Acts 1:4
And when they were gathered together, He commanded them: "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift the Father promised, which you have heard Me discuss.
The Divine EquipmentR.A. Redford Acts 1:4
The Supreme Promise to the ChurchP.C. Barker Acts 1:4
The Dawn of the Gospel DayR.A. Redford Acts 1:1-5
The Forty Days After the PassionE. Johnson Acts 1:1-5
Christ's Mission and OursS. Conway Acts 1:1-8
A True Commencement Must have Respect to What has Gone BeforeH. C. Trumbull, D. D.Acts 1:1-12
Aspects of Christ on the EarthActs 1:1-12
Christ Directs Thought to HeavenActs 1:1-12
Christ Preceding His Apostles to HeavenA. Maclaren, D. DActs 1:1-12
Christ's Finished and Unfinished WorkA. Maclaren, D. DActs 1:1-12
Jesus LivesJ. Stoughton.Acts 1:1-12
Literary HistoriesW. R. Campbell.Acts 1:1-12
St. Luke a Model for the Bible StudentR. Burgess, B. D.Acts 1:1-12
Teaching to be Combined with DoingGf. Pentecost.Acts 1:1-12
The Ascending LordMonday ClubActs 1:1-12
The Ascension of ChristJ W. Hamilton.Acts 1:1-12
The Ascension: its Central PositionNesselmann.Acts 1:1-12
The Beginning of Apostolicity (1J. Parker, D. D.Acts 1:1-12
The Beginning of Apostolicity (2J. Parker, D. D.Acts 1:1-12
The Coronation of ChristW. B. Campbell.Acts 1:1-12
The Ever-Active ChristA. Verran.Acts 1:1-12
The Gospels and the ActsW. Arnot, D. D.Acts 1:1-12
The Gospels the Living Picture of ChristLittle's "Historical Lights."Acts 1:1-12
The Last Days of the Gospel PeriodW. Hudson.Acts 1:1-12
The Memorabilia of ChristActs 1:1-12
The Ministry of Jesus a BeginningW. Hudson.Acts 1:1-12
The Permanence of Christ in HistoryA. Maclaren, D. DActs 1:1-12
The Pre-Eminence of the Doctrine of Christ IncarnateEvangelical MagazineActs 1:1-12
The Resurrection and Ascension of ChristD. Jennings.Acts 1:1-12
The Unchanged PlanW. R. Campbell.Acts 1:1-12
The Uniqueness of Christ's Earthly MinistryD. Thomas, D. D.Acts 1:1-12
TheophilusBp. Jacobsen.Acts 1:1-12
The Promise of the FatherR. Tuck Acts 1:4, 5
A Witnessing ChurchG. Smeaton, D. D.Acts 1:4-8
Last WordsJ. R. Thomson, M. A.Acts 1:4-8
No Better for the Baptism of FireW. M. Punshon.Acts 1:4-8
Our Need of the Holy SpiritH. W. Beecher.Acts 1:4-8
The Ascension of ChristD. J. Burrell, D. D.Acts 1:4-8
The Baptism of the Holy GhostT. W. Jenkyn, D. D.Acts 1:4-8
The Disciples Waiting At Jerusalem for the Promise of the FatherW. Cousin.Acts 1:4-8
The Gospel First Tested At JerusalemWilliams of Wern.Acts 1:4-8
The Lord's Last Command to His DisciplesW. Hudson.Acts 1:4-8
The Need of WaitingW. E. Chadwick, M. A.Acts 1:4-8
The Power of the Holy SpiritActs 1:4-8
The Promise of the FatherS. S. TimesActs 1:4-8
The Promise of the SpiritC. Hodge, D. D.Acts 1:4-8
The Saviour's Last ChargeW. Halls.Acts 1:4-8
The Spirit Essential to the Establishment of the Christian ChurchJ. Morgan, D. D.Acts 1:4-8
True BaptismPreacher's AnalystActs 1:4-8
Waiting for the Promise of the FatherC. J. Brown, D. D.Acts 1:4-8
Waiting Upon God in His OrdinancesActs 1:4-8

Wait for the promise of the Father. The great Head of the Church addressing its leaders. The Son of God speaking to those who themselves should receive power to become the sons of God, and to lilt up the world into a Divine household. In the infancy of the Church all depended on simple obedience to orders. Immense evil from not waiting for God's time and preparation. Here are the two guiding lights - the promise unfolding the prospect, the commandment marking out the way.


1. The extent of it. "The Father's promise;" infinite as his love. Though faith was demanded, because sight of the future withheld, still the voice was the voice of infinite assurance.

2. The nature of the expectation. "Ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost." The gift already tasted, known by experience. We cannot be without "the earnest of the Spirit" if Christ's. We yet must look for a fuller baptism, especially as meeting responsibilities and trials, anticipating work and fruits.


1. With the word of promise in mind, expecting the fulfillment, "not many days hence."

2. In fellowship with one another and in prayer, that the heart may be open to the gifts, that they may be poured out upon all

3. At Jerusalem, where the two dispensations meet, where the main action against the kingdom of darkness can best commence, where the facts of the gospel have already preceded you, and you can build on the foundation laid in Zion.

