November 24, 2019 End with the Beginning

End with the Beginning

Revelation 12.7-12 is a brief summary of events from before recorded time to today. The passage declares that satan was expelled from Heaven when he led a rebellion against God. Isaiah 14.12-15 describes satan’s pride that brought this about (see Ezekiel 28.1-19, too). And, John 12.31records that Jesus’ would cast satan into the Pit of Hades. I believe this was accomplished between Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, as Paul writes in Ephesians 4.8-10 (Psalm 68.18).

But, even though satan has been cast into the Pit, his system of evil remains in the world, as Paul describes in Romans 1.18-32. He describes satan’s deceptive pride in verses 21-22: “although [the prideful people] knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools.” Apologist Ravi Zacharias states Susanna Wesley’s advice to son John, like Jesus’ warning in John 10.10a: “Take this rule: whatever weakens your reason, impairs the tenderness of your conscience, obscures your sense of God, or takes off your relish of spiritual things…that thing is sin to you, however innocent it may be in itself” (repeated in several radio broadcasts). See Acts 12.21-23 and 1 John 2.15-17.

In this context of lusts and pride, Apostle John gives us God’s two remedies to satan’s deceptions: the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony (Revelation 12.11). It is because of our sin of not believing in God (John 3.18, 12.44-45) and the expressions of sins that come therefrom (Romans 8.5-8, Galatians 5.19-21) that we are covered by the blood of the Lamb (Hebrews 9.13-15, 22).

This justification by baptism INTO (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance) “‘the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit’” (Matthew 28.19; one Name, “Jesus”, John 17.11-12 NASB) is our entry into the grace which Paul describes in Romans 5.1-5. In verse 2, Paul writes that faith is our access into grace (John 1.16-17). Paul seems to be discussing Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus (John 3.1-8) and about Paul’s experience of the leading of the Holy Spirit in the Kingdom of God into a deeper commitment to and reliance upon the Name Jesus (2 Corinthians 12.9-10).

The Word of our testimony IS the Name Jesus (Revelation 12.11)! Every knee, everywhere, is subjugated by and to this Name (Philippians 2.9-11). The Name Jesus is the “sword of the Spirit” (Ephesians 6.17, Isaiah 49.2, Hebrews 4.12) and the Scepter of Jesus (Psalm 110.1-2). Paul (Acts 16.16-18) and Peter (Acts 8.14-24, 9.34-35) drove out demons with Jesus’ Name, just as Jesus’ disciples had while going where they were sent (Luke 10.17). This is as Jesus encouraged: “‘Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it’” (John 14.12-14; see John 16.23-24, 33 also).

Overcoming satan and the world was God’s plan from the beginning. He states this in Genesis 1.28. satan and his demons are the chief ‘creeps’ on the earth. John reminds us that faith is what overcomes satan’s world of deceptions (1 John 5.4-5). James (4.7) instructs us to resist the devil, knowing that he will flee! This happens when we “submit to God” (ibid) because of what Jesus said in Luke 10.19. Therefore, we have what we need to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2.12-13; 2 Corinthians 10.3-6).

The Word of our testimony, Jesus, is released to the degree of our faith in His ability to save us. Meditate upon Hebrews 11.6 for a long while.

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Praise God!!! Copyright © by Maurice L. Painter, 2019. www.sozoclass.com

 

November 17, 2019 Paul Sent To Rome

Paul Sent To Rome

The Apostle Paul was an innovator. He identifies himself as such in Romans 15.20: “I have made it my aim to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build on another man’s foundation.” We have seen Paul become more excited about this and comfortable in being led by the Holy Spirit on each Missionary Journey in presenting Jesus’ message of John 14.6 to Jews in synagogues and against philosophies (see Studies 191027-191110, www.sozoclass.com).

While spending the Winter of 57-58 AD in Corinth, Greece (Acts 20.2-3), Paul wrote a letter “To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints’ (Romans 1.7). He desired to preach the Gospel to Gentiles there and, then, “I shall go by way of you to Spain” (Romans 15.28). Paul would, indeed, travel to Rome, for this was Jesus’ plan to be carried out by the Holy Spirit (Acts 23.11: “‘you must also bear witness at Rome’”).

Paul seems to project the desired end of his trip to Rome—people becoming Christian—before he even begins, for he addresses his letter to Roman “saints” (Romans 1.7; otherwise, why would he go where someone else had preached?). He amplifies in verse 11: “For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established” (my emphases). He continues to tell them what he will tell them in Romans 1.8-17, which you should read now.

Verses 16-17 summarize Paul’s conviction about Jesus. These verses might, also, reflect Paul’s understanding of his probable transport to Rome. For he will state to the elders of the church at Ephesus on the shore of Miletus the following: “‘Now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me’” (Acts 20.22-23).

Indeed, Paul was not ashamed to proclaim the Good News of God’s salvation through Jesus in Jerusalem, Caesarea Maritima, and Rome (Acts 21-28). Paul was detained in Caesarea for two years (Acts 24.27) but had as a captive audience Governors Felix and, then, Festus and King Herod Agrippa II and his wife (the seventh and last of the Herods mentioned in the NT; Note to Acts 25.13, Amplified Bible, 2015; Acts 24-26).

Paul called the Jewish officials to his house-arrest in Rome (about 60 AD) and explained the Gospel to them, with a much-used warning (Acts 28.17-31). He wrote about witnessing to the Augustan soldiers assigned to guard him (verse 16; Philippians 1.13). Acts 28.30-31 concludes the book and describe the continuing work of the Holy Spirit (John 16.8-11) through Paul as follows: “Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house, and received all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him.” “During this period the apostle wrote his epistles to the Colossians, Ephesians, Philippians, and to Philemon, and probably also to the Hebrews” (Easton’s Bible Dictionary).

“The exact details of St. Paul’s death are unknown, but tradition holds that he was beheaded in Rome and thus died as a martyr for his faith. His death was perhaps part of the executions of Christians ordered by the Roman emperor Nero following the great fire in the city in 64 CE” (Google). Easton’s Bible Dictionary states that Paul was acquitted in his first trial because none witnessed against him and that he probably traveled to Western and Eastern Europe before being rounded up by Nero. During his release, Paul wrote 1 Timothy and Jude; then, wrote 2 Timothy from prison before being beheaded in 66 AD.

