Thursday, September 22, 2011

Acts 1

The book of Acts was authored by Luke and written so we would have the true story of how the Christian church began and grew. 

(Acts 1:1-8, Luke 24:25-27, 36-53)
After Jesus resurrection and before He ascended to heaven He taught His disciples and prepared them for their work to come.  He offered many convincing proof that He was alive.  He talked with them instructing them through the Holy Spirit.  He appeared to them and others over a *40 day period.  He explained the scriptures to them and opened their minds so they could understand.  He told them not to leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift God promised - the Holy Spirit.  They would then be baptized with the Holy Spirit” (verse 5).  Then, when the Holy Spirit comes they are to be His witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

How are you applying this command to your life? 

Are you a witness first to Jersualem (your family and church), Samaria (your neighbor, our own local town, your country)? 

How did their relationship change after He ascended?  Before He ascended they had Jesus to teach and guide them, but since He would not longer be there with them physically, they needed the Holy Spirit to be their guide.  By being “baptized with the Holy Spirit” (verse 5) the Holy Spirit would be “in” them and they would remain connected to Him. 

Is it possible to have the Holy Spirit “with you” but not “in you”?
Yes, the Holy Spirit is “with” us all - even non-believers.  He’s convicting non-believers of   their sins and their unbelief in Christ.  The Holy Spirit is “in” you when you accept Jesus and become a believer.  

(Acts 1:4-11) 
What’s the difference in “baptized with the Holy Spirit” and “filled with the Holy Spirit? Being “baptized with the Holy Spirit happens only once – at the time of conversion.  As believers we are constantly being “filled with the Holy Spirit” as we mature as Christians, as we allow God to be in control letting Him work in our lives, and as we listen and obey yielding to Him.

(Acts 1:12-26)
Since Judas was not longer part of the ministry, they needed to replace him.  The disciples met together along with the women, Mary the mother of Jesus and his brothers.  The first thing they did was to pray.  They probably also prayed for courage, strength, protection, perseverance, guidance, and the ability to of what Jesus commanded. This teaches us that we should gather together with fellow Christian and pray before selecting our leaders.  Titus 3:9-11 and 1 & 2 Timothy tells us to choose leaders who are kind, holy, honest, and teach God’s message accurately.  Even Jesus prayed when he chose His disciples – Luke 6:12-13.

1.    God provides evidence for believing and serving Him.
2.    God provides the power to effectively do what He asks us to do.
3.    Prayer is important part of waiting for God to reveal the next step of obedience.

Are you welcoming the Holy Spirit into your life?
Will you ask God for a “filling of the Holy Spirit”? 

Take time to study the scriptures and let God speak to you. 
Pray – Listen - Obey - Yield

* The number 40 is used several times in scripture - 40 days, 40 years, etc.  Perhaps it was a period of testing of their faith.

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