What Does Acts 9:31 Mean?

So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria enjoyed peace, being built up; and going on in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it continued to increase.

Acts 9:31(NASB)

Verse of the Day

Just as God the Father and God the Son work together in unbroken harmony and perfect love, to fulfil their unique functions within the Tri-unity of the Godhead, so also God the Holy Spirit... the third Person of the Trinity, works the work of God in flawless synergy with Father and Son, as each fulfil their respective roles and co-authored responsibilities.

All are Omnipotent and all are Omniscient and Omnipresent. All are identified as the Creator, for each were there in the beginning, fulfilling their respective creative roles and responsibilities. Each member of the Godhead is endowed with every godly attribute, and no characteristic present in One Member is absent from the Others... and yet each has His own unique function and specific obligation in carrying out God's purposes and plans.

Every Member of the Godhead is merciful and kind, long-suffering, and of great goodness, and as history unfolds through the pages of Scripture, we can see the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, having distinct duties and tasks, in the great unfolding work of salvation.

For instance... the Son directs our prayers and worship to the Father, and the Father honours the Son... while the Spirit points us to Jesus, Who is the only Person in the Godhead Who became flesh and blood and suffered for the sin of mankind. He lived as God designed man to live - in submission to the Father and learned obedience by the things He suffered. In so doing, Jesus earned credentials to become the one and only Mediator between God and man - the Man Christ Jesus.

One beautiful attribute the Godhead shares is COMFORT... for God is the Comforter of our soul, Who stills our heart and quiets our spirit. Paul explains that, "the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort." Like the Son and the Spirit, "He comforts us in all our affliction so that we are able to comfort one another with the comfort He gives to us."

Jesus came to earth to comfort the sorrowing and console those that mourn for their sin. He came to heal the broken-hearted, preach deliverance to the captive, and give sight to the blind. He came to set at liberty those that are broken and bruised. Jesus came to earth as our holy Comforter, but following His ascension into heaven, where He acts as the Churches Mediator and great High Priest, He asked the Father to send another Comforter to the Church - to be with us forever - One that would comfort us just like He did, One Who would come alongside God's people to aid and assist, to comfort and intercede. One Who to be with them always and would permanently indwell their heart. That Comforter was the Holy Spirit of God, Who would guide them into all truth and work the works of God through them.

Just as Christ was filled with the Spirit throughout His time on earth, so also His Body, which is the Church, was to be filled with the Spirit. Just as Jesus communed with the Father, so too the Church was to enjoy fellowship with Him. Just as Christ's body was the Temple of the Holy Spirit during His sojourn on earth, it is the Church, both corporately and individually, that has become the Temple of the living God. He is the HEAD and we are His BODY - and this is a marvellous mystery.

Among His many ministries in the lives of Church age believers, the Holy Spirit gives comfort to His people just as Christ gave comfort to the disciples... for He is the Spirit of truth and the Spirit of hope. He is the Spirit of love and the Spirit of joy. He is the Spirit of peace and the Spirit of life. He is the Spirit of wisdom and grace and He is also the Spirit of comfort.

The comfort provided by the indwelling Spirit was a very important element in those early years of the Christian Church. Many had been killed for their faith and experienced opposition from Jew and Gentile alike. Many were thrown into jail and many witnessed the first Christian being martyred for his faith. Godly comfort was an important provision for the early Christians, but they had to learn to listen to His voice and carry out His instructions.

The Book of Acts is a time of transition from the pre-Cross dispensation of the Law, when God was working through Israel, to the post-Cross dispensation of grace, when the Church became God's ministers of reconciliation, through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. The early Christians had to learn to listen to the leading of the indwelling Holy Spirit, for when His gentle voice is heeded, He brings comfort, inner calm, and a peace that passes our human understanding, but when His guiding tone is ignored or His promptings are resisted, He can be grieved, or even quenched in a believer's life.

At first, certain instructions given to His apostles were ignored. Jesus had told them, "you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea AND Samaria, AND to the farthest part of the earth," but these instructions were ignored! They were to be His witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and beyond, but in those fledgling years, the good news of the gospel was shared with no one but Jews, which conflicted with Christ's instruction to go into ALL the world... and conflicted with the inner promptings of the Holy Spirit.

However, as they began to widen their evangelism... to include those in Samaria and beyond, they were comforted of the Holy Spirit - and enjoyed a period of stability and calm, as the gospel was taught throughout Judea and Galilee and Samaria. "So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria enjoyed peace, being built up and going on in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, the Church continued to increase."

When the Church began to realise that the saving message of the gospel of grace was not only for Jews, Jewish proselytes, and men of Israel living in different parts of the world, but was also to be be given to the Samaritans in Samaria and Gentiles in the uttermost parts of the earth, there followed a time of peace in the land. This was a time when the Church expanded and the believers continued to be built up in the fear of the Lord. This was a time when they were obeying the will of God, carrying out Christ's commands, obeying the leading of the Spirit, and walking in spirit and truth... and this was a time when they all experienced the comfort of the indwelling Holy Spirit in their hearts.

What a lesson for us to learn that when we try to work the works of God in our own strength or without the leading and guidance of the indwelling Spirit, we may find that there is barrenness in our soul and we may forgo the comfort and joy that comes from doing His will. But what comfort we receive when we obey His Word, are led by the Spirit, and discover that we are in the centre of God's will for our life. 

My Prayer

Heavenly Father, it is my desire to do Your perfect will and submit my life to serving you in spirit and in truth. Forgive me for the times when I have tried to work the works of God in my own strength instead of trusting Your Word and allowing myself to be guided by the Holy Spirit. I pray that you would build up Your Church in the fear of the Lord and with reverence for Your holy name, and that we would know the comfort and strength of the Holy Spirit in our lives, as we grow in grace and mature in the faith, for Your greater glory and worth. In Jesus' name I pray, AMEN.

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