Perhaps anticipating imminent death, Paul encouraged Timothy to follow the Holy Spirit: “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Timothy 4.6-7).

Paul had completed the Acts of the Holy Spirit in the Kingdom of God assigned to him by Jesus (Acts 26.16-18). Now, it’s your turn!

Paul Sent To Rome 191117

Praise God!!! Copyright © by Maurice L. Painter, 2019. www.sozoclass.com

 

November 10, 2019 Third Missionary Journey

Third Missionary Journey

This is Paul’s final travels to the churches which the Holy Spirit had founded in the provinces of Cilicia, Galatia, Phrygia, Asia Minor, and Macedonia. Through Paul in his journeys, the Holy Spirit has saved the lost, matured the save, and destroyed satan’s strongholds (John 16.8-11, Acts 13.2). This Third Missionary Journey concluded in Jerusalem in the Spring of AD 58 (Easton’s Bible Dictionary). You can follow his course from city to city on the map below.

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(Google map of Paul’s Third Missionary Journey)

My teaching about the Acts of the Holy Spirit in the Kingdom of God through Paul’s First Missionary Journey emphasized the lesson he learned from Jesus. Paul repeats this in 2 Corinthians 12.1-10, especially verse 9: “‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’” This is the critical lesson for every Christian leader: God will empower, even, your weakness to accomplish His assigned task! Paul learned that this included raising him from the dead in Lystra (Acts 14.19-20). Note Paul’s boldness thereafter, to return and show himself to those who murdered him!

My teaching about the Acts of the Holy Spirit in the Kingdom of God through Paul’s Second Missionary Journey emphasized the capabilities of the Holy Spirit to deliver the appropriate message by connecting with Paul’s different audience. The Holy Spirit delivered an informative and convicting message to the Jews in Antioch, Pisidia, which was, I think probably, repeated in every synagogue where Paul preached (Acts 13.16-41). And, He reasoned with the atheistic philosophers in the Areopagus that God had put up with their chasing after new ideas without substance (Colossians 2.8-10) for too long and would hold them accountable for not realizing that only He has the truth (Acts 17.22-31). Jesus comforts His disciples with assurance of the right words for the right audience from the Holy Spirit (Matthew 10.19-20).

In reading about Paul’s journeys, you can see him becoming more comfortable in his walk with the Holy Spirit; a trusting walk with dependence upon His leadership and care through any and all circumstances. After all, Jesus could raise him from the dead, again, if necessary, to accomplish His assigned task!

This is the theme of today’s teaching about the Acts of the Holy Spirit in the Kingdom of God through Paul’s Third Missionary Journey (Acts 18.23-21.16). I encourage you to read about the Holy Spirit’s leadership from region to region and Paul’s engagement with various cultures.

But, I want to focus your attention on Paul’s farewell message to the leaders of the church in Ephesus. Acts 20.17-38 records Paul’s words of encouragement for the “elders” who met him in the port city of Miletus. In fact, these words are instructive for every Christian. You should read Paul’s words before proceeding, for they reveal the work of the Holy Spirit as Jesus’ described (John 16.8-11).

Saving the lost: Despite the resistance from Jews and Gentiles, Paul “‘did not shrink back…from telling’” about the superiority of Jesus to their philosophies (Acts 20.20-21, 26-27). In Ezekiel 33.7-9, God gives a stern warning for all who might “shrink back”. Perhaps, this warning spurred Paul on. Is this ‘warning’ sufficient for you?

Maturing the saved: Paul “‘did not stop admonishing and advising each one’” of the elders (Acts 20.31, Amplified Bible, 2015). Building the knowledge of Jesus and developing hearers’ faith like Jesus’ therefrom is a continuous endeavor (Ephesians 4.11-13; 2 Timothy 3.16-17). “‘[God’s] grace is able to build you up and to give you the [rightful] inheritance’” (Acts 20.32, Amplified Bible, 2015). I remind you of a definition of ‘grace’ which I learned many years ago from an anonymous source: Grace is God’s word of promise and His willingness to use His great power to bring it to my reality. Your faith will release Jesus’ power (Luke 10.19, 17). ‘Life’ and ‘light’ depend upon God (John 1.4)!

Destroying satan’s strongholds: “‘Though Babylon were to mount up to heaven, and though she were to fortify the height of her strength, yet from Me plunderers would come to her,’ says the Lord” (Jeremiah 51.53). Paul understood that God was reminding the Prophet that He would do the work of Jeremiah 1.10. So, Paul warns the elders to “take care and be on guard for yourselves and for the whole flock over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as overseers”, for “ferocious wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock” (Acts 20.28-29, Amplified Bible, 2015). John 10.10 is still true and the reason we must be vigilant in all things!

Paul’s message, also, discusses his qualities as a courageous servant: “humility” (Acts 20.19, Amplified Bible, 2015), “compelled by the Spirit and obligated by my convictions” (verse 22), “finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus” (verse 24), “in everything I showed you [by example] that by working hard in this way you must help the weak” (verse 35); “Holy Spirit solemnly [and emphatically] affirms to me in city after city that imprisonment and suffering await me” (verse 23).

Paul did not “shrink back” from following the Holy Spirit. How about you?

Third Missionary Journey 191110
Praise God!!! Copyright © by Maurice L. Painter, 2019. www.sozoclass.com.

 

 

November 3, 2019 Second Missionary Journey

Second Missionary Journey

The Apostle Paul’s Second Missionary Journey (Acts 15.40-18.23) was important to his development. Paul chose Silas to accompany him, and they departed in AD 51 (Easton’s Bible Dictionary). No date is given for the ending of this Second Missionary Journey or the beginning of Paul’s Third, which concluded in the Spring of AD 58 (ibid). The map below traces Paul’s Second Missionary Journey.

