A WORD IN PASSING June 2017
Just before Jesus ascended to heaven he gave his followers three commands. They were to ..
- stop in Jerusalem, and
-wait for the gift he had promised, then they were to
- go as Jesus' witnesses "to the ends of the earth." Acts 1:8
Obediently they went and faithfully they waited until on the Jewish feast of Pentecost the promised Holy Spirit came upon the assembled group of disciples in a new and wonderful way. Filled with his presence they rushed out into the street praising God in languages other than their own. Unsuprisingly their strange behaviour attracted the attention of the many people who had crowded into Jerusalem to celebrate Pentecost and who wondered what on earth was going on!
It was Peter who spoke up to declare to them that they were witnessing the fulfilment of God had made through His prophets many hundreds of years before,
" ..this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: 'In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.."' Acts 2:16.
It was God's own declaration that the saving work that had begun with the ministry of Jesus and was now to continue through the agency of Jesus' followers was a saving work for 'all people'. All who had faithfully gathered to await the promised coming of the Spirit of God were filled; men, women; those who had at one time doubted, those who had denied, all who were sinners; "Everyone who called on the name of the Lord", all who repented of their sin, accepted Jesus as their Saviour and were baptised witnessing to their new status as followers of Jesus Christ, all were filled with the Holy Spirit.
It was God's promise then and it remains God's promise today, that all who put their trust in the Lord Jesus for salvation shall be saved and receive His Spirit to help them live and grow in the Christian life. He comes as our Guide. He comes as our Enabler. And He comes as God's Guarantee that we shall receive our eternal inheritance (Eph 1:14).
To each one of us God's gracious gift of salvation is held out for us to accept or decline. He invites each one of us to be a citizen of His in-coming Kingdom, to take our place in His promised New Creation. To that end we must accept the forgiveness He offers us for all the things we've done wrong. We must turn away from those things in our life which are not acceptable to Him and conducive to life in His Kingdom. We must open our hearts and receive His forgiveness and His Spirit - the Promised Spirit of God, the Spirit of Jesus. And if we do so He will keep His promise to us. He will grant us total forgiveness. He will welcome us into His Kingdom, and He will give us His Spirit; the Spirit who is for "all people".
The Day of Pentecost marked the birthday of the Church. In that it was a one-off event. That day has long gone, but it's legacy and the promise of God lives on. His hand of reconciliation is still held out. His forgiveness and Spirit are still available. There can be no question of God's willingness to reconcile and save. But what of you? Have you accepted His offer? Will you?