Day 241: August 29, 2013

Today's Reading(s)

Acts 2:14-41
14 But Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice, and proclaimed to them: “Men of Judah and all you residents of Jerusalem, let me explain this to you and pay attention to my words. 15 For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it’s only nine in the morning. 16 On the contrary, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:

17 And it will be in the last days, says God,
that I will pour out My Spirit on all humanity;
then your sons and your daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
and your old men will dream dreams.
18 I will even pour out My Spirit
on My male and female slaves in those days,
and they will prophesy.
19 I will display wonders in the heaven above
and signs on the earth below:
blood and fire and a cloud of smoke.
20 The sun will be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood
before the great and remarkable Day of the Lord comes.
21 Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

22 “Men of Israel, listen to these words: This Jesus the Nazarene was a man pointed out to you by God with miracles, wonders, and signs that God did among you through Him, just as you yourselves know. 23 Though He was delivered up according to God’s determined plan and foreknowledge, you used lawless people to nail Him to a cross and kill Him. 24 God raised Him up, ending the pains of death, because it was not possible for Him to be held by it. 25 For David says of Him:

I saw the Lord ever before me;
because He is at my right hand,
I will not be shaken.
26 Therefore my heart was glad,
and my tongue rejoiced.
Moreover, my flesh will rest in hope,
27 because You will not leave me in Hades
or allow Your Holy One to see decay.
28 You have revealed the paths of life to me;
You will fill me with gladness in Your presence.

29 “Brothers , I can confidently speak to you about the patriarch David : He is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 Since he was a prophet, he knew that God had sworn an oath to him to seat one of his descendants on his throne. 31 Seeing this in advance, he spoke concerning the resurrection of the Messiah:

He was not left in Hades,
and His flesh did not experience decay.

32 “God has resurrected this Jesus. We are all witnesses of this. 33 Therefore, since He has been exalted to the right hand of God and has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit, He has poured out what you both see and hear. 34 For it was not David who ascended into the heavens, but he himself says:

The Lord declared to my Lord,
‘Sit at My right hand
35 until I make Your enemies Your footstool.’
36 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know with certainty that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah!”
37 When they heard this, they came under deep conviction and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles: “Brothers, what must we do?”
38 “Repent,” Peter said to them, “and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children, and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” 40 And with many other words he testified and strongly urged them, saying, “Be saved from this corrupt generation!” 41 So those who accepted his message were baptized, and that day about 3, 000 people were added to them.

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.



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Today's Reflection

Key Verse(s)

“Repent,” Peter said to them, “and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
—Acts 2:38

What Are You Waiting For?
by Leigh Ann Swords, Member of Brentwood Baptist, The Church at Station Hill

In the ten days that had passed since Jesus’ ascension into heaven, the disciples had basically taken up residence at the temple (Luke 24:52-53). They were having a prayer meeting like no other, praying with great expectation and confidence that something huge was about to happen.

The last words Jesus had spoken to them were a promise that they would soon be baptized with the Holy Spirit, filled with His power to be witnesses for Christ unto the ends of the earth.

Why was that such a big deal? In those days, the Holy Spirit didn’t take up residence in believers. The Spirit filled certain people at certain times to do certain things the Lord wanted them to do. He came upon prophets like Moses, David, and even John the Baptist, but the vast majority had never known what it felt like for Him to dwell in them.

Hard to imagine, isn’t it?

Things were about to be different. Christ had come and fulfilled His mission. Love’s redeeming work was done. The price for sin was paid, and now the only thing left to do was to let the world know. For this monumental task, the Spirit was ready.

The disciples were gathered there in a room at the temple complex, praying and praising God for what He was going to do. Suddenly, the Spirit was on them, sounding like a mighty wind and resting over them like tongues of fire.

The first sign of the Spirit was completely unexpected, but so like God. Suddenly, they could speak in languages they didn’t know, but which others could understand!

As God’s perfect timing would have it, Jerusalem was filled with devout men “from every nation under heaven” who were there for Pentecost. They were equally startled to hear this group of Galileans speaking in different languages, wondering why they could hear what was being said in their own native languages.

Some mocked and ridiculed them, coming to the false conclusion that the disciples must be drunk. But Peter, freshly empowered by the spirit, was ready to preach.

He began by quoting Joel’s prophecy about what would happen in the last days. God had promised to pour out His spirit on all people, turning average men and women into prophets (Joel 2:28-32).

Peter told them the day had arrived, and they were witnessing the fulfillment of that prophecy before their very eyes. He explained that this was happening because of what Jesus had done. Jesus was the very Messiah they’d been longing for, and they had missed him. They had crucified their own Savior!

Imagine the intense pain in their hearts as God opened their eyes to the truth and they realized what had happened. They asked the same desperate question you and I would’ve asked, “What can we do?” They wanted to know: is all hope lost? Is it too late for us?

Peter answered with the simple truth: “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

These same words have been spoken ever since, and the promise holds true to every person who will accept God’s message of grace. Three thousand people believed that day and received the Holy Spirit. Many of them went back to their native lands, empowered and ready to spread the message of Christ. The fulfillment of the Great Commission had begun (Matthew 28:19-20).

Because of Christ’s work, we no longer have to physically go to a temple to meet with God. We are the temple. We take God’s grace and love with us wherever we go. And we should be prepared, like Peter, to give an answer to anyone who asks the reason for the hope within (1 Peter 3:15).

While you and I are baptized with the Spirit at the point of our salvation, we aren’t continually full of the Spirit. We can quench the Spirit when we crowd Him out with our sin and things of this world (1 Thessalonians 5:19).

But we can ask God to fill us with His Spirit so the things that come out of us are fruits of that Spirit, such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control (Galatians 5:22). When we’re not filled with the spirit, our fruits may be the opposite.

It’s mind-blowing to dwell on the fact that each of us, as believers, has the power of God living within us, the same power that raised Christ from the dead! The question is this: what are we doing with it?

Acts 1:8 tells us the Spirit was given so we could be witnesses for Christ to all people everywhere, from our next door neighbors to the ends of the earth. We’re empowered by Christ to spread the truth of His love, mercy, and grace.

Imagine the spirit within, longing to do the work He came to do, waiting for us to tap into that power and go for it. What are we waiting for?

Reflection Questions

  1. Does the Spirit of God live in you? Have you repented of your sin, believed in Christ for the salvation of your soul, confessed your faith publically and been baptized?
  2. What do your fruits indicate about you? Do they demonstrate to others that you are living out of a fullness of the Spirit (love, joy, peace) or a quenched spirit (anger, strife, lack of self-control)?
  3. Meditate on the reason God placed his Spirit within you. Are you drawing from that power to be a witness to those around you?
  4. Who’s the first person you think of who needs the gospel? Will you begin praying now for an opportunity to share, and for the Spirit to fill you with boldness to do so?

About the Author

Leigh Ann Swords

Leigh Ann has been a member of Brentwood Baptist since moving to the Nashville area in 1998. She has been a part of the Church at Station Hill from the time it was only a dream until now, serving on the missions and worship teams, as well as teaching Sunday school in the student ministry. She and her husband Jeff have three children, Brad, Bailey and Bryant. She is currently enrolled as a student at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and leads a weekly Bible study for women in her home. Her passions include missions, travel, biking and the word of God. She can be reached at leighann.swords@me.com.