A disciple is a person who goes up to the Garden of Gethsemane, the garden of self-denial, every day to deny himself and bear the cross.
A disciple of Jesus is one who knows God and loves God.
Today, for the third part of the disciple’s life series, I will share the words of disciples who live as Jesus’ witnesses. Are you living as an evangelist as a disciple of Jesus? How many souls have received the life of Jesus through you? The purpose of Jesus coming to this earth was to preach the gospel of the kingdom of God, and after his resurrection, Jesus repeatedly commanded his disciples to go and preach the gospel to all peoples. In today’s text, before ascending into heaven, the disciples are told to receive the power of the Holy Spirit and go to the ends of the earth to be Jesus’ witnesses. Jesus commanded his disciples. “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. John baptized with water, but you will soon be baptized with the Holy Spirit”. The disciples who were still dreaming of the restoration of Israel through Jesus then asked when Israel would be restored. At that time, Jesus gave a very important word that became the theme of the entire book of Acts. Verse 8.
“Act 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth”. The Acts of the Apostles is a book that records the works of the Holy Spirit, showing how the Holy Spirit established the church in the Early Church and how He testified of Jesus.
The work of Acts, such as the transformation of Paul from a persecutor to an evangelist, is all because of the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit, and dramatic scenes appear one after another as if it were a movie. Today, the same Holy Spirit is poured out to testify of the Gospel, gives us power, and is doing the work of saving souls. How could the Early Church live such amazing lives as witnesses of Jesus? How can we also become powerful witnesses of Jesus like the saints of the early church and the disciples of Jesus?
1. “Receive the Holy Spirit”. Because they received the Holy Spirit, they were able to be witnesses for Christ. Therefore, disciples of Jesus must “receive the holy spirit”
In today’s text, Acts 1, Jesus told the apostles not to leave Jerusalem, but to first receive the Holy Spirit promised by his Father and be baptized with the Holy Spirit.
Luk 24:49 Behold, I am sending you what my Father has promised; stay in this city until you are clothed with power from on high.
Why did Jesus command his disciples not to leave Jerusalem and to be baptized with the Holy Spirit?
Why did Jesus desperately want his disciples to receive the promised Holy Spirit before ascending?
It is because the Holy Spirit is the one who enables us to live powerfully as those who are truly saved. It is because the Holy Spirit is the Helper by our side and the One who completes salvation.
Why did the Holy Spirit come? The Holy Spirit came to glorify Jesus. And the Holy Spirit is the one who supernaturally allows us to do what we cannot do on our own.
Therefore, it is not enough to just accept Jesus and be saved. The Holy Spirit works within us to enable us to live abundant and victorious lives as saved ones. Jesus wanted his disciples to receive the Holy Spirit because when we live by relying on the power of the Holy Spirit, we can live an abundant life as children of God and fulfill God’s will.
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth who understands the Word of God and helps us experience the power of the Word. The Holy Spirit is in me and helps me be able to pray deeply with our Heavenly Father. The Holy Spirit is the Counselor who gives me a new heart, gives me joy and peace, and allows me to know the heart of the Father.
That is why Jesus repeatedly commanded His disciples to receive the Holy Spirit, and commanded them to wait and prepare to receive Him as promised by the Father.
So, after Jesus ascended into heaven, the 120 members of the Early Church prayed wholeheartedly and waited for the Holy Spirit.
To wait means to pray. To pray is to hope and wait for God.
Isa 40:31 But those who wait on the Lord will find new strength. It will rise with wings like a bird; it will run and not get tired; it will walk and not get tired.
When you hope and wait for God, God gives you new strength. He pours out great new strength and power like an eagle’s wings.
When they held on to the word of promise and prayed like this, what happened on the day of Pentecost?
Act 2:1 When the day of Pentecost had already come, they all gathered together in one place.
Act 2:2 Suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.
Act 2:3 They saw cloven tongues like fire, and it was sitting on each one of them.
Act 2:4 They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.
As promised, the Holy Spirit came on the day of Pentecost. And for the first time, the Church of Jesus was born on this earth.
Dear saints, have you had this kind of Pentecost experience? Have you received the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit is a personal being with knowledge, emotion, and will. Who can be filled with the Holy Spirit? Those who are poor and long for the rule and governing of the Holy Spirit. Anyone who knows how hard it is to live on their own seeks the help of the Holy Spirit and longs for Him.
Saints, how much do you pray every day to be filled with the Holy Spirit and live a life filled with Him?
We live busy lives every day, but still we should wait for the Holy Spirit in prayer every day. At that time, you will be filled with the Holy Spirit and be able to live fully and abundantly under His control.
When the Holy Spirit comes in this way, you will receive power.
