07.5 Revelation – Holy Whole not Holey

Holy Whole not Holey

When God calls us, we are broken.  The reading we did from Acts 2 said the people were “cut to the heart” by Peter’s words.  We are broken, cracked, empty, a sieve.

God does not wait for us to create a perfect vessel for His spirit to abide within.  He waits for us to recognize that we are truly broken in pieces beyond our own repair to even hold things together.  The indwelling of the Holy Spirit isn’t something that we hold in our hearts, it is something that holds our hearts together.

But God doesn’t leave us broken.  The song of Amazing Grace is not celebrating what wretches we are, but that God would take us while we were wretches and transform us into something different.

Unfortunately, that transformation is not a “one and done” event.  The Holy Spirit as at work daily in our lives.  And, like any other repair job, He first must dig and scrape out the rotten, rusted, weak and infected parts of our lives to then lay a foundation of something new.  This part isn’t fun.  It hurts.  It cuts to the heart.  But, would we want less?  Would we want a builder to construct on a weak foundation?  Would we want a paint job on top of wood rot?  Would we want a band-aid covering up a cancerous growth?

Ephesians 4 gives instruction for living a Christian life.  But it is an order that we cannot fulfill on our own.  I can be humble some of the time.  I may be humble most of the time, but am I truly humble in thought, word and action all the time.  I can forgive others, but do I forgive them as God forgave me.  Always?  All it takes is one instance and it isn’t always!

But, God can.  God with us can.  God in us definitely can.  God is gracious and good.  He is strong and mighty.  He is love and compassion and peace.

Ephesians 4 is not a rubric by which to grade your performance.  If it were, we all have failed.  It is an explanation of the ways the Holy Spirit will, from the inside, be transforming your (and my) life.  How He will be cleaning out and patching the holes in your heart, mind and soul.

When D.L. Moody was asked why he had to be filled with the Spirit so often he said simply, “Because I leak.”

 

My Answers:

11.
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bear with one another in love; keep the bond of peace; keep faith in one body and one Spirit and one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God over all

12.
Am I a body with a soul or soul with a body?  Which defines you?  The now of the everlasting?
As Christ sacrificed His life for mine, He has given me eternal life and my calling is to serve Him (not myself) with this body at this time.

13.
With great struggle – magnification of my own sins in light of others around me whom I am called to care for.  The preparing of the foundation to build upon is painful, but through God all is possible – even holiness.

07.4 Revelation – Grafted On

Grafted On

Most of us don’t grow olive trees so the concept of grafting on is vague at best.  But it is an age old practice and one that bears depth and meaning as the analogy used in Romans 11.

According to Olive Oil News, “Grafting is done for several purposes, but most commonly in the olive oil industry it is to get the hardy roots of one variety with the fecundity of another variety. The whole point of grafting is that each part of the grafted tree keeps its original character. The variety used for the root stock may be resistant to fungus or other pests but has a small or low yield olive. The graft may have weak roots but large fruit with high oil content. The resulting tree has the best of both varieties.”

Fecundity is a great word.  According to vocabulary.com “Fecundity means fruitfulness and fertility, the ability to produce abundant healthy growth or offspring“.

God created Adam in His own image, grafting him on to His holiness.  God adopted Abraham as a child of Adam but as the father of a new people, in covenant, grafting His lineage on to God’s own stock.  And now, even today, “For God so Loves the World” He will graft on even the wildest of plants, who are willing to yield to His pruning and taming, for the fecundity of fruitfulness.

The expectation is fruit.  We are not being grafted on to good stock simply so we can be nourished, but so that, by being nourished we produce abundant healthy growth.

Is your life producing fruit?  Are you actively witnessing to others, in your words and in your actions?  Who have you invited to a bible study, to BSF?

