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"You Will Be My Witnesses" |July 7, 2018 | Order Info

Texts: Acts 1:6-8, Luke 24:25, Luke 24:44-48, Deuteronomy 19:15, Acts 1:9-26, Proverbs 16:33

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?

~ cr

1. pittsburgh.cbslocal.com
2. westernmassnews.com
~ For Reflection

Connecting: Do flipped coins tend to land on heads or tails? Pair up and flip your coins 10 times, keeping track of your results. Does one side come up more often than the other? Have each team report its findings to the group. From this experiment, do you think there are better odds for one side over the other?

Sharing: Read Luke 24:25, 44-48. Jesus directed the disciples to  consider the words of Scripture when He taught them because:
1. Everything we believe must be based on Scripture.
2. They could believe because of their personal experiences with Jesus, but others—especially the Pharisees—would only listen to the words of Scripture.
3. The disciples had so much more to learn that they could only find in Scripture
4. By going back and studying the Word, they would finally understand that Christ came to establish an eternal kingdom in heaven rather than a temporal reign here on earth.
5. This was a bit of a scolding; they should have known about Jesus’ true mission all along.
6. Other...

Applying: A friend is about to make a crucial, life-changing decision by flipping a coin. This friend says that he or she has prayed intensely about this and believes that God will point the way via the results of the coin toss. What, if anything, do you say to your friend?

Valuing: Prayerfully consider: Where is your personal focus in life? Do you give your priority to God’s will or to your own desires? Wherever you are in this, ask God to sharpen your focus.