Beloved, what caused the early first century family of the Lord’s disciples to be so determined and so focused, and so persistent in the Invasion of this demon-possessed world that God had entrusted to their charge? How were they able to withstand the hatred and bitter opposition of the majority of the Jewish people? And how were they able to endure, and thrive, and remain so persistent and unbelievably effective in spreading the Word of God… in the midst of the overpowering, ever-present, military might and brutal controlling force of the mighty Roman Empire, with all of its paganism and wickedness, that had such a stranglehold on the throat of Israel at that time?

And how in Heaven’s name, could they have managed to outlast the Roman Empire… and every other empire that ever dared to try to stamp them out? And how did they manage, without any modern transportation or high tech gadgetry, to spread the Gospel of Salvation so far and so deep and so wide?

I wrote the first volume, Theophilus, about all that Yeshua began to do and teach—up to the day He was taken up, after He had given orders by the Ruach ha Kodesh to the emissaries He had chosen. To them He showed Himself to be alive after His suffering through many convincing proofs, appearing to them for forty days and speaking about the Kingdom of God.

Now while staying with them, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father promised—which, He said, “you heard from Me. For John immersed with water, but you will be immersed in the Ruach ha Kodesh not many days from now.”

So when they gathered together, they asked Him, “Lord, are You restoring the Kingdom to Israel at this time?”

“He said to them, It is not your place to know the times or seasons which the Father has placed under His own control. But you will receive POWER when the Ruach ha Kodesh has come upon you; and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and through all Judah, and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:1-8 TLV, Emphasis added)

Notice that the Lord promised His original emissaries, and all those who would be their true successors throughout the rest of human history, that they would receive POWER… when the Holy Spirit would come upon them. And that POWER would equip and energize them to serve as the witnesses… who could embody and demonstrate the Reality of the Presence of their RESURRECTED LORD!

In other words, they would be equipped and commissioned to proclaim and prove that He really and truly had risen from the dead! His Presence that was working such wonders was the proof! And that is the form that their testimonies and proclamations took. So they were not saying:

“Yes we’re here to tell you that the Lord Yeshua actually rose from the dead two thousand years ago, and this is what we believe.”

Making that statement was not all that comprised their testimony. They were not commissioned to serve as lecturers, tour guides, or history teachers. No, there was much more to it than that! Do you remember that He told His disciples that they would receive POWER when the Holy Spirit had come upon them? Power for what? Power to do what? That is the question. And I believe that the answer to that question will answer the question of what true disciples are always focused on doing… and what their habitual focus of attention will always tend to be.

“Now after these things, the Lord assigned seventy others and sent them out by twos before Him into every town and place WHERE HE HIMSELF WAS ABOUT TO GO. And He was telling them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore, beg the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.

“Go forth! Look, I am sending you as lambs in the midst of wolves.” (Luke 10:1-3)

So could it be that when the Lord promised His disciples that they would receive POWER, He was telling them that the Holy Spirit was going to come to empower them to introduce and reveal His Presence to whatever place, or situation, or set of circumstances into which He would choose to send them in the future? Could it be that the POWER YOU WILL RECEIVE IS THE ABILITY TO EMBODY MY ABIDING PRESENCE AS I LIVE WITHIN YOU? Well, apparently from the context that is so obvious in the first five chapters of the book of Acts, that seems to be exactly what was actually happening! So is this what the prophet Isaiah was foretelling with this awesome word picture:

“Comfort, comfort My people,” says your God. Speak kindly to the heart of Jerusalem and proclaim to her that her warfare has ended, that her iniquity has been removed. For she has received from Adonai’s hand double for all her sins.

“A voice cries out in the wilderness, “Prepare the way of Adonai, make straight in the desert  a highway for our God. Every valley will be lifted up, every mountain and hill made low, the rough ground will be a plain and the rugged terrain smooth. The glory of Adonai will be revealed, and all flesh will see it together.”

“For the mouth of Adonai has spoken. A voice is saying, “Cry out!” So I said, “What shall I cry out?” “All flesh is grass, and all its loveliness is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades. For the breath of Adonai blows on it.

Surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades. But THE WORD OF OUR GOD STANDS FOREVER! (Isaiah 40:1-8, Emphasis added)

So in Part 1 we considered a body of disciples that were living in Jerusalem shortly after the awesome New Covenant Gift of the Holy Spirit had been imparted to them. It was the congregation of which Ananias and Saphira were a part. And we said that at the time when Peter had to confront the demonic deception these two tried to inject into the Body of the Lord, they were all living in relative peace and quiet. They were enjoying the ‘Afterglow’ of that awesome Feast of Weeks  or ‘Pentecost’ that took place in Acts 2, when the disciples of the Lord were finally able to be immersed in the Holy Spirit and receive that POWER from on high that the Lord had promised they would be given.

Be Prepared – The Cost of Discipleship May Turn Your World Upside Down

And then we see that a short time after this took place, the entire world was turned upside down for every one of these disciples. One of their own, a young man named Stephen, who had received salvation when he believed in the Lord Yeshua and was filled with the Holy Spirit, was obviously growing in the Wisdom and Grace and Love of God. And the Lord selected him to give a supernatural testimony to the highly hostile and suspicious inner core of the Judean spiritual elite, the Sanhedrin. Because this group was highly suspicious of, and vigorously opposed to, the idea that Yeshua of Nazareth could be the Messiah of Israel, they had recently cooperated in his execution.

So the mention of His Resurrection would surely be an unbearable thing to bring up in their presence… unless His Presence was actually in them… and they were empowered to prove and demonstrate the Truth of it to the rest of the world!

And so Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, was empowered to testify to them on behalf of His resurrected Master… of whose very PRESENCE he was so acutely and gloriously aware. And he spoke the words that His Master intended for his hyper-religious enemies to hear, through Stephen’s yielded flesh. And that is when the enormous Reality Shift for the Jerusalem disciples took place.

As soon as Stephen was finishing proclaiming what His indwelling Lord was prompting him to say, his words cut the listeners to the quick. And this set off a violent and destructive explosion that initiated the move of God that continues to this day. Even now, it continually transforms this world by bringing people who are dead in their trespasses and sins, and brings them to Life in Messiah Yeshua.

That is a glorious outcome, even though the onset of the process appeared to be a demon-induced catastrophe instead of appearing to be initiated by the hand of God.

“O, you stiff-necked people! You uncircumcised of heart and ears! You always resist the Ruach ha Kodesh; just as your fathers did, you do as well. Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? They killed the ones who foretold the coming of the Righteous One. Now you have become His betrayers and murderers—you who received the Torah by direction of angels and did not keep it!”

When they heard these things, they became enraged and began gnashing their teeth at him. But Stephen, full of the Ruach ha Kodesh, gazed into Heaven and saw the Glory of God—and Yeshua standing at the right hand of God. And he said, “Look, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!”

“But they covered their ears; and crying out with a loud voice, they rushed at him with one impulse. Driving him out of the city, they began stoning him, and the witnesses laid down their cloaks at the feet of a young man named Saul. They went on stoning Stephen as he was calling out, “Lord Yeshua, receive my spirit!” Then he fell on his knees and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” After he said this, he died.” (Acts 7:51-60)

That was the spark that killed Stephen and set off the explosion that, according to the Lord’s strategic plan, was the force that was needed to set the forces in motion that would compel the disciples to run for their lives. They suddenly had to uproot themselves from their time honored comfort zones and homes, familiar haunts and long cherished routines. No longer was it possible for them to indulge in their ‘business as usual’ daily routines and ‘normal’ activities. Obviously, had it been left up to those disciples, they would never have decided to stop following their normal daily routines, and suddenly uproot themselves, so they could initiate a highly-ambitious evangelistic campaign that would enable them to fulfill the promise the Lord had recently made to the apostles:

“But you will receive POWER when the Ruach ha Kodesh has come upon you; and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and through all Judah, and Samaria, and to the end of the earth! (Acts 1:8)

For one thing, most of them had made their homes in Jerusalem. And travel was very difficult in those days, to say the least. And for most of them, the thought of venturing into hostile regions like Samaria would have been far beyond the normal expected limits of possibility. Samaria was home to a people Jews considered to be half-breed renegade Jews who had long-ago forsaken the temple worship they revered so highly. But the time had come for God to fulfill what His Word had revealed and promised, and put His strategic New Covenant Plan for spreading the news about His Son’s Resurrection and bringing salvation to the ends of the earth, into effect. And so the book of Acts tells us:

Now Saul was in agreement with Stephen’s execution. On that day a great persecution arose against Messiah’s community in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the region of Judea and Samaria, except the emissaries. Some devout men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him.