What kind of power did the disciples of Jesus in the Early Church receive?
2. Receive the power.
Jesus promised that when the Holy Spirit comes, you will receive power. Here, power is δύναμις dunamis, means dynamite in the original language. It means that the tremendous strength and ability to shatter stones and mountains is given to those who have received the Holy Spirit.
The power experienced by those who met God the Holy Spirit was, above all, internal. It was an inner personal change.
We humans are personal beings composed of knowledge, emotion, and will. What was the inner power that they experienced when the Holy Spirit came upon them?
1) It was an inner change.
(1) The biggest change was an intellectual change. When the Holy Spirit came upon them, they clearly knew who Jesus was. Peter quoted the Old Testament in Acts 2 and proclaimed that Jesus was the Messiah and the Son of God. As soon as they received the Holy Spirit, they immediately knew who Jesus was. This is the work of the Holy Spirit.
When the Holy Spirit came, they understood the meaning of the Old Testament. They came to know that Jesus, whom they crucified, was the Messiah. When the Holy Spirit came upon them, they realized the meaning of the cross and the words of the Old Testament. In this way, the Holy Spirit intellectually gives us a new understanding of God. The Holy Spirit brings a change in values and worldviews. After receiving the Holy Spirit, the eyes to see myself, the world, and society are completely different. It is because the Holy Spirit gives me a new realization intellectually within me.
(2) Secondly, it is an internal change, a change of emotion. After receiving the Holy Spirit in Acts 2, the biggest change was a change in their emotions. Act 2:13But others mocking said, “They are filled with new wine, like a drunken man, great joy and freedom overflowed in them. That is why they said that they were drunk when they saw people who had received the Holy Spirit.
Act 5:40 So they thought right, and summoned the apostles, and flogged them, and forbade them to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.
Act 5:41 The apostles departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer reproach for his name’s sake.
Act 5:42 Day after day in the temple and at home, they did not cease teaching and preaching that Jesus is the Christ.
While evangelizing, they were flogged and suffered physical pain, but the joy of the Holy Spirit overflowed in the apostles.
I hope that the joy and peace that the Holy Spirit gives will always overflow within you.
(3) Third, it was a change of will.
When they came to know who Jesus was, they had a heart that could not endure without preaching of the precious Jesus. The passion to preach the gospel is given by the Holy Spirit.
How did the apostles react when the Jewish religious leaders arrested the apostles and told them not to preach in the name of Jesus?
Act 4:18 They called them and warned them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.
Act 4:19 Peter and John answered, “Whether it is right before God to listen to you rather than to God, judge yourself.
Act 4:20 We are compelled to speak of what we have seen and heard.
The Jewish religious leaders imprisoned the apostles who preached the gospel, but the angels released them at night, and commanded them to preach the word at dawn in the temple when they said ‘Preach the word of this life.’ How did the apostles respond when told not to evangelize?
Act 5:29 Peter and the apostles answered and said, We must obey God rather than men.
Act 4:12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.
We are sinners who need to be saved and who have no choice but to go to hell, and the only savior who can solve this problem of sin is Jesus.
How can we live without preaching about Jesus when we have come to know Him, the only way to heal mankind from the plague of sin, the reason which everyone is supposed to die? Because the disciples had such urgency and eagerness for evangelism, they preached the gospel passionately.
In this way, the Holy Spirit gives us an intense desire to testify of Jesus in order to glorify God in our hearts. The Holy Spirit gives us a heart that cannot help but preach Jesus.
Upon receiving the Holy Spirit in this way, they had an inner change of knowledge, emotion, and will. True strength and ability is a change in a person’s inner self. A change of a person’s inner self is true ability.
2) The second ability given is the external ability and gift of the Holy Spirit.
The gift of the Holy Spirit is His manifestation in us when we are filled with the Holy Spirit.
Peter and John healed a man who was crippled for 40 years. The disciples cast out demons. They proclaimed the word of prophecy.
In Acts 2 to 28, we see countless people testifying of the gospel with the gift and power of the Holy Spirit. Even today, the Holy Spirit testifies of Jesus through various gifts and external abilities. The Holy Spirit wants to be the evidence of life with Jesus living in me.
What is the reason for God giving us the power of the Holy Spirit? The reason the Holy Spirit gives supernatural power and grace is for us to be witnesses of Jesus. The word witness here is μάρτυς Martus in the original language, that is, the martyr. It means that you become a martyr while witnessing to Jesus according to what you have seen and heard and experienced.
3. Be a witness for Jesus.
Even today, God wants us to live a life of being a witness of Jesus with the fullness of the Holy Spirit.
