Reflection on Acts 8:14-17

Scripture
The Holy Spirit had not come on any of them, for they had only been baptised in the name of Jesus.

Observation
Many people are turning to Jesus in Samaria under the preaching of Philip. The apostles send Peter and John to investigate what is happening. They find that none of the believers have received the Holy Spirit because they have only been baptised in the name of Jesus.

Peter and John lay their hands on the believers, and they receive the Holy Spirit.

Application
Many christians, and many pastors, are blasé about the words used in worship and in prayer. We all want to be spontaneous and led by the Holy Spirit.

I would not want to get trapped into a liturgical mind set where the words are recited by rote and with little care for their meaning. Yet, there are times when the words that are spoken are important to the Lord and so they should be important to us also.

The disciples in Samaria believed in Jesus and were baptised, but they lacked the Holy Spirit. This lack was so obvious that the visiting apostles saw it straight away.

The problem was that they had been baptised only in the name of Jesus and not in the full Trinity- Father, Son and Holy Spirit. A failure in words led to a failure in the sacrament.

In 1 Corinthians 11, Paul takes the church to task for its inadequate expression of the Lord’s Supper. He even states that because they failed to celebrate Communion with the right spirit, some of them had died.

Words in worship carry significance.

Prayer
Lord, purify me heart and my lips so that when I come before you to worship I do this with an undivided heart. Amen.

Reflection on Acts 2:1-21

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Scripture

Everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages as the Holy Spirit gave hem the ability.

Observation

It is the Day of Pentecost, and all the believers are in one place. Suddenly there is a noise like a mighty wind and something like tongues of fire settle on each one.

Everyone present is filled with the Holy Spirit and begins to speak other languages in the power of the Holy Spirit. People hearing the commotion come running and are perplexed to hear the disciples praising God in various languages. Some ascribe it to God, others to drunkenness.

Peter stands up and points the hearers to the prophet Joel who had prophesied that in the last ays the Spirit would be poured out on all flesh.

Application

How awesome it is that every believer has the ability to be filled with the Holy Spirit. This is God’s Spirit dwelling in us and empowering our speech to God’s glory.

Everyone present was filled- there were no exceptions. The gift of the Holy Spirit is available to all ages, to women and men.

The outward sign of the presence of the Holy Spirit was the gift of tongues; the ability to praise God and to pray in a language you don’t know, a special prayer language.

When we don’t know how to pray, praying in tongues is a means by which the Holy Spirit in us intercedes on our behalf.

The presence of the Holy Spirit was not just for the believers who were there. It was for unbelievers also- those who heard the noise but did not know what it meant. This event led to the hearts of many being softened and prepared for Peter’s message so that 3000 people were saved that day.

The power of the Holy Spirit changes everything.

Prayer

Come and fill me Holy Spirit. Let my tongue be used to praise you and my heart set on fire by your love. Amen.

Reflection on Acts 1:15-26

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Scripture:

Then they cast lots, and Matthias was selected to become an apostle with the other eleven.

Observation:

It is in the gap between the return of Jesus to heaven and the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit comes.

One day, when 120 of the believers are present in the one place, Peter tells them that they need to replace Judas as an apostle.

They nominate two men, Matthias and Justus. After praying they cast lots, and Matthias is added to the eleven.

Application:

It seems an odd way to choose an apostle, that is by casting lots. To our way of thinking it seems a little casual to make such an important appointment in this way.

Both Matthias and Justus meet the criteria that were established and both were equally qualified for the position.

If we believe that God directs the courses of nations, then it should not be too hard to believe that He directs the selection of the apostles.

After Pentecost, we do not read of this method of selecting ministers again. We have the Holy Spirit, God Himself, dwelling in us. Surely we can believe that He will lead us in every important decision.

The important factor of course is prayer. When we pray and include listening in the prayer process, then God will lead us in every decision that we submit to Him.

Prayer

Lord God, please help me to submit every decision to you, and please lead me into the right choices. Amen.

Reflection on Acts 4:1-12

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts+4.1-12

Scripture

There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.”

Observation

After the crippled man is healed, Peter addressed the crowd. While he and John are still speaking, some priests and guards come to arrest them as the priests are disturbed by their teaching. Many in the crowd believe their message and so the number of believers has grown to 5,000 men plus women and children.

The next day, the priests question Peter and John, demanding to know by what power they had healed the man. Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, testifies that the man was healed by the name of Jesus, whom they, the priests, had crucified but God had raised from the dead. He goes on to say that there is no other name by which people can be saved.

Application

There is healing in the name of Jesus, and salvation in the name of Jesus. There is no other name, no other salvation.

Unbelievers say that all religions lead to God. But only one name will save us from hell and bring us to heaven. Only one name will bring healing, wholeness and new life.

The name of Jesus is powerful. Demons flee when they hear the name preached. They wither in fear at the testimony of righteous men and women.

Why would we seek another name, another salvation?

Yet some people do exactly this. Some people claim to be born again but run after other gods. A little bit of Christ, a little bit of Allah and a touch of Krishna.

Salvation is not a buffet in which we can take a little of what appeals to us.

There is only one Lord, our saviour Jesus Christ.

No other name will save you. No other “god” will heal you or take you to eternal life.

Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ, your name is above all names. Thank you for saving me through your death on the cross. Amen.