1. The Acts of the Apostles: Introduction

The Acts of the Apostles begins with Luke restating the purpose of his former book, The Gospel According to Luke.

Acts 1:1-2

1 In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen.

The instructions that the Lord gave were to his apostles—eleven in number, with the death of Judas. This focus on the apostles becomes more important, since in modern times, powers given only to them are widely ascribed to others. The empowerment of modern ecclesiastical hierarchies comes directly from efforts through the centuries to usurp these powers and authorities given only to the apostles of Christ.

Convincing Proofs of the Resurrection of Christ

Luke describes the empirical nature of Christ’s appearance after his resurrection and his giving of many convincing proofs.

Acts 1:3

3 After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive.

Luke spoke of these same empirical proofs in Luke 1:1-2: “1 Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, 2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word.” Christ showed himself and eyewitnesses saw. In 1 Cor 15:3-8, Paul summarized the power and nature of this eyewitness testimony upon which the truth of the resurrection stands:

3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

In addition to Paul, Peter and John claimed the power of eyewitness testimony as convincing proofs of the resurrection of the Son of God. Peter wrote in 2 Peter 1:16-18:

16 We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." 18 We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.

John agreed with Peter and Paul in establishing the convincing proofs of eyewitness testimony 1

in 1 John 1:1-3:

1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched — this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. 2 The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. 3 We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us.

When discussing the proofs of the resurrection, Luke claims certainty in his “convincing proofs.” In Luke 1:3-4, he wrote:

3 Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught [Emphasis added].

In all human affairs, proofs achieve three levels of credibility: It is possible that the Jesus rose from the dead. It is probable that Jesus rose from the dead. It is certain that Jesus rose from the dead. In Luke 24, Luke adds his own accumulation of witnesses to testify that Christ rose from the dead.

The Lord Appears and Opens the Scriptures to the Apostles

To all these witnesses, the Lord himself called on the power of the prophets to prove of a certainty that he who was dead is now alive. Luke recorded his words in Luke 24:25-27:

25 He said to them, "How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?" 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.

Two men on the road to Emmaus were eyewitness to his appearance and to the fact that he had opened the scriptures to them. In Luke 24:30-32, he eats with them:

30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. 32 They asked each other, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?"

In Luke 24:45-49, the Lord again opened the minds of the apostles so that they could understand the scriptures. In these few words, the he defined the gospel—his death and resurrection—and told them the mission to come—repentance and the remission of sins to be preached by his authority to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them, "This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high."

Significantly, Jesus said, “You are witnesses of these things.”

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Luke Documents a Number of Eyewitnesses as Convincing Proof

Luke 24 documents a number of eyewitnesses who stand as contemporary and convincing proof that Jesus rose from the dead. In Luke 24:5-8, the angels testify of his resurrection to the women who had brought spices to his tomb:

"Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6 He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 7 'The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.'" 8 Then they remembered his words.

These women—three named with others unnamed--were enough witnesses to establish the certainty of the event. They related the news to the apostles who remained skeptical about the certainty of the event. Luke recorded in Luke 24:9-11

9 When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. 10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. 11 But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense.

They thought what the women said was nonsense, not accepting even the possibility of the truth of the resurrection. Peter was provoked to wonder what had happen when he saw the empty tomb and strips of linen in Luke 24:12: “12 Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.” Nonsense turns to possibility.

Luke 24:13-32 is a narrative of the appearance of Christ to two disciples where possibility of the resurrection turns to probability. In verses 13-16, Jesus appears to them, but they are kept from recognizing him. In verses 19 to 24, they discuss with the Lord the possibility of the resurrection of the Lord, concluding their account of the events with the women and Peter by saying,

“22 In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning 23 but didn't find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. 24 Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see."

In the verses following this episode, the two witnesses came to understand the certain truth of Jesus’ resurrection. First, Jesus conveyed the teaching of the prophets in verses 25-27:

25 He said to them, "How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?" 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.

Second, Jesus opened their eyes and they recognized him in verses 30-32:

30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. 32 They asked each other, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?"

It is with these events that the two disciples become certain of the resurrection of Jesus, for when they return to the apostles, they say in Luke 24:34, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.”

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Here, Jesus appears to the apostles and provides them with empirical evidence that he is alive. Luke records this evidence in Luke 24:37-43:

37 They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. 38 He said to them, "Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? 39 Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have."

40 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. 41 And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, "Do you have anything here to eat?" 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate it in their presence.

Finally, they became actual witnesses of his ascension—an event that Luke will return to in Acts 1—recorded in Luke 24:50-53:

50 When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. 51 While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. 52 Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. 53 And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.

Theme of Acts of the Apostles

These are the convincing proofs of the former book, the gospel according to Luke. Acts of the Apostles begins with these events and unfolds the gospel story as it spreads through out the world. Just as the Gospel of Luke was about what Jesus began to do and teach, so Acts of the Apostles is about what the church of the first century did and taught. A study of Acts presents convincing proofs of what the church of the 21st century must believe and practice. Acts 1 begins where Luke 24 leaves off.

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2. The Apostles Wait for the Holy Spirit; Jesus Ascends; God Chooses Matthias: Acts 1

Lesson 1 reviewed the many convincing proofs that Christ was alive. The proofs established the certainty of Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, the central principle of the gospel. In Luke 1:3- 4, Luke stated his purpose in the writing of his record of the gospel:

3 Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.