Peter, a coward who denied knowing Jesus in front of a servant girl, received the Holy Spirit and testified to the death and resurrection of Jesus boldly like a lion in Acts 2. Through this gospel testimony, 3,000 people were saved. In chapter 3, he healed a crippled man with prayer.
Act 3:6 Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.”
Act 3 : 7 And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong.
Act 3:8 He leaped and walked and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God.
Many people flocked to this healing incident, and at that time, Peter preached the death and resurrection of Jesus. At that time, 5,000 people were saved.
As the church revives, the devil tests the church. When Ananias and Sapphira were lying while offering money, what gift did Peter use to overcome the devil’s temptation? Act 5:3 Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back part of the price of the land?”
The gift of the Holy Spirit that Peter used at this time is the gift of the word of knowledge. With the help of the Holy Spirit, he was able to read Ananias’ mind.
Act 5:12 Many signs and wonders were performed among the people by the hands of the apostles, and all the believers gathered together at Solomon’s Colonnade with one accord.
Act 5:14 Many more believed and came to the Lord, a large crowd of both men and women.
Deacon Stephen, as his name suggests, was martyred while testifying of Jesus. What kind of person is Stephen?
Act 6:8 Stephen, full of grace and power, performed great wonders and signs among the people.
Act 6:10 They could not bear what Stephen spoke in wisdom and in the Spirit.
He was a man being filled with Holy Spirt!
If you look at Acts 7, you can see how well he interprets the Old Testament and testifies of Jesus.
When Stephen testified about Jesus, he was stoned to death while also forgiving those who were throwing the stones.
Beloved saints, was Stephen’s death in vain?
Right at the scene of Stephen’s death, Saul was there, and we can know that Stephen provided the decisive cause for Saul’s conversion. Please remember that the most excellent man of God, the apostle Paul, was born as a result of the death of Stephen. Stephen’s martyrdom was an event that led to the birth of Saul, the greatest man of faith.
Several years ago at New Song Church in Tacoma, the gift of the word of knowledge was poured onto them when they prayed for about 10 days over a demon-possessed person. It was Adam’s testimony. When he was about 17 years old, he fasted and yearned earnestly to hear the voice of God. The Holy Spirit spoke to him in the restaurant with a strong conviction in his heart. He was convinced by the Holy Spirit to speak to a certain young man in the restaurant, but he disobeyed and kept waiting even as the young man left and entered the restaurant two times. But when the young fellow came in for the third time, Adam went and sat next to him. He then preached the word of the Lord. He conveyed the fact that his parents were in a state of divorce, along with words of consolation, and the promise that God loved them. The young man was surprised and asked how he knew about him. Adam replied that God told Adam about him, then he preached the gospel, and that day the young man accepted the Lord. Then the young man preached the gospel to his older brother, and Adam said that he was crying as he prayed, gave up marijuana, and started going to church. In this way, through the gift of the word of knowledge, we can preach the gospel today. I hope you long for the gift of the Holy Spirit in order to become a witness of Jesus.
So far, in Acts of the Apostles, we looked at how the apostles and the Early Church lived as witnesses of Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit. Then, how can we live as witnesses of Jesus here today?
What is the most urgent and most necessary thing in order to live as a witness of Jesus? It is to receive the fullness of the Holy Spirit.
Receive the Holy Spirit first. When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we naturally have a love for souls and also have various gifts and abilities. Adore the gifts and powers of the Holy Spirit more. And restore your Father’s warm heart for the lost soul. And let’s move on towards the lost souls.
In order to evangelize, of course, you can go out on the street and proclaim the Gospel and evangelize. However, the most effective evangelism method today is not evangelism individually, but evangelism as a team. You can also preach and evangelize on the street, but you are also sharing God’s love when you develop loving relationships with friends and family. An effective evangelism strategy is relationship evangelism as a team through a house church.
In the fullness of the Holy Spirit, please pray for the salvation of friends, family, and close people. And please show them the love of the Lord. Let’s build a lasting love relationship. Building a relationship takes time and money. Supply them with what they need. Serve them with delicious meals and treats from time to time and meet their needs according to the occasion. Please help them when they have trouble in their household. Invite them to a house church meeting as you build relationships in love. A house church will allow them to open their hearts more easily than a formal church meeting. As they hear of our gratitude at home church and the testimonies of answered prayers, they will gradually open the door of their hearts to the living God. And please introduce the “Living life” basic faith study course to non-believers. And when the time comes, invite them to worship on Sunday. In this way, we will be able to pray with the help and power of the Holy Spirit and lead the lost souls around us to the Lord. In your house church, I hope that this year will become one when you will lead at least one soul to the Lord and baptize and embrace one another. I bless you all in the name of the Lord that the grace of living as witnesses of Jesus will be with you through the power of the Holy Spirit.