As those who live in Acts chapter 29 (the continuation of the book of Acts), we need to realize that we have been commissioned by the Lord to be His witnesses and ministers, those who open people’s eyes, turn them from darkness to light and from the authority of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Christ (see Acts 26:18).
We today live in the continuation of the book of Acts, and we are the continuation of Christ to be perfected as the God-men living in the reality of the Body of Christ. We have a vivid pattern in what it means to live the life of a God-man in the life of the apostle Paul; he lived Christ for His magnification as His continuation.
We are disciples of Christ, those who see Christ, hear Christ, and learn Christ as the reality is in Jesus (Eph. 4:20-21). We are chosen vessels of Christ to contain Him, be filled with Him, and overflow with Him for His fulness.
We need to be men of prayer, and we need to depend on the Body, doing everything in the Body, through the Body, and for the Body. We need to practice calling on the name of the Lord and living by the all-inclusive Spirit so that we may build up the Body of Christ.
We need to live in our mingled spirit, and we need to be filled with the Spirit of joy for our existence and the Spirit of power for our function. We need to always exercise ourselves to have a good and pure conscience, and we need to live a life of always rejoicing in the Lord and thanking Him.
We today are Christ’s disciples, those who are allied with God and assisted by God to speak boldly the gospel and spread the testimony of Jesus on earth.
We need to learn to cherish the saints in the humanity of Jesus and nourish them in the divinity of Christ, and we need to live Christ, magnify Christ, do all things in Christ, and pursue Christ in order to be found in Christ.
As those learning to live in this way, we have been commissioned by the Lord with a work which we must do for the increase and building up of the Body of Christ.
Praying over, Experiencing, and Carrying out our Divine Commission (Acts 26:18)
Acts 26:18 reveals the work that we as believers in Christ must do today for the increase and building up of the Body of Christ. Just like Paul, we were called by God as He appeared to us to appoint us as a minister and a witness both of the things in which we have seen Him and of the things in which He will appear to us (Acts 26:16).
We need to have the Lord’s fresh, personal, and intimate appearing, and we need to testify and witness of the things in which He has appeared to us. We shouldn’t preach the low traditional gospel in Christianity to others; rather, we need to have the Lord’s appearing and speak the high things of the complete, perfect, and whole gospel as seen in Acts 26:18.
In this verse we see the seven main elements of the complete gospel: (1) to open people’s eyes, (2) to turn them from darkness to light, (3) to turn them from the authority of Satan to God, (4) to help them receive forgiveness of sins, (5) to help them to be sanctified by faith, (6) that they may have a common portion among the saints, and (7) be in the church life.
We need to pray over these matters, experience them, speak them, and bring others into their experience and reality for the testimony of Jesus, so that we may carry out our divine commission.
1. “To open their eyes.” We are commissioned to open people’s eyes; for this we need to pray, Lord Jesus, open my eyes! Reveal Your Son in me! Cause me to see Christ in a way I have never seen Him before! I don’t want more knowledge but a vision of Yourself!
It pleases God to reveal His Son in us (Gal. 1:15-16); for this to happen, we need to drop our concepts, turn our heart to the Lord, pay attention to our spirit and care for our spirit, and pray-read the word of God. Then the Lord will open our eyes and we will see Christ as the centrality and universality of God’s economy in a way that we have never seen Him before.
We need to ask the Lord to open our eyes so that we may see wondrous things in His word (Psa. 119:118).
2. “To turn them from darkness to light.” Before we can turn others from darkness to light, we need to be fully in the light. We need to ask the Lord, Lord, turn me from darkness to light! I don’t have to have any dark part in my being! May my whole being be full of light. Cause my heart to be single and pure for You!
In Luke 11:34-36 the Lord speaks of our need to be full of light and have no dark part in our being by having a single and pure heart for Him. Light is just the presence of God (Isa. 2:6); we need to be fully in the light, and then we will also bring others in God’s light, causing them to turn from darkness to light.
3. “To turn them from the authority of Satan to God.” The result of preaching the gospel is that people are transferred out of Satan’s kingdom of darkness into God’s kingdom of light. For this to happen, we need to first come to the Lord and ask Him, Lord, I don’t want to be under the authority of Satan in any thing, any way, and any aspect in my life. I want to be fully under Your authority. Turn me, Lord, from the authority of Satan to God that I may live in the kingdom of God today!
