The Book of Acts recounts for us that believers were ﬁrst called “Christians” in Antioch (Acts 11:26). A survey through Acts has revealed that this book is more of the actions of the Holy Spirit than that of the Apostles. All the activities of the Apostles were packaged and executed by the Holy Spirit; a comprehensive study of this book will help us know more about the role of the Holy Spirit in the early Church.
The Holy Ghost gave birth to the Church on the day of Pentecost in the upper room where the disciples were waiting as instructed by Jesus. About 120 of the disciples who were waiting were ﬁlled with the Holy Ghost. They were enabled to carry out the Gospel work for which they were called: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
The early Church started their operations under the leadership and power of the Holy Spirit.
Understanding the role of the Holy Spirit in the Church will help Christians understand who the Holy Spirit is, His works and His place in the Church. The disciples experienced a supernatural encounter that released the unction to carry out the mandate which Jesus gave to the Church. The power gave them the boldness to preach Christ. Peter who denied Jesus and was afraid to identify with Him, came out boldly and declared Christ to those who cruciﬁed Him and about 3,000 of them surrendered to the saving power of Christ (Acts 2:41).
From the day of the inauguration of the Church, nothing was done without the power of the Holy Spirit. The chief mandate of the Church is to spread the Gospel to areas where Christ has not been named, starting in Jerusalem and ending at the uttermost parts of the earth. The Holy Spirit came to empower the disciples to carry out this assignment. Sadly, this central purpose of the Church is oftentimes forgotten and abandoned in favor of secondary matters.
Nothing was done without the approval of the Holy Spirit. When the Church in Jerusalem wanted to write a letter to the church in Antioch, they recognized the Holy Spirit as the invisible overseer of the church: “It pleased the Holy Spirit and us to ask you to do nothing more than these things that have to be done” (Acts 15:28).
The presence of the Holy Spirit was a prerequisite for the selection of workers: “Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them” (Acts 6:3). In many churches today, appointments are done without recourse to the fullness of the Holy Spirit. Workers are now appointed based on their relationship with Church leaders. There is favoritism, racial discrimination, tribalism, and nepotism while selecting church workers.
Without the Holy Spirit, the Church is not different from political rallies and social gatherings.
In times of tribulations, if we allow the Holy Spirit to have His way in our churches, we will certainly experience encouragement, righteousness, peace, and joy. “Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace and was strengthened. Living in the fear of the Lord and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it increased in numbers” (Acts 9:31). Collapsing all into the hands of the Holy Spirit is a sure way of serving God in truth and in Spirit.