Muscle & Shovel”: Chapters 31 – 35 (the Spirit)

muscleshovelWe are considering Michael Shank’s book Muscle and a Shovel.

Chapter 31

Shank is close to being re-baptized. Shank and his wife drink some beers, and he gets sick on too much alcohol.

Chapter 32

Shank realizes that he smokes a little, drinks to excess on occasion, and is something of a materialist. This baptism thing starts to worry him. Shank then summarizes what he’d learned from Randall.

Chapter 33

A study on the psychology of conditioning. Shank concludes that he just might be conditioned by the world not to understand the Bible correctly. Indeed.

Chapter 34

Shank confesses that if he’s re-baptized, he’ll essentially admit that his grandfather is in hell. Randall asks what his grandfather would want him to do?

Chapter 35

We return to Acts 2:38. Randall declares that the “gift of the Holy Spirit” is eternal life. He gets there by jumping to Romans 6 — as though the Jews at Pentecost had cross-referencing New Testaments and quickly turned to Romans 6 as Peter preached. Romans wasn’t even written until decades later, and Randall is totally missing the context of Peter’s sermon.

It’s amazing that this deep into Shank’s book the only thing we’ve learned about the Holy Spirit is that Shank’s aunt failed to get him the gift of tongues and that the Spirit inspired all the baptism passages. Shank is being taught a doctrine of the Spirit that ignores him when possible and rationalizes him away when he can’t be ignored.

Let’s do a brief but serious study of Peter’s sermon in Acts 2.

(Act 2:14-21 ESV) 14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words.  15 For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day.  16 But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel:

17 “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams;  18 even on my male servants and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.  19 And I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke;  20 the sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day.  21 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’

Peter and the others are speaking in “tongues,” which are heard as the native languages of the various Jewish pilgrims present from across the Empire. They are accused of being drunk, but Peter explains that this is in fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy, which he quotes.

The prophecy declares that there will come a day when God would pour out his Spirit on “all flesh.” Obviously, the prophecy is not yet entirely fulfilled, because only Jews have received it thus far. But this is the beginning of its fulfillment.

The use of “pour out” to refer to God’s giving of the Spirit under the new covenant shows up several times in the prophets and in the New Testament.

Finally, Joel promises that “all who call upon the name of the Lord will be saved.” Many a Church of Christ preacher sneers at this, but this is what the prophecy says — and Peter quotes it for a reason. You see, Peter considers Jesus to be “the Lord.” His point, as we’ll see, is that faith in Jesus saves and Joel prophesied it.

(Act 2:22-23 ESV) 22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know —  23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.

Peter then declares that Jesus was crucified by the Jewish nation as God has planned, all as revealed by the prophets, such as Joel. He charges his audience with being guilty of the crucifixion of Jesus, although in fact he was “killed by the hands of lawless men.” The culture of the Jews created a sense of group guilt — and, of course, whether or not they personally participated, they now were forced to a choice: either ratify his crucifixion or repent.

(Act 2:24-28 ESV)  24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.  25 For David says concerning him,

“‘I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken;  26 therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; my flesh also will dwell in hope.  27 For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One see corruption.  28 You have made known to me the paths of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’

Peter now quotes Psalm 16, saying that it prophesies that the Messiah — the Holy One — will be resurrected. He is building a case for Jesus to be the Messiah (or Christ).

(Act 2:29-31 ESV)  29 “Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.  30 Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne,  31 he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption.

Peter explains that David could not have been speaking of himself, because he died and his body was corrupted. David was rather prophesying about Jesus — the Christ. “Christ” (Christos) is the Greek word for Messiah, the king prophesied to rule over God’s Kingdom when it arrives, marked by the outpouring of God’s Spirit.

(Act 2:32-33 ESV)  32 This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses.  33 Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing.

Peter says that he and the other disciples saw Jesus resurrected, and he is now in heaven pouring out the “promise of the Holy Spirit,” that is, the promised Holy Spirit — as is happening right now!

(Act 2:34-36 ESV) 34 For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says, “‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand,  35 until I make your enemies your footstool.”‘  36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”

Peter now refers to Psalm 110, which Peter explains calls the Messiah “Lord” — the very word used by the Jews for God.

Peter closes this part of his sermon by repeating the charge that they crucified Jesus, who is both Messiah and Lord.

(Act 2:37 ESV) 37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

Those who believed, those who accepted that Jesus is Messiah and Lord, were cut to the heart. Their nation bore the mark of a grave sin. Some of them had actually been there at the trial and crucifixion! Of course they asked what to do!

