Power for Growth

MEMORY VERSE: “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you.” —Acts 1:8

ACTS 2:1-4, 16, 17, 36-42

THE Book of Acts tells of the beginning of the Christian church. To start with, the apostles Peter and John were the outstanding leaders, and later Paul became prominent in the affairs of the church. There were, of course, many other leaders of lesser stature and authority. However, the power and growth of the church was due not to the power of good leadership, but to the power of the Holy Spirit. The coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost constitutes the main part of the present lesson.

In chapter one of the Book of Acts we find the question of the disciples recorded, “Wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” Jesus’ reply was, “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”—vss. 6-8

Jesus then ascended to heaven, and his disciples received instructions to tarry at Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit did come upon them in keeping with what their Master had said. It was in fulfillment of this promise by Jesus a short time later, on the day of Pentecost when they were all of one accord in one place, that the Holy Spirit actually was poured out upon them.

It was a dramatic event. We read that “suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting, And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”—Acts 2:2-4

The speaking in tongues with which the Holy Spirit empowered the disciples on the day of Pentecost was a far cry from the efforts that are made today to speak with tongues. On the day of Pentecost there were Jews gathered at Jerusalem from many parts of the known world, and they spoke the language of their country of adoption. The Lord desired that these people be given a witness concerning the Gospel of Christ, so by the power of the Holy Spirit he enabled his servants to speak in these various foreign tongues.

But they were real languages, and through this use of miracle-working power the thousands gathered in Jerusalem on that day of Pentecost did receive a good witness for the truth.

As has always been the case, Satan has used his cohorts to stir up opposition against the followers of the Master, and he did so en this occasion. The charge was made that they were intoxicated, hence not responsible for what they were saying or doing. But Peter denied this charge and said, “This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; and it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams”

As the account indicates, Peter quoted much more of this prophecy of Joel than appears in today’s lesson. He did not imply that the entire prophecy was fulfilled on that one 24-hour day, but he did identify the pouring out of the Holy Spirit as a beginning of a new experience and a new age for the people of God.

In his pentecostal sermon Peter reminded his hearers that they had been responsible for the death of Jesus, but that God had raised him from the dead and made him “both Lord and Christ” This was a hard lesson for them to receive. The account reads that “when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?” While Peter had presented a difficult thought to accept, many of his hearers reacted to it humbly and properly, with the question, “What shall we do?”

Peter’s reply to this question was forthright and direct. He said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.”

Dawn Bible Students Association
|  Home Page  |  Table of Contents  |