Rod continues the series in the book of Acts. Paul and Barnabas, being chosen and sent by the Holy Spirit, sailed to the island of Cyprus. After traveling from town to town, teaching about Jesus as they went, they encountered a sorcerer who had influence with the governor of the area. The sorcerer tried to stop the governor from hearing and believing about Jesus. Paul, being filled with the Holy Spirit, turned to the sorcerer and showed him the true power of God.
Persecution is real, scary and causes problems for the persecuted. Yet, God uses persecution to grow and strengthen his people. If persecution leads to scattering, then the gospel has an opportunity to scatter too. Like a farmer planting a crop, seeds are scattered across the field so that a new crop will grow.
Not only does the good knowledge of Jesus go with the scattered people, but so does his power. Christians are not only equipped with knowledge about Jesus but are also equipped with the very power of Jesus. Living by faith includes the use of spiritual power; the power of God provided to you by the Holy Spirit of God. The same power (the whole package) that was available for Jesus to use is the same power every single Christian has. We just have to believe that and learn to use it.
The power of Jesus was spread into the whole world because the original Church was persecuted in Jerusalem and the Christians were forced to scatter. Their joy of Jesus, their belief that he forgives and saves us from our sins and their trust in his healing power never disappeared. They took it all with them and continued to tell their story.
If persecution causes you to run and hide, then you’re thinking of it in the wrong way. Persecution may cause you to run and get out of town, but as you go look for ways to take the gospel with you. Persecution does not create happy times, but it creates circumstances for the power of Jesus to change people’s lives.
The kingdom of God is not just a future kingdom in Heaven but also a kingdom in action today. Before the crucifixion, Jesus taught that the Kingdom of God was at hand. So too, after the resurrection Jesus spoke to his friends about the Kingdom of God. He told them to wait in Jerusalem until the Father God sent the promised Holy Spirit and that they would be baptized in the Holy Spirit. The kingdom of God on earth is tied to the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit, who for centuries past had been a blessing experienced by only a few in history, was now coming to all believers. The Holy Spirit is the power of God seen in action through the Church – all men and women, boys and girls who follow and serve Jesus Christ. Jesus did not expect us to live the Christian life by our own power. You are to live the Christian life by the power of the Holy Spirit who lives in you. The Holy Spirit takes ordinary people and empowers them to do extraordinary things.
Scripture references: Acts 1:3-8; Joel 2:28-29; Mark 5:30
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