THE LEADING, WORKING, AND SPEAKING
OF THE SPIRIT
Let us consider a number of verses in the book of Acts pertaining to the Spirit. At the beginning of Acts, the one hundred twenty did not form anything, start anything, initiate anything, or intend to do anything. Rather, they prayed again and again for ten days (Acts 1:14). Their prayer was absolutely in the Spirit. Then, to their surprise, the Spirit was poured out upon them, and they became a people wholly in the Spirit. From that time onward, whatever they did, whatever they said, and wherever they went was utterly a matter in the Spirit. On the day of Pentecost, when Peter stood up with the eleven and spoke, he did not speak without the Spirit. Rather, Peter was filled with the Spirit. When Peter spoke to the religious leaders in Acts 4, he was again filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 4:8).
Stephen was also a man filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 6:5). No one was able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spoke (Acts 6:10). Stephen was a person living, speaking, and ministering in the Spirit.
Philip preached the gospel in the Spirit. Philip did not determine to do this preaching or make a decision to do so. He was simply living and walking in the Spirit. Thus, when the Spirit told him to go to the Ethiopian in the chariot, Philip ran to him (Acts 8:29-30). After Philip had preached the gospel to the eunuch and had baptized him, he did not intend to go away. The Spirit, however, "caught away Philip" (Acts 8:39). Where Philip, an evangelist, was to go did not depend on his decision; instead, it depended upon the leading of the Spirit. The Spirit led Philip to preach the gospel to the eunuch, and it was the Spirit who caught Philip away after he had preached to him.
All of us, especially the young people, must be impressed that in the Spirit there is no such thing as a movement. The Spirit must take the lead, the Spirit must do the work, the Spirit must do the speaking, and the Spirit must even do our living. We, the people in the church, must be those absolutely saturated with the Spirit and absolutely one with the Spirit. If so, then whatever we say is the Spirit’s speaking, whatever we do is the Spirit’s doing, and whatever work we do is the Spirit’s working. In the book of Acts we do not see any kind of movement. Instead, we see the leading, working, and speaking of the Spirit.
In the whole book of Acts there was, strictly speaking, just one conference, and that took place in Acts chapter fifteen. This is very different from today’s Christianity where conferences are held one after another to decide what to do and where to send people. In Christianity the sending out of people depends upon decisions made at a conference. This is a movement. In the book of Acts, however, we do not see such conferences. In Acts the apostles did not gather together to discuss and to make decisions. They did not ask questions such as, "Where is the need? Where should we go? How many should we send?" Nothing took place according to manmade decisions; rather, everything was according to the living Spirit. The way Peter behaved and worked was not dependent upon Peter; it was due to the Holy Spirit. What Stephen and Philip did was not the result of a decision made at a conference. No, they were in the Spirit, and the Spirit took the lead in all things. It was the same with the Apostle Paul. In Acts 13 the prophets and teachers at Antioch did not call a conference and discuss matters. No, they prayed and fasted, and as they were praying, the Holy Spirit spoke to them, saying, "Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them" (Acts 13:2). Again, there was neither a discussion nor a decision, but the speaking of the Holy Spirit.
(The Spirit and the Body, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)