(Act 2:38-39 ESV)  38 And Peter said to them, “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.  39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”

In v. 39, “the promise” is a reference to the “promise of the Holy Spirit” mentioned in v. 33 as being poured out by Jesus from heaven. The prophets had promised the Spirit to God’s people, and to receive the Spirit would be to be accepted by God.

Up to this point, the Spirit had only been given to kings and prophets and priests and judges. Now it would be given to everyone who “calls on the name of the Lord.” This was a big, big deal. In fact, this is something the Jews had been praying for for centuries because they’d read the prophecies and knew that the Spirit had long been missing from their nation.

Also in v. 39 we’re told that the “promise” — the Spirit — is for “you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” This explains the “all flesh” of Joel’s prophecy and looks ahead to the entry of the Gentiles into Kingdom.

So what is the “gift of the Holy Spirit”? Well, Peter has two major topics: (1) Jesus is Messiah and Lord and (2) the Spirit is being poured out on all flesh. In that context, obviously, “the gift of the Holy Spirit” is the Spirit itself. And nearly every denomination teaches this, except for a sect within the Churches of Christ who insist that this means eternal life — which has not yet even been mentioned by Peter. How were Peter’s listeners supposed to guess that, when the subject of the sermon is the Spirit himself being poured out on all flesh? It’s just not a reasonable interpretation.

I could go on, but this post is running long. It’s just a very peculiar interpretation, rejected by a great many in the Churches of Christ, very unorthodox, and designed to justify a Deistic view of the Spirit — as though the Spirit retired when the last apostle died and then sat back to watch what would happen with no further work to do.

And that’s just wrong. And if you’re still not persuaded, the Old Testament evidence is overwhelming (as is the New Testament evidence). Here are links to posts giving some the Old Testament prophecies of the Spirit under the new covenant:

From the Comments: The Connection of the Church with Israel, Part 9 (The Moral Law Within, Part 1)

From the Comments: The Connection of the Church with Israel, Part 10 (The Moral Law Within, Part 2)

From the Comments: The Connection of the Church with Israel, Part 11 (Back to Romans)

It’s a lot of reading, but if you’re new to this blog, you’ll be astonished at what was promised to God’s children under the new covenant.

Profile photo of Jay Guin

About Jay Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
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20 Responses to Muscle & Shovel”: Chapters 31 – 35 (the Spirit)

  1. Price says:

    The downfall of the CoC denomination is lack of organization…IMHO, this autonomy of each little congregation allows for books like this one to influence a large number of people before someone with some real Bible knowledge can step in and correct the obvious flaws in what it is attempting to teach… It appears that the desire for independence has lead to a great deal of division and mostly from unsound doctrines that have made their way in through ignorant or at least misguided men. Sad

  2. laymond says:

    “We return to Acts 2:38. Randall declares that the “gift of the Holy Spirit” is eternal life. He gets there by jumping to Romans 6 — as though the Jews at Pentecost had cross-referencing New Testaments and quickly turned to Romans 6 as Peter preached. Romans wasn’t even written until decades later, and Randall is totally missing the context of Peter’s sermon.”

    Jay, does a fact have to be a recorder fact ? A fact that is stated in the bible is that Jesus ate food. Can we not asume also that Jesus deficated, and if he drank he urinated. Would it be wrong to say those are facts that are not written down.

    Jhn 4:10 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.
    Jhn 4:14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
    Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
    Jay, at the time Jesus said what he did to the woman that he was saying he would give her the Holy Ghost. Was it available at the time?

  3. laymond says:

    — unsound doctrines that have made their way in through ignorant or at least misguided men. Sad

    I agree with Price, just not on the same “unsound doctrines” nor the same ignorant, misguided men.

  4. Royce says:

    Understanding Acts 2:38 is the jumping off point into all sorts of bad theology and doctrine. I have some questions and observations.

    In the verse (2:38) why is far more emphasis placed on baptism and little on “repent”? I am no linguist and don’t know Greek but it seems to me (and many scholars…) that the “repent” part of the command is primary and “be baptized” is secondary.

    I have heard and read some of our more “conservative” friends discuss “repent”. They raise questions about a candidate for baptism asking “How can we know he has repented?” Many have the belief that a person must stop drinking, smoking, swearing, and stealing, and then after he has clearly repented he is approved for baptism. Peter had something far different in mind.

