When we become a Christian, we want our lives to please God. However, it’s easy to forget the source of power for carrying out God’s plan. We absolutely need what Jesus promised His followers in order to serve Him.
I. The basis for the new mission
Acts 1:1-3 1In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach 2until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. 3After his suffering [on the cross], he showed himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. NIV®
Could Jesus’ followers have been fooled by hallucinations of the risen Jesus? Were they all lying about seeing Him alive after His death? Click here to read answers to these questions in “The Author Luke.”
II. The promise of God’s power for the new mission
Acts 1:4-8 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
6Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
7He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” NIV® (Jerusalem is the capital city of Israel. Judea and Samaria were sections of Israel.)
A. Water baptism for a Christian is a picture of dying with Christ and rising to new life. The Spirit’s baptism is invisible and happens to us as soon as we accept Jesus as our Savior. The apostles had to wait for this gift until Jesus died and his bodily presence left the world.
B. Jesus promised the Holy Spirit to his followers before he died.
John 14:16-19 “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.” NIV®
In these passages from Acts 1 and John, we can see three very important results of having the Holy Spirit in our lives.
1. God’s Spirit is our ad _ _ _ _ _ _. He is in our life to comfort, counsel, guide, and encourage us.
2. Because of the Holy Spirit, we have a close conn _ _ _ ion with our living Savior. We are not alone!
3. When we trust God’s Spirit to use us, we have p _ _ _ _ to tell others the Good News about Jesus. Peter, one of the disciples closest to Jesus, was frightened the night before Jesus died, so he denied knowing Jesus during Jesus’ trial. After Peter received the Holy Spirit, he became brave. He even told the Jewish Council, who had sentenced Jesus to die, that Jesus was the promised Messiah and had risen from the dead. He told them they could only be saved by belief in Jesus. We need to be available for God’s use. His Spirit will make us effective witnesses.
Paul’s letters tell us three more wonderful results of receiving the Holy Spirit.
4. I Corinthians 2:11-12 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. NIV® New Christians find the Holy Spirit helps them understand the B _ _ _ _ much better.
5. Galatians 5:16, 22 16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh [our old sinful nature] . . . 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. NIV® As we trust and obey God, the Holy Spirit enables us to live a life that pleases God.
6. Ephesians 1:13-14 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory. NIV® If we have received Jesus as our Savior, the Holy Spirit is our g _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ that we will be with God in heaven forever! Nothing can break that seal.
All of Jesus’ followers have been given a new mission. The apostles were in Jerusalem when they received the Holy Spirit. If we follow the pattern in Acts 1:8, we will begin to share what God has done for us right where we are. Then we will reach out farther and farther to share with others.
Scripture quotations marked (NIV®) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®. NIV® Copyright © 1973,1978,1984,2011 by Bilica, Inc.®. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.