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Anticipating the Holy Spirit – Acts 1

DAY 1 – Anticipating the Holy Spirit

Acts 1

Acts 1 covers a lot of ground but doesn’t give us many details. We will spend our time in the first eleven verses because this short section sets up the entire book of Acts. 

Acts is a continuance of the work of Jesus through his disciples. We see this even in how Luke wrote the first few verses. The death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus are woven into establishing the disciples’ ministry. That is intentional because the ministry of the disciples is an extension or continuation of the ministry of Jesus. However, the disciples proved themselves less than competent to continue establishing Jesus’ Kingdom. They need some serious help. 

Acts 1:3-8 – The Power of the Holy Spirit

Jesus, after his resurrection, taught his disciples about the Kingdom and promised them they would soon receive the Holy Spirit. They did not know it, but the Holy Spirit was what they needed to continue growing Jesus’ Kingdom. Jesus hints at this in Acts 1:8, saying the disciples would receive power when they received the Holy Spirit, and then they would be Jesus’ witnesses to the ends of the earth. The Holy Spirit was essential for the work Jesus had for his disciples. Jesus was so serious about the disciples waiting for the Holy Spirit that he ordered them to stay in Jerusalem until the Spirit came (1:4). The disciples Jesus commanded to stay put before they had the Holy Spirit were the same disciples he commanded to go to the ends of the earth after they had the Holy Spirit. The power of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers is what makes us able to live out the Christian life!

The Holy Spirit, God With Us

The work of the Holy Spirit is just as important for us today. In the Old Testament, God dwelled in the tabernacle or temple, and he was present with Israel. In the beginning of the New Testament, Jesus came as God in the flesh and dwelled with us. Now, as in the time of Acts, God doesn’t dwell in a building; he is not with us bodily, but he dwells inside of believers in the person of the Holy Spirit. This is so good! Jesus even said it was better that he left so we could have the Holy Spirit (John 16:7). God desires to dwell with us and make us righteous, so he sent his Spirit to live within us.

The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity. It is he who enabled the disciples to be Gospel witnesses to all of the earth, and it is he who enables us to continue in that mission. Romans 8:11 tells us that the Spirit that raised Christ from the dead is the same Spirit that now lives within us. If the Holy Spirit has the power to raise the dead, surely we will proclaim the goodness of the Lord and be different now that we know Christ. 

Acts 1:9-11 – Jesus Ascends to Heaven

After Jesus promised his disciples they would receive the Holy Spirit, he left. He ascended to heaven, where he now dwells, sitting at the right hand of God the Father (Ephesians 1:20). As the disciples watched him leaving, they received another promise – Christ will return! So, not only do we have the promise that God will dwell with us through the Spirit, but Christ will return for us (the Church — his bride) to bring us into full communion with the Father. If it isn’t clear that God desires to dwell with us, then you must not be paying attention. 

These first eleven verses prepare us to read the rest of Acts correctly. The Holy Spirit will come (spoiler alert) and will change everything! It won’t take long for the disciples to proclaim the Gospel in “Jerusalem and all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth.” The events in Acts take place over about thirty years, and the world has never been the same. The power and authority of the Holy Spirit that came and dwelled in believers changed the face of history. This is the same Holy Spirit that dwells in us if we are believers. Let’s live according to the Spirit, proclaiming the Gospel and giving glory to the Lord.


Why is Jesus’ ascension so important to us as believers? (Hint: where is he now, and what does it mean he intercedes for us?)

How does Jesus’ promise in Acts 1:8 equip you and give you confidence to live as a believer?


Why is Jesus’ ascension so important to us as believers? (Hint: where is he now, and what does it mean that he intercedes for us?)

How does Jesus’ promise in Acts 1:8 equip you and give you confidence to live as a believer?

Memory Verse

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
May 9, 2024

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