After attending church last night, I conducted the chapel services at Morning Star Assisted Living facility. I appreciate the help of Don Massey, who is going to be helping me cover one Sunday each month. I realized that in February we will be out of town for two Sundays, for my niece’s wedding, so I will need to make sure my Sundays are covered. This is actually something that I have been enjoying. I tell my pastor friends, “I am a church planter.”
BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY… “Repent,” Peter said to them, “and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children, and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” Acts 2:38,39 HCSB
The Book of Acts is about the spread of the gospel after the ascension of Jesus. The title of the book could be stated, “The Acts of the Holy Spirit through the Apostles.” In chapter one, Jesus tells the disciples, “…you shall receive power after the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you shall be witnesses, in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) That verse serves as an outline for the book.
The Holy Spirit descends on those in the upper room on the Day of Pentecost, and supernaturally empowers them to glorify God and then declare the message of Christ to all those gathered. As events takes place we see the gospel preached beginning in Jerusalem. Then persecution scatters believers who spread out to other regions and declared the gospel wherever they went. Included by name are believers like, Stephen and Philip. We see direct references to the work of the Holy Spirit through their lives in powerful speaking, miracles and casting out demons.
The work of the Holy Spirit continues to our day. Peter declared, “the promise is for…as many as the Lord our God will call.” The Holy Spirit is the witness to our hearts that we are the, “children of God.” The Holy Spirit, reminds us of the Lord’s presence and work in our lives. Jesus said, “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans…” (John 14:16-18 NIV)
The Holy Spirit gives power to declare the gospel, even in the face of opposition. “Then Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit and said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders: If we are being examined today about a good deed done to a disabled man—by what means he was healed…by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene…by Him this man is standing here before you healthy.” (Acts 4:8-10 HCSB)
After the apostles are released they again find themselves in a time of corporate prayer. We read, “When they had prayed, the place where they were assembled was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak God’s message with boldness.” (Acts 4:31 HCSB)
The first internal crisis in the church is the deception of Ananias and Sapphira. Their sin is viewed as an attempt to “lie to the Holy Spirit.” Scripture records Peter’s words, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the proceeds from the field?” (Acts 5:3 HCSB) The work of the church is a spiritual work, the requires the help of the Holy Spirit.
We see that the work of the Holy Spirit was seen as important for all aspects of ministry. When men were chosen to serve the needs of widows, the apostles gave these instructions, “Therefore, brothers, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and wisdom, whom we can appoint to this duty.” (Acts 6:3 HCSB)
When Ananias of Damascus went to pray for Saul of Tarsus, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road you were traveling, has sent me so that you can regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 9:17 HCSB) We then see the record of gentile believers at Cornelius’ house receiving the Holy Spirit as it came to those on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 10). We see the Holy Spirit empowering the Ephesian elders. (Acts 19).
The work of the Holy Spirit continues to today, to convict of sin, to confirm relationship with Christ and to empower for the work of the gospel. That is good news in a world that recognizes power and ability from all kinds of sources. When the Holy Spirit “acts” you can count on an “adventure.” The Holy Spirit is still working through Christ followers today.