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(Google map of Paul’s Second Missionary Journey)

I encourage you to read the details of Paul’s trip from the Scripture passage above and to trace the Holy Spirit’s leadership and rationale. In this study, I want to emphasize what I believe are the important points for understanding the Acts of the Holy Spirit in the Kingdom of God through Paul during his Second Missionary Journey.

First Point: Jesus had told Nicodemus that the Holy Spirit decides where He wants the servants of God to minister. In John 3.8, Jesus says, “‘The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit’” (NKJV). The Greek word for “wind” also means “spirit” (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, g4151). Now, reread this verse with ‘Spirit’ in place of ‘wind’ to understand Jesus’ teaching.

So, the Holy Spirit decided that Paul and Silas should go to Macedonia, instead of going in to Asia or Bithynia. How did Paul know? What was Paul’s relationship with the Source? How had this relationship progressed from the Road to Damascus? How does this become clearer by reviewing Peter’s experience in Acts 10.9-23?

Apostle John reminds us to “test the spirits” with a procedure discussed in 1 John 4.1-4. After authenticating the Source, Jesus said we should look and listen through spiritual eyes and ears, instead of with physical eyes and ears, to properly understand the Holy Spirit’s instruction (John 3.1-8 regarding John 2.23).

How, then, can you evaluate the contexts where the Holy Spirit leads you?

Second Point: Jesus said that the Holy Spirit will save the lost and/or destroy satan’s strongholds and/or mature believers’ faith and knowledge from Jesus (Ephesians 4.13) wherever He leads you (John 16.8-11). These actions are to reconcile mankind to God (2 Corinthians 5.17-21; Acts 26.18).

So, the Holy Spirit put to use all of the arrows in Paul’s quiver that had been sharpened to cutting edge during his years in his university-city hometown, during his years in rabbinical studies in Jerusalem, and during his three years of One-to-one tutoring from Jesus in the wilderness. Paul “reasoned” in the synagogue of the Jews “from the Scriptures” (in Thessalonica, Acts 17.2; in Athens, Acts 17.17; and in Corinth, Acts 18.4), probably, preaching the same, convicting sermon that he had preached in Antioch in Pisidia (Acts 13.15-41). Remember that the Holy Spirit was speaking through him, as Jesus said in Matthew 10.19-20.

Paul also “reasoned” with “Gentile worshipers and in the marketplace” (Acts 17.17) and in the midst of the Areopagas” (Hill of Ares or Mars’ Hill; Acts 17.22) in Athens, Greece. Notice that Paul’s reasoning began with his listeners’ beliefs; he collected them as the tolerance of the absolutely unique God; and he warned these atheistic philosophers of a future accountability for which God was their only Hope (Acts 17.22-31). Pay day some day, indeed (John 3.16; 14.6 alone)!

The Holy Spirit knew the foundational beliefs of the Jews and the Gentiles. He began there to tear down these community deceptions and to build up Jesus as the only Savior (Jeremiah 1.9-10). Replacing foundations is the only way “‘to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in [Jesus]’” (Acts 26.18).

These are the “good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2.10; John 16.8-11). The Holy Spirit will “reason” through you, using your knowledge of Scripture which He has prepared within you from your studies. Remember, He knows the arguments better than they do and can defeat them.

Be Available to the Holy Spirit!

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Praise God!!! Copyright © by Maurice L Painter, 2019. www.sozoclass.com.

 

October 27, 2019 First Missionary Journey

First Missionary Journey

The Holy Spirit selected Barnabas and Saul (Hebrew)/Paul (Gentile) to repeat their evangelistic model from Antioch (Syria; Acts 11.19-30) in other cities of His choosing (Acts 13.1-3; John 3.8). These men were servants carrying out the orders of their Master: go to certain cities and do certain things. The Master does not explain His rationale for selecting these cities. [Luke 10.1-12 also illustrates.] The cities, discussed below, are shown on the following map. A correction from Scripture is that Segment 8 was, actually, a return through Segments 7, 6, 5, & 4 (Acts 14.21-23). The Journey took 18 months.

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(Google: Map of Paul’s First Missionary Journey)

Pay attention to what the Holy Spirit does to save the lost, mature the saved, and destroy the works of the devil, as Jesus described the Holy Spirit’s work (John 16.8-11). I will share some thoughts at the end.

Cyprus: Acts 13.4-12: Sergius Paulus was saved when he witnessed soccer Elymas blinded at Paul’s words; Paul and Barnabas preached Christ in the synagogues. Their message made Paulus curious; blinding Elymas convinced him that Jesus is powerful (1 Corinthians 4.20).

Perga in Pamphylia: Acts 13.13: They would preach here on their return trip (Acts 14.24-28). The Holy Spirit, apparently, wanted to hurry them to Antioch in Pisidia.

Antioch in Pisidia: Acts 13.14-50: They had traveled from Paphos, Cyprus to Perga, Pamphylia and arrived at Antioch, Pisidia. Notice Paul’s strong sermon (which he probably preached everywhere to Jews was like Stephen’s) in the Synagogue at Antioch. On the second Sabbath, the Jews resisted their message because of the larger crowd. They drove Paul and Barnabas out of Antioch. Shook off the dust of the city, as Jesus had instructed in Matthew 10.13-15. The Antioch believers continued to be nurtured by the Holy Spirit (Acts 13.52). The Holy Spirit led them to Iconium, Lycaonia (verse 51).

Iconium in Lycaonia: Acts 14.1-7: Paul repeats his sermon at Iconium and taught in the synagogues for “a long time”, because of the persistence of darkness. Many Jews and Gentiles accepted Jesus because of the attesting signs and wonders. But disrespecting Jews and Gentiles, stirred by some from Antioch, and their rulers tried to silence them, even to stone them. The Holy Spirit led them to Lystra, Lycaonia.

Lystra in Lycaonia: Acts 14.8-18: The Holy Spirit pointed out the paralytic’s faith to receive healing during Paul’s speech, to attest to the message and to attract the other people. Note how the message becomes tailored to the culture of the pagan people, as a starting point.

