The Effective Working of His Power
Acts 8:3-40 Psalm 138:3 Acts 4:13-31 Ephesians 3 Hebrews 4:16
How does someone go from being a waiter to become one of the first evangelists spoken of in the book of Acts? After the death of Stephen, great persecution began in Jerusalem, people were dragged from their homes, men, women and children, and thrown into prison.
So, the disciples began to flee and the one we hear about before any others is Philip, one of those chosen to distribute food and serve the growing community of believers in Jerusalem. He fled to Samaria where he preached Jesus, and great miracles were witnessed. Then an Angel of the Lord commanded him to leave and we hear how a man of great influence, albeit a total outsider as far as traditional Judaism was concerned, next heard the gospel, in a chariot on a desert road.
Where did this courage, this boldness, this willingness to obey come from in the life of Philip?
In Psalm 138, the writer recounts how he is strengthened and made bold by God. In the early church, the apostles, as well as Paul after his conversion, also recognised that it was the life of Holy Spirit filling their lives who emboldened them. It was and still is always Holy Spirit who empowers and enables those whose lives are surrendered to Jesus Christ, just as He did for Philip all those many years ago.
Popular culture today idolises super heroes. Ordinary human beings who, usually through the most weird of circumstances, somehow acquire super powers and end up performing outrageous exploits. There is an inate yearning in the human heart for someone to turn up and save the world. It has always been there, this knowledge that, of ourselves, we can never be bold or brave enough to take on the forces of evil. In ancient religions the gods and demi-gods filled this void.
Yet, all the while, the One who created the universes, who set the galaxies in motion, is right here. Firstly revealing Himself to His chosen nation, speaking through the prophets, empowering them through His Spirit to instruct, often admonish but always to bring His love to the forefront. Without the Spirit of Holy God resting upon these fathers of the nation and the prophets who carried the messages He needed His people to hear, they would never have been bold enough to do this work.
Through Christ’s birth amongst us, when He lived, ministered and went to the cross in obedience to His Father, the precious gift of Eternal Life with the One True God was offered to the whole world. Yet, how could sinful man ever come to the perfect, Righteous God? How could we ever dare to approach the Throne Room?
Once again, by the power of Holy Spirit this is possible. Only, this time, Holy Spirit does not merely rest upon those who answer God’s call. This time, we die to our old lives, we receive Him and are filled with the Life of Christ, the Life that will never leave us. Holy Spirit moves on our hearts, as He guides and teaches us, we learn that we, too, can be filled with the boldness and assurance we need to come to the Throne of Grace. No longer relying upon our own righteousness, but upon His Righteousness and Mercy alone.
As sons and daughters of the Living God, we have been promised that we will never be alone again. No matter what situation we find ourselves caught up in, God is with us, we are the dwelling place of Holy Spirit and through Him we can with confidence and perfect peace face whatever befalls us. There is never a time when we cannot, with that same confidence, approach our Father God, through the empowerment of Holy Spirit.
Prayer: Abba Father, grant us Your Grace to constantly remember with absolute assurance that You are always with us, that Holy Spirit never ceases to guide, lead, counsel and teach us to boldly and joyfully fulfill our purpose here on earth, and always come into Your Throne Room, with thankful, worshipping hearts overflowing with love for You. Through Jesus Christ we pray, Amen.