BUT YOU WILL RECEIVE POWER
WHEN THE HOLY SPIRIT HAS COME UPON YOU: alla lempsesthe (2PFMI)
dunamin epelthontos (AAPNSG) tou hagiou pneumatos eph' humas:
(You will: Ac 2:1-4 6:8 8:19 Mic 3:8 Zec 4:6 Lk 10:19 Rev
11:3-6) (Power: Lk 1:35 Lk 4:14, 36, 5:17, 6:19, 8:46,
Luke 9:1, Luke 10:13, 19:37 = miracles, Luke 10:19, 21:26, Lk 21:27,
Luke 22:69 Ro 15:19)|
were to take the Holy Spirit out of this world, much of what we’re
doing in our churches would go right on and nobody would know the
not believe in a repetition of Pentecost, but I do believe in a
perpetuation of Pentecost—and there is a vast difference between the
Bill Crowder gives us a
pithy Illustration of Need for Power...
first winter that my wife Marlene and I were married was marked by
severe blizzards. I can vividly remember one Sunday when we awoke to
find that the electricity had been knocked out by an ice storm.
Huddled around a battery-powered radio for news on that frigid Sunday,
we heard a most unusual announcement. The announcer, before giving the
list of church services canceled due to the ice storm, said,
“The following churches will be
closed due to lack of power.”
interesting comment! I knew what he meant, but I was struck by what he
said. The idea of churches closing due to lack of power conjures up
some spiritual parallels that directly tie into Jesus’ promise of the
Spirit. Just prior to His ascension, Jesus told His men in Acts 1:8,
“You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and
you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and
Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” He directly attached the coming
of the Spirit to the empowering of believers. (Bill Crowder - RBC
Ministry - Promise of the Spirit)
has scored a point in making us so afraid of extremism about the Holy
Spirit—which abounds indeed—that we may miss the true in our fear of
the false. We can be so wary of getting out on a limb that we
never go up the tree!
Pentecost is not repeated, neither is it retracted. This is the era of
the Holy Spirit.
Christ sent the church into the world, he sent the Spirit into the
church. The same order must be observed today.
Why should the children of a King
Go mourning all their days?
Great Comforter, descend, and bring
Some tokens of Thy grace.
Jensen's Survey of the New
THE Book of Acts takes up the
thread of the story just before the point at which the Gospel had
dropped it. It begins with a brief summary of the Forty Days, adding a
fuller account of the Ascension. These introductory verses (Acts
1:1–12) mark the transition from the earthly Ministry of the Lord
(“all that Jesus began both to do and to teach”) to the Ministry of
the Spirit which was to follow His Ascension (Click
diagram above). The
earthly Ministry had been from the first in the power of the Spirit,
as the Gospel has taught us; and the Acts opens with an intimation
that this continued to the end. (H B Swete in
Great Texts of the Bible)
is a conjunction which signifies a
which always introduces a "change of direction" so to speak. Whenever you observe a "but", pause and prayerfully ponder the
(to study the verse
not in isolation but in relation to other verses) by asking the
remembering that an interrogative mindset is a vital component of
inductive Bible study
and also an integral component of the
(see Ps 1:1-note,
As Mortimer Adler once wrote in his
How to Read a Book ...
ask a living teacher a question, he may really answer you. If you are
puzzled by what he says, you may save yourself the trouble of thinking
by asking him what he means. If, however, you ask a book a question,
you must answer it yourself. In this respect a book is like
nature. When you speak to it, it answers you only to the
extent that you do the work of thinking and analysis yourself.
Comment: The Bible of course is not
like nature, nor is it like any other book, for as
believers we possess within ourselves (1Cor 3:16, 1Cor 6:19-note)
the Holly Spirit, the Author and "Decipherer" of the Book. And so as we prayerfully,
humbly, thoughtfully, meditatively, yea even as a little child (Mt
18:3-4) interrogate the "living and active" (Heb 4:12-note)
Word of Truth (Ps 119:43-note,
2Co 6:7, Col 1:5-note,
see also Jn 8:31,32, 17:17), our Teacher, the Spirit, in some very
real (albeit to me still mysterious) way interacts with us,
illuminating the inspired Word and leading us into all Truth, even as
Jesus promised (John 16:13, cp Jn 14:16, 26, 15:26, 16:7 1Jn 2:20,27).
The more you actively (in
contrast to passively) engage the text by practicing this
discipline (and it does take practice) of Spirit led
interrogation, the more relevant will be your questions,
and the richer your rewards as the Spirit illuminates God's Word to
the "eyes of your heart" (Eph 1:18-note)
allowing you to glean wonderful insights of vital
by which we
(set apart from the profane world and
for the Holy
One's use, Jn 17:17, cp 2Ti 2:21-note).
And so we need to examine the
context to discern Jesus' contrast or "change of
1:1 The first account (Gospel of Luke) I composed, Theophilus (Means "friend of God" -
see Lk 1:1,2,3), about all that Jesus began to do and teach, 2 until
the day when He was taken up, after He had by the Holy Spirit
given orders (Notice Jesus' dependence on the Holy Spirit for ministry
leaving us an example to follow in His steps!
See additional discussion below)
to the apostles whom He had chosen. 3 To these He also presented
Himself alive, after His suffering, by many convincing proofs,
appearing to them over a period of forty days, and speaking of the
things concerning the kingdom of God. 4 And gathering them together,
He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the
Father had promised, "Which," He said," you heard of from Me (Acts
2:33 Isaiah 32:15, 44:3,4, 59:20,21, Joel 2:28-32, Mt 10:20, Lk 24:49,
11:13, 12:12, Jn 7:39, 14:16, 26-28, 15:26, 16:7-12, 13-15, 20:22); 5
for John baptized with water, but you shall be baptized (see
baptizo) with the Holy Spirit not
many days from now." And so
when they ("the apostles whom He had chosen" Acts 1:2) had come
together, they were asking Him, saying, "Lord, is it at this time You
are restoring the kingdom to Israel?" (cp Acts 1:3, Mt 24:3) He said to them,
"It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed
by His own authority (Acts 1:1-7)
Comment: The apostles were looking for the restoration
of "the kingdom to Israel," an observation which refutes many
today who say that God is finished with Israel and that the promises
to Israel have been transferred to the Church. Notice
that Jesus did not "correct" their "aberrant eschatological" view!
Clearly, God is not finished with Israel (Israel's truly miraculous
nationhood granted in May, 1947 should be evidence enough to convince
even the most skeptical observer!) will restore the kingdom to
Israel in the
passages from the OT, not just from Revelation 20!)
(See related studies on Daniel 9:24-27 [Daniel
The timing of the messianic, millennial kingdom on earth is unrevealed
(Mt 24:36, 42). To reiterate, if Jesus had not intended such a
kingdom, surely He would have corrected this erroneous notion in His
disciples at this point.
SO WHAT IS THE
word, Jesus calls the apostles to focus not on the future, but
the present. Instead of discussing their future kingdom,
Jesus sharply draws their attention to their present
responsibility. Jesus alludes to His previous mention of baptism with
the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4-5) and now associates this baptism with the
receipt of supernatural power which was necessary for them to be His
WHAT THEY WILL NOT
WHAT THEY WILL
TIMING NOT TO BE
KNOWN BY THEM
TIMING FIXED BY
DAYS FROM NOW
F N Peloubet remarks that
Jesus is saying in essence "You cannot know the future, but you can
Teachers' Commentary on the Acts of the Apostles)
You will receive - What
does this tell us? This was something future. This
prophetic promise (Acts 1:4, Lk 24:49) was fulfilled on Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4). What will
they receive? Power, not so much that it is a gift from the Holy
Spirit; but that the power is intimately associated with the presence of the Holy
Spirit. What was the great need of the first church? Power from the
Holy Spirit! What is the great need of the church today? Power
from the Holy Spirit!
Dear reader, may God be pleased to pour to overflowing the
supernatural power of His Spirit into your life and your local body of
believers for the sake of His Kingdom and His glory. Amen.
summarizes Acts 1:8 observing that it is
mandate to witness that stands as the theme for the whole of Acts is
explicitly set out. It comes as a direct commission from Jesus
Himself—in fact, as Jesus’ last word before His ascension and,
therefore, as one that is final and conclusive. All that follows in
Acts is shown to be the result of Jesus’ own intent and the
fulfillment of His express word. This commission lays an obligation on
all Christians and comes to us as a gift with a promise.
concerns a person, a power, and a program—the
Person of Jesus, on Whose authority the church acts and Who is the
object of its witness; the power of the Holy Spirit, which is
the sine qua non for the mission; and a program that begins at
Jerusalem, moves out to “all Judea and Samaria,” and extends “to the
ends of the earth.”
Christian church, according to Acts, is a missionary church that
responds obediently to Jesus’ commission, acts on Jesus’ behalf in the
extension of his ministry, focuses its proclamation of the kingdom of
God in its witness to Jesus, is guided and empowered by the self-same
Spirit that directed and supported Jesus’ ministry, and follows a
program whose guidelines for outreach have been set by Jesus himself.
F, Editor: Expositor's Bible Commentary 6-Volume New Testament.
There are two NT words that
convey the idea of power,
and it is the latter which is used by Luke in Acts 1:8. However, these
two words are related in one sense, for the One Who promises the
power (dunamis) is the very One to Whom all authority (exousia
= "the right and the might") "in heaven and on earth" has been
granted (Mt 28:18)! It follows that His promise of power can be
fully trusted because He has full authority to make such an
incredible proclamation - natural men and women will receive
supernatural power to be His witnesses and by their
witness will be privileged to witness the great miracle
(based upon the greatest miracle, the Resurrection of Christ) of
rebirth of a dead spirit, the creation of new life, eternal life
in another human soul. Let me encourage you to study the Biblical
truths about power in the following section, and as you study this
truth, may our Father be
pleased to generate in your inner being a deep, abiding hunger and
thirst to experience the continual fullness of the Holy Spirit and the
power He provides to live the supernatural life as a dynamic witness
for Jesus Christ and His Gospel of grace. Amen.
Power (Miracles) (1411)(dunamis
dunamai = to be able, to have power
especially achieving power) refers to inherent
ability, not physical ability but power to accomplish a task.
Dunamis is intrinsic power, the power to carry out some function.
In Acts 1:8, dunamis is associated with the coming of the Holy Spirit
upon a person, giving that person the supernatural power capable of accomplishing
the task Jesus assigns. So clearly, in the
of the book of Acts,
"Divine dunamis" is the power which is necessary
(emphasize "necessary") for
witnesses of the Good News, which also possesses inherent "Divine dunamis"
as Paul explained declaring...
of explanation =
= Ro 1:15-note)
I am not
= e.g., Ask "Why not?") it (What?) is the
of God for
to everyone who
the Jew first and also to the Greek.
Leon Morris reminds us of
something we often forget that...
The same power that brought Christ
back from the dead is operative within those who are Christ's.
Comment: Which should cause
us to break out in song...
Jesus Be Jesus In Me
Jesus be Jesus in me, no
longer me but Thee.
Resurrection power fill me this hour.
Jesus be Jesus in me.
Gilbert writes that dunamis
is used of both an inward spiritual equipment
and of the resulting outward achievement. Thus
Stephen was full of power (Acts 6:8), and great powers or miracles
were wrought by Philip (Acts 8:13)The connection of this power with
the Spirit of God was to be illustrated in the case of the disciples
as it had been in the earthly life of Jesus (Acts 10:38). (Acts
1 - Interpretative Comment from Bible for Home and School -1908)
(power) is clearly a
in the book of Acts where it is used 10 times, 3x to describe
miracles (supernatural power that is visible) and 7x as power
(supernatural power that is necessary for ministry - albeit Acts 8:10
refers to counterfeit supernatural power of Simon the sorcerer!)...
Acts 1:8 but you will receive
power (dunamis) when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My
witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to
the remotest part of the earth."
Acts 2:22 "Men of Israel, listen
to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with
miracles (dunamis) and wonders and signs which God performed through Him
in your midst, just as you yourselves know--
Acts 3:12 But when Peter saw this,
he replied to the people, "Men of Israel, why are you amazed at this,
or why do you gaze at us, as if by our own power (dunamis) or piety we
had made him walk (Context = Acts 3:1-6, 7, 8?
Comment: Peter's implication
is that it is not his "power" (dunamis) but it is God's
power, supernatural power by which the miracles have been performed.
Acts 4:7 When they had placed them
in the center, they began to inquire, "By what power (dunamis), or in
what name, have you done this (Context = healed the lame man - see
preceding use of power)?"
Comment: Luke records that
"seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they had
nothing to say in reply." (Acts 4:14) As Henry Morris commented
"Intellectual or philosophical arguments are silenced when confronted
with direct evidence of the (supernatural) power (dunamis)
of the Gospel." (Defender's
Acts 4:31 (For Context) And when they had prayed, the place
where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all
filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak the word of God
with boldness (What was
the effect of filling?
Speaking the Word of God, not their words, and doing so with boldness,
clear evidence of the power Jesus had promised would be associated
with the coming of the Holy Spirit).... Acts 4:33 And with great power (dunamis)
apostles were giving
testimony (marturion from martus) to the
resurrection of the Lord
Jesus, and abundant
was upon them all.
Comment: Observe how the apostles
obeyed Acts 1:8 and God blessed their obedience. Will He do any less
for any of His disciples who obey His charge to be "My
witness" wherever He has placed us? I think not!
Acts 6:8 And Stephen, full of grace
and power (dunamis), was performing great wonders and signs among the
Comment: Be careful when you
read a passage in isolation, lest you arrive an incorrect
interpretation. If possible take time to examine the
-- you will often be pleasantly rewarded with wonderful insights! In
the present passage, we learn from the context that Stephen was "a man
full of faith and of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 6:5) and here in verse 8
we see he is full of grace and power. Do you think there is any
association? The answer is obviously "yes" and so once again we
observe the intimate association of the presence (and fullness) of the
Holy Spirit and power. Notice that spiritual opposition
arose but "they were unable to cope with the wisdom and the Spirit
with which he (Stephen) was speaking." (Acts 6:10) Why? Because
Stephen's power was not human but divine! The same power every
believer has access when filled with the Holy Spirit (cp Eph 5:18).
Observe the Spirit empowered boldness that prompted Stephen to tell
the Jewish audience "You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in
heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit; you are doing
just as your fathers did. Which one of the prophets did your fathers
not persecute? And they killed those who had previously announced the
coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers you have
now become; " (Acts 7:51, 52). And how did they respond? "They
were cut to the quick and they began gnashing their teeth at him"
(Acts 7:54) And how did Stephen respond? "But being full of the
Holy Spirit, he gazed intently into heaven and saw the glory of
God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God 56 and he said,
"Behold, I see the heavens opened up and the Son of Man standing at
the right hand of God." (Acts 7:55-56) And observe his supernatural
power to forgive the very ones who were stoning him declaring "Lord,
do not hold this sin against them!" And having said this, he fell
asleep." (Acts 7:60) Stephen had received power and the fullness of
the Spirit to be a witness for Jesus, for a man named Saul watched
Stephen's supernatural life and death and later became Paul, the
greatest apostle of the New Testament. That's what Acts 1:8 is about!
