Renew Your Upper Room First (Acts 1:12-14)
12 Then the apostles returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day’s walk from the city. 13 When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. Those present were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. 14 They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.
It is the first Sunday of the year. I believe you have various prayer topics and expectations for this year. “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.” (Proverbs 16:9) Hold firmly to this verse this year. No matter what problems and hardships come, God will guide your life within His absolute blessings for you are within the gospel, God’s absolute power and absolute goal. God will always give you what He thinks is the best for you. The way through which you actualize this mystery is Upper Room. The work that began in Mark’s Upper Room in today’s passage at last saved the entire world. This year, we will receive the answer of the “model church for all who believe”. But first, let’s restore our Upper Room.
We must first have a look at what kind of people were there in Mark’s Upper Room.
Of course they were all saved people of God who believed in Jesus. But they were far beyond that level; they realized the gospel accurately. If you have been already saved and you believe in Jesus, why is life still difficult? Why do conflicts still persist in your life? There are conflicts after another even at churches. It is because you either do not know the gospel or the gospel has not been imprinted and rooted in you and become part of your nature. You must have clear understanding in the following three facts.
(1) The gospel is the solution to the spiritual problem that is the root of all problems in the world. Solving this problem is God’s absolute goal. This is the core of the entire Bible and the very reason why Christ came as the Son of God.
- How does the Bible begin? God created the spiritual world (Genesis 1:1) and there was Darkness, chaos, and void (Genesis 1:2). Who created Darkness, chaos, and void? The evil spirits who had been angels but gone corrupt and fallen (Isaiah 14:12-13). These forces of Darkness entered the world, tempted the first humans Adam and Eve and caused them to break God’s promise and leave Him. Adam and Eve did not commit Original Sin or fall into corruption of their own accord. You must tell this to everyone who is going through a conflict or failure.
- Cain kills his own brother Abel (Genesis 4), but it was not just his hatred that prompted him to commit the act of murder. The spirit of murder seized Cain (John 8:44).
People in the Age of the Nephilim did not just fall into corruption on their own (Genesis 6). The word Nephilim literally means “those who fell from above” (Revelation 12:9), the forces of Satan. These forces penetrated into the family and family line. That is why spiritual inheritance continues in the family (Exodus 20:4-5).
How about the Babel Tower in Genesis 11? One of the devil’s specialties is that he wants to make his name known in high places. The Babel Tower was in fact a temple where people worshipped demons and idols. In each age, this Babel Tower movement is persisted through the strongest nation. The spiritual Babylon of this age or the Holy City that God uses, the fate of this nation is in our hands now.
- The one who came to destroy the devil’s work is Christ (1 John 3:8). Peter followed Jesus for three years, but he was deceived by the devil to deny Jesus three times (Luke 22:31-32). This year, you must absolutely discover from your personal problems and conflicts your spiritual problems that Satan uses to attack you, fight the spiritual battle against them, and defeat them.
(2) The gospel has set you free from the sins you committed having been deceived by Satan—Original Sin, ancestral sins, and consequential sins—and the curse of Satan’s law (Romans 8:1-2).
- By His death on the cross, Jesus Christ finished through God’s love the curse of Satan’s law (Matthew 5:17 and John 19:30). He set us free from the curse of the law and allowed us children of God to enjoy His grace (Ephesians 1:3-5 and Romans 8:15).
- In His love, all people and nations have become one. If you fail to realize this, not only will you be oppressed by the law yourself, but you will also use the law to oppress and judge others. If that is the case, multiethnic ministry is just wishful thinking. We will let our differences—age, social class, language, and culture—bring us conflicts. We are only making the devil happy.
(3) The gospel is Christ who finished Satan’s authority and the curse of sin being within us (Matthew 1:23).He will be with you 24 hours a day as long as you live on earth (in every problem and circumstance) and for eternity (heaven in Revelation 21:3). That is why do not have unbelief, be afraid or waver. If He is with you, it is over. People who had this mystery gathered at Mark’s Upper Room. This gospel must settle in your heart. That is what Upper Room is.
These people who had realized the gospel gathered together and staked everything on prayer.
That is what they did at Mark’s Upper Room. It was for two reasons.
(1) It was to let the gospel completely be imprinted and rooted in them and become part of their nature. They focused just for ten days, and works began to take place. You must change your thoughts of unbelief lest the devil continues to deceive you. You must keep on hearing the gospel to the extent it gets imprinted all the way in the unconscious part of your mind. You must throw away your bitterroots—scars, criticisms, and resentments—and let the blessings in the gospel take root in you. You must discard your nature of humanism (Luke 9:46) and legalism (Acts 11:2) and form yourself a nature of embracing everything within the gospel. You must change the very foundation of your life, your spiritual DNA. You cannot do this by your own power but by the power of the Holy Spirit in prayer.
(2) And you also need strength to overcome all of your conflicts, problems, and circumstances. That is the filling of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit works in power only when you pray. Acknowledge that you are but a weak human being, and go into prayer. The Book of Acts is an account of how people with the gospel became victorious through the power of prayer (Acts 3:1, 4:31, 6:6, 9:11, 10:9, 12:12, and 13:2).
From that point on, the Early Church members began to experience God’s work in their work, meetings, region, and church.
That is the fruit of Upper Room we see in the Bible from Acts 2. When you experience the work of the Holy Spirit, it is not just mere success you will experience. You will begin to receive answers that will save this age (world evangelization).
(1) When the people in Mark’s Upper Room received the filling of the Holy Spirit, their mouths and eyes opened (Acts 2:4-8). Their mouths did not open to take about other people or things of the world. They opened to speak of God’s work (evangelism). What kind of eyes opened? The eyes to see God’s plan opened. You will be able to see the talent you have and realize for what you must challenge yourself, and see other people’s strengths and weaknesses and realize in what areas you must help them (nurture – personalization, specialization, and disciple-ization).
(2) And then they saw the multiethnic crowd from 15 nations. Until doors to 15 nations open, the multiethnic ministry at One Mind Church is just a beginning. At your school, work or business, receive God’s answers concerning the multiethnic. You will receive “real” answers only when you open your eyes to see the multiethnic field.
(3) That is when 3,000 disciples arose. The number is not that important, but the fact that disciples arose is. They were disciples who staked their lives on the gospel and evangelism.
- There was not any place that could accommodate 3,000 people. That is why they began to open these Upper Room meetings first in Jerusalem and all the other regions. Receive this answer. Start an Upper Room meeting at your home. “Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts.” (Acts 2:46)
- Even if they lose everything and yield everything to others, disciples do not worry (Mark 10:29-30). God gave disciples even all the financial blessings that they could themselves and others. This year, we will move in the direction towards which God opens a door in new regions and the entire America.
Once you begin to experience this, you will find the following three life’s conclusions. First, you will see for what you must go all-in (life-staking devotion). Second, forces of Darkness will crumble and works of the Holy Spirit will take place everywhere you go and in everything you do (God’s kingdom). Third, you will have clear assurance in the future (everlasting blessing). Even if things get a little dire this year, it is okay. God will turn everything into a blessing. May this Upper Room begin first inside of you. And may the Upper Room at your home, business, and workplace be renewed this year.