4. In self-renunciation and faithfulness, not in slothful indifference or depression. While we make the best of present opportunities, the larger open to us. Do the work of the day in the day, and so wait for the promise of the Father. Individually, here is encouragement - grain of mustard seed will grow. Our Father must desire growth in us. Collectively, many applications - prospects of the Church and of the world. The true method of gathering in the masses, not by departing for Jerusalem before the time, but waiting till we are able to send out into the unconverted world the energy bestowed upon us. - R.

And being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem.
Before ascending Christ had —

I. A MISCONCEPTION TO REMOVE — respecting the date and character of the Messianic Kingdom.


1. The Father made the promise.

2. Christ was to bestow it.

3. The Holy Spirit was the subject. They were to receive a baptism, copious, cleansing, consecrating, and be endowed with spiritual power.


1. Its nature — "witnesses unto Me."

2. Its sphere ever widening till it reached the uttermost part of the earth.

(J. R. Thomson, M. A.)

I. THE COMMAND WAS OF A TRYING NATURE. "Not to depart from Jerusalem." This would —

1. Recall painful sympathies — the agony and crucifixion; the rejection by the Jews.

2. Suggest personal unfaithfulness in the denial by Peter, the defection by all.

3. Bring the fear of man. The Jerusalemites had slain the Master; what might the servants expect? Why did Christ give such hard orders? Discipline was needed, and Christ's own sovereignty must be asserted and accepted.

II. A GRACIOUS PROMISE ACCOMPANIED THIS TRYING COMMAND. If the command set forth the bitter severity of law, the promise had the sweet gentleness of the gospel. Thus God gives His servants mingled portions. Duty and privilege go together. Of the promise, observe —

1. It was of ancient date (Isaiah 44:3; Joel 2:28).

2. The Lord's recent utterance of it had made its terms familiar, "Which ye have heard of Me" (Luke 24:49).

3. It was the promise of the greatest possible good. When the Messiah had done, the next best thing was the gift of the Holy Ghost.

III. THE MEANING OF THIS PROMISE COULD BE FULLY APPREHENDED ONLY BY EXPERIENCE. They had heard the terms, and some of them had seen the "form of a dove" at Christ's baptism, but neither would make the promise clear. They must wait for a new blessing. It is so still. Experience reveals what must else be for ever unexplained. Of what, then, were the disciples to have experience?

1. Of the utmost possible nearness to God. The Incarnation had brought God near; but the Spirit was to unite the believer to God, and make Him a living temple.

2. Of an abundance of blessing. They were to have that which baptism represents — purity, refreshment, health.

3. Of a deep acquaintance with Divine truth. Christ had promised that the Spirit should bring to their remembrance what He had said.


1. Patience was exercised by remaining at Jerusalem. There are times and places in which witnessing for Christ is easy. Such a place was not Jerusalem. Disciples prove their fidelity by abiding in the way of duty in spite of hardship.

2. Faith was tried by uncertainty of time "not many days hence."

3. But past experience encouraged confidence and perseverance. Some of Christ's promises had been already fulfilled, and in some cases beyond all expectation.Conclusion: See here —

1. The gentleness of the Lord's discipline.

2. The condition on which He fulfils His promises.

(W. Hudson.)

There attaches a deep interest to this commandment of our Lord, from whatever point of view it is regarded. Tender associations cluster and cling about it.

I. A GRAVE CHARGE. "He commanded," etc. Revised version, "charged." The gravity of the charge is seen —

1. In what it was He asked them to do.

2. In the issues of it. What was it they were to wait for? The great promise. Generally this applied to the outpouring of the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost. It was a promise. It was the promise of the Father. All that the Church needs is embraced in this promise. If a promise be of the Father, we may be sure it is inviolable, and the thing it indicates invaluable. How differently we are inclined to think of matters from the view God takes of them. Our first thought is, probably, "Why not strike iron while it is hot,. and follow up just now, while the fame of Jesus is ringing out its praises, with the preaching of the truths for which He laid down His life?" God says "tarry" till ye be endued with power from on high. "My thoughts, not your thoughts," etc.

II. AN INSPIRED ATTITUDE. "To wait." This meant three things —

1. A looking for something under a profound conviction of its necessity.

2. A pleading for the object in prayer; and this they were doing for ten whole days. Show what prayer-meetings should be, and their place in the success of the Church.

3. The attitude of patient expectation, of prospective sufficiency. They took hold of God in prayer and waited round about Him until He should satisfy their longings and fill them with the glory of His praise.

III. A SPECIFIC COMMANDMENT. They were to wait at Jerusalem. This appointed place no haphazard, but a design of the infinite mind. Recall a few things of Jerusalem to see this.

1. It was the city of solemnities. Here Jews gathered — feasts and fasts held. Here stood the Temple, there it fell — there was to begin the building of a new and better temple that should stand for ever.

2. The city of sublime figure. "Thou art comely, O my have, as Jerusalem." "If I forget thee, let my right hand forget its cunning." "Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is Mount Zion," etc.

3. It was the concentration of all prophecy. "I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplication, and they shall look upon Me whom they have pierced."

4. How full it was of historic associations. City of Melchizedek, place of Abraham's offering, and the metropolis of David's kingdom, etc.

5. It was the place of danger. Here met all the rage and malice, envy and hatred of the time-honoured Scribes and Pharisees. Then why tarry here? To honour the people whose ancestors were worthy soldiers of the faith; to preach mercy and forgiveness where was found the most sin.

