LIVING IN THE ACTS BY DENYING OURSELVES AND LIVING BY THE TRIUNE GOD
The book of Acts is a record of a group of people who are resurrected and ascended with Christ, having Christ within them as their life and Christ upon them as their power and authority. They live not by themselves but by Christ as life. They forget about their own life and deny themselves. Moreover, they walk, act, and work not by their own strength, their own way, or their own method but by Christ as their power, their way, and their method. This Christ who is now their method, way, and power is the very Holy Spirit who came down upon them. In other words, they live by the Triune God within them as their life, and they act by the Triune God upon them as their strength, their way, and their method. This is the contents of the book of Acts.
If we believe that the resurrection and ascension have been accomplished and applied to us, if we say amen to this and take it by faith, then we must also deny our self all the day long. We must not live by our self but by the Triune God, and we must also forsake all our methods, ways, knowledge, understanding, doctrine, and teachings. We have to abandon all of these things just as those Galilean disciples eventually did. The disciples picked up a great deal of knowledge from Judaism. Peter is a prime example of this. Because Peter was very much influenced by the teachings of Judaism, God was forced to give him a vision from the heavens (Acts 10:9-16). There should have been no need for Peter to have that vision; it was only because he was deeply influenced by the teaching of Judaism.
This is a strong proof that if we want to live in the Acts, we have to drop all the old doctrines. Many of us are still under the wrong influence of the traditional teachings of Christianity. In the record of Acts, the disciples did not act or work according to the teaching of Judaism or according to the Old Testament. All that they did and worked was according to the living guidance of the Triune God who came down after His enthronement to dwell upon them. This group of people lived not by themselves but by Christ within them as their life, and they also walked, worked, and acted not by the old ways, knowledge, or teachings but by the living guidance of the Triune God.
Hence, whenever we live by ourselves we are not in the Acts. Similarly, whenever we work, act, and walk not according to the living guidance of the Triune God but according to regulations, rules, knowledge, and doctrines, we are not a part of the history of the Acts. Instead, we are a part of the history of Christianity. In principle, the Acts is a record only of that group of people who are resurrected and ascended with Christ, having Christ within them as their life and Christ upon them as their power. Moreover, they live not by themselves but by this Christ within, and they act not according to knowledge, doctrine, teaching, rules, regulations, forms, and traditions but according to the living Christ upon them. This is the meaning of the book of Acts. If we take this point of view and go back to read this book again, we will gain the proper insight into it.
PREACHING THE GOSPEL WITH THE HEAVENLY AUTHORITY
In the Holy Spirit within us we have the reality of resurrection, and with the Holy Spirit upon us we have the reality of ascension. Therefore, within us we have life, and upon us we have authority and power. However, the situation in Christianity today is poor and even pitiful, especially in the preaching of the gospel. Many today use worldly means for the gospel, such as advertising and fund-raising. They do not preach the gospel by the heavenly authority. On the day of Pentecost the disciples preached the gospel not by begging but by the heavenly authorization. In Matthew 28:18-19 Jesus had said, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and disciple all the nations.” We must go with Christ’s authority to preach the gospel. When we go in the name of Jesus to preach the gospel, we have the authority. We should not go as beggars to the worldly people. We must be as ambassadors from heaven to deal with this world. This is the proper way to preach the gospel.
We have Christ’s authority as our backing. As His enthronement is ours, we are those coming from the heavens to announce something of our King to His subjects. We speak with authority. This is the right way to preach the gospel. Not only in preaching the gospel, but in any kind of ministering we must stand in the position of Christ’s authority. If we look into the Acts thoroughly, we will see a clear picture that all of those sent ones went out with the heavenly power and authority. They had Christ within as their life and Christ without as their authority. Christ became their uniform. Christ is not only our drink but our clothing, our uniform, as well. He is our life and He is our power.
(General Sketch of the New Testament in the Light of Christ and the Church, A - Part 1: The Gospels and the Acts, Chapter 8, by Witness Lee)