Sermons on Acts
Hebrews 3:3 reminds us to pray for out persecuted brothers and sisters. Continue to remember those in prison, as if you were together with them prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering. Here are a few ways we can pray: Pray that the persecuted church (and we as well) will be unafraid and faithful (Revelation 2:8-11). Pray for God to fill them with the Holy Spirit and enable them to speak and act boldly with clarity, wisdom, and courage (Acts 4:31). Pray that they will be joyful, rejoicing that Jesus and His name are worthy of any cost (Acts 5:41).
Acts 8 describes Philip’s encounter with an Ethiopian on a desert road. Philip was an “ordinary guy,” content to stay in the background, yet he was used by God to share the good news of Jesus to a man who later returned to his corner of the earth to impact others. We can be used in similar ways if we will obey the prompting of the Holy Spirit that is proactively entering the lives of others and speak the good news of Jesus.
Do we ask God to guide us before we forge ahead with our own plans? The Holy Spirit who lives in us may be telling us, “No, there is a better plan for you.” If God says “Yes” let us move ahead without hesitation.
Are we living out our faith in such a way that we bear the repercussions of living and sharing the Gospel? Paul and Silas were beaten and thrown in jail, but they were able to worship and praise God because they expected to suffer persecution, and they knew that their situation and served to advance the cause of Christ. Their concern for the new believers at Philippi and their commitment to the advance of the Gospel was the outpouring of a life tuned to the will of Christ.
Christ’s command is that we are to be His witnesses, energized and equipped by the Holy Spirit. We are called to make visible the love and holiness of God, for the authenticity of our testimony rests on how we love one another and pursue holiness. We must also resolve to speak the Gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation.
The “big picture” of the book of Acts is the demonstration of what it means to be a Holy Spirit empowered witness for the Lord Jesus Christ. Acts 1:1-11 bookmarks two significant events on God’s calendar: the Ascension of Jesus into heaven and His glorious future return. Our lives fall between these two events. As we await His coming again, all believers are promised the empowerment of the Spirit for the heralding of the Gospel, even in the face of opposition.