In the Book of the Revelation, Chapter 2:1, we read, “Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write…and in verses 4 and 5, “I have something against you, because you have left your first love. 5-Remember therefore from where you have fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come to you quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.”
Chapter 1:20 reveals what a candlestick is: the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches."
So, God told the folks at Ephesus that they were doing lots of good things, but they were DISTRACTED from doing their first works…their first love, and, unless they went back to that first love, their church itself would become extinct…no more…of no use to Him any longer.
If we look at this warning from God as an individual “church” member of the “body of Christ” called “the church”, we should want to discover what that FIRST LOVE is, so that we may avoid having the church (us) and the physical church (where we attend) become of NO USE to God.
To discover what this FIRST LOVE is, and why God instructs us to go back to it (repent for being distracted from it..and return to it), we need to read and understand the essence of the church at Ephesus and Paul’s letter to the Ephesians.
Ephesians 1:13 – “You trusted in Christ - after you heard the word of truth (which is that Jesus died on the cross for your sins; therefore He can forgive your sins…and He was buried, rose again on the third day, and is now seated…as the son of God, at God’s right hand). This is the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after you believed, you were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise… 14-Which is the down payment of our inheritance of eternal life in heaven…until your Day of Redemption.”
Briefly put, Paul is reminding Christians that they came to church, heard the Gospel of Christ being preached (“How can they hear without a preacher”), believed what they heard, repented of their sins, asked Jesus to save them…and, Jesus did save them and gave them two gifts: eternal life in heaven, and He gave them (and us) the gift of His Holy Spirit who will guide us, comfort us, educate us in God’s Word, and will one day carry us home to heaven…which is our day of redemption.
So, it is established that we Christians - "born-again believers of the Gospel of Christ" - are members of the “body of Christ” – the universal church.
Yes, we belong to individual churches, but every born-again Christian is united into the “family of God”. We are all adopted sons and daughters who, with Jesus, have gained His inheritance…all that He owns, and it is all in heaven.
So, great - we are saved...now what?
We are all saved and heading to heaven the moment we die…or become raptured – that is to say, if we are alive when Jesus returns to claim His saints one day (soon), we shall be “taken up”…”raptured” to meet Him in the clouds, and we will be taken to heaven en masse.
After we are born again, are we supposed to sit by and watch the rest of civilization go to hell? No, we have a duty to Christ…an obligation. What is it?
Because we are saved we are forgiven. This means that Jesus took our sins upon Himself that day on the cross, and He exchanged His righteousness…His holiness for our sins.
We now have His holiness, and He took our sins upon Himself as an exchange.
We are now seen as “separated from sin”. This is not to say that we are without sin, meaning that we do not or will not commit sin after we are saved, it means that in the eyes of God, we are seen as “sinless” – forgiven…righteous…set apart from sin, which means “sanctified”.
And, the spirit of God Himself…the Holy Spirit, now lives within us until that Day of Redemption. Verse 18- “For through Jesus, we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.” This means that Jesus and His disciples (followers) both have access directly into God’s throne room now because we both are seen as “righteous” – Holy.
Verse 19-"Now (because of the foregoing statements) therefore you are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God.” We are part of the eternal body of Christ, and we are fellow citizens of heaven – immediately upon salvation.
In Ephesians Chapter 3, and verses 14 and 15, Paul makes an interesting observation. He says, “For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15-Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named.”-
Paul said, we are called “Christians” because the entire family of God – in heaven and upon the earth are named after His son…the one who gave His all for us.
God said, at the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist - ”This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased – HEAR YE HIM.” – Matthew 17:5
Jesus said, and we need to obey God and hear Him: “There is no way to the Father but through me.” John 14:6
In Ephesians 4:1, Paul tells us that God has ordained – given us Christians a job to do…a “calling”. Paul said, “I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.”
Paul then instructs the Ephesians (and us) how to walk worthy of this “calling” that we have received.
