God is Setting All Things Right. So I am Blogging Through the Bible in a Year.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

November 16 - Acts 1-3: The Holy Spirit Guides the Good News through Heart Languages

Today’s Reading: Acts 1-3

The Message

English Standard Version

We have made it to Acts! Because Acts covers the time period when some of the Epistles were written we will read those books while reading Acts. They are on the schedule, if you want to follow along.

Thought to Guide Your Reading

Peter and the church show how to help each other physically and spiritually.

Summary in 100 Words or Less

Jesus ascended into the clouds. One day, He would return.
Matthias replaced Judas.
On Pentecost, the Jews hear the Message in their mother tongues.
Peter taught, "You executed Jesus of Nazareth. God raised Him, as David prophesied. There is no doubt—Jesus is Lord and Messiah and you killed Him.
The crowds exclaimed, "What can we do?"
Peter replied, "Change, be baptized, and you will received the Holy Spirit."
The Disciples learned from the Apostles and shared all possessions.
Peter taught outside the Temple, "Your terrible plans were God's Plan all along. God's Promise to Abraham is fully enacted."

How Today’s Reading Contributes to the Gospel: God is Setting All Things Right

Jesus is with the Father again.

I mentioned yesterday and the day before how Jesus' Resurrection serves as the basic foundation to Christianity. Today's reading shows how Jesus went from Earth-dweller back to exalted above the Angels. Jesus is risen and is with the Father!

Jesus left the Holy Spirit to help the Apostles witness to the world.

Jesus told the Apostles the Holy Spirit would come and help them teach all truth. Jesus' ascension left room for the Holy Spirit to come and guide. God does not leave us without help. The Holy Spirit guides us to both know and tell the Truth.

The Holy Spirit helped the Apostles teach many people using their "heart language" – the language mothers use with their children.

Anyone who has studied another language knows that it takes a very long time to understand a speech given in that language. God also understood that the Good News needed to go into the heart. In this way the Apostles could spread the Good News in the most effective way—using the mother tongue of each person. The Holy Spirit gave tongues to facilitate learning the truth in a person's "heart-language".

God taught the first lesson about the Kingdom to the very people who cried "Crucify Him! Crucify Him!"

I believe the reason Peter's message was so well received on the day of Pentecost was because He was speaking directly to the people who only a few months earlier persuaded Pilate to execute Him. The message, "Jesus is the Messiah and you messed up," worked well for them because they were there.
For Christians today, we need to make sure we are not replicating this situation and trying to get others to believe they are sinners when they cannot think of what they did that was so terrible. We must make sure we are not diluting the Message of Jesus, but we should also make sure we are not trying to convince people they are horrible, terrible, no-good, very-bad sinners when they do not believe they are. In other words, we must let the Holy Spirit guide a person to realize the state of their relationship with God. When that happens, they become Disciples. Then we can baptize the Disciples and teach them everything else. Until a person realizes they are a sinner on their own we cannot set things right by arguing with them the other direction.

God would no longer limit the ones who received His Spirit.

To us it sounds normal. Women and men have had the Spirit of God since we can remember; however, Jewish women were not allowed in the Temple. When Peter quotes Joel to them, He is showing that God is expanding His Chosen Prophets to anyone willing to obey Him. God's Spirit is for anyone!

The church began by setting things right for each other's needs.

Many people read communism into this text. They would be right—this is a form of communism, but one that is grounded in faith in Jesus. The reason they did this is because they followed in Jesus' footsteps. Jesus set things right both physically and spiritually. This reading includes both, with Peter helping many see how they missed God spiritually when they rejected Jesus, and the church helping each other physically by sharing all things in common.

If God was willing to reconcile with the very ones who yelled insults and curses at Jesus, He wants to reconcile with us.

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