As a side exercise study the
passages in Acts that describe filling or fullness of the Spirit
(remember to observe the
- Acts 2:4, Acts 4:8, Acts 4:31, 33, Acts 6:3, 5, 8, 7:55, Acts 9:17,
Acts 11:24 (note the impact of his witness), Acts 13:9 (contrast Acts
13:9), Acts 13:52 (compare Ro 15:13).
Acts 8:10 and they all, from
smallest to greatest, were giving attention to him, saying, "This man
is what is called the Great Power (dunamis) of God."
Acts 8:13 Even Simon himself
believed; and after being baptized, he continued on with Philip, and
as he observed signs and great miracles taking place, he was
Acts 10:38 "You know of Jesus of
Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power (dunamis),
and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by
the devil, for God was with Him.
Comment: Beloved, do not
miss the intimate association of the presence of the Spirit and
power in the life and ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ. As
will be discussed more fully below, Jesus is our great example for
dynamic, supernatural ministry. If He needed the Spirit and the power,
how much greater is our need? Why do we so often attempt to minister
in our natural ability rather than relying upon God's provision of
Acts 19:11 God was performing
extraordinary miracles (dunamis) by the hands of Paul
Paul also associates the Holy Spirit
with supernatural power (dunamis) in the following passages...
Romans 15:13 Now
may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so
that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
For I will not presume to speak of anything except what Christ has
accomplished through me, resulting in the obedience of the Gentiles by
word and deed, 19 in the power (dunamis) of signs and wonders, in the
of the Spirit; so that from Jerusalem and round about as far as
Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.
Comment: Notice the phrase
"what Christ has accomplished through me." How did Christ accomplish
this spread of the Gospel? Acts 1:8 says that being Christ's witness
requires the power which is associated with the Holy Spirit, the
Spirit of Jesus (Acts 16:7), the Spirit of Christ (Ro 8:9-note).
Note also that
was a province of the Roman
Empire, lying East and Northeast of the Adriatic Sea. Paul is
describing the witness of Jesus being spread to the remotest part
of the earth.
1 Corinthians 1:18 For the word of
the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are
being saved it is the power of God.
1 Corinthians 2:4 and my message
and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in
demonstration of the Spirit and of power (dunamis), 5 so that your faith
would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power (dunamis) of God.
1 Thessalonians 1:5
for our Gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power (dunamis)
and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you
know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.
Ephesians 3:16 that He would
grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened
with power (dunamis)
through His Spirit in the inner man,
Ephesians 3:20 Now to Him Who
is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think,
according to the power (dunamis)
that works within us,
Comment: While this passage
does not mention the Holy Spirit, the phrase "the power that works
within us" is clearly a manifestation of the Spirit Who dwells within
us and through Whom God works.
Colossians 1:29 For this purpose
also I labor, striving according to His power (dunamis),
which mightily works within me.
Comment: As in Ephesians
3:20, the power that works within us is a manifestation of the
Spirit of Christ Who lives within us, strengthening us in our inner
man, enabling us to do supernaturally what we could never do
The power that compels us
comes from the Spirit who indwells us.
Dunamis (dynamis) is the source of our English words dynamic,
dynamo, and dynamite. Ponder the meanings of these
English words as you
on Acts 1:8 and how this truth should impact our witness to a
world spiritually dead in "trespasses
sins" (Eph 2:1-note).
Dynamic is an adjective describing one as "characterized by
constant activity," "marked by usually continuous and productive
activity or change," "energetic". Synonyms = "alive,
functioning, live, operative, running, working." "Many a person who
thinks he’s a human dynamo is probably more like an electric fan." As
a noun dynamic describes "a force that stimulates change."
Would you describe our witness as dynamic?
Dynamo is "a machine for
converting mechanical energy into electrical energy by rotating
conducting coils in a magnetic field," "an extremely energetic
Dynamite is a well known
explosive, which when used figuratively describes "one that has a
And so we have "dynamic"
(a powerful person or movement), "dynamo" (a power-producing
machine), and "dynamite" (an extremely powerful explosive).
These English words suggest (1) adequate power; (2) personal power;
(3) perpetual power. Ponder these meanings as you contemplate how they
might apply to the phrase "my witnesses".
John Owen well said that...
We have no power from God unless we
live in the persuasion that we have none of our own.
I would add the corollary that pride (call it self sufficiency or self
reliance if you wish, but it's still the same sin in different
"dress") impedes the flow of God's power.
F N Peloubet comments
Power in the Greek is
dunamis, of which our word "dynamite." is almost a
transliteration, and this expresses well the greatness of the power to
upheave the obstacles in their way; although the power bestowed was in
its action more like that of the sun, which is infinitely greater than
all the explosives in the world.
This power given includes (1) moral and spiritual power; (2)
power to overcome temptations, and to do right under the most trying
circumstances; (3) power to lead men to the Saviour; (4) power to
overcome all enemies and obstacles, though they were like mountains to
be cast into the sea; (5) power to work miracles; (6) power to lead
the church; (7) power to bring the kingdom of heaven. (The
Teachers' Commentary on the Acts of the Apostles)
DUNAMIS OF THE SPIRIT
IS SPIRITUAL POWER
H P Liddon describes the power primarily as
Spiritual power may be felt rather than described or analyzed. It
resides in or it permeates a man’s whole circle of activities; it
cannot be localized, it cannot be identified exclusively with one of
them. It is an unearthly beauty, whose native home is in a higher
world, yet which tarries among men from age to age, since the time
when the Son of God left us His example (1Pe 2:21), and gave us His
It is nothing else than His spiritual presence, mantling upon His
servants; they live in Him; they lose in Him something of their proper
personality; they are absorbed into, they are transfigured by, a Life
altogether higher than their own; His voice blends with theirs, His
eye seems to lighten theirs with its sweetness and its penetration;
His hand gives gentleness and decision to their acts; His heart
communicates a ray of its Divine charity to their life of narrower and
more stagnant affection; His soul commingles with theirs, and their
life of thought, and feeling, and resolve is irradiated and braced by
“If a man love me, he will keep my words, and my Father will love him,
and we will come unto him, and make our abode (dwelling, abiding
place, resting place, mansion) with him.” (Jn 14:23) “It is not ye
that speak, but the Spirit of your Father Who speaks in you.” (Mt
1:8 Power for Witness in Great Texts of the Bible - 23 pages)
Illustration of Spiritual Power versus Natural Power - Suppose
we saw an army sitting down before a granite fort, and they told us
that they intended to batter it down; we might ask them, “How?” They
point to a cannon-ball. Well, there is no power in that; it is heavy,
but not more than half a hundred-, or perhaps a hundred-weight; if all
the men in the army hurled it against the fort, they would make no
impression. They say, “No; but look at the cannon.” Well, there is no
power in that. A child may ride upon it, a bird may perch in its
mouth; it is a machine, and nothing more. “But look at the powder.”
Well, there is no power in that; a child may spill it, a sparrow may
peck it. Yet this powerless powder, and powerless ball, are put into
the powerless cannon, one spark of fire enters it, and then, in the
twinkling of an eye, that powder is a flash of lightning, and that
ball a thunderbolt which smites as if it had been sent from heaven. So
is it with our Church machinery at this day: we have all the
instruments necessary for pulling down strongholds, and O for the
baptism of fire! (W. Arthur, The Tongue of Fire, 309)
S D Gordon writes...
There is one inlet of power in the life,—anybody’s life—any kind of
power, just one inlet,—the Holy Spirit. He is power. He is in every
one who opens his door to God. He eagerly enters every open door. He
comes in by our invitation and consent. His presence within is the
vital thing. (Quiet Talks on Prayer)
One of my favorite verses regarding the power of the Word of
God is found in Luke...
For no (Greek = ou =
absolutely no) word (rhema)
from God shall be void of power (adunateo - which is
essentially the antithesis of dunamai). (Luke 1:37ASV)
Weymouth translation: For no promise from God will be impossible
an OT parallel from Genesis 18:14ASV - The Greek
(Lxx) translation = me
adunatei (present active indicative) para to theo
Brenton's translation of the LXX: Shall anything be impossible
with the Lord?...
My translation of LXX (Brenton ignores the Greek word "rhema"
= spoken word. He also translates adunatei as future but it is
actually present tense. He also translates "theo" as Lord but it is
actually "God"). Therefore here is my rendition = Is any spoken word
[continually] too difficult for God....
As Peter declares God's "divine power (dunamis) has
tense = an
enduring gift) to us everything pertaining to life and godliness"
In summary, believers have everything necessary to be His witnesses
- His Word of power, the inherent supernatural power of the Gospel message, and the
miracle working power of His indwelling Spirit!
What else do we need?
Jesus on power
(dunamis) given to the disciples...
9:1 And He (Jesus) called the twelve (disciples) together, and gave
them power (it is a Gift even as here in Acts 1:8!) and authority (exousia
= the right and the might) over all the demons, and to heal diseases.
Comment: Notice that even
before the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, it was necessary
for "Kingdom workers" to be enabled by Divine Dunamis!
10:19 "Behold, I have given you authority (exousia
= the right and the might) to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and
over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall injure you.
Comment: Notice that in
context Jesus was sending out the seventy-two in twos to minister in
His name and they needed His divine authority and might for ministry!
Beloved, if this was their need then, is it not our great need of the
And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that
He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the
world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, but
you know Him because He abides with you, and will be
in you. (Jn 14:16-17)
Comment: The Spirit was "with"
them but would be "in" them is a promise of the
fulfillment of the New Covenant (Read Ezekiel 36:26, 27, Jer
24:49 (Context: Lk 24:45-46, 47-48, 50-51)"And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon
you (the 11 disciples/apostles); but (strong
contrast) you are to stay in the city
(Note: Not "if" but "until" - see
expressions of time) you are clothed with
power (dunamis) from on high."
D L Moody comments: Some
people seem to think they are losing time if they wait on God for His
power, and so away they go and work without unction; they are working
without any anointing, they are working without any power. (Secret
Power, by D. L. Moody - Online version)
Old Testament examples of Spirit
"Upon" Someone: Moses = Nu 11:16, 17, 25, 26 (!!!), Nu 24:2, Jdg 3:9,
10, Jdg 6:34, Jdg 11:29, Jdg 14:5, 6, 19, 15:14, Saul = 1Sa 10:6, 10,
11:6 (Contrast 1Sa 18:10), David = 1Sa 16:13, 1Sa 19:20, 1Sa 19:23
(Saul), 1Chr 12:18, 2Chr 20:14, Isa 32:15 (to be fully fulfilled at
the inception of the Millennium - Zech 12:10, Ezek 37:12-14, cp Ro
11:26), Isa 42:1, 59:21, Isa 61:1 (Lk 4:18, cp Mt 3:16, 12:18), Ezek
1:4 "And gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave
Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised,
"Which," He said," you heard of from Me."
Comment: The promise
of the Father was the Person of the Spirit, the Power of
the Holy Spirit and the Plan of the Holy Spirit (Jerusalem,
D L Moody comments that
"Some people seem to think they are losing time if they wait on God
for His power, and so away they go and work without unction; they are
working without any anointing, they are working without any power." (Secret
Power, by D. L. Moody - Online version)
The power associated with the
coming of the Holy Spirit on a believer is more than just a dynamic
preaching style. It will also involve “boldness” and “great grace”
(Acts 4:31,33) in witnessing, centered in the wisdom of God rather
than the wisdom of men (1Corinthians 2:4-6) and manifestation of “the
fruit of the Spirit” in one’s life (Galatians 5:22-23).
Study Bible Notes)
William MacDonald rightly
comments that Spirit given, supernatural...
power is the grand
indispensable of Christian witness. A man may be highly talented,
intensively trained, and widely experienced, but without spiritual
power he is ineffective. On the other hand, a man may be
uneducated, unattractive, and unrefined, yet let him be endued with
the power of the Holy Spirit and the world will turn out to see
him burn for God. The fearful disciples needed power for
witnessing, holy boldness for preaching the gospel.
Comment: I think immediately
of Dwight L. Moody, a layman who never went to seminary and yet
by some accounts preached powerfully to over 100 million people in a
day time when travel was difficult. C H Spurgeon is another man who
never went to seminary, but whom God used mightily. They were greatly
used by God because they relied on the Spirit's power. The need of the
hour is power! But beware! While there is genuine Spirit given
power based on truth, there is also a subtle counterfeit power based
on error. There is a crying need for Spirit given discernment of
Scripture saturated saints, men and women who have a steady diet of
"solid food" which "is for the mature, who because of practice have
their senses trained (gumnazo
- rigorous spiritual exercise involving the practice of serious
study of the Word.) to discern good and evil." (Hebrews 5:14-note).
I know of no more efficient way of cultivating this greatly needed
quality of discernment than by learning to
study the Bible Inductively.
THE SECRET OF
In his last letter, Paul
emphasized Timothy's continual great need for supernatural empowerment
for effective ministry writing...
You therefore (term
to see what, why, etc
Paul is concluding), my son,
- command) in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. (2Ti 2:1-note)
Comment: This was Timothy's need
and beloved it is the great need of the present dark hour in America
(I am writing Feb, 2012), an hour in which the church seems powerless
(for the most part) to be radical salt and light to an increasing God
hating society. Be strong
(endunamoo is related to the root word dunamis) is
not a suggestion but a command calling for Timothy (and all believers
in ministry -- we are ALL in ministry!) to continually renounce
self strength and rely on supernatural Spirit given strength. The
Timothy is the recipient of the power and is to continually keep
himself in a position (and attitude) so that he might receive power
from the Spirit of Christ indwelling him. What is that position or
attitude that is crucial for the receipt of God's power for to be His
witnesses? James explains that "God is opposed to the proud but
gives grace to the humble." (James 4:6) Jesus answered Paul's prayer
for removal of the thorn in his side, not by removing the thorn, but
by explaining to Paul the secret of power in ministry -- "My grace
is sufficient for you, for power (dunamis)
is perfected in weakness." Paul replied "Most gladly, therefore, I
will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power (dunamis)
of Christ may dwell in me." (2Cor 12:9-note)
The greatest evangelist of the 19th
century, D L Moody once said...
Some people think that they are
losing time if they wait on God for His power; and so they go
and work, without unction; they are working without any anointing;
they are working without any power. (Ouch!)
In his book entitled
Secret Power (online),
D L Moody writes...
One man may have "zeal without
knowledge," while another may have knowledge without zeal. If I could
have only the one, I believe I should choose the first; but, with an
open Bible, no one need be without knowledge of God's will and
purpose; and the object of this book is to help others to know the
source of true power, that both their zeal and their knowledge may be
of increased service in the Master's work. Paul says, "all Scripture
is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable;" but I believe one
portion, and that the subject of this book, has been too much
overlooked, as though it were not practical, and the result is lack of
power in testimony and work. If we would work, "not as one that beats
the air," (1Cor 9:26) but to some definite purpose, we must have
this power from on high. Without this power, our work will be
drudgery. With it, it becomes a joyful task, a refreshing service.
