Finishing up Acts 11 this morning as part of my reading plan. As is my habit, as I’m reading I’m coloring. It’s my way of slowing down and observing what’s in the text–underlining or shading parts of the text with different colored pencils. So with red I underline references to the proclaiming and the power of the gospel as I read of the scattered disciples “speaking the word”, and “preaching the Lord Jesus”, and of “a great number who believed and turned to the Lord.”
But I also noticed that between the preaching and the believing there’s an unseen dynamic at play.
But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who on coming to Antioch spoke to the Hellenists also, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord.
(Acts 11:20-21 ESV)
Between preaching the Lord and turning to the Lord there is “the hand of the Lord.”
And almost without thinking I reach for my “sky blue” pencil crayon (that’s Canadian for colored pencil) and underline “the hand of the Lord.” My observation? This is the active agency of the Holy Spirit at work. Though His name is not mentioned explicitly, you know the power to save is through Him.
And isn’t that often how the Holy Spirit operates? Incognito? Not drawing a lot of attention to Himself but to the member of the Trinity He has purposed to glorify, the Son? Not seeking to make a name for Himself but delighting to accomplish the Father’s will as He illuminates the Father’s word to men and women? Not concerned about making Himself known as the member of the Trinity who makes dead things alive, instead only concerned with providing the power?
Faithful preaching results in authentic conversion only as the Spirit makes alive souls to the truth of the gospel.
. . . He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to His own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior
(Titus 3:5-6 ESV)
If Jesus is the arm of God (Isa. 53:1), then the Spirit is the hand of the Lord. Through Him the fingertips of God touch this earth.
Through Him the Father raised the Son from the dead. By Him souls are not only saved, but men and women are transformed as the Spirit works to conform their nature to that of Jesus’ nature.
Almost imperceptibly, He reveals the deep things of God as He illuminates the Word of God. What’s more, He will bring to mind the truths of God when we need to draw on them.
The hand of the Lord is upon us as the Spirit dwells within us. The power of God is at work in us because the Spirit has sealed us.
Though He seeks no recognition, thanks be to God for the gift of the Holy Spirit.
By our Triune God’s grace. For our Triune God’s glory.