(W. Halls.)

At the village near which I reside, there is a foundry for casting cannon. After cannon are east they are tested by the founders. They first put in a single charge. If the cannon can bear that they put in the double charge. If the cannon can bear that without bursting, then they are pronounced fit for the field of battle, or for the deck of a man-of-war. The casters act wisely, for should there be one flaw it is better that it should be detected in the foundry-yard than when in the act of being fired. Now the gospel was a new and untried instrument. It had to be tested, and where better than at Jerusalem? If it could stand the test there it could stand it anywhere. Peter fired the first gun, and three thousand were converted in one day. Moreover a great multitude of the priests were obedient unto Christ. The apostles could not but have faith in the power of the gospel when they saw the men who mocked and crucified Christ, and gloried in what they did, exclaiming, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?"

(Williams of Wern.)

But wait for the promise of the Father
S. S. Times.
1. The great promise of the Father was, that He would send His Spirit into the hearts of men.

2. The promise is worth waiting for. Tarry ye, etc.

3. The fulfilment of the promise always brings power with it, and will make witnesses for Christ of all those who receive it.

4. When the promise is to be claimed, let no ambitious desires turn one away from receiving its baptism.

5. The Father, in His own good time, will fulfil His declarations concerning the universal sway of His kingdom.

(S. S. Times.)

The doctrine of the Trinity is the foundation of religion. The Father elects, the Son redeems, the Spirit sanctifies. The Son came in execution of the covenant of redemption, and having fulfilled its conditions, was entitled to its promises. One of these was the gift of the Spirit (Acts 2:33), which Christ again and again repromised.


II. CHRIST IS THE IMMEDIATE GIVER OF THE HOLY GHOST. He sends Him to whom He pleases, and bestows through Him what blessings He pleases. Therefore men must seek the Spirit specially from Christ as our Mediator.

III. ELECTION BY THE FATHER, AND REDEMPTION BY THE SON AVAIL ONLY IN VIRTUE OF THE SPIRIT'S WORK. Until the Spirit is received, the elect do not differ from the non-elect, the redeemed from the unredeemed. Hence our obligations to the several persons of the Trinity are the same. And as the Son acted voluntarily in redeeming those whom the Father chose, the Spirit is voluntary in applying the redemption purchased by the Son.


1. To renew or quicken those dead in sins.

2. To illuminate. To reveal the glory of Christ, the holiness of God, the justice and extent of the law, the evil of sin, the certainty of judgment, the truth and authority of the Word of God.

3. To work repentance and faith, i.e., turning from sin to God.

4. To guide in the knowledge of truth and duty.

5. To qualify for special duties and offices.

6. To sanctify.

7. To comfort.

8. To glorify soul and body.

V. THE DEPENDENCE OF THE INDIVIDUAL AND THE CHURCH ON THE SPIRIT IS ABSOLUTE. Nothing can be experienced or done but by Him. Analogous to the dependence of the creatures on the Creator for —

1. Existence.

2. Faculties.

3. Activity.

4. Results or successes. But not in any one of these is our agency superseded; in all the need of effort is the same.

(C. Hodge, D. D.)

What the light is to the mariner's compass, or the wind to the sail of the ship, or the oil to the lamp, or the sap to the tree, rising up softly and diffusing its life to the farthest leaf of the remotest branch, that the Spirit is to the Christian in every-day life. I should as soon attempt to raise flowers if there were no atmosphere, or produce fruits if there were neither light nor heat, as to attempt to regenerate men without the Holy Ghost.

(H. W. Beecher.)

1. A promised power, "the promise of the Father."

2. A coming power, "not many days hence."

3. A power in testimony, "Ye shall be witnesses."

4. An abiding power, to remain until "the uttermost part of the earth" shall have heard the gospel.

It will be interesting to note the reasons why Jesus did not ascend into heaven immediately after His resurrection from the dead, but remained forty days longer on earth.

1. He wished His disciples to know beyond all peradventure that He was not dead, but living, and alive for evermore. To this end "He showed Himself alive after His passion by many infallible proofs." Whatever His disciples may have thought of Him previously, they must henceforth know Him as the Conqueror of death and hell. As to His Divine character and work, they could no longer cherish a shadow of doubt.

2. He desired to teach His disciples sonic things which hitherto they had been unable to receive. In particular He wanted them to understand about His kingdom, to which they had previously attached all sorts of carnal notions. So it is written, "He spoke of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God."

3. During these forty days He planned the campaign which is to result in the conquest of all nations to the glory of His name. We cannot place too strong an emphasis on the parting injunctions here delivered to the disciples — and to us — by our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ."

I. "HE COMMANDED THEM THAT THEY SHOULD NOT DEPART FROM JERUSALEM, BUT WAIT." This was not an easy thing for them to do. Flushed with the memory of the glorious things which the Master had been revealing to them, they were doubtless in a mood to go everywhere proclaiming His kingdom. But return to Jerusalem, said He, "and wait." There were good reasons for this requirement.

1. It was proper that Jerusalem should be geographically the point of departure for the new order of things. "Salvation is of the Jews." "Go ye everywhere, beginning at Jerusalem." Here is the metropolis of redemption (Micah 4:2). It begins in Jerusalem, the capital of Jewry, and proceeds to Rome, the capital of the world.

