THE FATHER’S BLESSING

Acts 1:4,5 ¶ And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now”.

Not every one admits it or is even in touch with it themselves but everyone wants their father’s blessing. I have some fond memories of my dad from my childhood. My father was old school, never told you he was proud of you or loved you and but he had very high expectations that he placed on all of his children. He taught me how to hit a baseball when I could barely walk. Actually he made the mistake of tossing a golf ball to me when I was about two. I had a little bat and hit a line drive into his Adam’s apple; that was the last batting practice we had with a golf ball. I remember him making it to a baseball game I played in when I was in high school, I was so proud when my dad told me I had played a great game.

The Bible is full of stories about the Father’s blessing. Abraham blessed Isaac, Isaac blessed Jacob, and Jacob blessed the sons of Joseph; Ephraim and Manasseh. Today’s verse describes the fulfillment of the Heavenly Fathers’ blessing. Of course Jesus had lived in His Father’s blessing from eternity as the Son of God. Something was changing now. Jesus had become a man and was about to receive the Father’s blessing as a man for all mankind. The Father had made His Son an eternal promise; if He would become a man and redeem fallen man with His blood, He would secure the blessing of the Father for all who believe in Him.

What exactly is the promise of the Father? Paul tells us in Gal. 3:13,14 ¶ Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith”. Do you see it now? The blessing of the Father is the Holy Spirit; He comes to live in us, immerse us in Himself, and cause us to experience all the benefits of being His Son. He is the Father’s promise and the blessing of the Father. Today, the favor and blessing of the Father is available for all who believe in His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.

THE MESSAGE OF THE KINGDOM

He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. ACTS 1:3

You ever think about what Jesus said to Pilate when he asked the Lord if He was a king?

He said, “My kingdom is not of this world”. He didn’t deny He was a king, He knew Pilate could never comprehend His answer. It was as if He said, “I am a king, just not that kind of king”. You see in Pilate’s mind a king was about palaces, armies, prestige, wealth, and political power. Jesus was speaking of the unseen kingdom, the kingdom of God. His kingdom was about men’s hearts and souls. He even told Nicodemus that you can’t see His kingdom unless you are born again. When someone is truly born again, they are transferred from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of God’s only Son. Here are some thoughts from Andrew Murray on the kingdom of God.
“The teaching of Jesus during the forty days after the resurrection dealt primarily with the kingdom of God. It is remarkable that Luke, in the last verses of Acts, sums up the teaching of Paul at Rome in the same words: “He explained and declared to them the kingdom of God” (Acts 28:23) and “He preached the kingdom of God” (Acts 28:31). Christ had entrusted to His disciples the announcement of the coming of the kingdom—a kingdom of righteousness and peace and joy. The rule of God in heaven came down in the power of the Spirit, and the disciples were full of the one thought—to preach the coming of the Spirit into the hearts of men. The good news was that the kingdom of God was ruling and dwelling within men, even as in heaven. In the last command our Lord gave to His disciples (see Acts 1:4–8), we will find the great truths of the gospel:”
The kingdom of God was the message of Jesus and the early church. They all knew about earthly kings and kingdoms, in Christ they had found something far greater. In Him there was a greater purpose, a greater power, and a sustaining joy. Just as Jesus testified the good confession before Pilate and tasted death because of the joy set before Him, we can live in this world even though we are not of this world. We are citizens of another kingdom, and because we have tasted the glory of it, this kingdom on earth has lost its attraction to us; it just doesn’t do it for us anymore.

THE PROMISE OF THE FATHER

Acts 1:4,5 ¶ And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, ‘you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now’.

