The Power of the Resurrection and of the Holy Ghost

April 17, 2009 at 11:49 am | Posted in Acts | 12 Comments
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The period of time discussed in the Book of Acts was a time of great changes and transitions in the way the Gospel was to be proclaimed and spread throughout the world.

In Chapter One there is a focus on what, to Jesus’s Disciples and Apostles, had to be an earth-shaking and life-changing event: the Resurrection.

The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:

Acts 1:1-3 (Emphasis added.)

Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.

Acts 1:22 (Emphasis added.)

The Apostles now understood something about the “Kingdom of God” that they did not fully understand before Jesus’s Resurrection: that the Kingdom was not a “political” Kingdom.

When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.

Acts 1:6-7

The Kingdom of God is a Kingdom where the King reigns over the hearts of believers.

Another truth which the apostles began to fully grasp in the Book of Acts was the fulfillment of the prophecy of John the Baptist.

John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:

Luke 3:16 (Note that believers are baptized with the Holy Ghost AND fire – referring to purifying and sanctifying persecution – not with the Holy Ghost IN fire, as has become a common cliche’ in Pentecostalism.)

For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.

Acts 1:5

Since Luke is the human instrument which the Holy Ghost used to write both Luke and Acts, it seems as if they can be read as part one and part two of a two-volume set.

This new, living, breathing institution called the Church would receive its power from the Holy Ghost, and not from men. The power would be manifested in the act of becoming witnesses. “Witnesses” are people who tell what they have personally seen and heard – not their opinions.

The opinions of men have often become traditions, and have corrupted the transfer of Biblical truth. One example can be found in Acts 1:14: “These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.” Notice that Mary was there participating in the worship – not being worshiped. Roman Catholic tradition is full of the unbiblical worship of Mary.

Acts Chapter 2 begins to highlight the unity among believers that was a key element in the success of the Church.

And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.

Acts 2:1 (Emphasis added.)

And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,

Acts 2:46 (Emphasis added.)

The early Church was extremely successful even though it had none of the so-called advantages of churches today: no fancy buildings; no large donations of money; no political influence; and no real social standing.

There is also in Acts Chapter 2 an interesting comparison between the ceremonies of the Old Covenant and the New Covenant.

The Old was primarily Jewish. The New would be mostly rejected by the Jews, and would prosper among Gentiles. The Old had a Passover. The New had the Crucifixion. The Old brought death. The New brought life. The Old had a feast of first fruits. The New had the Resurrection. The Old had the day of Pentecost. The New had the giving of the Holy Spirit.

The giving of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost – TO THE JEWS – was a one-time non-repeatable event. It is part of salvific history – like the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. There will be no more Calvaries, and there will be no more Pentecosts.

There were signs of the Spirit coming upon a group of Jewish people. There was wind which was heard, but not felt. There were flames which were seen, and not felt.

The Bible calls them “tongues of fire.” These believers praised God in various languages. Note the symbolism of what happens in nature: Wind + fire = a mighty blaze.

Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.

James 3:5-6

Our tongues can be set on fire by Heaven, or they can be set on fire of hell!

And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Acts 2:4

The “other tongues” were different languages – not speech that was unknown anywhere – not Heavenly speech. Here we see the reversal of what happened at the Tower of Babel in Genesis Chapter 11. There, people were divided by God because of rebellion against God. Here, people are united in praise of God.

These believers were accused of being drunk, but not because of a lack of self-control. In fact, Peter preached with great logic.

And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Acts 2:21

Holy Spirit-empowered sermons are still logical. Here is his logic: One, the Holy Ghost is here – in the world. Two, the same Spirit (not the same event) prophesied by Joel – the same Spirit that came upon Moses, Samson, David, the prophets – is here. Three, if He is here, God must have given Him. Four, Jesus promised this would happen (Luke 24:49). Five, if Jesus had died and not risen, He would still be dead, and could not have sent His Spirit.

THEREFORE, He is alive. He is risen!

Six, He is alive, but how could He have sent the Spirit from Heaven? Seven, He must have ascended to Heaven.

In Acts 2:23 the logical proof becomes an accusation: “Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:”

The power of the Holy Ghost empowered Peter, who had denied Jesus three times, to be able to accuse others of denying Him. Peter did not preach about how good a deal salvation was: “Jesus was perfect and He died for you – you give your life to Him and He’ll save you.” First, he told them they killed their own Messiah – the greatest crime in history – the most horrible crime in history. He told them that God sent His Son to save them, and they mocked Him, beat Him, spit on Him, and killed Him. THEN He explained WHY God allowed it to happen.

Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.

Acts 2:36

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