We may even have to fast and pray in this way so that the Lord would fully deliver us from the authority of Satan and we would be under God’s authority; when we pray in this way, we become a different person, having God’s authority.
4. “That they may receive forgiveness of sins.” When we have experienced the forgiveness of our sins, we will bring others to experience the same. We need to pray, Lord, grant me a full and thorough forgiveness of all my sins. I want to have a clearance of sins from the top to the bottom. I would leave nothing that has not been dealt with!
Then when we will speak to others to carry out our divine commission, they will receive forgiveness of sins from the Lord, and they will hate sin and be free from sin by the power of the divine life in them.
5. “That they may receive an inheritance…” The result of being transferred out of darkness into light is that we receive an inheritance among those sanctified by faith in Christ. Our inheritance is the Triune God with all that He has, has done, and will do for His redeemed people.
We need to enjoy the Lord as the Spirit, the pledge of our inheritance, and pray, Lord, cause us to enjoy You as our inheritance today! We want to enjoy the Triune God in Christ as the Spirit as the God-given portion to the saints, and we want to bring others into this enjoyment! Lord, grant us a foretaste today, and bring us into the full taste in the next age!
6. “Among those…” Among those refers to the church life, the Body life. Where can we enjoy the inheritance? In the church life. We need to pray, Lord, immerse us in the church life. We want to live our daily life in the Body life, with the saints, enjoying Christ as our inheritance. Lord, bring us in the middle of the church life, and bring the ones we speak to in the full enjoyment of Christ among those who have been sanctified by faith in You!
When we speak to others concerning Christ, they will be brought into the church life to enjoy this wonderful Christ with and among those in the Body life.
7. “Who have been sanctified by faith in me”. The best way to be sanctified by faith in Christ is by being in the sanctifying word. Christ sanctifies the church, cleansing her by the washing of the water in the word (Eph. 5:26).
We need to pray, Lord, sanctify me in Your word! Remove any oldness, spots, wrinkles or any such things by the washing of the water in the word! Lord, how we need to be sanctified by being saturated with Your holy element and nature! We want to be in the sanctifying word of God, and we want to speak this word to others so that they would be sanctified by faith in Christ.
If we pray over the divine commission, experience this divine commission, and carry out our divine commission as seen in Acts 26:18, we will fulfill God’s jubilee, the acceptable year of the Lord, proclaimed by the Lord Jesus in Luke 4:18-21 according to God’s New Testament economy.
We need to pray over the contents of our divine commission and ask the Lord to make them our experience and reality so that we can bring others into this experience and reality, like Paul did (Eph. 3:8-9).
Thank You Lord for entrusting us with the divine commission of opening people’s eyes, turning them from darkness to light and from the authority of Satan to God that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Christ. Lord, keep us in an attitude of prayer and opening to You concerning our commission. Make this commission our experience and reality so that we may bring others into this experience and reality!
References and Hymns on this Topic
- Inspiration: the Word of God, my enjoyment in the ministry, the message by brother Ed Marks for this week, and portions from Young People’s Training, ch. 1 (by Witness Lee), as quoted in the Holy Word for Morning Revival on, The Increase of Christ for the Building up of the Church (2016 Memorial day Weekend Conference), week 1 / msg. 1, The Increase of Christ in the Continuation of the Book of Acts.
- All Bible verses are taken from, Holy Bible Recovery Version.
- Hymns on this topic:
# Who can be entrusted, God’s gospel spread, / Willing to respond, be commissioned, sent? / His love’s constraining me, ’tis I no more, / This day my response bursts forth: Send me, Lord! (Song on preaching the gospel)
# Now my eyes begin to see / I’m living as I ought to be, / As this turning, burning God / moves in my heart… / I don’t care now how I feel; / I just know that this is real, / And I know, oh Jesus, You’re alive! (Song on seeing Christ)
# Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise; / Thou mine inheritance, now and always; / Thou and Thou only, first in my heart; / O King of glory, my treasure Thou art. (Song on God our inheritance)
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