The Key Player
I really don’t like the uninspired additions to the Bible, particularly those lonely pages that read “The Old Testament” or “The New Testament.” Now I understand that they serve as demarcations between the two canons but instead of making things easier they have actually caused more confusion, causing Christians to pitch the Old Testament against the New. Another uninspired addition that I’m perturbed by is the title for the book of Acts. I don’t know who took the liberty upon themselves to give Acts the title “Acts of the Apostles,” but I don’t believe it to be the best. This is because the central character in the book is not the Apostles nor is it their work but rather that of the Holy Spirit. The Apostles were merely the conduits of the Spirit.
When you read Acts, you will come to the quick conclusion that without the Holy Spirit it was all impossible. From the very outset of the book, Jesus stresses the importance of the Spirit and indicates that before they do anything, they first must wait to receive the promise from the Father (Acts 1:4).
Jesus says that they will be “…baptised with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” Acts 1:5. Notice that Jesus tells them how they will receive the Holy Spirit. He doesn’t say that they will receive Him in part. He says that they will be “baptised.” Baptism is a complete immersion experience. You go under the water and come up from the water (Matt 3:16). Jesus uses this language to communicate this powerful truth, not only are we to be fully immersed in water but also fully immersed in the Spirit.
What happened once the Apostles were baptised in the Spirit? You notice a remarkable change in them, their behaviours, and their actions. They are different men because they are filled men. Filled with the Holy Ghost.
And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. Acts 2:4
Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders of Israel: Acts 4:8
And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness. Acts 4:31
And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Acts 9:17
Then Saul, who also is called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him Acts 13:9
And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit. Acts 13:52
Acts of the Holy Spirit 2.0
You probably get the point by now. They were filled with the Holy Spirit and it was this supernatural enabling that allowed them to do those “acts” we read about. Is it any different for us today? How much of what we presently do could be done without the Holy Spirit? And conversely, how much more could we do if we had more of the Holy Spirit? The church cannot do, what it has been called to do without the Holy Spirit. But when the church is immersed in the Holy Spirit it doesn’t take long before they “turned [the] world upside down” Acts 17:6.
You see then, a more appropriate title for Acts would be “Acts of the Holy Spirit.” What God can do with us when He fills us with the Spirit is unbelievable! When was the last time you asked to be filled with the Holy Spirit? If it was yesterday, it was too long ago. We must daily ask for a fresh baptism from above. And when we do so we will participate in the sequel to the book of Acts, “Acts of Holy Spirit 2.0.”