March 1st - Power
And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, "which," He said,"you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now." Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, "Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" And He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." Acts 1:4-8 (NKJV)
Years ago I was watching the news and there was a captivating story about a cameraman that was shooting film of some daring skydivers. The skydivers were doing different formations and he was shooting from different angles in subsequent jumps. In the final jump of the day, the cameraman was so "into" the process of filming that he forgot to put on his parachute. I was watching a disaster unfold as the report showed the cameraman's actual footage. The camera was focused on the high-dive formation and suddenly as the cameraman reached to pull his cord...the camera mirrored the frantic motions of a man who just realized that he committed a fatal mistake.
How could this possibly relate to Acts, Chapter One? Before one decides two jump out of a plane, they need to make sure that they are wearing a parachute. The parachute makes all the difference when landing. It is the sequence that matters. The Church did not charge forward until the “Promise” of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit was fulfilled. Immediately after the sound of a mighty wind blew into the Upper Room and the Holy Spirit filled the Believers with His power, we get a picture of what a fully equipped Church can accomplish.
There were signs and wonders--people getting saved--amazing growth--benevolence--dedication--prayer--study--hospitality--fellowship...everything that we aspire to attain as the Church today. (Please pay attention to the following) The church needed to wait for the baptism of power before they ventured forward.
Trying to walk in the footsteps of the early Church is impossible unless we embrace the fullness of the Holy Spirit. Please hear me: We need the power of the Holy Spirit living in us--guiding us--and giving us the where-with-all to establish the Church in our generation. Before we attempt to take on the powers of darkness that stand in opposition to us--we need to be full of God's mighty power! Then we will see that the "Gates of Hell will not prevail against us!" It would be a tragic mistake to build a church that has a "form of godliness but denies the power thereof." That would almost be like jumping out of a plane without a parachute.
Author's Note: The change the Baptism in the Holy Spirit made in the Apostle Peter's life is remarkable. Even after the resurrection of Jesus, Peter went back to fishing. After the Holy Spirit filled Peter with power, he was bold in His faith. No more denials concerning his relationship to Jesus. He was filled with power and ready for the spiritual battle. RJD