Jesus Commands: Receive the Spirit


Jesus clearly promises that he will send the Holy Spirit and commanded us to receive Him. Yet this clear instruction is left off many lists of Jesus commands. Perhaps it is ommitted because we cannot fill ourselves Holy Spirit. Yet if we have been paying attention throughout this series so far we will have seen that  by ourselves we cannot obey most of the commands of Jesus.

In the verses below we see that the Holy Spirit is sent by the Father and the Son, but must be received by us. Think of him as a house guest that is sent to us. Will we receive him warmly? Will we welcome him into the very centre of our lives? Or will we grudgingly allow him to camp outside near our house? Will we speak with him? Will we enjoy his company? Will we become friends with him?

Jesus Commands us to Receive the Holy Spirit

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What Makes A Family?

Bethel School Of Spiritual Drunkenness

By Rick Becker

The doctrines and practices emanating from Bethel are as far removed from biblical Christianity as the east is from the west.  Leaders at BSSM channel their students into the dark world of mysticism, vain imaginations, and the demonic.  It takes little discernment to realize that what the BSSM promotes is evil.  The fact that they cannot see this indicates they have rejected truth; they have been given over to a delusion.  Our task is to contend for the faith by warning and praying for those caught up in this deception.

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What Is Atonement?

Podcast – “Ministry Fire: The Role that the Holy Spirit Plays in Ministry” (Acts 19:1-22)

Fat Airplane

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Hebrews 12:1 (NIV)

I remember reading about an airplane used by missionaries that gained two-hundred extra pounds in weight since it was manufactured sixteen years previously. Nobody knows where the extra weight came from.

“We’ve been joking about the only plane in Weight Watchers,” said the pilot. “But it’s really a serious matter. Unless we can shed the extra weight, the plane’s utility is seriously limited. We just can’t carry an extra two-hundred pounds and have space for the cargo we need to deliver.”

Many of us, like the missionaries’ airplane, are carrying extra weight that can stop us from being fully functional and fully alive. For some, the extra weight may be physical, which can lead to ill health. For others, it may be unresolved emotional or spiritual issues. For example, if I am carrying an overload of guilt, fear, grief, hurt, anger, or resentment, or have some unconfessed sin or unresolved addiction in my life. Any of these can keep me bogged down and hinder my being fully productive.

God is not out to clobber us because of these things, but he wants us—with his help and that of supportive friends—to resolve and overcome our issues so that we can get rid of the weight that holds us back and thereby free us to “run with patience the race set before us” and win!

Suggested prayer: “Dear God, please help me to find and trim the “fat” in my life—those things that so easily beset me and keep me from becoming and doing all that you have envisioned for me to be and do. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus’ name, amen.”


Peter’s First Address

Acts 2:14-21

Actually Peter’s remarks continue all the way through verse 41, but I want to be respectful of your time, so I’m breaking them into multiple parts for our discussion.

Peter begins by speaking to the silly notion that they are all drunk, reminding the crowd that it was still only nine in the morning. By tradition, the ninth hour was the time for morning prayer after which the first meal of the day would be eaten; silly notion indeed. Then Peter gives an explanation of what was going on that morning, by telling the people that “‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. (2:17a). The prophet Joel, who is being quoted here (see Joel 2:28-32) spoke in a time of trial when the people were feeling the weight of their sin during a time of plague, when God had spoken of a future when Messiah would bring about the fulfillment of God’s purpose with His people, pouring out His Spirit upon all people. This was the longed for age of the Messiah for which they had been yearning such a long time now. In addition to Joel, Isaiah, Hosea and Micah had called this time “the last days”, as would New Testaments writers such as Peter himself, John and the author of Hebrews. Those in the crowd that day would have had no difficulty in understanding the reference, since it was a rich part of their heritage.

Joel made it quite clear that these wonders of God would be for all of the people. Notice that he said things like “all people”, “sons and daughters”, and “both men and women” that mark a great contrast with the restricted activity of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament. Now, the Holy Spirit was to be “poured out” on all who believed; God was expecting universal acceptance. In 2:19-20 we see a number of apocalyptic elements that add to this the sense that God is doing a work of staggering proportion, and finally in verse 21 we see that what is coming about is a new age of salvation for all of those who will accept it:

And everyone who calls
on the name of the Lord will be saved

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A Sober Warning from the Earliest Christians

When I was a kid, my family once watched a movie that included vivid scenes of persecution against the earliest Christians. I remember lying awake at night, terrified by these images of Christians burning in the streets and being fed to the lions. I couldn’t help but imagine myself in the place of those beleaguered believers. At the time, I assumed they were being persecuted simply for being Christians, but as I’ve studied early church history, I’ve come to realize it’s not quite so simple. And as simplicity gives way to reality, I see there are some important lessons we can learn today through that early church persecution.

The earliest Christians lived within the Roman Empire, and, despite what you may have heard, Rome was surprisingly tolerant of other faiths. As they conquered the surrounding nations, they would rarely demand full loyalty to the traditional Roman religion or gods. They would allow people to continue to worship their own gods in pretty much their own way. But still the Christians were persecuted. Why?