Those who read the gospel account may know the certainty of the things taught. Therefore, Luke begins The Acts of the Apostles by leading off with the assertion that Jesus himself had given “many convincing proofs that he was alive.” Acts begins with a recitation of these important events in The Gospel According to Luke.

Acts 1:1-3

1 In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. 3 After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.

In this first paragraph of Acts, Luke further states the purpose of the gospel. He had written about all that Jesus began to do and to teach. In this introduction to Acts, Luke summarizes the facts of the gospel. Jesus was taken up into heaven. His instructions were to the apostles and made certain by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Jesus, who had suffered death on the cross, appeared to men, proving that he was alive. Finally, Luke says that during the forty days after the resurrection, Jesus spoke of the kingdom of God.

The purpose of Acts is to chronicle the facts of the establishment and spread of the kingdom of God—literally what the apostles did and taught as a result of Jesus’ command in Luke 24:44- 49:

44 He said to them, "This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms."

45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them, "This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high."

Baptized with the Holy Spirit

Acts 1:4-5

4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit."

This passage in Acts is parallel to Luke 24:49. Both speak of the promised gift from God. In Luke 24:49, the gift is a clothing of power from on high; in Luke 1:5, it is a baptism of the Holy

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Spirit. Therefore, the baptism of the Holy Spirit is the clothing of power from on high. In both instances, the promise was given exclusively to the apostles. Modern teachings on the baptism of the Holy Spirit are mostly without scriptural foundation and are unscriptural in content and intent. One will read nothing of these modern concepts and practices in The Acts of the Apostles. There will be no supernatural demonstrations of power in a direct operation of the Holy Spirit in conversion in order to demonstrate salvation.

Baptized, as used here, takes its original meaning. W. E. Vines defines baptize as literally a dipping or an immersing, and metaphorically as an overwhelming:

Baptize: "to baptize," primarily a frequentative form of bapto, "to dip," was used among the Greeks to signify the dyeing of a garment, or the drawing of water by dipping a vessel into another, etc. Plutarchus uses it of the drawing of wine by dipping the cup into the bowl (Alexis, 67) and Plato, metaphorically, of being overwhelmed with questions (Euthydemus, 277 D). (from Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, Copyright © 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers.)

In the sense here, baptizing is an overwhelming of the Holy Spirit; or as stated by the Lord in Luke 24:49, it is a clothing. In the Greek language, the word used here gives the same meaning literally and metaphorically as baptized. Strong defines it this way: NT:1746

enduo (en-doo'-o); from NT:1722 and NT:1416 (in the sense of sinking into a garment); to invest with clothing (literally or figuratively):

KJV - array, clothe (with), endue, have (put) on.

(Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

This endowment of the Holy Spirit was not only special to the apostles, but it was also special to the generation of those living at this time. Jesus had foretold the clothing with power from on high. He also foretold that it would be in the lifetime of his listeners, not in the lifetime of generations to follow. In Matt 16:28, he said, “28 I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” In Mark 9:1, he said, “9 And he said to them, "I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God come with power.”

When the power from on high came, the apostles, and only the apostles were overwhelmed with it, and at the same time, the kingdom of God came. To these apostles, everything would be fulfilled, just as the Lord had said in Luke 24:44, “44 He said to them, ‘This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.’”

Acts: 1:6-8

6 So when they met together, they asked him, "Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?"

7 He said to them: "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

In this account, the apostles are bewildered, thinking that the talk of the kingdom of God meant the restoration of the physical kingdom to Israel. The Lord chose this time to pinpoint

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the time of the coming of the power to them. It would be at the time when the Holy Spirit was to come on them. Now, we know that these events happened on the Day of Pentecost as recorded in Acts 2. The kingdom that will unfold is a spiritual kingdom—the Israel of God. Paul wrote in Gal 6:15-16: “15 Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation. 16 Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule, even to the Israel of God.” This Israel of God includes all men, according to Eph 3:6: “6 This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.” There will be no earthly restoration of the kingdom of the old covenant.

Verse 8 tells them to wait in Jerusalem to receive the power when the Holy Spirit would come upon them. Thus far the Lord has told them where the Kingdom would come—Jerusalem, how it would come—with power from on high, and to what extent it would come—they would be overwhelmed. The apostles will have no trouble recognizing this great and glorious day of the Lord of Acts 2:20.

In this section, Luke concludes with the Lord giving the order of the progress of the gospel. He said, “You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” The Acts of the Apostles will trace this progression of the gospel and the growth of the kingdom of God

The Ascension of Jesus

Luke 1:9-11

9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.

10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11 "Men of Galilee," they said, "why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven."

This passage gives the basic facts of the ascension and return of Jesus; that is, he will return the same way as they saw him leave. This is a reiteration of Luke 24:50-53 but with more detail:

50 When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. 51 While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. 52 Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. 53 And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.

The manner of Jesus’ return is the subject of two passages by Paul. Nowhere do they mention the return of Jesus to the earth, which, according to Peter, will have its very elements burned with fervent heat. First, in 1 Thess 4:15-17, Paul said that we would meet him in the air to forever be with the Lord:

15 According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. [Emphasis added]

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There is no room in this passage for a return of the Lord to an earthly kingdom. Neither is there room for such an earthly kingdom in Paul’s writing to the Corinthians. In 1 Cor 15:20, 23-24, Paul gave the order of events from the resurrection of Christ to the end:

20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep . . . 23 But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. 24 Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power.