    The “repent(ance)” Peter called for could happen in seconds. I believe the repentance Peter called for (change of mind, or direction) was to repent of unbelief. No person can change his lifestyle in moments. We all know that. But some of us are so entrenched in the idea of salvic immersion, and scared of “faith only”, that we refuse to see obvious truth. The truth is there is no such thing as “cleaning your life up” to the degree God will accept you. Never, ever can a man engage in self improvement so that God will see how well he lives and say, “This man is pure, I can approve him to be my child now”. People who think such nonsense do not understand the most basic concepts of the gospel of Christ. Unsaved people, whose minds are “set on the flesh”, that is they live for themselves, to please themselves “do not and cannot submit to God”. They are “dead” spiritually and do not accept God’s truth.

    Peter could have said “trust what I have told you” and be baptized and the message would have been the same. Salvation in the OT and NT is by faith. It is not realized by simply believing a set of facts. Just as the devils who believed and trembled, many people will go to the grave unsaved who believe Jesus came and died and was raised from the dead. There is no life associated with believing facts. Biblical faith is not only belief, but is also trust or dependence, and faithfulness. As God brings people to himself he breaks through their rebellion and gives them the ability to wholly trust Jesus Christ and his claims. Those who have true faith are saved. Jay has often listed long lists of key verses that cannot be denied by most objective truth seekers. Salvation is by grace through faith. Very likely the difference between your last baptism and the first two is that you finally put your trust in Christ.

    So these men who heard Peter preach the gospel repented of their unbelief and trusted Christ and they immediately went public by being baptized in water. It was the exact pattern followed in the narrative of Peter with Cornelius and the Gentiles. God convicts and convinces sinners who hear the good news about Jesus work for sinners like them, their hearts are cut as God circumcises the heart, rebellion is squashed, and new believers say YES or AMEN in a public way by being immersed in water.

    So what about receiving the Spirit? Those who believe (have true biblical faith) receive the Spirit as a promise from God that he will finally redeem even the human body and make it like Jesus’s body (and a host of other reasons and benefits). There is not two or three competing gospels in the NT, there is one saving message. (You might argue this point but every “gospel” mention in the Bible goes right to the person and work of Jesus and his rule). There is not Jesus’ gospel, and Paul’s gospel, and Jame’s gospel. There is the gospel of the grace of God in the worth and work of Jesus Christ who died for UNGODLY people. He did not die to save people who had reformed themselves, he died for out and out rebellious, ungodly sinners. Each of us therefore qualifies for the grace of God.

    I suggest we do what Peter, Paul, John and others did and preach Christ. If we are not keeping the good news about Jesus more important than any other thing we are wrong. God has chosen by the foolishness of preaching (about Christ) to save those who believe and squash boasting in human effort. (1 Cor 1:18-31)

  5. laymond says:

    Royce said; “No person can change his lifestyle in moments. We all know that.”

    I know one person of biblical fame who just might disagree with this , that person is one who most on this blog love and trust him (it seems to me) on the equal level of God and his Son. I believe his repentance and reformation both came at the same instant. Saul/Paul.
    Repentance is a resolution to change, baptism is a process by which God choose to cleanse the soul so the repentance was possible.

    Something else that Paul disagrees with Royce on, “Those who believe (have true biblical faith) receive the Spirit as a promise from God that he will finally redeem even the human body and make it like Jesus’s body” I believe Paul was the one who said the body that was planted would nor be the body that would be raised.

  6. Profile photo of Dan Harris Dan Harris says:

    unable to read the references at the end of your article. I get a page that says I am not allowed to edit the material. ????

  7. Nick Gill says:

    I know one person of biblical fame who just might disagree with this , that person is one who most on this blog love and trust him (it seems to me) on the equal level of God and his Son. I believe his repentance and reformation both came at the same instant. Saul/Paul.

    Nope.

    Paul is a classic example of exactly what Royce describes. (This is so WEIRD, because I am agreeing with Royce, but also because Royce is agreeing with NT Wright whether he knows it or not)

    Paul repents of unbelief in Jesus of Nazareth as God’s Anointed One. Wright asserts, with linguistic support from the gospels and Josephus, that “Repent and believe in me” language is loyalty language – allegiance language.

    Paul changes his allegiance from the Temple leadership to Jesus and Jesus’ disciples. But his zeal for God never goes away, and while he doesn’t encourage killing any longer, he is still the same pugnacious fellow that can’t work with Barnabas any more because of Barnabas’ unwillingness to leave John Mark behind.

    Laymond, your insults are shameful. No, Paul is not Jesus. However, he is one of Jesus’ anointed representatives – your unwillingness to accept that is a problem you need to take up with the Lord.

  8. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Dan,

    References should now be fixed. Thanks for letting me know about the problem.

  9. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Royce wrote,

    I believe the repentance Peter called for (change of mind, or direction) was to repent of unbelief.

    Could not agree more. Look at the audience and the point of the sermon. Peter charged them with sin, but the sin is the failure to acknowledge Jesus as Messiah. He does not preach on morality or sinfulness otherwise.