Death and life in Lystra: Acts 14.19-20: Note the persistence of Jews and Gentiles from Antioch and Iconium who stir up others in Lystra to complete their task of stoning Paul to death. But believers prayed, and God returned his physical life. Paul uses this experience for encouraging Timothy (2 Timothy 3.11) and for encouraging believers’ dependence upon God’s faithfulness to His promises. Note in 2 Corinthians 12.1-10 how Paul speaks of these occurrences in the third person, perhaps applying this blessing to every believer. He refers to the OT use of “thorns” to identify people (Joshua 23.12-13, Judges 2.3, Ezekiel 28.24). Paul makes his point in 2 Corinthians 12.9-10: the “grace” found within the Name ‘Jesus’ is sufficient for overcoming every assault by satan! Remember that Jesus gives believers authority over satan’s kingdom; Luke 10.17-19. After evidencing himself alive to those who had stoned him dead, Paul and Barnabas go to Derbe, Lycaonia.

Strengthening believers during the return trip: Acts 14.21-23: Paul and Barnabas return from Derbe to Lystra to Iconium to Antioch (Pisidia) evidencing Paul as alive and reminding the people that the Holy Spirit will equip us and carry us through to accomplish His task assigned. The Holy Spirit identifies leaders for each church location to mature the believers in Jesus.

Perga and Attalia in Pamphylia: Acts 14.24: They return through Pisidia and Pamphylia, preaching in Perga and Attalia before departing.

Return to Antioch in Syria: Acts 14.25-28: They returned to Antioch, Syria, after 18 months and report on the accomplishments of the Holy Spirit through them for “opening to the Gentiles the door of faith”. They stayed there a long time, probably resting and reflecting on and teaching about what they had learned.

satan’s agents in Antioch: Acts 15.1-4: explain some of their activities, debating with Jewish philosophers. This led to the First Jerusalem Council in about AD 50, which made a clean break with Judaism (on circumcision).

What did the Holy Spirit accomplish through Paul and Barnabas (John 16.8-11)? Sergius Paulus was the first of countless many who were saved; that is, brought “’from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me’” (Acts 26.18). Disciples began maturing in an orderly structure of discipleship (Acts 13.21-23). Lastly, satan’s agents were defeated in every city, from Elymas to the Jews and Gentiles who stoned Paul to death. All of these activities were important to the growth of Christianity.

What did the Holy Spirit accomplish for Paul and Barnabas? As John Mark’s Gospel states, Jesus was with them as they did their work (Mark 16.15-20). They experienced how the Holy Spirit spoke the appropriate salvation message in each culture, with the same theme He had spoken in Antiock, Pisidia (Matthew 10.19-20, Acts 13.16-41, 1 Peter 3.15). Paul, personally, developed a boldness that he expresses throughout his writings. For example, 2 Corinthians 2.14, 2 Corinthians 10.1-6, 2 Corinthians 12.9-10, Ephesians 6.10-18, and Philippians 4.13!

The Holy Spirit will do the same through and for you when you obey His voice and follow His commandments (Jeremiah 7.23)!

Be filled with Holy Spirit boldness!

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Praise God!!! Copyright © by Maurice L. Painter, 2017. www.sozoclass.com.

 

October 20, 2019 It Is Time

It Is Time

Three words that change history. They speak of a new beginning. It may be the birth of a child; a move to a new city for employment; breaking through a barrier to a new level of proficiency of knowledge or practice.

For Moses, the burning bush evidenced God’s application of Moses’ upbringing in Pharaoh’s court and years herding rebellious sheep to doing God’s work of transferring the Hebrew people to the Promised Land (Exodus 3.1-9). For Paul, a day of worship of God with Barnabas and others in Antioch was the time and location chosen by Jesus for applying Paul’s vast knowledge and his initial experiences of training to transferring the people of Asia Minor “‘from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness and release from their sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified (set apart, made holy) by faith in Me’” (Acts 13.1-4; Acts 26.18; Amplified Bible, 2015).

From these and other illustrations, you should learn that Jesus is all about action: choosing, preparing, calling, engaging! He states this in His description of the work of the Holy Spirit in John 16.8-11, 13-15). The Holy Spirit is about saving the lost, about destroying the kingdom of satan and his works, and about maturing the saved in the knowledge and faith possessed by Jesus (John 14.26; Ephesians 4.11-13).

God had said to Moses, “’I have in fact seen the affliction (suffering, desolation) of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters (oppressors); for I know their pain and suffering’” (Exodus 3.7). These words might, now, be said to express the sights and sounds which God heard from persons in “‘darkness… [and] the power of Satan’”, persons made in His image from within the lands of wickedness to which He would send Paul (Acts 26.18).

Christians in Antioch were, now, developed sufficiently for the Holy Spirit to redeploy Paul and Barnabas. Acts 11.26 states that they had taught the principles of the Kingdom of God and demonstrated them for a year and that the new followers of Christ had, even, wanted to send a gift of support to believers in Judea during their similar duration of the famine (Acts 11.28-30). Acts 12.25 states that Paul and Barnabas had returned from completing this mission.

With the lost of Antioch now saved and maturing and the works of satan being destroyed, perhaps now by the first generation of new believers in Jesus, Paul was available for a new assignment.

Are you?

Have you completed Jesus’ last assignment? If not, do it soon, so He can give you something greater to do (John 14.12). If your last mission is complete, are you ministering to the Lord, even to the abandonment of eating, as you await His new assignment (Acts 13.2)?

“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God [set aside self-righteous pride], so that He may exalt you [to a place of honor in His service] at the appropriate time, casting all your cares [all your anxieties, all your worries, and all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares about you [with deepest affection, and watches over you very carefully]” (1 Peter 5.6-7; Amplified Bible, 2015).

It is time!

It Is Time 191020
Praise God!!! Copyright © by Maurice L. Painter, 2019. www.sozoclass.com.

October 13, 2019

Paul’s Choice

I believe that 1 Corinthians 2.1-5 is Paul’s statement about submitting to the Holy Spirit’s leadership in the Kingdom of God. He summarizes in verses 4 & 5: “And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God” (NKJV).

