Summary: Jesus knew that the apostles could not succeed unless they were continually filled with the Spirit’s divine grace, power and love for people who are struggling with their sins.
1. Many people are afraid of witnessing because they fear being rejected, criticized or misunderstood. However, Christ knew that every single individual needs a Spirit empowered testimony to be delivered from an eternity in hell, sin and misery. Without the strength of the Holy Spirit, the facts of Christ’s life, forgiveness and promise for eternal life will have little impact.
Quote: "God has not given you the spirit of fear, but of power, love and self-discipline." (2 Tim. 1:7)
Too many Christians allow themselves to become frustrated with evangelism because they are relying more on information than the transforming power of the Spirit to bring about internal changes in the hearts of people. Ask the Lord to help you daily share the love of Christ to people through the empowering authority of the Holy Spirit.
2. In this passage we read about how the disciples’ interests were still directed toward the prospects of their earthly kingdom and power. Like many people in today’s world, the disciples were looking for deliverance from their social, political and economic problems.
Quote: "I can do everything God asks me to do with the help of Christ who gives me the strength and power." (Phil. 4:13)
The disciples thought if they could just be liberated from their foreign oppressors most of their problems would disappear. Jesus corrected their thinking by telling them to refocus their attention on God’s purposes, plans and processes and away from their own earthly concerns.
Application: Ask the Lord for the wisdom, tact and love to help refocus your people’s attentions to God’s purposes, plans and processes and away from their selfish ambitions.
3. The apostles knew that their identities, roles and responsibilities were wrapped up in being "sent out ones". However, Jesus knew that the apostles could not succeed unless they were continually filled with the Spirit’s divine grace, power and love for people who are struggling with their sins.
Application: Ask the Lord to give you a greater burden for those who are yet to find forgiveness through faith in Christ’s gracious substitutionary payment for the penalty of sin. Only the Spirit can help you fulfill your calling.
4. Jesus knew that being a witness encompassed all aspects of a person’s life. Our Lord taught the apostles that effective witnessing would be an out growth of a fruitful spiritual life and intimate relationship with God. Christ expected the disciples to witness with their teaching, conduct, suffering, love, faith, purity, and work.
Application: Ask the Lord to help your witnessing be a holistic expression of a fruitful spiritual life and an intimate relationship with our great God.
5. Jesus gave the apostles His divine plan for world wide evangelism when He said, "You shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem (Acts chapters 1-7) , then Judea and Samaria (Acts chapters 8,9) and to the uttermost parts of the earth (Acts chapters 10-28)." The Lord knew that the Spirit would continue to provide whatever is needed to see that His plans were carried out. Dr. Luke, the writer of Acts, gives us a glimpse of how the Holy Spirit worked through the apostles in this first century model for witnessing. Every church is expected to learn from the ways that the Spirit empowered the early Christians to complete God’s will.