23 Mar 2014
March 23, 2014
'This Promise Is To You....'
Acts 2: 38 - 47
Peter's words convicted them deeply, and they said to him and to the other apostles, "Brothers, what should we do?"
Peter replied, "Each of you must turn from your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise is to you and to your children, and even to the Gentiles - all who have been called by the Lord our God." Then Peter continued preaching for a long time, strongly urging all his listeners, "Save yourselves from this generation that has gone astray!"
Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church - about three thousand in all. They joined with the other believers and devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, sharing in the Lord's Supper and in prayer.
A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. And all the believers met together constantly and shared everything they had. They sold their possessions and shared the proceeds with those in need. They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord's Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity - all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their group those who were being saved.
Brothers and Sisters, can you feel the excitement in the air as Peter shared the truths to set people free?! A sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm in the skies above them had just filled the house where they were meeting! What looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them! And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability!
This was a holy baptism of fire indeed! Holy Spirit baptized them with his fire! Fire ignited fire! Not only had the Word become flesh....Jesus had been born and dwelt among them, but Holy Spirit was fully poured out to baptize with his fire! You, too, can receive the Holy Spirit and experience his baptism just like they did on the day of Pentecost!
Luke said that Peter's words convicted them deeply and they asked each other what they should do. Are you asking yourself or others what you should do? Do you wonder if you should seek the Father, God, and ask forgiveness of your sins? Are you wondering if Jesus can be your Lord? And if you, too, can receive eternal life by obeying? Are you wondering what will happen once you receive the gift of the Holy Spirit and if you, too, can be baptized with Holy Spirit's fire?
Let me tell you, you do not have to wonder if you should seek the Father, God. Everyone should seek the Father, God, and thank him first for giving them life. Wouldn't you like to be forgiven of your sins? Surely you must then ask him for such. But then go, and sin no more.
You do not have to wonder if Jesus can be your Lord. ANYONE who calls on the Lord Jesus will be saved! There is salvation through no one else! See Acts 4:10-12. EVERY one should obey God, Jesus, Holy Spirit to insure they receive eternal life. Salvation is a free gift, but you must prove (Acts 26:20) your sincerity and give gratitude by living your new life in such a way as to show yourself approved....to keep your salvation firmly in place.
John reminds us in John 15:1-8 of what Jesus said, "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch that doesn't produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. You have already been pruned for greater fruitfulness by the message I have given you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful apart from me.
"Yes, I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. Anyone who parts from me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. But if you stay joined to me and my words remain in you, you may ask any request you like, and it will be granted! My true disciples produce much fruit. This brings great glory to my Father.
"I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey me, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father and remain in his love. I have told you this so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!"
Ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, why would you NOT want your joy to overflow? Why would you NOT want to love God, Jesus and Holy Spirit? Why would you NOT want to obey them and remain in their love? Why would you NOT want to be fruitful....produce much fruit for them? Why EVER would you WANT to be cut off from THE Vine? Why would you NOT want to be forgiven of your sins and receive eternal life?!
Jesus said his true disciples produce much fruit and that doing so brings glory to God, our Father! And in bringing glory to God, staying joined to Jesus, his words will [Say WILL] remain in you, and, you may request anything you like and it will [Say WILL] be granted. Oh, my friends, be friends with THE Trinity first and foremost.
Peter continued preaching for a long time, strongly urging all his listeners, "Save yourselves from this generation who has gone astray!'
Have you gone astray? Come home in your heart to Jesus....today....won't you? God, Jesus, Holy Spirit are calling you.
'Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church - about three thousand in all." The joined with the other believers and devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, sharing in the Lord's Supper and in prayer.'
This, folks, is what fellowship, and church, and everyday living is supposed to be like with God, Jesus, Holy Spirit in your life.
Luke tells us "A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders."
Who are the apostles? EVERY one who has the same Spirit of Christ....Holy Spirit. Paul tells us in speaking about Titus (2 Cor 12:18), who was NOT an 'original 12', nor was Paul of the original 12 (See Matthew 10), that he and Titus had the same Spirit and walked in each other's steps, doing things the same way. An apostle is anyone who comes in the name of the Lord, and with him, by and with God, and with Holy Spirit, proving such by doing many signs and wonders and miracles.
