Acts1: 8-14

Written by kathleen on Nov 02, 2014 in - No Comments

 

Acts 1:8-14

The Spirit of the Lord

(Ezekiel 37:1–10).  

1 The hand of the LORD was upon me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. 2 He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. 3 He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” I said, “O Sovereign LORD, you alone know.”

4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! 5 This is what the Sovereign LORD says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. 6 I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the LORD.'”

7 So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. 8 I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.

9 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe into these slain, that they may live.'” 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet-a vast army.

After the Spirit of the Lord carried the prophet Ezekiel to a valley full of dry bones, He told Ezekiel to preach to the bones. When Ezekiel preached, there was a great noise as the bones started to connect. But Ezekiel realized that although his preaching had produced commotion, there was no life—the bones were still dead.

God then told him to prophesy or call out to the wind. At that point Ezekiel was no longer to prophesy to the people, but to intercede in the Spirit on behalf of the people. What happened?

The bones came to life. The rattling bones became a mighty army when God’s Spirit represented by the wind replaced commotion & confusion!

The same thing happened in the Book of Acts. One hundred twenty believers in an upper room were wondering what to do and where to go. When the mighty rushing wind filled the room and then their dry bones became living witnesses who turned the world right side up and the world has never been the same.

8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

This is a promise to us that change will take place in your life and that the things of Gods Kingdom will have a greater importance than ever before; just as it did with the disciples in the upper room.

The same kind of change that happened from not saved to saved

The progress of the spread of the Gospel from Jerusalem, to Judea and Samaria, and then to the end of the earth becomes the outline of Acts.

Acts chapters 1 through 7 describe the gospel in Jerusalem chapters 8 through 12 speak of the gospel in Judea and Samaria, and chapters 13 through 28 tell of the gospel going to the end of the earth.

This makes me wonder what the places of ministry Jesus described were like. Jerusalem was where Jesus was executed at the words of an angry mob; Judea rejected His ministry; Samaria was regarded as a wasteland of impure half-breeds; and in the uttermost parts of the earth, the Gentiles were seen as nothing better than fuel for the fires of Hell. Yet God wanted a witness sent to all of these places.

The disciples were still seeing power, too much in terms of Caesar, and not enough in terms of a savior.

Jesus offers them real power, spiritual power that will change their lives forever (The offer still stands)

The natural result of receiving that power would be that they (and you) would become witnesses of Jesus, all over the earth

Notice that this really isn’t a command; it is a simple statement of fact: When the Holy Spirit has come upon you . . . you shall be witnesses of Me — Jesus

The words shall be are in the indicative, not the imperative. Jesus wasn’t recommending that they become witnesses He was saying they would be witnesses.

This is also a fulfillment of prophesy from Isaiah 43:10 has the Lord proclaiming to His people You are My witnesses

If we want to be powerful witnesses and be used beyond what we ever expected, we need to be filled to overflowing with the Holy Spirit!  It’s far more important than the best course in evangelism

Last week we had learned the gift of the Spirit is a gift to be received by faith.  And even at this moment, you can be a recipient of the power of the Holy Spirit upon your life if by faith you simply say, “Thank You, Father, for the promise. Jesus, do the work You said You would. Baptize me with Your Spirit.”

Somebody here may be thinking “Wait a minute my Baptist background doesn’t confirm this because First Corinthians 12:13 says: For by one Spirit we have all been baptized into one body.  So what’s this about a second “coming upon” of the Spirit?”

Nothing has changed!

The moment you opened your heart to Jesus Christ, the Spirit baptized you, immersed you, and plunged you into the body of Christ as confirmed in 1 Corinthians 12:13. But that’s an entirely different baptism than that of Jesus baptizing you in the Spirit.

If you check your concordance you will see a number of baptisms mentioned in the Bible. There’s the baptism of John (Acts 1:22), the baptism of repentance (Acts 13:24), the baptism of suffering (Matthew 20:22), and the baptism into Moses   (1 Corinthians 10:2). In fact, there are at least seven different baptisms in Scripture.

“But doesn’t Ephesians 4:5 say there is one Lord and one baptism and         one faith?” Yes. But again, context of scripture rules: and that text (Eph.4:5) speaks of the unity of the body. Study carefully before you build any theology upon an isolated verse.

Concerning the baptism of the Holy Spirit you no longer have to wait for the Holy Spirit But we do need to wait on the Holy Spirit because our preparation of the Spirit comes through waiting on the Spirit!

