Victory in Hard Times

Scott Stevenson

"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”  Acts 1:8  

Question:  How can the power of the Holy Spirit bring us through hard times?

I shared this verse with the men in Boot Camp last month during my devotion and I would like to share it with you.  I wanted the men to know that when we are faced with hard times, we actually have God in our corner…the ultimate power.

Question:  In Acts 1:8 what happens when the Holy Spirit comes on you?

I like Acts 1:8 because this is the last thing Jesus said to his disciples before he was taken up to Heaven.  Now your last words to anyone are going to be important…correct?  Well, that’s where I wanted to put my focus.  Jesus gave this important instruction to the men because great power would be needed to birth the church and it could only happen with the Holy Spirit working in each and every believer.

I pointed out that the pre-Pentecost Peter was entirely different from post-Pentecost Peter…the one we see in Acts.  Powerful sermons were made during this time by both Peter and Stephen.  In Acts 1:8 it says “you will receive power” and “you will be my witnesses”. 

Question:  In your every day conversations what do you talk about? 

We want the power of the Holy Spirit working in our lives…correct?  Use this identifier given to us in scripture to gage where you stand.

What two major events happen in Acts 2? 

·  Pentecost

·  Peter’s Sermon

Peter hears scoffers in v. 13 of chapter 2 saying the believers were drunk.  Peter immediately stands up and answers the evil accusations and then explains the crucifixion was not an accident:

"This Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it."  Acts 2:23-24

Peter used scripture to defend against the false accusations in Acts 2 and he did it intelligently.  That at the end there could be no argument as to who this Jesus is.

X-ray Questions:

·  What do we do when we hear false accusations about God and his Word? 

·  Do we spend enough time with God in order to allow the Holy Spirit to work through us?

·  Are you filled with the Holy Spirit?

·  Are you witnesses of Jesus Christ?

In that time period, many had their opinions about who they thought Jesus was.  Nothing has changed; many people today have an opinion as to who Jesus is.  

Question:  What did we say happens when you’re filled with the Holy Spirit? 

I think the only opinion that counts is God’s opinion of who Jesus is and God tells us through the working of the Holy Spirit in Peter:

"Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” Acts 2:36 

The very next verse says the people were cut to the heart and asked what they must do.  Of course, Peter told them to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  At the end of the sermon three thousand came to the Lord!  Now if that’s not powerful, I don’t know what is.

Peter went on to do other miracles and sermons, in Acts 3 he heals a middle aged beggar (everybody knew this guy because he was crippled from birth).  Peter did this while he was broke.  Read verse 6.

"But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” Acts 3:6

Peter was arrested for this miracle but did he stop?  No he did not!  He was asked by the officials to stop using “that name”.  Where have I heard that before?  Does this tone sound eerily familiar to you?  Of course the officials were referring to the only name that has power…Jesus Christ.  Did Peter and John stop using “that name”? (Read Acts 4:8-10)

"But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” Acts 4:19-20  

Question:  What are you going to do when you’re asked to stop using the name Jesus Christ?

The title of this devotion is Victory in Hard Times.  I picked this section of scripture to show you that in spite of Peter and John’s condition (poor, jail) they continued to be witnesses of Jesus Christ.  That’s true power, to be content no matter the situation because we have hope, faith and the power of the Holy Spirit.  You have to be willing to let God take control of your life.

 

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