Before Jesus ascended to Heaven, He said to his disciples, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you.” (Acts 1:8 ESV) Shortly thereafter, in Acts 2, Luke reports that the Holy Spirit comes upon His followers. Immediately, we see the “power” of which Christ spoke, as Peter preaches a sermon that leads to the conversion of 3000 souls.
However, the story does not end there. The work of the Spirit is the story of the book of Acts, and chapter 4 records several examples of how the Spirit works in the lives of the apostles, empowering them to minister to the lost.
- Peter and John, after a night in jail, are empowered by the Spirit to boldly testify to the work of Christ in the man they healed the previous day. Furthermore, Peter does not stop by explaining the healing; he goes on to share about the exclusivity of Christ. The result of this is the court taking notice of their boldness and the fact that they had personally been with Jesus.
Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus. (Acts 4:13 ESV)
- Peter and John were also empowered by the Spirit to boldly refuse to obey the decree of the court to cease preaching in Jesus’ name.
But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:19-20 ESV)
- The church was empowered to pray and thank God, even in the midst of persecution (and to ask for more boldness, which they then received from the Spirit).
And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, (Acts 4:29 ESV)
And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness. (Acts 4:31 ESV)
- The church was empowered to share their possessions and share with those in need.
Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. (Acts 4:32 ESV)
Now, after reading this, I must ask, “How does this compare to our present experience in the church?” Are we truly living in the power of the Spirit?