The Church: Remarkable Provision
Acts 1: 8 "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you ...."
Acts 2: 1-4 "When the day of Pentecost came, they (the apostles) were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what appeared to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Sprit enabled them."
Jesus had been with His followers for 40 days and then He ascended into heaven. Ten days later, at the time of the Jewish feast of the Pentecost, God the Father sent His Holy Spirit to indwell and empower all of His followers. Jesus had told them this would happen (John 16).
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There were three accompanying existential and public signs attesting to this infilling. The "mighty wind" is the sign of the presence of the Holy Spirit (Ezek 37: 9, 13; John 3:8). The fire is the symbol of God's cleansing, purifying and judicial power (Matt 3: 11, 12). The "tongues" were known languages spoken by the apostles even though they had never studied them. The people from each region understood the apostles in their own language. It was miraculous.
Jesus had already told them that they would be His witnesses to the entire world, but how was this to be accomplished? The provision was walking and working in the power of the Holy Spirit of God. Notice: they all heard, were all filled, and they all spoke.
The daunting requirement that Christ gave to His apostles is the same as He gives to us His disciples today ... namely, to declare the truth of the resurrection of Jesus to the whole world. This witness will authenticate the provision of Jesus’ death on the cross to pay the penalty for the sin of all mankind. This task is more than daunting till you understand the remarkable provision of God through the indwelling Holy Spirit. Nothing in the Christian life is able to be accomplished without God. Nothing done in the flesh is of any profit whatsoever. God has given His own Spirit to accomplish the works of Jesus in our lives and ministries.
Hudson Taylor founder of the China Inland Mission (1865) was burnt out from his exhausting medical mission work in the interior of China. Broken in health and spirit, he felt he would die in the process of evangelizing the Chinese people. Taylor received a letter from his brother- in- law in England. In that letter was the encouraging truth that the work is God's work done in the power of God's provision. It is not by striving, but in resting on the finished work of Christ and the great promises of God. This has become known as the exchanged life principle. Christ living in me! This is how we are to walk and work. This story is contained in the book: Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret (OMF Publishers). Think how much time, money and effort is wasted when believers attempt to live the Christian life and ministry in the power of the flesh. Let's trust God's remarkable provision and not our own strength.
God bless you as you pray this month,