Acts of the Holy Spirit...the same Holy Spirit we have in us as believers today.

October 24, 2016

The Church that Jesus began in Acts is the same Church He is coming back for.  It is the whole reason He gave His life to pay for our sin and rose again to ensure we have eternal life.  When it is all said and done, what counts is what we did for Jesus, accomplished through the power of the Holy Spirit.  He IS able.

 

Our lives need to be a witness, otherwise how will people know?  We are here to represent the Gospel as ambassadors.  We witness to and through Jesus' power how strongly they preached about the resurrection of Jesus.

 

Look at this...in Mark 15:21..."And they forced a passerby, Simon of Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufs, who was coming in from the field to carry His cross." Then in Romans 16:13: "Remember me to Rufus, eminent in the Lord, also to his mother (who has been) a mother to me as well."  This is the same Rufus.  Knowing something had transpired and emphatic about it - seeing Jesus crucified and just as emphatic about seeing Him raised from the dead--Simon was there, he carried the cross and it had left such an imprint on him that it impacted his son Rufus.

 

God is still speaking today.  He is still capable of keeping those who have committed their lives for eternity.

 

ACTS 3

Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer (about 3:00 p.m. in the afternoon).  When a certain man crippled from his birth was being carried along, who was laid each day at that gate of the temple called Beautiful, so that he might beg for charitable gifts from those who entered the temple.

 

So when he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked them to give him a gift.  And Peter directed his gaze intently at him, and so did John, and said, "Look at us!"  And the man paid attention to them, expecting that he was going to get something from them.

 

But Peter said, "Silver and gold I do not have; but what I do have, that I give you:  In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk!"  Then he took hold of the man's right hand with a firm grip and raised him up.  And at once his feet and ankle bones became strong and steady.  And leaping forth he stood and began to walk and he went into the temple with them walking and leaping and praising God.

 

And all the people saw him walking about and praising God.  And they recognized him as the man who usually sat begging for alms at the Beautiful Gate of the temple and they were filled with wonder and amazement over what had occurred to him.

 

Now while he firmly clung to Peter and John, all the people in utmost amazement ran together and crowded around them in the covered porch called Solomon's.  And Peter, seeing it, answered the people, "You men of Israel, why are you so surprised and wondering at this?  Why do you keep staring at us, as though by our own individual power or piety we had made this man able to walk?  The God of Abraham and of Isaac and of Jacob, the God of our forefathers has glorified His Servant and Son Jesus Whom you indeed delivered up and denied and rejected and disowned in the presence of Pilate when he had determined to let Him go. 

 

But you denied and rejected and disowned the Pure and Holy, the Just and Blameless One, and demanded the pardon of a murderer to be granted to you.  But you killed the very Source of life, Whom God raised from the dead, to this we are witnesses.  And in  His name, through and by faith in His name, has made this man whom you see and recognize well and strong.  Yes the faith which is through and by Him (Jesus) has given the man this perfect soundness of body before all of you.  And now, brethern, I know that you acted in ignorance (not aware of what you were doing), as did your rulers also.  Thus has God fulfilled what He foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that His Christ (the Messiah) should undergo ill treatment and be afflicted and suffer.

 

So repent (change your mind and purpose), turn around and return to God that your sins may be erased (blotted out, wiped clean), that times of refreshing (of recovering from the effects of heat, of "reviving with fresh air) may come from the presence of the Lord; and that He may send (to you) the Christ (the Messiah) Who before was designated and appointed for you--even Jesus, Whom heaven must receive (and return) until the time for the complete restoration of all that God spoke by the mouth of all His holy prophets for ages past.

 

Thus Moses said to the forefathers, The Lord God will raise up for you a Prophet from among your brethern as me; Him you shall listen to and understand by hearing and heed in all things whatever He tells you.  And it shall be that every soul that does not listen to and understand by hearing and heed that Prophet shall be utterly exterminated from among the people.  Indeed, all the prophets from Samuel and those who came afterwards, as many as have spoken, also promised and foretold and proclaimed these days.

 

You are the descendants of the prophets and the heirs of the covenant which God made and gave to your forefathers, saying to Abraham, And in your Seed (Heir) shall all the families of the earth be blessed and benefited.  It was to you first that God sent His servant and Son Jesus, when He raised Him up (provided and gave Him and raised Him back to life), to bless you in turning every one of you from your wickedness and evil ways.