Verses 1 & 2 state his alternative methods. The Amplified Bible (2015 Edition) note to the word “know” in verse 2 reveals how Paul might have responded: “In reality, Paul was a highly-trained student of the Old Testament writings, Jewish law, and of logic and rhetoric; and evidently he was conversant in Roman law as well.” Paul’s comment (verses 4 & 5) is a continuation of 1 Corinthians 1.23: “For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom.” He might have continued that Romans demand power. Paul would, even, use his knowledge of Greek philosophy, later, with the philosophers at Mars Hill, Athens, Greece (Acts 17.22-34). His used many methods!

However, Paul chose “to forego philosophical or theological discussions regarding inconsequential things and opinions” to focus his readers’ attention on the superiority of Jesus Christ’s life, substitutionary death, and bodily resurrection (Amplified Bible, 2015, 1 Corinthians 2.2). He writes a similar, strong statement of impact in Colossians 2.8-10.

Consequently, Paul reminds the Corinthians that he was trembling with fear and in weakness when he came to them (1 Corinthians 2.3). Why? Because he was not in control. He was not controlling his vast knowledge, weaving his superior logic and phrasing his eloquent rhetoric (ibid, verse 1). Rather, he chose to be submissive to the Holy Spirit, as he would similarly reflect in 2 Corinthians 12.9-10.

When did Paul learn to let the Holy Spirit control his use of his methods for enlightening and equipping? Is the result of Paul’s reflection the listing of Spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 12.1-31? Different methods. Choosing the Holy Spirit’s control prepared the way for Him to use Paul to introduce His individual gifts for individual persons.

During Paul’s three years in the Arabian Desert (Galatians 1.17-18), I suspect that Jesus took Paul through the same ‘training manual’ He had used with the other Apostles, which may explain Paul’s comment about being “untimely born” (1 Corinthians 15.7-9, AMP). Matthew 10.1-42 names the Twelve Apostles and records Jesus’ ‘on-boarding’ them. Verses 16-23 might, even, explain why Paul went from city to city throughout his ministry career. Verses 19-20 taught Paul to depend upon the Holy Spirit wherever He might take him (John 3.8).

Learning the Holy Spirit’s voice and releasing control to Him can bring trembling fear and weakness! This becomes easier with experience.

Paul probably experienced this when he returned to Tarsus to evangelize his family and friends (Acts 9.30). There, he found Jews seeking signs and Greeks seeking wisdom, but these became confounded by Paul’s presentation of Jesus Christ’s life, substitutionary death, and bodily resurrection (1 Corinthians 1.22-24).

This is where Barnabas finds Paul and recruits him for service to believers in Antioch (Acts 11.25-26). Followers of the ‘Way’ (John 14.6) had scattered there after Stephen was martyred (Acts 7). Antioch was on the Orontes River in Syria, about 16 miles from the Mediterranean Sea. “It ranked third, after Rome and Alexandria, in point of importance, of the cities of the Roman empire. It was called the ‘first city of the East’” (Easton’s Bible Dictionary).

Antioch was an important city for commerce and government. This fact may reveal the importance of Antioch being where believers were first called “Christian” (Acts 11.26). This name was “given by the Greeks or Romans, probably in reproach to the followers of Jesus.” Thereafter, it became the title given to believers. “Christian” is only used again in Acts 26.28 and 1 Peter 4.16 (Easton’s Bible Dictionary).

Thus, by “signs and wonders” (Hebrews 2.1-4; Mark 16.20), even Greeks and Romans acknowledged that Jesus was “Anointed” (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, g5547); His follower were pronouncing the ‘Kingdom of God’ and proving it (Matthew 10.7-8; Psalm 107.20; Luke 10.17)! Disciples were imitating Jesus, as Luke records in Acts 10.38: “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him” (my emphasis). The Holy Spirit was anointing the followers of the Way in Antioch in the same way (John 17.18; Mark 16.15-20; John 3.1-8, explaining 2.23; Luke 10.19).

Paul seems to reflect upon his deeper learning about the Holy Spirit in 1 Corinthians 2.6-16. Notice his conclusion, that Christians’ minds are “anointed” by Jesus! That is, the Holy Spirit makes known to us Jesus’ knowledge, logic, and rhetoric for every situation (John 16.13-15; Ephesians 4.13). Additionally, Paul, the OT scholar, may have been reflecting upon Zechariah 4.6: “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.”

So, is it your ‘choice’ to depend upon the Holy Spirit for superior knowledge, logic, and rhetoric from Jesus in every place the Holy Spirit leads you? He will prove that the Kingdom of God is at hand (Matthew 10.7-8). This will be demonstrated by your faith expressing through your deeds (1 Corinthians 2.4-5) the power of the Name ‘Jesus’, as Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 4.20: “For the kingdom of God is not in word but in power.”

Let me give you the illustration the Holy Spirit gave me about the power of faith and the name “Jesus”. Nuclear fission bombs were dropped on Japan to end the Pacific Theater of World War II, causing horrific destruction. Today, nuclear fission is used as the trigger to release the multiplied-greater destructive energy of nuclear fusion bombs!

Just so, said the Holy Spirit: faith is the fission that releases the enormous power from within the Name ‘Jesus’! Jesus spoke of this in Matthew 28.18, that He has been given “all” authority on earth. In Luke 10.19, He states that He gives His followers this authority: “‘Listen carefully: I have given you  authority [that you now possess] to tread on serpents and scorpions, and [the ability to exercise authority] over all the power of the enemy (Satan); and nothing will [in any way] harm you’” (Amplified Bible, 2015). Jesus reminds us: “‘Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full’” (John 16.24, NKJV). Acts 3.16 and 4.12 illustrate. The healed man probably shouted the psalmist’s words in Psalm 119.162: “I rejoice at Your word, as one who finds great treasure.”

Remember that Jesus is the “Source of all human knowledge”, the “Epistemological Logos” of God (The Word of God and The Mind of Man, Nash, p. 67). We were meant to iterate our knowledge of our careers by continually walking with and learning from the Holy Spirit (John 1.9; John 14.26). Even so, the Holy Spirit works through us to bring the Kingdom of God into every context where He leads us (1 Corinthians 2.6-16; John 3.8). Consider Jesus’ example in Matthew 11.2-6 (Luke 7.20-22).