    Ever since the Frontier Revivalism of the early 19th Century, we’ve taken “repent” to always mean “repent of your moral sin,” which it does sometimes mean. But some of the sermons preached in Acts urging repentance were all about belief in Jesus as Messiah and not about giving up a life of sin.

    “Repent” just means to “turn again,” and doesn’t necessarily mean “turn from a life of wickedness.” It means turn away from whatever I’m preaching about — and in Acts 2, the sermon was about Jesus being the Messiah. In the LXX, “repent” is almost always something GOD does — often translated “relent” in the ESV. God doesn’t repent of his wicked ways, obviously. He changes his mind. He turns again.

    Thus, in Acts 2:38 “Repent and be baptized” is a call, first, for faith in Jesus as Messiah– turn back from your lack of faith.

    Of course, there are plenty of cases where “repent” in fact means “repent of your sinful ways.” And I believe that someone who wishes to be saved has to submit to Jesus as Lord (Rom 10:9), which requires submission to his commands as King.

  10. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Laymond wrote,

    Jay, does a fact have to be a recorde[d] fact ?

    Obviously, but that’s entirely beside the point. There are many, many things that happen at baptism normatively. One of those is the promise of eternal life. But that’s not what Peter was referring to by the phrase “gift of the Holy Spirit.” He meant the Spirit himself.

    (Act 10:44-46 ESV) 44 While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word. 45 And the believers from among the circumcised who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles. 46 For they were hearing them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter declared,

    This passage is obviously deliberately parallel with Acts 2:38. In the case of Cornelius, the “gift of the Holy Spirit” was “poured out.” The prophets, such as Joel, promised that the Spirit would be poured out, not that eternal life would be poured out. And the evidence that Cornelius had the “gift of the Holy Spirit” is tongues and the praise of God. “Gift of the Holy Spirit” means “the given Holy Spirit” and does not mean “eternal life.”

    But I believe Cornelius received eternal life. It’s just that no one there called “eternal life” the “gift of the Holy Spirit.”

  11. Well said, jay and Royce! Laymond continues to be Laymond, showing in his comments that a mind of flesh does not discern things of the Spirit.

  12. laymond says:

    1Jo 2:14 I write to you, dear children, because you know the Father. I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God lives in you, and you have overcome the evil one.
    1Jo 2:23 No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.
    1Jo 2:24 As for you, see that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father.
    1Jo 2:25 And this is what he promised us—eternal life.

    I don’t see where John is ambiguous at all in his writing as to what dwells within the beliver.

  13. Ray Downen says:

    Jay seems to be claiming that Peter urged saved people to be baptized even after they were saved. I am sure that it’s seeking believers who are NOT saved who are to be baptized “into Christ.” The two views of the purpose of water baptism are inimical. They cannot both be true. I think Jay is misunderstanding Luke’s account. Jay writes,

    (Act 10:44-46 ESV) 44 While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word. 45 And the believers from among the circumcised who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles. 46 For they were hearing them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter declared,

    This passage is obviously deliberately parallel with Acts 2:38. In the case of Cornelius, the “gift of the Holy Spirit” was “poured out.” The prophets, such as Joel, promised that the Spirit would be poured out, not that eternal life would be poured out. And the evidence that Cornelius had the “gift of the Holy Spirit” is tongues and the praise of God. “Gift of the Holy Spirit” means “the given Holy Spirit” and does not mean “eternal life.”

    But I believe Cornelius received eternal life. It’s just that no one there called “eternal life” the “gift of the Holy Spirit.”

    Peter makes clear in Acts 2:38 that receiving the “gift of the Holy Spirit” follows baptism into Jesus Christ (in water). Baptism IN the Spirit is a totally different matter. It gives NO promise of eternal life. Baptism in obedience to Jesus promises eternal life. Baptism in the Spirit is not baptism into Christ. It’s contrary to Scripture to baptize an already-saved person. Baptism is putting to DEATH the old man of sin, and raising up into NEW LIFE a NOW-SAVED person. Cornelius and his household were not saved by the sign from God that Gentiles were now TO be saved by being baptized into Christ as a result of faith in Jesus and turning to Him as LORD. If they were already saved, they were not candidates for baptism “into Christ” (Galatians 3:27).

  14. Skip says:

    Repentance is more than a mental resolution to change. Repentance means turning from sin. A person wanting to repent can decide to quit smoking and quit. They can decide to stop stealing and they indeed can stop. Who would every say, “I repented but I had to keep on stealing until I received the Holy Spirit”. I was in a CoC for years where people would be called to repent and demonstrate their repentance and indeed they did. This is consistent with the scripture:

    Acts 26:20
    … I preached that they should repent and turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds.

