Small Group Tools
Contemporary Comments 2017
You Will Be My Witnesses
Acts 1:6-8, Luke 24:25, Luke 24:44-48, Deut. 19:15, Acts 1:9-26, Prov. 16:33
July 6, 2018
Power outages this last week left people in the eastern United States more than just in the dark. The loss of electricity during the broiling heat wave left many without air conditioning. In Pittsburgh, the intermittent power outages shut down equipment, tripped breakers, and closed businesses. Utility companies plead for people to turn “off non-essential appliances, turn your air conditioner up to 78 degrees, replace filters and use ceiling fans.”1
Many utility companies are aware that electricity demands go up during heat waves because of the high consumption of power by air conditioners that are run around the clock. In Springfield, Massachusetts, one company explains how it invests in their system “year-round to handle the heat this week.” A spokesperson said, “Our equipment is reliable and resilient. It’s robust and has been sized to fit this demand and load.”2
As world events heat up and we near the final days before Christ returns, there is a power shortage in God’s church. It’s not because air conditioners are running. The presence of the Holy Spirit is lacking in the hearts of many believers who lack a personal connection with heaven’s greatest resources.
This week’s Sabbath School lesson launches our study on the book of Acts and it begins with a focus on power. “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8, NRSV).
The power of the Holy Spirit propelled the early church forward in mind-boggling outreach that covered the major populations of the earth (“to the ends of the earth”) in a few short years. Such power was not turned inward, but created witnesses out of believers who boldly proclaimed Christ, many giving their very lives to the cause.
Jesus promised the disciples, “I will come again” (John 14:3) and when Christ ascended to heaven, angels from heaven assured them, “This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11). With hope burning in their hearts, they returned to Jerusalem and began to pray for power.
Heaven’s resources were poured out at the right time—reliable, resilient, and robust. The Spirit was ready to meet every demand and never flagged through the most heated difficulties. Are you praying for power?