Receiving Power to Be and Do
Acts 1:8 is one of the significant passages we as the church ought to note. This passage is the last recorded statement of Jesus on earth. The Holy Spirit is a major theme in Acts and is the major point of continuity between the life of Jesus and the church’s ministry.
Who is the Holy Spirit? God is three persons in one — the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. God became a man in Jesus so that Jesus could die for our sins. Jesus rose from the dead to offer salvation to all people through spiritual renewal and rebirth. When Jesus ascended into heaven, his physical presence left the earth, but He promised to send the Holy Spirit so that his spiritual presence would still be among humankind.
The Holy Spirit first became available to all believers at Pentecost (Acts 2). Whereas in Old Testament days, the Holy Spirit empowered specific individuals for specific purposes, now all believers have the power of the Holy Spirit available to them (John 14:16-28; Romans 8:9; 1 Corinthians 12:13; and 2 Corinthians 1:22).
Jesus had just reminded His followers that they would soon receive the Holy Spirit (1:5). When the Spirit comes, He told his followers, you will receive power. To do what? To be my witnesses. Power from the Holy Spirit is not limited to strength beyond the ordinary; that power also involves courage, boldness, confidence, insight, ability, and authority. The disciples and the church would need all these gifts to fulfill their mission.
Jesus promised the disciples that they would receive power to witness after they received the Holy Spirit.
Notice the progression:
- They would receive the Holy Spirit.
- The Holy Spirit would give them power.
- They would witness extraordinary results.
Often, we try to reverse the order and witness by our power and authority. Witnessing is not showing what we can do for God. It is showing and telling others what God has done for us. When you tell others about Christ, rely on the power of the Holy Spirit. You can be a powerful witness.
As Jesus leaves to return to His Heavenly Home, He leaves behind the power of the Holy Spirit for the church.
Acts 1:8a, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you.”
Receive power is from the Greek word, dunamis, a Greek noun that is the might and ability to do (accomplishments) and be (present with) in Christ. Luke 24:49a, “And now I will send the Holy Spirit, just as my Father promised.”
Acts 1:8b, “And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere-in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
My witnesses: The term “witness” is the Greek word martures that provides remarkable insight into the witnessing task’s nature. A witness gives testimony based on what the witness knows, what he or she has seen — not hearsay, not something someone else noticed, but what he or she has personally experienced, visited, or heard. Jesus was saying to his followers that there will be a season of time when the church will be witnesses about Me between my two visits to your planet. Go out and tell people what you know — what you’ve seen, experienced, and learned. I’ll be back.
Jesus teaches us that we don’t need to focus our attention and conversation on the coming millennial kingdom because only the Father knows that information. He will execute His kingdom in His time. AND SO we focus your attention on what we are to accomplish while waiting for His Second Coming. We have a mission, and we must not waste time and talk about what will happen when it will happen because it will DISTRACT us from the primary assignment.
Power Is Released, which means we are given the ability and capacity to BE and DO. Jesus promised that we would have a new power as His followers once the Holy Spirit comes upon us. We will have the ability TO BE and TO DO. The believers in Jesus would “be witnesses,” not just “do witnessing.” Evangelism is a process, not just an event. And we witness others by the Power of the Holy Spirit.
Our witness involves a lifestyle, not just occasional special efforts. The church today tends to focus on “special” events rather than BEING IN Christ!
Joel 2:28-29, “And it shall come to pass afterward That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions. And also on My menservants and My maidservants, I will pour out My Spirit in those days.”
Power From On High! The followers of Jesus were not to manufacture “their” ways of proclaiming the gospel but to look for the Spirit’s supernatural ability to make them effective in the gospel presentation.
We Are Witnesses about Jesus Christ, not ourselves. It is always ALL about JESUS!
Acts 1:8c, “telling people…in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
The church started in Jerusalem. And then in Judea, that was the region surrounding Jerusalem (Galilee). And then in Samaria that was Judea’s hostile next-door neighbor, a more difficult but equally important place to take the gospel. And then to the “ends of the earth” that is a singular form in Greek (eschatou), suggesting that perhaps the reference is to Rome or the Roman empire, the world power at that time.
The direction was of primary importance: Beginning from where you are at this moment, take the message of Christ outward, like ripples caused by a pebble thrown into a pond, not stopping at just your city or state but moving on beyond regional influence to the very “ends” of the earth. In other words, reach it all! The disciples took Jesus at his word and went about their task exactly as he directed: they began in Jerusalem (Acts 1-7), spread to Judea and Samaria (Acts 8-12), then filtered out across the world to the imperial capital, Rome (Acts 13-28).
In POWER Together,