But Saul was destroying Messiah’s community, entering house after house; and dragging off men and women, he was throwing them into prison. (Acts 8:1-3, Emphasis added)

Now if something like this were to happen to modern day believers… and their normal way of life and habitual set of routines were suddenly totally trashed in the course of one day… and they would all have to scatter and run for their lives… what do you think their assessment of such a ‘catastrophe’ would be? How would they react? What would they say as they discussed what was happening with each other?

How would YOU react? And what would YOU think and say about it? What would be the first things that would flood into your mind concerning how you should react and what you should do? Would such an event cause you to ‘come apart at the seams?’ Would you throw your arms up into the air and cry out to God, and begin to obsess over what you must do to survive and what you must do to find food, shelter and some way of saving yourself from the rabid persecutors that were working to wipe you out?

Think about it dear ones. This is not a far-fetched idea. Something like this could very well be about to happen to us in the near future! So, how are you equipped to react? DO YOU HAVE POWER FROM ON HIGH? Or will you rather strive to ‘blend into the scenery’ in order to escape the notice of those who were trying to get your ‘scent’ and hunt you down? And so, I ask you to take notice of this:

“Now those who had been scattered WENT ABOUT PROCLAIMING THE WORD! Philip went down to the main city of Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah to them! The crowds were paying close attention to what Philip was saying—AS THEY BOTH HEARD AND SAW THE SIGNS THAT HE WAS DOING. FOR UNCLEAN SPIRITS WERE COMING OUT OF MANY WHO WERE PLAGUED, SHRIEKING WITH A LOUD VOICE. MANY PARALYZED AND CRIPPLED WERE HEALED ALSO. SO THERE WAS GREAT JOY IN THAT CITY! (Acts 8:4-8 TLV, Emphasis added)

Making the Most Out Of The Most Challenging Situations – In And Through Christ!

Whoa… who would have expected that kind of a reaction from those persecuted disciples that were in the process of scattering and fleeing for their lives? Is that a normal, natural kind of reaction to come up with during such a hostile and deadly dangerous turn of events? Wouldn’t you expect people like that to go into hiding? Wouldn’t it be natural for them to travel ‘incognito’ and do everything possible to avoid attracting any attention to themselves so that they would have the best chance possible of avoiding detection and escaping the danger they were in? Yes, of course that’s what most of us would expect. And if we’re honest, we would assume that no one in their right mind would think of doing what Luke said these disciples began to do wherever they happened to end up.

But that is exactly what the written Word of God is revealing to us… ABOUT THE POWER FROM ON HIGH… that we modern believers all claim to have received. So, beloved, what’s wrong with this picture in terms of how so many of us currently are, compared to the way the disciples were back then? Something is obviously amiss, wouldn’t you say? The kind of disciples that Scripture is describing in Acts… where are they to be found today? Do you know any disciples like that? Would you consider yourself to be one of them?

And if you would not admit to being on fire to proclaim and demonstrate the Living Dynamic Reality of your risen Lord… and be ready to PROVE to anyone who might be around you that He’s REAL, and ACTUALLY PRESENT, and TRULY RISEN FROM THE DEAD, and READY TO REACH OUT AND TOUCH ANYONE IN THE VICINITY THAT IS TRULY IN NEED OF HIM… why not? Why are you not able to step up to the plate and give a ‘Philip level of testimony’ to the people around you who would naturally be immediately suspicious and wary of a stranger like you coming into their midst?

Is it because we’re missing something? Is it because we’re not actually fully equipped with the same Ability and Firepower and Resurrection Reality with which those first century disciples were equipped? Or, rather, is it because we don’t actually believe that we already have everything we will ever need? Or is it because we’ve not yet been able to learn how to access what is already in our God-filled spirits… so that it can begin to flow out of our souls and bodies? The original disciples had been taught and trained by the apostles… who had been taught, trained and discipled by the Lord Yeshua Himself!

So what did the apostles teach these disciples who were under their care? Did they just talk ABOUT Yeshua? Did they settle for having Bible studies from the Tanach and holding regular worship services in Yeshua’s honor? OR… was there much more? Weren’t they actually showing these disciples how to live and abide with, and interact with, the risen Lord Himself… by showing them how to respond to His leading? And weren’t they modeling how to believe and act upon what the Holy Spirit is here to transmit that pertains to Yeshua. into us, so that we can be equipped to:

… prove that He’s really here with us, and

…reveal His Glory to the world

…through the obedience of our faith?