The great challenge of the Roman Empire was binding together many cultures, faiths, and nations under a common banner. As their armies conquered lands stretching from Germany to Northern Africa, from Spain to Syria, this challenge became increasingly difficult. What could serve as a kind of bond to hold it all together? The obvious answer was the Emperor. He could stand in as the living embodiment of the empire so that loyalty to the Emperor would be synonymous with loyalty to Rome. And how could such loyalty be displayed? By having every citizen make a sacrifice to him as if he was divine. So Rome did not insist that everyone convert to their religion; they merely insisted that every religion add a small homage to the Emperor, a small act of worship that would serve as a display of their loyalty to the Empire.

Christians refused to do this. Their ultimate and exclusive loyalty to Jesus Christ precluded them from making the offering, and it was this refusal that was the source of so much of the persecution. It’s crucial to understand that from the Roman perspective, the persecution was not primarily about religion, but about politics. The Christians’ unwillingness to add this small element to their worship made them appear disloyal to the Emperor and to his empire. By failing to make their offering to Caesar, they were not failing a religious test as much as a test of good citizenship. They were refusing to participate in the ceremony that signified the unity of the empire. Thus, they were persecuted as disloyal citizens who hindered rather than strengthened their society.

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Authentic Saints

“If we claim to be sinless, we are self-deceived and strangers to the truth. If we confess our sins, he is just, and may be trusted to forgive our sins and cleanse us from every kind of wrong.” 1 John 1:9 (NEB)

Richard Halverson, former chaplain of the US Senate shared the following message in one of his monthly report letters some time ago:

“Sinners enjoy authentic fellowship. Saints don’t.

“People who pose as saints aren’t free to remove their masks. Under pressure to project conventional piety, they are unable to open up and share themselves.

“Upholding the traditional religious image, they remain invulnerable in human relationships because they dare not expose their real selves.

“They major in propositions rather than persons. They share their victories but never their failures. They congratulate one another in their little mutual admiration societies.

“Meeting head to head instead of heart to heart, they protect themselves against discovery, and ricochet against each other like marbles.

“The authentic saint is oblivious to his sainthood, is deeply aware of his unworthiness, sensitive to his failure, and confesses that he is a sinner.

“Which makes possible true fellowship.

“Sinners acknowledge their inadequacy, lean heavily on God’s grace, and identify quickly with need in others.

“Recognizing that all men are sinners and are unwilling to hide from the truth, they share their weaknesses, confess their sins to one another, and do not fear vulnerability.

“They come together like grapes, crushed and fragrant, dependent upon each other and God.”

As the Bible puts it, “God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to be sharing in his life while we walk in the dark, our words and our lives are a lie … But if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, then we share together a common life, and we are being cleansed from every sin by the blood of Jesus his Son. If we claim to be sinless, we are self-deceived and strangers to the truth. If we confess our sins, he is just, and may be trusted to forgive our sins and cleanse us from every kind of wrong.” 1 John 1:5-9

Suggested prayer: “Dear God, please help me to be real with myself, with trusted friends and, above all, with you so that I will be an authentic Christian—and always walk in the light. And grant that others seeing Jesus in me will want him for him or herself. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus’ name, amen.”

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True Love Expressed

1 Peter 1:22 Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart.

Can any of us remember the first time we used the word love? I can’t remember the first time – because – like my grandchildren – it was probably to a relative – like my mom or dad – when I was a wee lad. I love it when my grandchildren say – I love you Pop. I tell them I love them every time I see them.

Can we remember – in our teen or older years – the first time we used the word love? Maybe it was in reference to a singing group or singer? Something like – I love Stevie Wonder or the Beatles or Steppenwolf. Maybe it was in reference to a TV or movie star? Something like – I love Elvis Presley or John Wayne (I’ll let our younger readers have a moment to Google the above mentioned persons and groups).

Can we remember – in our teen or older years – the first time we used the word love? Maybe we can remember the first time we told someone we really liked that we loved them? It might have been our first encounter with the opposite sex. It may have been short lived or lasted even till today or a lifetime.

Can we remember the first time we told Jesus we loved Him? For many – their conversion was a life-changing event. Even if they grew up in the church – that moment when they acknowledged Christ as their personal Lord and Savior was life changing. I can remember my conversion moment – it was powerful and yes – life-changing.

Here is today’s passage in partial context. 1 Peter 1:13–25 – 13 Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. 14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” 17 Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear. 18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 20 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. 21 Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God. 22 Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart. 23 For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. 24 For, “All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, 25 but the word of the Lord endures forever.” And this is the word that was preached to you.

During this time of political unrest – even theological unrest – we must continue to tell people – when appropriate – that we love them. We also need to remember to express love to all people (loving hearts and attitudes). I would suggest that hitting the love icon on social media is a weak expression of love.

When we do not express love – walls go up that will hinder us from reaching people for Jesus. Remember – our witness extends these days to social media. As my wife often reminds me – our task is to help lead people to Christ not help them to support or reject the #POTUS or any politician. Let our love for Jesus be sincere and let us deny self and show love to all – sincere love that goes beyond a person agreeing with us or not on their support or rejection of the current #POTUS or his policies or other politicians and policies. We might be far left of far right in our political and even theological views but we can still express love to one another in Christ. True love expressed for one another will go a long way in keeping us connected – even as we disagree.

Just something for us to think about today as we go on our way.

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