2. The disciples needed a season of mutual conference and prayer. To hasten to their work fitfully and each for himself would be to court despondency and failure.

3. They were to "wait" for a special preparation. They were not yet ready for their work. It pays to be well prepared for anything, most of all for the work of the kingdom of Christ.

II. OUR LORD IN THIS LAST INTERVIEW WITH HIS DISCIPLES GAVE THEM, WITH RENEWED EMPHASIS, THE GLORIOUS PROMISE OF THE HOLY GHOST. This was "the promise of the Father" (John 14:16; also 15:26). The man who imagines that he can set about the affairs of the kingdom of righteousness in strength of his own will make a lamentable failure of it. Let him tarry at Jerusalem until he has received the promise of the Father. When the fire descends upon him, and he is endued with power from on high, nothing will seem impossible to him.

III. In this last conference of Jesus with His disciples HE DISCLOSED TO THEM THE PLAN OF FUTURE OPERATIONS. Had the attention of a passer-by been directed to the six-score or thereabouts who were gathered on Olivet on this occasion with the remark that these few working people — this feeble folk like the conies — were being organised for universal conquest, he would have pronounced it the wildest scheme that was ever beard of. Jesus not only gave the disciples to understand that He Himself was, through the influence of His ever-present Spirit, to take charge of the propaganda, but He issued clear and specific directions as to how it should be carried on.

1. For reasons already noted, they were to make Jerusalem their starting-point.

2. They were to wait for the baptism of the Holy Ghost. This was to mark their initiation into the dispensation of the Spirit, or new order of things.

3. They were to proceed in their work with a clear understanding of the fact that their only power was from God.

4. The followers of Christ were to be "witnesses unto Him." Words in due season, spoken from the pulpit or anywhere else, are like apples of gold shining through the meshes of a silver basket; but a Christlike life is like a lighthouse on a rocky coast: multitudes are saved by it. All lives, indeed, are testimonies; every man on earth is lending his influence in behalf of truth or falsehood, for Christ or against Him. Character will out. Our creed is the thing we live by.

5. This witnessing must be universal. "Ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth." Observe, the disciples are not made responsible for the conversion of the world, but only for its evangelisation. They are to see that the story of redemption is told everywhere; and God Himself will do the rest.

IV. THEN COMETH THE END. "He shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven." The consummation of the Divine plan for the deliverance of our sinful race is to be signalised by the second coming of Christ.

1. When? "It is not for you to know the times and seasons which the Father has put in His own power." This ought to be enough. The kingdom of God cometh not with observation. The appointed time is a state secret, and we cannot guess within a thousand years of it.

2. How? "In like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven." In like manner His re-coming is to be a real personal advent.

3. What then? It behoves us to watch. Not to watch as do certain wiseacres, who lean indolently out of their windows with eyes towards the east, but as the Lord's faithful workmen, who have much to do and know that the husbandman may return at any moment. "Why stand ye gazing up into heaven?"

(D. J. Burrell, D. D.)

I. WHAT THE DISCIPLES WERE COMMANDED TO WAIT FOR — "the promise of the Father," i.e., the fulfilment of the promise.

1. Not that the Spirit of God had been absent at any time from the Church. There could be no Church without Him. We find David praying, "Take not Thy Holy Spirit from me," etc. Now that Christ had finished the work of redemption, the Holy Ghost was to be given on a scale so new that we are told "the Holy Ghost was not yet given, because that Jesus was not yet glorified."

2. "Which ye have heard of Me" sends us back to the promises in John 14.-16.

3. But why did Christ call this emphatically, "the promise," as if there had never been another? Because —(1) Of the large place which the promise occupied in the Old Testament, the Father's word (Proverbs 1:23; Isaiah 32:15; Isaiah 44:3; Ezekiel 36:27; Ezekiel 37:9; Joel 2:28; Zechariah 12:10).(2) Of the all-comprehensive character, of the promise — as inclusive in fact, of all the Father's promises. "If ye then, being evil... how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit" — comprehensive of all good gifts together — all that the Church needs for the work of the ministry, ordinary and extraordinary, all that the individual soul requires — life from the dead. Union to Christ by faith, justification, holiness, prayer, grace, glory.(3) Of the Father's peculiar delight in this promise, that it is a promise specially dear to the Father's heart, so lending a new emphasis of encouragement to the words of Jesus, "If ye, being evil," etc.


1. Looking for it under a profound conviction of its absolute necessity, and its full sufficiency. Once and again Christ had taught this when, after they had toiled all night and taken nothing, immediately on the putting forth of His power, they enclosed a great multitude of fishes; and when He said to them, "Greater works than these shall he do, because I go unto My Father," "He will convince the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment." They were to wait at Jerusalem somewhat in the Spirit of God's prophet, when the Lord set him down in the midst of the valley of dry bones.