If you are not producing fruit, you are a broken branch.  But here is the most important and critical part to remember:  The fruit always comes from the root.  You are not producing fruit – God is producing fruit through Adam, through Abraham, through you.  If you are a broken branch, it is not because God has stopped sending energy and fruit out to you – it is because you have broken yourself off from the root.

The amazing thing is that God is willing to pick up even the weakest and driest of withered broken branches and graft us back on, all we have to do is believe (actually, we don’t even have to do all of that, we just have to open the door and He will fill us with the Spirit of belief.)

 

My Answers:

8.
They are still called to faith in Jesus – they have not been rejected, God has not forgotten His covenant.  He has kept a remnant.  He has not abandoned them, the Gentiles have been grafted on to the root of the covenant He made

9.
a.
The root is God, holy in His covenant to Abraham.  The broken branches are the children of Abraham who have rejected God.  The wild shoot grafted on are the believing gentiles

b.
He will take any branch and graft it in at any time (despite how many times it has fallen away) All we have to do is believe

10.
He has saved me.  He has challenged me.  He has given me His word so that I can find some element of peace and hope.

 

07.3 Revelation – 7×7+1

God’s People Fully Filled

The Jews in Acts were gathered in the city for the Festival of Weeks.  This holy day commemorated two things: the harvesting of the first fruits of the season and the day the law was given to the people at Mt Sinai.

How fitting that this is the day that God chose to send the Holy Spirit to dwell within the believers and to convict and call the first new believers into the church.

How fitting as well that the number 50 is the sum product of 7×7+1.  7 is the number of completion, dating back to the creation story.  49 days is 7 weeks of 7 days.  50 is the plus 1.

Emmanuel is God with us.  Seven sevens is Christ living, dying and fulfilling the law and the prophecies, paying the price in full for the redemption of our sinful souls.  +1 is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.  God in us.  Working in God’s saved people to transform us into holiness for everlasting life with Him.

My Answers:

6.
Convicted of their own sin.  They could not fix it – couldn’t make it right.  It is devastating to see how broken things are and be powerless to fix them.

7.
Repent, be baptized, receive the gift of the H/S, save yourself from this corrupt generation
Those who accepted were baptized and 3000 were saved

 

07.2 Revelation – God’s Will

God’s Will

In Acts 2:1-21 we receive insight into God’s will.  The apostles were gathered in the city in the upper room in obedience to God’s will, expressed to them by the directions given by Jesus at his ascension.  The Jews were in the city in obedience to the law and the calendar for the Festival of Weeks.

In the writings from Joel, as recited by Peter starting in vs 17, we further see God’s will through His “I will” statements:

  1. I will pour out my Spirit on all people
  2. You sons and daughters will prophesy
  3. Your young men will see visions
  4. Your old men will dream dreams
  5. I will pour out my Spirit in those days and they will prophesy
  6. I will show wonders
  7. The sun will be turned to darkness
  8. And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved

Notice that these are not probability statements they are assurances.  These things will happen.  There is no risk or doubt.  God promises and delivers.

These will statements are all promised, secured and fulfilled by God.  Our only work is to “call on the name of the Lord.”  It is not by works or measure.  It is not us, it is the Holy Spirit in us that gives us the words to call out and to be saved.

My Answers:

3.
2 groups of people – the ones waiting in the upper room and the 3000.  Those in the upper room believed in all they had seen, now received the H/S to dwell within them.  They plus the others in the city were Jews.  All were sinners.  All were convicted of sin and called to repent and receive the gift – 3000 did and received the living water that Jesus promised

4.
The Holy Spirit from inside of me speaks words (particularly to the kids) that I don’t know that I have – He has given me words and a voice that is not my own.  This voice of the H/S is true and real today in believers and will be magnified even greater in the end days during the time of wrath.

5.
The kids.  My co-workers.  Through the testimony not only of my words but of my actions.  That they may see the spirit at work in me (not me but the spirit) and see what is missing from their lives.  We all feel empty without the H/S, it is the only one who truly fulfills.