Again, there is no room in this passage for an earthly kingdom at some later time. The very same is true of Paul’s teaching in 1 Cor 15:50-53:

50 I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.

Not only is there no room for an earthly kingdom in this sequence of events, but there is also no room for “flesh and blood” to inherit the kingdom of God. Paul’s description exactly fits what Jesus said in Matt 24:27, 30-31:

27 For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.

30 "At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. 31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.

Peter makes it clear that this earth and the elements therein will be destroyed (melt in heat) in 2 Peter 3:10-13

10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.

11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. 13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.

From the very beginning of Luke’s chronicles of the events of Acts, the kingdom of God, which comes in chapter 2, on the day of Pentecost, with the overwhelming power of the Holy Spirit, is the spiritual kingdom of God.

The Adding of Matthias to the Eleven

Acts 1:12-14

12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day's walk from the city. 13 When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. Those present were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James son of

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Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. 14 They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.

The focus of this section of Acts 1 is on the apostles and the replacement of Judas with Matthias. This group appears to be a narrow group of the eleven apostles, certain women, and Mary, the mother of Jesus, and his brothers. The eleven returning shows that the promises of the overwhelming of the Holy Spirit and the promised power from on high were to the apostles and the apostles alone. The passage will turn to the manner of selecting a successor to Judas—a matter ignored or perverted by many churches today—the Roman and Orthodox Catholic churches, the Anglican and Episcopal churches, and the Mormon church, to name most but not all. The passage makes it impossible to have apostles beyond the lives of the original apostles, leaving those who practice apostolic succession to their own reasoning to justify it. As the practice of apostolic succession falls, so the practice that church tradition is binding on Christians in past and future generations falls.

Acts 1:15-17

15 In those days Peter stood up among the believers (a group numbering about a hundred and twenty) 16 and said, "Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled which the Holy Spirit spoke long ago through the mouth of David concerning Judas, who served as guide for those who arrested Jesus— 17 he was one of our number and shared in this ministry."

Before a group of 120 believers, Peter began to rehearse that the prophecy of scripture called for Judas’ replacement. It is interesting that Peter says that the Holy Spirit spoke. A few verses later, it was David who actually spoke the words of the Holy Spirit, in keeping with Peter’s later teaching in 2 Peter 1:20-21,

20 Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

Acts 1:18-20

18 (With the reward he got for his wickedness, Judas bought a field; there he fell headlong, his body burst open and all his intestines spilled out. 19 Everyone in Jerusalem heard about this, so they called that field in their language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.)

20 "For," said Peter, "it is written in the book of Psalms,
"'May his place be deserted; let there be no one to dwell in it,'

and,
"'May another take his place of leadership.'

After the parenthetical description of Judas death, Peter quotes the prophecies. The prophecies conclude with the statement, “May another take his place of leadership.” The authority for the replacement of and the method of replacement is binding teaching of the Holy Spirit and consistent with all the scriptures dealing with the apostles.

Acts 1:21-26

21 Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 beginning from John's baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection."

23 So they proposed two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias. 24 Then

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they prayed, "Lord, you know everyone's heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen 25 to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs." 26 Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles.

The qualifications were clear: “. . . one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 beginning from John's baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection.” This qualification rules out the choosing of anyone to be an apostle in the ages following the lives of eyewitnesses to Christ from the beginning to the resurrection of Christ. The purpose of this selection was also limited by scripture to one to take Judas’ place. The manner of the selection process is made more certain by Peter’s prayer, “Show us which of these two you have chosen 25 to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs.” The apostolic ministry was only that of Judas, and God chose the replacement.

The only other instance of adding an apostle was that of the apostle Paul, who wrote of his selection as an apostle in 1 Cor 15:8-11

8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

9 For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.

These choices—adding Matthias and choosing Paul—exclude any other cases of selecting apostles. Even the apostle, James, whom Herod put to death in Acts 12:1-3, was not replaced.

As with Matthias, Paul was chosen by God. Luke recorded Ananius saying in Acts 22:14-16:

14 "Then he said: 'The God of our fathers has chosen you to know his will and to see the Righteous One and to hear words from his mouth. 15 You will be his witness to all men of what you have seen and heard. 16 And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.’”

Apostolic succession, as practiced by denominations, is not a doctrine of scripture. The words, apostolic succession, do not appear in the scriptures. Those who practice the doctrine make no pretense. They did not trust the scriptures, and so they invented a human scheme in order to rely on men. This scheme of apostolic succession permitted another scheme—tradition as equally binding as scriptures on the church. One of their own writers claims the purpose for the doctrine:

The first Christians had no doubts about how to determine which was the true Church and which doctrines the true teachings of Christ. The test was simple: Just trace the apostolic succession of the claimants. Apostolic succession is the line of bishops stretching back to the apostles. All over the world, all Catholic bishops are part of a lineage that goes back to the time of the apostles, something that is impossible in Protestant denominations (most of which do not even claim to have bishops). Catholic Answers, “The Divinity of Christ” (San Diego: Catholic Answers, 2001)

This same article shows their blatant disregard of the scriptures:

Thus the early Church historian J. N. D. Kelly, a Protestant, writes, "[W]here in practice was [the] apostolic testimony or tradition to be found? . . . The most obvious answer was that the apostles had committed it orally to the Church, where it had been handed down from generation to generation. . . . Unlike the alleged secret tradition of the Gnostics, it was entirely public and open, having been entrusted by the apostles to

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their successors, and by these in turn to those who followed them, and was visible in the Church for all who cared to look for it" (Early Christian Doctrines, 37). (ibid).

