google-site-verification: google3e8cc4742c5fd8a2.html Glimpses 26

Glimpses 26

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Church Birthday

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G'day and welcome to Partake! We are now on day 26 of our series "Glimpses", looking at the story of the Bible in 30 days - from the time of creation through to the time of the fullness of redemption! Jesus has died, rose again from the dead, ascended back to the right hand of the Father - all just as he said he would. The physical resurrection of Jesus Christ was the catalyst for the beginning of the church but the empowerment was to come, as promised by Jesus! Since his resurrection he has given his disciples instructions, including the command to go make disciples of all nations with the message he gave them! Then he told them to wait in Jerusalem! But for who? Remember they were still hopeful of Jesus returning to defeat the Roman Empire and install a political kingdom of God! But they were wrong and soon found out they were wrong! So they waited, but for what, or rather, who?

Waiting!

Acts1:12-14 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mountain called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day's journey away. When they had come in, they went up into the upper room, where they were staying; that is Peter, John, James, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James. All these with one accord continued steadfastly in prayer and supplication, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.

Acts 2:1-2  Now when the day of Pentecost had come, they were all with one accord in one place.   Suddenly there came from the sky a sound like the rushing of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.

As we saw last time, Jesus has ascended back to the right hand of the Father.  The 12 apostles are now back in Jerusalem and waiting for the Holy Spirit to come as promised by Jesus.  More about Him later in this podcast! It was now the time of the Shavuot in the Jewish calendar - 50 days after Passover (remember that from Jesus' last night!)

Pentecost derives itself from the Old Testament festival known as the Jewish Feast of Weeks or Shavuot.  This feast consisted of the first-fruits of the wheat harvest and selected animals were sacrificed, all as an act of thanksgiving to God, according to the Law given to Moses (Leviticus 23:15-20).  But it was soon to change its meaning under the New Covenant. It became Pentecost, the Greek word for ‘50 days', and marks the birthday of the church! What is the birthday of the church? That is the day when the Holy Spirit came down and empowered the disciples for service! The day now known as Pentecost celebrates the day when, as promised by Jesus, as part of the New Covenant (remember that), the Holy Spirit came down to live inside the disciples of Jesus Christ, and empower and transform them!

Empowered!

Take Peter for an example! Just a few days earlier he had rejected Jesus Christ and openly defied Him by trying to stop Jesus going to the cross.  This Peter, who was dejected and defeated because he had put everything into following this Jesus.  In the early chapters of the bible Book of Acts, we see all disciples being transformed. Some were affected in amazingly spectacular ways and others in more placid ways.  Let us concentrate on Peter for a good example of this.  This is now a new Peter, transformed by the indwelling Holy Spirit, who speaks with the authority Jesus gave the disciples.

Peter, given impetus by the Holy Spirit, preaches a sermon and 3000 people are added to the church in one day (Acts 2v41). This Peter, who when passing by a man who couldn't walk, told him to get up and walk - and he did (Acts 3v1-11)! A WOW moment for sure! Peter was allowing himself to be controlled by the Holy Spirit and doing some of the things that were synonymous with Jesus' earthly ministry.

Transformed!

What is the difference between this Peter and the Peter before Jesus' resurrection?  It was only the Holy Spirit, the empowerment and the difference He made to Peter.  Peter, by submitting himself to the authority and power of the Holy Spirit, was allowing the Holy Spirit to control him and guide him.  This Peter, who we know from the Gospel accounts, had no self-control, yet now had self-control because he submitted to the Holy Spirit.  The greatest evidence of the Holy Spirit living inside of humans, is the transformation of the individual into the image of Jesus - as demonstrated by our example, Peter.

This Peter who allowed the Holy Spirit's power to heal people also administered church discipline as in the case of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5v10).  But it wasn't just Peter who was empowered.  As Acts 5v12-16 shows us, all the followers of Jesus, not just the twelve apostles, filled and controlled by the Holy Spirit, were able to do healings and other miracles. Not just those more spectacular gifts of healing, miracles etc but also gifts such as mercy, generosity, helps and service.

The Holy Spirit, living inside and empowering all believers, for service of Jesus Christ, not just the original 12 apostles or disciples. That is one of the reasons the early church grew phenomenally and more about that growth later on in this series!

Who is the Holy Spirit?

But who is the Holy Spirit? Good question! In the Old Testament the Spirit makes appearances but only comes on one person at a time during that time. David is a good example of that!  There was to be a time when He would live inside all believers in God through the Messiah! That's under the terms of the New Covenant as This is part of the fulfilment of the New Covenant, where the Almighty and All-powerful God would indwell those who follow him. Throughout his ministry Jesus had often talked about how after he departed back to the Father, that the Holy Spirit would come.

The Holy Spirit is spoken of as God (1 Corinthians 3v16). The attributes of God are ascribed to the Holy Spirit - life (Romans 8v2), truth (John 16v13) and love (Romans 15v30). The Holy Spirit is also a Person and is always referred to as ‘He' in the New Testament (John 16v14). He relates to humanity as a person for he lives inside the believer as comforter, guide and teacher (John 14). He can be blasphemed against and be grieved (Ephesians 4v30). Wherever the Holy Spirit is, the Father and Son are also present. (John 14v18-23).

Throughout the Book of Acts and in the other New Testament writings we discover more about the Holy Spirit.  We see His prime role to glorify Jesus Christ as the Son of God (John 16v13-14), to testify for Jesus Christ (John 15v26) and witness for Jesus Christ (Acts 1v8) to humans.  The Holy Spirit is involved with ministering to members of the church, as Jesus would be if He were there physically. There is more about the Holy Spirit if you search on this website!

With all this, the Holy Spirit also equipped all the followers of Jesus for service, to will and to act accordingly to those purposes. We see in the rest of the Book of Acts, how the Holy Spirit empowered the early church and gave them impetus.

Transformation and service are the key working practises of the Holy Spirit and we will His handiwork in our next episode as we see the Church begin! The Pharisees and Sadducees are long gone.  The Roman Empire collapsed. But... But... But... Jesus' church still stands, is still growing, and will one day be joined with Jesus in eternity, to the praise, honour and glory of Him who will return in majesty, just as He promised! More about that later on in this series! So that's the birthday of the church! What happened next is what we talk about tomorrow! Thank you!

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