Pastor Barry Bruce/ The Gathering Church Acts Series #2: Spirit Filled To hear this message download our free app. @ The App Store. Search The Gathering Connect.
Denial Acts 2:12-13, 2 Peter 3:3-4
Historically and typically people always seem to make fun of or mock the things that they can’t understand or relate to. It is a form of denial. A person can be in denial about anything that makes them feel vulnerable or threatens their sense of control, such as an illness, addiction, eating disorder, personal violence, financial problems or relationship conflicts. We can be in denial about something happening to us or to someone else and downplay the possible consequences of an issue in an attempt to save ourselves from the emotional stress of dealing with the truth of a situation. That is what happened here in Acts 2:12-13 when the Holy Spirit came upon the church at Pentecost. People were “amazed and perplexed” and said “what does this mean”, some however “made fun of them and said “they have had too much wine”. This kind of spiritual denial continues today with those who refuse to believe that there is a God who created us and who is coming back to judge the earth (Matthew 25:31-46, Acts 17:31, Revelation 19:11). As God’s people, we should never be dismayed by those who disbelieve our witness, or who mock us for our devotion to God. Truth will prevail despite those in denial.
A Lesson from “Space”
As we look to America’s 50 year recognition of man’s first steps on the moon we are reminded of such denial and mockery of early flight. In 1906 the U.S. military refused to even see a demonstration Wilbur and Orville Wright’s Flyer causing the brothers to seek contracts with France. Newspapers in France labeled the brothers as “liars” rather than “flyers”, but within less than a decade flight would become a public novelty lifting the world into the Golden Age of Aviation. Less than 50 years later in, 1969, the Apollo 11 crew would fly to the moon and astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin would take man’s first steps there.
Within only a few years of that world watched moon walk a conspiracy theory developed that has since spread rapidly through the internet that the whole thing was staged and grew to include six other manned U.S. landings between 1969 and 1972. Regardless of NASA’s attempts to explain each conspiratorial attack, the astronaut’s testimonies, thousands of pictures, moon rocks, a documented and detailed space program and over 400,000 people who worked on the moon projects, a growing number of Americans deny that we have ever been on the moon at all. Can you imagine being one of those unappreciated astronauts?
There is no doubt that there will be protesters at the 50 year anniversary, but at least Neil Armstrong won’t have to hear them. He left this earth August 20, 2012 to take his first steps into Heaven. He was a solid believer in Christ. After His historical walk on the moon he was taken on a tour of the old city of Jerusalem by Israeli archaeologist Meir Ben-Dov. As he went up the steps to the Temple Mount he asked if Jesus had ever walked there. The archaeologist proclaimed, “Oh, yes many times on these very steps.” To which Armstrong, replied, “I have to tell you, I am more excited stepping on these stones than when I was stepping on the moon.”
NOTE: Nobody has set foot on the moon since December 1972, when the astronauts of Apollo 17 departed for Earth. But that could change soon. NASA is working to return astronauts to the moon by 2024, as instructed by President Donald Trump. The space agency’s current plan calls for the construction of a small, moon-orbiting space station called the Gateway. NASA also plans to build a long-term outpost on the moon over time.
We Have The Spirit! Acts 2:14-21, 1 Corinthians 2:14-16
Peter countered the mockers with bold truth. Quoting the prophet Joel he announced the fulfillment of his prophecy. Before the ascension of Christ, God’s Spirit was bestowed only on occasion to men. God’s Spirit would bestow special strength, the gift of prophecy, or miraculous power on an individual, but afterwards His Spirit would be removed. Pentecost brought the Holy Spirit of God to all believers permanently! Once we respond to God’s call to salvation we now immediately receive The Holy Spirit and He reveals truth to us and helps us to understand the things of God. The man without the Spirit can not understand the things of God. That is why we must be a witness and speak up about our faith. We may be the only Bible that some ever read. What is written on the pages of your life should draw others to accept Christ so that they too may be filled with the Spirit and walk with God in understanding.
Last Days? 2 Peter 3:8-13, Revelation 6:12-14
The prophecy that Peter quotes from Joel (Joel 2:28-32) begins with Pentecost, where God “pours out His Spirit on all people” and culminates to the early church, into our present age and onto judgment (Revelation 6:12-14). Pentecost was the first day of the “last days”. Peter tells us in his second letter that “with the Lord a day is like a thousand years”(2 Peter 3:1). The church age is “the last days” and we are to preach the gospel so that people will be saved!
“What Shall We Do?” Acts 2:22-41
The same Peter who denied knowing Christ three times (John 18:15-18, 25-27), the same Peter who hid after Jesus’ crucifixion (John 20:19), the same Peter who once went back to fishing (John 21:3)— speaks with boldness and conviction and without fear or reservation. We too will be filled with holy boldness and accomplish things we never thought we could when we give ourselves to Christ, but that’s just it…we are not doing them…The Holy Spirit is!
Peter’s message cut people to the heart as he reminded them that the one they crucified was both Lord and Messiah (Christ). “What shall we do?”, they pleaded. Sometime it is so easy to overlook what is lacking in our bland and tasteless recipes for living? We “cook up” the same lousy recipes for living and feed them to our children? If they haven’t worked for us how will they work for them? We must (repent) from our worldly diet and be filled with the Holy Spirit!
“New Ingredients” Acts 2:42-47, John 14:15-20
The Holy Spirit brought new ingredients into the believer’s living: Devotion to “the Apostles teaching” (the teachings of Christ: The Word of God) Fellowship Encouraging one another in the faith (Church) Breaking of Bread & Prayer (talking to God regularly/ communion) Giving putting the needs of the Church above their own Meeting together with gladness (positive friendships with each other) Praising God Worshiping together—As a result of being Spirit filled the early church enjoyed the favor of men (they were well respected) and God added to their number daily those who were being saved. The world (those in denial) cannot accept the Holy Spirit (John 14:17). We must humbly come to realize that we do have a Creator and He made a way for us to meet Him…Repent!