Their claim is that these are “Spirit-endowed men who have been vouchsafed ‘an infallible charism of truth’” (Early Christian Doctrines, 43)

These foundation doctrines—apostolic Succession, tradition, equal to scripture, and infallibility of bishops—have allowed the great perversion of scripture that is the great apostasy, which in turn, has created all the denominations. The words of the apostle Paul in Acts 20:28-31 have been fulfilled:

28 Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. 29 I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. 30 Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. 31 So be on your guard!

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) holds a view of apostolic succession. To them, apostolic succession came back to the church when Joseph Smith, Jr., led its restoration in the nineteenth century. LDS maintains that Joseph Smith, whom they maintain was visited by God, the father and his Son, had the power of particular and general revelation.

While the New Testament embraces the power of particular and general revelation for the apostles and prophets, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is unique for believing general revelation is active today - and held by the apostles of their Church. [These notes on LDS rely on the websites, Wikipedia and Executable Manuscripts.].

Apostolic succession and latter day infallibility doctrines deny the clear teaching of the all- sufficency of the scriptures. Paul taught in 2 Tim 3:16-17: “16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

Conclusion

Lesson 2, covering Acts 1, ends with the selection Matthias to take the place of Judas among the eleven. Lesson three will cover Acts 2 where power will come from on high and the kingdom of will come with power, just as the Lord Jesus said it would.

Phase 1 – Consecration

Posted by on Jun 7, 2012 in 1-Consecration, DNA Of Revival | Comments Off on Phase 1 – Consecration

Consecration is a "Beginning Process"

  1. Seeking
  2. Submitting
  3. Serving
  4. Sacrificing
  5. Suffering

Consecration is a sort of “old fashioned” term. It is found most often in the Bible in the Old Testament in reference to items that are to be set apart as holy for the purposes of worshipping God. It is also used to describe the setting apart of the priests, who are to be consecrated to the Lord. Although the word is not used extensively in the New Testament, it occurs in reference to the consecrated bread, as well as being applied to individuals and the purposes of God.

The deepest, most meaningful manner in which we express our willingness to give ourselves away to Christ forms the foundation of consecration. The desire of one who longs after Christ is to submerge themselves in Him until we are in this world, but not of this world.

Charles Spurgeon was saved on January 6, 1850, and on February 1 he wrote the following prayer of consecration:  “O great and unsearchable God, who knowest my heart, and triest all my ways; with a humble dependence upon the support of Thy Holy Spirit, I yield up myself to Thee; as Thy own reasonable sacrifice, I return to Thee Thine own. I would be for ever, unreservedly, perpetually Thine; whilst I am on earth, I would serve Thee; and may I enjoy Thee and praise Thee for ever! Amen.” (Wycliffe Handbook of Preaching & Preachers, W. Wiersbe, p. 235)

New dimensions in the Spirit of God begin in consecration. We must separate from this world and develop sense of the sacred nature of kingdom living. Every sacrifice made in pursuit of spiritual growth will bring eternal rewards.

The entire landscape of the dimension we have come to call “revival” awaits, including blessings, miracles, opportunities and breakthroughs. The very favor of God is available to those with overwhelming hunger and thirst for righteousness.

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Phase 2 – Revelation

Posted by on Jun 7, 2012 in 2-Revelation, DNA Of Revival | Comments Off on Phase 2 – Revelation

Revelation is a "Learning Process"

  1. Hear The Word
  2. Receive The Word
  3. Abide In The Word
  4. Love The Word
  5. Speak The Word

There is a book which we Christians call the book of life. It is a book with a “strange and wonderful power to lead men of every race and condition into a living relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ.” When we read it with an open mind and heart, we discover that God has long been seeking us, to deliver us from our evil world of misery and bondage and to enter into fellowship with us. For centuries he spoke urgent words of invitation through the prophets whom he sent, and that at last he came to us in a Son. We discover that eternal life can begin here and now–when we forsake our foolish ways and commit ourselves and our all to this Jesus who is called Christ. – Harold S. Bender

Toward the end of her life, I was privileged to hear Nona Freeman, the life long missionary to Africa, make a very powerful statement. I have never forgotten it. “Faith cometh by REVELATION” she said, “And REVELATION by the Word of God.” This is an obvious quoting of the scripture verse found in Romans 10:17, inserting the word “revelation” in place of “hearing.” The statement itself opened up a world of understanding in my mind. Not just hearing the Word, but rather having the Word revealed with depth of understanding is most important.

The Bible warns us, “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” – (James 1:22). When we receive doctrinal truth, lifestyle instructions and relationship insights directly from the Lord through His word by revelation, our lives are changed.

