June 23, 2019 Day of Pentecost

Day of Pentecost

Questions for study:

Why a gap of 10 days between Jesus’ Crucifixion and Ascension?

Why did God choose Pentecost for the arrival of the Holy Spirit?

Should Christians celebrate Pentecost? Why or why not?

What are MacArthur’s two perspectives of Pentecost?

What does the Apostle Paul mean by “sealed”?

Forty Days

This is the number of days between Jesus’ Crucifixion and Ascension (Acts 1.9). The Apostle Paul gives us the only details about Jesus’ activities, in 1 Corinthians 15.3-8. This passage is one of several in which Paul states or implies that Jesus dialogued with him, including Galatians 1.12, 2.2;Ephesians 3.3;1 Thessalonians 4.15; 2 Corinthians 12.1, 71. Of course, these dialogues began in Acts 9.1-19a, which Paul describes in greater detail in Acts 26.16-18. Perhaps, such dialogue with the Holy Spirit is what Paul means by “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5.17). Further, Apostle John (20.30) implies that there were more events.

In 1 Corinthians 15.3-8, Paul outlines a chronology of Jesus’ events that confirms His Resurrection (“according to the Scriptures”) and the instructions of the Holy Spirit regarding the Kingdom of God (Acts 1.1-3). Paul’s mention of Jesus’ meeting with James, His half-brother (Matthew 13.55) infers that James was chosen to be head of the emerging church, not Peter. Dr. Luke includes Paul’s confirmation of this in Acts 12.17, 15.18-21, and 21.18. (A related apology substantiating this would be the Apostles’ earlier argument about ‘who is the greatest among us’ [Luke 9.46-48]. Jesus would not have acceded to their immaturity, I believe, by appointing Peter above his associates.) Thus, Jesus was conducting Kingdom business during His 40 days—organizing them and gathering them for work, as we see in Acts 4.32.

Ten Days

Pentecost would not be for another ten days after Jesus’ ascension. I have not found any explanation for these ten days. So, I offer my thoughts that ten is the sum of seven and three. In Biblical numerology, Seven is the number for God, Who consecrated the Seventh Day of Creation as Holy (Genesis 2.1-3). Likewise, Three is the number for Completion, Perfection, Wholeness, and identifies the Trinity (google.com). King Solomon reminds us that “a cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart” (Ecclesiastes 4.12, NASB). BTW, the other combinations of numbers totaling ten have no Biblical significance.

40 Days + 10 Days = Pentecost

Paul emphasizes the significance of this Holy day as his explanation for not returning to encourage the Christians at Ephesus (which is most unusual) and for meeting with pastors and overseers at Miletus (Acts 18.21, 19.21,20.16). The coming of the Holy Spirit on this day had occurred about 20 years earlier. Perhaps, Paul’s regular conversations with Him created a desire to celebrate His ‘special day’, maybe like Jesus’ Virgin-birth day. Have we minimized an important event? Should Christians celebrate Pentecost? See Joel 2.28-32 and Acts 2.14-18.

Why did God choose Pentecost for the arrival of the Holy Spirit? Some rationale is gained from understanding that Pentecost (Greek for 50 days, after Passover/Jesus’ Crucifixion) was chosen by God “to commemorate the completion of the grain harvest” (Easton’s Bible Dictionary, google.com; Leviticus 23.15-17). It was the second of three important feasts when all Israelite males were to assemble with a gift in Jerusalem (Exodus 23.14-17, Deuteronomy 16.16). They were to bring an offering representing God’s blessings on their crops (Numbers 28.26, Exodus 34.22a). The offerings were termed “First Fruits”.

So, this Pentecost was the celebration of another “Harvest” of “First Fruits”. Jesus had begun His ministry with this idea in mind. Matthew 9.37 records Him saying, “‘The harvest truly is plentiful.’” His words concerned the lost and leaderless crowds before Him (verse 36; see Numbers 27:17, 1 Kings 22:17, Ezekiel 34:5, Zechariah 10:2). Jesus ended His ministry by paying the ultimate price for the ‘sheep’ (John 3.16, Hebrews 9.26-28, 1 Peter 1.19-21). As He said, “‘It is finished’” (John 19.30). “Those gathered into the church then were also the first-fruits of the full harvest of all believers to come after” (MacArthur Study Notes, Acts 2.1, OliveTree.com).

