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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Holy Spirit: Power Presence and Purpose Part 9

The Advent Part 1

Now that we’ve covered a few of the particularities of the person of the Holy Spirit, we will proceed to the advent that changed everything in regards to the early church. If we study the history of the primary church with diligence, we see an amazing transformation within the ranks of the believers, going from cowardly, fearful men, to bold and courageous defenders of Christ even to their deaths.

I have thought long and hard how to best approach the advent of the Holy Spirit, the outpouring of the power and the subsequent gifts, and have decided that the best course of action, as far as this particular part of our series is concerned, is to approach it in an exegetical manner.

For much of today’s church exegesis or the critical explanation of a text is a lost and dying practice, because many either consider it too tedious, too time consuming, or too in depth for our hyper, overactive, and attention challenged generation. If anything deserve exegetical study however, it is the Word of God, and it is worth taking the time to know it, understand it and live it.

With all requisite honesty, there is no other way for me to approach the advent of the Holy Spirit, and the power of the Holy Spirit than by exegesis, because there’s just so much meat, so many finite details that we must uncover, that I would be doing both you and myself a disservice if I approached it haphazardly and in a cursory manner.

And so, at least for the first two chapters of the book of Acts, or the Acts of the Apostles, we will be discussing each verse, individually and in depth, so that we might understand not only what happened on the day of Pentecost, but why it had to happen, and that it was promised and foretold by none other than Christ Jesus.

In reading the history of the primary church, and discovering the backgrounds of most of the Disciples of Christ, certain questions immediately spring to mind. They are questions that can only be answered when we understand exactly what it was that took place on the day of Pentecost, and what the fulfillment of Christ’s promise truly meant.

The questions are these: How is it that the followers of Christ, a handful of Galileans, simple fishermen and provincial Jews, became world renowned figures? What change took place in these fearful men who denied Christ, and ran away as He was being crucified, that transformed them into fiery, fearless, and unapologetic defenders of the new faith? How were these uneducated and untrained men able to leave such a lasting mark on the world, that it not only birthed a new culture, but changed civilization as they knew it? How is it that a movement born among the Jews, having a Messiah of the Jews as its central figure, and founded on Jewish Scripture, became a faith embraced by every nation, people and tongue as it is today?

It is the book of Acts that gives us the answers to these questions, and many others, and in my estimation it is the only link that connects the teachings of Christ Jesus the Savior in the gospels, with the fully matured Christianity of the Epistles of Paul the Apostle, and the other writers of the New Testament.

In order to understand the Spirit of the Holy Scriptures, we must know the letter of it as well; otherwise we will surely lose our way, and find ourselves far from the truth of God. Yes, I am a stickler for sticking to the Word, for seeing all things having to do with the Spiritual through the prism of the Bible, because it is the light unto our feet, that keeps us from stumbling, that keeps us from going astray, and that keeps us on the narrow path of faith. Absent light, we wander in darkness, unable to discern, to know, or to perceive the path before us, or follow it with certainty and surefootedness.

The books that make up the New Testament can be divided into three major groupings. The first grouping is the historical books of the New Testament encompassing the four Gospels as well as the Acts of the Apostles, the second grouping is the didactic books, or the books intended to convey instruction and information encompassing the twenty one Epistles, and the third grouping is the prophetic books, which in reality is one prophetic book, namely the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

The Acts of the Apostles is the fifth of five historical books of the New Testament, and is one of the most exciting books of the Bible. The way it is presented, the miracles it relates, the lives of the Apostles that it chronicles, all make the book of Acts a worthwhile and thrilling topic of study.

There is however more to the book of Acts than dynamic miracles, courageous saints, powerful manifestations of the Holy Spirit, and supernatural experiences. Within its pages we also discover a powerful and personal message for us as individuals, a message most necessary in our day and age when an awakening and a revival are desperately needed.

Within the pages of the book of Acts we discover not only what is required in order to see an awakening or a revival, but also what a true awakening or revival looks like. Contrary to popular belief, a tried and true awakening or revival does not consist of a larger than average Christian crowd gathering in a certain place, to hear a certain preacher, but it ultimately impacts the world, and those of the world, reaching the city from which it sparks, and ultimately the nation and awakening them to the reality of the love and saving power of Christ Jesus.

True revival calls the sinner to repentance, it calls the wayward back to the narrow path of faith, and it calls the prodigal back into his Father’s house. True revival cannot be insulated within the walls of the church or the walls of the cathedral, but it must make its way beyond the confines of a building or a denomination and draw those who are in the darkness toward the light of Jesus.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

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