Acts Part One Dive
DON'T GO WITHOUT HIM
Sometimes when I feel prompted by the Holy Spirit to do something I feel completely inadequate for the task, actually, can I change the first word in that sentence from sometimes to every time? Does anyone else feel like that? It starts at salvation, do you remember your heart skipping a beat when you felt God wanted you to go down the front and get saved, remember the fear, remember how far that walk looked, but you felt the power of God over you and you did it and it changed your life.
Imagine the disciples in the beginning of Acts, they are overwhelmed by everything that has happened in the last three or so years, their best mate turned out to be the Messiah, instead of overrunning the Romans he died, he then re-appeared and walked amongst them, he took off again in a cloud and then an angel rebukes them for standing around. This has been a very big couple of years for them.
Today I want to concentrate on Jesus’ last words to the disciples. Let me ask you something, if you knew that you were leaving your friends, what would be the last thing you said to them? For me the last thing I said would be critical, it would be the thing that I wanted them to remember for the rest of their lives. So, what does Jesus say just before he leaves the disciples:
Acts 1:7-8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth
It is not a coincidence that Luke starts his second book with this, this is the turning point in the story of Luke-Acts. This is Jesus passing the baton to the disciples saying you have walked with me and I have taught you, with my death and resurrection I have given you the authority and paved the path, now it is your turn – Go and do what I have done. From here on we see the church in ‘Go mode’ doing as Jesus did and spreading the good news of salvation to everyone they meet. On a side note, I love that Jesus starts his ministry with “The Spirit of the Lord is on me” in Luke 4 and the disciples start their ministry with receiving that same power of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2.
As you read the Bible you are quickly going to learn that the truth is in the details. Do you mind if I get a little serious for one second? I hear people quoting the promises in the Bible and wondering why it is not working in their lives. I was prepping for a preach once and I felt a really strong rebuke from God. It was “Don’t give them the promises of the Word without giving them the conditions to those promises, you are setting them up for failure” You can’t have the promises without the whole context. If you’re thinking what are you talking about Katie - let me explain! When God says in the Bible ‘If you..’ then ‘I will…’ You can’t have the ‘I will’ without the ‘If you..’ Look at 1 Chronicles 7:14 you can’t have a healed land, without humble prayers that seek God. The classic example is James 4:7, so many people are resisting the devil and wondering why he doesn’t flee. The first part of that section is “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” See how destructive that is? I can’t claim the promise of “resisting the devil and he will flee” if I don’t firstly submit myself to God. Keep the If before the I will!
In Acts 1:8, the disciples knew that if they wanted to be a witness for Jesus in the areas He mentioned, they had to receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on them. When God asks you to do something he always empowers you for the mission, don’t go without the power.
Remember - Luke is giving a logical history of eyewitness accounts. In Acts 1 they are given their commission (Acts 1:4, 1:8) and where do we find them in Acts 2, not running ahead of God in their own strength with maps and strategies for being witnesses, NO waiting on empowerment in the upper room, in prayer waiting for the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1).
I wanted to encourage you today that when God gives you something to do for him, don’t miss the first step, get into your prayer time with him, read the Word and get the power on you to do what he is asking you to do. Have the cry of Moses in your heart, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.” (Exodus 33:15) or in other words: ‘if you don’t go with me, I’m not going!’
Be empowered by the Holy Spirit in prayer for your mission: get the vision, get filled with the Holy Spirit and be the best mum you can be, the best businessman, the best teacher, whatever it is you are called to do. And with Him, you will do above and beyond what you ask, think or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).