When John the Baptist was working in his ministry he spoke of Jesus saying that He was the one who would baptise people with the Holy Spirit. John baptised with water, but Jesus came and died so that we could be baptised with the Holy Spirit.
The Promise of the Holy Spirit
After the disciples received the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, Peter stood up and spoke to the people. In his oration Peter made reference to the prophecy of Joel when he spoke about the promise of the Holy Spirit. This was and still is one of the greatest gifts that God has given to mankind and the offer of this gift is not diminished down to today.
Perhaps what needs to be understood though, is not what the gift is but why it was given. He did not give us the gift of the Holy Spirit because it seemed like a good idea at the time, he gave it to us for some very specific reasons.
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In this section of scripture where the disciples received the Holy Spirit we see the first outpouring of the gift of speaking in tongues. Here we note the people in Jerusalem rush together at the sound of the disciples who were all speaking in tongues together.
The mystery of speaking in tongues
Now there were many visitors in Jerusalem who came to the city for the Passover and the Day of Pentecost celebrations. These visitors came from all over the known world and they were astounded to hear these men from Galilee speaking in all of the different foreign languages from the many lands that the visitors had come from. There were at least sixteen different regions and languages mentioned in this section of scripture and it amazed the visitors that these Galileans were speaking in their home tongues.
This section of scripture is still amazing today, but for a different reason. Today there are many who believe that because the disciples spoke in all these different tongues that the visitors to Jerusalem could understand, that the purpose of tongues was to spread the gospel. As we shall see, nothing could be further from the truth.
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Jesus appeared to the disciples for forty days after he had arisen. This was to show them the truth of the resurrection so that they would believe and know that all He had said concerning the ministry was true.
Receiving the Holy Spirit on Pentecost Day
And Jesus was preparing them for what was to come for the disciples were about to commence their work and their ministry to take the gospel of Jesus Christ and salvation to the world. The time had come to begin this work, but there was one piece left to be completed before they began their work. It was the fulfilment of the prophecy of Joel that the Holy Spirit would be poured out upon all mankind who came to The Lord.
On the Day of Pentecost which was about a week after The Lord was finally lifted up from the earth to sit at the right hand of the Father, this prophecy was fulfilled.
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Judas betrayed Jesus. He was selected by The Lord as one of the twelve knowing full well that he would betray Jesus. That was why he was chosen for it was necessary to fulfil the scriptures and prophecy concerning the betrayal.
The Twelve Apostles
But in spite of this betrayal, the position Judas held as one of the twelve was an important role. The twelve did not simply become the eleven when Judas went out and killed himself. There were twelve positions appointed by The Lord and they needed to be filled for the purpose of the ongoing ministry that would soon follow.
To that end all of the disciples with the eleven met as a group, about 120 in all at that time, and they elected a replacement for Judas, a man by the name of Matthias. And as it says in these scriptures, Matthias was enrolled with the eleven to take his place as an apostle in the ministry.
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In this section of scripture we see what occurs when Jesus departs front the earth to return to the Father. This scripture describes the final moments, the last conversation and the method of His leaving the earth.
Jesus ascends into heaven
Contained in these words too is a powerful message of His second coming when He will return to take control of the earth and to establish Gods kingdom with men. Knowing this helps us for we are warned in many places that there will be false prophets, false teachers and worst of all, false Christs including the Antichrist who is to come.
Consider these words well for they will keep you from being deceived when the time comes.
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You Shall Recieve Power
The Gospels covered the message of Jesus Christ and bore witness to His work, His death and His resurrection. In the book of Acts we begin to see the work of the Apostles and those who followed Jesus and how the message was taken to the world.
This message is still expanding in the world today, and there is much that we must understand and learn from the way it all began. Jesus commissioned His first Apostles to commence the work and to build the church. That same commission flows down to the church today and we have a tremendous responsibility to ensure we follow the message, structure and plan as it was presented and devised by Jesus. To do otherwise is not following His way and can only be troublesome and cause great difficulty.
So let us consider this as we commence and go through the book of Acts to see how the church was structured and built, and to learn the lessons they learned and wrote down for our education and benefit.
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These last two verses of the book of John could easily be overlooked as just the way John closed the chapter and his gospel. But when you think about what he said in these two verses, there is still a message we can take away and learn.
The Bible is enough
It is my belief that nothing written in the bible is without a meaning and a purpose. Likewise nothing that happens in the lives of the people of God is without a plan and a purpose, even and sometimes especially the bad things that happen.
So these couple of verses also tell us something in what they say as much as in what they do not say. Let’s have a look and a think about these words for just a few minutes.
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The last two words of verse 19 in this chapter of John were “Follow me.” These two words are repeated by Jesus in many places throughout the New Testament and we see in this section just how focused and how important it is that we heed these two words of Jesus Christ.
These two words go to the heart of Christianity and in particular the roots of salvation. If we truly want to be with Christ and to live in the kingdom of God, then the only way we are going to get there is to follow Christ. Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) So it stands to reason that if we want to be with both Jesus and the Father we need to do what Jesus said, “Follow me.”
So let us now look at what Jesus was saying to Peter in this section as there is an important message in His words.
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In my last post we looked at how Peter turned back to his former life as a fisherman after Jesus had been put to death and resurrected. Wether he thought the whole business of Christianity had ended because The Lord was no longer with them or what he thought is not really known. But it was certain that Peter was not thinking clearly and Jesus was about to show him in no uncertain terms that he could not go back and exactly where his future lay.
You can’t look back or go back
As a brief recap, all that lies in the past for a Christian is death. The past was where our former life of sin and worldly passions existed. When we come to Christ we leave those things to enter into Gods kingdom and receive a new life in the spirit. The past is dead and gone for we die to our old life of sin through entering into the death of Jesus Christ by baptism. We now need to consider ourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus as Paul wrote in Romans 6:11.
So let us look now at how Jesus turned Peter around and changed his thinking to focus on what lies ahead and not on what he left behind.
Continue reading “You Can’t Go Back – Part 2” »
This will be a two part post to cover this message. It is a lesson I have learned again just recently and it is one that many Christians are unaware of how serious a matter it is. You can't go back when you come to The Lord. You must continue to push forward.
You can't go back
And yet in these scriptures we see that even Jesus' disciples made this mistake mere days after He had died and was resurrected. And Jesus came to them, specifically to Peter for he was the one who made the error, and in no uncertain terms turned them around to move forward.
So today we will look at why you can't look or go back, and tomorrow we will look at what Jesus did with Peter when he looked back.
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