You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1:8)
The book of Acts records that Jesus commanded His followers to be His witnesses throughout the entire world. Jesus promised to provide the power and strength they needed to accomplish their mission in the person of the Holy Spirit. Unfortunately, however, the apostles didn’t go anywhere! Oh, they preached the Word and witnessed for Christ, but they remained hunkered down in the Holy City. It wasn’t until the heat was turned up through persecution that the ambassadors of the Almighty did what He had instructed them to do—go out into the world.
You might say that this is a demonstration of the Second Law of Thermodynamics: “The greater the heat, the greater the expansion!” It wasn’t until the apostles were persecuted that they did what God had commanded them to do. There were so comfortable serving God right where they were in Jerusalem—after all, souls were being saved every day and the apostles were “enjoying the favor of all the people” (Acts 2:47)—that they neglected the Lord’s command to take the Good News of Jesus Christ to the ends of the earth.
So let me ask you this question: Have you been going out with the good news of the Gospel? If not, don’t be surprised if God turns up the holy heat! You see in today’s verse that the Good News was indeed to be preached in Jerusalem, but it was to be taken beyond the walls of the city, past the borders of Israel, and out to the far reaches of the earth . . . but that wasn’t happening, two years after Jesus had ascended into heaven. And so, because God’s plans and purposes can never be thwarted, persecution broke out, and God’s people were shaken out of their comfortable existence and began doing what God had commanded them to do.
I am convinced that our Lord will use any means necessary to get us to do what He has called us to do. There have been times when I felt some of that holy heat myself! With that truth in mind, we must see the Second Law of Thermodynamics as a wonderful grace from our God. Because God’s plan for our lives is infinitely better than our plan for our lives, God will turn up the heat when necessary to get us moving in the right direction.
If we want to “beat the holy heat,” let us be committed to following God’s leading in our lives, regardless of where that takes us. In the end, being right in the center of God’s will is the best possible place for us to be.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!