Acts 1:6-8 - So, You Want Power!

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We hear a lot about power in our world. People in many walks of life want it. The trappings of power often include wealth, fame, and control over others. Men and women are building empires or kingdoms that they control and manipulate. So, perhaps you want power!

Well, as followers of Christ, we can have power, but it is power of a different kind. Jesus had taught the disciples about the kingdom of God. Throughout His (Luke 4:43) ministry, the kingdom of God had been a major focus. During the 40 days between resurrection and ascension, this (Acts 1:3) was his topic. Also, Jesus taught them (Luke 24:) that they would be empowered members of God's own kingdom. The Spirit of God would clothe the disciples with power from on high. We read more about this in Acts 1:6-8.

1. The kingdom of God at this time is spiritual, not political. Let us focus on the spiritual aspects of the kingdom.

The disciples were Jews. They knew that the Jews were God's chosen people. Their hope and expectation had been that the Messiah would establish a political theocracy on the earth. Moreover, the disciples fully expected (Luke 22:24-30) to be an important part of His government.

Jesus taught that the kingdom of God was both present (Luke 17:20-21) and future. The kingdom of God in this present age is spiritual. Apparently, the disciples did not understand that the spiritual kingdom would expand and grow without the political theocracy being established.

Today, our focus should be on the spiritual kingdom of God. When the lives of men and women are changed, and they follow Christ fully, this will have a great impact on society. All aspects of life will be positively affected.

2. The disciples should focus on witness. As disciples today, this should be our priority as well.

The disciples asked, "Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?" Jesus answered, "It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority." This answer does not deny that the restoration of Israel might still come. To the contrary it lends some support to the idea that it will.

However, the immediate program of Jesus was for the gospel to spread to the entire world through the church. The church is the manifestation of the kingdom of God on earth today. It includes both Jews and Gentiles. It would take some time before the disciples would realize how extensively the Gentiles would be included. At this point the disciples clearly are to be concerned with witnessing rather than the restoration of the kingdom to Israel.

3. The Holy Spirit would empower the disciples. This promise is for us as well.

Jesus declared, "but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you." Some scholars argue that the baptism in the Spirit connects believers with Christ and that power is only a corollary of that experience. However, Jesus does not connect the baptism in the Spirit with conversion. He is concerned about the disciples being enabled to take the gospel to the ends of the earth. Thus, power in this passage is not just the corollary of a conversion experience. Rather, it is central to the task of witnessing. We dare not attempt the task without the power of the Spirit.

The Holy Spirit and power are not synonymous terms. The Holy Spirit is a divine Person who has power. Power is one of His attributes. He does many things for us, through us, and in us. In this text the point that Jesus emphasizes is power. The disciples will receive power to be witnesses.

As followers of Christ we should be concerned about power. But the power that concerns us should be the power to be witnesses. We are daily confronted with a hostile world. We must rely on the Holy Spirit who is a powerful persuader. He alone can draw men and women to Christ.

4. The disciples will be witnesses. We, too, are witnesses.

Jesus declared that the disciples will be witnesses "in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth." NASU Obviously, Luke is setting up the outline of the entire Book of Acts. As we follow the story, the gospel spreads from Jerusalem, to the revival in Samaria, and then to the entire world through the missionary journeys of the apostle Paul.

Through the disciples, the gospel will be made known to the world. The power they receive will enable them to speak the gospel boldly and with powerful results. They would work many miraculous things in His name. With the power of the Spirit the disciples would fulfill their prophetic task.

Conclusion

The element of power is vital to life. People everywhere are concerned about it. Many people want power for power's sake rather then power to serve others. This approach leads to corruption and disaster.

As followers of Christ, our desire is to build up the kingdom of Christ. Christ has promised to empower us with the Holy Spirit to be witnesses. As we witness, we can have a positive and life transforming influence in the world. The kingdom of God, with all its spiritual benefits, is established in the lives of millions of people on earth.

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