"That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him." – (Ephesians 1:17)

Phase 3 – Demonstration

Posted by on Jun 7, 2012 in 3-Demonstration, DNA Of Revival | Comments Off on Phase 3 – Demonstration

Demonstration is an “Experiencing Process"

  1. Power In Prayer
  2. Power In Worship
  3. Power In Preaching
  4. Power In The Spirit
  5. Power In Fellowship

The early church was born in a demonstration of the power of God. Not through great public speaking, theological debate, or human charisma. Their strength was not in magnificent buildings and large sprawling campuses. They did not rely upon enlarging bank accounts and influential connections.

The Apostle Paul wrote plainly, “And my speech, and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power. That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God” (I Corinthians 2:4-5). Paul further stated, “. . . the Kingdom of God is not in word, but in power” (I Corinthians 4:20).

Jesus left the church with the great mission of reaching the world with the Gospel of the Kingdom. This task will not be accomplished by mere words alone. As in the early church, the church today must understand her authority in Christ and must be armed with our God-given tools and keys to demonstrate the power of God. This includes the operation of Spiritual gifts within the body, a fully functioning five-fold ministry, and various signs, wonders and miracles occurring as the Spirit itself directs. They ". . . went forth and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the Word with signs following” (Mark 16:20).

This is God’s method for effective ministry, preaching the word, and, the Lord working with us, confirming His Word with miraculous signs.

The world is attracted to Jesus when they see visible results of the power of the Gospel which has changed your life.  There is tremendous power available to each and every believer through the Holy Ghost Baptism!

Phase 4 – Evangelization

Posted by on Jun 7, 2012 in 4-Evangelization, DNA Of Revival | Comments Off on Phase 4 – Evangelization

Evangelization is a “Going Process"

  1. Prayer Evangelism
  2. Personal Evangelism
  3. Lifestyle Evangelism
  4. Saturation Evangelism
  5. Missions Evangelism

To evangelize means to proclaim the good news of the gospel of Christ. Paul says in Romans 1:14, “I am a debtor both to the Greeks and to the Barbarians, both to the wise and to the unwise.”  In like manner, today we are debtors to every non-Christian because we have the good news that can save his or her soul.  This places us under obligation to share the gospel with the lost so they can be saved.

If people have not heard and learned the gospel, they cannot obey it.  In 1 Peter 4:17, the question is asked, “What shall be the end of those who do not obey the gospel?”  The answer is given in 2 Thessalonians 1:8, which says when the Lord comes He will come “In flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  We should not want to see anyone lost. But as Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:11, “Knowing the terror of the Lord we persuade men.”

In the first century, the good news of the gospel caused such great excitement: “And daily in the temple and from house to house they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus” (Acts 5:42).  We need to be as excited today!  And even when they were being heavily persecuted, some even to death, we read in Acts 8:4, “Therefore those who were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word.”  What should stop us today?  We are not being persecuted.  We have many more advantages.  We have the automobile, the airplane, the telephone, the Internet, and the printed page.  We are without excuse.

Reaching the lost is the work the Lord has commanded each of us to do.  Successful evangelism is best accomplished one person at a time.  Evangelism is not only to be done in distant lands. We must also teach those near us, our next door neighbors, our family and friends. God will be with us as we teach His word to the lost.  “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Phase 5 – Transformation

Posted by on Jun 7, 2012 in 5-Transfomation, DNA Of Revival | Comments Off on Phase 5 – Transformation

Transformation is a “Maturing Process"

  1. Connected Members
  2. Committed Members
  3. Serving Members
  4. Leadership Members
  5. Legacy Members

The character of Christ will produce the conduct of Christ. Perhaps this in part is the reason Paul proclaimed in Galatians 4:19,  “I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you."  We need the very nature of Christ to shape our character. The Word must touch who we are and transform the very core of our being. When we begin to become one with Christ, His divine nature leads and transforms our lives.

This leads us to our role, which is to model Christ-like character, encouraging others to surrender themselves to Jesus Christ (Gal. 2:20-21).  The Apostle Paul lived a life worthy of examination and provides a model for a transformed life.

His conversion was dramatic and transforming. He became committed unto death, suffering much along the way as he lived out his convictions. By his own words, he was a servant of Christ and a servant to all. He went so far as to describe himself as the “prisoner” of Christ. The maturing minister became a bold leader among the very Christians he had once persecuted, declaring, “Follow me as I follow Christ.” Finally, near the end of a life-long walk with the Lord, he announced victory in his struggle against sin and evil. He said, “I have finished my course, I have kept the faith!"

Paul’s conversion, commitment, character, calling, and crown all document a transformed life. He had come a long way since carrying letters to persecute the church and standing by while they stoned Steven! This is the essence of Transformation. Becoming a new creature through purposeful discipleship.

Let us now put on Christ and further the purpose of our salvation. We are ever leaving darkness and entering light. His marvelous light and abundant life!

Phase 6 – Multiplication

Posted by on Jun 7, 2012 in 6-Multiplication, DNA Of Revival | Comments Off on Phase 6 – Multiplication

Multiplication is a “Growing Process"

  1. Fruit Of  Your Heart
  2. Fruit Of  Your Lips
  3. Fruit Of  Your Hands
  4. Fruit Of  Your Feet
  5. Fruit Of  Your Mind

"I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing." – (John 15:5)

As disciples of Jesus, we are to Him as branches are to the vine. Bearing fruit is our primary responsibility as branches. This of course is only accomplished by drawing strength and nourishment from the vine itself. The vine (JESUS) is the source of all the essential elements in producing fruit.

