The God Who Acts
In Acts 2 God starts the Christian church: “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting" (Acts 2:1-2 KJV). God was continuing, acting in them and through them.
It is quite certain that we would not be considering this now were it not for the fact that God has continued to act. Men and women in their blindness and sin have done their very best to ruin the Christian church. If she were our creation, she would have disappeared long ago, like many another institution. People have misunderstood, they have gone wrong, they have preached error, and the church would have died. So why is there still a church?
There is only one answer: God comes in revival. God sends His Spirit again. Look at the Protestant Reformation. God, just as he sent his word to John the Baptist, sent it to Martin Luther; and when God sends his Word even to one man and gives him great power, he can awaken a great church with fifteen centuries of tradition behind it. Only one man—but it was enough. Martin Luther, called of God, given the message and filled with God’s Spirit, overthrew a church that had become quite pagan in its teaching.
God, the living, active God, sent the rushing, mighty wind. Why does he do it? It is for salvation. “It shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Acts 2:21 KJV). Everyone needs to be saved, however great, however illustrious. We are all sinners. We are all born in sin, “shapen in iniquity” (Ps. 51:5 KJV). “There is none righteous, no, not one” (Rom. 3:10 KJV). The wrath of God is on us all. “All flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away” (1 Pet. 1:24 KJV). The greatest lose their faculties. Final illness and decay come to each of us.
Everyone needs to be saved, however great, however illustrious.
Oh, there is no hope in humanity. The only hope is that God is, and that he is the God who comes down, the God who offers salvation. He sent his only Son into the world, even to the cross, to die, his body to be broken, his blood to be shed, so that “whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16 KJV).
All His Action
This is Christianity: It is the message that you need to be saved and that God has provided the means whereby you can be saved. It is all his action. It is a supernatural action, a miraculous action. I am not telling you to be good, for I know you cannot be. I am not telling you to read books of philosophy in order to arrive at a knowledge of God and learn how to live—I know it is all useless. My message is that God “hath visited and redeemed his people” (Luke 1:68 KJV).
It is no use anyone telling us to pull ourselves together—that is the one thing we cannot do. We are mastered by lust and passions and evil desires. We are victims; we need to be delivered. And thank God, he does deliver us. That is our message. It is a surprising one. Like the visitors to Jerusalem, people today ask, “What meaneth this?” (Acts 2:12 KJV). We cannot understand. It is powerful. It was a mighty rushing wind, and it is a transforming power. It changes people. It changed these disciples so that rather than being weak, frightened, alarmed, helpless, and useless, they became mighty men of God.
The Need of the Hour
Do you know this living God, this true God, this active God, this God who intervenes and comes? Have you ever met him in any shape or form, as Moses met him in the burning bush, as Jacob met him at Peniel, as Elijah met him on Mount Carmel? Have you ever felt the touch of God upon your soul? Are you aware that you have been dealt with, that God has entered into your life and has done something that you could not do? Do you know that you are what you are by the grace of God? Do you say, “I can’t explain it—all I know is that God has done something to me in Christ”?
If you can say that, you are a Christian. But if all you have is what you do and what you think, I am afraid you are not a Christian. God’s coming to you need not be the rushing, mighty wind, but it is always the power of God. It is always the hand of God. It always brings the knowledge that God has had pity upon you and has come down in the person of his Son to enter into your life, to save you and set you free.
Oh, that men and women might know the living God and his power unto salvation in Jesus Christ our Lord!
This article is adapted from Acts: Chapters 1-8 by Martyn Lloyd-Jones.