Monday, August 23, 2010

upside down and inside out

As we read through the book of Acts we are amazed at the dramatic events that turned the world upside down after Jesus ascended to Heaven and sent the Holy Spirit to grow the church.  It seems that every chapter presents events that surprised all parties: unsaved Jews, Gentiles, born-again Jews and secular authorities.  The world structure and the world order were being shaken.  The message of God's love through  faith in His Son was rippling outward from Jerusalem like a pond where a giant boulder had been dropped from Heaven into the middle.  The Holy Spirt started with a bang on Pentecost when He gave the Apostles the ability to speak in the languages of Jews who had come to Jerusalem for the feast.  He worked miracles of healing through Peter that showed the power of Jesus was still alive and those miracles continued to inspire faith among some and fear among others.  Some saw that eternity was to be gained and some saw that their earthly power might be lost.  Those who feared tried to extinguish the flames of the message but only caused it to spread as believers fled persecution.  The Holy Spirit turned the heart of a persecutor named Saul, inside out and redirected his energy from destruction of the church to declaration of God's deliverance.  Peter is awakened to the reality that God's plan of salvation is now for all men, including formerly unclean Gentiles and Greeks.  This was a radical shift as centuries of tradition and law had separated the Jew from the rest of the world.  The great redemption plan that had been illustrated, declared and preserved and the great family lineage that produced the Savior were now revealed to be a plan to rescue the entire world of men.  Rather than separating men from other men, God has made it clear that He wants to separate all men from the power of sin.  We are not each other's enemy...we are brothers in faith or we are potential brothers in faith.  I believe that today we continue to be the instruments of the Holy Spirit to bring the message to this world of people.  Each of us needs to be turned inside out and our worlds turned upside down to find God's love and to live for Him!
Acts 10:45 And the believers from among the circumcised (the Jews) who came with Peter were surprised and amazed, because the free gift of the Holy Spirit had been bestowed and poured out largely even on the Gentiles.
Rob Smith

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