MacArthur, also, give us a different perspective of Pentecost: “The Holy Spirit came on this day as the first-fruits of the believer’s inheritance (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:5Ephesians 1:11-14)” (ibid). Paul refers to the Holy Spirit as our “guarantee” of better things to come. Jesus had discussed this with the disciples in John 14.16-17, and in 26 (fulfilling John 1.9).

The Holy Spirit came to “seal” Jesus’ followers for eternity (Ephesians 1.13-14). Kings of old would place wax from a candle on their documents and stamp them with their rings for identification and authority. Thus, Jesus gave us authority over satan’s strongholds (Luke 10.17-19) as part of our “better things to come” and for fulfilling God’s command at Creation to “have dominion” (Genesis 1.26). MacArthur writes: “Four primary truths are signified by the seal: 1) security (cf. Daniel 6:17; Mathew 27:62–66); 2) authenticity (cf. 1 Kings 21:6–16); 3) ownership (cf. Jeremiah 32:10); and 4) authority (cf. Esther 8:8–12)” (ibid, Ephesians 1.13-14).

The Pentecost of Acts 2.1 was quite a day! We will consider the unusual events in our next study.

Day of Pentecost 190623

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

June 16, 2019 Marks of the Kingdom

Marks of the Kingdom

Jesus ended His earthly ministry talking with the disciples about the topic which He discussed at the beginning of His ministry—the Kingdom of God (Acts 1.1-3). In Matthew 6.9-10 NKJV, Jesus presents the proper mindset, thinking, and behaviors of believers. He emphasized this importance later in His Sermon on the Mount; Matthew 6.33: seek the Kingdom so you won’t find yourself in a mess!

Question: why is a mess the natural result from not seeking the Kingdom of God first?
Consider: Jesus discusses this in John 10.10. Note His natural progression of satan: steal leads to kill leads to destroy. Our ‘mess’ results from satan stealing our attention from God by the means of Matthew 13.18-22. Once our attention is off of God, satan slowly kills our allegiance to God (seeJeremiah 13.10also). Changing allegiance from God to satan leads to destruction (see Hebrews 6.4-6).

Illustration: satan seduced Solomon’s attention, first, with the daughter of Pharaoh (1 Kings 3.1; why an alliance when David had conquered all of the surrounding nations? 1 Kings 5.4. satan got his attention with fear.). Solomon’s lust led to wives and affairs that killed his allegiance to God over time (1 John 2.15-17; 1 Kings 11.1-9). What was Solomon’s destruction?

The proper mindset for Christians hallows the Name of God (Matthew 6.9), which we know is “Jesus” (John 17.6,11,12,14,26; Philippians 2.9-11; Hebrews 13.8; NASB). To hallow is to make holy, to venerate, to sanctify (Jesus asked God to sanctify the disciples by His “Word” {John 1.1,14}; John 17.17; Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, g0037). So, we are to set apart as holy the Name “Jesus” because it sanctifies or sets us apart (distinguishes us; Jesus said disciples would be hated because of His Name {Matthew 10.22; John 17.14}). Our mindset is to be different from that of the world. Anticipate opposition, as Apostle Paul instructs in Ephesians 6.10-17.

The proper thinking for Christians should establish the Kingdom of God through our influence on earth (Matthew 6.10a). Jesus emphasizes this in Matthew 10.7: “‘And as you go, preach, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.”’” We will study in Acts that the work of the Kingdom of God is directed by the Holy Spirit and produced by us, disciples, in the contexts of His leading. We can safely say that the Holy Spirit led Jesus in His work; Isaiah 11.2; John 5.19-20; John 12.49; Matthew 12.28. Jesus told Nicodemus that the Holy Spirit leads the followers of Jesus; John 3.1-8. He is the developing Spirit of Christianity; not the debilitating spirit of mysticism. Distinguish using 1 John 4.1-4as a test.

