“So the church throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace, being built up and walking in the fear of the Lord and in the encouragement of the Holy Spirit, and it increased in numbers.” – Acts 9:31
Thanks, everyone for joining me in this journey. As always, I appreciate you! Sometimes, it seems, there’s this never-ending cycle to try to destroy everything that I love. It’s like how when people can’t stand the man who is cherished, smart, good to his very core, and sexy (And Favored!) they do everything they can to attack what they see as his manhood.
But they don’t understand, or even know, that the man who is strong and secure does not allow his worth to be determined by external things like his weight or stature. When he has a big heart (and is also big in more ways than one ), he won’t allow your attempts to destroy and take away what’s his to succeed.
We are strong. We are together. We are one.
Thank you for remaining constant! You’re the best. There’s no question about it.
I just love you so much!
I’d like to continue the discussion about restoration of New Testament Christianity. I really believe that the church can be restored to what it was like in the Bible. If we want to do Bible things, we need to do them in Bible ways – meaning, if we want to do what God says, we must do it the way the Bible says. So, I want us to take a journey through the book of Acts to see how the church started on that day of Pentecost, how they were persecuted, how they operated, and how they grew. It will show us the kind of church – the kind of Christians – we ought to be.
In this study of Acts, I’ve begun to see things in a new light, and I appreciate a number of different aspects of it now that I previously didn’t. The book’s author is traditionally believed to be Luke, the physician, and it was probably written some time between 63 and 67 A.D. The book is, broadly speaking, divided into two parts. The first half covers the work and ministry of Peter, the birth of the church, and the gospel being taken to the Jews. The second half of the book is about Paul’s ministry, the growth of the church, and the gospel being shared with Gentiles. In the beginning of chapter 1, we see Jesus with His apostles giving them specific commands about the kingdom of God over a 40 day period. Notice the following:
“While He was together with them, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for the Father’s promise. ‘This,’ He said, ‘is what you heard from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.'” – Acts 1:4-5
The Lord promised the Holy Spirit baptism to the apostles. And we will see as we progress through the book that that baptism which gave power to perform signs and miracles was only for a specific group of people for a specific period of time. There are different kinds of baptisms in the New Testament. That kind of Holy Spirit baptism that was to come upon them does not occur today. Though some people still teach that it does, it is not scriptural.
Before I was baptized into Christ, I visited with a lot of Pentecostal congregations. I always felt out of place and as if I was somehow an inferior believer because of all the “Holy Ghost praise” and speaking in, what they called, tongues that they did. And often, they would make comments about those who weren’t participating, as if we somehow didn’t love God enough or have enough faith. What they were doing was not what Jesus was talking about when He told the apostles that He would send the Holy Spirit with power to them.
Jesus said to His apostles, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). The Lord promised that the apostles would receive power from on high. Then He ascended into heaven on a cloud after He finished giving orders for how things were to go (1:9).
They were on the Mount of Olives when those events occurred (1:12), then they returned to Jerusalem. Among Mary the mother of Jesus, His brothers, and the eleven apostles, there were 120 disciples altogether who “continued with one accord in prayer and supplication” (1:13-15). That’s noteworthy. The disciples were all on one accord. They were unified. We, too, need to be unified if we are to restore New Testament Christianity.
As the disciples waited for the promised Holy Spirit, the apostles selected another apostle to complete the Twelve, since Judas had committed suicide after betraying the Lord (1:18). Matthias was chosen as the 12th apostle (1:20-26).
To emphasize the point: the disciples did just as Jesus commanded them. He told them not to leave Jerusalem until the Promise of the Spirit was received (1:4), and that’s what they did (1:12). The parallel for us is that if we want to receive the full promises of the Lord, we have to do exactly what He says.
Christ has promised that we can have everlasting life. The stipulations are that we must believe that He is Lord (John 8:24); we must repent of our sins and start living right (Luke 13:3; Acts 17:30); we must confess that Jesus is Lord (Romans 10:9); we must be baptized for the forgiveness of our sins (Acts 2:38; Mark 16:16), and; we must live faithfully until death (Rev. 2:10). Then we can have all the promises of the God.
We can stand on His promises.
Do you want the promise of having everlasting life?
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