2. Pleading for it with the Lord in prayer. The best comment on this is the actual waiting (vers. 12-14). And in the same attitude we find them, at the opening of the second chapter. It evidently never entered their minds that, having the promise, they might abide its fulfilment in listless indolence. They had drunk into the spirit of those words, "I will yet for this be inquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them." None of those disciples said, "Oh, it's only a prayer-meeting!" Assuredly, if there were addresses at these meetings, yet the business was prayer. I doubt not that the drift of any exhortations would simply be, to call up examples of "the promise of the Father," and to impress the more deeply on every heart its glorious certainty — its urgent necessity — its all-comprehensive preciousness and sufficiency. The scope of them all would be, "Ye that are the Lord's remembrancers, keep not silence, and give Him no rest, till He establish, and till He make Jerusalem a praise in the earth." What definiteness of aim would characterise these prayers! How would they exemplify the words of Jesus, "If two of you shall agree on earth," etc.

3. Intense longing desire and patient believing expectation. The term "wait" signifies to wait round about a thing, as in anxious expectation. "They continued" — "stedfastly persisted with one accord in prayer and supplication." Agreed together as touching that which they should ask, how would they "fill their mouths with arguments," drawn from their own utter insufficiency, from the world's ungodliness and misery, from Jehovah's power, and grace, and faithfulness to His own pre-eminent promise in Christ! "Oh that Thou wouldst rend the heavens," would be their spirit, if not their language, "that Thou wouldst come down, that the mountains might flow down at Thy presence!" They had only the naked promise; but it was enough. If, in respect of longing desire, they were as when Elijah said to his servant, "Go up now, look toward the sea" — in respect of patient believing expectation, they were as when the servant went up and looked, and said, "There is nothing," and Elijah said, "Go again seven times."

III. THE COMMANDMENT TO WAIT. This was quite as express as the promise — the means no less necessary than the end. To whom was it given? It is very clear that the apostles did not regard it as belonging exclusively to them. We find associated with them the private members of the Church. Did it then belong exclusively to the disciples of that age? This question turns on a very simple issue. If the transactions of the Pentecostal period exhausted the riches of "the promise of the Father"; or if the Church and the World now no longer stand in need of them, then, doubtless, the commandment must have ceased. But if only the first-fruits of the promise were reaped in the apostolic age, if darkness yet to a mournful extent covers the earth, if the dispensation of the covenant of grace under which we live is termed expressly "the ministration of the Spirit," if that word abides the inheritance of the Church, "I will pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh," with numberless words like these, "The earth shall be full of the knowledge and glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea" — then it can admit of no doubt that the commandment belongs to us at this hour. Then we, no less than the apostles, are not warranted only, but commanded "to wait for the promise of the Father." Then it is ours to meditate on all that that expression implies; to plead for it with longing desire and patient believing expectation in secret, in the family, in the social meeting, in the public assembly.

(C. J. Brown, D. D.)

It is usual for ships to ride a long time in a roadstead, when they might be in the haven; and wherefore do they so? but that they may be in the wind's way, to take the first opportunity that shall be offered for their intended voyage. Even thus should all good Christians do, anchor, as it were, in the house of God, even then when they seem to be becalmed, that they cannot stir and move themselves about holy duties as they were wont to do; yet, even then, ride it out, hearken what God will say to their souls, wait upon Him in the use of means; not in an Anabaptistical phrensy, refusing to attend upon duty till the Spirit move them; but look up unto God for life, and seek it from Him in their attendance upon His holy ordinances.

Conversion to the individual and revival to the Church, is God's great end in the dispensation of grace. The means are the manifestation of Jesus Christ, through the outpouring of the Holy Ghost. Hence the personal reception of the truth and the personal presence of the Spirit are alike essential. Hence in every case the first and most promising symptom is increasing thirst for the Word, with increasing dependence on the Spirit. Where the Word of God is set aside or undervalued, whatever else is substituted in its place, there will be no depth or reality in spiritual exercises. There may be abundance of bustling activity about the things of God, but, apart from the Holy Ghost, there will be no real conversion or revival. You may have Herod, hearing gladly and doing many things, but retaining his besetting sin — Simon Magus, asking in his terrors an apostle's prayers, but persisting in the way to heresy and perdition — Felix, trembling, but stifling conviction. These disciples were waiting in —

I. DEVOUT EXPECTANCY. They had been commanded to wait; and expectation is essential to a patient waiting upon God. It is far easier to do much than to wait long. The disciples' hearts must have burned to go out upon the world with unhesitating confidence in their miraculous powers, and in the strength of their marvellous message. But they had learned, amid recent events, a lesson of self-distrust. So, day after day, they waited on in silence, though charged with a message fitted to convert the world. "He that believeth shall not make haste." He will judge nothing, do nothing before the time. Till in the Spirit Himself, He will not attempt to force the Spirit's work. Such a state of expectancy is essential to a patient continuance in well-doing. Without expectation there will be no truth, no prevailing power in prayer. Thus it is that, because men have ceased to expect the outpouring of the Spirit, the heavens have become as brass. Because they see no cloud above their head, they will not climb the mountain-top to watch the little cloud that faintly fringes the horizon. They expect nothing, wait for nothing, and that is all they get. For the law of God is, according to thy faith, so shall it be unto thee. Delight thyself also in the Lord, and He will give thee all the desires of thine heart. Plead the Father's promise, and be assured of the Father's performance. For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off.

