Thursday, January 31, 2013



For the next 28 days (7 days a week) I want to move back through the book of Acts. I suggest that you read the full chapter from whatever version each day and I will comment on a paragraph that seems to stand out to me out of that chapter. PASS IT ON TO FRIENDS AND FAMILY.
Don't be distracted away from this dynamic book of Acts. In a very real sense it's the 5th Gospel, specifically a continuation of the Gospel of Luke. I've always heard of Acts being a transitional book, but I see it differently in this season of my life. You've probably heard Acts called the "Acts of the Apostles", but I find it helpful to refer to Acts as the "Acts of Jesus." You see, although Jesus ascended into heaven, He is still quite active in our lives individually and as we gather in fellowship with one another. We grossly miss the point of the experience of walking with Jesus, if we don't see it this way.

Today in ACTS 1 check out verses 6-8: 6So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, "Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?" 7He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; 8but 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."

First NOTE their question. It's a little like "Jesus, are you going to unfold life and the world the way we've been taught and believed?" I've spent entirely too much time trying to figure out how God is going to unfold the world and bring it to some glorious conclusion. I've used the "signs of the times" to stir up people's interests and have been quite successful doing it. However, Jesus seems to relieve us of that knowledge or responsibility to know these things and points us to something far more important and strategic.

And He uses a big "BUT" to refocus our attention toward the most important things-the power of the Holy Spirit is to come upon Jesus' disciples and the disciples are to be Jesus' witnesses. FIRST, the power of the Spirit is to come upon Jesus' disciples. The way Jesus will remain active and powerful among His disciples is for the Spirit to do His work in us and among us. And, because the Spirit takes up permanent residence in those who believe, Jesus will have the opportunity to touch so many more lives than He could have. They were looking for political or organizational power. What Jesus wanted them to possess was a new kind of power-the transformational power of His Spirit for the spreading of the Gospel throughout the world. Jesus said that we would do greater works than He did and this is how it's done-with Spirit power!

SECOND, the disciples are to be witnesses of Jesus. We are not to be witnesses of a denomination or a cultural bent of Christianity. We are not told here to be witnesses of Bible doctrine or creeds or of the many teaching gurus. Literally Jesus says He wants His disciples to be "witnesses of Me" or My witnesses. The purpose for the power is to bear witness of Jesus, not Jesus plus anything, but Jesus plus nothing.

A question arises here. Why is it that we disciples are to bear witness of Jesus? It's because Jesus is all that is needed and nothing more. Jesus is the Good News in a bad news world. Jesus is the Gospel! The meaning of Jesus' name says it all. "God Saves!" Is there anything you can add to your witness to improve upon Him? No, there is nothing more to be said. It's all about Jesus!

Now NOTE the strategy for bearing witness of Jesus. We are to bear witness of Jesus to the remotest part of the earth. Also, NOTE that this witnessing has an order to it. You begin right where you live-IN JERUSALEM. Then be sure to witness of Jesus in your surrounding area. Now watch this--and in Samaria.

Samaria is the place where you might not be invited, because they are not "your kind". in fact, the Jews believed the Samaritans were half-breeds and they didn't get along at all. Yet Jesus made it clear that this was a strategic part of the plan for bearing witness, even to the Samaritans. Then, Jesus' disciples are to bear witness of Him to the remotest part of the world. This begs the question, "Who or what is the object of your witness?" Is it Jesus or is it Jesus plus something else?