Sunday, May 23, 2010
What is being poured out on mankind and by whom?
Do we live in a world of hate or ever-spreading love? Do we live in a world of abundance or want and famine? Do we live in a world of morals and ethics or worsening corruption?
I believe we can find the answer in Acts Chapter 2. We live in a world of both!
Shall we walk slowly through the first Christian day of Pentecost?
My commentary will be in bold font.
1And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
Hmmm! Right here in the first verse we see the key to this first Christian Pentecost, "...they were all with one accord...!" How many churches do you see all on one accord today? People whine and moan about no miracles, no healings and no power of God in their congregations and we see strife and division in their midst. Is there any wonder why the power of God, the workings and gifts of the Holy Spirit and peace are not present?
2And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
A sign from heaven! How many times in each of our own lives have we seriously needed and prayed for a sign from heaven? How many time would that sign have been all we needed to pick ourselves up and march boldly forward in the face of overwhelming odds? Yet, how many Christians seek that sign and turn right around and gossip about the folks in the next pew? Is that being in "one accord?"
3And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
"...and it sat upon each of them!" A sign from God-power directly from the Lord God Jehovah sitting on "each of them!" Notice here it doesn't say, "...each of them, except brother Joe Bob over there in the last pew!" It's very evident to those who UNDERSTAND AND DISCERN THE LANGUAGE of what they read that when a Body of Christ is truly in ONE ACCORD the power of the Holy Spirit will be there and manifest itself with POWER AND SIGNS FROM GOD!
4And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
"And they were filled with the Holy Ghost," When the power of almighty Jehovah God fills you it is a demonstrable, evident and emotional experience! You FEEL that power through the presence of the Holy Ghost(Spirit). However, be warned, just a purely emotional experience can be mistaken and that's why we are admonished to "test the spirit." How do you test the spirit? Always test the spirit with the Word of God! Does this emotional experience comfort, exhort and edify? If it doesn't then tell that spirit to "get thee behind me in Jesus' name!" Even demons have emotions. They feared Jesus when they were cast out of the demoniac of Gedera. "...and began to speak with other tongues...!" I'm not going to get into the subject of speaking in tongues here but suffice it to say that in this particular instance Gallileans, considered particularly backwards and uneducated, were speaking in numerous dialects and languages of the known world at the time. Something absolutely un-orthodox and unbelievable to the educated of Jerusalem at the time.
"...as the Spirit gave them utterance" Is there any doubt that if God wanted he could enable his children to speak utter jibberish so someone, somewhere could understand it?
5And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.
The way I understand the LANGUAGE of this passage these "devout men" were all Jews who were from all of the nations of the known world. "Devout" would seem to indicate educated. Now "educated" at that time, to my understanding would mean, highly educated and learned in the Torah, the Books of the Law, the major and minor prophets and the Books of Poetry. I understand that these men would have had most of the Torah memorized. This could not happen without many years of painstaking study. There would have been no way to fool these men with a simple performance!
6Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.
Numerous different languages and numerous different dialects of Hebrew, all spoken by a group of men considered uneducated and backwards.
7And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?
This questions does not just ask the questions about Gallilaeans but the fact that they were indeed Gallilaeans! They were not considered educated people.
8And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?
Now do we begin to understand the power of the Holy Spirit? Who was it who confounded the languages in the plain of Shinar? Did the Lord God not invent language? Is it beyond his power then to make every man understand what these uneducated, backwards Gallilaeans were saying? It must have scared them. Possibly they feared their positions. They very well could have been insulted that these unlearned, backwards men were gifted with such power THEY KNEW WAS FROM GOD! See the parallel here? Jesus came from humility and demonstrated great power and here we have the same thing!
9Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,
10Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,
11Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.
Such power! A demonstration of the power of God in these Gallilaeans!
12And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?
13Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.
Amazement, doubt, mocking and an accusation of drunkenness. The exact same reaction to the coming, the works and the life of Jesus!
14But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:
15For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.
16But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;
Ah oh! Here it come! More fulfillment of prophesy! This must have been the last thing these learned men wanted to hear! After all, they had seen Jesus die, they had seen the curtain in the Holy of Holies torn, they experienced the earthquake, they had seen the dead walk up out of their graves(very little of this is spoken of or preached about), they had experienced the sun growing dark in the middle of the day and they knew the Romans had guarded the tomb and had to have known his body wasn't just moved! And now here was yet another miracle! Do you again see another parallel? These learned and "devout men of Jerusalem" were descendents of those who witnessed the plagues upon Egypt and all of God's miracles in the desert and here they were doing the same things their ancestors had done! They did not believe! One would think they could look back into their own history and simply believe! Now lest we point fingers, how much is this like our own lives today? We have a recorded hoistory of the power of God and we have seen his work in the Body of Christ and even in our own lives and still we doubt, still we fall, still we blunder and still we sin!
