The Advent Part 54
Acts 2:22-24, “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know – Him, being delivered by the determined counsel and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it.”
As the first part of Peter’s discourse was an introduction of sorts, laying the foundations and Biblically proving out that what had just occurred was the promise of God prophesied by Joel, he continues with the main theme of what the Holy Spirit was inspiring him to say, and as is the case with any man of God, the main theme was Christ crucified, put to death, and raised from the dead by God.
We see the essentials of the Gospel clearly outlined by Peter, and every one of these essential aspects has Jesus as their central theme and main focus. Peter begins with Jesus of Nazareth, the Man attested by God through miracles, wonders and signs, and ends with Jesus of Nazareth, He who could not be held by death.
The Holy Spirit will always emphasize Christ, the Holy Spirit will always highlight Jesus, and any man who omits Jesus from his oratory, any man who sidesteps the issue of Christ as being the Son of God and the only way into the Kingdom of heaven, is by no means lead by the Holy Spirit, nor does the Holy Spirit reside in them.
Matthew 10:32-33, “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father in heaven.”
Luke 9:26, “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels.”
I wanted to include these two verses in today’s teachings so that we can see the implications of not confessing Christ before men, and of not standing for the truth of Him whenever and wherever we have the opportunity to do so.
It is not personal preference not to wear our faith on our sleeve as some would say, it is not using wisdom to keep silent when you know those around you will not be receptive to the message, it is being ashamed of Christ and of His words that keeps believers from testifying of Him, and Jesus makes it very clear that if we are ashamed of Him and His words, then He will be ashamed of us when He comes in His own glory.
It is a sad and shameful thing that we are silent concerning the Christ in our freedom, while others trumpeted and gloried in His name even in the face of death. We like to think of ourselves in grandiose terms, we like to think of ourselves as soldiers of the cross, and as watchmen on the wall, as ambassadors of God and representatives of the Kingdom, but our actions betray our cowardice, our silence betrays our fear of man, and our unwillingness to confess the name of Christ to the world betrays our halfhearted commitment toward Him.
There will come a day when we will have to give account for our fear, for our cowardice, for our lack of zeal, and our deliberate and ongoing omission of Jesus and all that He is, and all that He did in our lives.
Do not let the stones cry out in your place, do not let the reward of your faithfulness and obedience pass you by, refuse to be a nominal Christian, refuse to be in the middle of the pack sheltered and safe from the slings and arrows of the enemy as well as the hateful words of a wicked world. Be bold for the sake of Christ, be bold for the sake of the cross, speak His name with authority and power and reverence, for by doing this the Son of God will confess your name before His Father who is in heaven.
Luke 19:40, “But he answered and said to them, ‘I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.’”
Upon witnessing the boldness of Peter as he stood before the Jews who had gathered, and juxtaposing it with the utter cowardice he exuded only a few days prior before a similar group of Jews when Jesus had been seized, we can understand the profound transformation that the Holy Spirit produces in the life of an individual when that individual is filled.
We see the complete transformation of Peter’s character, as well as the complete transformation of his personality, wherein he is no longer a fearful and cowardly man denying Christ by the light of a fire to all who would hear, but a bold and courageous defender of truth, and a fearless confessor of Christ Jesus.
Peter would never again return to the days of cowardice he had lived in before the advent of the Holy Spirit, because he was a new creature, born again, filled with boldness, and with authority, having the light of truth in his heart, and now knowing what it was that Jesus meant when He promised that they would be filled with a power from above.
When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, when we are baptized with the Holy Spirit, it is not a momentary experience after which we return to our old lives, our old way of thinking, our old way of doing things and our old way of speaking, but we are forever transformed, renewed, and changed. All the thistle and the rubble is burned away by the fire of the Holy Spirit, all the fear and the doubt is consumed, and all that remains is the seed of God that has been planted in our hearts, the power of the Holy Spirit that will guide us and teach us and speak to us concerning things to come.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.