May God make this book a blessing to many. This is my prayer. D. L.
MOODY. NORTHFIELD, MASS., May 1st, 1881.
"Without the soul, divinely
quickened and inspired, the observances of the grandest ritualism are
as worthless as the motions of a galvanized corpse." -Anonymous
I quote this sentence, as it leads
me at once to the subject under consideration. What is this quickening
and inspiration? What is this power needed? From whence its source? I
reply: The Holy Spirit of God. I am a full believer in "The
Apostles' Creed," and therefore "I believe in the Holy Ghost." A
writer has pointedly asked: "What are our souls without His grace? -
as dead as the branch in which the sap does not circulate (cp Jn
15:5). What is the Church without Him? - as parched and barren as the
fields without the dew and rain of heaven." (cp Jn 6:63) There has
been much inquiry of late on the subject of the Holy Spirit. In this
and other lands thousands of persons have been giving attention to the
study of this grand theme. I hope it will lead us all to pray for the
greater manifestation of His power upon the whole Church of God. How
much we have dishonored Him in the past! How ignorant of His grace,
and love and presence we have been? True, we have heard of Him and
read of Him, but we have had little intelligent knowledge of His
attributes, His offices and His relations to us. I fear He has not
been to many professed Christians an actual existence, nor is He known
to them as a personality of the Godhead....
....The Holy Spirit is closely
identified with the words of the Lord Jesus. "It is the Spirit that
quickens (gives life); the flesh profits nothing, the words that I
speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life." (Jn 6:63) The
Gospel proclamation can not be divorced from the Holy Spirit. Unless
He attend the word in power, vain will be the attempt in preaching it.
Human eloquence or persuasiveness of speech are the mere trappings of
the dead, if the living Spirit be absent; the prophet may preach to
the bones in the valley, but it must be the breath from Heaven which
will cause the slain to live....
...It is the work of the Spirit to
impress the heart and seal the preached word. His office is to take of
the things of Christ and reveal them unto us....
....We can not work for God without
love. It is the only tree that can produce fruit on this sin-cursed
earth, that is acceptable to God. If I have no love for God nor for my
fellow man, then I can not work acceptably. I am like sounding brass
and a tinkling cymbal. We are told that "the love of God is shed
abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost." (Ro 5:5) Now, if we have had
that love shed abroad in our hearts, we are ready for God's service;
if we have not, we are not ready. It is so easy to reach a man when
you love him; all barriers are broken down and swept away....
....WHAT IS NEEDED. Nine-tenths, at
least, of the church members never think of speaking for Christ. If
they see a man, perhaps a near relative, just going right down to
ruin, going rapidly, they never think of speaking to him about his
sinful course and of seeking to win him to Christ. Now certainly there
must be something wrong. And yet when you talk with them you find they
have faith, and you can not say they are not children of God; but they
have not the power, they have not the liberty, they have not the love
that real disciples of Christ should have. A great many people are
thinking that we need new measures, that we need new churches, that we
need new organs, and that we need new choirs, and all these new
things. That is not what the Church of God needs to-day. It is the old
power that the Apostles had; that is what we want, and if we have that
in our churches, there will be new life. Then we will have new
ministers--the same old ministers renewed with power; filled with the
Spirit. I remember when in Chicago many were toiling in the work, and
it seemed as though the car of salvation didn't move on, when a
minister began to cry out from the very depths of his heart, "Oh, God,
put new ministers in every pulpit." On next Monday I heard two or
three men stand up and say, "We had a new minister last Sunday--the
same old minister, but he had got new power," and I firmly believe
that is what we want to-day all over America. We want new ministers in
the pulpit and new people in the pews. We want people quickened by the
Spirit of God, and the Spirit coming down and taking possession of the
children of God and giving them power....
...Skeptics and infidels may say
they don't believe in it. It is not our work to make them believe in
it; that is the work of the Spirit. Our work is to give them the Word
of God; not to preach our theories and our ideas about it, but just to
deliver the message as God gives it to us....
.... If a man is filled with the
Spirit, he will magnify the Word; he will preach the Word, and not
himself; he will give this lost world the Word of the living God....
....Now I tell you when the Spirit
of God is on us for service, resting upon us, we are anointed, and
then we can do great things....I would like to see some one just full
of living water; so full that they couldn't contain it; that they
would have to go out and publish the Gospel of the grace of God. When
a man gets so full that he can't hold any more, then he is just ready
for God's service.
Here are some other quotes that
relate to the great need of believers for power from the
Holy Spirit in order to be Christ's witnesses...
In vain do the inhabitants of
London go to their conduits for supply unless the man who has the
master-key turns the water on; and in vain do we think to quench our
thirst at ordinances, unless God communicates the living water of His
Spirit.--Anonymous (cp John 7:37,38,39)
It was the custom of the Roman emperors, at their triumphal entrance,
to cast new coins among the multitudes; so doth Christ (Acts 1:8), in
His triumphal ascension into heaven (Acts 1:9), throw the greatest
gifts for the good of men that were ever given.--Thomas Goodwin.
To unconverted persons, a great part of the Bible resembles a letter
written in cipher. The blessed Spirit's office is to act as
God's Decipherer, by letting His people into the secret of
celestial experience, as the key and clue to those sweet mysteries of
grace which were before as a garden shut up, or as a fountain sealed,
or as a book written in an unknown character.--Augustus Toplady.
(cp Eph 1:18, 19)
When - Not "if" but "when" -
His coming was a certainty. His power was assured. All they had to do
was tarry, to wait.
The Holy Spirit - Not
an "it", nor a "thing", nor a spiritual "effect." No! He is a Person,
the Third Person of the Godhead. He is One Jesus asked for from the
Father. He the one the Father promised to send. He is the One Who
would accompany the New Heart of the New Covenant. He is the One
associated with power, supernatural power, miracle working power,
necessary power, sufficient power, power to be Christ's witnesses.
We cannot cover all of the passages
that relate to the promised gift of the Spirit but here are several
from the lips of Jesus spoken some 40 days prior to the events of Acts
John 14:16 "And I will ask the
Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be
with you forever; 17 that is the Spirit of truth, whom the
world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, but
you know Him because He abides with you, and will be in you. 18
"I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you."
Comment: Observe (1) the
indwelling of the Spirit is forever, which implies He will be in us in
eternity future. (2) the promise that the Spirit would one day dwell
"in" them (3) Jesus saying "I will come to you" but how? Surely a
reference to the Spirit of Christ Who came at Pentecost and Who now
comes to indwell every believer.
John 14:25 "These things I have
spoken to you, while abiding with you. 26 "But the Helper, the Holy
Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all
things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.
John 15:26 "When the Helper comes,
whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth,
who proceeds from the Father, He will bear witness of Me, 27 and you
will bear witness (martureo) also, because you have been with
Me from the beginning.
John 16:7 "But I tell you the
truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go
away, the Helper shall not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him
to you. 8 "And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning
sin, and righteousness, and judgment; 9 concerning sin, because they
do not believe in Me; 10 and concerning righteousness, because I go to
the Father, and you no longer behold Me; 11 and concerning judgment,
because the ruler of this world has been judged.
Jensen's Survey of the New
In the diagram (click to
enlarge) notice that when Jesus ascended, the Spirit descended.
However, there is more to the story as Paul Harvey used to say! As
will be explained below, the Gospels teach us that Jesus, fully God,
but also fully Man, witnessed in the power of the Holy Spirit and in
so doing left His followers the perfect example to follow as His
witnesses to the world!
Peter reminds us (in context of
discussing His suffering)
- What should this prompt us to do? 1Pe 2:20-note) you have been called for this
purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an
for you to follow in His steps (1Peter 2:21-note)
The apostle John adds that
the one who says he abides in Him
- "owe a debt", are under obligation) himself to walk (peripateo
= behave, conduct himself) in the same manner as He walked. (1John
Comment: John's exhortation
begs the question "How did Jesus conduct Himself during His ministry
on earth?" And specifically what was the source of His power for this
Paul issued this command...
I exhort you therefore (term
- see 1Co 4:15),
= command to continually be)
of me. (1Cor 4:16)
Comment: As an aside it is
important to understand that every imperative or command spoken to
believers in the New Testament is a call for us to renounce our
dependence on self (our fleshly ability to obey and carry out the
command) and to depend on the enabling power of the indwelling Spirit,
Who gives us both the desire (my flesh left to itself does not want to
obey God) and the power (my flesh does not have the supernatural power
to obey God). (See Php 2:13NLT-note).
And yet in the mysterious working of God, we must make a conscious,
volitional decision to work out our salvation in fear and trembling.
a "process" I like to refer to as
adapted from Jerry Bridges' book I highly recommend entitled
The Bookends of the Christian Life.)
= command to continually be)
of me, just as
I also am of Christ. (1Cor 11:1)
And so, beloved, we must ask the
important question -- "What
is Jesus' example which Paul imitated and we too are commanded
(enabled by the Spirit) to imitate?"
The Gospel accounts explain Jesus' "example" specifically
describing His Source of power for ministry...
Matthew 3:16-17, 4:1 (cp Mk 1:10,
Lk 3:22, Jn 1:32, 33, 34) And after
being baptized, Jesus went up immediately from the water; and behold,
the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a
dove, and coming upon Him (come = erchomai + upon
= epi. Compare "comes upon" = eperchomai here in
Acts 1:8),17 and behold, a voice out of the heavens,
saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased." Then
Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be
tempted by the devil.
Comment: "Led by" is
meaning just what it says. Jesus submitted His will to the will
of the Spirit, to obey as the Spirit led Him.
And so at the inception of His 3
year ministry we begin to see Jesus' example and the "secret" of His
power. Beloved, are you
learning to yield to the leading of the Holy Spirit? Do you desire the
same power in which Jesus ministered? Do you believe Jesus' promise to
you as one of His disciples?...
Truly, truly, I say to you, he
who believes in Me, the works that I do shall he do also and greater
works than these shall he do because I go to the Father. (John 14:12)
What did Jesus mean? The ESV
Study Bible has this excellent answer... “Greater works” will be
possible because of the power of the Holy Spirit Who would be sent
after Jesus goes to the Father (John 16:7; also John 7:39; 14:16, 26).
These “greater works” include evangelism, teaching, and deeds of mercy
and compassion—in short, the entire ministry of the Church to
the entire world, beginning from Pentecost (Acts 2:1-2, 3-4).
(E.g., on the day of Pentecost alone, more believers were added to
Jesus’ followers than during his entire earthly ministry up to that
time; cf. Acts 2:41.) These works are “greater” not because they are
more amazing miracles but because they will be greater in their
worldwide scope and will result in the transformation of individual
lives and of whole cultures and societies.
John MacArthur adds:
The greater works to which Jesus referred were not greater in power
than those He performed, but greater in extent. The disciples would
indeed perform miraculous works, as Jesus had (cf. Acts 5:12–16; Heb.
2:3–4). But those physical miracles were not primarily what Jesus had
in mind, since the apostles did not do more powerful miracles than He
had. When the Lord spoke of His followers performing greater works, He
was referring to the extent of the spiritual miracle of salvation.
Jesus never preached outside of Palestine, yet His followers would
spread the gospel throughout the world. Jesus had only a limited
outreach to Gentiles (cf. Mark 7:26ff.), but the disciples
(particularly Peter and later Paul) would reach the Gentile world with
the gospel. The number of believers in Christ would also grow far
beyond the hundreds (Acts 1:15; 1 Cor. 15:6) that were numbered during
His lifetime. The power to perform those greater works would only be
available because Jesus was going to the Father. It was only then that
He would send the Holy Spirit (John 7:39; cf. John 14:16–17, 26;
15:26; 16:13; Acts 1:5) to indwell believers (Ro. 8:9–11) and empower
them for ministry (Acts 1:8; 1Cor. 12:4–11; cf. Eph. 3:20). Christ’s
promise to send the Holy Spirit offered further comfort to the
disciples. Though Jesus would no longer be visibly present with them,
the Spirit would provide them with all the power they needed to extend
the work He had begun (cf. Acts 1:8).
J: John 12-21. Chicago: Moody Press
And Jesus, full of the Holy
Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led about by the
Spirit in the wilderness. (Luke 4:1)
FILLED WITH THE
Comment: This passage
parallels Mt 4:1 but adds that Jesus was filled with the Spirit, the
very thing Paul commands in Ephesians writing that believers are "not
to be drunk with wine for that is dissipation, but be filled with the
Spirit." (Eph 5:18-note).
What does this mean to be
filled with the Spirit?
What happens when one is filled with alcohol? It controls what they
say, how they walk, what they do, etc. When someone is filled with
rage as were those in the synagogue in Luke 4:28, it controls their
actions (see Luke 4:28, cp Lk 6:11). In short, what fills you,
controls you. If the Spirit fills you, He controls you. Is this a bit
mysterious? It is to me, but it is clearly the pattern of powerful
ministry laid out in the Gospels, in Acts and in the Epistles. Observe
and meditate on the following passages in Acts - Acts 2:4, Acts 4:8
(Observe how Peter spoke prior to the filling with the power of the
Spirit! - Mt 26:69-70, 71, 72, 73, 74-75), Acts 4:31 (Observe
especially what they spoke and how they spoke! Do you see a pattern?),
Acts 9:17 (How was Paul able to be such a powerful and effective
witness of the resurrection of Jesus Christ?), Acts 13:9, Acts 13:52
I love the way the great Puritan
writer John Bunyan described filling with the Spirit "Seamen
cannot create the wind, but they can hoist their sails to welcome it;
neither can we create the breath of the Spirit, but are we to miss it
when it comes through failure to keep our sails unfurled?"
May God grant us grace to keep
our "sails unfurled!" Amen
Spirit of God, descend upon my
Wean it from earth; through all its pulses move;
Stoop to my weakness, mighty as Thou art,
And make me love Thee as I ought to love.
THE POWER OF THE
(After Jesus' temptation by the
devil) And Jesus returned to Galilee in the power (dunamis) of the
Spirit; and news about Him spread through all the surrounding
district. (Luke 4:14)
(After entering the synagogue on the Sabbath He read from Isaiah) "THE
SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME, BECAUSE HE ANOINTED ME TO
PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR. HE HAS SENT ME TO PROCLAIM RELEASE TO
THE CAPTIVES, AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND, TO SET FREE THOSE
WHO ARE DOWNTRODDEN, 19 TO PROCLAIM THE FAVORABLE YEAR OF THE LORD."
In Acts Luke declares again
that Jesus carried out His ministry in the power of the Holy
You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how
God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit (see Mt 3:16-17 above)
and with power (dunamis), and how He went about doing
good, and healing all who were oppressed by the devil; for God was
with Him. (Acts 10:38)
Comment: Observe that last
phrase "God was with Him." Notice that it is introduced by a ("for"),
which explains how Jesus was able to carry on ministry. This is a
mystery to me, for Jesus could have chosen to minister in His own
power, but He did not. He chose to empty Himself and become a
bondservant of the Most High God and to leave you and I the perfect
pattern for powerful ministry "for God was with Him."
