I hope that you have enjoyed this week of Vacation Bible School for grown-ups.
Today is our last day of VBS with the kids. It has been an exhausting, rewarding, challenging, and blessed week. I am so thankful to God for the opportunity for our community to come together to teach and encourage these children in their faith. I pray that you, too, have been blessed by what you have read here this week.
Today’s lesson comes from Acts 1:1-11. Our focus is that more than just telling others about Christ with our mouths; we need to show His love to others with our lives.
I have heard it said that you can tell what is important to a person by looking at their calendar and their checkbook. You see, we are going to spend our precious resources on the things that are important to us. What is more precious to us than time and money? We cannot just simply tell others about Jesus Christ and then proceed to live a life that doesn’t appear to be changed by Him. What kind of witnesses would we be?
So, today I would ask us to consider if our lives witness to others just as much as our mouths do.
Our witness will be ineffective if our actions do not line up with what we say is true of Christ. If a person cannot see the difference He has made in us, why would they want to be a part of what He has for them? Do we think about this when we are spending our money, our time, or opening our mouths? Are our actions in line with what we say about our walk with Christ?
A difficult question, for sure, but one worth pondering.
While this is the heart of the message with the children today, I do want to point out one very important aspect from Scripture that I believe is the key to living a life for Christ.
Acts 1:4 says, (in part) “…He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father…”
Later, in v. 8, Jesus says, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem , and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
You see, we all witness with our lives; for good or for bad. The key to what kind of witness we will be is the absence or the presence of the Holy Spirit.
Without that power, we can do nothing (John 15:5).
I find it interesting that Jesus asked them to wait. After all, God could have sent the Holy Spirit at any moment, but He asked them to wait on Him. We, too, are often asked to wait on His timing. Personally, I think the waiting is the hardest part. Yet, Scripture proves that it makes all the difference. We will look at Peter as an example.
Peter is one of my very favorite disciples. I am always encouraged when I read about Peter. He is the one who walked on water towards Jesus, but sank when he took his eyes off of Him. I would like to think that if I saw Jesus face to face, that would be enough for me to keep my eyes on Him and keep on walking.
Peter also denied Christ, not once, but three times and this is after Jesus personally told him that he would do it. I like to think that I, unlike Peter, would have heeded those warnings and made sure that was the very thing I didn’t do.
The second chapter of Acts changed everything for Peter. Seeing Jesus face to face wasn’t enough for him to walk on water, and a personal warning wasn’t enough to keep him from denying Christ; but the power of the Holy Spirit was what created a change in him.
When the Holy Spirit descended upon them and they began speaking in other languages, they were mocked and accused of being drunk. The weak and timid Peter, now filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, stood, raised his voice, and delivered a message to the people that was both foretelling and forthtelling. He spoke of the things that had already taken place, as well as those that will yet take place. He boldly shared the heart of the gospel; the crucifixion and the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Verse 37 tells us that “when they heard this, they were cut to the heart” and asked what they must do to be saved. Three thousand souls were saved and baptized as a result of the words Peter spoke.
It is only the power of the Holy Spirit that creates a change in us the way He did for Peter. Acting in our own strength leads to sinking in the water and denying our Savior. Acting in the power of the Holy Spirit leads others to question, “What must I do to be saved?’
Waiting is the hardest part, but it is the most important part. If we want to show others Christ in us, we must yield to and rely on His power. Our own power will fail us every time.
The next time we have trouble waiting on the Lord, let us remember Peter. Let us make sure that we are in the will and in the power of the Holy Spirit before we make any attempts to act on His behalf. Our own power leads to frustration and failure, while His yields fruit.
Today, let us consider if we have yielded our wills to the power of the Holy Spirit.
“Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” ~Acts 2:38-39 (NKJV)
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of the Holy Spirit. I pray that we would yield to the power and will of the Holy Spirit knowing that in our own strength, our works are like wood, hay, and stubble. I thank You for this week of Vacation Bible School and each child that You put in our midst. I pray that they and their families have been blessed and that You have been glorified. May they keep the things that they have learned and ponder them in their hearts. May their minds have been renewed that their lives might be transformed. I pray that the seeds that have been planted this week will continue to be watered and that You would cause the increase. I also pray that those of us who have participated in the teaching and the studies this week have also been refreshed in our spiritual walks. To You be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
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What do you think? How has yielding to the power and direction of the Holy Spirit changed your walk?