Summary: Today is Missions Sunday! So, we will be taking a break from our sermon series from the book of Proverbs. This morning, we’ll look at the book of Acts 1:8 and the message is entitled Empowered to Witness.
Good morning everyone!
This morning, we’ll look at the book of Acts 1:8 and the message is entitled Empowered to Witness.
In 2007 the Cleveland Cavaliers were led by basketball mega-star LeBron James. In conjunction with Nike, the team rolled out the slogan “We Are All Witnesses.” The message was actually messianic, though it was not entirely prophetic. Because, the San Antonio Spurs won the NBA title that year.
I know not everyone is a fan of the NBA. So, not everyone is a witness to the professional basketball’s greatest players. And not everyone is a witness to the league’s greatest moments. But for Christians, we are all witnesses. We are witnesses of who Jesus Christ is, and what He has done in our lives.
In our text today, Acts 1:8 Jesus said, “But You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” These are the last words of Jesus before He ascended into heaven. To understand the context of this verse, we need to begin in v. 6 where the disciples were asking Jesus a final question. They said,“Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
This was a question they have asked Jesus many times before. They were concerned only about the restoration of the kingdom of Israel. But, the kingdom Jesus was envisioning and announcing to them was much bigger than that. It was the kingdom of God, which does not have physical or time boundaries. So, Jesus responded in v. 7 by saying, “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.” And He continued in v. 8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Brothers and sisters, there are two foundational truths in this verse that we must understand and apply as followers of Jesus Christ.
First, we must understand that…
We Have Been Empowered by the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8a)
In the first part of the verse, Jesus said, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you.” Now by this time, Jesus had already commissioned His disciples and given them the task of making disciples of all nations. Yet, He knew that this was an impossible task for them to accomplish on their own. So, He promised to send them all the power that they would need to accomplish the task. The word "power" here means "to be able," or "to have strength.”
Now the question is… When did the Holy Spirit come on them or when did they receive that power? In Acts 1:4-5 - Jesus gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
The gift that Jesus commanded His disciples to wait for, which was promised by God the Father, is the “gift of the Holy Spirit." And the “baptism with the Holy Spirit” btw, is not an individual experience after a person’s salvation. It was a collective event that occurred once in history.
It was on the Day of Pentecost when Jesus simultaneously baptized ALL believers with the Holy Spirit into His body. In Acts 2:4 it says, “All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit.” In other words, the Holy Spirit empowered the disciples on the Day of Pentecost. Likewise, we all have been empowered by the Holy Spirit.
So, it was on the Day of Pentecost, the disciples received power which was promised by Jesus in Acts 1:8: “but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you.” Jesus was basically telling His disciples, "Though you have been with Me for 3 years, it is not enough that you have heard Me teach the multitudes, you have seen Me heal the sick, and even raise the dead. Now, you need to be empowered with the Holy Spirit in order to be effective and fruitful as My witnesses throughout the world.”
Brothers and sisters, apart from the power of the Holy Spirit, we can do nothing. We have no capacity to influence people for Christ. All our efforts will be in vain if we are not empowered by the Holy Spirit. Though the Holy Spirit dwells in us or takes permanent residence in our hearts when we first believe, we need to be filled with the Holy Spirit as a way of life. But, we often neglect our spiritual maintenance. Although we have been filled with the Holy Spirit, we need to be refilled. When the greatest evangelist of the nineteenth century, D. L. Moody, was asked why he said he needed to be filled continually with the Holy Spirit, he replied, “Because I leak!” Like Moody, we all run out of gas and need the power of the Holy Spirit to recharge our lives.