This is the reality of John 14.26 operating in Matthew 6.33. This is far better than man’s wisdom, as the psalmist reminds in Psalm 118.8: “It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man” (NASB). This was Paul’s choice: “And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God” (1 Corinthians 2.4-5, NKJV).

Which is your choice?

Paul’s Choice 191006 (* = 191013 update)
Praise God!!! Copyright © by Maurice L. Painter, 2019. www.sozoclass.com.

 

September 29, 2019 Begin with the End in Mind

Begin with the End in Mind

Without a destination in mind, meandering from one point to another will take at least twice the time and cost at least twice the budget. Moral: plan your route before you begin your trip.

God does. Judges 13.1-12, Jeremiah 1.5, and John 3.27 state a progression of events showing that God births every child with His mission in mind, selecting only the appropriate DNA from father (Proverbs 23.22a) and mother (Proverbs 23.25b) that will prepare the child to complete His mission. This explains why, even, identical twin siblings mostly choose different professions.

God chooses us individually; later, God calls us specifically; throughout, God brings us the education and experiences of preparation in appropriate scope and sequence. Parents, educators, and employers must ask the two questions Samson’s father asked the Angel: what is the child’s mission?; how shall we prepare the child? (Judges 13.1-12) Thereafter, we must trust that God is, in fact, leading the child’s development for His mission. This is God’s statement in Proverbs 29.11-13. Acknowledge that God has a good plan in mind, and, then, respond to His encouragement to inquire about it and agree with it! Paraphrasing Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard: life is lived forward but understood backward (www.quora.com). How do you see God leading in your past?

As we look back over Apostle Paul’s life, we see God preparing him for His mission of proclaiming Jesus (John 14.6; 1 Corinthians 2.4-5) to the Jews and Gentiles (Colossians 2.8-10), as his journeys are recounted in the Acts of the Holy Spirit in the Kingdom of God and through his thirteen books of the New Testament (ibid; I include Hebrews as number fourteen.) God chose Paul; God called Paul; God brought Paul to accomplish His mission, which Paul summarizes in Acts 26.16-18 and expresses completion in 2 Timothy 4.6-8.

Easton’s Bible Dictionary states that Paul was born about the same time as Jesus. Scholars believe Jesus’ birth occurred between 6-4 B.C. (www.livescience.com). Some reason Jesus’ birth at this time because of the Bible story of Herod the Great’s infanticide just before he died in 4 B.C. Other scholars have correlated Jesus’ birth “Star of Bethlehem” with a “slow- moving comet, which Chinese observers recorded in 5 B.C.” Astronomer Dave Reneke’s computer model timed the “Star” to the bright alignment of Venus and Jupiter on June 17, 2 B.C. You get the point: Paul was born about 4 B.C.

Paul was the name given for use in the Gentile world. Saul was his Hebrew name given by his father, a Jewish immigrant living in Tarsus. He had acquired Roman citizenship in one of several ways, which meant that his son was also a Roman citizen (Easton’s Bible Dictionary). God knew this passport would facilitate Paul’s travels, especially to Rome, for evangelism. So, you see that even parents may become servants of God’s plan for their progeny.

Paul describes his father as a Pharisee (Acts 23.6) from the tribe of Benjamin (Philippians 3.5). Strong sectarian beliefs of father and mother moulded Paul’s character from his youth, as he states in Philippians 3.6: “concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless” (ibid). God birthed Paul to parents who, without knowledge of God’s mission, prepared him for an introduction to Jesus on the road near Damascus (Acts 9.5, 22.8).

Paul’s primary years were in the rich educational environment of Tarsus. A famous university was there, “higher in reputation even than the universities of Athens and Alexandria, the only others that then existed” (ibid). At age 13 (9 A.D.), Paul was sent for rabbinical studies to Jerusalem. He became a student of “the celebrated rabbi Gamaliel, and here [Paul] spent many years in an elaborate study of the Scriptures and of the many questions concerning them with which the rabbis exercised themselves” (ibid). Rabbi’s were ministers, teachers, and lawyers…all in one. God gave Paul the best of secular and religious education in preparation for His mission.

Paul returned to Tarsus after his studies and remained there until just after Jesus was Crucified in 30 or 33 A.D. (When did Jesus Die? The Year, Day & Time, christianity.com, April 21, 2010). Paul was curious to learn “the particulars regarding the crucifixion, and the rise of the new sect of the ‘Nazarenes’” (ibid). Do you see how God was filling in Paul’s knowledge which the Holy Spirit would make understandable (1 Corinthians 2.9-12) for appealing to the Jews (Hebrews, especially 9.22-10.18) and debating with the philosophers of the day (Acts 17.22-31)? God ensures that His servants are well resourced!

God’s plan and its fulfillment began to make sense to Paul during the first three days after he was blinded by the light brighter than the noonday Sun. He thought deeply about Jesus’ words (Acts 9.3-6) in connection with his new knowledge of the Nazarene sect in the context of his rabbinical studies of the Old Testament, especially Deuteronomy 18.15-22 about the Prophet. This was the first of many conversations with Jesus (Galatians 1.12, 1 Corinthians 15.3-8, 2 Corinthians 12.1, 1 Thessalonians 4.15-18).

After Paul’s baptism (Acts 9.18) and some days with followers of Christ in Damascus, even preaching Christ in the synagogues (verse 20) under the threat of death (verses 23-25), he fled to Arabia (Galatians 1.17) for three years. “The historian passes over the incident. It is a mysterious pause, a moment of suspense, in the apostle’s history, a breathless calm, which ushers in the tumultuous storm of his active missionary life” (Easton’s Bible Dictionary).

Paul had lots of knowledge to understand from the Holy Spirit before he received the wisdom to use it for evangelizing the peoples to whom the Holy Spirit would send him (John 3.8). After briefly visiting the Apostles in Jerusalem (Acts 9.28-30), Paul returned to Tarsus, probably to share the Good News with his devout father and mother. God began; God prepared; God’s end! God’s mission was engaged!

Begin with the End in Mind 190929
Praise God!!! Copyright © by Maurice L. Painter, 2019. www.sozoclass.com.

