September 17, 2012

Today you should read: Acts 1:1-11

For the next several weeks we will be going through the book of Acts together. Get ready to discover the power of the Spirit, the movement of God, and the mission of the church as we study together these writings of Luke! Let’s begin this book by breaking down some verses in Chapter 1.

In verses 1-2, Luke began this letter by telling the intended recipient, Theophilus, that his first writings (the book of Luke) were about what Jesus did and taught before His crucifixion. This letter is about what happened after Christ died and rose again and spent 40 days on the earth (vs. 3).
Verses 4-8 give another perspective of a common topic that our church talks about a lot: The Great Commission. If you are not familiar with this concept, it is the command from Jesus to His disciples to go and make disciples of all nations, baptize people, and teach people about Jesus (see Matt. 28:18-20; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:46-49).

Verse 4 says that Jesus had gathered His disciples and commanded them not to leave Jerusalem (see Luke 24:49) until they had received what the Father had promised. Then, verse 5 tells us that Jesus was referring to the promise of the Holy Spirit, who was to come after Jesus ascended back to the Father. The disciples were to wait for the Holy Spirit to indwell them.

When Jesus was giving the command to wait for the Spirit and to go and make disciples of all the nations, the disciples still did not have a right understanding of Jesus as the Messiah. The Jews were under the power of the Romans, so they thought Jesus was going to restore the Jewish people as a nation (vs. 6). Jesus told them in verse 7 that wasn’t their concern. What was important, though, is what Jesus told them in verse 8.
Verse 8 is the key verse in this passage. Jesus said:

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses in both Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”

As we’ll see in the coming chapters, the disciples did wait on the Spirit and they began making disciples. In fact, they made disciples, who made disciples, who made disciples, who made disciples. Now, it’s 2012 and there are still disciples being made. I am one of the links on their chain of discipleship.

Here’s an application “thought” that I get from this passage. I don’t want to be the last link on the chain of discipleship. God has given me the power source, the Holy Spirit, to empower me to be used to make more disciples. I want to rely upon the Spirit and take His Great Commission commands seriously to intentionally live to make more disciples.

If we want to see the modern church become a movement like the church in the book of Acts, we must rely upon the power of the Spirit and go and make disciples! Otherwise, we’re just a bunch of Christians gathering together doing Christian “stuff,” which is not fulfilling the Great Commission.

Posted by: Rich Duffield