Monday, June 27, 2016

Obedient Witness

J.J. Stark
June 27, 2016
Field Time: Browning, MT
Inductive Bible Study (IBS)
Obedient Witness
“And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.” – Acts 5:32 (NKJV)

            The statement in Acts 5:32 is made by the apostle Peter during the second time he and John were arrested and stood trial for preaching and doing mighty works in the name of Jesus Christ.  This was not long after the Pentecost, where the church was birthed through the Holy Spirit and massive amounts of people were coming to the salvation of Christ.  The boldness of the apostles produced by the Holy Spirit is astounding to me, and according to the text was even more so to the religious leaders then.  Throughout the chapters leading up to this, the word obedience keeps surfacing.  Obedience to the will of God is what is seen in the record, how the disciples were immediately obedient to God’s Holy Spirit manifesting Himself in them and revealing truth.  The religious leaders lashed out because of the uprising, but this only was a fulfillment of what Jesus foretold in Matthew 24: 9, 13&14:  9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake…13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved.  14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and the end will come.”  However, because the of the confidence of the Holy Spirit, they were not only able to endure the trials, but also testify of the gospel in front of authorities as eye witnesses of Christ’s glory.
The Spirit gives us discernment in all things, revealing the truth from lie, and bestowing on those who obediently seek God’s will the freedom to operate in that truth.  This can be seen during the disciples’ first trial in Acts 4:19-20: 19 “But Peter and John answered and said to them, ‘Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge.  20For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.”  I can identify very much with the disciples in this aspect of talking about things I’ve seen.  I am very visual/audio (sensory in general) oriented, and it is often difficult for me to discuss or think about something outside of what I’ve experienced.  These men also came from a background of hard work, a meek life of simple fishermen; verse 13 mentions that the disciples were “uneducated and untrained men,” but through Christ they were able to preach the gospel better than the “scripturally educated” of the time.  Christ has continually used simple people, “the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise” (1 Cor. 1:27), to spread His word.  It all hinges on obedience to the Holy Spirit though.  Jumping to the second trial in Acts 5:29-32, 29 “…Peter and the other apostles answered and said: ‘“We ought to obey God rather than men.  30 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree.  31 Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.  32 And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.”’”
Just as Peter and the other apostles witnessed Jesus personally and couldn’t keep quiet, so is the call to every believer today!  The Holy Spirit not only witnesses the things done in the name of Christ, but He also witnesses when we ignore His prompting.  He is alive and active just as much today as He was then, He is unchanging.  I am to spread the good news of Christ also!  It isn’t going to be easy, as said in Matthew 24, but my response must be like theirs – obey God rather than man.  Maybe I haven’t walked with Jesus in the flesh like them, but I have witnessed numerous things that God has done through the Holy Spirit!  Why do I hesitate to speak of these things, even when I know that He has not given me a spirit of fear?!?!  Even if it isn’t with words, I am to witness in everything: through my actions, attitude, and perspective.  Lord, I ask that You would increase my sensitivity to Your Holy Spirit’s quiet promptings and that I would obey.

Isaiah 43:10-12 gives the command from the Lord:

 10 You are My witnesses,” says the Lord, “And My servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He.  Before Me there was no God formed, nor shall there be after Me.  11 I, even I, am the Lord, and besides Me there is no savior.  12 I have declared and saved, I have proclaimed, and there was no foreign god among you; therefore you are my witnesses,” says the Lord, “that I am God.”

Application: I will work at not being so task oriented that I neglect witnessing to the ones God puts in front of me. 

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