Acts 1-2, Psalm 119:153-176
Last year many saw the true story of Desmond Doss in the movie, Hacksaw Ridge. In the Battle of Okinawa, as an army medic, he remained on this ridge of mountain and saved 75 men lowering them with ropes despite being under continuous enemy fire without a weapon (he was a conscientious objector and would not use a weapon). Prior to this event his fellow soldiers showed no respect for him. After this they saw a man empowered by the Holy Spirit and saw what true power can do. This earned him the respect of his fellow soldiers and wound up empowering them.
The title of this book should really be "The Acts of the Holy Spirit through the Apostles", since this is the theme of this book. We read in Acts 1:8, Jesus promises His disciples, "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you;...". The Greek word for this word power is dunamis from where we get the English word, dynamite. Besides having a tremendous amount of fulfilled prophecy, the Bible also distinguishes itself from all other religious books in that it promises in the every day believer the Holy Spirit to supernaturally provide them with what they need in this life, if we will hunger and thirst and rely on Him. Notice the change in Peter after the Holy Spirit comes upon him in Acts 2:1-4. Prior to this he cowers before a servant girl when asked if he knows Jesus in John 18:17. After Jesus' death, we find him along with His other followers hiding in the upper room. But now 50 days later on the Day of Pentecost, empowered by the Holy Spirit, we see a different Peter in Acts 2:14, "But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, "Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words." Peter then goes on to deliver a powerful and clear public presentation of the Gospel message along with a call to repentance in Acts 2:38, with absolutely no fear.
The Holy Spirit is promised to those if us who accept and respond to the Gospel message. This gift from God is not to satisfy our curiosity but to empower us for action. In 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, Paul tells us, "Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's." The Jordan River in Israel empties into two large bodies of water, the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea. If you picture the Holy Spirit like the Jordan River, we, His believers, can respond in two ways. If we are given the gift of the Holy Spirit, but fail to act, we are like the Dead Sea, devoid of any life. If on the other hand, as quickly as the Holy Spirit pours into us, we are allowing our bodies to be used in His service and pouring out in the lives of others, we are like the Sea of Galilee which is full of life. Like Peter and His Apostles, if we repent, accept what He did for us on the cross for salvation, and make Him the Lord or most important Person in our lives, we all can have and be empowered with the Holy Spirit. Imagine the revival and effect we would have if all of His people chose to use this gift like the Sea of Galilee instead of inhibiting and minimizing it like the Dead Sea.
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: