11th June 2014

I Just Can’t Help It 

“But to stop this thing from spreading any further among the people, we must warn them to speak no longer to anyone in this name.”
Acts 4:17 (NIV) 

The title of the fifth book of the New Testament is often shortened to ‘Acts’. In my King James Bible it has the title, ‘The Acts of the Apostles’. Some have said that it should really  be entitled ‘The Acts of Paul’, as he is the main character. Others have said that since the book is filled with miraculous events it should be called ‘The Acts of the Holy Spirit’. 

Certainly the Spirit’s activity is evident everywhere throughout the book. One of the most striking ways in which the Spirit is evident is in the boldness of those who spoke for Jesus. The apostles, who just weeks before had been hiding in fear for their lives, were imprisoned because they couldn’t stop talking about Jesus Christ and all the things that had happened. I find it interesting that the Apostles weren’t ordered to stop healing or meeting together, to stop sharing their possessions or doing good things, but they were ordered to stop doing things in the name of Jesus. They were told to stop talking about Him, attributing power to Him, and increasing His fame. Their spirit-led response was simply, “As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:20) 

When the apostles were arrested and asked to explain their actions, they used the opportunity to proclaim the name of Jesus, not try to secure a release. It seems to me that the ‘Acts of the Holy Spirit’ led people to speak about ‘the name’; about Jesus Christ. Now that shouldn’t be surprising because Jesus himself said, “…the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” (John14:26) and, “when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me…” (John 16:13-14) 

The Spirit will motivate us to speak about the good news of Jesus Christ – who He is, what He’s done for mankind, and the wonderful future that awaits those who believe in Him. If we are to keep in step with the Spirit we must continue talking about the name of Jesus, sharing the gospel message in the places where we work or study, and in the communities where we live. We must attribute our successes, opportunities and blessings to Jesus rather than describing them as luck, coincidence, or the result of sheer hard work. 

In short, we are to take the name of Jesus out to the whole world. The only way to ‘stop this thing from spreading’ is to be silent; ‘to speak no longer to anyone in this name’. John Stott called it ‘the guilty silence’; ‘guilty’ because we know we should speak out. 

May the Holy Spirit motivate each one of us to say, “I just cannot help speaking about what I’ve have seen and heard.” 

Father, lead me through your Spirit to want to share the good news of Jesus with others. Please provide me with opportunities, and empower me with the strength and courage to boldly speak about the name that will change lives, and that will give life.

Study by Barry Robinson


barryrobinsonAbout the Author:
Barry Robinson is an Elder in and pastoral worker in the Greater London area, particularly the Camberwell and North London congregations of the Worldwide Church of God UK.

Local Congregation:
Worldwide Church of God Camberwell
The Salvation Army Hall
105 Lomond Grove

Meeting time:
Saturday 11 am

Local Congregational Contact:
Barry Robinson
Email:  barry_robinson@wcg.org.uk

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