Sep 09, 2016 Words of Grace – Timing
The phrase “timing is everything” is so commonplace that it’s impossible to attribute it to any one person. You will find endless uses of the phrase in some form or another in songs, psychology, and speeches. It’s the advice given to investors and comedians. There is a lot of truth in these three words.
In the opening chapter of the Book of Acts, timing is everything.
The resurrected Christ spent 40 days with his apostles speaking to them about the kingdom of God. He commissioned them to carry on with what he began to do and teach while on earth. And then he said to wait.
Why wait? Because they were completely dependent on the power of the Holy Spirit to do what Jesus commanded them to do. They must wait for the baptism of the Spirit. They must wait for power.
If there is no baptism of the Spirit, there is no power, no effective witness of Christ, and no conversion of hearts. Without the power of the Spirit there are no Christians and no church.
Acts tells us that the apostles could not just set off to accomplish the kingdom work in their own strength. They did not have the power in themselves to do so. They would have utterly failed. They needed the baptism of the Spirit and of power. By waiting in prayer, that is what they received. The Spirit filled them and then they gave a powerful witness of Christ to the people in their city.
John Calvin wrote about Acts 1, “Christ baptizes all his chosen people everyday.”¹ The Holy Spirit continues his ministry of filling his people with power daily. We can also say that each Lord’s Day the Holy Spirit freshly fills his church with power as we gather under the lordship of Christ and around his word.
The divine timing continues. We wait, we pray, we are renewed and filled, we live and give witness, and then we come back to waiting and praying again. We do not segment our lives as if waiting in prayer and working for the kingdom are two separate things. We live in the rhythm of waiting and praying in dependency, and living and witnessing in power.
Today, consider the timing and rhythm of your life. Are you starting your day with the acknowledgment of your dependence on God’s Spirit? Are you starting your week with God’s people for a fresh filling of the Spirit’s power?
Take time to read Acts 1 before Sunday. Pray for God to pour his love into our hearts by the Spirit who has been given to us.
¹John Calvin, “Acts” The Crossway Commentary, Crossway, 1995.