Hopefully with these reports it's a case of better late than never. Anyway, here's the next instalment:
David Meredith spoke on Wednesday and Thursday evenings. On Wednesday he preached on Acts 1:1-11, especially Acts 1:6, which sets out the agenda for church.
Acts is Luke Volume 2. Luke wrote Acts for the same reason as he penned his Gospel, Luke 1:4 cf. Acts 1:1, 3. The kingdom of God, a key theme in Luke is also seen in Acts, Acts 28:31. With the coming of the Spirit the power of the last kingdom is experienced, Acts 1:5. We need to experience the Spirit revealing Christ to us.
The words and deeds Jesus began to do and speak while on earth are continued by the Spirit through the apostles. We cannot have power of Acts without the Jesus of Luke.
1. A stupid question
Acts 1: 6 “As many mistakes as words” – Calvin.
The disciples made mistakes, holding to paradigms that were wrong. They expected a spatial not spiritual kingdom. The kingdom of God is not a political kingdom. We need of bigger vision of God's purpose. The hymn Jerusalem is far too parochial in vision. God does not do borders.
2. A firm answer
Acts 1:7. The apostle’s were not to speculate about times and seasons. What they needed was power, Acts 1:8.
The task of Acts 1:8 - what God is going to do. The gospel cannot be suppressed. Witness what he is doing in Iran and China. Join in great enterprise of the gospel. Begin where you are.
Continuing in Acts, on Thursday evening David Meredith spoke on Acts 2:2-4.
Revival is the intensification of the norm.
Was Pentecost the birthday of church? No. The church began with the Old Testament people of God. But at Pentecost the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the church in full measure. Morticians can make corpses look good, but they are still dead. The church is dead without the presence of Spirit. When the Spirit is present, Christ is central and the fruit of the Spirit are evident. We need a holy dissatisfaction, a longing revival and for the salvation of the lost.
Luke 3:21-22/Acts 2:1-4. With Jesus and the church the pattern is baptism with the Spirit, mission and death. The church was united and expectant at Pentecost. What might happen if we were same?
1. The wind
Acts 2:2, wind/spirit the same word in Hebrew & Greek. A new creation, Genesis 2:7. The Spirit imparted a sense of newness, the new wine of the gospel. The church needs both archaeologists who look back and astronauts who look forward.
Pentecost was a supernatural event. God saves sinners. This is a more wonderful than the original creation. John 14:12 began to be fulfilled at Pentecost.
We cannot build the church by the law. We need the rushing mighty wind of the Spirit.
2. The fire
Acts 2:3. Fire signifies the presence of God; the fiery pillar, judgement, Luke 3:17. The tongues of fire were not the unquenchable flames of hell. The fire was on each of them, an inclusive gift.
Acts 2:6, the tongues were foreign languages. A reversal of Babel. This is unity without subjugation and obliteration of difference. Different accents and dialects, Acts 2:6. The Holy Spirit breaks down barriers. Cultural barriers are not destroyed but eroded to the point of irrelevance. One message. One redeemed people.
1. The translatability of god's word
We must no tie the gospel to WASP culture. The Antioch church reached out to gentiles. There was unity in diversity at Pentecost. The variegated grace of God. When God freezes water we have snow flakes, when man freezes water we get ice cubes. The symphony of grace. The gospel is for all.
We may not expect to see the phenomenon witnessed at Pentecost, but what was symbolised by the phenomenon still applies.
2. Come to Christ
3. Are you filled with the Spirit?
D. L. Moody replied, “Yes, but I leak.” Seek the Spirit’s fullness repeatedly.