The Book of Acts is sometimes called “The Acts of the Holy Spirit”. In the synoptic
gospels, the focus lies in the Lord Jesus Christ and His earthly ministry. However, by the
first chapter in the Book of Acts, the Lord Jesus has ascended to heaven and is no longer
physically present on earth. However, the proclamation of Jesus continues by the work of
the Holy Spirit. Indeed, the expression “Holy Ghost” occurs a total of 41 times in the
entire book, which is about a third of its occurrence in the Bible. Thus, the title “The Acts
of the Holy Spirit” is most apt for the book.

The theme of the book is declared to us right from the start when it is proclaimed that
Jesus “through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he
had chosen” (Acts 1:2). Thus, we see that the Holy Spirit is the director of the witness for
Christ in the life of the individual and the church. The pattern of witness is also set by the
director, from Jerusalem, to Judaea, to Samaria and lastly to the uttermost part of the
earth (Acts 1:8). And hence, we see that the witness of God must spread throughout all
the earth till all have heard of Christ.

How then does the Holy Spirit function as the director of the witness for Christ?

Firstly, the Holy Spirit empowers one to witness for Christ. In Acts 1, the disciples were
asked to wait for the promise of the Holy Ghost which will come not many days hence
(Acts 1:4-5). We soon see in Acts 2 and 3 that the timid Apostles were soon emboldened
to firmly and lovingly declare the gospel during Pentecost. The Holy Spirit worked in the
hearts of the hearers and three thousand souls were added to the local church in Jerusalem
(Acts 2:41). All praise be unto the Lord.

Secondly, we see how the Holy Spirit maintains the purity and discipline of the witness.
When Ananias and Sapphira lied to the Holy Ghost, they were subsequently judged (Acts
5). Thus, we see that it is not a light thing to go against the Spirit as He directs. To against
the Holy Spirit is to go against God.

Thirdly, we see how the Holy Spirit appoints and equips men for the witness. When it
was determined that the Apostles needed help to address the grievances of the Grecian
widows, seven men that were full of the Holy Spirit were selected for the task (Acts 6:3-
4). As a result, the Word of God increased and the number of disciples multiplied in
Jerusalem (Acts 6:7). What lesson can we learn from this in the appointment of men to
the sacred task of God’s work?

Fourthly, we see how the Holy Spirit forbids and guides. This we see most vividly in Acts
16 when Paul received the Macedonian call. Paul had first determined to go to Asia and
then to Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them. However, he later received a vision
of a man calling him to go over to Macedonia to help them. Thus, Paul immediately left
for Macedonia to preach the gospel. The principle is never to go in any work in our flesh
or wisdom. However, once the Holy Spirit directs, we must go in the Lord’s strength and
plunge into the work.

To what extent must we follow the director of witness? For the Apostle Paul, it was even
unto death. When Agabus via the Holy Spirit declared that the Jews at Jerusalem will
bind Paul and hand him over to the Gentiles, the concerned brethren of Paul told him not
to go. His reply? “What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to
be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” (Acts
21:13) Thus, we see that one who understands deeply the doctrine of the Holy Spirit as
the director of our witness will be most willing to suffer to the faith.

God’s ways are always higher than our ways. When the Spirit directed Paul to Rome,
that gave him the opportunity to witness to the Jews over there. Alas, not all would listen
to the prompting of the spirit, which led Paul to say “Well spake the Holy Ghost by
Esaias the prophet unto our fathers, Saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye
shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive: For the
heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes
have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and
understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.” (Acts
28:25-27) The increase is of the Lord. A man will only be saved if the Spirit would work
effectually in his heart. That is the reality of ministry. Nevertheless, Paul continued to
preach to the Gentiles while under house arrest. This allowed the gospel work to progress
in Rome. All things indeed work to the glory of God.

Interestingly, the “Acts of the Apostles” ends abruptly at the end of a book, just like a
cliffhanger of a film. This is because the Acts of the Apostles did not end with the
ministry of Paul. It is still continuing in the local church witness today. Thus as God’s
people we must continue to walk in the Spirit if we are to be effective in the witness for

What lessons have you learnt concerning the Acts of the Holy Spirit?

Yours affectionately,
Pastor Clement Chew

Wait for the Father’s Promise – The Way to Spiritual Power
Rev (Dr) Timothy Tow
From Pattern of Church Growth and Missions

The promise is of God. Our duty is to wait patiently until He comes, like a child for his
father to come home when told to do so. “But they that wait upon the LORD shall
renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not
be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (Isaiah 40:3)

The corporate waiting is by united and earnest prayer (supplication). A prayer meeting at
which members are inwardly at odds with one another, is powerless. It is electricity short
circuited. When it is earnestly pursued with one accord, with one mind and heart, “it
availeth much” (James 5:16). “Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to
be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus; That ye may with one
mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans
15:5-6). Women play a vital role in prayer as seen in verse 14.

What is the baptism of the Holy Spirit (verse 5)? It is spiritual power from God (verse 8)
to enable us to witness both near (Jerusalem) and far (unto the uttermost part of the
earth). This is “the promise of the Father” (verse 4).

The consummation of our witness is the restoration of the kingdom again to Israel, when
Christ will return, standing on the Mount of Olives as He went up (Zechariah 14:4; Acts
1:11). Take note that as Israel is mentioned to be restored to its former glory (as in the
days of David and Solomon), and as Israel is now become a nation and a super-power in
the Middle East, are we not living in the very last days before Christ returns?
Nevertheless, no one can know the exact time of His Second Coming, not even the Son,
but the Father (Mark 13:32; Acts 1:7). Our duty is to “occupy till He comes” (Luke