Thursday, November 15, 2012

November 15, 2012 … God Lights a Flame and The Fire Grows

Chronological Bible Reading Plan - Day 320

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Acts, Chapters 1-3 To study these chapters, go to this link

Highlight Passages: Acts 1: 6-11 : [NLT] … {Luke begins his historical sequel to his gospel account, the Book of The Acts of the Apostles, which is a complete and accurate description of the beginnings of The Church and the spread of Christianity in the 40 years after Christ’s death, resurrection, and ascension into heaven.}  
6 When the apostles were with Jesus, they kept asking him, “Lord, are you going to free Israel now and restore our kingdom?” 7 “The Father sets those dates,” he replied, “and they are not for you to know. 8 But when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, you will receive power and will tell people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” 
9 It was not long after he said this that he was taken up into the sky while they were watching, and he disappeared into a cloud. 10 As they were straining their eyes to see him, two white-robed men suddenly stood there among them. 11 They said, “Men of Galilee, why are you standing here staring at the sky? Jesus has been taken away from you into heaven. And someday, just as you saw him go, he will return!”  
Highlight Passages: Acts 2: 1-4; 36-38 : [NLT] … {God lights the fire in His Church at Pentecost, Peter preaches his famous sermon in Jerusalem, and the flame of Christianity begins to spread.} 1 On the day of Pentecost, seven weeks after Jesus’ resurrection, the believers were meeting together in one place. 2 Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm in the skies above them, and it filled the house where they were meeting. 3 Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. 4 And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability. …  
{Peter preaches his famous Pentecost sermon, concluding with a calling for the decisions any/all must make in the face of Christ’s death, resurrection, ascension, and re-glorification … to believe, repent, and be saved.} … 
36 “So let it be clearly known by everyone in Israel that God has made this Jesus whom you crucified to be both Lord and Messiah!” 37 Peter’s words convicted them deeply, and they said to him and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?” 38 Peter replied, “Each of you must turn from your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”  
Highlight Passages: Acts 3: 15-20 : [NLT] … {The Apostles begin their outreach in Jerusalem by healing a crippled beggar; and astounded the same people who had called for Barabbas to be released and for Jesus’ crucifixion, came to hear Peter preach another sermon, this one again calling for the people to repent and be saved.}  
15 “ … You killed the author of life, but God raised him to life. And we are witnesses of this fact! 16 “The name of Jesus has healed this man — and you know how lame he was before. Faith in Jesus’ name has caused this healing before your very eyes. 17“Friends, I realize that what you did to Jesus was done in ignorance; and the same can be said of your leaders. 18 But God was fulfilling what all the prophets had declared about the Messiah beforehand—that he must suffer all these things. 19 Now turn from your sins and turn to God, so you can be cleansed of your sins. 20Then wonderful times of refreshment will come from the presence of the Lord, and he will send Jesus your Messiah to you again. 

My Journal for Today: And we begin the Book of Acts with a big gulp from the first three chapters. Luke, the Greek Physician and Christian convert, who wrote the historically documented Gospel account, here writes a sequel, documenting and chronicling the beginnings of THE CHURCH in Jerusalem, which would spread like wild-fire all over the known world in those 30-40 years after the death and resurrection of Jesus. I like what my Parsons Commentary says in summarizing Luke’s writing of the Book of the Acts of the Apostles. It states …

 ”With a flick of a match, friction occurs and a spark leaps from match to tinder. A small flame burns the edges and grows, fueled by wood and air. Heat builds, and soon the kindling is licked by reddish orange tongues. Higher and wider it spreads, consuming the wood. The flame has become a fire. … Nearly 2,000 years ago, a match was struck in Palestine. At first, just a few in that corner of the world were touched and warmed; but the fire spread beyond Jerusalem and Judea out to the world and to all people. Acts provides an eyewitness account of the flame and fire — the birth and spread of the church. Beginning in Jerusalem with a small group of disciples, the message traveled across the Roman Empire. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, this courageous band preached, taught, healed, and demonstrated love in synagogues, schools, homes, marketplaces, and courtrooms, and on streets, hills, ships, and desert roads—wherever God sent them, lives and history were changed.” 

That pretty much says it all with regard to the charge which Jesus gave to His disciples in Acts 1: 8 … to become His witnesses, first in Jerusalem, then outward to the world; and at Pentecost, The Holy Spirit, descended upon repentant believers there in Jerusalem, many of whom saw Jesus ascend into heaven, and the flame of Christ’s Church was lit … to spread, as documented in the Book of The Acts, all through the Roman Empire and the known world in those days. And the fire still grows … and will grow … to take in all who repent of their sinfulness and believe in The Christ, the God-man, Who came into this world, died, was resurrected, and ascended back into Heaven; … but He is the One Who will return to reclaim His Bride, just as He promised through the angel witnesses just before Peter preached that sermon at Pentecost.

Yes, my friends, we are the ones, as Peter said, who crucified Jesus; and we are the ones He now prays (as He did in John 17) to be saved when we, as Peter preached, come to Him in faith and surrender to The Christ as Lord and Savior. And we are the disciples whom He calls in Acts 1: 8 to be His witnesses NOW in this world … now as He called His disciples to be His witnesses at Pentecost. We are the ones who must keep the fire burning until He comes again to reclaim His Bride.

My Prayer Today: … Come soon, Lord Jesus, and claim Your Bride. Amen

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