In summary from the preceding
passages, it is clear that Jesus, although fully God, emptied Himself
of His divine prerogatives (cp Php 2:6-7-note)
and carried out His ministry in the power of the Holy Spirit, leaving
us an example to follow His steps, an example to be imitated even as
Paul imitated Jesus. To be sure, there are some supernatural events in
Jesus' ministry that cannot be replicated (in my opinion) by
believers (turning water to wine, feeding 5000, etc), but the basic premise holds that Jesus showed us that a
perfect Man could carry out a supernatural ministry in the
supernatural power of
the Holy Spirit. And so here in Acts, at the beginning of the Church
Age, Jesus is explaining to His apostles (and by way of application
to all believers) that they cannot be His witnesses in their own
strength but only in the power of the Holy Spirit!
Do we in the modern church truly
understand this simple but profound pattern for powerful proclamation
of the Gospel? Dear reader, do you understand that you cannot carry
out a supernatural ministry without the power of the Holy Spirit?
While I may not agree with everything that D. L. Moody says in his
little book "Secret Power", I do wholeheartedly agree with his
statement that ...
The fact is, we are leaky vessels,
and we have to keep right under the fountain all the time to keep full
of Christ (Ed: "the Spirit of Christ" Ro 8:9-note),
and so have a fresh supply (Ed: "Of the power of the
Spirit for ministry"). I believe this is a mistake a great many of us
are making; we are trying to do God's work with the grace God gave us
ten years ago. We say, if it is necessary, we will go on with the same
grace (Ed: Contrast Paul's example - observe Paul's
responsibility and God's provision [cp
....When we have the Spirit resting
upon us, we can speak with authority and power, and the Lord
will bless our testimony and bless our work. I believe the reason why
God makes use of so few in the Church, is because there is not in them
the power that God can use. He is not going to use our ideas,
but we must have the Word of God hid in our hearts (Ed: See
Memorizing His Word
Memory Verses by Topic),
and then, the Holy Spirit inflaming us, we will have the testimony
which will be rich, and sweet, and fresh, and the Lord's Word will
vindicate itself in blessed results. God wants to use us; God
wants to make us channels of blessing; but we are in such a condition
He does not use us. That is the trouble; there are so many men who
have no testimony for the Lord; if they speak, they speak
without saying anything, and if they pray, their prayer is powerless;
they do not plead in prayer; their prayer is just a few set phrases
that you have heard too often. Now what we want, is to be so full
of the Word, (cp Col 3:16-note)
that the Spirit coming upon us shall bring to mind--bring to our
remembrance--the words of the Lord Jesus (Jn 14:26)....
...When the Spirit of God is on us
the world looks very empty; the world has a very small hold upon us
(cp Col 3:1-note,
and we begin to let go our hold of it. (Ed:
Let it be so Lord!) When the Spirit of God is on us
we will just let go the things of time and lay hold of things eternal.
This is the Church's need to-day; we want the Spirit to come in
mighty power, and consume all the vile dross there is in us.
Oh! that the Spirit of fire may come down and burn everything in us
that is contrary to God's blessed Word and Will. (Amen!)
E. M. Bounds once said...
The Holy Ghost does not flow
through methods but through men. He does not come on machinery but on
men. He does not anoint plans but men—men of prayer.
upon you (1904)
from epi = upon + erchomai = come) means literally to
come upon or over a person or place. To draw near which can
refer to people, events or time as shown in the nine NT uses. To come
upon in the sense of arriving (Acts 14:19). To come upon in the sense
of something happening or occurring (Acts 8:24) Eperchomai is
used by Luke twice to describe the Holy Spirit coming upon individuals
(Mary Lk 1:35, apostles Acts 1:8). Luke 21:26 uses eperchomai
in a prophetic sense of coming global and heavenly catastrophic
events. Luke 11:22 uses eperchomai to signify coming upon in a
hostile sense, so as to assault someone.
Epi and erchomai the
root words of eperchomai are used in the Lxx translation of
Isaiah 32:15 where the Greek can be rendered "until the Spirit has
come (erchomai) upon (epi) you from on high." The
context is the prophet speaking of the desolation of Israel which will
continue until "the Spirit is poured out on us from on high." The
point is that in Acts, the fulfillment of the promise of the Spirit is
a sign that marks God's end-time restoration of Israel. Acts 1:8
however envisions a worldwide mission. The complete fulfillment of
Isaiah 32:15 (Israel's restoration, specifically the believing
remnant) awaits the completion of God's worldwide mission to both Jews
Has come is in the
which indicates the Spirit's coming is to be a definite historical
event, not a continuous coming. He will come on believers at a
given point in time, specifically on the day of Pentecost. It is
important to clarify that since the time of the book of Acts, every
believer has been "baptized" (in the sense of identified with) the
Holy Spirit at the time of their new birth. Conversely, if a person
does not possess the Holy Spirit, they are not born again. (See Romans
8:9). Baptism with the Spirit is a one time event, while filling with
the Spirit is a repeated experience. Our goal as followers of Christ
should be to continually seek to obey Paul's command to "be filled
with the Spirit" (Ephesians 5:18). When He fills us, He will control
us and empower us. Is this mysterious? It is to me, but it is the
great need of every blood bought, heaven bound believer until the day
they see the Lord face to face!
The renowned Bible teacher
Donald Grey Barnhouse said that ...
No one may ask a believer whether
he has been baptized with the Spirit. The very fact that a man is in
the body of Christ demonstrates that he has been baptized with the
Spirit, for there is no other way of entering the body.
TDNT summarizes the NT
Except in Eph. 2:7 and Jas 5:1 the
word occurs in the NT only in Luke and Acts. Figuratively it means
coming on someone, e.g., the stronger on the weaker in Lk. 11:22. The
Holy Spirit as the power of God comes on Mary in Lk. 1:35 and on the
disciples in Acts 1:8. Disasters will come at the end, according to
Lk. 21:26, 35 (cf. Jas 5:1). But in Eph. 2:7 the ineffable generosity
of divine grace will be shown to coming ages.
Eperchomai - 9x in 9v-
Luke 1:35 The angel answered and
said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you
(the virgin Mary), and
the power (dunamis) of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason
the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.
Comment: Luke describes the
creative act of the Holy Spirit, not the sort of divine-human
cohabitation sometimes seen in pagan mythology. Doctor Luke is
describing the doctrine of the virgin conception of Jesus. Luke also
records "the Holy Spirit was upon" Simeon (Lk 2:25, 26, 27-35)
Luke 11:22 "But when someone
stronger than he attacks (Literally - comes upon) him and
overpowers him, he takes away from him all his armor on which he had
relied and distributes his plunder.
Luke 21:26 men fainting from fear
and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the
world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
NET Note comment: An
allusion to Isa 34:4. The heavens were seen as the abode of heavenly
forces, so their shaking indicates distress in the spiritual realm.
Although some take the powers as a reference to bodies in the heavens
(like stars and planets, “the heavenly bodies,” NIV) this is not as
Comment: I agree with the
NET note that the powers that are to be shaken are the demonic powers
who will indeed be devastated by the return of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Acts 1:8 but you will receive power
when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My
witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to
the remotest part of the earth."
Acts 8:24 But Simon answered and
said, "Pray to the Lord for me yourselves, so that nothing of what you
have said may come upon me."
Comment: The sad commentary
of a man who came close to salvation but never manifested genuine
belief. See John MacArthur's back to back sermons on this sad
Acts 8:9-24 The Faith That Does Not Save
Acts 8:25-40 The Faith That Does Save
Acts 13:40 "Therefore
- command to continually watch out! And the warning tells them why
this is imperative!) so that the thing spoken of in the Prophets
may not come upon you:
Comment: The reference is to
the prophecy of Habakkuk that Judah would fall to Babylon. Acts 13:41
goes on to quote Hab 1:4 as a solemn warning of divine judgment to
those who might be tempted to refuse God’s great offer of present
salvation. To reject or ignore the Good News guarantees (eternally)
Acts 14:19 But Jews came from
Antioch and Iconium, and having won over the crowds, they stoned Paul
and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead.
Comment: The resistance of
the enemies of the Gospel is seen in the fact that these Jews came
from 100 miles to try to destroy Paul and his Gospel.
so that (This term always expresses purpose - stop and ask what
purpose, why, when, who affected, etc) in the ages to come
He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us
in Christ Jesus.
Comment: This is one of my
favorite verses for it tells us (1) there will be more than one age to
come (ages is plural), at least the millennium followed by the New
Heaven and New Earth (? more - we don't know) and (2) the miracle of
transforming grace will be the subject of eternal revelation so that
"God will be unveiling to the heavenly throng what it cost Him to send
His Son to this jungle of sin, and what it cost the Lord Jesus to bear
our sins at the cross. It is a subject that will never be exhausted."
James 5:1 Come now, you rich, weep
and howl for your miseries which are coming upon
Comment: Here eperchomai is
used like Luke 21:26 in the context of judgment which is coming upon
the disobedient, those who steadfast refuse God's gracious offer of
the free gift of salvation by repentance and faith (Mark 1:15). The
use of the
pictures these miseries as continually on their way! No excuses, and
no escape, except in Christ!
TDNT summarizes the
uses "The LXX uses the word with reference to things, events,
conditions, etc. that bring evils, or, less frequently, blessings."
Gen 42:21; Ex 10:1; Lev 11:34;
14:43; 16:9f; Num 5:14, 30; 6:5; 8:7; Josh 24:20; Jdg 9:57; 20:33; 1
Sam 11:7; 30:23; 2 Sam 17:2; 19:7; 1Kgs 19:19; 2Chr 20:9; 22:1; 32:26;
Job 1:19; 2:11; 3:5; 4:15; 15:19; 19:29; 20:22, 28; 21:17; 23:6, 17;
25:3; 27:9; 31:12; 37:9; 40:20; Ps 90:10; Pr 3:25; 4:14f; 5:6; 16:33;
18:3; 19:11; 26:2, 11; 27:12; Eccl 2:12; Isa 7:25; 13:13; 28:18;
32:15; 41:4, 22f; 42:23; 44:7; 45:11; 48:3; 63:4; 65:17; Ezek 33:4;
39:11; 47:9; Dan 4:19; 5:30; 9:11, 13; 10:13; 11:13, 15, 17, 41; Hos
10:11; Mic 3:11; 5:5f; Nah 3:19; Zeph 2:2; Zech 9:8; 12:9
THE COMING OF THE SPIRIT
David G Peterson has an
interesting summary of the coming of the Spirit noting that His
coming can be described metaphorically in terms of...
clothing (Lk. 24:49),
baptism (Acts 1:5; 11:16), coming upon (Acts 1:8; 19:6),
falling upon (Acts 8:16; 10:44; 11:15), pouring out
(Acts 2:17-18, 33; 10:45), reception (Acts 1:8; 2:38; 8:15, 17,
19; 10:47; 19:2), and filling (Acts 2:4; 9:17). These are
complementary metaphors, used interchangeably in some contexts, and
designed to express different aspects of the same experience. One
should not be elevated above the others as an interpretive key to the
rest. (The Acts of the Apostles. Pillar Commentary)
As a fellow physician, I
particularly love Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones metaphorical description of
the Holy Spirit...
If it were possible to put the Holy
Spirit into a textbook of pharmacology I would put him under the
stimulants, for that is where he belongs.
Come, Holy Spirit, God and Lord!
Be all thy graces now out-poured
On the believer's mind and soul,
To strengthen, save, and make us whole.
AND YOU SHALL BE MY
WITNESSES BOTH IN JERUSALEM, AND IN ALL JUDEA AND SAMARIA AND EVEN TO
THE REMOTEST PART OF THE EARTH: kai esesthe (2PFMI) mou martures en te
Ierousalem kai [en] pase te Ioudaia kai Samareia kai eos eschatou tes
ges: (You shall be my witnesses: Acts 1:22 2:32 3:15
4:33 5:32 10:39-41 13:31 22:15 Mt 28:19 Mk 16:15 Lk 24:46-49 Jn 15:27)
(Samaria: Acts 8:5-25) (Into: Ps 22:27 98:3 Isa 42:10
49:6 52:10 66:19 Jer 16:19 Mt 24:14 Ro 10:18 15:19)
O Lord, Thy power to know,
Before we forth to service go,
Or else we serve in vain.
We trust not human thought or might,
Our souls are helpless for the fight,
Until that power we gain.
You shall be - When? In
the future. Note Jesus
does not say "you shall do" but "you shall
Dr. Howard Hendricks
It’s not, “You are going to be
witnesses and then receive power,” but the other way around: “You are
going to receive power, the result of which is, you are going to be
witnesses.” That’s an interesting point, because often we spend a lot
of time trying to urge people to witness concerning the faith. Yet
nothing inside of them would ever warrant their doing that. They have
nothing to share with others, and if they tried, they would be doing
nothing but putting on an act. By contrast, suppose one of my female
seminary students gets engaged over the summer. In the fall, she walks
into my class, and the first thing you know she’s waving her ring
finger in front of my face. I never have to beg her to show me her
ring. No, there’s something inside that compels her to take the
initiative. She’s in love with a man, and she’s got co share it. She
can’t keep it to herself. That’s the kind of dynamic Luke wants us to
see in this passage. As a result of what the apostles receive, they
are going to be witnesses. But whose witnesses? Christ’s witnesses.
His by personal identification. They are going to represent Him.
(Living by the Book)
As A J Gordon so pithily
Before Pentecost the disciples
found it hard to do easy things; after Pentecost they found it easy to
do hard things.
My witnesses - There are
two possible meanings -- The first sense is witnesses about
Jesus (objective genitive) giving testimony of His life, death and
resurrection. The second sense is witnesses of Jesus
(possessive genitive) as those who belong to Him and are His feet on
the ground so to speak. Luke 24:44-48 (cp also Acts 4:33 and Acts
10:42) would tend to favor that the intended meaning is witnesses who
help establish the truthfulness of Jesus life, death, burial and
resurrection by testifying firsthand about Him (even to the point of
death, our English word martyr) .
Now He said to them (to His
apostles), "These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still
with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of
Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled." Then He
opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and He said to them,
"Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and rise again from
the dead the third day; and that repentance (Jesus directly refutes
those in the modern church who say you do not need to preach
repentance! cp Mk 1:15, Peter in Acts 2:38) for forgiveness of sins
should be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from
Jerusalem (cp Acts 1:8). 48 "You are witnesses of these things.
49 "And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you;
but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from
on high." (Luke 24:44-48)
A T Robertson - In Luke
24:48 Jesus calls the disciples "witnesses to these things" (objective
There are two requirements
necessary for one to be
(1) A witness must have seen that about which he or
she seeks to bear witness.
(2) A witness must tell others what he or
she has seen.