In the process of bearing fruit, we experience the “abundant life” that Jesus offers, which is described as the fruit of the Spirit. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law”. – (Galatians 5:22-33) All of these amazing attributes are experiences in the process of bringing forth the fruit of Christ-likeness.

Fruit is brought forth as we live our lives. Fruit is a result of living. Therefore, everything we say, do, think and feel, as well as where we go, impacts our eventual fruitfulness.

There is a strong warning in the scripture against a lack of fruitfulness displayed in the example of Jesus cursing the fig tree.

"He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none.   Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?   And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it:   And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down." - (Luke 13:6-9)

Phase 7 – Restoration

Posted by on Jun 7, 2012 in 7-Restoration, DNA Of Revival | Comments Off on Phase 7 – Restoration

Restoration is a “Sustaining Process"

  1. New Look
  2. New Ideas
  3. New Leaders
  4. New Inspiration
  5. New View

One of the definitions of renewal, the one that most applies to Christianity, is “the conversion of waste land into land suitable for use of habitation or cultivation.” The “living waters” of the Holy Spirit convert the dry spiritual wastelands of our souls into fertile ground that produces good fruit.

"For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring:  And they shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the water courses." – (Isaiah 44:3-4)

The baptism of the Holy ghost at once converts the dry soul into a river of living water and establishes a well to continue springing up unto eternal life. The well is a constant source of supply. The well of water is there for the dry seasons when daily rain is not readily available.

Perhaps the greatest, most powerful force of Christianity is the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The resurrection brings back Jesus from the dead and renews the faith of wavering disciples. This power, this resurrection power, is embedded deep within the Christian life.

The nature of humanity and everything in the natural world is to slowly degrade in quality over time. Food spoils, metal rusts, wood rots, clothes fade, etc. This happens to us spiritually, simply because we have the treasure in earthen vessels. The Holy Spirit is the source of renewal. Each phase of the “revival” dimension may be renewed over and over again!

The revival processes will be sustainable as long as they are  renewable!

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Abide in the Word

Posted by on May 2, 2015 in 2-Revelation | 0 comments

By Joseph Giunta

John 8:31 "Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;"

One thing we must understand as apostolics, is that when God gives us revelation in the Word, He isn't doing so simply to give us an extra sermon thought. He is literally teaching us something every time He opens His word to our understanding. God reveals truth to us from His word so that He can later reveal it to the world through us, His oracles.

When we study scripture, it doesn't take long to realize that God does not only want to give us revelation and teach us, but He wants us to abide in His word. John 8:31 gives us some understanding of this principle. In this verse of John's gospel, we see where Jesus tells His listeners that in order to be a disciple of His, they must continue in His word. In many other translations, instead of the word "continue" they use the word "abide".

"So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you ABIDE in my word, you are truly my disciples," (ESV)

According to the KJV dictionary, the word "abide" is defined as follows:

abide - ABI'DE

abada, to be, or exist, to continue; to dwell, rest, continue, stand firm, or be stationary for any time indefinitely

  1. To rest, or dwell
  2. To tarry or stay for a period of time
  3. To continue permanently or in the same state; to be firm and immovable
  4. To remain, to continue

After seeing this, one soon realizes that abiding is not a passive action. By this definition, it may seem like a simple passive action..."Just stay where you are. Don't move". It seems as though everything that has anything to do with the definition of "abide" is actually us staying still and doing nothing. Just existing in one place. However, after careful examination, and the further down the definition we go, things get less and less passive. In fact, it is about as extreme as it can be.

To rest seems very easy to do. We like that word. However, using words like permanent, firm, immovable, remain, and continue, denotes action. Even rest doesn't want to be interrupted. To abide is aggressive and extreme by nature. An abider must be diligent, steadfast, solid, and full of tenacity. An abider is staunchly resistant to anything that would cause him to be moved. An abider is dead set on staying where he is, no matter what it takes. A true abider will fight in order not to lose his place.

Further examining verse 31, we see in the KJV it says "continue in my word". The ESV renders it "abide in my word". I love the way it reads in the NLT:

"Jesus said to the people who believed in him, "You are truly my disciples if you REMAIN FAITHFUL to my TEACHINGS."

Remember, every time God gives us revelation, it is first and foremost for the purpose of personal teaching. He wants to teach us His word because He is the word. If we remain faithful to His word, we remain faithful to Him. If we abide in His word, we abide in Him.

Jesus is the Word personified. "The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us..." He made this very clear to us when He was teaching His disciples. The revelation they received was not by the reading of pages, but by the experience of His actions. By example, He told them not only to abide in the Word, but to abide in Him. In other words, continue doing what you've seen Me do; continue living the way we have lived together, even when I am no longer with you in person. He personified the teachings of the Word, so even after He was gone in body, He was there in teaching. They could continue in Him by continuing in the words He left them.

To be practical, if we are going to abide in His word, we must first know that we are in His word to begin with. What does it mean to be IN His word?

