Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins;
and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Reading the actual events of Acts causes me to stand in speechless awe. There is no painter capable of brushing beauty, no nation’s army to fight with such boldness as demonstrated in the brand new, true and genuine Spirit-filled church of Jesus Christ! It also leaves me dumbfounded. Much of today’s church, the professing body of Christ, 2000 years later exists broken down, defeated and sin infested. This is definitely not the picture nor the pattern presented to us from the church of Acts – or is it? There is one incident we often overlook, yet dare never forget.
In that first church of Acts, no one lived in a state of need. The congregation of believers sold what they owned and gave the earnings to the trusted apostles who then distributed the available funds to each believer according to their need. Ananias and Sapphira were participating with those claiming to have been forgiven, filled with the Holy Spirit and now living in one accord with the newly found church. They were not forced to give all of their funds; each gave what they had agreed upon. Unbeknown to the rest of the believers, Ananias professed to have given all when in truth he kept part back for him and his wife. But God saw and His Holy Spirit knew. The Spirit of Jesus, giving the apostles discernment in knowing the true state of their hearts, confronted these two deceivers. We know the rest of the story. Incredible!
However, this was not the first encounter of one living other than they professed. One thousand years earlier God’s chosen people were finally entering into the Promised Land. God specifically, clearly, repeatedly said obey all of my word and it will go well with you. Achan heard, participated and fought for the land, but decided God didn’t mean what He said. Stealing some of the enticing yet forbidden treasures of the pagans cost him and his family their lives and family name. What a tragedy over not taking God at His Word.
However, even earlier there were two thinking God was withholding something good and chose not to take His Word as absolute truth. They would also be wise and have it their way. The choice of Adam and Eve brought sin and death to every man born since that day. Brokenness, defeat, and sin-infested living take root in a heart not honest before God or man; I may look good on the outside, but I’m calling the shots inside. “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit…you have conceived (in your authority) this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God” (Acts 5:3, 4). This is why we have Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost. Jesus Christ came and took my sins on the cross, paid the penalty for my sin with His blood, broke all chains of sin’s power and conquered the penalty of death through His resurrection.
There is a second work of Easter: to make me perfect/complete IN Christ- being filled with the Holy Spirit of Easter’s Victor- Jesus! The Holy Spirit of the Resurrection and Pentecost fills me with all of His fullness. His flowing and my abiding is the only source of eternal life and power available, that I might freely and continually declare loyal allegiance to Father and Son, with willing obedience to the inner working of the Holy Spirit and not to the old self-center of Adam. Any other will, way or work leads to death! Whether it is the Promised Land or the Promised Life, God never accepts counterfeit living from a wrong spirit when one claims to be filled with His own.
We are the benefactors of the legacies of those who have gone before us – true and false; however, three thousand years later we also have the entire, Holy Spirit inspired, written Word of God to remind the faithful, rebuke the faithless and restore the fallen. With God’s Word being declared, written and living, we have the complete source for living the life intended and provided for by the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in order that we might know Jesus, be true bearers of His Word and authentic carriers of His presence.
All glory and honor be given to the Father Jesus and the Holy Spirit!
Spring’s Weekly Prayer Focus: How fitting that today is the beginning of praying for church revival within every state of our nation (Click the State Prayer Guide link below) and around the world. Start with your own church congregation. First, bring the most personal professing believer in the congregation for revival-your self. Am I doing church or am I being an authentic member of His body? Am I filled with the genuine source of Holy Living?
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