In Acts 11:16 Peter said: I remembered the word of the Lord, how He used to say, “John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” Do you know how powerful, how magnificent, how incalculable this is? Peter is saying to the whole world that if anyone wants to be the dwelling place of “the Force” they can! The Holy Spirit who was prophesied by Joel, promised by Jesus and sent by the Father will inhabit your life. The Holy Spirit, who is God in us, will inhabit your life and turn you every which way but loose!
I often heard my father talk with pride about being the pastor of an old-fashioned, old-time church. Each week as he welcomed the guests he said: This is an old-fashioned, New Testament Baptist church where we love a fella and preach the Bible as it is for men as they are. It was clear to all who walked through the doors that we were old-time and old-fashioned. Like my dad, I’d like to suggest that we go back to an old-time religion, but that we go beyond grandfather and great grandfather all the way back to Genesis 12 where we encounter God’s version of an old enough old-time religion. Perhaps, you’re ready to go back to the future.
Acts 2:4 says: They . . . began to speak with different tongues, as the Spirit was giving them the ability to speak out. This seems to be a rather strange phenomenon, doesn’t it, but what does it mean? This is the question asked by the people on the street that day in Jerusalem who witnessed the hubbub. So, what does it mean and how does it apply to life in the 21st century?
Suppose that you died in the next few moments and suddenly found yourself standing before the Lord. Suppose that He asked you this question: Why should I let you into My heaven? What would be your reply? How would you answer?
Jesus faced the original cancel culture, a problematic person who needed to be silenced and even eliminated. In Acts 9 Saul broadened the cancel-culture to include anyone – man or woman – who happened to follow Christ. There have been and will always be those who want to cancel His followers. It has now become fashionable in this nation to criticize, scorn or shut-out those who name the name of Jesus Christ. Do not be shocked if America, in the not too distant future, becomes a killing field with believers as the prize. Are you ready?
For longer than 500 years the Jews had raised an impenetrable barrier between themselves and their northern neighbors, the Samaritans. They despised each other, did not speak to each other and had nothing to do with each other. Jesus, however, did not hold such hostilities in His heart. He loved and embraced the Samaritans. He even included the Samaritans in His last will and testament laid down in verse 8 of Acts 1: Don’t forget the Samaritans! When forced by tribulation to preach the gospel to the Samaritans, the walls of separation came crashing down. There were neither protests nor riots and no vigilantes from SLM (Samaritan Lives Matter) to make it happen. Perhaps America could use the model set forth in Acts 8. Perhaps we all could.