Thursday, September 3, 2015

Positive Acts - Wham!

Acts chapter 2 is amazing. I don't pretend to understand all of it, but I love it. It's difficult for me to comprehend "divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them," but I know it means that the Holy Spirit showed up. He came powerfully and forcefully. Wham! And when the Spirit arrived, Christ's followers changed. They transformed from fearful folks cowering in the shadows to bold witnesses for our Lord. Peter is a wonderful example. From denying Jesus to proclaiming him, Peter changed radically.

These changes in Christ's followers are all due to the power of the Holy Spirit. The Christians did not do this on their own. Rather, God kept his promise to send his Spirit. And send he did. The world has never been the same since.

Immediately after that first Gospel proclamation at Pentecost the crowd was stunned and convicted. We see the power of the Spirit in their response. Luke writes in 2:37-41:

Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?" And Peter said to them, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself." And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, "Save yourselves from this crooked generation." So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.

Three thousand!

The truly exciting part of this for us today is that this same Holy Spirit resides within us. We have access to this same power. I wonder sometimes if I have any clue just how powerfully the Spirit would like to live through me. Most days, I generally stumble along just trying to get basic tasks done. I think I need to begin praying for the Spirit to wake me up spiritually to see what he wants to do with me. Maybe you need to do the same.

The encouraging thing is that the Holy Spirit of Acts 2 is the same Spirit today. We have not been left on our own. We simply need to joyfully follow his leading.


Tim said...

I remember back in my institutional church days, the Sr. Pastor went to a pastors conference and came back charged that he was the vision caster for the church. He wrote out his vision and these words were at the top. "I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams;
even on my male servants[c] and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy." I had not paid attention to this scripture at all. Now I realized that God was now going to distribute his vision to every believer, not just a few selected leaders. Well, the rest of the vision statement was about what the pastor "say" and "dreamed" and was "prophesying to us" and we all needed to "buy into " what God was telling him. His whole vision statement directly contradicted the scripture at the beginning. I met with him to show the discrepancy. It was all meaningless to him. Later they edited the statement to say "we see", "we dream", etc. It was all such a lie. The story gets worse from there. I have seen ministry vision flow from children, from women, from business men. Joel's prophecy is true but Bible experts are still pushed to see only themselves as vision casters for the household of faith.

Joel Zehring said...

Good stuff, Eric!