This is one of my favorite promises in the Bible. Actually, it is surrounded with great mystery. Jesus is giving us a glimpse into an arrangement between the Father and the Son that took place in what could be called eternity past. Before there was a universe, before there was even a thing known as time, the Father made a promise to His only Son. It went something like this, “If you become one of this race called humanity and redeem them from their fallen state, I will give you a remnant of that race to become fellow heirs with you. They will be given this same relationship with Me that You have enjoyed from eternity”. Today, we call this promise the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. It is the purchased prize of the Son of God at Calvary. That is the Father’s promise. This is the relationship that we enjoy today, the fullness of the Holy Spirit. Here are some comments from Jonathan Edwards on this very promise.
“Christ was made a curse for us that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. The Holy Ghost is the sum of all the spiritual blessings which God hath promised. Therefore, ’tis called the Spirit of Promise. This is the great promise of the Father; review me, and behold I send the promise of the Father upon you. This promised thing Christ received; it was given into his hand as soon as he had finished the work of our redemption, to bestow on all that he had redeemed: Acts 2:33 Therefore, being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, [he] hath shed {forth this, which ye now see and hear}.”
Today more than ever we need the fulfillment of this promise in our lives. The world is dark and unpredictable, the Holy Spirit becomes our strength and hiding place in this crooked and perverse generation. We don’t have to live our lives tormented by temptation and fear, the power of the Holy Spirit is available to us to help us live godly lives in this ungodly world.

RECEIVING POWER

Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

This is one of the greatest of all Bible promises. It seems all most unthinkable, Jesus is promising His followers the same power for ministry that was on Him. He had told them that they would do greater things than He had done in His lifetime, they had no idea how anything like that would be remotely possible. This was the game changer. The disciples were being suddenly launched into a ministry that seemed impossible. It would have been impossible if they did not receive the promised power of the Holy Spirit. The thing that is even more amazing is this, that promise is still in effect. It wasn’t just for the early church and the apostles. This promise is for us. It was given to men, women, the young and the old, it was even given to all of the ethnic groups of the world. This power is available for you. Here are some thoughts from Albert Barnes on this promise.
“But ye shall receive power, etc. Literally, as it is translated in the margin, “ye shall receive the power of the Holy Ghost coming upon you.” This was said to them to console them. Though they could not know the times which God reserved in his own appointment, yet they should receive the promised Guide and Comforter. The word power here refers to all the help or aid which the Holy Spirit would grant; the power of speaking with new tongues; of preaching the gospel with great effect; of enduring great trials, etc. See Mark 16:17, 18. The apostles had impatiently asked him if he was then about to restore the kingdom to Israel. Jesus by this answer rebuked their impatience; taught them to repress their ill-timed ardor; and assured them again of the coming of the Holy Ghost.”
The church today needs this power. Somehow we often settle for far less than New Testament Christianity. This generation needs to see the power of God for itself. Its time for all of us to shake off our preconceived ideas about what church should look like. It’s time to wait again for power to fall upon us from on high. This will take us out of the realm of human effort and orchestration to the arena of the power of the Holy Spirit.

PROTESTANT AND PENTECOSTAL #3

Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

 

I am a Pentecostal, Protestant Christian. When Jesus left His disciples to return to heaven, He told them to wait for the “Promise of the Father” [Acts 1:4]. This is a promise the Father made to Jesus in eternity. The Father and the Son entered an eternal covenant. If Christ would become a man and sacrifice his life for fallen man all those who believed upon Him would receive the Promise, the awesome baptism in the Holy Spirit. The baptism in the Spirit is the purchasd possession obtained by Christ on the cross.

Secondly I want to honor the heavenly ministry of Jesus. John prophesied that Jesus would baptize us with the Holy Spirit and fire (Mark 1:8,9). When Jesus ascended into heaven His heavenly ministry as our heavenly High Priest began. This heavenly ministry is the ministry of immersion into the person of the Holy Spirit. We see the first occurrence of this on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4). Today His heavenly ministry continues. The modern church, many times, does not recognize or honor Jesus and His heavenly ministry. Many times we want to rewrite the emphasis of the church and the Christian life. To honor the heavenly ministry of Jesus we must be baptized in the Holy Spirit.

Thirdly, we need supernatural power. Our world is becoming more dangerous everyday. It is becoming harder and harder for Christians to live a godly life in this dark, wicked world. We need the power of God, the tangible power that comes upon us when we are baptized in the Holy Spirit. To live holy in this perverse world we need His power.

We also need this power for effective ministry. Jesus told us this in Acts 1:8. He said we would receive power (dunamis-supernatural power) when the Holy Spirit comes upon us. We are dealing with addictions, illnesses, and all kinds of bondages when ministering to this generation. Christian empowerment slogans are not good enough, we must have power.

Finally, I am a Pentecostal because of the blessing given to me by the supernatural language of prayer. Speaking in tongues is the doorway to the world of the supernatural.