THIS IS CRITICALLY IMPORTANT:
Every Christian, regardless of “church affiliation” or “denomination” - MUST NOT BE DIVIDED OVER THIS ESSENTIAL THEME: Verses 2-5 “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”
The first thing those who hold fast to the name by which we are called – "Christians" - is to be humble..gentle….patient with each other and to support one another in LOVE.”
The second duty that we have as Christians is to TRY to keep peace between us all. Paul uses the words “Make every effort” or “try” to keep peace among all “denominations” and “church affiliations” in the following things that are sacred to keeping UNITY among the body of Christ: He says, verse 3 –“Make every effort to keep the UNITY OF THE SPIRIT through the bond of peace.”
Paul is about to tell us what it is that should UNITE all Christians: Verse 4 –“There is ONE BODY (the “universal church of Christ) and ONE SPIRIT—(The Holy Spirit) just as you were called to one hope when you were called, 5- “ONE LORD (Jesus Christ) , ONE FAITH (That faith is in the Gospel of The Lord Jesus Christ), ONE BAPTISM (that is to say that the Holy Spirit of God becomes immersed into us upon salvation) – 6- ONE GOD (Jehovah) who is Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”
The body of Christ – “The Bride” – “the Church”…must believe in all of the above in order to be in complete UNITY.
This, of course, is not what divides Christians.
"DIVISIONS AMONG US", that Paul has heard about (Corinthian Church) is caused by Satan…the DIVIDER.
Satan always works on people using “gray areas” of the Bible to confuse and confound Christians , and this is his effort to DIVIDE and CONQUER and thwart the efforts of God.
When Christians are divided on “issues of men” – that is to say men’s interpretation of what the “gray areas” of the Bible mean, then he (Satan) gets to cause the body of Christ to become DISTRACTED from their first duty…their first love.
I say this to remind us all that we MUST be UNITED in the things listed in Ephesians 4:4-6, and we MUST be UNITED in the theme of the Gospel of Christ…and we MUST NOT BE DIVIDED ON ISSUES THAT LIE IN GRAY AREAS OF THE BIBLE IN WHICH THEIR COULD BE DISAGREEMENT.
I disagree with some of the things that my own pastor teaches. His central theme and issues do not deviate from those found in the Gospel of Christ, nor do they deviate from Ephesians 4:4-6, so I do not cause division in my church, nor does anyone else. This gives way to the devil when we look for areas of disagreement, and then act out upon them. I stay silent on some "gray area" issues because they are distractions.
Every born-again believer in Christ is part of the body of Christ. So, we SHOULD NOT CREATE animosity toward one another over disagreements about “gray areas” or areas of the Bible in which there are no CLEAR, black and white doctrinal differences.
There is ONE GOD…a triune God. ONE Holy Spirit, and One Lord Jesus. Jesus died on the cross for us, and therefore, He has the ability to forgive sin. He died, and was resurrected, and now sits at the right hand side of God in heaven. Jesus saves, and there is no other name under heaven by which man can be saved.
Beyond those truths, all else that lie in “gray areas” should remain as disagreements perhaps, but in no way should we Christians allow Satan to enter into our midst or our church fellowship so that he can cause DIVISION.
To allow this to happen - "They are Baptists – they don’t believe in the Holy Spirit Baptism and in tongues……those Assembly of God people believe you can lose your salvation…those Catholics believe in salvation plus Mary….those others believe in women preachers….those in the Episcopalian denomination believe in gay marriages”….and on and on it goes…DIVISION IN THE BODY OF CHRIST…created by MAN…sponsored by Satan…all surrounding “gray areas”
I can argue that homosexuals should not practice what God tells us in black and white should not be practiced, and for which He personally wiped out Sodom (we get the word sodomy from it) and Gomorrah with fire and brimstone.
God said, “Man SHALL NOT lie with man as he does with a woman for that is an abomination…it is detestable to God.” – Leviticus 18:22.