So....does that make you feel a deep awe....for God....and all he wants you to do for him? God calls ALL of us to himself, to be his children....that includes you. Furthermore, you are called to be an apostle....just like the rest of us. Also, by the power of the Holy Spirit living in and working through you, many miraculous signs and wonders will be performed. IF....big IF....you have the Holy Spirit of God living within you. Furthermore, you must, as part of your calling in the name of God, GO FORTH, and do as Jesus, Paul, Titus and the others did.
Then Luke gives us an ideal by which to live and worship THE one true God, Jesus, Holy Spirit, as we see from documented history in todays lesson. He said, 'And all the believers met together constantly and shared everything they had. They sold their possessions and shared the proceeds with those in need. They worshiped together at the Temple (Christians use the term 'church') each day, met in homes for the Lord's Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity - all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people.'
So, have you been doing that lately? If not, why not?
Let me make that into a list:
All the believers met together constantly.
All the believers shared everything they had.
All the believers sold their possessions.
All shared the proceeds with those in need.
All the believers worshiped together at the Temple/Church EACH day [say EACH DAY].
All the believers met in homes for the Lord's Supper.
All the believers shared their meals with great joy and generosity.
All the believers all the while praised God.
All the believers enjoyed the goodwill of all the people.
Have you even seen a group of people enjoying goodwill recently? Have you bestowed goodwill on anyone? Have you done any of the above lately? I haven't. I'm a sinner. Are you? Will you join with me in repenting of sins? Will you, today, choose to serve the living God or rededicate your life to him?
To answer previous questions posed throughout our study thus far:
On the day of Pentecost, there were over 3000 people there. Acts 2:41
On the day of Pentecost, EVERYONE PRESENT was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability. Acts 2:4
On the day of Pentecost, over three thousand people were baptized and added to the church, who joined with other believers devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, sharing in the Lord's Supper and in prayer. Acts 2:41
Today can be a day of Pentecost for you. "This promise is to you and to your children", Peter said. Acts 2:39
Today, this day, choose whom you will serve.
Need more information? See Hebrews chapters 3 and 4. Then Read Hebrews 6:4-12. And follow that with Romans 7:4-6 and 8:9-17a. Herein you will find conviction, warning, hope, promise, and joy.
I know God is waiting to embrace you in his arms once again. I know Jesus loved you enough to die for you....he awaits your gratitude right now, your commitment to live a new life with him. I know Holy Spirit is ready to surround you with a mighty windstorm and touch you with tongues of purifying fire, as he enters your life through his baptism, and to show you how to live your life in abundance. Bow down to them and be raised to new heights. Bring glory to God in the highest, peace on earth, and goodwill toward all people! For this IS the will of God who calls you.
I hope you will join the family of God today! If you do, email or call us to let us know, so we can pray for you. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
Stay tuned for the continuing study of documented history on how Holy Spirit worked in days of old and how he can work in your life today! See you next week, same place....about the same time. Be blessed!
Let Us Pray
Dear God, Jesus, Holy Spirit, the world so needs you. Only through you, Jesus, can anyone receive forgiveness of sins, enter heaven and have eternal life. There is NO other way. My prayer today is that all who read this, and all Scripture, will accept who you are, that you are, and how wonderful you are, and, believe in a way they have never believed before....with the whole of their heart, their mind, their body, and their soul. That they will believe in you, and believing, accept, and accepting, be willing to receive all you have to give them....and go forth obeying you....sharing with all who you are and what you have to offer. God, I pray this for all in the world. In Jesus' name, by and with the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
If you have not accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior and would like to do so, and you would like to be forgiven of your sins, pray the following, or any prayer from your heart:
God, I believe you created the universe....and me. Please forgive me of my sins, especially of unbelief in you, God, Jesus, Holy Spirit. I believe in you now. I believe that you, Jesus, lived and died for me, so that I would have the opportunity to be forgiven of my sins and receive eternal life, and, that you lived again on earth and now live in heaven eternally. Holy Spirit, I believe in you, that you were sent to help me know how to live my new life, and help me understand the importance of obeying you, God, and Jesus, so that I can receive eternal life and live in heaven. I want to receive all the gifts and fruits you want to give me, Holy Spirit. I want to make Jesus the Lord of my life. I come to you now, Father God, Jesus, Holy Spirit in humble prayer with thanksgiving for everything you have done for me. Please heal me and make me whole. Show me your way, your truth, your Light. Thank you. I'm learning to love you. Amen.