That is why Jesus didn’t say to the early believers, “Receive the power of the Spirit right now.” He could have done it that way, but instead He said, “For ten days do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.

Now, if the power of the Spirit is available right now—and it is—then what’s the purpose of waiting on Him?

There are several reasons… In the psalms after a psalmist came to a profound point, he would often say, “Selah” or, “Stop and think about it.”

So concerning the dynamic of the Holy Spirit I would suggest for some of you, “selah” means not merely taking someone else’s word for it, but thinking it through for yourself as you wait on the Lord and study His Word.

I suggest this because some of us are coming out of a dispensational background and were taught that there is no second blessing; that there is no baptism with the Spirit; that the gifts of prophecy, healing, tongues, and visions were for an earlier dispensation and are no longer available for us today.  BUT!

Hebrews 13:8 tells us Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Therefore inferring the Father and the Holy Spirit are also the same with their gifts and attributes!

Luke 11:13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

1 Cor 12:7-11 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.  11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.

Acts 2:38-39  Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off-for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

For me personally I would hear of miracles from missionaries that took place on missionary trips. I would see brothers & sisters in Christ that had such a dynamic excitement about Jesus, and would be just a shinning testimony for Jesus. But I wasn’t experiencing anything like that.

I was saved I knew I was going to heaven. I was even going to church on a regular basis! But my Christian life was like the dry bones of Ezekiel 37.

Something was missing and I had to go through a couple of years of preparation and  transition—of rethinking and reevaluating—before I received the empowering of the Spirit simply by asking for it in faith. It was in the dungeon that the Lord said to Jeremiah, “Call on Me, and I’ll show you things you never would have imagined” Jeremiah 33:3

It was when Abraham was well-advanced in years that God said, “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them. So shall your descendants be” Genesis 15:5.

As we wait on the Lord, He will direct your vision beyond prison walls and physical limitations in order to give you His vision of what He wants to do in your life!

If you will just keep doing what you know you are to do and watch for the Lord to open doors of opportunity in your lives; he will have already prepared the way of direction and will give you the strength and power to accomplish it by the anointing of His Holy Spirit!

9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.

Jesus was taken up from them, as He was blessing them in Luke 24:50 As He slowly disappeared into the sky, surrounded by a cloud (the Shekinah glory?)

Why did Jesus ascend this way? He certainly could have simply “vanished” to the Father’s presence in a secret sort of way.   With the ascension, its likely Jesus wanted His followers to know that He was gone for good, as opposed to the way He appeared and reappeared during the forty days after the resurrection.

Remember Jesus’ words to His disciples in John 16:7 : It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. Now the disciples could know that that promise would be fulfilled.

10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them.

11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”

As they stood gazing up into heaven the two men (apparently angels) told the disciples to put their attention in the right place!!   (Obedience to Jesus’ command to return to Jerusalem)

They were not to wonder where and how Jesus went

But were told Jesus will return just as He left: physically, visibly, and to the Mount of Olives.  Some Bible teachers speculate that the “men” were possibly Moses and Elijah. It seems best to say they were angels.

12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day’s walk from the city. (About a half mile)

13 When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. Those present were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. 14 They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers

The stage is set  for the next ACT The eleven disciples (the twelve minus Judas) are present; along with Mary, the mother of Jesus, the brothers of Jesus most likely James and Jude along with the women who followed Jesus, and others, adding up to about 120

Their obedience is displayed: Jesus told them to return to Jerusalem and wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit, and that is exactly what they did. They didn’t forget the sermon right after they heard it and they actually did what Jesus told them to do, even though He was no longer physically present with them. (A preachers dream)

Their unity is evident: These all continued with one accord. When we saw the disciples in the gospels, it seemed that they were always fighting and bickering.

Their prayer was consistent: they all prayed, and they continued in prayer and supplication.

We see four important steps in making godly decisions the disciples are in obedience, they are in fellowship, and they are in prayer, and they are waiting on the Lord!

What had changed?  Peter still had the history of denying the Lord and is impulsive; Matthew was still a tax collector; Simon was still a zealot. Their differences were still there,

What changed was the resurrected Jesus in their hearts that was greater than any difference.

For them the coming upon of the Holy Spirit will change their lives forever; just as He will for you– even into eternity!

I have to ask; what’s in your heart?

Has the resurrection of Jesus made a difference in the way you live?

Have you experienced personal Salvation through Jesus Christ?

If so have you asked the Holy Spirit of God to come upon you with a fresh dynamic in your life causing you to love Jesus more, and wanting to share the love of God with others?

It’s all possible this morning just for the asking!