The final paragraph of the second chapter of Acts summarizes the results of the Spirit’s outpouring. It describes the basic practices of the young congregation that resulted from the Spirit’s presence – Teaching, shared meals, fellowship, prayers, unity, and material support for individuals in need. The one unique feature is the holding of possessions “in common” under the administration of the Apostles.Continue reading
Tarrying for the Spirit?
Prior to his ascension, Jesus told his disciples to “tarry” or wait in Jerusalem until they received the Holy Spirit. In some churches, this command has become a doctrine applicable to all or most Christians – that the believer must “tarry” before the Lord for extended periods in prayer and even fasting until his or her mind or spirit enters a stage more conducive to God’s Spirit before receiving the gift of the Spirit.Continue reading
STEPHEN BEARS WITNESS
Under the guidance of the Spirit, Stephen gives eloquent and effective testimony to the leaders of Israel.
Early on, the church experienced conflicts between its Greek and Aramaic-speaking members. The apostles instructed the community to select seven men “full of the Spirit and wisdom” to take charge of the matter. One of the seven chosen men was Stephen, and Acts notes especially that he was “full of faith and the Spirit.”Continue reading
BAPTIZED, FILLED, RECEIVED
Do the different terms used for the receipt of the gift of the Spirit refer to different experiences or even multiple ordinances?
When describing the receipt of the Spirit, Acts applies several Greek verbs, including “baptize,” “receive,” “filled,” “given,” and “came upon.” But do they refer to different experiences or aspects of the gift, or does each refer to the same event? In other words, do “baptized with” and “received” refer to the same experience common to all believers?Continue reading
PENTECOST AND THE LAST DAYS
The outpouring of the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost signaled the arrival of the “last days” – Joel 2:28-32, Acts 2:17-21.
The application of the prophecy from Joel in Acts links the outpouring of the Spirit to the commencement of the “last days.” For the book, the Spirit’s activity and presence in the church are programmatic and foundational for its existence, from the Day of Pentecost until the return of Jesus.Continue reading