September 22, 2019 Gospel Conversation in the Kingdom of God

Gospel Conversations in the Kingdom of God

In Philippians 2.7, Paul infers that all mankind are servants of God, with Jesus as our example (see John 1.14Leviticus 25.42, 55Psalm 119.91, 125 also). The Centurion, whose servant Jesus healed by spoken word, describes the attitude of a servant, in Matthew 8.9. [His words present the interesting question: are your words your servants?] Servants are important for accomplishing the work of the Master.

Deacon Philip was such a servant. He is introduced as a man with a “‘good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom’” (Acts 6.3). He is called “the evangelist” (Acts 8.5, Amplified Bible, 2015) because he went to a city in Samaria after Stephen was stoned to death for his witness to Jesus (Acts 6.8-7.60). There, he preached John 14.6, that Jesus is Lord of All and proved his words with miracles (Matthew 10.7-8). “For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed; and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed. And there was great joy in that city” (Acts 8.7-8).

Then, he heard his Master’s new assignment: return to Jerusalem and walk down the road in the hot desert between toward Gaza (Acts 8.26). While walking Southwest from Jerusalem, Philip was passed by many travelers, including a royal official from Ethiopia. As he passed by, Philip’s Master instructed him to run alongside and listen (Acts 8.27-30).

“‘Do you understand what you are reading’”, was the question prompted by the Holy Spirit (Matthew 10.19-20). Thus, began another Gospel Conversation (Acts 8.6-8). Philip did not have to create the context; the Holy Spirit injected him into a context of time, location, and person chosen by the Holy Spirit, not by happenstance.

So, Philip began at the location of the Ethiopian official’s query and revealed the past, present, and future of Jesus (Acts 8.35). The Holy Spirit knew the official would be stumped by the passage and wanted him to clearly understand the message he was to take to Queen Candace and her royal court. Thus, the Gospel of God’s salvation through His only Son was spread into Ethiopia.

Philip, then, baptized the treasury official by immersion into“‘the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit’” (Matthew 28.19; Philippians 2.9-11Hebrews 13.8). The Greek word for baptism is baptizo and is contrasted from another word for baptism, bapto, which is practiced by some denominations. Baptizo means to submerge, like one would a cucumber into a briny solution until it becomes a pickle. Bapto means to wash, like one would a cucumber from the garden before serving it for dinner (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, g0907 and g0911).

Thus, another of Philip’s assignments was complete, but there were more to come. Suddenly, Philip is in Azotus (Greek; Ashdod, Hebrew; Acts 8.39-40). [Some say that this was the second act of teleportation in the Bible. The first was recorded in John 6.16-21I might proffer Luke 4.30 and John 8.59 as others.] Philip preached along the coast until he arrived at Caesarea Maritima, which was or became his residence (Acts 21.8). [Apostle Paul would be brought for trial at Caesarea Maritima because it was the capital of Judea and residence of the Roman governors (‘prefects’-Pilate, AD 26-36 or ‘proconsuls’-Felix, AD 52-60). Caesarea Maritima had been constructed by Herod the Great. It was the largest artificial harbor on the eastern Mediterranean Seacoast (Amplified Bible, 2015, Note).

How did Philip know the bidding of the Holy Spirit? Acts 6.3 reveals his abiding relationship with Him. Consider God’s reminder of this reality in Haggai 2.5, referencing Exodus 19.4-6, 45-46; 33.12-14; 34.8-9. Jesus reminds us of this in John 14.26 and 16.13-15.

Paul’s encouragement in 1 Thessalonians 5.17 (“pray without ceasing”) probably described Philip’s continuous dialogue with the Holy Spirit. Philip had learned to walk with his “Parakletos” (Greek for “Helper” {John 14.16}; Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance g3875). This is God’s encouragement through Jeremiah 29.12-13 for understanding His plans (verse 11) for us.

Solomon gives some practically to this in Proverbs 24.3-6. This was the observable “good reputation” of Philip that was the result of the Holy Spirit giving wisdom for applying knowledge to which He has given understanding (Acts 6.3). Philip’s “good reputation” was the product of his “praying without ceasing”. The Holy Spirit led him to the knowledge he needed (John 1.9); He gave Philip understanding of this knowledge; then, He taught him how to apply this understanding with wisdom into the specific context. A good reputation in a Samaritan City, along a desert road, and from Azotus to Caesarea Maritima.

The Holy Spirit directs us to locations and for purposes of His choosing. We are servants of Most High God (Philippians 2.7)! Philip was prepared. Be prepared, for we never know when the Holy Spirit will say, “go down this street/aisle and you will meet someone with a question for which I will give you the answer.” A Gospel Conversation!

Knowledge, understanding, wisdom, and salvation are for those who obey. Note God’s emphasis of obedience in Jeremiah 7.23 NASB: “Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you will be My people; and you will walk in all the way which I command you, that it may be well with you..’” “‘I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you’” (Psalm 32.8). ““Your ears will hear a word behind you, “This is the way, walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right or to the left’” (Isaiah 30.21).

This is just like Jesus told Nicodemus: “‘The wind blows where it wished and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.’” (John 3.8). You are born of the Spirit (John 3.16; 14.6). Be led by the Holy Spirit in the Kingdom of God (Romans 8.14).

Gospel Conversations 190915

Praise God!!! Copyright © by Maurice L Painter, 2019 www.sozoclass.com

September 8, 2019 Peter led by the Holy Spirit in the Kingdom of God

Peter led by the Holy Spirit in the Kingdom of God

Rock-solid leaders are needed during transitions from an old to a new culture. Simon from Bethsaida (neck of the entrance to the western coast of the Sea of Galilee; Easton’s Bible Dictionary, olivetree.com) was such a leader. He was the younger brother of Andrew and first cousin of James and John, sons of Zebedee and Salome, with whom he worked a business of harvesting fish from the Galilee (ibid). This was an appropriate discipline for the mission of harvesting souls for God, for which Peter was born and to which Jesus called him (Matthew 4.19; Jeremiah 1.5; Judges 13.1-12; John 3.27). We might say, likewise, that King David and Moses were prepared by leading sheep for leading, similarly willful, people for and to God.