II. EARNEST DESIRE. It is in the heart of the believer, in the bosom of the Church, that the promise of the Father first takes effect, and the first symptom of it generally is the panting of the soul after God — the longing of God's weary heritage for a season of refreshing and revival. And such a season awakening new desires, communicates a new impulse to the entire body of Christ. In her deadness it comes and tells of reviving life, in her weakness of returning power, in her hopelessness of opening prospects of success. Thus we cannot but long for the outpouring of the Spirit in Pentecostal fulness. In His absence we can work no deliverance, communicate no life, have no comfort, enlargement, nor refreshing fellowship with God.

III. EARNEST AND UNITED PRAYER (ver. 14). Prayer is the spontaneous offspring of expectation and desire. It is hope's utterance before God. It is faith recognising God as the Giver of every good and perfect gift, and asking whatever it wants. Give faith a promise, and immediately it will transform it into a prayer. Hence, wherever faith exists the special promise of the Father becomes the object of special prayer. As promised, it is expected; as good, it is desired; as freely given, it is frankly asked. Secret prayer is the life of the individual; social prayer, of the community; congregational prayer, of the Church. The soul that lives in the neglect of secret prayer is dead. Family prayer is no substitute — cannot, indeed, exist without close personal intercourse with God. And as for social meetings for prayer to be of any avail, they must be inspired by a life derived in secret communion from Jesus. What meetings ye might have, though but two or three of you together, were each to bring the life, the fervour, the heaven-breathing spirituality of soul, just come down from meeting alone with God upon the mount. These are the united prayers that have power with God. For so soon as the people of God in any neighbourhood are baptised with the spirit of prayer, they will come to know each other by a secret sympathy. The Father rejoices over such meetings, for it opens up to Him a channel for pouring down the streams of life, for meeting their largest desires with a still larger outpouring of His Spirit; and Jesus, how He rejoices! for He knows what blessings they will get; and the Spirit Himself rejoices, for He is ever on the wing to hasten down and join such companies.

IV. SECLUSION FROM UNNECESSARY INTERCOURSE WITH THE WORLD. There are, indeed, duties which we owe in the various relations of society from which it is not the will of God to call us away. With all this, however, there must be habitual separation unto God. The Holy Dove will not come to us in the crowd. It is when the doors are closed and the world is shut out that Jesus comes with power upon His lips, and love in every tone of His voice, and breathes on us and says, "Receive the Holy Ghost."


1. The Lord loves to see His family dwelling together in unity. Parents, can you not understand our Father's feeling in this? If, then, ye being evil, etc. God is doubtless to be found wherever there is a humble and believing heart, but nowhere surely in such manifested love as in the bosom of His loving family, met together to wait for the promise of their Father (Song of Solomon 1:7, 8; Ezekiel 34:11, 12).

2. It is our strength and safety to walk together through the wilderness, to keep together on the battlefield.

(W. Cousin.)

In the Old Testament the doctrine of the Spirit had been revealed in its great outlines. In the Gospels the subject is more fully treated in connection with the person and history of Christ. In the Acts there is a great advance, for full and distinct testimony is borne to Him in sixteen out of its twenty-eight chapters. His path in the Scriptures, like that of the sun, "shineth more and more unto the perfect day." In the text He is called "the promise of the Father." To Him the attention and hope of the Church had been long directed as the largest gift of a Father's love. The Old Testament writers had taught believers to look forward to Him as the consummation of their hope, and for Him the disciples were now bidden to wait. This command was —


1. The circumstances of the disciples were peculiarly trying. They had scarcely recovered from the shock of their Lord's death. His presence was now very occasional, and was about to terminate. In their discouragement they needed to have their hopes assured.

2. Besides on what a stupendous enterprise they were about to be engaged. Moses trembled to undertake His mission. Jonah fled when commanded to go to Nineveh. Jeremiah excused himself by saying, "I am a child." What, then, must the apostles have felt?(1) They were to be the founders of a new dispensation, against which the prejudices of their countrymen and the enmity of mankind would be aroused.(2) One feature of this dispensation, creating the utmost difficulty with Jew and heathen, was its spirituality. Gorgeous economies were to be supplanted by that which had no attraction for the carnal eye.(3) Their one business, which as exclusive Jews must have been very repugnant, was to bring the whole world under the power of this dispensation. How seasonable then the command. We read in Revelation, that before a mighty work was to be done in the earth, "there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour." In like manner our Lord claimed the attention of His disciples. Their minds were brought into the most desirable attitude. They were made to feel that they and their cause were in God's hands, and were drawn to constant prayer. They obeyed His word, "Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thy heart."

II. NECESSARY. Without this promise they were entirely disqualified.

1. They were few.

2. They were destitute of those outward qualifications of station and influence, which are generally thought to promise success.

3. They laboured under its greatest mental and moral disqualifications. They were —

(1)Slow to learn the truth.

(2)Timid in the extreme.

(3)Worldly in their ambition.

(4)Contentious in their intercourse.All this considered, no wonder they had been hitherto unsuccessful. They little understood their ministry, had not much heart in it, and wanted unity. How fitting, then, that they should have to "wait for the promise"!

III. EFFECTUAL. The command had a mighty influence. They did wait, and engaged in exercises becoming such a period. Already there were indications of what would be done for them by the Spirit. But the earnest was small compared with the realisation of the promise.

1. The slow of understanding were made quick of apprehension.

2. The cowardly were made bold.

3. The earthly were made heavenly minded.

4. Their only rivalry now was who should bear to do most for the common cause.

5. The effects were such as might be excepted. Their "word was with power." "Mightily grew the Word of God and prevailed."

