TEXT: Acts 1:1-9
1 The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,
2 Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen:
3 To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:
4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.
5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.
6 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?
7 And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.
8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
9 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.
The Power of the Resurrection and the Might Within Us (Powerful Life Lessons from the Aftermath of the Resurrection #4)
Throughout the Gospels, we see repeatedly that the disciples are very concerned about being left alone without Jesus Christ. Whenever Jesus talked about going to the cross to die, going back to Heaven to be with His Father, or said something that indicated He would not always be with them, the disciples got worried. They did not want Jesus to leave them. At one point, Peter took it upon himself to rebuke Jesus after He mentioned how He would have to go up to Jerusalem to be tried and put to death. Once, when Jesus was talking about going back to Heaven, Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?” John 16 tells us that “sorrow filled” the disciples’ hearts as Jesus was telling them of how He had to go back to His Father. So, the arrest and crucifixion of Jesus was the absolute worst thing that could happen for the confidence level and morale of Jesus’ disciples. The One they had spent three years of their life following and learning from was gone. Even after they got over their disbelief about the Resurrection and accepted that Jesus had really and truly risen from the dead, they likely began to worry about Jesus leaving them yet again. Certainly, Jesus’ seemingly newfound pension for appearing and disappearing unannounced did not ease their worries that He might one day vanish and never return.
So, with these thoughts in mind, we find the apostles and other followers of Jesus Christ gathered at the Mount of Olives in Acts chapter 1. Luke alone informs us that this takes place 40 days after the Resurrection. During that time, Jesus had been ‘showing himself alive by many infallible proofs.’ Jesus made it His business to ensure that none of His disciples doubted that He had risen from the dead. The reason why is partly because He had a very important mission that He was about to commission them to carry out. That is why they all are gathered together at the Mount of Olives to meet with Jesus one last time before His ascension. During this meeting, Jesus informs them of a power — the Holy Spirit — who will come to live inside of them and enable them to carry out the mission that He is giving them. That same power lives inside of every believer today, and the power of the Holy Spirit came as a result of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and Jesus’ ascension.
Notice three things about this power.
First, let’s look at the promise of the Holy Spirit. Jesus tells His disciples, “For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.” John’s baptism was an outward act symbolizing repentance — a turning away from sin and a turning to righteousness. The baptism of the Holy Ghost, which John the Baptist called a baptism of fire, would be an inward act symbolizing the presence of Christ coming to reside within the believer.
The coming of the Holy Spirit is important because, as J.B. Polhill notes, “During Jesus’ ministry, there is no reference to the Holy Spirit being upon anyone except Jesus. The Spirit descended upon him at his baptism, filled him as he returned from the Jordan, led him both in and out of the wilderness, and rested upon him in his sermon at Nazareth.” Now, that same Spirit would reside within the apostles and the other followers of Christ. When Jesus Christ previously told His disciples that when He left, He would send “another Comforter” to them, He used a Greek term meaning “another of the same kind” instead of the term meaning “another of a different kind.” This tells us that the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, is quite literally the Spirit of Jesus Christ. As Polhill goes on to say, “Formerly [the disciples] had experienced the Spirit through the presence of Jesus. After Pentecost, they would experience Jesus through the presence of the Spirit.”
Jesus Christ promised before His death and after His resurrection that the Holy Spirit would come. And, because He is God who cannot lie, that promise was kept and the Holy Spirit came ten days after Jesus’ ascension. When Jesus told His disciples that He would be with them to the end of the age, He really meant it. He would not be with them physically, but He would be with them through the person and work of the Holy Spirit in their lives. William Barclay said, “I am content to think of the Spirit and of the Risen Lord as one at least in action.”
The Holy Spirit is continuing the work of Jesus Christ on Earth by living in and through Jesus’ disciples — including us two thousand years later.
The second thing we want to look at is the purpose of the Holy Spirit. Why did Jesus send the Holy Spirit. In verse 8, Jesus tells His disciples, “Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” Very simply, the Holy Spirit’s purpose is to enable the disciples to be powerful witnesses for Jesus Christ.
In this passage, we see how that the disciples were concerned about the “restoration of the Kingdom to Israel.” They were concerned about when Jesus would do what they wanted done. However, Jesus tells them, “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.” Jesus basically tells them that they do not need to be concerned about anything else but the mission that He is giving them the power to fulfill. God has everything else under control.