I pray you will now make Jesus LORD of your life. Amen.
Grateful for God's lesson today?
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Let us hear from Paul as he prays:
When I think of the wisdom and scope of God's plan, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will give you mighty inner strength through his Holy Spirit. And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust in him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God's marvelous love. And may you have the power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love really is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it. Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
Now glory be to God! By his mighty power at work within us, he is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope. May he be given glory in the church and in Christ Jesus forever and ever through endless ages. Amen. Ephesians 3:14-21 NLT
Scroll down to read Jesus' Prayer of Thanksgiving...'The Unforced Rhythms of Grace'.
Definition of a Christian: Anyone who believes in God, Jesus and Holy Spirit, and accepts Jesus as Lord and Savior. Regardless of church name or religious affiliation.
'All who have been united with Christ in baptism have been made like him. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female. For you are all Christians - you are ONE in Christ Jesus.' Galatians 3: 27
It is not how we worship, but that we worship....the Trinity!
Teach tolerance....reach in acceptance....worship as one!
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"Go and make disciples out of all the nations
baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this:
I am with you always, even to the end of the age."
There is no better time than now to let God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit know how grateful you are for them being there for you, all they have done for you and will do, and, show thankfulness for being fed the Word of God, so you can know and obey him.
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It is time to reach into the community and the world around you to see wherein lies the greatest need. As you choose to focus on these areas, do so with a servant's heart. Whether the need is for children, adults, or animals, or any cause in between that will help those in need, ask God how you can best serve his needs, what path you must take, and how long you should persevere. Sometimes we are to be in the lives of others merely as stepping stones. Sometimes we are to touch those lives forever. Whatever journey you are called to take, whatever team you will be a member, know this: God is with you always...even til the end of time. He loves you, is grateful for you, and will help you along life's way, especially if you are helping others along theirs, persevering with a servant's heart.
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One last thing....
Jesus' Prayer of Thanksgiving
'The Unforced Rhythms of Grace'
"Abruptly Jesus broke into prayer: "Thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth. You've concealed your ways from sophisticates and know-it-alls, but spelled them out clearly to ordinary people. Yes, Father, that's the way you like to work."
Jesus resumed talking to the people, but now tenderly. "The Father has given me all these things to do and say. This is a unique Father - Son operation, coming out of Father and Son intimacies and knowledge. No one knows the Son the way the Father does, nor the Father the way the Son does. But I'm not keeping it to myself; I'm ready to go over it line by line with anyone willing to listen."
"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me - watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn how to live freely and lightly.
Matthew 11: 25-30
And the people said,
I now write most prayers in the position of ' I ' (first person) because most people are sitting at their computer alone, not in groups, and it allows those reading and praying to personalize the prayer as coming from them going to God. Variations may appear on holidays when families may wish to use the prayer provided. I encourage you to pray your own prayers as well.
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.
NOTE: I said it long ago, but let me say it again. If you are wanting to lead a group, start a church, or are confined in an institution, or live in a country where the Gospel is not preached, and you don't know what to say or how to say it, and yet feel led to share, teach, or preach, besides just reading straight out of the Bible and sharing what God puts on your heart, please feel free to share any or all of what I've written, if it will help you, as long as you include where it comes from, due to copyright laws. Jesus gave God's love and healing freely, as well as his message. Our responsibility is to get the Word out to those who need to hear it. If what I've written....by the power and direction of the Holy Spirit....or what he has said through me....has helped you, it may help others that you know. You are welcome to share it. God calls all of us to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the world. Please share it with the fullness of love that God, Jesus, Holy Spirit....and I....have given it. Amen!
Bible Authors and Minister