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The Holy Spirit

"READ THE BOOK OF ACTS." The first detailed description of the early Christians is wonderfully revealing. The followers of Jesus who had been baptized by the Holy Spirit, literally devoted themselves to communication and unity with God and with each other. In relationship with God, they continued steadfastly in the apostles doctrine (the Word of God) and in prayer. In relationship to one another, they devoted themselves to fellowship and to breaking bread with one another. With the coming of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, the priorities of the follower of Christ focused upon Spiritual unity with their Lord and with their brothers and sisters in Christ-within the church- the Spiritual body of Christ. This is the essence of true Spiritual unity-the unity of the Spirit.
The activity of the Holy Spirit so pervades Acts that this book has been termed, not unjustly, "The Acts of the Holy Spirit." Certainly the work of the Spirit is far more important in it than anything the Apostles do. In the first chapter the disciples are pictured as waiting. In the second chapter the Spirit comes. The rest of the book is the story of the Spirit acting through Spirit-filled men engaging in a Spirit-directed and Spirit-dominated ministry. The enthusiasm of the Spirit suffuses everything. There is no section of this entire book which does not tell of the presence and the power of God the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is directly connected with the work that Jesus had accomplished. The risen Jesus told His followers to
await the gifts *Acts1:4, 8*
4."And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to await for the promise of the Father, "which," He said, you have heard from Me; 8."But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; And you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
He spoke of it as being "baptized with the Holy Ghost"
*Acts1:5*
"for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now,"
which links it with His whole mission, John the Baptist had prophesied the He would baptize with the Holy Ghost *Luke3:16*
John answered, saying to all, ''I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit
and fire."
Now this had become a reality. Peter explicitly says that is it the exalted Christ who has "poured forth this, which ye see and hear"
>see Acts2:33<. The gift is the culmination of the work of Jesus and follows immediatly on the completion of that work. We should not overlook the fact that the adjective linked with SPIRIT is HOLY. He might have been called the "Spirit of power" or the like, good prophetic precedent might have been followed, and a name selected from Isaiah's list, *Isaiah11:2*
The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of councel and might, The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear
of the Lord"
But the Holy Spirit puts the emphasis on separation. This is both positive, separation to God, and negative, separation from sin. The Spirit is the antithesis of all that sin is. And the Spirit-dominated man will likewise take up his stand against sin. The atonement does not stop with forgiveness of past sin. It introduces men to a life of war against sin. They are saints >Acts9:13, 32, 41; 26:10<. This term is to become so prominent in the later parts of the New Testament, signifies the separation to the service which is the characteristic of those who believe. Alternatively they can be said to be "sanctified" >Acts20:32; 26:18<. Nowhere does Acts sit loose to the obligations of discipleship. They are plainly brought out. It is anticipated that in the power of the Holy Spirit those who have come to Christ will live lives
of purity in the service of God. *Acts20:28* ''Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the Church of God which He purchased with His own blood." The work of the Spirit in Acts, cannot be understood without seeing the relationship between Acts and the Gospel which demonstrates an essential continuity. The power of the Spirit in Jesus' life authorized Him to preach the Kingdom of God and to demonstrate Kingdom power by healing the sick, casting out demons, and setting the captives free >Luke4:4-19; Matt4:23<. The same Spirit power in Acts chapter two gave the same authority to the disciples. Jesus is a prototype of the Spirit-filled, Spirit-empowered life >Acts10:38< "How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who
went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him."
Three of the five instances record specific manifestation of the Spirit in which people themselves participated. Those on the day of Pentecost and the Gentiles of Cornelius's house spoke with tongues >Acts2:4; 10;46< The Ephesians spoke with tongues and prophesied >Acts19:16<. Although it was not specified, it is generally agreed that there was also some type of manifestation in which the Samaritans participated because Luke says in *Acts8:18* "And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles hands the Holy Spirit was given, He offered them money."
We grow in the Spirit by engaging in the same activities as those of the early church, so that we, too may become the kind of people who can consistently announce, embody, and demonstrate the Kingdom of God. While we can never earn or merit anything from God, we can exert the effort necessary to build Spiritual muscle and maximize God's investment in us. Here are some basics; "Study in the Word, Fellowship, and Prayer, >Acts2:42, 46<. Sharing together, giving and caring for others >2:44, 45<. Praise, Worship, and Evangelism >2:47<


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