That’s pretty clear. That’s in black and white. Yet, there are born-again Christians who attend churches that wink and nod at homosexuality.
The church is out of line, but the born again believer still maintains the “essentials of the faith”.
Sure, they should leave a church that practices homosexuality. Paul told the congregation of the church at Corinth to toss out the sinner who was sleeping with his step mother – 1 Corinthians 5:1-2 –“It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that does not occur even among pagans: A man has his father's wife. 2-And you are proud! Shouldn't you rather have been filled with grief and have put out of your fellowship the man who did this.”
Yet, I do not condemn people who practice sin because that is God’s job. That said, I do not associate in a church that accepts the practice of homosexuality, nor would I ever support a “gay marriage”. Those are my beliefs..based on clear, black and white written doctrine of God…not of man. There is no gray area concerning this practice.
That said, all sinners will be judged by God, and punished under the Laws handed to Moses.
Those who accept Christ as Lord and Savior, and who accept the Gospel of Christ are redeemed, saved, born-again, sanctified…set apart from sin, Holy. These are my brothers and sisters in Christ, and I shall fellowship with them on the earth…because I will fellowship with them for eternity in heaven.
Paul refers to “gray areas” in Ephesians 4:14- “ Let us not be like children - tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.”
Satan gets into some, and they become teachers and pastors of churches. The same verse, in the Contemporary English Version of the Bible puts it this way: “14-We must stop acting like children. We must not let deceitful people trick us by their false teachings, which are like winds that toss us around from place to place.”
So, if you agree with the principles set forth by Paul to the Ephesians in Chapter 4:4-6, and the church where you attend also subscribes to those tenets of the Gospel, then stay.
If I can get a 100% agreement of the tenets of the Gospel, and I can get 80% of the tenets of the Scriptures as I interpret them, then I am comfortable in that church.
I will never find a church that agrees with me on all of the “gray areas” at a 100% level…and you might not either, but don’t use that as an excuse not to fellowship with like-minded believers.
We are instructed by God to “Forsake not the assembling of ourselves together.” Hebrews 10:25, and do it on the first day of the week – Sunday – 1 Corinthians 16:2 –“Upon the first day of the week (Sunday) let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.”
God gives us New Testament instructions on giving and He tells us Gentiles to meet on Sunday in church.
See, I can argue with Seventh Day Adventists, but what would be the point? They are born-again believers in Christ. They are my brothers and sisters in the Lord. They believe what they believe - that they are to meet on the Sabbath - Saturdays, (because they have been taught by men who also believe what they were taught in Seminary or Bible College)…so it is what it is.
I don’t belong to that “denomination” of Christians because I disagree with that issue right there. I love them as my Christian brothers and sisters, though, and in no way condemn their practices. And, I know I’ll see the born-again believers in heaven.
Romans 14, beginning in verse 1, instructs all members of the universal body of Christ as to how we are to treat others within the family of God who do not share our interpretation of "gray areas". If we incline our ears to these verses, there would be less fighting among the "brethren", and less victory for Satan among believers.
Romans 14:1 -Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. 2-One man's faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3-The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him. 4-Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand. 5-One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6-He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7-For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. 8-If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9-For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living. 10-You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God's judgment seat. 11-It is written: 'As surely as I live,' says the Lord,every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.' 12-So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God. 13-Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another."
With all of that out of the way….and they are all DIVERSIONS FROM THE FIRST LOVE THAT God chastizes the Ephesians for (and us), so let’s get back to the purpose and mission of this article, which is to shed light on what that FIRST LOVE is that we MUST get back to.
Paul told us what the responsibility of the Christian is once they become born-again, and get involved in a local, Bible believing church that preaches 100% of the Gospel of Christ and at least agrees with your interpretation of gray areas by 80% or more.
