We are very fortunate that the Lord has seen fit to give us the Bible. It was never His purpose to leave us totally in the dark, and indeed He wants to show us all that we need to be able to live lives of holiness as we walk with Jesus and await the hope of salvation that is to come.
In these few scriptures then we see that the Lord has seen fit to give us an insight into the work of the Holy Spirit and to gain some understanding of the Holy Spirit at work.
I am aware that there are many great mysteries yet to be uncovered in the bible and there are many people who do not fully understand who or what the Holy Spirit is, let alone the work He has been given by God to carry out. Well, here we see one of the key works that the Holy Spirit has been tasked to do and it is to our great benefit when we understand and apply this teaching.
When it comes to your eternal life with Christ there is one thing that this section of scripture tells us is essential and that is that we must have the spirit of Christ in us. The first verse in this section says this quite clearly.
You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.
Look at that last sentence in this verse. If you do not have the spirit of Christ in you, you do not belong to Him. You do not belong to Christ if the spirit of Christ is not in you.
A powerful message and a strong warning to all of us to learn and understand what this is and how we “get” the spirit of Christ. So let us look at this and see what the scripture tells us. Continue reading “Spirit of Christ”
Here we see a link between these three and how they interact to help us as Christians to grow. This verse reads:
“…and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
In the previous couple of verses we saw the progression and process of growth as we walk with Christ. We saw how suffering produces endurance, endurance produces character and character produces hope.
Now Paul extends that teaching to show us how hope works in us so that we are not disappointed or ashamed as we walk in Christ, and the power that fills us, keeps us and builds us up in hope is the power of God's love with which we are filled through the infilling and indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
Here we see that the Roman authorities had been puzzled as to the negative and violent reaction of the Jews against Paul on his return to Jerusalem. They had intended to flog Paul with whips to find the truth of the matter, but stopped short on discovering he was a Roman citizen.
Their next attempt to discover why Paul had caused such a stir was to bring him before the council of the Jews so they could make their accusations and he could defend himself.
But we see this too backfires as Paul recognising the make up of the council thwarts their attempts by preaching the basic message of the resurrection and thus turning one side of the council against the other. This I am sure is an example of The Lord giving him the right words to speak at the right time as Jesus said in Matthew 10:17-20.
17 Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, 18 and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles. 19 When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. 20 For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
There are six foundational teachings that underpin the practice of Christianity as taught in the bible. These are found in Hebrews 6:1-2 which says,
1 Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, 2 and of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.
These are important for all Christians to enable us to walk in the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus teaches us in many places about the importance of having a firm and solid foundation on which He will build His church. And in the scripture quoted above we are told what that foundation is.
Returning then to the verses in Acts 19:1-6 we see the application of these foundational teachings and how Paul ensured the foundations were correct and solidly in place for the Ephesian church. The first four of the foundation teachings are clearly seen and applied in this short section so let us look at those teachings and what Paul taught this fledgling church.
One of the most frequent questions I receive by email from people who read this blog has to do with receiving the Holy Spirit. The questions usually go along the lines of, how do you receive the Holy Spirit or how do you know if you have the Holy Spirit.
There is a lot of information in the New Testament in relation to this subject, especially in the book of acts where we see the expansion and growth of the early church. And because the gift of the Holy Spirit was one of the important promises given by both the early prophets and Jesus Christ, it is important to understand these things.
This section of scripture is an excellent introduction to answer these questions about receiving the Holy Spirit and also understanding how you will know if you have received the spirit. So let us look at what the scripture has to say about this important matter.
Throughout the New Testament we see that first Jesus and then the disciples worked many signs of healing and other wonders as they preached the gospel and began to spread the words of the truth. Consider some of the things that Jesus did among the people. He healed the sick, fed the multitudes, cast out demons, turned water into wine, walked on water and much, much more.
Then the disciples when they began their ministry also did many similar things. They too healed many people of sicknesses and conditions that were impossible in those days for man to heal by medicines. Peter even had cloths taken from him and given to sick people and they were healed remotely.
But why were these miracles performed in those days? Was there a purpose for them beyond the actual healing or sign itself? Yes there was, and this section of Acts tells us what that purpose was all about.
As Peter concluded his oration on Pentecost Day we see the unfolding of the first massive calling to the people and the revelation of salvation. In these few words we find an example of the Great Commission that Jesus told the disciples they were to carry out.
This day brought the beginnings of the church as the Apostles preached the word and the people recognised their sin. In these words they were offered the hope of escape and salvation from sin. Three thousand people were added to the church that day after Peter had finished his speech and preaching.
So let us look at the process as it took place. Not only were there insights into the process of these people coming to The Lord, there are also insights into the promises of God that come down to us today.
Peter stood with the disciples on the Day of Pentecost and with a voice powered by the Holy Spirit he spoke and convicted the people of Jerusalem over the death of Jesus. He showed them in no uncertain terms from the scriptures that they all were familiar with, that they had put to death the Christ that they had been waiting for.
The prophets had all spoken of the Christ who was to come, and Peter showed the people that they had put Him to death. They had killed and murdered the author of life, the One who promised life and who they were waiting for to be The Lord and Saviour as promised by the prophets and who give them freedom.
They were absolutely horrified at Peter’s words. But in his words Peter also showed that this had to take place. He also told them that Jesus would be resurrected for death could not hold Him. So while he terrified them with words of condemnation for the murder that was carried out, he offered hope for this was meant to be and it was in the death of Jesus that we all receive hope for life both now and in the future.
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.
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.