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Book of Acts: Acts 1:6-11

Book of Acts (Used with permision Hugo Cheng)

The Bible Teacher's Commentary

Paul J. Bucknell

The Kingdom Plan and Purpose

Acts 1:6-11 Kingdom Plan | Acts 1:6-8 Plan | Acts1:8 Power| Acts 1:9-11 United

Video Podcast

Acts 1:8, The Lord Empowers His People, the third of four sections, shows how through giving the Holy Spirit to the disciples God empowered them to be His witnesses and accomplish His great kingdom plans.

B) The Lord Empowers His People (Acts 1:8)

Our second question is tied in to the first. We learn of God's plan through the implanting of the Spirit of God in the believers' lives. Notice how the gift of the Holy Spirit equips God's people for service.

"But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth" (Acts 1:8).

From James Dobson

(We are not suggesting that they did not pray before, but it is easy to focus on our own resources first.)

"I want to tell you up front that we're not going to ask you to do anything, to make a phone call or to write a letter or anything.

There is nothing you can do at this time about what is taking place because there is simply no limit to what the left can do at this time. Anything they want, they get and so we can't stop them.

We tried with [Health and Human Services Secretary] Kathleen Sebelius and sent thousands of phone calls and emails to the Senate and they didn't pay any attention to it because they don't have to. And so what you can do is pray, pray for this great nation... As I see it, there is no other answer. There's no other answer, short term."

God's plan in many cases will seem insurmountable. We will feel like it is impossible. We need to be careful, though, not to assume we cannot do it. God has not given us something that cannot be done but something that can be accomplished through the Holy Spirit working in us. Let us get a complete understanding of the Holy Spirit. To do this, let us go to the Upper Room discourse in John 14-17.

Jesus clearly describes the work of the Holy Spirit.

"These things I have spoken to you, while abiding with you. "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you" (John 14:25-26).

The Holy Spirit has a special function of bringing God's truth alive so to help us in the way we live and minister.

Like Jesus

"But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper shall not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. "And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin, and righteousness, and judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you no longer behold Me; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.

"I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. "But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come" (John 16:7-13).

The Holy Spirit is God living in His people. Jesus could be in one place at a time, but as Jesus said in Acts 1:5, each would be empowered by the Holy Spirit. The people of God are the new temple of God. They should not do expanding work without the Holy Spirit but stay protected by constant prayer. This is not a message on the Holy Spirit. If it was, we would go into much detail how the Holy Spirit empowers God's people and works in the world.

Again, the Holy Spirit is not only for the twelve apostles. We have seen that as the gospel went out to the world, the Holy Spirit was moving in the lives of people. Speaking in foreign languages (unfortunately wrongly translated tongues) became evident of the Holy Spirit working in each of the three main areas. We do not need this confirmation any more (at least not in the same sense) because each area proved to be connected to the same movement of the Spirit of God.

The Holy Spirit's Word in Us

  1. First, we see that God has already worked among the Gentiles in the same was as the Jews. We or the Jews do not need further persuasion that God works in the lives of the Gentiles. It is already evident from a confirmed incident.

  2. Second, we see that the Holy Spirit was released into believing people in Jerusalem, Judaea, Samaria and the world. The Holy Spirit was not just for the apostles or even those who personally saw Jesus bodily alive. Although the 'you' in 1:8 might in time address only Jesus' hearers, it is rightly to be applied to all that believe in Jesus.

  3. Third, and this will bring us to our third question, we should realize that having the Holy Spirit as a believer in Christ makes us automatically a participant in God's kingdom work. There is nothing that He calls for us to do that we cannot do. He can give us wisdom, physical stamina, health, ability to speak in foreign languages, and purity of heart and soul. God equips us with the Holy Spirit. Before going on, however, let us think how this might apply to our lives.


Do you have the Holy Spirit? You cannot be a mere religious Christian. Either God lives in you or not. If you live in sin and deception, is it really possible that the Holy Spirit lives in you? Probably not. "This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all" (1 John 1:5). You should repent and come to know God through Christ. You need that heart to seek Him.

Do you worry about how to live for the Lord? Are you scared what people might say or do? It is obvious in these cases there is a disconnect. You are not sufficiently acquainted with the Holy Spirit and need to learn how to live by the Spirit. Many a believer does not know how to closely commune with the Spirit. Recently a brother asked me how do I know the Holy Spirit prodding me to speak to someone? If I sense it hard to speak to someone, does that mean I should not witness to him?

I answered him, that the most unlikely people are often the ones we should witness to. If you sense fear, then recognize that the evil one is trying to have you not speak. If the evil one is agitated, it is probably because the Spirit is prodding.

Some might be feeling like, "Yes, that is me. But how do I change?" You need to start living by the leading of the Holy Spirit rather than taking clues from your feelings. Our society is so feeling-oriented. Others are so traditionally bound. You need to remember you are first a member of God's kingdom and take His orders.

Next-> C) The Lord's United Design (Acts 1:9-11)

Or if you are looking for the rest of the commentary on Acts 1:8, go to the previous section.

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