IV. INSTRUCTIVE. The great lessons are as applicable to us as to them.

1. Without the Spirit we are disqualified for the work of God.

2. We should engage in every special work only in His strength. It is not enough that we have the Spirit. We need to be enriched afresh by His grace.

3. Hence He must be diligently sought.Conclusion:

1. How inexcusable we are if we do not obtain "the promise of the Father." "Ask and ye shall receive."

2. How great the influence which this doctrine should exercise over us. How pure, heavenly, and energetic we ought to be.

(J. Morgan, D. D.)

No wise man or woman will enter hastily upon any great work. In proportion to the greatness of the work is the amount of thought, care, and training necessary for its successful accomplishment. History will teach us that those enterprises have usually been most successfully accomplished for which the workers have been most carefully trained. We know that the higher the class of work the more skill is required in the worker, great delicacy is required in the treatment of the raw material; time and care and skill must be used in its manipulation, otherwise no high degree of perfection can be looked for in the fabric to be produced. We often find that nothing is easier than to spoil or damage that which we are trying to improve or refine. And the more we study the matter the more shall we be convinced that what the world terms ability or power — in other words, the possession of skill — is not so often an innate gift, as a faculty gained by much study and practice. These truths are, if we may use the expression, true in the highest degree with regard to Church workers and all kinds of Church work. The material upon which they work, and with which they work, is the most delicate and the most easily spoiled in the whole world; for that material is the heart, will, mind, conscience, character of man. The fabric they are endeavouring — by the aid of God's Holy Spirit — to produce is human nature refined, purified, ennobled, brought by long and careful training into Christlikeness, continually made more and more to approach and resemble the perfect Example, Type, and Pattern of the Divine humanity. But ere the active, aggressive missionary work to which the apostle had been called, commences, there is to be a solemn period of pause, during which they may at once meditate upon the experiences of the past and fit themselves to receive the promised gift. Through haste we often fail together, and preserve the results of experiences through which we have passed; through haste we also often fail from want of preparation to use aright an opportunity when it presents itself to us. The loss is then double, for it is the loss both of harvest and of seed-time. We forget to reap; we are not able to sow.

(W. E. Chadwick, M. A.)

John truly baptized with water, but ye shall be baptized with the Holy
Preacher's Analyst.
Last words of our Lord. Dispensation of John: baptised with water, not in.


1. A sign of universal pollution, from the womb. Repentance.

2. Acknowledgment of guilt, and need of pardon.

3. Acknowledgment of corruption, and need of holiness.

4. Profession of thirst after refreshing comfort.

5. Profession of helplessness. None baptised themselves.

6. Profession of cleansing the outside.


1. Material water cannot cleanse the soul.

2. It is not saving, witness Simon Magus. "You shall be baptised," etc.

3. The water flows off, dries up; the effect superficial.

4. The testimony of John himself: "I indeed."

5. The declaration of Christ in the text.


1. All tainted with original sin, must be born again.

2. All guilty, must be pardoned (chap. Romans 2. and Romans 10.).

3. All unholy, must be sanctified. Catechism (Romans 8.).

4. The corruption is spiritual and deep. Fire refines.

5. All are miserable, and need the Comforter and kingdom.

6. All helpless and Christless till then. "If any man," etc.

7. All are unfit for heaven and bliss, without love, melting — uniting.

8. Particular necessity for ministers:To preach the Word with power. To bear up under troubles and persecutions. To be directed into all truth, and to testify of Jesus, though not to work miracles and speak with tongues.

IV. THE SEASON. "Not many days hence." When prepared with prayer anal faith, united, in one accord and tried. The day is not fixed, that we may expect daily and yet not faint. Application —

1. Unconverted. Rest in no baptism, but that of the Holy Ghost and fire. Water baptism will condemn you alone.

2. John's disciples. Promised, the thing promised, the time. Oh, continue praying with one accord!

3. Believers. You want fresh baptism, till the Holy Ghost, which is grace, fill your soul.

(Preacher's Analyst.)

The same shower blesses various lands in different degrees, according to their respective susceptibilities. It makes the grass to spring up in the mead, the grain to vegetate in the field, the shrub to grow on the plain, and the flowers to blossom in the garden; and these are garnished with every hue of loveliness — the lily and the violet, the rose and the daisy: all these work by the same Spirit who renews the face of the earth. The influences of the Holy Spirit, descending on the moral soil, produce "blessing in variety" — convictions in the guilty, illumination in the ignorant, holiness in the defiled, strength in the feeble, and comfort in the distressed. As the Spirit of holiness, He imparts a pure taste; as the Spirit of glory, He throws a radiance over the character; as the Spirit of life, He revives religion; as the Spirit of truth, He gives transparency to the conduct; as the Spirit of prayer, He melts the soul into devotion; and, as the Spirit of grace, He imbues with benevolence, and covers the face of the earth with the works of faith and labours of love.

(T. W. Jenkyn, D. D.)

