“. . .the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.”
Jesus promised, when we are baptized with the Holy Spirit, we will receive power to be witnesses for Christ. It seems to me, I am always in need of more power than I currently have. The longer I walk with the Lord, the bigger some of the battles become. I need a greater measure of His power to deny the flesh, as well as to effectively serve the Lord. I think it is a common experience for all Christians to feel powerless against the battle in front of them. That being said, there is a critical principle revealed in this verse. Peter declares that the Holy Spirit is given to those who obey.
Throughout Scripture, we find the people of God facing obstacles bigger than themselves. We read of Moses and the congregation of Israel being chased by the Egyptian army, where they are trapped by the Red Sea. We know of Joshua and the immense walls that surrounded the city of Jericho. Later, Scripture records how Gideon faced the armies of the Midianites, and David stood toe to toe with the Philistine giant. The New Testament is filled with its share of obstacles as well. We read of the man with the withered hand, blind Bartimeus, and the lame man at the Beautiful gate of the Temple. In each of these cases, God is calling people to do the impossible. In each case, they could have excused themselves because of a lack of power. I can almost hear the excuses I would have used. “Lord I can’t do that, I don’t have that kind of power, that water is too deep, the walls too high and the giant is too tall.”
The truth stated by Peter answers those objections. The Holy Spirit is given when we obey. If we are waiting for an overwhelming sense of power to build up in us before we do battle against the flesh, or go out in service of the Lord, we are going to wait forever. If we go out in obedient faith to the promises of God, we will find that the Holy Spirit is given to those who obey. All the strength you need for the battle at hand, will be given as you walk in obedient faith to the command of God. In that struggle you are facing with the flesh, trust today, that He will empower you as you choose to obey.
Questions for Acts 5
- Hypocrisy, are we sensitive to it? Do we overlook it? God is serious about it. Pretending to be something we are not, lying to ourselves. If there is anything in your life that falls into this category, take time now to lay it before the Lord, confess and repent. God loves you and wants to forgive you and make all things new! Read I Corinthians 5:17
- In verse 12 we see the phrase “all in one accord” again. Being like-minded with the body of Christ is recurring theme. Is there something about your church that you question or don’t understand? Take time to call your pastor or staff and search the scriptures. Many times we may believe something that was taught to us in our younger years. It may be good, but not necessarily scriptural.
- The apostles were put in prison; the Lord set them free and told them to go back. Our natural reaction sometimes is to run away from conflict, yet God told them to go back. Are there things in your life that you are running from? Is Lord prompting you to go back? Pray and seek Him, seek council and be obedient. There might be a miracle awaiting you?
- Verse 29 is a wow verse! Sometimes we don’t obey God because we don’t know what He wants us to do. Keep praying, keep studying God’s Word, He will speak to you!
- The Pharisee Gamaliel gives some interesting advice to the council in verse 38-39. How can you apply this advice to situations in your life?