On this our third day together we’re going to look at the verses at the start of Acts 1, which will I’m sure be very familiar to many, where Jesus tells the disciples to wait in Jerusalem until the promise (the Holy Spirit) comes to baptise with power. Our main verses today are 7 & 8
“The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Acts of the Apostles 1:7-8 NLT
Let me draw your attention to verse 8, as here we see both purpose and pattern. Let’s take purpose first, the promise of power when we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit is that we can be his witnesses. The word witness has a couple of common uses, first it can be a passive observer who saw something (good or bad) and can relate what they saw, secondly and in this case more
Importantly a witness is the physical evidence or proof of a thing. So often as Christians we can be the former, we have lots of stories of what we’ve seen God do for other people, and yes those stories can be persuasive and impact. Now think for a moment of the power that resides in the word our testimony, the impact that what God has done directly for us, no one can tell your story better than you can, and you are the empirical proof that God is still at work today. The second thing here is the pattern, “in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth”.
For the disciples this was really quite literal, Jerusalem was their home, the social, commercial and political centre of the region of Judea, Samaria the area adjoining Judea, and then to the rest of the world. The pattern the is this, we are called to those immediately around us, our family, our extended family, our Church family, our educational family, our work family, our shared interest family, to the community at large and far beyond to the ends of the earth, but it all starts at home. I’ve been a Christian long enough now to see it’s often easier to be a witness farther from home, where you are not known by anyone, it’s easier for you to be the evidence for God. We are called to be his empirical evidence at home, in our families, this can be tough, those closest to you get to see all of the area God hasn’t yet finished with. This can follow through when it comes to prayer for breakthrough, it’s easy to pray big, bold, faith filled prayers for those we will most probably never meet, but when it comes to big prayers that affect those closest to us, prayers for breakthrough in healing, for breakthrough in financial, for breakthrough with prodigals, that requires much more of us, more faith and trust that however long it takes God is still working.
We become aware that if God answers in a way that is not how we expect or have worked ourselves up to, that we will have to manage our disappoint and the disappointment of those around us and this can eat away at our faith and diminish our trust in God, and as our heart wrestles between, faith and unbelief, between trust and doubt, we develop a sense of unworthiness, and now God couldn’t possibly answer our prayers, but let me encourage you to remain faithful, God bringing about breakthrough in answer to our prayer is not dependent upon our worthiness it is entirely dependent on His character, he is always good, always merciful, always loving, always acts Justly, always Faithful
Our song today is Raise a Hallelujah by Jonathan & Melissa Helser, the story behind this song is incredible so if you have time, you can hear the song and something of the story here:
Or you can just listen to the song below.
Either way as you listen, allow your heart to raise it’s hallelujah, in the face of whatever storm or giant you’re facing right now, allow that hallelujah to shout louder than any unbelief.