

The new law that Jesus enacted, through death on the cross and resurrection three days later, makes victory possible for everyone. But some have been unwilling to take the steps that are necessary in order for that victory to be a reality in their life.  They have never accepted the gift of salvation that Jesus offers to all. They have never surrendered their will to His so that they can live in constant obedience to Him. Today could be their victory day. Today could be the day of their celebration. 

In Romans 10:9, we are told that “if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” 

If you haven’t accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, invite Him into your life right now. God is around you; God is by you; He wants to be in you. He wants to put His Spirit inside of you. Accept His free gift of salvation today. 

Or maybe you have known God but walked away from His call on your life to do your own thing or have been wounded and are now angry with Him or feel like you can’t come back to Him because of the depth of your sin.  When we turn back to Jesus in repentance, when we ask for forgiveness, intending to live a godly life again, God’s mercy reaches out to us with a message of love.   God is a God of mercy, of redemption, of restoration and of renewal. Just come by faith to the throne of grace to receive it. He is waiting for you with open arms.   Repent all over again and get back to fulfilling God’s plan in and through your life.  

Let me leave you with this story. A heart surgeon was speaking with an eight year old boy that he was preparing to do surgery on. “Tomorrow morning I'll open up your heart" the surgeon said to the eight year-old-boy. "You'll find Jesus there," the boy said. The surgeon continued, "I'll open your heart and check the damage." "You'll find Jesus there," the boy said. "When I see the damage, I will suture you back up and then think about the next step," said the surgeon. "You will find Jesus in my heart because my Sunday school teacher told me so. She said it says so in the Bible. Besides that, our Sunday school songs say He lives there," said the boy. 

The surgery took place the next day. After the surgery, the surgeon began to make notes of what he found. In his mind there was no hope and no cure. The little boy would die within a matter of months. The thought began to get to the doctor and all of a sudden, the doctor shouted to God, "Why did you do this to the boy? Why can't he live a normal life? God spoke to the surgeon's heart and said, "The boy is a part of my flock and will always be a part of my flock. When he is with me there will be no more suffering and pain. He will have comfort and peace. One day his parents, as well as you, will join him and my flock will continue to grow." 

The next day the surgeon went to the boy's room and sat down with the parents beside the bed. In a moment or two, the boy opened his eyes and asked very quietly, "What did you find in my heart?" With tears flowing down his cheeks, the surgeon said, "I found Jesus there." (author unknown) 

What would the surgeon find if he opened your heart?  Would he find that service to others?  That commitment to learn God’s Word, to be with God’s people?  Would he find evidence of giving to others?  Evidence of love for others? Would he find Jesus there?

I pray that he would. I pray that if at this very minute, those things aren’t in your heart, you do as the believers did a day or a week or a month or a year after their Savior was resurrected. They turned their lives in to God and witnessed the blessings and miracles that God had waiting for them. 

During the coming week may we all take time to draw closer to Jesus, may we spend time studying God’s Word and may we spend time in prayer with God.  May we use the gifts God has given us to serve and honor Him and find ways to share Jesus with our brothers and sisters through our words and deeds.  In Jesus’ name, Amen


When Voices Of Hope Evangelistic Team is ministering in Word and Song, their Fire Choir will sing several songs and then lead the Congregation in singing. Since that isn't possible on-line, please click here and may you be blessed by the song, "He Arose!"