The Gospels covered the message of Jesus Christ and bore witness to His work, His death and His resurrection. In the book of Acts we begin to see the work of the Apostles and those who followed Jesus and how the message was taken to the world.
This message is still expanding in the world today, and there is much that we must understand and learn from the way it all began. Jesus commissioned His first Apostles to commence the work and to build the church. That same commission flows down to the church today and we have a tremendous responsibility to ensure we follow the message, structure and plan as it was presented and devised by Jesus. To do otherwise is not following His way and can only be troublesome and cause great difficulty.
So let us consider this as we commence and go through the book of Acts to see how the church was structured and built, and to learn the lessons they learned and wrote down for our education and benefit.
Baptism of the Holy Spirit
The chapter begins with the Lord about to be lifted from the earth for the last time, to take His seat at the right hand of the Father. His final message to the Apostles is to remain in Jerusalem saying to them, “…to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me, for John baptized with water, but before many days you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” (verses 4 & 5)
In the gospels we saw that it was essential for the Lord to die so that this promise could be fulfilled (John 16:7). The Holy Spirit is a promise that is part of the New Covenant, but the New Covenant did not come into being and into effect until the Lord died. It was ratified, or brought into effect through His blood sacrifice, just as the Old Covenant was ratified by the blood of goats and bulls.
So Jesus was telling the disciples to wait for this was to happen shortly, and we see the outpouring of the Holy Spirit shortly in Acts chapter 2.
Times and Seasons
Now the disciples at that time thought that the end had come. They thought that it was at the time the Lord left and they would receive the Holy Spirit that the kingdom of God would be established.
However Jesus showed them otherwise saying, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has fixed by his own authority.” (Vs 7)
The times and the seasons of this world are well established and we see the rolling of seasons, months, years and so on. However the times of the Lord and especially of the Father are not known to anyone, especially the time of the end.
There are many prophecies in both the old and the new testament that have not yet been fulfilled and these must come to pass before the time of the end. When the Father will bring these about we do not know, but they will all happen.
So too the time of the end is not known to anyone as Jesus told us in Matthew 24:36, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.”
Strangely enough there seem to be people who come along from time to time predicting when the second coming of the Lord will take place. All who have done so have been wrong, and any who currently say so are equally incorrect.
Nobody knows when it will happen. Nobody!
However, even though Jesus said we will not know the “day and hour,” it will be possible to predict the year, month and week reasonably accurately if we watch and understand the prophecies that will unfold. The Lord has given us a count down timer in prophecy that we will see kick-in some years before the event. And there will be time markers in that period that will help us know when His return is imminent. But it has not started…yet!
You Shall Receive Power
Finally in verse 8 we see these words, “…you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Sama’ria and to the end of the earth.”
The Holy Spirit gives us power, but it is not the kind of power many people seek. Too often we see tele-evangelists and Pentecostals seeking the power to do miracles, signs and wonders. Some years ago we saw the “Toronto Blessing” which was supposed to be a Holy Spirit move that went around the world.
But there were so many things wrong with the way that took place and the abuse by ministers of those who followed caused more harm than good. The power of the Holy Spirit CAN do miracles and CAN do signs and wonders, but that is not the REAL power that we are being given.
The true power of the Holy Spirit is the power to transform individuals into the image of Jesus Christ. It is the power to transform us into the children of God. Note these two verses that talk to both of these issues.
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:18)
12 But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God;
13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:12-13)
It is by the power of the Holy Spirit that we can learn how to walk in the Spirit to overcome the passions and evil desires of the flesh. We are able to take the power and use it to overcome temptation and the evil passions and desires of our flesh so that we can take every thought captive to obey Christ Jesus, as Paul tells us to do in 2 Corinthians 10:4. And the way we do this is by using the power of the Holy Spirit as he says,
“…if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body you will live.” (Romans 8:13)
Receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit is critical to walking with Christ. He gave us this gift so that we would have an easier walk. It is up to us to listen to what He tells us and to take advantage of all the gifts He has to offer. Some gifts we cannot take as they are given as gifts, but to receive the Holy Spirit is offered to all who come to Him.
Take up His offer and be transformed into the image of Jesus Christ. It is the way that He established when He was on earth and the process He established for His disciples when He left. And besides, Jesus Himself received the baptism of the Holy Spirit when He began His work so there is no excuse for anyone if we want to fully and accurately follow His example and His leadership.
You might also like:
One Important Reason To Receive The Holy Spirit
Ask And It Will Be Given You
Who Is The Ultimate Advocate
You Must Be Born Again
The Word Of God
Have You Drunk The Living Water
The Holy Spirit
Bearing Witness To Jesus
Why Jesus Died
Holy Spirit Convicts
The Spirit Of Truth
Not Of This World
Pentecost And Receiving The Holy Spirit
Speaking In Tongues
The Promise Of The Holy Spirit
Peter Convicts The Jews
Promise Of Salvation
Receiving The Holy Spirit