II. THE TRIUNE GOD IN ACTS
The Gospels record the ministry of the incarnated Jesus on the earth. Acts then records the work of the resurrected and ascended Christ in the heavens. This work is carried out on earth through the believers who have Christ living in them. This is possible because the Lord has become the life-giving Spirit. In the form of the Spirit He can get into them. All that the Lord Jesus accomplished is dispensed into and applied to the disciples that they may spread Christ and establish churches all over the earth. At the same time, Acts shows us two practices by which we can participate in and enjoy the Triune God: calling on the name of the Lord and baptism.
A. Calling on the Name of the Lord
Although calling on the Lord is mentioned often in the Old Testament, it is first mentioned in the New Testament in Acts 2:21 as Peter was preaching the gospel. The early Christians in Acts were known by others because they called on the Lord’s name (Acts 9:14, 21). Immediately after Saul of Tarsus (who became Paul) was caught by the Lord, Ananias charged him to be baptized, calling on the name of the Lord (Acts 22:16).
Calling on His name is the way for us to enjoy all that the Triune God is, such as love and light, all He has accomplished, such as the forgiveness of sins, and all He has attained, such as His ascension. And we know that His name today is "Lord Jesus." The Triune God who was processed in the Gospels can now be richly and joyfully enjoyed by us when we exercise our spirit and call, "Lord Jesus!"
B. Baptized into the Lord
In Matthew 28:19 the Lord charged the disciples to baptize the believers into the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. But later, in Acts, they baptized the believers into the name of the Lord Jesus (Acts 8:16; 19:5). Did they make a mistake? Certainly not. Here is proof again of what we have said before: the Lord Jesus is the embodiment of the Triune God. He is the Triune God. So, to be baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus is the same as being baptized into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. When you were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus you were put into the Person of the Lord, the Triune God. You are no longer in yourself or in the world but in God!
Saul hated the church and persecuted the believers until he was saved by the Lord. When he was baptized, all of his past was buried and he was put into Christ. By his calling he enjoyed the washing away of his sins. By calling he received the very Person into whom he had been baptized.
You may not feel that you are as bad as Saul who threw the believers into prison. But perhaps you always seem to get into arguments with your family members. Actually, to the Lord, this is also sinful. Suppose you just had a disagreement with your mother. One hour later you are still upset and bothered. You cannot understand why she does not see things your way. The more you think about it the more your insides boil. At such a time you are fully in yourself. You "know" you are right, yet you feel miserable so you begin to call on the Lord softly. The more you call, the more the "steam" inside cools off. Soon you realize that you have dishonored your mother; you feel shameful. So you pray, "Lord, I was wrong, forgive me." You even apologize to your mother. You then feel so released and the Lord (and your mother) seem so dear to you.
This is an experience of your calling on the Lord and of your baptism. In such a situation could you, by yourself, admit you were wrong and apologize? Probably not. Your calling brought more of the Triune God as the Spirit into you. He came as light, forgiveness, and love. As you called on Him, the Lord shined on your sinfulness. But He also came as forgiveness and love. Praise the Lord! You were brought out of your self and your feelings and were put into the Triune God. We need to remember this all the time—to call upon the name of the Lord and to realize that we are no longer in the world, our self, and our sins. We have been baptized into the Lord Jesus, and we are those who call on the dear name of our Lord.
- Explain how Luke 15 reveals the love of the Triune God toward man.
- What do Matthew 28:19, Acts 8:6, and Acts 19:5 show us regarding the Triune God?
Quoted Portions from (Lee/LSM) Publications
- Concerning the Triune God, the Father, the Son, and the Spirit, pp. 14-15.
- Life-study of Matthew, pp. 829-830.
- Life Messages, pp. 255-256.
- The Vision of God’s Building, pp. 200-201.
- Life-study of Genesis, pp. 334-335, 344.
- Stream Magazine Book Two, pp. 1399-1400.
- The Mending Ministry of John, pp. 30-35.
(Lesson Book, Level 2: The Triune God—The Triune God and the Person and Work of Christ, Chapter 8, by Witness Lee)