Jun. 3, 2017

Power to be His witness

Acts 1 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible

The first account I composed, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when He was taken up to heaven, after He had by the Holy Spirit given orders to the apostles whom He had chosen. To these He also presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God. Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”

And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. 10 And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. 11 They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.”

12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a [l]Sabbath day’s journey away. 13 When they had entered the city, they went up to the upper room where they were staying; that is, 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. 14 These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.

15 At this time Peter stood up in the midst of the brethren (a gathering of about one hundred and twenty persons was there together), and said, 16 “Brethren, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit foretold by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus. 17 For he was counted among us and received his share in this ministry.” 18 (Now this man acquired a field with the price of his wickedness, and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his intestines gushed out. 19 And it became known to all who were living in Jerusalem; so that in their own language that field was called Hakeldama, that is, Field of Blood.) 20 “For it is written in the book of Psalms, ‘Let his homestead be made desolate,
And let no one dwell in it’; and, ‘Let another man take his office.’

21 Therefore it is necessary that of the men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us— 22 beginning with the baptism of John until the day that He was taken up from us—one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection.” 23 So they put forward two men, Joseph called Barsabbas (who was also called Justus), and Matthias. 24 And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all men, show which one of these two You have chosen 25 to occupy this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” 26 And they drew lots for them, and the lot fell to Matthias; and he was added to the eleven apostles.


In Genesis 1:1-3 it says:    In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.   The Holy Spirit was the power behind the spoken word of God. God spoke saying let there be light and through the power of the Holy Spirit there was light. In today’s text Jesus says: “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”  The power of the Holy Spirit has the same creative power as in Genesis, the power to do what God has spoken. Jesus says: “Truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.(Matthew 17:20) He says: Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.” (John 14:12-14)  Through the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus says we will do the works He did, then He says: “I will do it.” The power of the Holy Spirit in us is not to perform miracles for our own glory or even for the sake of showing off God’s power. It is to be witnesses for Christ, to speak and declare His words. The Holy Spirit is the power behind God’s spoken word.

Mark 16:15-20 reveals the application of the power accompanying the testimony in the life of believers. Jesus says:    “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned. These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”   The power of the Holy Spirit is first and foremost to preach the gospel, to declare the word of God. The signs accompany the word. Look what verses 10-20 say:   So then, when the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them, and confirmed the word by the signs that followed.    They preached, they spoke God’s word and Lord worked with them, He said: “I will do it.”   Many want the power of the Holy Spirit in their lives, the power to do the things that Jesus did, the power to heal the sick, open blind eyes and raise the dead. Miracles, signs and wonders are not meant though for the glory of believers, to accomplish their will. The signs and wonders are released through the Holy Spirit to confirm God’s word. It is Jesus working with us and through us to accomplish His will, the Father’s will. In John 5:19-20 Jesus says:  “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing; and the Father will show Him greater works than these, so that you will marvel.”    To do the greater works we must be in tune with the Father, seeing and hearing what He is doing. That’s how Jesus worked when He was here and it’s how He will work with us and through us now.

Along with being the power behind the word of God, the Holy Spirit also, as Jesus says in John 14:26:    “The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.  In Mark 13:11 Jesus says:  “When they arrest you and hand you over, do not worry beforehand about what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour; for it is not you who speak, but it is the Holy Spirit.”    The Holy Spirit will speak through us, not only when we are arrested, but whenever we testify of Jesus. The Holy Spirit will bring all that Jesus said to our remembrance so that we can be witnesses for Christ, speaking the words of God, that the will of God would be done. Jesus taught us to pray:  “Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”  The power of the Holy Spirit is for us to be witnesses of Jesus, to declare the words of God about the kingdom of God so that through the Holy Spirit, Christ with us and in us, the realities of the kingdom of God would be seen and known on earth.

Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit I indeed want the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus working with me in my life today. Teach me and guide me, bring all that Your word says to my remembrance and speak the words and the will of God through me. May I be Your witness and may Your kingdom come, Your will be done, may the evidence of the realities of heaven be manifested here on earth to confirm Your word.   Amen.