Ephesians 4:10-13 –“ He who descended (into hell to preach to those in Abraham’s Bosom and Jesus went into hell itself to take the keys and power over eternal death from Satan) is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) 11-It was Jesus who gave some (churches in the beginning of Christianity) to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12-to PREPARE GOD’S PEOPLE FOR WORKS OF SERVICE, so that the body of Christ may be built up (may grow and expand) 13-until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”
Our FIRST LOVE is to BE PREPARED so that WE can expand the body of Christ..by telling others of Christ.
Paul tells us that, in the first churches, apostles were sent to preach the Gospel of Christ.
Apostles are no longer in existence since Paul, the 12th hand-picked apostle of Jesus died, and there were only twelve that were hand picked by Christ. These twelve will be the twelve spoken of who will “judge the twelve tribes of Israel” in heaven.
Prophets ended after the “season of John the Baptist” (See Luke 16:16).
My articles and books cover these other issues of tithing, of apostles, can you lose your salvation?…what is the work of the Holy Spirit within us?… but I want to get to the point that God was making to Ephesus and us….”YOU HAVE LOST YOUR FIRST LOVE, and I hold this against you, and want you to turn back to it.”
Those apostles that Jesus hand-picked had a job…a duty…and it was the same job we have, and it is this FIRST LOVE.
They were called “apostles” for a reason. The Greek word for apostle is “Messenger”.
We are disciples or “followers” of Christ, and we should follow His teachings that He left with His apostles to teach those first Christians.
Those teachings are found in the four gospels, but for the sake of time, I will refer to the same verbiage that is found in Mark 16:15 –“Jesus said to the apostles, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. 16Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.”
Jesus left them (and us) with His Holy Spirit.
John 20:21-23 –“As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you (apostles). 22-And when Jesus had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, Receive the Holy Ghost: 23- Whosoever sins you forgive, they are forgiven of them; and whosoever sins you do NOT forgive, they are NOT forgiven.”
These apostles had the same power and authority that Jesus had. He promised them the ability to do all of the “signs, miracles and wonders” that he did before the crucifixion, and these “signs” would confirm His authority upon THEM….not given to US today.
To me, there is no gray area concerning this, but to some…they believe that Jesus gave His authority, power and “signs” of raising the dead, healing the sick, touching poisonous snakes and living to tell about it, etc. to people through the ages.
I assure you that He did not. But, if my Christian brothers believe they do, and many have been taught that these “gifts of signs, wonders and miracles" are bestowed upon an “anointed few”, then I defer to their lack of knowledge of the Scriptures and they are still my brothers and sisters in the Lord.
The understanding of the Power of the Holy Spirit is essential to us today because without it, we will not be bold enough to present the Gospel of Christ to unbelievers.
To honor our FIRST LOVE, which is to point unbelievers to Christ for their salvation, we need to have the POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT UPON US.
We have the Holy Spirit in us at salvation. To gain the POWER of this Holy Spirit, we need to know what the MANIFESTATION of this POWER is.
This is where a “gray area” comes into play for many believers.
A gray area” is a place where the Bible appears not to have a black and white, clear cut definition of what the POWER of the Holy Spirit is - and what it is to be used for.
A “gray area’ is where Satan gets his feet in, and begins to cause DIVISIONS among the body of Christ.
Some believe, and have been taught, that the MANIFESTATION – (a perceptible, outward, or visible expression) of the POWER of the Holy Spirit is that the person requesting this POWER begins to speak in TONGUES.
This would be fine, if it was substantiated in the Bible, but it is not.
To the contrary, Paul, this same apostle who is teaching at Ephesus, was already at the Church at Corinth…admonishing the Christians there for getting away from their FIRST LOVE, and focusing on TONGUES.
Paul said, “Tongues – (interpret for yourself whatever you believe TONGUES is) shall cease when that which is perfection comes.
1 Corinthians 13:8-10 –NIV -“Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are TONGUES, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9-For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10-but when PERFECTION comes, the imperfect disappears.”
