Matthias Chosen to Replace Judas
 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away.  And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James.  All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.
 In those days Peter stood up among the brothers (the company of persons was in all about 120) and said,  “Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus.  For he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry.”  (Now this man acquired a field with the reward of his wickedness, and falling headlong he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out.  And it became known to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the field was called in their own language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.)  “For it is written in the Book of Psalms,
“‘May his camp become desolate,
and let there be no one to dwell in it’;
“‘Let another take his office.’
 So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us,  beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection.”  And they put forward two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also called Justus, and Matthias.  And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen  to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.”  And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles. (ESV)
- Prayer is vitally important for the life of the Church.
Jesus was crucified and then rose on the third day just as he promised. He commissioned his Church to bear witness to the world regarding the Gospel. Then he ascended back to heaven. The disciples had personally witnessed all of this. What is the next thing we find them doing? Praying! Prayer was something they had learned to devote themselves to. As the story of Acts unfolds, we will see how prayer is vitally important for the life of the Church.
- The Scriptures were the final authority in the early Church. (Sola Scriptura)
Judas had betrayed Jesus and ended up taking his own life. This left a void among the disciples that needed to be filled. How did the early Church find their way through this challenge? They looked to the Scriptures for wisdom and instruction and submitted themselves to what the Scriptures taught. Remember that at this point, there was no New Testament. The early Church had only the Old Testament Scriptures. They did not act as if the events of Jesus’ life had somehow made the Old Testament outdated or irrelevant. Rather, they sought out God’s wisdom from the Old Testament and submitted themselves to it. The whole counsel of God must always have the final and ultimate say in the life of the Church. This is Sola Scriptura (Scripture Alone).
- How do you think you would feel if you personally witnessed the resurrected Jesus ascending back to heaven?
- We read in Acts 1:14 that the early Church was unified in their devotion to prayer. Why do you think this was the case? What is currently keeping you from being devoted to prayer?
- How do you tend to think about the Old Testament? Is it outdated? Irrelevant? Confusing? Impractical? What can we learn from the example of the early Church in regards to how we approach the Old Testament?
Call to Worship
 On the holy mount stands the city he founded;
 the LORD loves the gates of Zion
more than all the dwelling places of Jacob.
 Glorious things of you are spoken,
O city of God.
 Among those who know me I mention Rahab and Babylon;
behold, Philistia and Tyre, with Cush—
“This one was born there,” they say.
 And of Zion it shall be said,
“This one and that one were born in her”;
for the Most High himself will establish her.
 The LORD records as he registers the peoples,
“This one was born there.”
 Singers and dancers alike say,
“All my springs are in you.” (ESV)
Prayer of Confession
Remember, O Lord, Your great mercy and love, for they are from of old. Remember not the sins of my youth, and my rebellious ways: according to Your love remember me, for You are good, O Lord. For the sake of Your name, O Lord, forgive my iniquity, though it is great. Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. The troubles of my heart have multiplied; free me from my anguish. Look upon my affliction and my distress and take away all my sins. Amen.