This time I will go through the Acts, but before that I will write a little about the last days of Jesus here on this earth.
Jesus died and rose again on the third day. He carried all our sins, broke all the curses of the devil and by His stripes we are healed. (Is.53:4+5) Jesus appeared to His disciples after His resurrection. He was with them several times. Each gospel quote different things from what He said before He ascended to Heaven. (Matt.28:18-20 and Mark 16:15-18) We read in Luke 24:49 that the disciples should wait in Jerusalem until they are endued with power or the Promise of His Father. The Promise is the Holy Spirit. In the last chapter of John, Jesus told Peter to feed His lambs and tend to His sheep.
I will start with the words of Jesus in Acts 1:8 “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Jesus ascended in a sky and an angel told them that one day Jesus would come back the same way as He left. The 11 disciples, the mother of Jesus and some other women went to the upper room where they were used to gather. Finally they were 120 people and they elected Matthias to substitute Judas as an apostle. They were praying in one accord and they waited 10 days for the Holy Spirit to come.
You can follow me through the next dramatic chapter, chapter 2 in the Acts. It starts by describing the coming of the Holy Spirit as a rushing mighty wind that filled the whole house. It was like tongues of fire and each and everyone got a tongue of fire. The Holy Spirit did not come to some special people, but to everyone who was waiting for Him. The Spirit gave them to speak in other tongues. They could not do this by themselves. The manifestations were so enormous that some people thought that they were drunk. All the people around them heard the great sound of the coming of the Holy Spirit and they were confused since they could hear them speak in their own language. Many languages were represented there. Peter was the one to take control over the confusion. He spoke to all of them and reminded them of the prophesies in Joel. There we can read that God will pour out His Spirit on all flesh, sons and daughters shall prophesy, young men shall see visions and old men shall dream dreams. Also the slaves should get the Spirit and be able to prophesy. There will be signs and wonders in heaven and in earth. And most important: “whoever calls on the name of the Lord, shall be saved.” You can read the details yourself. I quote verse 38 where Peter says: “Repent, and let everyone of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” 3000 got baptized and the beginning of the Church, the Body of Christ, was a fact.
I want to tell a little about the first church. They continued in the doctrines and the fellowship of the apostles. They broke the bread and they prayed. They were selling their possessions and shared according to their needs. They got together daily. They were praising God and people liked them. They got new believers every day and they were added to the church. The apostles had received power to perform signs and wonders. The first Christians had tasted the power of the Holy Spirit and they lived in it daily. They lived a life in worship and thankfulness. They did not live a life in isolation, but realized that they were dependant on the rest of the body. They were all the time engaged in the well-being of the other members and they wanted new children. They were not introvert. They emphasized the teaching and the communion and they prayed a lot. They saw signs and wonders, but they did not seek them. It all came as a natural result of living with the Holy Spirit. THE CHURCH WAS BORN ON THE DAY OF PENTECOST.
In The Old Covenant the Holy Spirit had come upon kings, priests and prophets, but now they could all be baptized by the Holy Spirit. He was now that part of God Who was living on earth. God and Jesus are in Heaven. The Holy Spirit has all the time contact with the others. They are Three, but still One.
TO BE BAPTIZED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT.
Jesus said in Acts 1:5 that John was baptizing with water,” but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” This expression is therefore Biblical and not invented by Charismatic Christians. Before you get baptized in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit has to move into you. That happens when you realize that you are a sinner and receive Jesus as your sacrifice for your sins. He died and rose for you and you have to make Him the Lord of your life. The Holy Spirit lived before in the most holy place of the temple, but He has now moved into your spirit and the nature of God has moved into you. I have written before about the soul and the body. They have to be renewed. You can be baptized in the Holy Spirit at the same time you get saved. You will then receive power to testify about Jesus, live for Him and serve Him. We read that everybody who received the Holy Spirit, started to speak in new tongues. I have earlier pointed to Mark 16:17. It says: “And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues, they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” Are you a believer?
I usually say that when you get saved, the nuclear of an atom-bomb moves into you, but when you get baptized in the Holy Spirit, the nuclear explodes and you receive an enormous power. That does not mean that you must feel something enormous. God has created us as human beings and He knows how that power should function within and through us. I will write about the gifts of the Spirit later.
In chapter 5 in Acts, my Bible has this title: “Ananias and Sapphira are lying to the Holy Spirit.” They came to Peter to give their money to the church. They said that they gave all they got for selling their property, but they held back a certain amount of the money. Because of the fact that they lied to the Holy Spirit, they died immediately. This caused a great fear in the church. Peter said that they both Tempted and Lied to the Holy Spirit. According to the consequences of the story, I would not recommend anybody to do the same.
I rather tell you about Stephen. He was full of faith and power and made miracles among the people. In Acts 6:10 it says that they could not resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke. This is in the same line as what is written in Luke 21:15. There Jesus is saying: “I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist. ” The same goes for His followers to-day. I have traveled quite a bit and sometimes I have had problems with embassies concerning visas. I remember one time when the Holy Spirit had prepared me in advance and told me what to say. This caused a break-trough.
I could tell you many more similar stories.
Do you really know that the Holy Spirit can tell you what to do. In chapter 8 in Acts we read about Philip. An angel came an told him to leave and told him where to go. He was obedient and met an Ethiopian who worked for the Queen. He sat and read from Isaiah. The Spirit then said to Philip: “Go near and overtake this chariot.” Philip was wise and listened to the Spirit and went over to the Ethiopian. Philip shared the good news about Jesus with him and he got saved and baptized. When they came out of the water, The Spirit caught Philip away and the Ethiopian could not see him any more. Philip was found in Azotus and he preached the gospel wherever he came. I have many times wished for a “Philip-trip” when I was short of time and was stuck in a queue.
In chapter 10 we read about Peter who tried to understand a vision he had. There are many people coming to me and ask for help to explain what God has given them. They might spend a lot of energy on this. The Holy Spirit will explain you everything. Ask Him and if He does’nt give you an answer right away, lay it down. God’s timing is’nt always ours. God is not impatience, but we are. While Peter sat wondering, the Spirit said to him: “Behold, three men are seeking you. Arise therefore, go down and go with them, doubting nothing; for I have sent them.” Peter was sent to the centurion Cornelius. Peter preached the gospel to him and he and his household were saved, baptized in water and in the Spirit. In verse 44 it says that the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the words that were spoken by Peter. This was the first time that the Holy Spirit was poured over the gentiles. They spoke in new tongues and praised God. This was a revolution in church history.
I THANK YOU GOD THAT YOU POURED OUT THE HOLY SPIRIT OVER US GENTILES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!