Some interpret “WHEN PERFECTION COMES” as a “gray area”, so they believe that TONGUES is still an evident MANIFESTATION of the POWER of the Holy Spirit.
Some think that PERFECTION is Jesus (and it is), but at the time Paul was writing to the Corinthians, Jesus had already ascended into heaven, so they interpret that to mean “when He comes the second time”.
Jesus tells us what PERFECT or PERFECTION is in Matthew 5:48: “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect”
God is PERFECT…”sinless”….”sanctified – set apart from sin”….”Holy”….”righteous”…and Jesus wants sinners to become PERFECT – even as our Father, God is PERFECT. Jesus is “without sin” – PERFECT. God looks at us as PERFECT...BLAMELESS...Holy...Righteous...BECAUSE THAT WHICH IS PERFECT CAME, and He exchanged His righteousness for our sin.
Paul was telling us, “When that which is perfect comes, the imperfect disappears. The imperfect was that which was to be done away with when that which is completed is completed by Him who is PERFECT – Jesus.
This is why I refer to the King James Version of the Bible for trueness of the Scriptures. Let’s read 1 Corinthians 13: again from the KJV – starting in verse 9: -“For we (Paul and those to whom he was speaking) know in part, and we prophesy in part. 10-But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.”
Now, we can clearly see that Paul is telling us that when Jesus (the PERFECT, sinless Son of God comes (and He already came), then, that which is in part (tongues, prophecy, knowledge) shall be done away with once that which is PERFECT (Jesus) completes the Scriptures. Up until that time, only the Old Testament was available. After the time of John The Baptist, Jesus and the apostles were gone, AL was complete. There were no more "parts" needed for completion.
“For we know in part" (meaning – at the time Paul was preaching, they only knew PART of God’s Word), and the prophets prophesied (foretold of things to come) in part.
Since Christ, the PERFECT ONE came, He anointed twelve men to know the “rest of the story”.
Many apostles then prophesied or told of the future because Jesus revealed ALL that needed to be known to THEM.
Many of the apostles wrote the rest of the story…the New Testament.
In it, the Word of God is complete. There is now NOTHING MORE TO PROPHESY.
Can a man tell us things of the future that God did not already reveal?
John the beloved apostle of Jesus, wrote the Book of Revelation. It was penned 14 years BEFORE Paul wrote to the Ephesians. How do I know this? Paul told me in one of his writings. 2 Corinthians 12:2-4 -“I know a man in Christ (John, the apostle) who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows. 3-And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows— 4-was caught up to paradise.”
So the apostles (many of them) wrote the remaining “Books of the Bible” known as the New Testament.
This is why Jesus Himself told us that there would be no more prophets after the “season or time of John The Baptist”. Luke 16:16 –"The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed UNTIL John. Since that time, the good news of the kingdom of God is being preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it.”
Jesus said the Law and the prophets would cease.
Paul, the last of the hand-picked apostles of Christ, declared, “Because Jesus (PERFECTION) came, He finished all prophecy." There is not another ‘jot or tittle’ that can be added to this Word. There is no more need for a “word of knowledge” as all that God wanted us to know is in His Bible.
John, in the Book of The Revelation, tells us to beware of adding one period (tittle) or one letter of the alphabet (jot) to God’s Word, because it is finished…complete….nothing is in part anymore - as of the time of completion of God’s Holy Word….66 Books of the Bible.
Revelation 22:18-19 declare this warning: “For I (John) testify unto every man that hears the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add to these things, God shall add to him the plagues that are written in this book: 19-And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”
I would never claim to be a prophet of God. To do so, would mean to add or take away a jot or tittle from it, and I would be in danger of hell fire…by having God remove my name from the Book of Life. Who would dare to call themselves a prophet of God?
