The Advent Part 2
As I said in my previous post, the book of Acts constitutes a true and undeniable link between the Gospels and the Epistles of the New Testament. The book of Acts follows the gospel according to Luke, and it shows us the way in which the gospel of Jesus Christ was spread after the day of Pentecost, the day on which the power of the Holy Spirit fell, and gave birth to the congregation of believers which we know today as the primary church. It was after the advent of the Holy Spirit, it was only after the power of God fell upon those gathered in the upper room that they went out and preached the gospel throughout the Roman Empire and beyond.
I’ve always found it interesting that first Jesus tells His disciples to go and preach repentance and remission of sins in His name to all the nations, beginning at Jerusalem, but in the same breath He tells them to tarry in the city of Jerusalem until they are endued with power from on high, because He would send the Promise of the Father.
It was only after the power of the Holy Spirit fell that the Acts of the Apostles truly began, it was only after they were endued with power that they were able to go and preach and do great exploits in the name of Jesus.
Lest we misunderstand, the book of Acts does not contain a comprehensive and all inclusive list of the acts of the Apostles, nor does it name all of the apostles. A comprehensive account of all the acts of all the apostles would be a wonder to peruse, but alas within the book of Acts we see the acts of the apostles Peter, John and Paul, through which the Holy Spirit did amazing works, and performed extraordinary miracles, as well as some worthy laborers, who were not apostles, such as Stephen, Philip, Barnabas, James the brother of Jesus, and others.
There is very little that we discover concerning the activity of the other apostles within the book of Acts. In fact, it would seem that Scripture as a whole is not overly concerned with our interest regarding what we would call the giants of the faith. Very little background is given about men whose shoes we are unworthy to carry, never mind ever hope to fill, because the Bible is not man centered, but God centered, and the only name that it praises, glorifies, highlights, and points us to is the Christ, our Lord and Savior. Even in regards to great men and prophets such as Isaiah or Jeremiah, we find no biography or backstory, and others like the prophet Micaiah who appears briefly in the twenty second chapter of first Kings, are mentioned as far as their calling is concerned, and disappear back into history.
Likewise Luke does not focus on the history of the life of every Apostle, but in broad strokes shows us an ensemble of the primary church, even though they are all mentioned in the thirteenth verse of the first chapter of the book of Acts. All these men, extraordinary as they might have been as individuals, are presented as one body, with one purpose, with one goal, and with one vision, working together for the glory of God.
The book of Acts could also be called the ‘Acts of the Holy Spirit’, because it is in this book that we see a special focus being placed on the work of the Holy Spirit, and the aftereffects of Him having fallen upon those gathered in the upper chamber. This singular event, the advent of the Holy Spirit, is the sole reason why uneducated men, men without power or position, men without pedigree or influence, changed the world. Their lives were fruitful, because they had the power of the Holy Spirit. This power is the promise of God, not only for a select few, not only for a specific generation, not only for those in leadership, but for every child of God, for every believer, and every soul that has come to the foot of the cross in humble repentance. Whomsoever desires and asks for this power, not so they might grow rich or famous or gather a following, but so that they will glorify the name of the Father and be bondservants of Christ, are promised to receive it. This promise was not made by man, but by Christ Jesus, and even God Himself as we discover in His Word.
In his gospel, Luke tells us of the acts of Jesus while He was still in the flesh, while He was still among them, and in the book of Acts he tells us of the continued work of Christ after His ascension into heaven, performed through the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers, and as an aftereffect impacting those around them to the farthest corners of the earth. The book of Acts ends not with an ordinary or expected finish, because the holy chronicles, and the acts of those who are Disciples of Christ have no end, but rather than have an end it continues to this day, and the Son of God still works among those He has chosen and equipped for every good work.
Throughout the book of Acts one thing is certain and self-evident, the disciples would not have had the impact they did, they would not have reached the countless souls they did, they would not have been witness to the miracles that they were witness to without the power and the presence of the Holy Spirit.
If we desire to see the same works, if we desire to see the name of Christ glorified, to see the lame walk, to see the oppressed set free, to experience dreams and visions from the Lord, to have the necessary discernment that we might not be deceived or sidetracked, then we need the power of the Holy Spirit. In this late hour, dare I say we need Him more than ever before, because when He is active in us, we will begin to experience the fullness of what God has in store for His children, and we will count all the trials and the hardships as not worthy of being compared with the glory that has been revealed in us.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.