A witness is one who gives
testimony to an event, person or circumstance. So a witness is one who
has seen something, experienced something, heard something. For 3 ½
years these apostles had lived intimately with the Savior and now as a
result of their contact with the Holy Spirit and His provision of
power they are going to be totally different people. Up until now the
apostles have been living primarily in their own strength and the
results have not been too impressive! Now they are going to be the
Savior's witnesses in the power of the Spirit!
Notice that a witness does not need to have complete
understanding of what they have witnessed (Cp Jesus' description of
the "new birth" John 3:6,7). Furthermore a witness does not need to be
eloquent, convincing, clever, persuasive, articulate or a seminary
graduate! The greatest evangelist of the 1800's (and probably of all
time) was Dwight L Moody (called "Crazy Moody") who had only a
fifth grade education and yet this Spirit filled and empowered man was
used by God to "witness" to more than 100 million souls! Remember that
God is not as interested in your ability (to be His
witness) but in your availability!
Are you available?
A witness for Jesus simply needs to tell others what they know to be
true. What have you
seen that you can relate to others? If you are a believer
in Jesus Christ, then
you have seen Jesus change your life (2Cor 5:17-note) and you can tell
others what He about this miraculous supernatural transformation!
Have you ever given your
testimony of the life changing Gospel of grace?
My Personal Testimony)
CAN I GET A
basically describes one who remembers something and testifies
concerning what they remember. Notice that martus has a two
fold meaning of (1) describing one who has seen and/or experienced
something or someone and (2) one who testifies to what he or she saw.
The testimony could be in a legal setting (Mk 14:63; Acts 6:13; 7:58;
Heb. 10:28) or in the general sense of recounting firsthand knowledge
(Lk 11:48; 1Ti. 6:12; Heb 12:1; 1Pe 5:1).
A martus is one who
attests to a fact or event, one who gives evidence (testifies in a
court to the truth of a fact or event), one who has seen or has
personal knowledge of something or someone, especially as an "eye
witness" (eg, the apostles in Acts having and relating their personal
knowledge of Jesus' post-resurrection appearances). A witness is one
who furnishes evidence or proof, confirming the truth by verbal
A witness gives testimony in a court trial (Mt
26:65, Mk 14:63, false = Acts 6:13). Scripture repeatedly refers to
the Old Testament "formula" of witnesses to some event using the phrase "two or three
witnesses" (Mt 18:16, 2Cor 13:1, 1Ti 5:19, Heb 10:28) The
witnesses of Hebrews 11 are those whose lives speak of the reality of
their faith in God (Heb 12:1).
Timothy's good confession before
witnesses-they authenticate his confession, Paul's teaching before
witnesses - they authenticate his teaching. There were eye witnesses of Stephen's stoning
(Acts 7:58) who saw and could tell how he was stoned to death.
Martus is used of God as witness
(Acts 5:32 = Holy Spirit, Ro 1:9, 2Cor 1:23, Php 1:8, 1Th 2:5, 10).
Paul uses this statement somewhat as a "formula" to add validation to
what he is saying. In other words, he is saying God saw this and would
give testimony that this is what I said or is what I did. Witness is
also used of the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:32) and Jesus (Rev 1:5, Rev
The two witnesses of
Revelation 11 (Rev 11:3) give a unique and powerful testimony to the
entire world to the truth of God and His coming judgment.
Martus is used to describe those who witnessed to the point of
death (Stephen as a witness = Acts 22:20, Antipas as a witness =
Rev 2:13. Witnesses of Jesus apparently also martyred during the
Tribulation - Rev 17:6). The fact that so many who bore testimony to
the truth of the Gospel paid with their lives probably explains how
martus gave rise to our English word "martyr", one who voluntarily
suffers death as the penalty of witnessing to and refusing to renounce
some truth (especially belief that Jesus is the only Way to eternal
life - cp Mt 16:24-25, 24:9, Rev 6:9, Rev 20:4 - yes, being Jesus'
witness can be costly!). As alluded to earlier the apostles
are repeatedly described as
witnesses of Jesus, His acts, His resurrection (Lk 24:48, Acts 1:8, 1:22, 2:32,
5:32, 10:39, 41, 13:31, 1Pe 5:1 = Peter) In a similar usage, Paul was
charged to be a witness for Jesus after seeing Him on the Damascus
road (Acts 22:15, 26:16)
The Holman Illustrated Bible
Dictionary writes that witness...
Refers generally to something or
someone that bears testimony to things seen, heard, transacted, or
experienced. The bearing of testimony can be either passive (as when
one is present as a spectator or bystander—Gen. 21:30; Ruth 4:7; Heb.
12:1) or active (as when one gives evidence as a witness). The
conventional meaning and usage pertains to the legal sphere but can
also refer to the moral sphere. Bearing witness may also denote the
content and/or the significance of the testimony. Additionally, a
witness (testimony) may refer to facts about which a person is firmly
convinced by faith and for which that person would willingly die. In
this last sense such a person would be referred to as a martyr. The
distinction between witness (marturion, marturia) and martyr (martus)
consists only in the degree of their testimony, since both words are
cognates of the same Greek verb meaning, “I testify/bear witness”
G Campbell Morgan...
What is a witness? The light we
need here is light that we have by our common use of the Anglicized
form of this Greek word “martyr.” “Ye shall be martyrs.” I do not wish
to suggest that Jesus meant necessarily that these men would all die
for Him. We have come to use that word “martyr” as referring only to
such as seal their testimony with their blood. I am not suggesting
that we should abandon that particular use of the word, for it is a
great and glorious use of the word to-day. The men who sealed their
testimony with their blood were martyrs, but they were
martyrs before they died. Smithfield’s fires never made martyrs:
they revealed martyrs. Persecution never makes a martyr: it
finds him out and wraps him in the glory of flame that we may see him
David Peterson writes
The word 'witness' (martys)
is almost exclusively applied to the Twelve in Acts (Acts 1:8, 22;
2:32; 3:15; 5:32; 10:39, 41; 13:31), though related terms are used in
connection with the ministry of others...The Twelve occupy a unique
place in history as witnesses of Christ because of the time they spent
with him—especially after his resurrection—and because of their
commissioning by him (cf. 1:21-26 note). As 'eyewitnesses' (Lk. 1:2;
cf. Acts 1:3a), they guarantee the historicity of the major events in
Jesus' life, and as those uniquely instructed by him (Lk. 24:44-48;
Acts 1:3b-5), they pass on Jesus' own understanding of his person and
work. Even though Paul is called 'a witness' by the risen Christ (Acts
22:15; 26:16), Luke makes it clear that his experience and calling are
different from that of the Twelve. Other characters in Acts are
witnesses to Christ only in a secondary or derived sense, sharing with
unbelievers the testimony of the apostles that they have come to
believe for themselves. (The Acts of the Apostles. Pillar)
Martus - found 35x in 35v
(NAS) - Translated - witness(12), witnesses(23).
Matthew 18:16 "But if he does not
listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that BY THE MOUTH OF
TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY FACT MAY BE CONFIRMED.
Eerdman's Dictionary of the
Bible comments: One who helps establish the truthfulness of a
matter by testifying firsthand about what was seen or heard. The
necessity of recollecting and reiterating what happened implies that
witness bearing includes a historical dimension. Although this
activity originated in legal contexts, its vocabulary (Greek -
martus/martys) quickly expanded to other social and religious
settings. The Mosaic law ensured truthfulness by requiring two or
three witnesses to convict a person of a criminal offense and
obligating them to lead in the execution of capital sentences (Dt.
17:6–7). Furthermore, it made bearing false witness punishable by lex
talionis (Dt. 19:15–19).
Matthew 26:65 Then the high priest tore his robes and said, "He has
blasphemed! What further need do we have of witnesses? Behold,
you have now heard the blasphemy;
Mark 14:63 Tearing his clothes, the high priest said, "What further
need do we have of witnesses?
Luke 11:48 "So you are witnesses and approve the deeds of your
fathers; because it was they who killed them, and you build their
Luke 24:48 "You are witnesses of these things.
Acts 1:8 but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon
you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in
all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth."
Acts 1:22 beginning with the baptism of John until the day that He was
taken up from us-- one of these must become a witness with us
of His resurrection."
Acts 2:32 "This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all
Acts 3:15 but put to death the Prince of life, the one whom God raised
from the dead, a fact to which we are witnesses.
Acts 5:32 "And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the
Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him."
Acts 6:13 They put forward false witnesses who said,
"This man incessantly speaks against this holy place and the Law;
Acts 7:58 When they had driven him out of the city, they began
stoning him; and the witnesses laid aside their robes at the
feet of a young man named Saul.
Acts 10:39 "We are witnesses of all the things He did both in
the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They also put Him to death by
hanging Him on a cross.
Acts 10:41 not to all the people, but to witnesses who were chosen
beforehand by God, that is, to us who ate and drank with Him after He
arose from the dead.
Acts 13:31 and for many days He appeared to those who came up with Him
from Galilee to Jerusalem, the very ones who are now His witnesses
to the people.
Acts 22:15 'For you will be a witness for Him to all men of
what you have seen and heard.
Acts 22:20 'And when the blood of Your witness Stephen was being shed,
I also was standing by approving, and watching out for the coats of
those who were slaying him.'
Acts 26:16 'But get up and stand on your feet; for this purpose I have
appeared to you, to appoint you a minister and a witness not
only to the things which you have seen, but also to the things in
which I will appear to you;
Romans 1:9-note For God, whom I serve in my spirit in the preaching of the
gospel of His Son, is my witness as to how unceasingly I make
mention of you,
2 Corinthians 1:23 But I call God as witness to my soul, that
to spare you I did not come again to Corinth.
2 Corinthians 13:1 This is the third time I am coming to you. EVERY
FACT IS TO BE CONFIRMED BY THE TESTIMONY OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES.
Philippians 1:8-note For God is my witness, how I long for you all
with the affection of Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 2:5-note For we never came with flattering speech, as you
know, nor with a pretext for greed-- God is witness--
1 Thessalonians 2:10-note You are witnesses, and so is God, how
devoutly and uprightly and blamelessly we behaved toward you
1 Timothy 5:19 Do not receive an accusation against an elder except on
the basis of two or three witnesses.
1 Timothy 6:12 Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal
life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the
presence of many witnesses.
2 Timothy 2:2-note The things which you have heard from me in the presence
of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be
able to teach others also.
Hebrews 10:28-note Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without
mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.
Hebrews 12:1-note Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses
surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin
which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race
that is set before us,
Wuest comments: The heroes
of faith of 11:4–40 are the cloud of witnesses, testifying to the
efficacy of the faith way of salvation and victory. The writer calls
them, so to speak, to the witness stand to bear testimony to what they
have seen and heard and felt as to what faith could and did do for
them, so that this first century Jew might become convinced that the
salvation which Messiah wrought out on the Cross, must be appropriated
by faith, not works.
1 Peter 5:1-note Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow
elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker
also of the glory that is to be revealed,
Revelation 1:5-note and from Jesus Christ, the faithful Witness,
the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To
Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood--
Revelation 2:13-note 'I know where you dwell, where Satan's throne is; and
you hold fast My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days of
Antipas, My witness, My faithful one, who was killed among you,
where Satan dwells.
Revelation 3:14-note "To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The
Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the
creation of God, says this:
Revelation 11:3-note "And I will grant authority to my two witnesses,
and they will prophesy for twelve hundred and sixty days, clothed in
Revelation 17:6-note And I saw the woman drunk with the blood of the
saints, and with the blood of the witnesses of Jesus. When I
saw her, I wondered greatly.
Martus/martys - 45x in the
non-apocryphal Septuagint - Gen 31:44, 47; Exod 23:1; Lev 5:1; Num
5:13; 23:18; 35:30; Deut 17:6f; 19:15f, 18; Josh 24:22; Ruth 4:9, 10,
11; 1 Sam 12:5f; 20:23, 42; 1 Kgs 17:20; Job 16:19; Ps 27:12; 35:11;
89:37; Pr 6:19; 12:17, 19; 14:5, 25; 19:5, 9; 21:28; 24:28; Isa 8:2;
43:9, 10, 12; 44:8; Jer 29:23; 32:10, 25, 44; 42:5; Mal 3:5.
Isaiah 43:10 "You are My
witnesses (martus/martys)," declares the LORD, "And My
servant whom I have chosen, So that you may know and believe Me And
understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, And there
will be none after Me.
Isaiah 43:12 "It is I who
have declared and saved and proclaimed, And there was no strange god
among you; So you are My witnesses (martus/martys),"
declares the LORD, "And I am God.
Isaiah 44:8 'Do not tremble and do
not be afraid; Have I not long since announced it to you and declared
it? And you are My witnesses (martus/martys). Is there
any God besides Me, Or is there any other Rock? I know of none.'"
Comment: In each of these
passages God is speaking to Israel calling them His
witnesses (martus). Some commentators feel that the in the very
fact of their exile, Israel was evidence that God is truly God.
Certainly God had predicted their exile to Babylon and its coming to
pass was testimony that Jehovah alone is God for only God could
predict the future. Thomas Constable for example writes that
"God had told them that they would return from captivity as well as go
into it. When they did return, they would be able to witness to the
world that the Lord had predicted and performed both events."
Hastings writes that our...
witness must be in the Holy Spirit.
Without the gift and presence of the Holy Spirit our witness is bound
to be a failure and a disappointment. Let none of us be content with a
lower spiritual experience than God is willing to give us. As long as
we keep our witness within the bounds of what we can obviously succeed
in, we shall accomplish little, but when in abandonment of self, and
in reliance on the Holy Spirit, we attempt great things for God, our
success will exceed our highest hopes.
Attempt great things for God
Expect great things from God.
S D Gordon...
There has come to you some bit of a
call to service, to teach a class, or to write a special letter, or
speak a word, or take up something needing to be done. And you
hesitate. You think that you cannot. You are not fit, you think; not
qualified. The thing to do is to do it. If the call is clear, go
ahead. Need is one of the strong calling voices of God. It is always
safe to respond. Put out your foot in the answering swing, even though
you cannot see clearly the place to put it down. God attends to that
part. Power comes as we go.
C. C. Albertson
There is an interesting story of
Gustave Doré, the artist, that
once, crossing the Italian frontier, he had mislaid his passport and
was called upon to prove his identity. This he did by taking a sheet
of common paper and a piece of charcoal, and tracing the homely, manly
features of Victor Emmanuel. The officers knew that only Doré could
draw like that. Challenged by the world as we are, is it not for us to
trace, here and now, on the rough surface of our common lives, with
only such instruments as our ordinary circumstances afford, the
character of our King? “By this shall all men know that ye are My
BOTH IN JERUSALEM, AND IN
ALL JUDEA AND SAMARIA AND EVEN TO THE REMOTEST PART OF THE EARTH: en
te Ierousalem kai [en] pase te Ioudaia kai Samareia kai eos eschatou
tes ges: (Samaria: Acts 8:5-25) (Into: Ps
22:27 98:3 Isa 42:10 49:6 52:10 66:19 Jer 16:19 Mt 24:14 Ro 10:18
SPREAD OF THE GOSPEL
IN THE BOOK OF ACTS
Judea & Samaria
Remotest part of
Pfeiffer writes that Acts
1:8 is a
table of contents of the
book of Acts: in Jerusalem Acts1:1-7:58; in all Judea, and in Samaria
covers Acts 8:1-11:18; and unto the uttermost part of the earth covers
11:19 to the end of the book." (The Wycliffe Bible Commentary)
Another division is suggested by
Acts 1:1-8:3 - Jerusalem
Acts 8:4-12:24 Judea and Samaria
Acts 12:25-28:31 Paul as a witness "to the remotest part of the earth"
A T Robertson writes...
