The Power of the Holy Spirit in Evangelism
May 25, 2017 Year A
Jesus gave orders through the Holy Spirit to His disciples (Acts 1:2).
“until the day He was taken up, after He had given orders through the Holy Spirit to the apostles He had chosen.” (Acts 1:2, HCSB)
What were those orders?
They were to preach the Gospel (Luke 24:44-48):
“Then He told them, “These are My words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about Me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. He also said to them, “This is what is written: The Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead the third day, and repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.” (Luke 24:44–48, HCSB)
Jesus also spoke about the kingdom of God (Acts 1:3).
“After He had suffered, He also presented Himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during 40 days and speaking about the kingdom of God.” (Acts 1:3, HCSB)
When the disciples came together, they seemed to be more interested in Jesus and the coming kingdom than they were in sharing the Gospel.
Jesus tells them to stay until the Holy Spirit came (Acts 1:4-5).
“While He was together with them, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for the Father’s promise. “This,” He said, “is what you heard from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”” (Acts 1:4–5, HCSB)
However, the disciples asked Jesus when He was going to restore the kingdom of Israel (Acts 1:6).
“So when they had come together, they asked Him, “Lord, are You restoring the kingdom to Israel at this time?”” (Acts 1:6, HCSB)
The fact is that like the disciples, we are more interested in Jesus returning than we are in sharing about Him with others.
Jesus knows this, which is why He ties the power of the Holy Spirit to evangelism. You never see that the Holy Spirit’s power is used in prophecy. You only see the power of the Holy Spirit being used in proclamation. Even the first of prophecy spoken about in 1 Corinthians 14:3 is to encourage believers in their task to share the Gospel.
“But the person who prophesies speaks to people for edification, encouragement, and consolation.” (1 Corinthians 14:3, HCSB)
Jesus specifically states that the power of the Holy Spirit will be on me when I witness about Him (Acts 1:8).
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”” (Acts 1:8, HCSB)
Jesus leaves the scene and the disciples again go back to wondering about Jesus’ return (Acts 1:9-10).
“After He had said this, He was taken up as they were watching, and a cloud took Him out of their sight. While He was going, they were gazing into heaven, and suddenly two men in white clothes stood by them.” (Acts 1:9–10, HCSB)
Jesus has to bring an angel down to remind His disciples that they need to concentrate on the present and not the future (Acts 1:11).
“They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up into heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come in the same way that you have seen Him going into heaven.”” (Acts 1:11, HCSB)
This exchange provides a warning and reminds us of a barrier to sharing the Gospel. We can get so caught up about the future that we don’t concern ourselves with the present. Yet, if we focus on the mission that Jesus called us to, then the Holy Spirit will be there to empower us to fulfill that mission.
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