Unfortunately, in many churches, the Holy Spirit is not welcome. The leaders have "programmed" Him completely out of the meetings and church life, and they don't realize what a dangerous place they are in. While all their songs and activities for God continue unabated, they don't even realize that above the door is written the word "Ichabod," which means "the glory has departed."
When Jesus appeared to His disciples over a period of forty days following His resurrection, He spoke about the kingdom of God (Ac 1:3). This is no surprise, since Jesus spoke about the kingdom of God all the time, from the beginning of His ministry until the end. But then Luke states “On one occasion…” meaning “On one occasion when He spoke about the kingdom of God…”
And he goes on to write that Jesus told the disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the promised gift of the Father, the baptism in the Holy Spirit (Ac 1:4-5). This was definitely one of those occasions when Jesus spoke about the kingdom of God. We know this not only from the context that precedes these verses, but also from what follows them. When they met together with Jesus, after He had said this, they asked Him if He was going to restore the kingdom to Israel at that time (Ac 1:6). This is because when they heard what He said about waiting in Jerusalem and being baptized with the Holy Spirit, they assumed He was talking about the restoration of the kingdom to Israel with them reigning in power on earth with Jesus.
“So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, ‘Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?’ He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you will 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.” (Act 1:6-8)
His reply to their question was also very interesting. He did not say that the event they referred to would never happen. He simply told them that it was not for them to know when these things would happen, because they were among the times and dates the Father has set by His own authority.
Then he told them that they would receive power when the Holy Spirit came upon them, so that they could be His witnesses in Jerusalem and all over the earth. So it’s clear from this passage that the power of the Holy Spirit is definitely essential to the kingdom of God.
As I mentioned, this was one of those occasions when Jesus spoke about the kingdom of God, and specifically He was speaking to them about the baptism in the Holy Spirit. When we are baptized in the Holy Spirit, we receive power to be witnesses for Jesus, as well as live a holy life and do God’s will. This is what the kingdom of God is about; it’s His reign in us spreading across the earth to the lives of other people!
Jesus did all of His miracles by the power and anointing of the Holy Spirit (Luk 4:14-21; Is 61:1; Jn 14:10b). And He said, "If I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you." (Mat 12:28). We know He did cast out demons by the Spirit of God, and He said that this meant the kingdom of God had come upon the people there in that place.
Likewise, Jesus sent out the twelve apostles with instructions to "Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons." (Mat 10:8) At that time, He also instructed them, "And as you go, preach, saying, 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand.'" (Mat 10:7). You see, the Spirit of God enabled them to do these supernatural things, and they were to proclaim to the people that the kingdom of heaven was at hand.
That was God's way then and it still is today. It’s impossible for the kingdom of God to truly be advanced in any other way. It happens only by the power of the Holy Spirit.
"'Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' says the LORD of hosts." (Zec 4:6)
Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.
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Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International. He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.