I want to focus on the verse in Acts chapter 19 that I consider to be the linchpin of this passage. Verse 20, chapter 19 says, “In this way, the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power.”
We have everything we need in America, modern comforts, modern medicine, modern technology…..you get the point. We have everything we “think” we need. Many times I feel like we Americans are spiritually like the people in Wall-E that are overweight and can’t even get out of their chair and have everything given to them. That may seem like a harsh indictment, but lets be honest, we do not see the Gospel moving and advancing in America at the pace we saw it happen in the early church. God is still the same, but the people and the spiritual atmosphere is very different. There is no alarm, no urgency in our spirit for the advancement of the gospel.
When we look at this verse we need to read the first 18 verses to understand what was happening. Honestly, the first 18 verses sound somewhat like some looney pentecostal tent revival, handkerchiefs healing people, demons getting cast out of people and demons having conversations with others and so on. But, as we read it, we see that this is Acts, this is the Bible, and I can’t help but think that this is normal Christianity. Nowhere in scripture do we see a religion that is not endued with power from on high. It was there in the OT and it is all over the NT. Some of the miracles are just ridiculous, one of my favorites is when Peter’s shadow healed people!
Unfortunately, our intellectualism, higher criticism, modern comforts and what not have in many cases rendered us with basically a powerless Christianity in America. Much of American Christianity has become nothing more than behavior modification, not a faith that heals the sick, raises the dead and casts demons out of people, and sees 3,000 saved in a day. But when we leave the friendly confines of the United States, miracles of this nature are much more commonplace. In impoverished countries, you can either believe God to heal you or die, and that kind of faith creates an atmosphere that is conducive to the miraculous.
When I read Acts it makes me hungry to get more of God, I want to walk in the power that the Holy Sprit offers, I want to be completely overcome with the power and love of God that will trigger the type of miracles that I read about in scripture. I want that baptism of power that happened in Acts 19 every day!
Lord, fill us with your power in a fresh, new way. Wake our nation up with the power of your spirit!