Easton’s Dictionary identifies some distinctive characteristics that made Peter a rock-solid leader.

“’Simon was a Galilean, and he was that out and out…The Galileans had a marked character of their own. They had a reputation for an independence and energy which often ran out into turbulence. They were at the same time of a franker and more transparent disposition than their brethren in the south. In all these respects, in bluntness, impetuosity, headiness, and simplicity, Simon was a genuine Galilean. They spoke a peculiar dialect. They had a difficulty with the guttural sounds and some others, and their pronunciation was reckoned harsh in Judea. The Galilean accent stuck to Simon all through his career.’” (ibid).

Simon’s name, also, evidences his preparation for harvesting souls, for it is short for Simeon which means “‘hearing’” (ibid). Jesus acknowledges and emphasizes this in His dialogue with the disciples at Caesarea Philippi about His reputation among the people (Matthew 16.13-20). When Jesus narrowed the query to them, Peter boldly confessed Jesus as Messiah! He had heard what distinguishes between the saved and lost (John 3.16, 14.6; 1 John 4.1-3; 1 Corinthians 12.1-3). Importantly, he heard this from God! Jesus, also, calls him to “hear” His call to “‘Feed My sheep’” (John 21.15-19Jeremiah 23.4).

Jesus’ nicknaming Simon “Cephas, an Aramaic name corresponding to the Greek Petros”, explains the distinguishing element of this new culture—confessing Jesus is Lord(Romans 10.8-13). Petros means “‘a mass of rock detached from the living rock’” (ibid). Christianity was birthed in Judaism, with God at the Head of His people (Deuteronomy 7.7-8; Exodus 19.6). Jesus is our Head and “chief Cornerstone” (Isaiah 28.16; Matthew 28.43-44; 1 Peter 2.8; Ephesians 2.19-22 1.22-23).

Peter’s ‘stone’ was his confession, “You are Messiah” (Matthew 16.16-18). Firstly, confessing “Jesus is Lord” is the stone that breaks down the gates of philosophies and “traditions of men” hat oppose Christ (Colossians 2.8-10; Mark 7.9; Daniel 2.27-45).  It is the “mass” under acceleration (definition from Apple dictionary) that is directed at the feet of Implicit Assumptions of a man-made, artificial, secondary culture (Richard Niebuhr, Christ and Culture, 1951, p. 32) Secondly, it is the pronouncement that “‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand’’ (Matthew 10.7)! When this is received by someone with like faith (John 1.12), Jesus instructs to prove it (Matthew 10.8; Luke 10.1-9, 17-20Mark 16.15-20; Ephesians 2.10)!

We see Peter ‘proving it’ in the chapters of the Acts of the Holy Spirit through the Apostles beginning in Acts 3.6-7 which Peter explains in verse 16(specific instance) and Acts 4.12 (exemplary of the potential ‘salvation’ contained in the name ‘Jesus’).

Perhaps, Peter is remembering the “Gates of Hell” where Jesus asked and he answered, “You are Messiah [Anointed, Lord]”, thereby throwing a “mass” at the deceptions of Molech and philosophies of the rabbis of Judaism (Matthew 16.16-18; Revelation 12.11). Peter was, even, willing to stand against the traditions ofhis community, which could not save anyone eternally or temporally, and to proclaim light into the darkness of satan’s deceptions (Acts 2.38-39; 4.19-20, 29-31; 5.41; 8.18-23; 9.22-35, 36-42; 11.15-17; 15.6-11). Notice that Peter confronted the darkness of traditional Jews and, when needed, the darkness with which satan tried to divide the leaders of the young church. Peter was rock-solid!

Let me remind you how the Acts of the Holy Spirit fit into the Kingdom of God. I believe that God created mankind to take the earth back from satan’s destructive hands (Revelation 12.7-12). The earth was void and “darkness” (of satan) was on the face of the deep (Genesis 1.2a). Mankind fell for a piece of fruit (Genesis 3.1-5), but God had a plan for redeeming man and for destroying satan’s works (1 John 3.8; Jeremiah 1.10; Acts 26.18).

The Holy Spirit of God, Who hovered above the face of the deep (Genesis 1.2b), (1) would save the lost (John 16.8-11) by convincing them of the sufficiency of Jesus’ blood shed for sin (John 3.16; Hebrews 10.11-14), (2) would mature the saved into the image of Jesus (Ephesians 4.11-13) for the use of His powerful Name (Philippians 2.9-13; Luke 10.17-19), and (3) would, through those redeemed, judge and destroy satan’s works (Mark 16.15-20). Jesus describes this in John 14.15-18 & 26, 16.13-15).

God chose Abraham’s grandson, Jacob, for producing a people through whom the Holy Spirit would do His work. God proves Jacob’s capabilities as a warrior in Genesis 32.28 and confers upon Jacob the name “Israel”, meaning “God strives” (Amplified Bible, 2015, olivetree.com). Thus, God would partner with Jacob’s progeny to wage war against satan (Exodus 3.6). After God’s ‘army’ had grown large while in Egypt, God lead them to freedom and the conquest of aberrant interlopers in the land promised to Abram (Genesis 13.14-17; Judges 3.1-4).

But, when God called them to service in His spiritual ‘army’, they refused (Exodus 19.6). So, God chose the followers of Jesus to follow Him into His battles (1 Peter 2.9; Ephesians 6.12; 2 Corinthians 10.4-6). This is what God described to Nicodemus in John 3.1-8, explaining the Holy Spirit’s “signs” through Jesus in John 2.23. We see the Holy Spirit doing the same through Peter in the examples above.

Rock-solid leaders are needed during transitions from an old to a new culture. Peter was this kind of leader. We will see this through Philip and Paul in coming weeks. God’s words in Joshua 1.9 remain true for leaders today. Are you ‘rock-solid’ for the cultural transitions of the contexts into which the Holy Spirit has thrust you? He’s depending upon you. “Be strong and courageous!”

Peter Led By The Holy Spirit 190901-08 (* = update)
Praise God!!! Copyright © by Maurice L. Painter, 2019 www.sozoclass.com.