Now, the word “power” in Greek is “dy-na-mis.” It is the same word used of the power with which Jesus worked miracles during His earthly ministry. This power is given to the disciples and to us to be witnesses for Jesus Christ. The word “witness” comes from the Greek word “martis” — from which we get our word “martyr.” The idea of becoming a martyr for Christ is particularly important in the aftermath of the resurrection. Theologians, apologists, and others have noted that a major proof for the resurrection of Christ is that, even under the threat of death, the apostles refused to deny that Jesus Christ had risen from the dead. It was something they could not and would not do because they had “witnessed” the risen Lord. They had eaten with Him, walked with Him, talked with Him, and touched Him. On top of that, the Holy Spirit living inside of them testified that Jesus Christ was alive.
It is the power of the Holy Spirit that enabled the disciples to fulfill their purpose of testifying about the risen Lord in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the uttermost parts of the Earth. In reality, it was not the disciples who did the work, rather, it was the Holy Spirit who did the work through them. Dr. Ernest F. Scott said, ‘the title of the Book of Acts could be called The Acts of the Spirit, for the whole purpose of the author is to show what happened to the apostles when they were filled with the Spirit. Humble men became powerful leaders.’
In the Book of Acts, we see that the apostles’ main task is that of speaking as witnesses to the earthly ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. One commentator said, “As eyewitnesses only they were in the position to be guarantors of the resurrection.” They simply preached about what they had seen, heard, and experienced as they walked with Jesus Christ. And it was the power of the Holy Spirit that gave them the courage, power, and perseverance to do that. That same courage, power, and perseverance is ours today We, too, ought to boldly proclaim the words and works of Jesus Christ. That is the purpose for which the Holy Spirit was sent.
Third and finally today, we see the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of Christ within us enables us to not only preach the Gospel as Jesus did, but to live as Jesus did in the world. As “witnesses” of Christ, our goal should be to not only reflect His message with our mouths, but demonstrate His message with our lives. The Holy Spirit empowers us to do that as well.
As we read the book of Acts, we notice that new believers not only experience repentance and baptism, but are given the gift of the Holy Spirit. This indwelling presence manifests itself in different ways. We see that the Ethiopian eunuch exhibited joy after he received the Holy Spirit; Lydia’s hospitality was a result of her being filled with the Holy Spirit; and the Philippian jailer offered aid to two of the apostles after he and his family believed on Christ. These examples show that being filled with the Holy Spirit should result in changes in our everyday lives — in how we talk, act, and interact with others.
There are probably habits in your life that you know you ought to change, however, you do not feel as though you can change. Maybe you have tried various therapy programs, counseling sessions, or self-help books, all while overlooking the mighty power that already resides in you if you are a born-again Christian. Instead of looking to worldly sources for help, look to Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit.
As a believer, there are forces in the world that are working against you and want to see you defeated and rendered ineffective as a witness for Christ. The only way to overcome these forces is to depend on the power of the Holy Spirit. It is the power that was promised to you by Jesus Christ, and its purpose is to not only help you share the Gospel with those around you, but also empower you to live as a Christian in the world. As Henry Drummond said, “The pearl diver lives at the bottom of the ocean by means of the pure air conveyed to him from above. His life is entirely dependent on the breath from above him. We are down here, like the diver, to gather pearls for our Master’s crown. The source of our life comes from the life-giving Spirit of God.”
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If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, allow me to share with you briefly how you can be saved from your sins and be guaranteed a home in Heaven with God today.
First, please understand that you are a sinner, just as I am, and that you have broken God’s laws. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Please understand that because of your sins, you deserve eternal punishment in hell. Romans 6:23 says “the wages of sin is death…This is both physical death and spiritual death in hell. That is the bad news.
But here is the good news. John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and today I choose to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Jesus Christ as my Savior and I choose to follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! Congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is receiving Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door.” Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry which publishes a monthly magazine called The Torch Leader. He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica for over twenty-seven years. God has blessed their union with seven children. Find out more at www.danielwhyte3.com. Follow Daniel Whyte III on Twitter @prophetdaniel3 or on Facebook.