The book of Acts was written to Theophilus by Luke as an account of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and of the resulting early church. This book strongly emphasizes the role of the Holy Spirit in the church and in the spread of the gospel. It is a very quick-paced book filled with action and histories.
Throughout reading the book my continual thought was, what if the church today was this radical? What would the rate of the Kingdom advancement raise to? How would things change if we lived keeping in mind the authority that we have as given to us by Jesus, and if we didn’t forget the power that we possess with the Holy Spirit residing in us? Acts 4:14 says this:
“But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say.” (NIV)
If we would start to function in the authority and power given to us by God, who could deny Him? This passage says that there was nothing they could say – the evidence of the supernatural work of God was standing right before them.
It is both what impressed me the most in the book of Acts and also the most striking truth that challenged me in my own spiritual walk. Acts 1:8 says: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Do I really walk like I carry that authority and have that power? The Holy Spirit in us enables us to witness and to have a boldness to do so.
Throughout Acts we can see what happened when people were baptized in the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:2-4 tells us:
“Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enables them to.” (NIV)
The Holy Spirit enabled them to speak in other tongues. And as we continue on in chapter 2, we read that Peter speaks by the power of the Holy Spirit and 3,000 were added to the Kingdom of Christ that day! He gives us power.
Skipping ahead into Acts 8 we read about signs and miracles done by Phillip and then later in the chapter see that he was taken up by the Holy Spirit and appears in Azotus and then continues preaching as he walks and makes his way into Caesarea.
In Acts 9 we read about Tabitha (translates as Dorcas) whom Peter raises from the dead as the Spirit enabled him to. In Acts 10 Simon Peter receives a vision from God and the Holy Speaks to Him. As we continue to read into the chapter, we see that the gift of the Holy Spirit is poured out on the Gentiles as well. (One of the common external indicators of the baptism of the Holy Spirit is speaking in tongues.)
One of my favorite verses in Acts is found in chapter 20, verse 35:
“In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than receive.” (NIV)
I love this verse because it reminds me to keep a servant heart. I love to bless and to give. Not to sound cliché, but I really am blessed to be able to bless others. And I firmly believe that this will become all the more so when walking in the authority and power of the Holy Spirit.
Acts is meant to continue; It did not stop in chapter 28 as it is, but still continues to be written today.
My challenge: Would my story be fit to sit along with those 28 chapters?