ACTS OF THE APOSTLES

by Jean Packer

We are now well into our season of contemplating the Acts of the Apostles in-depth. Throughout this time various speakers; Wes, Sharron, Ian, Muriel, Penny, Bex and Marjan have each opened up the scriptures to us. Each speaker has had different perspectives because of their diverse calling, gifts and talents. They have brought us a rich spectrum of insights into the life of the early church in order that we can discover what the Holy Spirit is saying to us individually, and corporately as the body of Christ. This article is my attempt to summarise the amazing words and truths that have been brought to us. I do not feel that I can do justice to the knowledge that the speakers have but hope that I am generally on track!

By progressing through the book chapter by chapter, we have seen how relevant it is for us today to reach up and take hold of the same power of the Holy Spirit that the apostles had so that we too may demonstrate signs, wonders and miracles to the world around us. The acts of the early church shows their transformation through the power of the Holy Spirit to become bold witnesses. We cannot do anything in our own strength but we can do all things through Him who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13). We, (the body of Christ in Golden Valley Church), are being exhorted to take hold of this truth and step into the God’s slipstream.

We are called to be supernaturally powerful. The early church were ordinary men and women who were fearful and timid until the Holy Spirit came upon them. Sound familiar? Yes, we often feel that moving in the power of God is for others, more mature than us. We forget that It is through faith that we please God. If only we believe His word, which is living and active, take hold of it, then God will bring us focus to see what He is doing, fortitude to endure any hardships and the fragrance of Jesus to carry with us wherever we go. We are being encouraged to step out into new things. Look for them and allow God to take us into His heavenly realms. We too can enter in, like Esther (5:1-3). We are inspired to daydream our hopes and desires and see what is happening, then reach up into the heavenlies and bring down the glory of God into our world, to recognise the opportunities that we come across in our day-to-day lives and seize the moment and share the kingdom! (James 4:3) tells us that “You do not get because you do not ask”. We need to boldly ask and believe that we have what we have asked for. His promises are yes and amen. Or, (James 4:2) says “You do not get because you ask amiss”. Sometimes He won’t give because it’s not His heart for us, not good for us. We cannot put God in a box because He is beyond our comprehension but we can know that He knows best and can be trusted completely. As we seek intimacy with God in relationship our will becomes submitted and we receive His heart.

We have heard that it is through God’s grace that we are transported to another place in our lives, a place of security and peace. God’s grace is like wings that lifts us up and out of any persecution, the things of the world that try to pull us down and ensnare us. Acts shows us how a diverse people came together in unity. Unity was established (Acts 4:32 – 35); tested (5:17-40); triumphs (5:41-42). This allowed God’s power to be verified, realised and legitimized. We are in God’s hands and fear has no room when we have this assurance. There are five foundation stones that Christ is building into His church. These are: Calling-our testimony of salvation. Vision- to send and to go. Obedience- to do what He has called us to. Preaching- the building block of the church that imparts the audible heart of Christ. Power- when the Holy Spirit comes upon us to do His will.

Our times together are becoming increasingly powerful as we learn to walk in the heavenly glory realm. We have entered into this realm of the Spirit through worship, ministering to God, and to one another. Prophecy has increased and people dance in freedom as the spirit moves. There is a sweet warmth and fragrance of Jesus that overwhelms us corporately. As the body of Christ we are interdependent upon one another and our lives are enhanced. God’s kingdom is multiplied amongst us. We have been drenched with the oil of His manifest presence and we can carry this out and take it to others. wherever we are, in the supermarket, at work or play, as ordinary men and women who love God. Through the power of God that we are experiencing in the life of our church, people are testifying to the change of circumstances in their lives, and the lives of their families. We are more aware of His nudges to step out in faith and trust, and are seeing God move increasingly in our daily lives. New things are being brought into life. Our community is responding and a new group is springing up.

We all have our faults and flaws and are a work in progress, but God uses us anyway. He loves us and delights in us. He loves the world that we live in and wherever we go and whatever God asks us to do, we can do in His strength. We are His hands and His feet. He wants us to move Him to act. We are all on mission and can start simply with what we have, and give it away. The more we give, the more we will receive to give away. There will always be enough and the pot will never run dry! Step out! We are entering into a new wave of the Spirit. One that the world has never seen before. A Tsunami is coming! Lets ride the wave!

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