There are people (like me) who can put together current news and world events WITH the prophecy of God’s Books of the Bible (Daniel, Revelation, Matthew) to predict an approximate “season” when these two things (world events and the prophecy of the Bible) will collide, yet…I dare never to call myself a prophet. I would not give myself a title of any sort…not even “interpreter”, because nobody but God can tell the hour or the day when the end of the age will come.
Jesus did tell us that, “We shall know the season” of the end of days.
Therefore, in my articles about the year 2012 or 2015.5, I will call myself a “conjecturer”.
Based upon the world events of today, coupled with the prophecy of the Bible, there are indications that the “season” of the end times is upon us. Are you ready to meet God?
The apostles were prophets, but they were all “of the time of John the Baptist". They all lived during that time. When the Temple at Jerusalem was destroyed on August 4th, 70.A.D. All of the Books of the Bible…the Word of God…were complete by then. All prophecy was fulfilled. The Gospel of Christ was ready to be preached to the ends of the earth. The GOspel would be given to the Gentiles now. There would be no more Holy Temple...until just before the end of days.
I hope I have cleared up that “Tongues", prophets, the word of knowledge, etc. that Paul spoke of in 1 Corinthians 13 ended “when Jesus, the PERFECT ONE CAME” and when His work was finished – upon completion of the New Testament.
When Jesus died upon the cross, He said, “It is finished”. It was finished. ALL WOULD BE FULFILLED upon His arrival, death and resurrection.
Sorry for the “rabbit trails”…we need to wrap this up with WHY the POWER of the Holy Spirit was given first to Stephen the Martyr (for a brief period of time), and to the apostles in the upper room spoken of in John 20…then to all who would come after the resurrection of Jesus, and who would believe in the Gospel of Christ.
That said, the apostles had God’s Holy Spirit dwelling in them since the “upper room incident”. We have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us upon salvation.
AFTER the Holy Spirit was given to the apostles in the upper room, they (and we) were told by Jesus that we needed the POWER of the Holy Spirit to be able to witness to unbelievers about Jesus.
If anyone on this planet utters the word “God” to anyone…nobody is offended. Jews believe in God…Arabs believe in God. Both share a common father…Abraham. Other “religions” share the belief that there is a “god” with a small g or God with a capital G….so there is never any controversy UNTIL the name of Jesus is brought up.
Bring up “God” at work. No problem, right?
Bring up the Gospel of Jesus Christ at work! You may be arrested for using that name today in certain parts of the planet. You may be killed today for using the name of Jesus Christ as the Son of God.
This is why the apostles…and WE need the POWER of the Holy Spirit…to point unbelievers to Christ. PERIOD.
Let’s prove the Bible with the Bible:
Jesus was still around when the Book of Acts was being formulated by the apostle Luke. Luke recalls this in his writings: Acts 1:8 –“But you (apostles) 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."
Jesus breathed on the eleven apostles in the upper room. Judas was dead, and Matthias…the man-picked 12th apostle was not yet selected by lottery until after the Day of Pentecost. So, there were eleven apostles then. When Jesus breathed on them, “they received the Holy Ghost”.
So, if the apostles were already “filled with the Holy Spirit”, why would Jesus tell them, “You will receive POWER when the Holy Spirit comes upon you”, and this would occur, “not many days hence”…from the time of the “upper room incident”.
Jesus told them why. “You will then be my witnesses in Jerusalem (the site of the first Christian church on the planet), and from there, you will be witnesses of me out in the region of all of Judea…and spread out further as my witnesses into Samaria….and to the ends of the earth."
This is why they (and we) need the POWER of the Holy Spirit…so that we can mention the name of Jesus BOLDLY…with POWER and the AUTHORITY of the Word of God behind us …to the unbeliever.
The eleven were found hiding in the upper room when Jesus appeared to them. They were hiding for FEAR of the Jews and the retribution they might suffer if anyone found them. They were fellows who were seen with this crucified one called Jesus. John 20:19 – “On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for FEAR of the Jews…”
These lily-livered apostles had no POWER to speak of Jesus. They were hiding.