"The Acts themselves form the
best commentary on these words, and the words themselves might be
given as the best summary of the Acts" (Page). The events follow
this outline (Jerusalem till the end of Acts 7, with the martyrdom of
Stephen, the scattering of the saints through Judea and Samaria in
Acts 8, the conversion of Saul, Acts 9, the spread of the gospel to
Romans in Caesarea by Peter (Acts 10), to Greeks in Antioch (Acts 11),
finally Paul's world tours and arrest and arrival in Rome (Acts 11 to
- Also known as
Salem, Ariel, Jebus, the "city of God," the "holy city," Zion, "City
of David,". This is the most important city in the Bible, the specific
name Jerusalem occurring 810 times in 762 verses in the NASB (1977).
- In New Testament times Judea designated the southern portion of
Israel, south of Samaria, and comprising land from what had been the
tribes of Judah, Benjamin, Dan, Simeon, and part of Ephraim.
Samaria - The district between
Galilee and Judea, and between the Jordan river and the Mediterranean
Sea. A T Robertson observes that once the Jews...
had been commanded to
avoid Samaria (Matthew 10:5), but now it is included in the world
program as already outlined on the mountain in Galilee (Mt 28:19;
Mk 16:15). Jesus is on Olivet (Mount of Olives just east of Temple
Mount and the Old City of Jerusalem) as he points to Jerusalem,
Samaria, the uttermost (Greek = eschatos =
last, compare "eschatology" the study of last things, i.e.,
prophecy) part of the earth. The program still beckons us on to
world conquest for Christ.
The remotest parts of the
earth (eos eschatou tes ges) - Some commentaries consider
this phrase to be a Jewish idiom for Gentiles. Jesus instructs His apostles (and by application all
disciples) to cross all regional, cultural, and geographical
barriers to share His Gospel of grace which has the inherent power to
give spiritual life
to the spiritually dead. The remotest parts of the earth
recalls God's words to His
Son in Isaiah...
It is too small a thing that
(God the Son) should be My
Servant to raise up
the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I
will also make You
(Jesus) a light (Jn 8:12, 9:5) of the (Gentile) nations so that My
salvation may reach to the end of the earth. (Lxx =eos eschatou
tes ges)" (Isaiah 49:6)
Comment: In the Septuagint
translation of this verse the phrase "to the end of the earth"
is identical to the Greek phrase in Acts 1:8. It is as if in the
Isaiah passage the Father gives this charge to His Son and in Acts the
Son gives the charge to His disciples. Is notable that the apostle
Paul applied Isaiah 49:6 to his ministry to the Gentiles in Acts 13:47
(Paul's First Missionary Journey).
"And ye shall be witnesses unto me."
In order to learn how to discharge your duty as a
witness for Christ, look at His example. He is always witnessing: by
the well of Samaria, or in the Temple of Jerusalem: by the lake of Gennesaret, or on the mountain's brow. He is witnessing night and day;
His mighty prayers are as vocal to God as His daily services. He
witnesses under all circumstances; Scribes and Pharisees cannot shut
His mouth; even before Pilate He witnesses a good confession. He
witnesses so clearly, and distinctly that there is no mistake in Him.
Christian, make your life
a clear testimony.
Be you as the brook
wherein you may see every stone at the bottom-not as the muddy creek,
of which you only see the surface-but clear and transparent, so that
your heart's love to God and man may be visible to all. You need not
say, "I am true:" Be true. Boast not of integrity, but be upright.
shall your testimony be such that men cannot help seeing it.
for fear of feeble man, restrain your witness. Your lips have been
warmed with a coal from off the altar; let them speak as like
heaven-touched lips should do.
"In the morning sow thy seed,
the evening withhold not thine hand."
Watch not the clouds, consult not
the wind-in season and out of season witness for the Saviour, and if
it shall come to pass that for Christ's sake and the Gospel's you
shall endure suffering in any shape, shrink not, but rejoice in the
honour thus conferred upon you, that you are counted worthy to suffer
with your Lord; and joy also in this-that your sufferings, your
losses, and persecutions shall make you a platform, from which the
more vigorously and with greater power you shall witness for Christ
Study your great Exemplar,
and be filled with his Spirit.
Remember that you need much
teaching, much upholding, much grace, and much humility, if your
witnessing is to be to your Master's glory.
CHURCH'S GREATEST NEED:
THE POWER OF THE
Earnest Reisinger's article "The Church's
Greatest Need" (Founder's Journal)
Let me state at the outset what I
believe to be the church's greatest need, and I do so without fear of
contradiction by any serious, discerning observer.
The greatest need and one of deepest importance is for the continual
manifestation of the power of the Holy Spirit. I did not say
theological theory about the Holy Spirit, or just intellectual
understanding -- I said, the power of the Holy Spirit; that has to do
with experience not words. When we begin thinking and studying what
the Bible has to say about the Holy Spirit and the believer, we are
immediately into experimental awareness. I am talking about that which
makes men aware of and sure of the reality of Jesus--the Living
Many preachers have little or nothing to say about experimental
awareness of God. Not much is heard in our churches about the
anointing through which men are made sure of the reality of Jesus as
proclaimed by the apostles. 1Jn 2:20,27 is what I am talking about:
"But you have an anointing from the Holy One...But the anointing
which you have received from Him abides in you."
THE SOURCE OF ALL
The Holy Spirit is a live subject on the contemporary scene, and many
of the qualified people are not saying enough about Him. And some
unqualified people are often saying too much and often saying many
inaccurate things which sometimes leads to fanaticism and hypocrisy.
There are few subjects more important to the Christian and the
Christian minister because the Holy Spirit is the source of all
spiritual life, all spiritual worship, all spiritual ordinances, all
spiritual witnessing and all spiritual service; He is also the "Divine
Agent of Evangelism."
The Holy Spirit is to the life of the Christian what the Creator is to
the world. Without God the Creator the world would not exist and
without His continuing, sustaining, and preserving work the world
would crash out of existence. So likewise, without the Holy Spirit
there would be no Christians in the world and without His continual
sanctifying influence the Christian would know no spiritual growth or
The churches of the reformation gave much emphasis to the work of the
Holy Spirit. The reformers stressed that what is necessary for correct
interpretation of the Bible is not the church, but rather the
illuminating work of the Holy Spirit on man's mind.
One of the most effectual ways for
a church to revive herself is to preach much about the Holy Spirit;
after all He is the very breath of the church. And when a church, a
minister or a Christian finds that it is winter time in his soul they
must turn to the Holy Spirit and cry, "Quicken Thou me in the Way."
May that be our
cry these days of the great need for reality in our lives and the life
of the church.
Luther and Calvin set forth with clarity that it is the Holy Spirit
that is necessary in applying the sacrifice of Christ in our
lives--not the mass but the Spirit.
FILLING OF THE SPIRIT
OVER AND OVER AGAIN...
How many churches are seeking:
The power of the Spirit.
The wisdom of the Spirit.
The grace of the Spirit.
The love of the Spirit.
To pray in the Spirit?
I am not talking about some second experience subsequent to
conversion. I am talking about seeking to experience the filling of
the Spirit over and over and over again for Gospel purposes.
In Romans 15:13,19 the great apostle shows the absolute necessity of
the work of the Spirit for the internal growth of the church and for
all the outside work of gathering God's elect from the world.
In Ro 15:13 he attributes the power to be filled with joy and peace
and abound in hope to the Holy Spirit.
"Now may the God of hope fill
you with all joy and peace in believing that you may abound in hope by
the power of the Holy Spirit" (NKJV).
In Ro 15:19 he shows the necessity of the Holy Spirit for outside
"in mighty signs and wonders by the power of the Spirit
of God, so that from Jerusalem and round about to Illyricum I have
fully preached the gospel of Christ" (NKJV).
You see, my dear reader, that first of all, to keep the church happy
and holy within herself there must be a manifestation of the power of
the Spirit. Secondly, in order for the church to invade the
territories of the enemy and conquer sinners for Christ she must be
clothed with the same mighty power. And let me underscore one thing,
that is, the power of the church for her external work will be
proportionate with the power which dwells within herself.
What I am saying is this: gauge the power of the Holy Spirit in the
hearts of believers and you may fairly judge their influence on
unbelievers. Let the church be illuminated by the Holy Spirit and she
will be sure to reflect light and power to the unbelieving world.
Why?? Because we, ourselves, must first drink of the living water
before the rivers of living water will flow to the unconverted. (Jn
7:37, 38, 39) We cannot distribute loaves and fishes out of an empty basket.
of the power of the Holy Spirit!
When we were baptized we were baptized in the name of the Father and
of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.
When we pronounce couples "man and wife" we do so in the name of the
Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
When we affirm our faith in the creed, we say that we believe in God
the Father, and in God the Son and in God the Holy Ghost.
Yes, and the last words pronounced over our coffin before the mourners
turn from our grave and the cold earth goes over our dead body, the
last words to the mourners will be, "the grace of the Lord Jesus
Christ, and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost be
When we think of the incarnation we immediately think of the virgin
Mary and how the Holy Ghost came upon her and the power of the Highest
overshadowed her (Luke 1:35).
When we consider the earthly ministry of our Lord we remember before
that ministry began the Spirit "descended from heaven like a dove and
abode upon him." The Bible says that God anointed Him with the Holy
Ghost; again, that the Father gave Him the Spirit above measure and
that He was "full of the Holy Spirit" (John 1:32; Acts 10:38; John
3:34; Luke 4:1).
When the Scripture takes us to the Cross, where He suffered
vicariously, we learn in Heb 9:14 that it was "through the eternal
Spirit He offered Himself without spot to God. "
When we think of the keystone of Christian truth, the seal and
topstone of all His work (the resurrection), the Scripture again
underscores the absolute necessity of the work of the Spirit. It is
written that "He was put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the
When we view His departure from this world and the tremendous pain and
sorrow that filled His disciples--how did He comfort that little
orphan family? Well, it was with that gracious promise that He gave to
them the night before He died: "I will pray the Father and He shall
give you another Comforter, even the Spirit of truth."
And when we think of His final mandate to the apostles to preach the
gospel to all the world we again see the necessary place of the Holy
Spirit. Hear His own words to them. "Wait for the promise of the
Father." They were unfit to go forth with His message until they were
"filled with the Holy Ghost." And we too are unfit.
What do you think of the whole dispensation under which we Christians
live? You know we are privileged far above the Jews in that we are
told in 2Cor 3:8 that we live under the "ministration of the
Why do I say this is the need of the hour?
1.Without the Spirit there will be no conviction.
2.Without the Spirit there will be no conversions.
3.Without the Spirit there will be no Spiritual growth.
4.Without the Spirit all preaching and witnessing is in vain.
5.Even the preaching of our Lord did not produce one convert apart
from this life-giving power, though He Himself had the Spirit without
The Bible says, "You shall receive power." When? When the Holy Spirit
shall come upon you." (Acts 1:8)
When we think of evangelism we think of the Holy Spirit promised in
Acts 1:8. Immediately our minds run to two things. First, to Pentecost
where 3000 souls were evangelized, and secondly, to the effectual call
that (1) enlightened their minds, (2) convicted, and convinced their
consciences, and (3) renewed their wills.
Well, my dear reader, I trust that you can understand my assertion
that the greatest need in the church today is a manifestation of the
power of the Holy Spirit.
Pentecost was a Holy Spirit event--an evangelistic event. When the
Holy Spirit came at Pentecost God laid the whole world in the lap of
the church as her responsibility to witness. Just think what the Holy
Spirit produced at Pentecost.
What Did The Holy Spirit
Produce at Pentecost?
I hear someone saying, "tongues." Well, we will see that tongues is
the least thing it produced--almost insignificant by comparison.
First, the Holy Spirit at Pentecost produced powerful, evangelistic
preaching. See it immediately in Acts 2:14-36. This preaching was not
only powerful but it was relevant; it made them ask the right
questions. One of the things that serious preachers must always be
concerned about is that their preaching be relevant. There is much
preaching which is answering questions that no one is asking. That is
like scratching where it doesn't itch.
One of the fundamental problems of our generation, both in the world
and in the church, is that people are not asking the right questions.
They are not itching in the right place. Well, what is the answer to
The answer is Spirit-breathed, Christ-centered, Bible preaching in the
power and unction of the Holy Spirit. Only the Spirit can bring
conviction. The New Testament and the history of revival clearly
testify to that fact.
John 16:8: "And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and
of righteousness, and of judgment."
Under the powerful Holy Ghost preaching there is never any problem
with people itching in the wrong places, and they will be asking the
right questions (Acts 2:37). "What must I do to be saved?" Did any one
ever ask a more important question?
N.B. (Note well) They did not ask any questions about tongues or anything about
the phenomena. They asked a much more important question--verse 37:
"Men and brethren what must we do?"
Some think of Pentecost as producing tongues. It did that, but tongues
did not produce converts. No. It was the powerful preaching induced by
the Holy Spirit that made people itch in the right place, ask the
right questions, and find the right answers. This powerful preaching
produced converts, thousands of them.
If you never understand tongues it will not make one bit of
difference. But if you never experience Spirit-anointed preaching it
makes all the difference in the world--yes, the difference between
life and death, heaven and hell.
The second thing the Holy Spirit produced at Pentecost was an
"Apostolic Church." See Acts 2:42-47. The Holy Spirit is not just an
"Evangelist" drawing people to Christ. The Holy Spirit is also a
"Church Planter" and a "Church Builder." The Holy Spirit draws people
into the fellowship of the church. The Holy Spirit creates the
communion of obedient, teachable, worshiping, and witnessing
Christians. Christians who are learning to love God, love God's
people, and God's Church.
What is an Apostolic church? It is a church experiencing the power of
the Holy Spirit. This is apparent by what is revealed in Acts 2:42-47.
The converts were steadfast. "They continued steadfastly." That is,
they were not a church that was carried away with every novelty and
every new gimmick or method of evangelism. An apostolic church knows
what it believes and why it believes what it believes.
MARKS OF AN
There are four areas or four distinct marks of an apostolic church set
forth in these verses.
1. (Acts 2:42) - They were continually devoting themselves to Apostolic
teaching. Perhaps this is the primary mark. A real church will be
submitting to apostolic truth. They will be interested in what the
Bible says, what it means and how it applies to faith and practice.