  15. Jeff says:

    “Shank confesses that if he’s re-baptized, he’ll essentially admit that his grandfather is in hell”

    For crying out loud, will someone please point me to the scriptures that prove hell is already opened for business, the furnace of fire is operating, and the unsaved “go to hell when they die.”
    Has the second coming, resurrection to life/damnation, and day of judgment been cancelled in favor of some Neo-Platonist “afterlife” arrangement?

  16. Ray Downen says:

    Laymond asks, “Jay, at the time Jesus said what he did to the woman that he was saying he would give her the Holy Ghost. Was it available at the time?”

    I suggest that the Spirit has been available and has been involved in human lives from the beginning of earthly time. We see Him working in the prophets and leaders of God’s people through the ages. Jesus could surely gift anyone at any time with any gift He chose to give. But the giving of the Spirit as God’s gift to every person who is saved by Jesus is a new gift formerly not known. Yes, the Spirit was available prior to the Day of Pentecost when all who were saved by Jesus were promised that they would receive the Spirit as God’s gift. What was different was that the gift was now available to all who turned to Jesus as Lord. Now He did not need to be physically present in order to gift with His Spirit.

  17. Royce says:

    I get to agree with Ray!!! YES!!!

    The Holy Spirit has always been active, even in creation. But, as Ray implied, The Holy Spirit was given in a new way in the time just before and after Pentecost in the first century.

    Jesus said; “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified” (John 7″38-39)

    This statement mirrors the one in John 14 where Jesus said the Spirit “has been with you and shall be in you”. But when? In the John 7 passage we learn that the Spirit had not come because Jesus had not been glorified. Is that not a fair conclusion? It is. So, when was Jesus glorified? It was at his resurrection. In the evening of the first day of the week, the day of Jesus’ resurrection he appeared to the disciples suddenly becoming visible in a locked room. He was now fully glorified and he “breathed on them and said receive the Holy Spirit” and they did I am sure.

    Now the “rivers of living water” was in them (John 7) but they needed to face a world of haters and murderers as the witnessed for Christ. The did not need to be indwelt by the Spirit, they needed his power. And, Jesus told them what to do.

    Dr Luke is writing now: “I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, 2 until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. 3 He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” (Acts 2:1-5) Now we have two choices. Either what Jesus said and did in John 20 was meaningless and didn’t really happen, or being empowered for witness is something different than being indwelt by the Spirit.

    Jesus was with the disciples for 40 days and the very last words he spoke to them are these.

    “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”. (Acts 1:8)

    They waited as Jesus instructed and the Holy Spirit did come UPON them, not IN them. They were not waiting for PRESENCE, they were waiting for “POWER”. Never again was Peter or the others timid or afraid of being arrested. And, through the Acts, again and again people are filled with the Spirit for gospel witness. If we today are attempting to do God’s work in the power and resources of human flesh we will get what human flesh will produce. But, if we wait on God to be empowered, we can see God bring about God sized results.

    Tongues like fire, great noises, and speaking so that people of foreign languages can understand are not needed today as on that great day in the history of God’s gathering people to himself. But we need Holy Spirit power today just as they did in the first days of gospel witness.

  18. arkie55 says:

    “laymond says:
    March 16, 2014 at 10:30 am

    Royce said; “No person can change his lifestyle in moments. We all know that.”

    I know one person of biblical fame who just might disagree with this , that person is one who most on this blog love and trust him (it seems to me) on the equal level of God and his Son. I believe his repentance and reformation both came at the same instant. Saul/Paul.”

    Romans 7 seems to confirm the view that Paul wrestled with his fleshly vessel’s desires and weaknesses just like the rest of us do. I personally do not subscribe to the idea that Paul was only describing himself prior to his conversion, as wretched…

  19. Royce says:

    arkie55, some people disagree. Some are just disagreeable.

  20. First off – I think Acts 2:38 is referring to a personal indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

    I can see how “the promise” in Acts 2:38-39 seems to refer back to Joel 2.

    However, I am a little perplexed at how that works out for us nowadays.

    My questions:
    1. What are the last days? Obviously it is referring to what is going on in Acts 2/Pentecost…the question is – are we still in the last days – or has that time elapsed?
    2. If the time has elapsed (the last days), then has the promise of the Spirit / gift of the Spirit (specific to this passage) cease to apply to us today?
    3. If the gift of the Spirit refers back to this promise, does the gift of the Spirit imply prophecy?

    17 “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; 18 even on my male servants and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.

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