Acts: Chapter 2:1-3 (A Rushing Wind and Tongues of Fire)

(Act 2:1-3 ESV) When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them.

By now, it should be obvious that everything has symbolic value. That doesn’t mean that it didn’t really happen — it did. But God communicates his messages not only in words but in symbols. Think of it as performance art, that is, actions that have symbolic meaning. We have to interpret not only the Greek but also the actions.

The wind

So, obviously, the wind happened (and is mentioned) for a reason. Continue reading

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Tongues of Fire, from the .357 String Band

The solo version:

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The full ensemble:

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I mean, bluegrass inspired by Acts 2 on a Saturday night … What else could you ask for?

 

 

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Acts: Chapter 2 (Pentecost)

(Act 2:1 ESV) When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place.

Why Pentecost? God chose the time, and so it can’t be a coincidence. What’s special about Pentecost? Well, two things.

First, Pentecost is a celebration of first fruits. The Wikipedia describes the ceremony —

First fruits

The Bikkurim [first fruits] were brought from the Seven Species for which the Land of Israel is praised: wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives, and dates (Deut. 8:8). In the largely agrarian society of ancient Israel, Jewish farmers would tie a reed around the first ripening fruits from each of these species in their fields. At the time of harvest, the fruits identified by the reed would be cut and placed in baskets woven of gold and silver. The baskets would then be loaded on oxen whose horns were gilded and laced with garlands of flowers, and who were led in a grand procession to Jerusalem. As the farmer and his entourage passed through cities and towns, they would be accompanied by music and parades. Continue reading

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It’s Friday! And there’s a 1 Samuel rock opera playing at the Herald of Truth

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Shamelessly stolen from Tim Archer.

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The “Lord’s Day” Thread

Dear readers,

Some of the readers have requested a post on the Lord’s Day to accommodate a discussion that’s been going on under the Christmas on Sunday post of a few days ago. (It’s really quite a good conversation.) I don’t plan to participate, though. Not enough time. Other things I’d rather write about in the very limited time I have.

If you’re interested, I covered this topic in some depth a while back in The Lord’s Supper: The First Day, just as food for thought.

That post was followed with the following series. Continue reading

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Thought Question: Cake for Lesbians

lesbian-wedding-cakeFrom the Baptist Press

Pro-gay activists have launched a boycott of an Iowa baker who declined to create a wedding cake for a lesbian couple based on her religious beliefs.

Victoria Childress, the owner of Victoria’s Cake Cottage in Des Moines, has been accused of being anti-gay, homophobic and a bigot after she refused to make a cake for Trina Vodraska and Janelle Sievers. Continue reading

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What Must the Church of Christ Do to Be Saved? Chapter 17

We’re working our way through Leroy Garrett’s book: What Must the Church of Christ Do to Be Saved? The paperback is $7.95, but it’s also available in Kindle edition for $0.99. For $0.99, it’s really an offer you can’t refuse!

Now, by “saved” Garrett doesn’t mean that he questions the salvation of the individual members of the Churches of Christ. Rather, he is concerned to save the Churches of Christ as a “viable witness to the Christian faith. What must it do to escape extinction in the decades ahead …?”

Chapter 17 is entitled “Heed the principles set forth by Barton W. Stone.” Continue reading

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Acts: Chapter 1:4 – 1:26 (Witnesses, Replacing Judas)

(Act 1:4-5 ESV)  4 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.”

The apostles were Galileans. Home was a long way away, but Jesus insisted they stay in Jerusalem. After all, the prophets had promised that God’s salvation would come from Jerusalem.

(Isa 51:11 ESV)  11 And the ransomed of the LORD shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. Continue reading

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Community Disciplines: Romans on Discipline (Faith and Opinion)

GuestforTruth wrote,

Matters of faith are those things imposed upon us because God has spoken concerning them. Matters of faith are those revelations in His Word that make up the faith or religion of Jesus Christ.” … when in the Scriptures we read the context in all passages that talk about faith you will find that sometime the inspired writers talk as “THE FAITH” that is the whole Gospel as it is written in God’s word . You are misunderstanding the part about “opinions” that we understand as “expediency” (opinion are matters that demand and allow the exercise of human judgment.)

GuestforTruth,

You state the traditional view well enough, but when the New Testament speaks of “faith,” it’s referring to faith in Jesus. Read the text. Read the context. Continue reading

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Acts: Chapter 1:1 – 1:3 (The Dawn of the Kingdom)

At last, we arrive at the text.

(Act 1:1 ESV)  In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach,

Scholars differ as to whether Theophilus is a particular person, otherwise lost to history (it’s a common enough name), or a reference to the reader (it means “loved by God” or “lover of God”). Contemporary scholarship favors an actual person because it was very unusual for First Century books to be addressed to a fictitious reader.

As previously noted, Luke’s theology shows through immediately when he refers to the Gospel of Luke as merely the beginning of Jesus’ work. Luke sees Jesus as still teaching and still doing. Much of this is through his Holy Spirit and, via the Spirit, through the church. Indeed, we could fairly refer to the Acts of the Apostles more accurately as “The Acts of Jesus, Part 2.” Continue reading

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