The disciples that Luke was writing about in Acts were part of a very different breed of people. There is a vast, mind-blowing difference between people who have been immersed in the Holy Spirit of God, and those who have not received that awesome Gift. And so those comparatively few first century disciples were very different from their contemporaries. And I’m sure you would agree that they were also very different from the great majority of believers who are so common among us today in the comfortable, affluent, materialistic West.

Nevertheless, regardless of where we may be located, or what kind of culture and customs we may have inherited or adopted for ourselves, the Truth remains: We have all entered the Era of the Last Days. And we are actually equipped with everything they had been given! This reality is not mere theory, nor is it optional. It is universally valid and true for all of us. And the awesome ‘seeds’ that were sown into the world by God, through His first century apostles and disciples will be the awesome, mature ‘Harvest’ that Scripture speaks about which will finally emerge during the Last Days!

A vast difference currently exists between the disciples we see in Acts, and the current levels of devotion, zeal and concern for what is in God’s heart that can be seen in most modern day ‘believers.’ This should tell us a lot about how much more intense discipline and training we can expect the Holy Spirit to be about to subject us to… as we undergo our own personalized Last Days preparations for spiritual combat in the days ahead. Beloved, please be aware of this fact:

The Harvest of those awesome seeds that were planted in the days chronicled by the book of Genesis, and leading up to Acts, is the mind-blowing HARVEST that our generation is going to actually see, and begin to reap, during this era that pertains to the Last Days described in the book of Revelation! And that overwhelming mass of new believers that God is going to have His people reap and lead into His Covenant Family is all around us! Yes, they are waiting for us to be set on fire by the Spirit of God, so that we can get into action and, attract their attention, and do our assigned jobs in the midst of those who are destined to join our ranks in the days that are just ahead of us!

“Now after these things, the Lord assigned seventy others and sent them out by twos before Him into every town and place where He Himself was about to go. And He was telling them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore, beg the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest. “Go forth! Look, I am sending you as lambs in the midst of wolves.” (Luke 10:1-3)

Beloved, it’s true that we are the Lord’s ‘lambs’ – the ones who, in these Last Days, are scattered (deployed and assigned to man our posts) among what can only be described as demon-manipulated ‘wolves!’ HOWEVER… even though our adversaries are filled with demonic spirits and are entrapped and inhabited and driven by the demonic hatred of the Serpent and his co-manipulators, we, on the other hand, are equipped to bring and manifest the indwelling Presence of THE ETERNALLY TRIUMPHANT LION OF JUDAH as He abides within our poor, weak, ‘lamb’ flesh!

In His great Faithfulness, our Lord and Master will have us ready when the time comes for us to move into action. Just as He had those dear first century disciples ready to do their jobs when the persecution following Stephen’s death was suddenly foisted upon them, so too will our Perfect and Ever-Faithful Lord have us ready… as long as we continue to say ‘Yes’ to whatever He knows He has to do to train and prepare us for that day. And if we keep believing and saying ‘Yes’ to Him, regardless of the conditions into which He’ll be leading us, we too will be able to say this with Paul and all of his contemporary saints:

“But we have this Treasure in jars of clay, so that the surpassing Greatness of the POWER may be from God and not from ourselves. We are hard pressed in every way, yet not crushed; perplexed, yet not in despair; persecuted, yet not forsaken; struck down, yet not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Yeshua, so that the life of Yeshua may also be revealed in our mortal body. For we who live are always being handed over to death for Yeshua’s sake, SO THAT THE LIFE OF YESHUA MAY BE REVEALED IN OUR MORTAL BODY!” (2 Corinthians 4:7-11)

So, we never look like much on the outside when we’re compared to the great and mighty elites who shine so brightly and are so well-placed and endowed according to the standards of this fallen world. But there is much more to us than meets the naked human eye, as the emperors of the Roman Empire, and the wicked leaders of the other nations and forces that kept trying to stamp out the Lord’s people eventually found out! For the Power from on high that we have all received from our Heavenly Father equips and authorizes us to be…


And God Bringers are very, very different from God Seekers, are they not? It’s the difference between those who KNOW their God, and Who He Is within them, and who live out from that REALITY… compared to those who don’t yet see or live out from that enduring Reality.