 

Remember when the disciples were first sent out and they came back and said they were amazed at the power that had been given them to cast out demons?  Notice that in the passage above, they did not use the term amazed.  This is because they had experienced this power and it had become part of who they were.  They said, "In the name of Jesus."  They were not looking to be amazed, they were looking to take action.  This power of the Holy Spirit is living in our lives.  Therefore, we should  be more expectant than amazed.  We can be expectant because that is Who is in us.  

 

Because His Word says so, He hears us when we call on His name.

 

Peter said that they did not have silver and gold.  We tend to look for the material things, the silver and gold, but the power of God can do it all.  

 

From www.godvine.com (Clarke's Commentary): Though it was customary for all those who entered the temple to carry some money with them, yet so poor were the apostles that their had nothing to give, either to the sacred treasury, or to the distressed. Thomas Aquinas, surnamed the angelical doctor, who was highly esteemed by Pope Innocent IV., going one day into the pope's chamber, where they were reckoning large sums of money, the pope, addressing himself to Aquinas, said: "You see that the Church is no longer in an age in which she can say, Silver and gold have I none?" "It is true, holy father," replied the angelical doctor, "nor can she now say to the lame man, Rise up and walk!" This was a faithful testimony, and must have cut deep for the moment. One thing is very remarkable, that though the saints of this church can work no miracles while alive, they work many when dead; and it is the attestation of those post mortem miracles that leads to their canonization. 

 

 

We are here as ambassadors of Jesus.  If you are in Christ, you have already been made rich.  God takes care of us.  Money was not their aim.  We are to be witnesses of Christ's power in our lives.  Peter spoke that it was not their power that made the man walk.  Acts always has a purpose - to set up the message of the preaching of the Gospel to validate the Gospel we preach.  This principle is still good for us today.  

 

In order that times of refreshing may come with repentance.  Do you remember as a kid doing things that you weren't supposed to, things you didn't want your parents to find out about?  Do you remember what it felt like to carry that heavy load?  Do you remember that if, instead, you confessed and dealt with the situation, face-to-face, that instead you were forgiven as you repented.  Carrying the heaviness, the burden, was worse than the consequence of telling the truth.  Heaviness is a hard task master.  If you repent there is a refreshing that comes into your life.  Repenting means to change direction, change your mind.  When that heaviness is there you are less likely to share anything about the Good News.  Jesus paid for it all.  We can never pay for what He gave us.  If you believe on Him and repent, you are filled with Him to the brim and are a witness to the power and transforming power of Jesus.

 

ACTS 4

 

The Sadducees did not believe in resurrection.  

 

If there is no resurrection, let's just eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die.  But there is a resurrection.  They did not preach any complicated doctrine.  They preached that Jesus was crucified and resurrected.  In doing so, 5,000 men (not counting women and children) were added to the Church that day. 

 

Peter and John were questioned as to by what power they had healed the crippled man.  They spoke that it was not their power but "In Jesus' name."  It is when the person has placed his trust in Jesus, that this power of the Holy Spirit comes, but it takes a spiritual mind to understand this.  

 

Peter and John spoke that by His name the man stood in good health.  There is still no other name in under heaven that has been given by which we must be saved.  This hasn't changed since then and it will be that way forever.  There are not multiple ways to Him.  

 

The politically-correct doctrine that says everybody is going to be okay is a disguise for universalism.  That is not what the Bible says.  There isn't a list of do's and don'ts that can get you there.  So often we miss the point that needs to be shared today.  Jesus preached about hell.  If there is no hell,  there is no judgment, then why did He have to die?  Just lay out the Gospel as it is.  We have all fallen short - none of us can get to Him on our own.  We often rely on technique and strategy, but we need to rely on the work of the Holy Spirit to do the work for us.

 

In Acts, the crowd could tell that these men had been with Jesus.  It is great that we honor God, but we need to make sure of the God we are talking about to others.  Truth and God mean different things today and there has to be a compass that shows True North.  Jesus is the answer.  We are filled with the same Spirit as Peter and John.  Speak His name; the Spirit of God has to do the work, not our "cleverness of speech."  

 

Peter and John were uneducated, untrained, and the people were amazed and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus. Shouldn't it be very apparent that you and I have been with Jesus?  This should be part of our character and our life.  The man who had been healed was the same one the crowd had seen, so they could not deny the miracle that had happened.  

 

The world may not come around to tell us not to say "Glory to God," but if you speak the name of Jesus, you will be edited out, because that is the Name that separates us from others.  Peter and John were warned not to speak any longer in the name of Jesus, but they could not stop speaking about what they had seen and heard.

 

Acts could be called "The Acts of the Holy Spirit," and that same Spirit can make us bold today.

 

 

 

 

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