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Showing posts from March, 2021

Boldness in the Spirit

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SYNOPSIS  –  In response to threats from the high priest, the Spirit filled the fledgling church with “boldness of speech”  –  Acts 4:5-31 .  After the healing of the lame man near the Temple gate, Peter and Joh n were confronted by the priestly authorities, including representatives of the Sadducees, who were disturbed because they had “ proclaimed the resurrection .” The Sadducees rejected the doctrine of the resurrection, although Luke stresses that the disciples claimed that it now takes place “ in Jesus ,” which made their interpretation of the resurrection of the dead distinct from all others – ( Acts 4:1-4 ). - [ Photo by  Michael Krahn  on Unsplash ].

Blessing of Abraham - Spirit

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The promise of the Father, the gift of the Spirit was sent by Jesus to bless all the nations  –  Acts 3:25 .  After the Day of Pentecost, Peter and John prayed for a man who was “ lame from his mother’s womb ” and begging for alms near the Temple. Rather than money, they commanded him to walk “ in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth .” Immediately, he stood up and began to walk, and then was seen and heard “ leaping and praising God ” - [ Photo by  Jonatan Lewczuk  on Unsplash ].

Prophecy from Joel

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The outpouring of the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost signaled the arrival of the “last days,” just as prophesied by Joel  –  Acts 2:17-21 .  The application of Joel’s prophecy in  Acts  links the gift of the Spirit to the onset of the final era - the age of fulfillment - which began with the ascension of Jesus and the subsequent outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Jerusalem. As Peter declared, the arrival of the Spirit was according to the prophecy from  Joel  about the “ last days ” and the impending “ Day of the LORD .” - [ Photo by  Jeremy Bezanger  on Unsplash ].

Signs and Wonders

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The prophecy from Joel sets the tone for the book of Acts, including the “signs and wonders” that accompanied the gospel – Acts 2:17-21 .  Jesus commanded the disciples to “ tarry in Jerusalem ” until they received the gift of the Spirit, and only then were they to proclaim the “ kingdom of God ,” starting at Jerusalem, then going on to Judea, Samaria, and to the “ uttermost parts of the earth .” The book of Acts records how the early church, under the guidance of the Spirit, did this very thing - [ Photo by Frank Zinsli on Unsplash ].

Pentecost - Outcome

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SYNOPSIS  – Following the events of the Day of Pentecost, the congregation established itself as a fellowship of believers centered in Jerusalem – Acts 2:42-47 .  The final paragraph of Acts chapter 2 summarizes the results of the outpouring of the Spirit. While the description sounds routine, even mundane, it records the basic practices of the Christian congregation that resulted from the Spirit’s presence – Teaching, shared meals, fellowship, prayers, unity, and material support for individuals in need. The one unique feature is the holding of possessions “ in common ” under the administration of the Apostles. - [ Photo by Kerensa Pickett on Unsplash ].

Fulfillment of the Feast

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The outpouring of the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost fulfilled what the feast symbolized  -  Acts 2:1-4 .  In the book of  Acts , the outpouring of the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost stresses the theme of  fulfillment . That day, the things foreshadowed by the ancient feast began to receive their substance. The bestowal of the Spirit was an epochal event that marked the start of the messianic age, and the gift of the Spirit  fulfilled  what the Levitical feast symbolized - [ Wheat Harvest photo by  meriƧ tuna  on Unsplash ].

Promise is unto you

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The gift of the Spirit is for all men and women who repent, “even to those afar off,” all in fulfillment of the promises of the Father  -  Acts 2:37-41 .  After completing his sermon to the crowd of pilgrims, Peter issued what we, today, might label the “first altar call,” summoning his audience to repent. But something more than a call to accept the gospel was transpiring, and the conclusion of his discourse ended on a note of fulfillment, and even more significantly, with a foretaste of things to come -  Photo by  Henrik Eikefjord  on Unsplash .