As we read the Book of Acts,
we notice the remarkable spirit of God’s servants. The ministry of these
workers is defined by their courage, conviction and power in the Spirit, and
also by their humility and willingness to learn. The spirit in which the early
church served the Lord stands as a guide for our own ministry today. In this
article, we will look at the attitude of three early workers, Peter, Paul and
Apollos, whom we should seek to emulate.
BOLDNESS TO SPEAK THE TRUTH
After Jesus’ death, Peter
was among the disciples who hid behind closed doors for fear of the Jews.
However, after he saw the resurrected Christ, witnessed His ascension, and
received the promised Holy Spirit (Lk 24:50–53; Jn 20:19; Acts 2:1–4), his
heart was changed. He received a heart of boldness, which enabled him to go out
and tell the whole world about the truth.
After he received the gift
of the Holy Spirit, Peter immediately began to preach Jesus in Jerusalem. He
boldly stood up with the eleven and preached to the devout Jews who were
gathered from every nation under heaven (Acts 2:14). In that sermon, Peter
confidently told them that Jesus, whom they had killed with “lawless hands,”
was the Christ they had all been waiting for (Acts 2:22–23).
With all good conscience,
Peter unreservedly proclaimed what he and others had seen: that the same Jesus
who had died had truly resurrected. He told them, "This Jesus God raised
up, of which we are all witnesses" (Acts 2:32). You can feel the truth
running through Peter as he recounts Jesus' ascension, not withholding any
details (Acts 2:33).
Then Peter, filled with
wisdom and conviction through the Holy Spirit, testified that this exalted
Jesus was the One who had poured out the Holy Spirit upon them, proving that
Jesus is Lord and Christ. It was the fulfillment of what God had said through Joel:
"I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh" (Acts 2:17). The Jews could
not deny the truth, as they believed that there is only one Lord and the Lord
is one (Deut 6:4); they were cut to the heart. This happened because God’s
Spirit had inspired Peter to boldly preach the gospel (Mt 10:20; Lk 12:12).
In the end time, the True
Jesus Church needs members, especially youths, who are more than just
acquainted with a few verses of Scripture that outline the basic beliefs. We
need more people who are strongly grounded in their faith, with full conviction
and courage to share the truth. For only when the truth is boldly proclaimed
can people have the opportunity to hear and choose to follow it to salvation.
So, if you do not know, ask. If you know a bit, increase it, and share. The
more you know, the wider the scope of people to whom you can convey the truth.
Let us therefore learn from Peter’s spirit of conviction and equip ourselves
with a deeper knowledge of the truth so that we, too, may be able to boldly preach
UNRELENTING—TO MOVE FORWARD AND
Unlike Peter, Paul had
always been a courageous person. So, as a new convert, he took up his newfound
faith with great zeal:
"Immediately he preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He
is the Son of God." (Acts 9:20)
He was not ashamed to tell
everyone that he had been wrong and that Jesus is the Christ (Acts 9:22). Even
when faced with possible death, Paul carried on speaking boldly and disputed
with those who held on to the erroneous beliefs that he himself had previously
shared (Acts 9:29). In his ministry, Paul met with many more hardships: he was
expelled from a city (Acts 13:50–51), stoned and left for dead (Acts 14:19),
and even faced disputes within the church (Acts 15:1–5). Yet he never once gave
up; he continued boldly to go where Jesus sent Him. He was armed with the
mission Jesus had given him, for Jesus had said: "[H]e is a chosen vessel
of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings and the children of Israel. For
I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name's sake" (Acts 9:15–16).
In addition, Jesus personally told Paul, "Depart, for I will send you far
from here to the Gentiles" (Acts 22:21). So, despite having to brave the
tempestuous sea and being bitten by a poisonous viper, Paul continued
preaching, even to Rome (Acts 28:14–16).
Paul’s life illustrates what
kind of spirit we need to have if we are to complete our mission in the end
time: we need to have Paul's unrelenting drive to fulfill the will of the Lord!
Today, there are many
brothers and sisters in our church who have made sacrifices to join in the
mission to spread the gospel. Partnering with preachers and other volunteers,
they encounter challenges that they could have avoided if they had stayed in
the comfort of their homes. Yet they continue to go to distant countries,
braving hardships and giving what they have to those deprived of the true
gospel. Their testimonies serve as an example for us to follow, but also as our
All of us need to have the
vision that the True Jesus Church is not limited to the boundary of our own
local church. Our home church is like a member of the whole body of Christ. The
body of Christ is made up of members and congregations throughout the world.
Some areas have plenty of workers to look after the churches there. Churches in
other areas require many more workers to go the extra mile in order to minister
to them, so that they can one day stand up, be self-sufficient, know the truth
and pass it on. Why not pray for the heart to go forward? Why not let the love
of God compel us to move beyond what we are used to, week-in week-out? Why not
rely on God and let Him show us His grace working in those to whom we minister
STAND CORRECTED, BUT STAND
Another notable worker
recorded in Acts is Apollos; he was no ordinary Jewish convert. He possessed
qualities that many would be glad to have. He was eloquent. He was well-versed
in the Scriptures, which meant that he had a substantial understanding of the
Bible. He was instructed in the way of the Lord, which also indicated that he
must have spent time to learn the truth. He must have gained awareness of what
the Scriptures said about Christ and how it had been fulfilled. No one would
doubt Apollos' credentials as a speaker of God's word. He did not speak
off-the-cuff but made sure what he said was accurate; as far as he could,
Apollos did his homework (Acts 18:25). Although he had just started out,
"he began to speak boldly in the synagogue" (Acts 18:26a). When a
person speaks boldly, he must be confident that his knowledge is true and
Imagine you were Apollos.
You are fervent in spirit (Acts 18:25), but then Aquila and Priscilla, a couple
who are merely tentmakers by occupation (Acts 18:3), hear you preaching and
take you aside to correct you (Acts 18:26b). How would you feel? Apollos could
have felt so ashamed that he dared not speak again for fear of getting it
wrong. Or he could have become angry because of pride, ignored the couple’s
good intentions, and continued to spread incomplete teachings of salvation. But
rather than having a defeatist attitude, Apollos stood corrected and stood
stronger: "And when he desired to cross to Achaia...he greatly helped
those who had believed through grace; for he vigorously refuted the Jews
publicly, showing from the Scriptures that Jesus is the Christ" (Acts
In the end time, the future
pillars of the church must progress to face the challenges that lie ahead.
Having the heart and fervency is a great start. Studying the Bible and
equipping ourselves with God's word and spiritual understanding is crucial to
say the least. But, incorporated with that sense of urgency should be a humble
spirit and the willingness to receive correction. To receive correction is part
and parcel of our service to the Lord. Peter was corrected. Paul was corrected.
Jeremiah was corrected. Moses was corrected. Being corrected is not easy to
take. However, if our heart is sincere for God, we will cut away and cut
through how the correction makes us feel, and grasp its immense value for our
continual service for God and the next generation.
So, let us become noble
vessels for the Lord, ready to be filled with God's truth as we gain more
experience. As we grow and mature in our ministry, we will gradually learn to
serve according to the spirit of Jesus' teachings, for the glory of His name.
Eventually we may share our knowledge and experiences with future generations
Let us learn from these
three workers in Acts: Peter, Paul and Apollos. May we follow their footsteps
to have the conviction to share the truth, to continuously carry the truth to
regions beyond in the face of challenges, and to come clean when corrected so
that God may use us. Amen.