Friday, June 24, 2011

Imagine This Scene....

Imagine this scene with me.  Jesus Christ, the one you have spent the last three years following, the one you have dedicated your life to, just ascended to heaven.  You saw it with your own eyes.  You and the people who have become as clsoe as your own family are all gathered in Jerusalem in someone's house, waiting.  you know that something is coming because Jesus told you about it.  He said to wait, but you don't know exactly what (or in this case, who) you are waiting for.  Maybe you are getting tired of wondering how many more days before something (what, you have no idea) happens.

Suddenly, a sounds fills the whole house.  And then tongues of fire appear and come to rest on each person present.  And then it happens.  Verse four reads "And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit."

Now these are the same disciples who were dedicated to following Jesus no matter what, but who scattered as soon as Jesus was arrested.  And here they were gathered togethere, no doubt confused about how they should proceed now that Jesus had ascended.  Yet when the Holy Spirit descended and indwelt them, a radical change occurred.  From that point on, none of these disciples was ever the same.  The book of Acts is a testament to this fact.  We read of Stephen, the first martyr.  We see Peter, a changed, courageous man.  We see Paul (formerly Saul) go from killing Christ followers to becoming one and showing many others how to do so too.  They were no longer timid or confused; they were bold and inspired and began to declare and live the gospel of Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit.  Thank about what a huge moment this was in the lives of the disciples.

A multitude of people had gathered.  Peter preached a powerful sermon, and when they heard his words, they were "cut to the heart" and asked how they should respond.  Peter answered, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself" (Acts 2:38-39).  The text says that on that day around three thousand people became a part of God's kingdom and accepted the gift of the Holy Spirit.


Is it clear to you that you're suppose to repent, be baptized, and receive the Holy Spirit?  If so, have you done it?  If not, what keeps you from doing it today?

Why do we sometimes fees that we need to debate this endlessly, running through every possible hypothetical situation and answering every theological question first?  When will we simply respond to the truth we have heard and then work through our questions from there?


I think it's needless for us to debate about when the Holy Spirit becomes a part of someone's life.  In my own life, was it when I first prayed as a little kid and believed I was speaking to Someone?  Was it in junior high, when I raised my hand after hearing an evangelist who literally scared the hell out of me?  Was it when I got baptized?  Was it in high school, when I actually had a personal relationship with Jesus?  Could it have been in college, when I came forward at a charismatic Bible study to "receive the Spirit"?  Or was it later in life, when I chose to surrender my life fully to Jesus?


All taken from Forgotten God by Frances Chan - Chapter 3.....this is what we're studying on Tuesday nights.  Good stuff!

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