2. (Acts 2:42) - They were distinguished by God-honoring worship
--"Breaking of bread, prayer and praise." I wish all ministers and
church officers were as much concerned about the power of the Holy
Spirit in our worship services as they are about a lot of minute
details. There would be much more peace and true worship and far less
pharisaic quibbling about secondary matters.
All the forms and ceremonies--even baptism and the Lord's
Supper--though properly managed, will be empty and unedifying, and
they will bring no glory to God or good to His people without the
presence and power of the Holy Spirit.
The Bible teaches that the first concern in the official order of
divine worship is the Holy Spirit. The hymn writer was correct when he
"All is vain unless the Holy One come down."
No ordinance has any effective spiritual power except the Spirit gives
it. No Christian's heart is ever in the proper frame to worship
without the Holy Spirit.
The presence of the Holy Spirit in the worship of God issues in joy
and gladness. They were distinguished by God-honoring worship.
3. (Acts 2:44, 45) - They were marked by Christ-like love and unity. They
did not forsake the assembling of themselves together.
4. (Acts 2:47) - They not only applied themselves to sound doctrine, and
engaged in true worship, and were united by Christ-like love, but
fourthly, they were increased by God-centered evangelism. The Lord
added to the church. That is God-centered evangelism.
Did they just sit under apostolic teaching, worship and pray, and say
the Lord saves? No, there was something else going on daily. Cf.
Every day or day by day the Lord added because every day...from
house to house they kept teaching and preaching about Jesus.
Acts 5:42 (NKJV): "And daily in the temple, and in every house, they
did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ." This was
God-centered, Holy Ghost, God-honoring evangelism.
The Father has sent us the Comforter that He may dwell in us till the
coming of the Lord. The Holy Ghost has never returned, for He came in
accordance with the Saviour's prayer and the Saviour's promise, to
abide with us forever. The gift of the Comforter was not temporary,
and the display of His power was not to be once seen and never again.
The Holy Ghost is here and we ought to expect His divine working among
us; and if He does not so work we should search ourselves to see what
it is that hinders, and whether there may not be somewhat in ourselves
which vexes Him, so that He restrains His sacred energy, and does not
work among us as He did before.
Spurgeon's Hymn says it well:
The Holy Ghost is here, where saints in prayer agree,
As Jesus' parting Gift is near each pleading company.
Not far away is He to be by prayer brought nigh,
But here in present majesty, as in His courts on high.
He dwells within our soul, an ever welcome guest;
He reigns with absolute control, as monarch in the breast.
Obedient to Thy will, we wait to feel Thy power
O Lord of life, our hopes fulfill, and bless this hallowed hour.
What we long for supremely is to be empowered by the Holy Spirit--to
know the fulness of the Spirit. Organization is helpful, but one thing
is essential and that is the power of the Spirit.
With the fullness of the Spirit:
1.Our organization will be filled with power, peace and prosperity.
2.Our orthodoxy will pulsate with love. There will be no legalism or
Pharisaism. Our liberty will serve the interests of truth and
godliness, not self-indulgence.
3.A fuller tide of the Spirit means spiritual discernment, deeper
insight into the Scriptures.
4.The church will be "glorious in holiness," for wherever the Spirit
of God dwells He is as the refiner's fire.
5.Peace, harmony, and unity will be insured. Fidelity to truth will
carry no pride or bitterness.
6.The church will have a real missionary vision.
7. With the fulness of the Spirit the church will not use carnal and
unworthy methods in worship or witness.
Whatever means you use to get people into the church is precisely what
you must use to keep them. If you get them with a religious circus
then you must keep the circus going--keep up the entertainment. If you
get them with biblical preaching and teaching, then that will keep
them and you will not need the entertainment.
The church will have an attractive power. When the fruit of the
Spirit abounds men will be drawn as bees to the apple blossom.
Preaching will be "in the demonstration of the Spirit and power."
But I think I hear someone say, "O, that was an apostolic promise, you
are talking about apostolic times." No, my friend, I am speaking to
you about something that not only happened in the far distant past, I
am speaking about a promise that is far-reaching, yes, the promise of
the Spirit is a far-reaching promise.
Let me give you just two verses to establish that fact.
Acts 2:38,39 (NKJV): "Then Peter said to them, 'Repent, and let every
one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission
of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the
promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off,
as many as the Lord our God will call.'"
Please note the words "to all who are afar off." If those words are
not sufficient to convince you then underscore the rest of the words
in the passage, "as many as the Lord our God will call." Oh, I am glad
for this "far-reaching promise."
Do you realize that all that has been done by God the Father and all
that has been done by God the Son will not accomplish one thing unless
the Spirit makes them effectual? Surely this is the greatest need in
the church. No acceptable action of the Christian life can be
performed without the Holy Spirit.
How Shall We Hope to Obtain
The Power or Fullness of the Spirit?
The Bible makes two things very, very clear in connection with
fullness and power of the Spirit.
First, there is some relationship between the fullness and power of
the Spirit and prayer. Two passages underscore this statement.
Luke 11:13 (NKJV): "If you then, being evil, know how to give good
gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give
the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!"
Acts 4:31 (NKJV): "And when they had prayed (and not before) the place
was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were filled
with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness."
The Holy Ghost does not flow through methods but through men. He does
not come on machinery but on men. He does not anoint plans but men. It
is not great talent nor great learning that God needs but men great in
holiness, great in faith, great in love, great in fidelity, great for
God. These men can mold a generation for God.
Secondly, the Bible also teaches that there is some relationship to
the power of the Spirit and obedience.
Acts 5:32 (NKJV): "And we are
His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God
has given to those who obey Him. "
Our Lord condemned the religious crowd in His day on two counts (Mt.
22:29). He said to them, "You do err [or you are mistaken], not
knowing the scriptures nor the power of God." They lacked knowledge
and power. When the disciples could not heal the man in the gospels it
was not a lack of knowledge but power. We do not lack knowledge--we
Knowledge comes by studying.
Power comes by prayer and fasting.
It is possible to know the plan (knowledge) and not know the power.
You will not get power by attending meetings even though you may get
the principle for receiving the power by the meeting; you will get the
power by waiting on God. You may get the inspiration to seek the power
in the meeting, but the power itself comes by waiting, not going.
Yes, it is true, the wind blows where it will. And there certainly is
a sense in which the Spirit is sovereign to blow when, where and how
But the supernatural does have some laws just as the natural world
1. Everything that grieves the Spirit must be put away. To use biblical
language "all malice and all guile and all hypocrisies and all
unbelief, worldly mindedness, pride" --everything opposed to the
simplicity, the charity and purity of Christ.
2. We will not have the power of the Spirit without importunate
earnest prayer (Acts 1:14 preceded Acts 2)--prayer that has in it some
intensity of desire; the kind of prayer expressed in Luke 11:9-13
"And I say to you, ask, and it will
be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened
to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to
him who knocks it will be opened. If a son asks for bread from any
father among you will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish,
will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? Or if he asks for an
egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If you then, being evil, know how
to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly
Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?"
This kind of prayer links together the whole communion of the faithful
and knows no stopping till the answer comes. We cannot stop at mere
theological consideration of the Holy Spirit. Why? Because sound
theology without the Spirit will make you dry up. The Spirit without
sound theology will make you blow up. But with both sound theology and
the Spirit you will grow up.
My whole motive and effort in this article is to create within us a
genuine desire for the power of the Spirit in our ministry and in our
places of service.
The old Latin hymn of the 10th century expressed it well. May it be
the desire of our hearts.
Come, O Creator Spirit blest,
And in our hearts take up thy rest;
Spirit of grace, with heavenly aid
Come to the souls whom thou hast made.
Thou art the Comforter, we cry,
Sent to the earth from God Most High,
Fountain of life and Fire of love,
And our anointing from above.
Make our dull minds with rapture glow,
Let human hearts with love o'erflow;
And, when our feeble flesh would fail
May shine immortal strength prevail.
Show us the Father, Holy One,
Help us to know the Eternal Son;
Spirit Divine, for evermore
Thee will we trust and thee adore.
Church's Greatest Need - Founders Journal)
Illustration - No, this
isn’t a Seinfeld episode—it is real life. The U.S. Postal Service in a
surprise audit discovered that some local managers temporarily stashed
unprocessed mail in parked trailers so that the letters and packages
so supervisors wouldn't notice it as delayed. Auditors found millions
of pieces of undelivered mail, including 2.3 million bulk-business
letters, some of which were delayed nine days, and 800,000 first-class
letters, which had been held for three days.
What should the penalty be when the people entrusted with the news
fail to make the delivery?
The world may not be expecting the delivery, but they are at home
awaiting the message of the good news concerning God sending His Son.
We must be faithful to deliver the message.
by Jim L. Wilson and Rodger Russell
Acts 1:8 (NKJV) But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has
come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in
all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." (Sermons.Logos.com)
There are about 200 million
non-churched people in America, making America one of the four largest
‘unchurched’ nations in the world.” --John Piper, in a Jan 31 sermon
titled “I will build My church.” Quoted in World February 27, 2010
p.16 Illustration by Jim L. Wilson and Rodger Russell
While we need to keep looking to the spiritual needs of the world,
missions and evangelism start right where we live. Jesus said we are
to be his witnesses “both” at home and abroad. (see Acts 1:8)
John 4:35 (NKJV) "Do you not say, 'There are still four months and
then comes the harvest'? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and
look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!
What began in Jerusalem on the Day
of Pentecost was not tied to geography, peace, or prosperity. It was
the Spirit in them fulfilling Jesus’ promise in Acts 1:8, “You shall
receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be
witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the
end of the earth.”
When God allows difficult circumstances in our lives—a lost job, a
demanding family need, a relocation to another city, state, or
country—can we see His hand and sense His power? May we be like those
early Christians, accepting the Lord’s leading and joyfully
proclaiming His Word wherever we are.
The Holy Spirit gives us power
To witness far and wide,
Equipping us to do God's work
And changing us inside.
The power that compels us
comes from the Spirit who indwells us.
Change The World! - John, do
you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water, or do
you want a chance to change the world?”
That was the challenge Steve Jobs issued in 1983 to John Sculley, then
president of Pepsi-Cola. Mr. Jobs was the creative genius behind Apple
Computer. He knew that the soft-drink executive could help Apple make
its mark on the computer world. Sculley accepted the bold challenge.
Jesus issued a challenge to three fishermen as they tended their nets.
He commanded, “Follow Me!” (Mk. 1:17). They did, and with a handful of
other ordinary men they changed the world. On the Day of Pentecost the
promised Holy Spirit began a new work through them, and 3,000 were
saved (Acts 2). Eventually critics would charge that they had turned
the world “upside down” (Acts 17:6).
Our world is wrong-side up and right-side down, living by principles
opposed to our Lord’s teachings. We can either follow the world’s
dead-end philosophies, or we can accept Jesus’ challenge to bring
change to the world.
Today let’s serve God by praying, giving, and witnessing in our small
corner. One day the King of kings will return and transform the whole
world! — by Vernon C. Grounds
Christ calls to us, "Come follow
And don't look back to yesterday;
Fresh grace I'll give to change your world,
My joy you'll find as You obey."
A disciple is known not for what he gives up, but for what he takes
Have We Learned? - What
happens when we keep to ourselves something that, if shared with
others, would enrich their lives? We not only fail to increase their
happiness, but we rob ourselves of the joy that generosity brings.
Luigi Tarisio, who loved violins passionately, never learned that
lesson. He spent his limited income buying the finest instruments he
could find. He owned 246 exquisite violins, which were crammed into
every corner of his otherwise barren little house. And they were never
played! His obsession prevented those instruments from bringing
pleasure and inspiration to other music lovers.
Instead of following Luigi’s example, we need to be motivated by the
admonition of Proverbs 3:27 to keep ourselves free from the guilt of
withholding good. Even more, we should be motivated by grateful
obedience to Jesus Christ. And obedience, the Savior assures us,
brings joy (John 15:10-11).
As Christians, we have a message that makes the melodies of heaven
flood our souls. Our Lord gave us the mandate to share that message
with everybody everywhere (Mark 16:15). Are we keeping the heavenly
harmonies of saving grace sealed up inside ourselves, or are we
obediently letting them ring out through our lips and lives?
O you who are trusting Jesus,
Redeemed at infinite cost,
Are you showing Christ to others
And seeking to win the lost? —Gilmore
Joy is a byproduct of obedience.
Lesson Of The 18-Wheeler - I
was talking with a veteran truck driver about his life on the road. We
discussed interstates, cities, truck stops, engines, and tractors.
As he spoke about his huge rig, he referred several times to steering
axles and drive axles. I asked him to explain the difference. He told
me that the front axle of a truck is the steering axle. The drive
axles, located under the rear of the cab, transfer the power that is
generated by the diesel engine. It’s the drive axles that enable the
semi to climb steep grades, inch down dangerous slopes, and barrel
down the highway to get the load in on time.
My discussion with that trucker gave me a new appreciation for those
18-wheelers, and it reminded me of a spiritual truth. Just as steering
axles and drive axles are essential to a tractor-trailer, so also
direction and power are vital to followers of Christ as we travel
through life. The Holy Spirit provides us with both. He was sent to
guide us into all truth (Jn. 16:13) and to teach us (1 Cor. 2:10-16).
We are empowered by the Spirit to witness (Acts 1:8), to pray (Rom.
8:26), and to live a hope-filled life (15:13).
The next time one of those big semis blows by you on the highway,
think about the lesson of the 18-wheeler. Call on the direction and
power of the Holy Spirit. — by David C. Egner
The Spirit gives us power to live
A life that's pleasing to the Lord;
He also guides us and provides
Direction in God's holy Word.
The power that drives us
comes from the Spirit inside us.
Power Failure - I felt
mechanically illiterate. I was struggling with a videocassette player
for a study group at church and couldn’t make it work. Fortunately,
someone saw my plight. I stood there appreciatively as he sized up the
situation—and then plugged the power cord into the wall outlet.
Why hadn’t I thought of that? I was so preoccupied with patch cords
and monitors that I overlooked the obvious. I forgot about the power.
If I looked foolish there, it’s nothing compared to what the angels
see as they observe me. They must be astounded by my efforts to make
life work without God’s power. I join them in sad wonder. How can I
forget that the infinite, personal Spirit of Christ lives within me to
guide my life and give me power?
The answer is regretfully clear. There’s a loose cord somewhere. When
I am preoccupied with pleasing myself, I miss the power that comes
from a healthy relationship with Christ. His Spirit enables me to do
the will of God, to show His attitudes, and to fulfill His purpose.
But I have to stay plugged in through prayer, reflection on God’s
Word, and complete reliance on His power—not my own.
Lord, help us to see the big picture and stay plugged in to the Source
of Power—the Holy Spirit. — by Mart De Haan
I’m weak and helpless in life’s
Lord, may Your power be my stay,
And may I always seek to be
Renewed in strength for victory.
A Christian who forgets the Holy Spirit
is like an unplugged power
Let the Whole World Hear! -
Fritz Kreisler (1875-1962), the world-famous violinist, earned a
fortune with his concerts and compositions, but he generously gave
most of it away. So, when he discovered an exquisite violin on one of
his trips, he wasn’t able to buy it.
