Summary: Before the followers of Christ could be His witnesses, they needed the power of the Spirit.
He was a MEDICAL DOCTOR: "the beloved physician" (Col. 4:14).
He was a COMPANION OF PAUL: "Only Luke is with me" (2 Tim. 4:11).
He was a GENTILE.
The Book of Acts is really a SEQUEL to the Gospel of Luke.
"The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus of all that Jesus BEGAN both to do and teach" (v. 1). We could say that Acts is the record of all that Jesus CONTINUED both to do and teach (through the Holy Spirit).
The Book of Acts has been called the "ACTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT" because the church can do nothing apart from the power of the Spirit.
"And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for THE PROMISE OF THE FATHER, which, saith he, ye have heard of me" (v. 4).
The first statement Jesus makes in the Book of Acts is about "the promise of the Father." The last statement Jesus makes in the Gospel of Luke is about this same promise: "Behold, I send THE PROMISE OF MY FATHER upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high" (Luke 24:49).
"For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence" (v. 5).
"John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: HE SHALL BAPTIZE YOU WITH THE HOLY GHOST AND WITH FIRE (Luke 3:16).
"When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, 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 Ghost 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" (vv. 6-8).
This verse provides us with an outline of the Book of Acts.
"And he said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name AMONG ALL NATIONS, BEGINNING AT JERUSALEM. And YE ARE MY WITNESSES of these things" (Luke 24:46-48).
1. WE ARE CHRIST’S WITNESSES.
"YE SHALL BE MY WITNESSES."
"To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by MANY INFALLIBLE PROOFS" (v. 3).
Peter and John declared, "We cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard" (Acts 4:20).
We need to be GREAT COMMISSION CHRISTIANS.
A Great Commission Christian is first and foremost a witness. You might not be able to preach, but you should be able to witness.
2. WE NEED THE HOLY SPIRIT’S POWER BEFORE WE DO THE JOB OF WITNESSING.
"YE SHALL RECEIVE POWER, AFTER THAT THE HOLY GHOST IS COME UPON YOU."
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones told about an old Welsh preacher who was preaching at a convention in a small town. The people were already assembled, but the preacher had not come. So the leaders sent a maid back to the house to fetch him. She came back and reported that he was talking to somebody and she did not want to disturb him. They said, "That is strange because everybody is here. Go back and tell him that it is after time and he must come." She went again and returned with the same report: "He is talking to somebody." The leaders asked, "How do you know that?" She answered, "I heard him say to this other person who is with him, ‘I will not go and preach to these people, if you will not come with me.’" The wise leaders replied, "Oh, it is all right. We had better wait" (quoted by Ajith Fernando, Acts, The NIV Application Commentary, pp. 65-66).
More urgent than the mission at this time was having the right equipment to carry out the mission.
We must wait for the power of the Spirit as the first disciples did. How did they wait for it ?
They meditated upon God’s Word. Jesus spoke "of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God" (v. 3).
They prayed. "These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication" (v. 14).
THE FULFILLMENT: "They were all filled with the Holy Ghost" (Acts 2:4).
The Book of Acts mentions the filling of the Spirit more than any other book of the Bible. Why? Consider its title: The Acts of the Apostles. This book chronicles the acts of the early Christians. Without the Holy Spirit’s filling, their acts would have come to nothing.