The proper behaviors of Christians should demonstrate the Kingdom just as the will of God is done in Heaven (Matthew 6.10b). Paul discusses this in Ephesians 2.10: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Jesus summarizes these in Matthew 10.8: “‘Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons.’” This is what first characterized followers of Jesus, as is seen in Acts 11.26. We might generalize by identifying the Christian behaviors as those performed by the Holy Spirit through Christians, as we will see in the Acts of the Holy Spirit Through the Apostles, a better name for the Bible book. He may not lead you to heal the sick, but He will lead you to use His gifts (1 Corinthians 12.1-11) in the contexts where He leads you (John 3.8; Romans 8.14); always to bear witness to Jesus (Matthew 10.19-20).

Question: what is the proper mindset of Christians? the proper thinking? the proper behaviors? Why is this so important?

Write this in a statement, like: I will hallow the name Jesus in the Kingdom of God everyday by doing the work of the Holy Spirit wherever He leads me.

So, to repeat, Jesus ends His earthly ministry discussing the Kingdom of God with His disciples before His ascension. Acts 1.1-3 is Dr. Luke’s introduction of his second letter to Theophilus, (who might have been a Roman official at Paul’s trial. Luke’s two books would have, thus, been an explanation of Paul’s defense which he had earlier offered to Roman Governor Festus and Israel’s King Agrippa {Acts 26.1-32}). Note that Jesus gave instructions—“pertaining to the kingdom of God”—through the Holy Spirit to the disciples and others during the 40 days after Jesus’ Resurrection. Paul gives details confirming Jesus’ Resurrection activities in 1 Corinthians 15.1-8.

That the Kingdom of God is important to Jesus is, as I expressed, found in a later verse of Matthew 6, verse 33: “‘But first and most importantly seek (aim at, strive after) His kingdom and His righteousness [His way of doing and being right—the attitude and character of God], and all these things will be given to you also’” (Amplified Bible, 2015). This is because the Kingdom enables everything else!

Remember John 1.9 that “Jesus” is the Source of all human knowledge (Nash, 1982, The Word of God and The Mind of Man, p. 67). God emphasizes this in Jeremiah 9.23-24: brag about knowing God! So, Jesus, later, says: “‘all these things [wealth, wisdom, strength] will be given to you also.’”! Solomon is our example, in 1 Kings 3.5-15. How do you know God better through your work?

Question: why is the Kingdom of God to be considered before acting on thinking (the will influenced by the mind or emotions; 1 Thessalonians 5.23; Matthew 6.31-32)?

Question about Culture: why is the Kingdom of God the best of the Implied Assumptions that lead to our Conscious Contracts and Norms which form a foundation for and are expressed in our Artifacts and Behaviors? (Think of an iceberg, with only the Behaviors and Artifacts seen above the surface of the water.)

Question about Influence: why should the Kingdom of God be the foundation in each of Cunningham’s “Seven Mountains of Influence” in our lives — “1. The home; 2. The church; 3. Schools; 4. Government and politics; 5. The media; 6. Arts, entertainment, and sports; 7. Commerce, science, and technology. ‘These seven spheres of influence will help us shape societies for Christ’” (Seven Mountains of Influence, Loren Cunningham, 1988, google.com).

Question about Work and Career: how much better would be your contribution to any ‘value chain’ if the Kingdom of God was your first thought of the day and remembrance during your workday? ‘Value chains’ link producers to processors to shippers to wholesalers to retailers to consumers (and those who clean up after them). Each adds value to benefit the next in line.

For my Kenyan friends, abundant crops and sufficient revenues come from seeking God’s Kingdom before, while, and after you plant. FIRST and MOST IMPORTANTLY! He is a jealous God and will not share any credit with ancestors (Isaiah 34.14, 42.8, 55.6-11).

Mindset>Thinking>Behavior! Matthew 6.33 is true for all Christians.

Jesus commanded us to pray for the Kingdom of God to come (Matthew 6.10a) in and through us. The Holy Spirit leads us in the work of the Kingdom, as Jesus informed Nicodemus (John 3.1-8). In Romans 8.14, Paul reminds us that the Holy Spirit will do through us the will of God on earth, as it is done in Heaven (Matthew 6.10b).

Think “Kingdom of God”!

Marks of the Kingdom 190609/16 (* = update)

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