Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Promise of My Father--part 1

The Word for today:Acts 2:37-47

mark this:  Luke 24:49

"And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high." 
and this:  (Acts 2:1-4)
When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit...
We are well aware of the hundreds of Old Testament promises of a Savior, the "Messiah." (Translated as "Christ" in the New Testament, "Messiah" means "Anointed.")  
But we may not be aware of the Old Testament promises concerning the "Anoint-ment!" 
Jesus repeatedly reminded the disciples to wait until the Holy Spirit--"the Promise of My Father"--would arrive  to anoint them with power from on high, the very same power which had filled and guided Jesus.
Over the next couple days, we'll range from one end of the Bible to the other as we watch this promise unfold.
The Holy Spirit is involved in creation--
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
(Genesis 1:1-2)
(The entire Trinity was involved; God the Father created through Jesus, by the Spirit.)
When the Spirit comes, he brings newness.  "Out of the chaos, he brings the cosmos.  Out of disorder, he brings order; out of confusion, harmony; out of deformity, beauty; out of the old, the new."  (1)
The Spirit brings life:
Then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. (Genesis 2:7)
The Hebrew word for "Spirit" in Genesis 1:2 is ruach; the word means both "breath" and "spirit."  Just as God breathed physical life into the human being, Jesus breathed on the disciples and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit." (John 20:22)
In the Old Testament, the Spirit of God came upon particular people at particular times for particular tasks.  An example is when the Spirit came upon Bezalel:
The LORD said to Moses, "See, I have called by name Bezalel and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, to work in every craft.  (Exodus 31:1-5)
The Spirit came upon Gideon for leadership, transforming weakness into strength.  (Judges 6:14-15, 34)
The Spirit of the LORD came upon Samson, conferring power (Judges 15:14).  So often we find that what is described in the Old Testament in a physical way is true in the New Testament in a spiritual way.  Samson, who had been bound, was able to break free.  Just so, many of us find ourselves bound by habits, addictions, patterns of thought.  When the Spirit of God comes upon us, he enables us to break free.
The Spirit came upon Isaiah, bestowing prophecy.  See Isaiah 61:1-3:
The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound…
The experience of the Spirit is not just a nice warm feeling in our hearts.  The Spirit is the Difference Maker; he transforms individuals and the society at large.
Whenever the Spirit enters the picture, things happen.  As the Old Testament proceeds, there is a rising expectation that God is going to do things even more transformational.  This expectation is referred to as "The Promise of the Father."
But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more."   (Jeremiah 31:33-34)
Under the old covenant, the people of God were given the law, written on tablets of stone.  But they found they could not keep the law.  Thus the law, instead of becoming a blessing, became their failure instead.  So God promised something new:  he would write the law inside them--so that they want to keep it, so that their obedience comes from the heart.
By the Spirit, we will keep the rules not because we have to but because we love to!--
And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. (Ezekiel 36:26-27)
To whom does the Promise of the Father apply?  It's for everyone!--
And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Even on the male and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit.  (Joel 2:28-29)
The people waited for the Promise.  They waited for hundreds of years.  And then, with the birth of Jesus, it was as if a trumpet sounds and everybody connected with his birth was filled with the Holy Spirit...
We're not there yet, but we're getting closer!  Our journey to the Upper Room on Pentecost will continue tomorrow.  See you there & then.
(1) from "The Alpha Course" by Nicky Gumbel

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