  • We know His word is a light. So if we are in His word, our lives will shine in the midst of darkness, being illuminated by the Word. Our lives will stand out, not only because His light is in us, but because we are in the light. Literally, the spotlight is on us when we are in His word.
  • We know His word is treasure. So if we are in His word, the principles found in His word will be the same as the values of our lives. We will have a value system that regards the Word in everything we do. This is because if we are in His word, His word is our environment. It is our livelihood. If we are truly dependent upon it, we will do whatever it takes to preserve it; therefore, we value it and take care of it.
  • We know His word is truth. So if we are in His word, our lives will demonstrate the persuasion of His ways. When someone mentors you, whether it be a parent, teacher, pastor, or friend, their fingerprints are on your life. When examined, evidence will show that you have been persuaded by them because, in some manner, you will talk, walk, and act like them. When we are in His word, we are persuaded by it. We will walk, talk, and act it out in everyday life.

If this is what it looks like to be in His word, then abiding or remaining in it means that you will continue permanently in the light, value, and truth. It means that you will not cease to stand out because the light is on you. It means you will not compromise the values that the Word has taught you. It means you will never cease to be persuaded by the Word, because the Word is truth.

When God gives us revelation in His word, the revelation itself will become part of who we are. The truth that is revealed to you will become part of your character. It will be a driving force in your life. Revelation is more than a provoking thought. It is an understanding that is given to you that is beyond your own reason. It is something that, with time, you will develop into. It may not be a perfect fit at first. It may even be a bit awkward but, in time, you will grow into it if you remain faithful to it.

Abiding in the word is a MUST. Revelation in the word can be ecstatic in the moment. To have God talk to you, what a privilege! It is an amazing thing for God to meet us where we are, and in one epic moment, open the divine upon us. In that moment, nothing else matters. Though only after time passes, can we show ourselves to be abiders. Is it still all that matters after time has passed? It is easy to dwell in a moment of revelation, but only an abider can remain.

Jesus said it best, “If you ABIDE in my word, you are truly my disciples..."

Scriptures to study:

  • John 15:1-8
  • 1 John 2:6
  • 1 John 2:28
  • 1 John 3:24
  • 2 John 1:9

Receive The Word

Posted by on Apr 24, 2015 in 2-Revelation | 0 comments

By Joseph Giunta

1 Thessalonians 2:13 "For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe."

Revelation is a gift from God. It is a treasure of the highest value. When God divinely opens our understanding to a certain highlight of scripture, causing us to see beyond words on a page, but into a place of understanding beyond the level of our own skill or reason, it is as though He personally wrapped and delivered a gift to you.

Have you ever been reading the Bible, and suddenly it was as though you knew more about what you just read than what you actually studied? Have you ever been in a service where a preacher was delivering the Word, and you suddenly gained some spiritual insight beyond just the words that he was saying? It was almost like you could add a couple of bullet points to his notes. It can be a little uncomfortable. We don't want to add anything to the Word. We surely don't want to feel prideful, as if we know more than the preacher. However, after due diligence, research, and study, we find that the knowledge that we experienced in that moment was truly from God. It is time to take the next step in revelation. We "heard the word", now we must "receive the word".

The word receive, in this context, is the same word as "to accept". We must accept the word. It is not so much that we don't believe it, but we must "accept" it anyway. The word "accept" is defined as: consent to receive (a thing offered), as in, "He accepted a pen as a present". Basically, when you accept something from someone, you are giving that person permission to give you what they are trying to give to you. You are saying, "Yes, I will take what you are giving."

Did you ever see or hear of someone saying, "I can't accept this"? Usually, it is because the gift is of great value, and the recipient doesn't feel worthy of such a valued gift. Never allow your own feelings of inadequacy to cause you to hear, but not receive God's revelation. When He speaks to you, we must know and trust that He knows what He is doing.

Another reason that someone may not accept a gift is because of the commitment that the gift demands. Some gifts come with a responsibility of care. Imagine someone gives you a puppy for a gift. We automatically know that this gift will require us to take care of it. It will require us to feed it, nurture it, and care for it. Someone may say, "I can't accept this", not because they don't like it or don't want it, but because they look at the cost of keeping it and realize it will be too much. There are certain times when God gives us that supernatural understanding that there comes a responsibility to make sure we fulfill it's purpose. Revelation will call us to a higher level of spiritual life. There are many who have been given a revelation of high value that have stopped caring for it. In due time, those people have allowed that revelation to lose value. Some have even allowed it to die. Let us treasure the gift that God gives us. Let us care for it, whatever the cost. Whatever the truth demands of us, let us do it with all diligence, even if others seem not to have the revelation.

There are two reasons that someone can fail like this, in the area of "receiving", or accepting, the word:

  • First, we can be like a child, immature when it comes to gifts. Many times when my children were babies, I would give them a present. With great anticipation, I would watch as they opened it, knowing that they would be excited about it. To my dismay, they were so enamored with the colorful wrapping paper and the box, that they didn't really examine the gift itself. They were content to play with the box and to roll around in the wrapping paper. Sadly, many of us can be very superficial when it comes to the word. We are more content to be recognized as a scholar, to repeat the company line, than to really examine what is in the box to begin with. Because of this, the revelation was heard, but never received. And in due time, it was never cared for and lost it's value. Many have simply left and found another box to play with.

