Acts….of the Holy Spirit.
Some say that “the Acts” is for…..the Acts of the Apostles….or Acts of the beginning Church….
…but really, it is the Acts of the Holy Spirit.
When Jesus ascended back to heaven, He left instruction to go to Jerusalem and wait….
….the disciples were to wait for the giving of the promise of the Father….the Holy Ghost.
He was to be their internal Guide and Instructor.
Ten days later, the Holy Spirit is given on the day of Pentecost.
Acts 2:1-2, 4 “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost….”
From that time onward….the Acts show the workings of the Holy Spirit within the believers.
All of the first eight chapters deals with them in Jerusalem….
…..God giving Israel a second chance to believe on Christ Jesus as the Son of God…..by the works of the Holy Spirit through the church.
And that is the amazing thing about the Holy Spirit….and the thing which infuriated the rulers….
….everyone which was saved, had the Spirit’s power….some more….some less…
….it seems like a wave of God’s presence was filling the city……and that just made them want to stop it even more…..
….for it reminded them, of their guilt in crucifying the Lord Jesus.
So they are determined to prove this Way wrong….
Finally, the rulers get their chance to try and stop this wave of power by the Holy Spirit.
And it comes…..by the stoning of Stephen, the church’s first martyr.
But instead of stopping this power of the Holy Spirit…..they simply send it out, with the believers who leave the city……into Samaria….and into the world.
Peter preaches Christ to the first gentiles….and as they believe….the Holy Spirit is given to them.
Christ Jesus, by His Spirit, is fulfilling within the believers, the great commission….
….for Jesus told them it would be a ministry to all the world:
Matthew 18:18-20 “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”
But there was a witness there at Stephen’s stoning…..Saul, who would become Paul the apostle to the gentiles….
At first Saul is furious at these…of “this Way” (Acts 9:1-2)….but….
….God gets Saul/Paul’s attention…..knocked down by The Light……on the way to Damascus….and spoken to by The Lord Jesus Christ…..he becomes converted……acknowledging God’s Purpose and Salvation through God’s Son, Jesus Christ.
How good and gracious God is, in saving the worst sinner (his words…..1 Timothy 1:15)….and bringing him to be sent as a missionary out into the world.
Paul was diligent in his efforts, often burdened “in weakness and fear and trembling”….
1 Corinthians 2:3-5 “I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.
And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.
That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.”
Paul set forth the real power of the life of Christ within us, by the Holy Spirit.
Paul had three missionary journey’s….
……and the more he saw of these places….the more completely he realized
……there was only One power which alone could lay hold of the minds and hearts of these souls,….
……which were so filled with terrible darkness….and the sensual appetite of the times.
Philippians 2:15 “That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;”
Those to whom he preached were living as nothing…..slave or master…..rich or poor,….there was no meaning to life…..
…….they were nothing….going to nothing….spending their short time in searching for meaning in empty lives.
When Paul came……he set forth Christ crucified….and why God’s Son had to die….for the sins of the world….
…and His glorious resurrection….that we might have His life by the Holy Spirit, in us,…..now and for eternity.
Paul loved fervently each church that he ministered to and in, always leaving some spiritual helpers, if he could,….. to see to them and build them up.
There was Timothy, Titus,…..and Luke, who wrote Acts. There was Pricilla and Aquila….there was Apollos, a fiery preacher.
Yet in all….it is the Holy Spirit working….sending…..and preaching.
The last eight chapters, set forth Paul’s imprisonment….and subsequent trials….till at last he appeals to Caesar.
And that is where Acts ends….with Paul in Rome waiting for his trial….still preaching, still setting forth Christ crucified and risen as the Savior of the world.
Acts 28:30-31 “And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him,
Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him.”
(Acts shows that the salvation of the world is through individuals. Wherever these Christians went….there were converts to Christ…..and persecution to Him.
“……In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
The gospel was shown…..in power….to Israel [How God loves Israel]…..and then outward into the world…..even to the capital of the known world at that time….Rome…..
…..all to show us….that God saves the worst sinners….in the worst places…..
…..His power and grace by the Holy Spirit, brings men and women to the Lord Jesus Christ.
At the same time, it shows that the governments of the world will refuse subjection and salvation in Christ….because the Holy Spirit demands repentance….
“…He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:…(John 16:8)
The only time that the governments of this world will become the Kingdom of our Lord….is at the end Revelation 11:15…Revelation 21:3-4)
The first generation of believers, set forth how the guidance of the Holy Spirit would lead.
He was in charge…..He was the power….in each believer….
…..and that is the message of Acts.
To have the power of the first church…..we must be filled with the Spirit, and we must have the devotion and obedience to the Holy Spirit, that they had….
….we must expect persecution…
….for we are never very far from it in any age….men will not hear the claims of Christ without a fight…(think of Saul/Paul)…
….but Christ is still the Victor….He is still giving His Holy Spirit in fullness to all who seek after Him.
Ephesians 3:16-19 “That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man.
That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith, that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.”
Do you want this fullness of the Holy Spirit….
…….and the devotion and obedience to Christ, that it costs?