Refurbishing the Church
A refurbished computer has been carefully cleaned, the dust blown out, and renewed with new parts when necessary. It has been restored to its original working order. It is not new but has been renewed to new life.
The Church is what God says it is (Col. 1:13-14). God’s
is indestructible. But congregations and
brotherhoods may become clogged with things which conflict with the purpose of
God. Note Paul’s warning to the elders
at One Spiritual Church
(Acts 20:28-31). Later they focused on
issues important to them and shoved aside Christ and their love for Him (Rev
2:1-7). It was necessary for them to refurbish
the Church by renewing their Love for Jesus (return to their first love)
and make Jesus the Lord of their lives. Ephesus
“God does not love us with ordinary love, making some exceptions from time to time. No, the extraordinary love of God is part of His very being: our God is a God who is wonderful, even prodigal, in His love for men. The most astonishing proofs of His love – the Incarnation, the Eucharist, the Cross – all go beyond anything we would expect or imagine. Scriptures tells us quite simply: “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son” (John 3:16). This unbelievable gesture of love wells up from the depths of His heart, and overflows on mankind.” Suennons
1. God’s Act to Redeem the World.
Draw a line from
along the Ascending of the Christ in the clouds, and draw another from against the
Descent of the Paraclete (Holy Spirit).
This is the measurement of Eternity in operation, of the bright cloud
and the rushing wind - God in Action. Jerusalem
History looks at an operation or action. We see the Holy Spirit act towards Christ under the conditions of our humanity. [He came as the Son of Man to set us free.] It was our humanity that gave the signal for God’s Act In Christ To Redeem The World. The visible birth of the church is at Pentecost - but that is only a result. The actual beginning - and climax - is in heaven.
In the Book of Acts Luke shows us the Holy Spirit actively involved in the life of the Church. The finest car is unusable if you take the battery out of it. It was with the Power of God’s Holy Spirit that the Church moved out into the world (Acts 1:8). Satan tries to steal our faith in the Holy Spirit, our Christian love, and our holy joy from the Church. Christ Himself arranged for us to have the Spirit to drink (1 Cor 12:13). Every Christian is “Spirit-filled.” Note Paul’s question in Acts 19. "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" So they said to him, "We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit." Acts 19:2 (NKJV)
William Neil says of Apollos: “But his gospel was the Gospel with a difference. The Christ he preached was the Christ without the Resurrection; the baptism he advocated was, like that of John the Baptist, a simple rite of immersion as a token of repentance. It would seem that he proclaimed Jesus as the Messiah, but knew nothing of the significance of His Death and Exultation. Unknown to him too, was the ecstatic gift of the Holy Spirit, associated with baptism.”
Paul shows that each Christian is the holy temple in which God dwells through His Holy Spirit (1 Cor 6:19-20). John shows us the commandment of Christian obedience (1 John 3:22-23). “Again, this is God's command: to believe in his personally named Son, Jesus Christ. He told us to love each other, in line with the original command.” 1 John 3:23 (MSG)
The Holy Spirit took His own means to set up and spread the
Church of God before a single apostolic step left . Mankind was to be generated anew. They had one FACT - Christ had Come, and been
Killed! And Risen! All had been "dead in trespasses and sins” - and now they were
NOT! They were re-generated, and so
might everyone be! “The promise,” they
shouted to the great number at Pentecost “is to you and to your children, and
to all that are afar off.” [Acts
"Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive gift of the Holy Ghost." They had believed in Jesus of Nazareth, without very clearly understanding Him. His Resurrection seemed to justify their belief. But much more now they were justified before God, or rather HE was justified by raising from death. This thing had happened in real time. In every kind of way it was true that the God of Israel would not leave their souls in hell nor allow His Holy One to see corruption. [Acts 2:25-28]
3. Battle for the souls of mankind.
The Apostles had to proceed with the operational campaign which The Holy Ghost had initiated. But the operation had to deal with conditions (which Satan the Confuser tried to turn to their destruction). The sign on the cross was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek. Jewish religion, Roman order, Greek intellect. Christ had been Himself a Jew, but a Jew put to death for Jewish blasphemy. He said He was the Son of God. Matt. 26:63-65.