Today’s Scrip-Bit 3 June 2012 Acts 1:5

Acts 1:5.     For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.
 
And a fine Sunday morning to all you believers in Jesus Christ, wherever you are! I hope you are excitedly looking forward to all the new blessings and mercies the Lord’s planned for us today. And if you celebrate the Sabbath on Sunday, that you intend to go and fellowship, celebrate the Lord’s Day with other believers; offer thanks and praise and receive encouragement that builds our faith. Let’s forget what happened yesterday and start a clean page today, with improvements in as many areas of our lives as possible, thus satisfying the Lord’s desire for us to reflect a little more of Jesus’ character each and every day. And we can’t do that without the power and guidance of His Holy Spirit that so conveniently indwells us, which Jesus so generously promised in our Bit, before His Ascension. ‘For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.’ Now today I want to look at another dramatic instance of the Spirit in operation. However, before doing that, let’s hear from the scholars, re the Personality of the Holy Spirit. ‘The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity – equal with the Father and Son in essence, separate in person, and submissive in duties. Since one major aspect of God’s nature is that He is a person, it follows that the Holy Spirit is a person. The Scriptures clarify this by ascribing the attributes of personality to the Holy Spirit, addressing Him as a person, describing the personal actions of the Holy Spirit, and ascribing masculine pronouns to the Holy Spirit (John 14:17; 16:13) Illustration: Ananias and Sapphira lost their lives in a foolish attempt to deceive the Holy Spirit. This was because He is a divine person who is omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent. Applications: Because He is God, the Holy Spirit is worthy of receiving believers’ adoration, LOVE, and worship; also the Christian can engage in fellowship with the Holy Spirit. (First Ref. Gen 1:2; Primary Ref. John 14-16) Oh Friends, please read the scriptures the scholars identify, so that you can better understand what they’re talking about. And if you don’t know the story of Ananias and Sapphira; they were a married couple in the early days when the church was becoming communal in all things. They sold their earthly possessions but under reported their gains, and both dropped down dead after lying to the apostles about it. ‘But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?’ (Acts 5:3) Then when Sapphira came up with the same story, he said: ‘How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt (test) the Spirit of the Lord? behold the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out.’ (Acts 5:9) So said, so was it done! Please note whom Peter accused them of lying to; the Holy Spirit, because that’s the Person of the Trinity who deals with our everyday, earthly matters. Read the whole story in Acts 5:1-11. Now let’s turn to today’s main protagonist; Saul, -Saul of Tarsus. Remember we first came upon that name when they stoned Stephen to death in Jerusalem; ‘the witnesses laid their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul.’ (Acts 7:58) Saul, the great persecutor of the brethren. ‘And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter (murder) against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, And desired (asked) of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this (the)way (believers), whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.’ (Acts 9:1-2) But lo and behold, on his way to Damascus, he was suddenly blinded, both literally and figuratively by a brilliant light from heaven, which caused him to fall to the ground. Then he heard a voice saying to him: ‘Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou Lord? and the Lord said, I am Jesus who thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks (goads, prods). And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.’ (Acts 9:4-6) Ah mih breddren, yuh see how the big, bad, bully boy Saul was easily tamed by Jesus! And not even Jesus in the flesh, but Jesus in the Spirit! That just goes to show how powerful the Spirit is in its own right! So literally blinded by the light, Saul had to be led by his companions to Damascus. ‘And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.’ (Acts 9:9) Then the Lord, in His mighty and mysterious workings called upon a disciple in Damascus named Ananias (a common name among Jews, not to be confused with the Ananias and Sapphira story) and instructed him to go and meet Saul, who was expecting him to come and lay hands on him and restore his sight. But even Ananias queried the Lord because of Saul’s terrible reputation as a persecutor of the church. (Acts 9:10-14) ‘But the Lord said unto him, go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel. For I will show him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake. And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. And immediately there fell from his eyes (something) as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith (at once), and arose and was baptized.’ (Acts 9:15-18) Oh Friends, what else do we need to convince us of the Holy Spirit’s enormous power eh! If it could bring the mighty Saul to his knees so easily, how can we try to fight against it in our puny, less than stellar lives? So as I’ve been advocating all along, let’s get in touch with and stay intimately connected to the Spirit of Jesus that dwells within us. It’s wisdom to the wise! Much LOVE!…he who has ears to hear…let him hear…

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