Later, having raised enough money to meet the asking price, he
returned to the seller, hoping to purchase that beautiful instrument.
But to his great dismay it had been sold to a collector. Kreisler made
his way to the new owner’s home and offered to buy the violin. The
collector said it had become his prized possession and he would not
sell it. Keenly disappointed, Kreisler was about to leave when he had
an idea. “Could I play the instrument once more before it is consigned
to silence?” he asked. Permission was granted, and the great virtuoso
filled the room with such heart-moving music that the collector’s
emotions were deeply stirred. “I have no right to keep that to
myself,” he exclaimed. “It’s yours, Mr. Kreisler. Take it into the
world, and let people hear it.”
To sinners saved by grace, the gospel is like the rapturous harmonies
of heaven. We have no right to keep it to ourselves. Jesus tells us to
take it out into the world, and let it be heard.— by Vernon C. Grounds
I’ll tell the world how Jesus saved
And how He gave me a life brand new;
And I know that if you trust Him
That all He gave me He’ll give to you.
© 1958, 1963 Fox Music Publications
Someone told you about Christ.
Have you told anyone lately?
The Missionary Option -
There are two kinds of people when it comes to missions—those who need
to share Christ and those who need to hear about Him.
H. A. Ironside used to tell a story about a meeting in which a
missionary offering was taken. When the collection plate was handed to
a wealthy man, he brushed it aside and said, “I do not believe in
missions.” “Then take something out,” said the usher. “This is for the
As a boy I looked up to missionaries as godly people who sailed to
some far-off, uncivilized land and didn’t return for several years.
Being a missionary was the ultimate calling—nothing could be more
noble or admirable. I still believe that God calls men and women to
missionary service in other lands, and I still have great respect for
them, but my idea of missionaries has changed.
Every Christian is part of Christ’s mission in the world. What Jesus
told His disciples in Acts 1 applies also to us. We are His witnesses
and therefore must speak and live so that others will glorify Him when
they hear our message and see our faith in action.
Being a missionary is not an option—it’s what we are called to be. —
by Dennis J. De Haan
I am a missionary, Lord,
Wherever I may be;
At home or in a distant land,
I'll tell the world of Thee.
One thing you cannot do about missions—
escape your responsibility.
Home Missions - One morning
as I was strolling along the shore of the Gulf of Mexico, I saw a
middle-aged man sitting in the water. We exchanged greetings, and then
he painfully struggled to his feet and began to talk.
What a story of angry resentment! As a young man, he was about to set
up a law practice when he was called into the armed forces during
World War II. While in the military, he contracted a disease that left
him maimed in body and bitter in soul.
Tears streamed down his cheeks. Sensing that he needed to know God’s
love, I explained the gospel to him. Then I asked, “Wouldn’t you like
to trust Christ as your Savior?” I was thrilled when he said, “Yes, I
would.” So right there, standing knee-deep in the Gulf of Mexico under
a golden morning sun, we prayed. When we finished, he looked at me and
made this shocking statement: “Do you realize that no one has ever
talked like this to me before!”
That educated man had never been told of God’s saving grace. This
seems hard to believe, doesn’t it? Yet, what if we all were asked,
“How long has it been since you personally spoke a word for Christ?”
In our enthusiasm to reach lost multitudes across the sea, we must not
forget that lost person nearby. —R W De Haan
As You have loved me, let me love
Lost souls in darkness dwelling;
To draw the needy ones to You,
Lord, give a zeal compelling.
Do we have a burden for the lost
or have we lost our burden?
Witnesses - In a criminal court
case, witnesses provide vital information about a possible crime.
Being a witness means telling the court the truth about what you know.
Just as the criminal justice system relies heavily on witnesses, Jesus
uses bold, faithful, and credible witnesses to spread His Word and
build His church.
Before Jesus ascended to His Father, He gave His disciples a final
command—to launch a worldwide witnessing campaign. The Holy Spirit
would come upon them and give them supernatural power to be His
witnesses throughout the world (Acts 1:8).
Jesus called these early apostles to go into a world where people did
not know about Him and to give a truthful account of what they had
seen, heard, and experienced (Acts 4:19-20). Since they had witnessed
His perfect life, teachings, suffering, death, burial, and
resurrection (Luke 24:48; Acts 1–5), they were to go out and give a
truthful testimony about Him.
In taking the gospel to the ends of the world, we are called to
testify to the truth about Jesus and how He has changed our lives.
“How shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard?” (Rom.
10:14). What are you doing to tell others? — by Marvin Williams
Lord and Savior, Christ divine,
Reign within this heart of mine;
May my witness ever be
Always, only, Lord, for Thee.
God has left us in the world to witness to the world.
He Wanted To - In his book
Love Is Now, Peter Gilquist mentioned that he and several other
friends were invited to speak to a group of UCLA students. After the
meeting, a young man expressed a desire to discuss the matter of
salvation. So Gilquist arranged to meet with him the next morning.
The student said that he really wanted what he saw in the lives of
believers. But he hesitated to make a commitment because he thought he
would have to tell others about Jesus. Gilquist, however, assured him
that to become a Christian he was not required to do anything but
place his trust in Christ.
Realizing that salvation is by God’s grace through faith, the student
gladly received the Lord Jesus as his Savior. But a strange thing
happened as he went back to his fraternity house. He met a friend and
told him of his newfound faith in Christ. Before the day was over, he
had testified to every one of his fraternity brothers about Jesus.
Our witness for Christ should reflect a grateful heart—a sincere
desire to share salvation’s blessings with others. If we shrink from
giving a word of testimony, let’s ask God to give us the desire to
speak out for Him. Then we’ll witness because we want to.
Lead me to some soul today;
O teach me, Lord, just what to say.
Friends of mine are lost in sin
And cannot find their way.
If you know Christ,
you’ll want others to know Him too.
The Power Of Pentecost - A
pastor I know and love is discouraged. Although he is diligent in
prayer and works hard, his church remains small while a new
congregation nearby is rapidly developing into a megachurch. Yet when
I think of the alcoholics, drug addicts, and sexually immoral people
he has led to the Savior and a new way of life, I see him as one who
witnesses in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Because of what happened on the Day of Pentecost (described in Acts
2), we tend to associate the Holy Spirit’s presence and power with
amazing phenomena and large numbers. We forget that a little later the
same people filled with the same Holy Spirit were rejected, flogged,
imprisoned, even executed. But through it all they were powerful
The Holy Spirit’s presence and power can be evidenced in a dynamic
preacher who attracts great audiences. But it is seen as well in the
volunteer who carries on a one-on-one prison ministry, in the person
who witnesses to a co-worker or a neighbor, and in the Sunday school
teacher who faithfully teaches week after week.
The power of Pentecost is not reserved for the highly gifted. It is
available to all believers in Christ who want to serve Him.
God's guidance and help that we
need day to day
Are given to all who believe;
The Spirit has come and He is the source
Of power that we can receive.
The power of God's Spirit
gives power to our witness.
Derek Tidball writes that
D L Moody was a very ordinary man but adds that...
one of his very attractive
qualities is precisely his ordinariness, his humanity and his
limitations. And yet, he became a remarkable evangelist who in his
1875 mission to London alone would preach to two and a half million
people. Even his critics agreed that he ‘reduced the population of
hell by a million souls’. God surprisingly transformed this humble,
ordinary shoe salesman into a preacher who could proclaim the gospel
persuasively to peers and paupers, to duchesses and dockers alike.
Why was this? How? What made the difference? The answer is the Holy
Spirit. No doubt, there were other factors involved. He had, for
example, learned through the example of Harry Moorhouse, a Lancashire
lad, to preach the love of God rather than to harass people into
heaven through the harsh threat of hell. But others knew how to do
that without the same effect. D. L. Moody, however, was the one called
in God’s sovereign purposes to be the chosen instrument of revival in
his day and to be anointed by the Holy Spirit with remarkable
power....he exhorts the believers of his own day, and ours, to seek
not just the Holy Spirit ‘in’ them but also ‘on’ them. In his sermon,
‘Power—“In” and “Upon” ’ he sets out the need to the church. The
greatest lack of the church, (Moody) claims, is a want of power. How
could believers see their relatives and neighbours going to eternal
ruin and not be concerned to speak to them about Christ? Something,
surely, must be wrong with a church like that. Yet, from what he
writes it is apparent that not all would agree with him that the
problem lay in a lack of power. Many saw the source of the trouble as
A great many people are thinking we
need new measures, that we need new churches, that we need new organs,
and that we need new choirs, and all these new things. That is not
what the church of God needs today. It is the old power that the
Apostles had, which we want; and if we have that in our churches,
there will be new life. Then we shall have new ministers, not the same
old ministers, renewed with power; filled with the Spirit.
Not many people today would
attribute the decline of the church in the United Kingdom to the need
for new organs and choirs....Today it is, ‘Let’s get rid of the
organs, choirs and buildings which smack of yesteryear and let’s
restore popular culture, language and dress codes to the church
through the use of guitars, worship bands, modern technology,
contemporary songs and through pastors and priests that look like
ordinary human beings.’ But we still believe that the adjustment of
the outward packaging of the gospel, the adoption of new methods,
holds the secret to successful evangelism. The truth is, we have tried
it all and it has proved to be no more successful than old-fashioned
ways. The answer does not appear to lie in methods, but as Moody
correctly diagnosed, in a want of power. To bypass that answer is to
condemn the church to yet more failure....They have not lacked
innovation. But they have lacked the old power. Moody pointed out that
churches needed spiritual irrigation if they were to produce fruitful
Our churches, he said, needed to be
irrigated with the Holy Spirit. But, even more particularly, we needed
to be ‘artesian wells’. Other pumps demanded pumping, pumping,
pumping, as he obviously well remembered. That was hard work, but
unproductive. And many ministers appeared to be doing just that in
their pulpits. But, oh for a continual flow of God’s grace that did
not depend on resorting to such methods. ‘You cannot get water out of
a dry well,’ he proclaimed, ‘there must be something in the well, or
you cannot get anything out.’ And that was exactly the problem with so
much energetic but unanointed activity in the church. All the new
measures in Christendom will prove futile, if the well is dry.
So the greatest need now, as then,
is the need of power. But how is power to be obtained? Moody’s answer
is to wait on God until it comes. That demands we resist the
temptation to activity. David Bebbington has taught us that ‘activism’
is one of the cardinal characteristics of the Evangelical movement.
Our activism arises from the best of motives. We desire to see others
converted and therefore use every means and all our energy and
ingenuity to that end. It results in busy lives and busy churches.
Mark Noll has made a similar comment in reference to America. ‘The
tendency of American evangelicals, when confronted with a problem, is
to act.’ His concern is that as a result of this tendency
Evangelicals frequently fail to think, deeply, wisely or
strategically. So, he wryly adds, ‘For the sake of Christian thinking,
that tendency must be suppressed.’ Moody was equally concerned about
resisting the temptation of activism, but for a different reason.
Activism frequently led to fruitlessness because it was not
impregnated with the Spirit’s power....
‘Some people think that they are
losing time if they wait on God for His power; and so they go and
work, without unction; they are working without any anointing; they
are working without any power.’ (Quote from D L Moody)
To waiting, Moody added thirsting
as a precondition for the Spirit’s anointing. He asked whether people
really wanted the power. ‘The great question before us now is, Do we
want it?’ In Moody’s view it was the absence of any serious hunger
and thirst for power that prevented the church from experiencing it.
They were not committed to seeking it, even if they glibly
acknowledged that it would be a good thing to have. He was convinced
that if the church genuinely sought power from God they would receive
We all need it together; and let us rest not day nor night until we
possess it. If that is the uppermost thought in our hearts, God will
give it to us; He will grant us the blessing, if we just hunger and
thirst for it, and say, ‘God helping me, I will not rest until endued
with power from on high’.
Why should people not want such power? The question remains a
pertinent one for the contemporary church. It is one to which there
are several answers.
First, we often prefer to do things our way rather than God’s. We
neither want to give up control, nor status. We are more comfortable
in thinking that we should be able to organize a response to the
gospel by more conventional, worldly means—like advertising, good
publicity, contemporary music, academic argument, entertaining
speakers and by getting celebrities to give their testimonies—than in
God’s way which, consistent with the cross of Christ, is through
weakness. That way we feel much more on a level with the world and
we shake off the very thing that the early church took glory in,
namely, that they were among the poor, weak, insignificant and
powerless in the world. We will demonstrate our power, our cleverness
and our importance. But the one thing this will not do is to
demonstrate the ‘knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ
Jesus’ since such an approach is not compatible with his gospel. It
will not display the glory of God for we cannot display his glory and
our own at the same time.
Second, we often want the power but are not prepared to meet the
conditions of receiving it. God will not give his power to those who
tolerate sin in their lives. Arrogant impatience for power for its own
sake and selfish ambition will not yield the desired result.
Third, many do not thirst for God with the passion Moody commended
lest God should quench their thirst, meet them powerfully in their
request and change them.
Of one thing Moody was sure. God wanted to bless his people. He wanted
to shine on his world, to lift up his work, to give his people
power. If we seek his blessing with all our hearts, we will obtain
it. The blockage does not lie with God. It lies in the half-hearted
desire of his people and their lack of seriousness about the work of
Keep filled: we leak
Is this waiting on God and thirsting for his anointing, once granted,
a one-off second blessing, as some would teach? Having experienced it,
does it guarantee fruitfulness from then on? Not for Moody. He was
aware that we needed to keep on seeking such anointing. We need to
keep fresh. The fact is, to use Moody’s typically down-to-earth way of
putting it, that when the Holy Spirit comes, he comes to ‘leaky
vessels’. We may be filled now, but we lose the Holy Spirit within and
‘we have to keep right under the fountain all the time and so have a
fresh supply’. The supply of ten years ago will not do. Because we
leak we need to seek the Holy Spirit for today. We are in constant
need of fresh power, fresh supplies, fresh anointing.
The result of such anointing is that we shall preach Christ and preach
him effectively. We will not be talking of self. We shall not exhibit
anything of self. We shall be concerned for God and his glory alone.
We may wish to argue about the finer points of Moody’s theology. We
may want to express things differently than he did. We may not feel as
easy about the rigid distinction between power ‘in’ and power ‘upon’
as he was. But the evidence is surely all around that what we
desperately need is the power, whatever language we use, and whether
‘in’ or ‘upon’. We need the fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit and
Moody challenges us to ask for it. He challenges us as to whether we
are going to wait for it, hunger and thirst for it, find it and then
seek it again, or not. Without it, all our other activity will have no
Moody finished his exhortation by wishing that the spirit of Elijah
that fell on Elisha and gave to Elisha a double portion of Elijah’s
God, would fall again. He urged his hearers, and us through them, to
cry out until we too received a double portion of Elijah’s God,
confident that ‘If we seek for it we shall have it’. (George,
Timothy. Mr Moody and the Evangelical Tradition. London; New
York: T&T Clark)