[The 2nd article in a series from Acts]
The power of the Spirit!
I’ve already mentioned I’m rereading Acts lately with a view to understanding something of the heart or emphasis of the early Church. One of the key differences within this band of ordinary people is the preparation, impact and effects on their lives from The gift The Father promised, the Holy Spirit. Jesus instructs his disciples over a meal. “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift My Father promised…” “…but in a few days you will be baptized (immersed) with the Holy Spirit.”
Immersed with the Spirit of God! The Person of the Holy Spirit always comes alongside to bring change to the ordinary and everyday! It is striking how often our agenda is changed by the gentle but powerful work of the Holy Spirit. It is time once again for our plans and ideas to be changed and transformed by the power of God as He displays His life in our visible world.
Everyone was filled with awe!
John the Baptist spoke of Jesus, “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.”
Jesus returned from the Jordan after baptism, “full of the Holy Spirit.” And was – “led by the Spirit into the desert.”
Luke further tells us, “Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit” and in the Temple, “He was anointed by the Spirit.”
In reading these statements we will surely understand why Jesus tells his disciples to wait for the Holy Spirit. If we are to experience true church life it must be by the inspiration and anointing of the Holy Spirit as well as the control and power of the Spirit as well. Without joint participation of the Spirit of God our actions are dead, our plans without purpose!
The promise of the Father unleashed a new dimension of life and power upon the early Church. At 9 o’clock in the morning an open-mouthed gathering watched and listened as they heard the 120 speaking in tongues and exalting God. The overflow of this event is staggering! These disciples “clothed with power from on high” turn the known world upside down. The passionate Holy Spirit within us longs to impact our own neighbourhood through open, humble hearts as we go about our daily lives. “And the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all” is part of knowing God, while Kenneth Wuest translates this same statement, “and the partnership of the Spirit.” Bear in mind that He is the senior partner and His power is truly awesome!
Peter & John
These two disciples were heading up to the temple when they came across this man crippled from birth. “Walk!” and once again people were talking and were completely amazed.
These two men were asked – “By what power or in what name did you do this?” Their response was clear, “Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit told them it was by the name of Jesus of Nazareth.”
Even more staggering is that all the Jews and Greeks living in the province of Asia heard the Gospel within 2 years.
This joint participation with the Holy Spirit enabled Peter and John to pass on what they had heard. They had heard and demonstrated the life of God.
“God does his work by the power of the Holy Spirit while Christian leaders attempt to do theirs by the power of the trained and devoted intellect.” – AW Tozer
It is my understanding that if we are to experience the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives in a fresh and powerful new way it will start with death! By this I mean, a laying down of all that makes the I important to us! To be of no reputation and instead of being ‘me centred’ to become Christ focused. To set our hearts and minds on Him and by grace alone trust Jesus afresh to have his way within us.
“In the last days, God says I will pour out My Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your young men will see visions and your old men will dream dreams.”