Acts 4:23-31 The Provision of the Spirit-Followup
"If I am understanding what you are saying in this lesson, it is not only that these Apostles had been with Christ, and filled with the Holy Spirit; it is also because of the knowledge of God's Word that they were imbued with power?"
Absolutely. If you recall the Lord Himself had opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. It says, " Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures." (Luke 24:27)
It is not enough to say that we are Spirit-filled believers. If we are without proper knowledge of the Word, our ability to minister the things of the Lord will be hampered. This is why ignorance in the pulpit can cause a lot of damage. (Regardless of good intentions.)
"This knowledge of the Holy Writ combined with the gift of the Holy Spirit granted them (and us) to be able to speak of God's word with boldness relating to Jesus and God's eternal work through him?"
You are correct. And this is why the apostles were so concerned with the study of Scripture. We will get into this in a later study,
"I am not asking this because of any doubt, but because I want to understand how "Hebraic" methods also apply to us today because of these who have gone before us in Christ."
You may have heard me say that God's ancient people considered the study of Torah to be the highest form of worship. This is where our western mind set can be a hindrance. We tend to study for the purpose of scholastics, or to brace up what we want to believe. They on the other hand studied to draw near to God. There is a vast difference.
"I have always believed that the Psalms were a means by which I could express myself to God in prayer. I later learned that there were many Psalms written that had been put to music in English and other languages as well. The way that you express the "Hebraic" use of Psalms to express the life of Christ as an affirmation of Jewishness is an approach that I had never seriously considered; in spite of the fact I have actually taken many of them to "heart"."
Jeff, take it to heart. This is an important principle in learning to think properly.
When we began Christian Challenge in 1976, my wife and I, and our three children lived in home that was quite small. (We rented. $75 a month.) The house was off the ground, and when it rained, we had a healthy leak in one of the bedrooms. The one thing we had going for us was a stewardship from the Lord. That was without question.
After retiring one evening, I was unable to sleep. I felt the Lord wanted to speak to me. So I picked up my Bible, went to our kitchen table and sat down. My Bible opened to Psalms. That's when the Lord began to explain the purpose of that book. And that is why Psalms is my favorite book to this day. Psalms teaches us how to think. It is filled with God's promises, prophecies, providences, praises, and provisions. (Psalms is quoted more in the New Testament than any Old Testament book.)
Example: Look at Psalm 110. It lays out redemption history, from the first to the second coming of Jesus. It is the most quoted Psalm in the New Testament.
Another example is Psalms 22, 23, and 24. These three Psalms go together. Psalm 22 is the Psalm of the Cross, and it projects itself across history. Psalm 23 is the Psalm of the Shepherd walk. (It's about Jesus.) Psalm 24 is the Psalm of the millennium. (Awesome, no!)
"In verses 26-27, the believers quote from Psalm 2. What I would like now is for you to see this Psalm in its entirety. In it you will see the first and second coming of Jesus, and a great many other things. Take time to meditate on it:"
"This was so very rich! Thank you for expounding Psalm 2 for us!"
See what I mean? Jeff let your heart be drawn to the book of Psalms. There is prophecy in that book yet to be discovered. Its not hidden from you. It is hidden for you. (I don't mean to limit your reading to Psalms. All God's books are filled with insight and wisdom.)
"This reminds me of that old Gospel song "Standing on the Promises of Christ my King. Through eternal ages let His praises sing. Glory in the highest I will shout and sing. Standing on the promises of God." It might not be a Psalm, but it certainly bears the spirit of one."
I love that old song. It isn't a Psalm, but it is a hymn of praise. Its included in the Ephesians 5:19 emphasis on living a Spirit-filled life.
"Would it not be true that WE are somewhere in the "middle era" between the beginning and fulfillment of this "New Covenant" that Christ ushered in by his completed work of the cross?"
I believe we are at the concluding time of the Church age as we know it. Keep your eyes on Israel and Jerusalem. All prophecy eventually leads to Jerusalem.
"Would this not be true regardless of anyone's individual stand on > eschatology?"
"I notice here that they do not simply "parrot" the "Lord's Prayer". Would this not be a "classic" example of "praying in the spirit"?"
Absolutely again. Praying in the Spirit simply means to pray under the auspices of the Spirit. There is no better way to do this than by learning to pray in agreement with God's Word of truth.
As for 'parroting' the Lord's prayer, the Lord taught against vain repetitions, and the use of empty words. The Lord's prayer is actually a Davidic prayer. It is very Hebraic.
Here is an interesting thought. The ancients taught that the way to put on the Kingdom of God each morning was to pray, 'Sh'ma Yisrael, Yahweh Elohainu, Yahweh echad.' (Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One. Later Jews put Adonai in the place of Yhwh, so as not to pronounce God's name.)
When they said, "Hear, O Israel," it was an affirmation of Israel's faith. But there was a play on this. They also believed they were telling Jacob that His God is their God. (Not that they were speaking directly to Jacob.) Does this say anything to the Christian? Yes. You can do the same thing.
Listen to Paul: "For us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him." (1Co8:6)
"Thanks for these lessons! My Mother is now reading these lessons too. I copy them and then enlarge the print so that she can appreciate this most wonderful study too. She's got a lot of catch up > to do, but she is very excited about this study of Acts."
Jeff, its a double blessing to know that your mother is finding these studies interesting. Please extend to her my deepest regard.
This study was originally part of a series on the book of Acts given to members of Hebraic Foundations from July 10, 2002 through January 19, 2003. They were written by Pastor Buddy Martin, a former United Pentecostal Church minister, who founded Christian Challenge International. Writings are the copyright of Buddy Martin and reprinted on this site by permission.
Page added October 23, 2004
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