Jesus promised them HOLY BOLDNESS that would be given them “not many days hence”. Jesus ascended into heaven on day 43 from the day of crucifixion. He spent from Friday to Sunday preaching to those in Abraham’s Bosom as the Holy Spirit. Then, He was resurrected, appeared to the apostles, and spent 40 days teaching them all they should know to complete His mission.
Paul would later be chosen by Jesus to complete many of the Books of the New Testament, and to go on a “Missionary Journey” into other parts of the world. It is our job to finish the message –to bring this Gospel of Christ to the uttermost parts of the earth. We NEED POWER and BOLDNESS to do it.
Jesus instructed us...in Matthew 24:14 – “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” “Preach the Gospel of Christ until the end days.”
We are to do the “Will of God”.
What is the “Will of God”? Jesus told us exactly what His will is in John 6:40 – “For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day."
What is the job of the apostles? “Preach the Gospel of Christ” to unbelievers.
What is our FIRST LOVE? “Preach the Gospel of Christ” to all unbelievers. We are ORDAINED to BE A WITNESS with the apostles of Jesus’ Resurrection…to unbelievers. Acts 2:32 –“This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.”
What is the job of the Holy Spirit? Acts 5:31-32 –“Jesus hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Savior, so that He may give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. 32- And we are his witnesses of these things; and SO IS ALSO THE HOLY GHOST, whom God hath given to them (ALL) that obey him.”
There are three in heaven itself that bear WITNESS of Christ. 1 John 5:7 – “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, (The Word is Jesus) and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. 8- And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. (meaning the Holy Spirit who dwells in Christ, the apostles, and all born-again believers, the water speaks of the Baptism of Christ in the river Jordan by John The Baptist, and the blood speaks of the crucifixion of Jesus)."
Verse 9 –“If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which He hath testified of his Son.” God is a WITNESS of His Son."
Verse 10 –“He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. 11- And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12-He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.”
WE are to be witnesses of Jesus Christ. This is our FIRST LOVE. This is our first duty to Christ for what he did for us.
Mentioning the name of Jesus Christ to anyone takes POWER and BOLDNESS. We do not have this BOLDNESS and POWER in and of ourself. We need this POWER if we are going to do the Will of God.
The church at Ephesus got sidetracked. They lost the ability to witness of Jesus, the Savior of the world.
Whatever we do or whatever our church does….of we fail to do what we were first called to do…BE A WITNESS TO UNBELIEVERS of this one called Christ, then we have LOST OUR FIRST LOVE.
God is reminding us ALL to get back to this FIRST LOVE…and the more as we see the final days approaching.
Please read my article on “The Mysteries of HELL –Revealed”. If you know how devastating HELL is, why would you want to go there? Worse…why would you want to send your loved ones there?
Why would you want to send your co-workers there?
We need the POWER of the Holy Spirit to enable us to speak the name of Jesus to everyone…uplifting believers, and getting unbelievers to know the Gospel of Christ whereby no other name under heaven can be saved.
Pray. Ask God to give us His Holy Spirit POWER to become effective witnesses.
The manifestation of the Holy Spirit within us is not that we will speak in an unknown language (tongues), the MANIFESTATION or outward sign that we have the POWER of the Holy Spirit is that unbelievers will be saved…and they will inherit the kingdom of God.
When people get under conviction of the Holy Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit’s job is to point them to Christ for salvation, forgiveness and eternal life in heaven.
The MANIFESTATION is when we see the evidence of unbelievers sitting in our churches. If we do not, God will pull the candlestick. The church will be treated as non-existent. Your church will not grow. Your church will be of no effect.
We need to REPENT and turn our focus back to OUR FIRST LOVE, and that is that the Gospel of Christ is to be preached to unbelievers.
John Tyler, Author
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