The early history book of Christianity
Another reason the book of Acts is special is because it tells the story of how Christianity began its’ spread. It is thus a early history book of Christianity in the Middle East. Of course, the book of Acts `did not give every last detail of what was happening at that time. If it did, there probably would not be enough pages to contain the story. We have a brief summary of what went on and how the Holy Spirit interacted with those Christians. It contains enough details and examples to provide us with enough information to do the same: yield our lives and will to Christ.
The Work of the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit was at work in many ways and means. Yes, it is true that the Holy Spirit worked through the apostles. To be an apostle, one had to be present from the beginning. This sort of set them apart from others. However the Spirit worked through the “ordinary” people, people who were not present from the beginning.
How the Holy Spirit is seen
The Holy Spirit in the book of Acts was seen as:
Because of these
Because of these characteristics, the Holy Spirit was an aid to keeping attention centered on the life and person of Jesus. It was never to be taken lightly that Jesus was and is their and our Savior. The mission and the task given to the earily Christians who accepted the task was to spread the good news to all people in the world.1
The power, the energy, the knowledge, the help for this task came and comes from the Holy Spirit. It is not something that is done under one’s own resources.
These first Christians were given a mission to spread the good news. They become empowered to do this task because of a daily consciousness, the daily guidance, the the daily communion they had with the Holy Spirit. He was truly a helper in this task.
The work for yielded individuals
The Spirit could only work through through the ones who were yielded in faith. Ordinary believers, not only the apostles, carried the gospel throughout the world after the death of Stephen, Each was given a task to do. At first, the apostles stayed in jerusalem while others were sent to the field.2,3 This was one way that the Holy Spirit made use of ordinary believers, if there is anything ordinary about believers. An “ordinary” person was used by the Spirit to restore the sight of Saul 4.
We see the apostles as the primary witnesses to the Resurrection. the apostles received the first teachings of Jesus. From this fact came the “title” of apostle. But as seen in the readings in the book of Acts, the work of the Spirit was not in any way limited to apostles.
It was Paul who laid claim to apostleship but under unusual circumstances. Paul was sent to do the work by Christ Himself. Paul received the good news directly from the Risen Jesus on the road to Damascus . One of the more common interpretation of the of the word apostle is “one sent with a commission” Paul received his commission directly from Christ.5,6
Not acting on one’s own
The apostles did not act on their own. They did not logically undertake the task of establishing churches on their own, on their own logic, on their own intelligence, on their own abilities or strengths. They were led, pushed, inspired, taught and guided by the Holy Spirit. Philip was an prime example of this leadership by the Holy Spirit. Philip had no idea what he would be doing next. He followed in faith 7
Barnabas is another example of following in faith.8,9 The Holy Spirit is in charge, not the apostles.
- Jesus dealt with the apostles through the Spirit.
- Jesus told the apostles to wait for the Spirit before they acted.10
- Jesus prayed His followers would act in one accord unity in the Spirit. 11
Those who are seeking the guidance of God must submit or yield to Jesus before he can be used by the Holy Spirit.12,13
The meaning of baptism
The word Baptism has many different meanings, depending on the context it is used in. Some define Baptism as:
A Christian sacrament marked by ritual use of water and admitting the recipient to the Christian community 26
In the context of the book of Acts, Baptism is the baptism in the Spirit. This provides immersion into a relationship with a divine Person, nothing less. It is the most important relationship one can have in a lifetime. This event, Being filled with the Holy Spirit, is what Joel prophesied in the Old Testament 14
The Holy Spirit is not a conditionless gift. The requirements for this gift demands much 15 The Holy Spirit spoke through the Old Testament David concerning the problem they were faced with concerning Judas and his replacement.16
We see that the early Christians were learning to connect Old Testament promises with New Testament happenings. The New Testament events caused by the Holy Spirit only happened to people who hearts and minds had been opened by the teachings of Jesus.
One example of this is the house of Cornelius The Holy Spirit was given to those who had faith in Christ, but never saw Him personally.17
When the Spirit convinced and convicted individuals or groups in the book of Acts, they asked a question. The question was: “What should they do?” The answer was to changed their minds, that is repent and turn around, and be baptized. 18, 19
The Holy Spirit was very active in the life of the Church. Especially in spreading the word and telling of the good news.20 The results of the work of the Holy Spirit was establishing unity among the followers.21 Being of one heart is always one of the outcomes of the Spirit 22
The Holy Spirit protects the church from the inside attacks of the devil.Attacks From Within is a speciality of the Evil One, especially in our day and time.. Ananias and Sapphira attempted to gain a position in the Church without having either love or faith. Acting without love or faith is sometime the first notice a attack forming in the church that will cripple it’s work. Satan loves this. Acting in the name of God without being committed to God is much like lying to God through a false witness 23 .
The Holy Spirit and the blessing of can be only received because of faith and being committed to God. Your heart must be right with God to receive what the Holy Spirit has for you 24
The guidance of the Holy Spirit can be very specific and prominent in the life of the Christian and the Church. We see that the Holy Spirit has developed functions of different leaders depending upon their personality abilities. 25 The Holy Spirit will work through those who are sensitive to spiritual needs of themselves and others as well as the needs of the church, The Book of Acts emphasizes that the Holy Spirit, in the very nature of things, is closely bound up with every aspect of the life of the Church and the Christians.
To put things in perspective keep this is mind:
- Jesus is the Saviour.
- Jesus is the Baptizer.
- Jesus is the Healer.
- Jesus is the Coming King.
To put things in perspective keep this in mind:
- The Holy Spirit reveals Jesus
- The Holy Spirit reveals the will of Jesus
- The Holy Spirit is our comforter, sent by Jesus
- We are baptized in the Spirit.
- We are empowered by the Spirit.
- We are taught to be disciples by the Spirit,
- We are guided and checked by the Spirit.
This is not limited to apostles or other leaders. In the Book of Acts, every believer is a witness. Every Christian is filled with the Spirit. Every believer has the joy of the Lord. Each and every child of God has received the gift of the Holy Spirit.27
The answer to each and all of the problems facing a person in life is: The absolute and unqualified surrender of life to God. This means to do His will instead of our own will.
1. Acts 1:8
2. Acts 8:1,4
3. Acts 11:19-21
4. Acts 9:10-17
5 Galatians 1:11,12, 16-19; 2:2,9,10
6, 1 Corinthians 7:10
7. Acts 8:26,29
8. Acts 14:1-20
9. Acts 11:24
10. Acts 1:4-8
11. John 17
12. Acts 8:15-20
13. Acts 11:16
14 Joel 2:28-32
15 Acts 2:38
16. Acts 1:16
17. Acts 11:15-17
18 Acts 2:38
19. Romans 6:3
20 Acts 2:33-47
21. Acts 4:32
22 Ezekiel 11:19
23 Acts 5:3,4
24 Acts 8
25. Acts 13:1-4
26. Acts 2:38