We Are Witnesses
The church is to be the message carrier of the Good News.
Reading from the book of Acts, beginning with Acts !:4.
And while being in their company and eating at the table with them, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem but to wait for what the Father had promised of which He said you have heard me speak. For John baptized with water, but not many days from now you shall be baptized with (placed in, introduced into) the Holy Spirit.
So when they were assembled they asked Him, Lord is this the time when You will reestablish the kingdom and restore it to Israel? He said to the, It is not for you to become acquainted with and know what time brings (the things and events of time and their definite periods) or fixed years and seasons (their critical niche in time) which the Father has appointed by His own choice and authority and personal power. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth.
Being baptized in the Holy Spirit is identifying with the Lord, concerning evidence of a spiritual kingdom already identified. John's baptism was an expression of faith in a kingdom yet to come. If you have come in and asked Jesus, He has baptized you with His Spirit and the kingdom is just as real as kingdoms of this world. Jesus made a way for us to enter His kingdom--a spiritual kingdom. The disciples had been looking at the kingdom from the perspective of the prophets.
When Luke recorded this, the church believed they would be engaged in seeing the Gospel go all over the world. If that same verse was given to us today, what would come to mind? You are to be my witnesses in Council Bluffs, Omaha and all around the world--continue on what He began to teach through the power of the Holy Spirit.
When you think of the word "witness," this is where we get the word "martyr" = to die for a cause. If you take a group of people who have nothing to lose, they are a dangerous force.
We have nothing to lose because we have eternal life. The enemy can't take that away. We are a dangerous force to the enemy. Who sealed us? Who occupies our lives? Now the same power that raised Him from the dead is the same power that occupies us today. Now He is in us and will forever be with us.
The raw version of what I long for is to want Jesus above all things and want Him to be glorified and be famous in our community.
In the book of Acts, we learn:
1. Through the power of Jesus witnesses were able to testify to the Gospel;
2. The church cared for one another. The generation behind us doesn't see the interaction of love between us; that we mean something to one another. Jesus taught at the people would know we are His disciples by love. People want to see a sermon lived out. We have more population today on the earth today yet we are more divided than we have ever been. Jesus broke down the dividing wall so that people would come together.
3. Those who witnessed did so unto death (look at Stephen whose death glorified God). Whether God heals me or takes me home, Jesus is still Lord.
4. The power of the Holy Spirit is the power to convert and transform a life.
5. Those who witnessed did so before kings and rulers.
There is no end or conclusion to the book of Acts. It continues and this is the same church Jesus birthed which we are in today. Jesus is coming back for that same church. Within us is the same Spirit and the church is just as powerful, but we don't operate in that same power. We get entangled in the affairs of this life. The power of the Most High God resides in us and there is expectation in that. We are not dead, we are alive and this power is able to reach neighborhoods, children, family members, the community.
For those of us 50 and over, we are not looking to lay down and die. God called us for more than that. There is experience, wisdom and power. We have something to give to this community. The power of the Most High God is in us. Think of Joshua and Caleb, the two "old guys" who entered into the Promised Land. They had this promised when they were younger, but were just as capable to do what they were to do when they were old, because of the Spirit in them. The Spirit of the living God will revive you. We just have to be in Him. Let's engage!
The followers of Jesus in Acts all gathered in one mind. Note that not one of them is praying to Mary in order to reach her Son. If that process had been in place, it would have been in place there, in Acts. Jesus is our intercessor. Jesus intercedes for His church Himself. We have the greatest prayer potential in Jesus - why would we want seconds?
Jesus intercedes for His church. That witness bears witness in our spirits that we are sons and daughters of the Most High God. That is why we cannot be talked out of our relationship with Jesus. You know you are saved because He did it and you can't be talked out of it--such a powerful Truth. Knowing Jesus intercedes for us, prays for us, changes our lives. Do you believe that Jesus can get His prayers answered? He prayed that God would make us one as He and the Father are One.
Let that soak in - Jesus prayed for you.
The revelation that God is able needs to permeate us. He is the God Who can do it and He is not lacking in power.
Jesus prays for me - therefore, I am going to make it. If that would register, we would see the Truth set us free.
We are sealed until the day of redemption...until He comes back to get us.
Until about 500 a.d. we hadn't started making it about a professional priesthood. We are a holy priesthood.