Throughout the book of Acts, the Holy Spirit was powerfully present. He ministered to and through the believers as they witnessed for their Lord in a variety of ways. He strengthened them to face the trials and challenges of witnessing in a hostile culture. He led them to honest-hearted truth seekers. He prepared the hearts of people in whole cities before the believers ever came to those cities. He opened doors of opportunity that they never dreamed of and empowered their words and actions.
Read Acts 7:55; Acts 8:29; Acts 11:15; Acts 15:28-29; and Acts 16:6-10. How did the Holy Spirit minister to the witnessing disciples in each of the experiences listed in these Bible verses? In other words, what were some of the various things the Holy Spirit did in these situations?
The Holy Spirit’s varied ministry in the first century was truly amazing. The experiences above are just a sampling of His activity. He strengthened Stephen to witness for his Lord in the face of a ruthless and out-of- control mob stoning him to death. He miraculously guided Philip to an influential, truth-seeking Ethiopian to open up the continent of Africa for the gospel. He gave Peter a confirmatory sign when the Gentile believers also received the gift of the Holy Spirit. He brought the church together in unity at a time when it could easily have split over the issue of circumcision, and he opened up the entire continent of Europe to the preaching of the gospel through the apostle Paul.
The Holy Spirit was active in the New Testament church and is active in the life of the church today. He longs to empower us, strengthen us, teach us, guide us, unify us, and send us out on the most important mission in the world, which is leading men and women to Jesus and His truth. The point we have to remember is that He is still active and working today, just as He was in the time of the apostles and the early church.
|What can we do, day by day, to make ourselves more open and amenable to the power of the Holy Spirit in our own lives? What are the right kinds of choices that will enable Him to work in and through us?|