Archive for the ‘Advent Interlude - Jesus Sends the Spirit’ Category

Day Five: Why We Win: The Holy Spirit, Part II

Friday, January 1st, 2016

Acts 11:7-18 - “Then I heard a voice telling me, ’Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.’ I replied, ‘Surely not, Lord! Nothing impure or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’ The voice spoke from heaven a second time, ’Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.’ This happened three times, and then it was all pulled up to heaven again.

“Right then three men who had been sent to me from Caesarea stopped at the house where I was staying. The Spirit told me to have no hesitation about going with them. These six brothers also went with me, and we entered the man’s house. He told us how he had seen an angel appear in his house and say, ‘Send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter. He will bring you a message through which you and all your household will be saved.’

“As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came on them as he had come on us at the beginning. Then I remembered what the Lord had said: ’John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ So if God gave them the same gift he gave us who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could stand in God’s way? When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, ‘So then, even to Gentiles God has granted repentance that leads to life.’”

In the book of Acts, we read about how God poured out his Holy Spirit on the believers gathered in Jerusalem and how they were empowered and transformed to live in unity and go all out for God’s mission with his power. The lame are healed, worldly and religious leaders being stumped by “unschooled, ordinary” persons, courageous preaching leading to repentance and salvations, sweet fellowship, places and jails being shaken and the testimonies go on. Then a great persecution breaks out against the church. God’s mission continues in power amongst his church through the inspiration and power of the Holy Spirit. One of the most ardent persecutors of the faith is amazingly rescued through the filling of the Holy Spirit - Paul.

In chapter 11, there was a dispute between the Jewish believers (many of the first believers were Jewish) and Peter (who is also Jewish) because he broke commands found in the Old Testament. And Peter tells them what happened. In v. 7 he says, “Then I heard a voice telling me, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.”  Peter refuses because it is against some of the Old Testament laws that he has followed all of his life. The heavenly voice tells him, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.” He then get summoned and the Holy Spirit tells him to not hesitate. He then preaches and sees non-Jews (Gentiles) experiencing the Holy Spirit like he did in Acts 2. And then he remembers what Jesus had said: “John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” This is all the work and power of the Holy Spirit. And in v.17 Peter says, “So if God gave them the same gift he gave us who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I think that I could stand in God’s way?”

We win because God has won and has given us His Spirit forever.  We win because God’s Spirit has been poured out on us and on earth and he is active. We win because God knows and reveals his loving knowledge to us by the Spirit and the Scriptures. Peter hears, sees, is taught and corrected, and is follows without hesitation all because of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit empowered him to speak. The Holy Spirit empowered him to remember Jesus’ words. The Spirit empowered him to humble himself before God and change his mind about something so seemingly ingrained for all of his life up to that point.  Peter couldn’t have imagined before this what God was about to do through the Holy Spirit’s sending of Paul and Barnabas to the non-Jews in the world.

Let’s continue to thank our Lord for giving us his Spirit and his active love for us and this world through the Holy Spirit. Let’s pray for God’s help to believe and receive more and more of what He is saying and what he wants to do through the Holy Spirit in our lives, in our churches, in our campuses and cities. Let our minds and lives be forever transformed by the Holy Spirit like Peter’s.

- AP

Day Four: Why We Win – The Holy Spirit

Wednesday, December 30th, 2015

Day Three: God Gives Us Victory

Tuesday, December 29th, 2015

Day Two: The Spirit Who Gives Life

Tuesday, December 29th, 2015

Day One: The Spirit Who Lives With You

Monday, December 28th, 2015