Your Part in God’s Plan, Part 3
Bible Reading: Acts 1:8; John 14:16-26, 16:7-14
Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Jesus spoke five times in His Farewell Discourse of the pending ministry of the Holy Spirit. And in Acts 1:4, He commanded His apostles to “wait for what the Father had promised.” And in Acts chapter 2, we read of how the Apostles were filled with the Spirit—Just like Jesus had promised. That they spoke in tongues gets a lot of attention from folks. But the Spirit’s ministry in the lives of those people was about far more than just speaking in tongues. Jesus had spoken to His disciples of the ministry of the Spirit (John chapters 14-16). How they would be forever indwelt by Him. How He would teach them and bring to their remembrance the things that Jesus had taught them. How He would bear witness of Jesus and empower them to do the same. How He would be in the world convicting of sin and righteousness and judgment. How the Spirit would glorify Jesus Christ.
According to Acts 1:8, one of His chief ministries would be to empower them to bear witness of Jesus. And we find evidence of that in Acts chapter 2. Not many weeks prior, Peter had failed to bear witness of Christ. After affirming his unwavering allegiance, he declared that he was prepared even to die with Him. But he ultimately failed miserably when he denied Jesus three times. He denied ever knowing Jesus. He denied Jesus even to a slave girl. But in Acts chapter 2, we read of how cowardly Peter was made courageous by the power of the Holy Spirit. He stood before that great crowd of people and forthrightly proclaimed the truth about Jesus Christ.
But the Spirit was also at work in the hearts of those who were listening to Peter’s sermon. They were Jews and proselytes. The crucifixion had taken place mere weeks before. Some of Peter’s listeners had likely been there, crying out with the multitude “Crucify Him, crucify Him.” But Peter affirmed to them the truth about Jesus, that He is the Christ. And how He died and rose again as their Savior-Messiah. Under conviction of the Spirit, those previously hard-hearted listeners were “pierced to the heart” (Acts 2:37). And 3000 people believed unto salvation. Salvation was the result when Spirit-empowered preaching met with Spirit-prepared hearts.
Note the promise made by Peter to them. “And you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” And they did. “They were born of the Spirit with life from above into God’s family divine.” And the things that they did after that day were things that they were Spirit-led and empowered to do. The Spirit not only caused them to be born again, but worked an incredible transformation in them.
Now every born-again believer had shared in that same experience, having likewise been indwelt by the Spirit (Romans 8:9; Titus 3:5-6; John 7:37-39).
The great work that took place at the beginning of the Church was a work of the Spirit. In fact, the book of Acts would be better entitled, “The Acts of the Holy Spirit.” The words “of the Apostles” are not a part of the inspired text. The Spirit is referred to repeatedly throughout the book.
We need to realize this about our lives and ministries. God does not call upon us to do the things He calls upon us to do in the power of the flesh, for it is as Jesus taught, “the flesh profits nothing” (John 6:63; Philippians 3:3). Human wisdom, strength and self-effort are all inadequate.
A.W. Tozer once said, “If the Holy Spirit was withdrawn from the church today, 95 percent of what we do would go on and no one would know the difference. If the Holy Spirit had been withdrawn from the New Testament church, 95 percent of what they did would stop, and everybody would know the difference.” But you have the Spirit. And by the Spirit, you’ve a message to share. Lord, grant us Spirit-borne compassion, courage, and wisdom that we may be empowered to take full advantage of every opportunity to share the truth about You in this needy day!
STAND UP, STAND UP FOR JESUS
Stand up, stand up for Jesus
ye soldiers of the cross;
lift high his royal banner,
it must not suffer loss.
From vict’ry unto vict’ry
his army he shall lead
till ev’ry foe is vanquished
and Christ is Lord indeed.
Stand up, stand up for Jesus,
the trumpet call obey;
forth to the mighty conflict
in this his glorious day.
Ye that are men now serve him
against unnumbered foes;
let courage rise with danger
and strength to strength oppose.
Stand up, stand up for Jesus,
stand in his strength alone;
the arm of flesh will fail you,
ye dare not trust your own.
Put on the gospel armor,
each piece put on with prayer;
where duty calls or danger,
be never wanting there.