Paul said we are edified, built up spiritually (1 Corinthians 14:2,4) when we pray in tongues. He said the Holy Spirit helps us in our weaknesses when we pray in the Spirit (Romans 8:26). He taught about our intercessory anointing that sometimes comes when we pray in tongues (Romans 8:27). He also taught about the prophetic nature of praying in the Spirit (1 Corinthians 14:15).

The prayer language is not an after thought, or an unimportant extra. The prayer language is foundational to the supernatural Christian life.

We live in perilous times (II Timothy 3:1). We need to return to the faith of our fathers. We have drifted toward a seeker sensitive, Christian light faith for far to long. We must return to our Protestant and our Pentecostal roots. The future of our families our cities and our nation are on the line. Join with me on my spiritual safari, we are sojourning to the city, the city that has a foundation whose builder and maker is God.

 

LEANING ON THE LORD’S SIDE

Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

If you study the history of denominationalism, you will find yourself in the middle of the study of revival. The reformation opened the door in the 1500’s for a series of denominational spinoffs that were the results of times of spiritual renewal. In a perfect world you would think that revival would birth unity; that’s seldom the case. Normally a church that is birthed in renewal will cool off after several generations. It seems like every century or so there are new revivals resulting in new denominations. The Pentecostal movement that began in the early twentieth century is now at that critical time. Many of the spirit filled churches have given way to the pressures of society and have succumbed to the modern relevant church movement. Here are some interesting words from Stanley Horton, one of our Pentecostal Fathers.

“The recognition that we are not self-sufficient, but totally dependent on Christ and the Holy Spirit to do anything that pleases God, and the willingness to give Him all the praise, is the secret of the success of the Pentecostal Movement today. More than that, the Pentecostals stand firm at the point that marks off Bible-believers from so-called liberals. The line of demarcation is not the acceptance simply of the Virgin Birth, the Cross, or the Resurrection. It is rather the supernatural itself. Those who oppose the simple gospel of Christ, who try to strip the Bible of its miracles, and who cut up the New Testament and make Jesus an empty figure—a pale, mistaken teacher—all build their theories on an anti-supernaturalistic bias.

Most of these anti-supernaturalists argue that they must remove the supernatural from the Bible in order to make the gospel acceptable and applicable to modern man.”

This really defines what has happened over and over again. From the Presbyterians to the Methodists, and then the Baptists to the Pentecostals; the cooling off of one movement precipitates the need for another move of God. The good news is that the Lord is patient and persistent, He never gives up. He is determined to have a witness of His supernatural power in the world today. The only question, which side are you leaning on?

YOU SHALL RECEIVE POWER

Acts 1:8 But 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.”

Christianity is intended to be a supernatural. It is not just a philosophy, a creed, a belief system, or a moral code; even though those things are somehow connected to our Christian faith. Somehow, Christianity, at its primitive state, is about the power of God. The early church demonstrated it’s faith with power. The power was seen in supernatural preaching, healing the sick and casting out demons. The power was evident in their prayers and in their testimony of Christ-like behavior. The power that was evident in the midst of the church brought a fear of God even in the secular community. It was the powerful presence of the Holy Spirit in the midst of the church that made the Christian gatherings so unique. Too often today our modern churches want to disassociate themselves with the power of God. That is tragic. It is the power of God that saves us, delivers us, and heals us. It is the very power of God that our souls are longing for. Here are some thoughts from Albert Barnes about the power of God.

“Literally, as it is translated in the margin, “ye shall receive the power of the Holy Ghost coming upon you.” This was said to them to console them. Though they could not know the times which God reserved in his own appointment, yet they should receive the promised Guide and Comforter. The word power here refers to all the help or aid which the Holy Spirit would grant; the power of speaking with new tongues; of preaching the gospel with great effect; of enduring great trials, etc. See Mark 16:17, 18. The apostles had impatiently asked him if he was then about to restore the kingdom to Israel. Jesus by this answer rebuked their impatience; taught them to repress their ill-timed ardour; and assured them again of the coming of the Holy Ghost.”

The Holy Spirit alone is the game hanger. I have a feeling there is about to be another shift in the climate in the Christian Church. There is no other option. The desperate state of our world demands the power of the Spirit. The Lord will respond proportionally in the fullness of time. Get ready; the greatest move of the Spirit in history will suddenly appear in His church.