When our Lord looked at us, He saw not only what we were—He was faithful in seeing what we could become! He took away the curse of being and gave us the glorious blessing of becoming.
In only fifty days Peter becomes radically transformed. From being a man crouching in the shadows who denies even knowing Jesus, to becoming a bold preacher proclaiming the resurrection of Jesus in the middle of the temple courts, Peter is a new man. How did the change occur? And more importantly, can such a change occur within us—today, in the here and now?
For the next fty days, you and I are going to dwell in the first twelve chapters of Acts. In this portion of Scripture we meet Peter face to face and encounter the source of his power. We become challenged to grab hold of that power ourselves, believing that God wants to do something in and through us that is unexplainable apart from him. Let’s give God fifty days and see what He might do! How about it friend—are you game?
The purpose of this study is not simply to reiterate a message. You can find many Bible studies on the book of Acts. Our purpose here is to reignite a movement of the power of the Holy Spirit in each of us individually and in our churches collectively. As Obadiah said to Elijah, “The Spirit of the Lord will carry you I know not where” (1 Kings 18:12). Indeed! No one knows but the Spirit Himself. But unlike the case in Elijah’s day, the Spirit has already come. If you have put your faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Spirit now dwells inside you (1 Corinthians 12:7). So where does He want to take you? Where does He want to take your church? The Holy Spirit desires to be a manifest presence in your life to authenticate Christ’s claims as Lord.
Here’s the thing. The disciples understood from the beginning that Christ had called them to be a part of a movement. Each one of them jumped at the opportunity. What they didn’t understand was the mission of the movement. They thought they were pursuing civic and social change, not individual change that would result in a universal overhaul of the entire world.
As Christians we, too, fundamentally understand that Jesus has called us to be a part of His movement. We have tapped into Christ’s mission for individual change in each of our lives—and we like that part. The problem is that many of us haven’t embraced His bold claims that our individual change will result in turning the world upside down. Maybe once the kingdom reached us individually, we became satisfied. As long as Jesus added something to each of our lives personally, we felt good. Therefore, if we become better people as we try to live by scriptural principles, we believe we have fulfilled our mission.
Can I rock your world for a moment? If that is how you and I approach our mission as disciples of Jesus Christ, then we’ve missed the mission. We’ve made it too small and self-focused. We’ve sought our own betterment and advancement through His kingdom, but then reflect, “I thought I signed up to be part of something that was bigger than myself ” and wonder if something went wrong.
Well, thankfully you did!
But sometimes many of us lose our way and make it all about ourselves. As a result, we forfeit our power. See, the Holy Spirit was sent to authenticate Christ’s claims of deity (John 16:14–15). The Spirit powerfully manifests Himself in order for Christ’s prayers that the church will demonstrate an unexplainable love for Him and for one another are fulfilled (John 17:20–26). Yet we can lose our dependence on the Holy Spirit and attempt to manufacture our own power.
Here’s the remedy: “Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures” (Luke 24:45). The Holy Spirit’s desire is to continue to magnify Christ. He is our Counselor who guides us into all truth. He is the One who enables us to understand the Scriptures. He is the One who empowers us to live out the mission. You will be my witnesses. Your life was meant to authenticate my power! He is able to work in and through us so he world may know the power of Christ.
Are we brave enough to admit that there may be some things we have misunderstood?
Over and over again in the story of Acts, we read of people being in awe of the believers’ lives, astonished at their courage, baffled by their wisdom, and in admiration of their lifestyle. Francis Chan writes: “I don’t want my life to be explainable without the Holy Spirit. I want people to look at my life and know that I couldn’t be doing this by my own power. I want to live in such a way that I am desperate for Him to come through.”
Oh, that this would be my heart’s cry!
How about you? Are you up for an unexplainable life?
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