Hello, it’s Mick here and welcome to Tuesday’s podcast. We continue in our reflections in Acts today as this week we are hearing again the story of how the early church began and developed – how a group of ordinary people like you and me became disciples, apprentices of Jesus and how they began a movement of love that changed the world.
Today’s reading is Acts1: 6-8 and I will read it now rather than after the prayer.
Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 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 .” …
V8: you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you and you will be my witnesses,
The Christian life is one of blessing and battle. The Christian life is one of observation and witness – we see and hear what Jesus did and then we do what he did and say what he said.The Christian life is one of invitation and challenge. Jesus invites us to be with him, to walk with him, to receive from him all the blessings of heaven. However, he then always offers us this challenge to ‘go and do likewise’ – to pass the blessing on. The Christian Faith is a give away faith!
Someone once said that the Church is the only organisation that exists primarily for those outside the organisation. Acts tells of the birth and growth of the church and here, right at the beginning of the church is this truth – V8 ‘you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you’ – the invitation to receive miraculous power, the power from on high, the power of heaven. Then comes the challenge ‘you will be my witnesses‘. A ‘witness’ tells their story no matter what the cost. Indeed, the word used for ‘witness’ in today’s reading is the Greek word ‘martur’ from which we get the English word ‘martyr’; someone who is willing to count the cost and stand up for what they believe – in essence, to simply tell their story.
What is your God story? How did you come to accept Jesus into your life? Who were the people who introduced you to Jesus? What difference has your faith in Jesus made to your life day by day? Do those around you notice the difference in you? What about you church community, your cell and cluster; how is the goodness of God impacting you and your church community?
The theme of witness runs throughout Acts. Before ‘the power from on high’ was poured upon them they were still the church behind closed doors – when the power of heaven came they were filled with joy and hope and became the church on the streets. The power of God is not just for church services but for the streets – that we may witness to our friends, family, neighbours, colleagues that God is real, that God is good and that God has a purpose for every life!
The Holy Spirit comes to empower us, to fill not just the ‘spiritual parts’ of our lives but every part of our lives. Everything we have comes from God. The Holy Spirit works in our lives to bring us closer to Jesus every day, to become more like him in thought, word and deed; You and I are Jesus to our world – we are his witnesses. Over these next weeks at our Sunday Gatherings and in the Grow Project modules we will hear the word ‘witness’ many times as Jesus calls and equips us to be his witnesses – we may not think we can do this but the important truth is that Jesus KNOWS we can do this. Let’s trust him and see what happens – now I think that’s really exciting!
Lord, thank you that your Holy Spirit now lives in me. Thank you that every day you invite me into your presence to be loved and blessed and encouraged and to be then sent out as your witness. Show me how I can be a blessing to others today – to be a witness to your love and kindness. Amen
READING: Acts 1:6-8
Then they gathered round him and asked him, ‘Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?’
He said to them: ‘It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 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.’