With great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. (Acts 4:33)
If our ministry is to witness to Christ tomorrow in some unsympathetic situation, the key will not be our brilliance; the key will be abundant future grace.
Of all people, the apostles seemed to need least help to give a compelling witness to the risen Christ. They had been with him for three years. They had seen him die. They had seen him alive after the crucifixion. In their witnessing arsenal they had “many proofs” (Acts 1:3). You might think that, of all people, their ministry of witnessing, in those early days, would sustain itself on the strength of the past glories that were still so fresh.
But that is not what the book of Acts tells us. The power to witness with faithfulness and effectiveness did not come mainly from memories of grace; it came from the new arrivals of “great grace.” “Great grace was upon them all.” That’s the way it was for the apostles, and that’s the way it will be for us in our ministry of witnessing.
Whatever added signs and wonders God may show to amplify our witness to Christ, they will come the same way they came for Stephen. “And Stephen, full of grace and power, was doing great wonders and signs among the people” (Acts 6:8). Grace was arriving from God for all that Stephen needed — eventually all that he would need to die.
There is an extraordinary future grace and power that we may bank on in the crisis of special ministry need. It is a fresh act of power by which God “bore witness to the word of his grace” (Acts 14:3; see also Hebrews 2:4). The ever-arriving grace of power bears witness to the ever-given grace of truth.