Month: February 2013
The Baptism of the Holy Spirit, Who Can Have It?
“For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call” (Acts 2:39).
- To all Flesh – Acts 2:16-17
- For all – Matthew 3:11
- For you – Acts 2:39
- For your children – Acts 2:39
- For those afar off – Acts 2:39
- Those who obey Him – Acts 5:32
- Samaria – Acts 8:5-25
- African – Acts 8:27-39
- Cornelius – Acts 10:22, 44-48
- Every nation – Acts 10:35; Revelation 5:9
- For Religious Leaders – Acts 1:13-14; 2:1-4
- Blessed People, Highly Favored – Luke 1:28, 42; Acts 1:14
- Those Healed and Delivered – Acts 8:7-8; 8:15-17
- Sincere But Misguided People – Acts 22:3; 26:9-19; 9:17
- Generous People – Acts 10; 11:14
- Prayerful People – Acts 10
- Believers – Acts 19:2; 5-6
- Everyone – 2 Peter 3:9
- Jailer – Acts 16:12-34
Have you received the Holy Ghost since you believed? (Acts 19:2).
A Look at the Back of the Book
“Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him” (Acts 28:31).
Many times when reading an exciting book we are tempted to look at the back of the book to see what happens. The Book of Acts is God’s Training Manual for Today’s Church. It is an exciting story in the most thrilling book in the world, the Bible.
The Bible is the story of the battle between good and evil. When you look at the last book of the Bible you see good wins and evil loses. The devil, Satan is bound for a thousand years and thrown into the bottomless pit where he can no longer deceive the nations of the world. Eventually he will be thrown into the lake of fire forever (Revelation 20:2,10).
The Book of Acts is the triumphant story of the birth and growth of the Church. In the midst of a battle between good and evil, and persecution, the Church grew and became a powerful force in society.
“Teaching them to observe all things, whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matthew 28:20).
The first thing to be noticed about this verse is that Jesus wanted His followers to teach what He had commanded.
In the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) we see Jesus performing “on the job training” with His followers. He also promised He would be with us until the end of the world. Our being alive today proves the world has not ended. Through being filled with the Holy Spirit, we have the promise Jesus is still with us.
The Book of Matthew closes with the word “Amen.” This word means “let it be so!” It expresses our willingness to be obedient, and proves we are in agreement with the speaker. It also implies something is finished. Nothing can be added to the Word of God.
John in the Book of the Revelation warns us that if we add to the Word of God or take away from it, “God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city” (Revelation 22:18-19).
At the end of the Gospel According to Mark you find the powerful promises of the Word of God for the believer (Mark 16:15-18). The book closes with these words, “And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen” (Mark 16:20).
What a thrill to realize Jesus is working with us, and confirms the Word preached with signs following. He said, “these signs shall follow them that believe” (Mark 16:17) and, “greater works than these shall he do!” (John 14:12).
At the close of the book of Mark we find the word “Amen,” letting us know the writing is finished and we should “let it be so.”
The Gospel According to Luke ends with, “And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen” (Luke 24:53).
Again the word “Amen” lets us know the book is completed.
“And there are also many other things that Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen” (John 21:25).
The Lord Jesus Christ has done many great things in the past and continues to work in the church today. The book of John is complete.
However, when we look at the end of the Book of Acts we do not find the word “Amen.”
The Book of Acts is the only unfinished book in the Bible.
It is a book that closes quickly. In this book we see the Lord at work through the Holy Spirit. We see the growth of the Church. The Lord is still at work, and the Church continues. God intends for the acts of His disciples, the power of the Holy Spirit, and the preaching of the Gospel to continue on until the end of the world.
photo credit: high flying birds via photopin cc
We are to Complete what Jesus Started
If we were to try to explain all Jesus did while on the earth it would take more than all the books available (John 21:25). However, let us look at a sampling.
We see Jesus performed seventeen healings of individuals (fever, leprosy, paralysis, withered hand, blindness, deafness, internal bleeding, dropsy, and severed ear.) He still heals today.
He supplied needs by feeding the hungry on five different occasions; financial need of tax money; stood in the boat and calmed the storm (protection); and walked on water. He said, “Greater works than these shall he do” (John 14:12).
He did His miracles anywhere and everywhere; weddings, funerals, graveyards, synagogues, houses, mountains, pools, and boats. Is there anywhere we can allow Him to use us?
How He performed His miracles: He touched, was touched, spat; wept; groaned; and was moved with compassion. Couldn’t we touch, weep, groan or be moved with compassion over the needs in this world? We are to complete what He started.
Jesus stated what He was beginning to do in Luke 4:18-19 when He said the Spirit of the Lord was upon Him and He was anointed to….
- preach the gospel to the poor
- sent me to heal the brokenhearted
- to preach deliverance to the captives
- recovering of sight to the blind
- to set at liberty them that are bruised
- preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
When He had finished stating what He was going to do He “closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister” (Luke 4:20). This is symbolic of the completion of His earthly ministry and giving us the responsibility to carry on what He began.
“Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions” (Luke 10:19-20).
“And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing; it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover” (Mark 16:17-18).
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father….I will not leave you comfortless, I will come to you” (John 14:12, 18).
We are to complete what Jesus started!