In some parts of the world there are certain boiling springs, called geysers. Their peculiarity is, that at irregular intervals they send up spurts of boiling water, and then are silent for a considerable time. Travellers will tell you that at the time when they are silent you would find it very difficult to believe that water would ever issue out of such an orifice at all. There was a revival some years ago, was there not? The gracious rain came down upon God's inheritance. How earnest you were — how active! But the revival passed away, and your warmth and fervour and energy passed away with it, and those who look on you find it very difficult to believe that you have ever been zealous in God's service at all.

(W. M. Punshon.)

1. The last interview with dear friend, and his last words, are wont to be embalmed in ,fragrant remembrance.

2. A comparison is made between the baptism with the Holy Ghost, and John's baptism. Such as truly turned from sin to God were prepared as a dwelling for the Spirit. Repentance from dead works went before — the new unction from above came after.

3. Notice also the time — "not many days hence." God is sovereign in fixing a fulness of time, and we may not ask why that time was appointed. But on our part it is necessary to know our want of the Spirit, and to feel it, that we may welcome Him with the more delight to testify of Jesus. Often, alas! have we returned with nothing but the toil for our pains, because we did not wait to pray down the Spirit. In opening up the doctrine, consider —


1. Its nature. That more is meant than renewal is plain from this, that the disciples were already in Christ. This baptism is the great promise of New Testament times. Before Pentecost, God's children were not wholly exempt from the spirit of bondage; but in the days of the apostles the saints in general seem to have enjoyed the promise of the Spirit through faith. The Holy Ghost is the first fruits of glory. Are we baptised with the Holy Ghost? Then —(1) Not only condemnation ceases, but refreshing from the presence of the Lord is realised.(2) Then, forgiven much, we love much, and give ourselves to Him who gave Himself for us.(3) It is the nature of fire to send forth light; and when the Spirit comes, truth is shed abroad upon our hearts.(4). Fire warms, and the Spirit kindles our cold souls into a flame of love to God and man.(5) The approach of this genial spring to the barren winter of our hearts, opens the blossoms of new life. of humility, and godliness.(6) It is the nature of fire to spread abroad. And when the Spirit comes the words of Jesus spread like a conflagration from mouth to mouth.

2. Its marks.(1) The unction of heavenly knowledge, whereby we know all things — for no sooner did the Spirit come upon them than they who, a few days before, Christ reproved as slow of understanding, came, in the twinkling of an eye, to a clear, vivid understanding of the things of God.(2) Self-denied humility: for however envy and a proud thirst for honour held possession of their minds before, they now discover a single eye to the Redeemer's glory. If we are filled with selfcomplacency, as if we stood in need of nothing — if we cannot bear to be wholly laid in the dust, we have not seen the Spirit, neither known Him.(3) Boldness. For however timid before, the disciples no sooner receive the Spirit than they come forth like different men, to speak the Word without fear. If we can sit in easy fellowship with sinners, not seeking to save souls, not daring to encounter the adversary face to face, we show that we are not baptised as with fire!(4) Decision. For however the disciples might be diverted from prayer and the work of Christ before, no sooner did the Spirit come than they gave themselves wholly to these things. How can we, then, have received the heavenly baptism, if we are without the habit of religion, if our efforts are but fitful, if we neglect present duty, and yet cherish the romantic hope of future service in a post which God has not required us to fill?

3. How shall we obtain this baptism, and on what occasions is it given? Such as already enjoy the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins may obtain supplies of the Spirit a thoUsand-fold greater than any they have ever known. Are we faithful in a little? God's rule is, To him that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundantly. This heavenly unction is conferred —(1) When we keep the Lord's word, and show a humble, penitent compliance with His will. Behold this in the disciples who were enjoined to tarry in Jerusalem till the Spirit came — who were neither to return home to Galilee, nor to distract their minds with worldly cares.(2) When some heavy trial, some arduous duty, is ]aid on us for the sake of Christ. Witness John in the spirit amid the wilds of Patmos, or Paul glowing with the love of Christ, and singing praises in the inner prison.(3) When we are unceasing in the prayer of faith. Ten days had the disciples continued, when, of a sudden, the Spirit came. The prayer which brings down the Holy Ghost is not that which ceases if not heard at once, that is content to stop with praying out some little enjoyment of God's presence. Every day would be a -Pentecost if we prayed like a Cornelius — if we heard the Word like the three thousand, and prized it like the eunuch.

II. A CHURCH IS ONLY SO FAR A WITNESSING CHURCH AS IT IS THUS BAPTISED WITH THE HOLY GHOST. "After that the Holy Christ is come upon you... ye shall be witnesses unto Me."

1. The Redeemer does not send skilful orators, but witnesses, such as have seen with spiritual eyes and heard with spiritual ears. A witness must know what He testifies; he believes and therefore speaks. Many have nothing they can testify. Can he be a witness of the Cross of Christ who does not daily look to it for pardon? Can he be a witness of the Lord's abiding with His people who knows not in his heart a daily intercourse with Jesus — who has not the witness of the Spirit that he is a child of God?

2. Christ makes it plain that a new unction must visit His followers before the blessing spreads to the impenitent. A Church cannot long continue to display a living testimony, unless this baptism is repeatedly renewed; and to hold forth, like many declining Churches of the Reformation, a form of sound words, when the Spirit is sinned away, is but like a removed sign-post carried down a swollen river. For it is not protests, or creeds, or formularies, but living souls under the baptism of the Spirit, that makes a witnessing Church.

(G. Smeaton, D. D.)

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