Question:

In Acts 1:8 when Jesus says that after the Holy Ghost has come upon you, you shall receive power. Does that mean power over my sins, over my thoughts power to talk right, or does it mean just what the Bible says?

Answer:

When Jesus said, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men" (Matthew 16:23), does that mean you are Satan? Or does it matter to whom Jesus said this and the circumstances surrounding this statement?

I hope you realize that the context of a statement makes a huge difference in both what a statement means and whether it applies to you.

In Acts 1:8, to whom was Jesus making a promise?

"The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen, to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God. And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, "which," He said, "you have heard from Me; "for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now." Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, "Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" And He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth"" (Acts 1:1-8).

The apostles were told to wait in Jerusalem to receive promised power from God through the Holy Spirit. They did not understand what it was for and thought that Jesus was finally planning to establish an earthly kingdom. They were wrong. The power promised to them would allow them to be witnesses of Jesus throughout the world.

That promise began to be fulfilled in Acts 2. The Holy Spirit came upon the apostles and gave them power. The apostles began to preach Jesus and Christianity and the church was born.

This promise has nothing to do with you or I. We were not commanded to wait in Jerusalem. We weren't promised power from the Holy Spirit. We can't be witnesses of Jesus since we weren't even alive to see his miracles or hear his teachings. We have no need for the miraculous power because the purpose has been fulfilled.

"Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 3).