17And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:
"All flesh?" Or just some flesh? Or just those who tithe and support the church? Or just the preachers? Or just the deacons? Or just those self-righteous, self-appointed movers and shakers? Personally, I think all means all! And the rest of this verse depends on what? Being in "one accord!"
18And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:
Dependent on what? Being in "one accord!" Is the Body of Christ today in one accord? Denomination! That little line that divided a fraction is a denominator. A divider between the two numbers? The very word "denomination" means division. This is not a spirit of accord! Is there any wonder that the Christian church/the Body of Christ today has so little power?
19And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:
"Fire and vapor of smoke!" In the recent thunderstorm the power of almighty God was displayed in the lightning but the Victoria Advocate's headline for that story and photo was about Zeus visiting Victoria!
20The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and notable day of the Lord come:
Prophesy had been fulfilled right before their eyes and Peter was reminding them of it. That had to sting!
21And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
And so it is today that "...whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved!" And so it is today that Christians are doubted, mocked and scorned, just as these first Christians were!
22Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:
"...as ye yourselves also know!" Look in the mirror before you point your finger at these "devout men!" Look at how many times per day you doubt! How many times per day you just don't think God can or will do whatever it is you've been praying for! These men KNEW! They SAW! They EXPERIENCED! And yet they douted, mocked and scorned!
23Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:
24Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.
25For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved:
26Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope:
27Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
28Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.
29Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.
30Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;
31He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.
32This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.
33Therefore 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.
34For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,
35Until I make thy foes thy footstool.
36Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
Line by line out of the prophesies of Joel and David it is demonstrated to the "devout men" of Jerusalem that Jesus was their Machiach(Messiah/the Christ/Anointed One) and that they had not only rejected him but tried to kill him!
37Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
38Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
39For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the LORD our God shall call.
40And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.
41Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.
"Then they that gladly received his word..." Oops! Read closely! Did it say "all?" "Then all were baptized...?" No! That's not what it says. It says, "...they that gladly received his word were baptized:" Not ALL of those "devout men" received Peter's word. This is evident in the fact that later in the chapter we read that Peter was jailed for preaching Jesus as the Christ. Look in the mirror? How do you receive the Word of God? Do you test the spirit and see if it is indeed the Word of God?
42And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
43And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.
44And all that believed were together, and had all things common;
45And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.
Now add fear(read that respect and humility, not fearfulness) to "one accord" and we begin to not only SEE the power of almighty God but experience it in our lives!
46And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,
And here we go again, "continuing daily in one accord!" How many of us go to church and receive the Word of God and go back out into the world and live like the world?
"...did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart!" Here we go with the "one accord" thing again! The church of Jesus Christ is the Body of Christ! We are to have one heart, one mind, one Spirit and always looking to improve that relationship! How many of us look first to differences?
47Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
"Praising God and having favour with all people...!" Do you want favor? Favor with man, favor with your employer, favor even with people who don't like you? Promote accord in both your church and your personal life and you will begin to see uncommon favor out in the world! If you wish to add members to your church daily then promote such accord that the people out in the world will see what you have and want it! How many people look the the Body of Christ today and see nothing but division, bickering, strife and self-righteousness? Who in their right mind is going to want that? Hmmm! And promoting "one accord" doesn't mean beating others over the head until they see things your way! I think it means the biggest tither, the most devout and faithful man in the churc, the head deacon, the praise and worship leader taking out the trash or washing dishes after a fellowship and leaving before anyone can praise him for it!
We need to understand that we see hate in this world today because Jesus said we'd see it! We see the hatred of the Jews because Jesus said we'd see it! God said in the last days he would pour out his Spirit upon all flesh! Is not Satan the imitator of God? Doe he not try and create the fake to deceive the weak-minded of the Body of christ and the wicked in the world? What makes us think that if God said in the last days he would pour out his Spirit upon all flesh that Satan would not do the same with every spirit and demon he commands?
Therefore, what is being poured out on mankind and by whom? It is our responsibility as Christians to discern the spirits and live in "one accord!"
King James Version (KJV)