The Lord's Provision Part 2
by John Lowe
(Laurens SC, USA)
Our second point is, HE PROVIDED THEM POWER TO CARRY OUT THEIR ASSIGNMENT.
Jesus assigned believers to live in such a way, that the rest of the world would have reason to believe in Him. That meant that they would live in peace, purity, and pleasure. They were not to be involved with those who were advocating insurrection; freedom from Roman rule.
It would take the help of the Holy Spirit, but they were to live lives that would bring honor to Christ; that meant that they were to strive to be godly men, set apart for God.
And they were to be joyful, but their joy was to be in Christ. He was to be the source of their joy. Paul and Silas had that joy when they were in the prison for preaching the gospel; under threat of death, they sang songs and praised God. The world would be able to see Jesus through the lives these men were living.
We are to be known by our fruit. Our fruit is the fruit of the Spirit; such things as love, peace, and joy. It was the same for the early believers. These were evidences of their special relationship with Christ, and they were blessed to be identified with Him. They were blessed by receiving the power described in Acts, chapter 2; because that’s the power that Christ promised them...the power of the Holy Spirit. They needed that power to enable them to live the Christian life.
Verse 8 says, “But when the Holy Spirit comes to you, you will receive power. You will be my witnesses—in Jerusalem, in all of Judea, in Samaria, and in every part of the world.”
Our assignment is the same today. I have heard it said many times, “We may be the only ‘Jesus’ that many people will ever see.” That’s true, since most people never go to church, and don’t read their Bible. And if you are a Christian, their whole perception of Christianity may be what they observe of your life. I don’t believe that we regard that responsibility as highly as we should. We are going to influence these people whether we want to or not. Our life will either be a positive influence for Jesus, or it will be negative.
Our prayer should be, “Dear God, bless me with a spirit of love for others, make me at peace with all men so I can witness to them about Jesus’ love, and give me a joy that comes from faith, so that others can see that Jesus is a reality in my life.” It is when the Holy Spirit can be seen in the lives of believers that the world can see the truth about Jesus.
I can see the Holy Spirit in others, and I had a recent experience that showed that others can see Him in me. I was looking at some books that I was considering buying at a Christian bookstore, while Sierra was looking for music. A man walked up to me and asked if I was a preacher. He said, “I can tell you are a Christian.” And you know, I could tell he was a Christian too. Something passed between us, that wasn’t from our human side; it was spiritual, and it was by the power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is real! He is God!
Our final point is HE PROVIDED THE CONFIDENCE TO BELIEVE IN A BEAUTIFUL FUTURE.
They were confident that heaven was a real place, and that confidence led them to live fearless
lives. They lived like they had everything to gain and nothing to lose; they believed that they would gain heaven, because Jesus told them in John 14, “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.”
Heaven will be made even more wonderful by the knowledge that Jesus will be there. Revelation 20-21, describes heaven, and the picture is of a glorious creation, where we will live in a close relationship with Jesus, and God will be the source of everything that we receive. The disciples believed in heaven, and they wanted to go there, and that enabled them to keep the faith. The assurance of heaven should help us to live confident lives today. For the Christian, it is as Paul said, “To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.”
Let me get a little personal now; I had a heart attack in 1991, and the same week I had a triple bi-pass. During the hours before my surgery, I had one of the greatest experiences of my life. I put my trust in Jesus and I was excited about the possibility that I might die because I was confident that I would go immediately to be with my Savior. Well, I didn’t die; I guess He wanted me to do what I am doing now. But I am looking forward to heaven. No one who is thinking clearly would want to miss going there.
No one has to miss going to heaven because Jesus told us how to get there. He said, “I am the way.” The price of admission is faith in Jesus Christ. It’s a free gift to us because He paid for our ticket with His life.
We live in a fallen world, and no one can live as a Christian in their own power. We can’t; it’s too hard. It’s the Holy Spirit that lives within each of us who gives us the power to live victoriously in this fallen world. We are told in Hebrews, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things not seen.”
Let me end with three words from this verse, “substance”, “hoped for”, and “evidence.”
As Christians living victorious lives, we have substance and evidence for our faith; we have the Holy Spirit and the proof of the Resurrection, and our “hoped for” reality is heaven.
Now we can say, as Paul did “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now, a crown is being held for me—a crown for being right with God. The Lord, the judge who judges rightly, will give the crown to me on that day—not only to me but to all those who have waited with love for him to come again.
We have seen how the Lord provided for His apostles, but He has also provided for us. He gave us a ticket to heaven, but while we are waiting to go, we have the Holy Spirit to help us live the Christian life.
Let’s go to God in prayer at this time and thank Him for His gracious provision.