As my kids have grown, their gifts cost me more. The box they come in is of less value to them, and the content is what really matters. Now, as they have matured, they don't have too much concern for the box or the wrappings. They just want to get to what is on the inside. If we are to truly receive the word, we must mature. We must get beyond the colorful wrappings and the ignorance of playing with the box. We must learn the value of the content of the gift itself. It is not the superficial things, but the supernatural things that matter in the long run.

  • Secondly, we must know how to accept. Not only does the word accept mean to consent to receive a thing offered, but it has another meaning altogether. In the Latin, the word is accipere, which means: to take something unto oneself. Think of it this way: a square peg doesn't fit into a round hole. A round hole cannot accept a square peg.

Have you ever tried to plug something in, only to find out that your three-prong plug wouldn't fit into your two-prong receptacle? The receptacle has the juice to power the plug. It just cannot accept the plug because it doesn't fit. Our first reaction to this is to try and bend the plug to fit the receptacle. However, this puts us in danger of ungrounded power. It will run for a while, but eventually the machine that is plugged in will mess up because the power connection isn't right.

Many people have not effectively had revelation due to ungrounded power. We have bent the Word to fit our lives. We have shaped the truth in such a way where it will fit us, but in the long run, we end up messing up our connection to God. Many have allowed pride in the way and have lost their grounding. They won't sit under anyone, they won't submit, because they have revelation, but it isn't grounded. Again, they heard the Word, it looks like they received it, but in actuality, they have only bent it to make it fit. It is not a true receipt.

The more appropriate, albeit, more difficult way of handling this, is to change and update your receptacles. Make sure that your receptacles have three prongs so that it can accept the right plugs without having to be bent out of shape. It is more of a molding or shaping of our own selves, so that we can accept, into ourselves, the revelation. We want to mold ourselves so that we will fit around the Word instead of molding the Word to fit into us. To truly "receive" or accept the Word, we must be willing to mold ourselves into what the Word calls for us to be. We must be willing to adapt our lives to the ways of God, not the other way around. No matter how much Word you hear, or how much scripture you know, in order to move into the next step of revelation, "receiving the word", we must learn what it means to accept.

Revelation is a gift. It is a treasure of the highest value. As the Lord approaches you with this beautiful gift, will you receive it?

Scriptures to study:

  •        Colossians 3:16
  • John 8:31
  • John 15:7
  • James 1:21
  • Exodus 24
  • 2 Timothy 2:15
  • Hebrews 5:13

Hear The Word

Posted by on Apr 8, 2015 in 2-Revelation | 0 comments

By Joseph Giunta

Romans 10:17: "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."

There he is. He is sitting on the couch after a long day's work, relaxing and catching up on his favorite team's scores. In the background there is some noise. It is definitely something, but... "well, someone else will take care of it. I'm tired," he says to himself. These "noises" grow louder as they draw closer. Finally, his wife, with a loud and sudden burst of exertion, yells to him, "Did you hear me?" "Yes," he responds. "I heard you." "Then what did I say?"

Revelation sometimes requires us to answer a similar question. "What did I say?".

The husband, having exerted himself all day to fulfill his obligations to his everyday life, may have "heard" his wife, but he wasn't listening. So many times we go to God's word, in routine, repetition, and requirement. While all those things are good and admirable, you'll never get revelation in the word by incidental hearing, but from focused listening.

The International Standard Version quotes it this way: "Consequently, faith results from listening, and listening results through the word of the Messiah."

The difference between simple hearing and listening is attention. Hearing is a passive action. It is an ever-engaged sense that is capable of not just perceiving, but triggering a reaction to, outside stimuli several times faster than our other senses — including sight. This is why we are instructed to walk by faith (a result of hearing) and not by sight. Hearing doesn't happen because we try. It is a simple, natural reaction to the noise around us. We will never get true depths in faith and revelation if God's spoken or written word is simply another noise in our atmosphere.

Listening, on the other hand, while requiring the ability to hear, is a different thing altogether. Listening goes beyond the natural ability to hear sound and is the ability to distinguish and identify that sound from among the other noise around you.

Listening is less of a natural ability and more of a practiced skill. Listening is something that you practice. It takes some effort on the part of the listener. For God to take you into the depths and heights of His word, you must endeavor to become a student, even a practitioner, of what He teaches you. Listening is something that can be interrupted. Think about it. Even while intently listening to something, you can still hear the other things going on around you. However, a listener learns to internally turn the volume down on those things for the sake of hearing what is important, the thing you came to hear. The slightest sounds can be a distraction. We must learn to be less distracted by noise and more focused on the task at hand: listening to the word of God.

In other words, see with your ears, not with your eyes; and listen with your mind, not with your ears. When the Bible tells us that "faith comes by hearing...", it is calling for us to be listeners, learners, and walking examples of what it is we hear. We are being called to the depths of the Word. To get to that place called revelation (revealed truth), we must travel down a noisy road, not with earplugs that block everything out, but with headphones that are plugged in to His word. In revelation, we do, and not hear only.

"Did you hear me?" said God to us. "Yes, I heard you." "What did I say?" We can hear God, but are we listening?

Scriptures to study:

  • Romans 10:17
  • Luke 8:21
  • Acts 22:14
  • James 1:22-25
  • Amos 8:11