Equipped to Work in the Kingdom of God
Before the “devout and God-fearing men from every nation under heaven” (Acts 2.8-11, Amplified Bible, 2015) returned to their home countries after the Feast of Harvest (Pentecost), the Holy Spirit made sure that the 3,000+ who had received Jesus Christ as Savior were “baptized into the Name” Jesus and were taught “to observe everything” (Matthew 28.19-20) they would need for evangelizing their homelands (Ephesians 2.10; Matthew 10.7-8; Luke 10.1-9).
- they were sinners in need of a Savior (Acts 2.37-38, 40–2 Peter 1.2-4);
- God loved them enough to send Jesus all the way from Heaven just to save each one (Acts 2.21-24);
- John 3.16 and John 14.6 were the beginning and ending of their new life, especially as witnesses while on earth;
- the name ‘Jesus’ into which they were baptized [Greek baptizo (to saturate; like a pickle) contrasting bapto (to wash off; like a cucumber)] has the power to heal (Acts 3.1-10, 16; Acts 4.12; see John 3.1-8 regarding John 2.23; they must see ‘through’ their eyes the work of the Spirit of God; Acts 5.12, 14-16);
- the Holy Spirit would be their Helper and would teach them all things (Acts 2.38-39; John 14.16-17, 26; John 15.26-27; John 16.8-15); and
- death results from lying to the Holy Spirit (Acts 4.36-5.11).
They had become equipped to work in the Kingdom of God (Matthew 10.7-8; Ephesians 2.10). The Holy Spirit was their teacher (1 John 2.27) through the Apostles in the Temple and through the hosts in their places of ‘room and board’ (Acts 2.46-47). The Apostles had become equipped by observing firsthand with Jesus (Matthew 10.7-8), then had experienced personally the Holy Spirit (Luke 10.1-9, 17-19), and, lastly, had become ‘trainers of trainers’ for their fellow countrymen who would believe and repeat the protocol first learned in Jerusalem at Pentecost (also Acts 6:1-6 regarding servants).
The ‘power’ of the Holy Spirit is, even, acknowledged by the snide remark of the new believers in Acts 2.7-8: ”’Look! Are not all of these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears in our own language or native dialect?’” They would learn that the Holy Spirit would give them the right words in whatever context He directed them; see Matthew 10.19-20 for Jesus’ general principle (applied narrowly there) and Acts 7.1-56 for Stephen’s illustration (showing the faithfulness of God and the rebellion of the Jews).
The Apostle Paul informs us that the work of the Holy Spirit is to broadcast the truth that “Jesus is Lord” (1 Corinthians 12.3). This is just as Jesus had declared to the Apostles in John 16.13-15: He will glorify Me and take from Mine to give it to you. After all, Jesus is the Head of His body, the church, as Paul states in Ephesians 1.22-23. And, this is how John 17.18, 22-23 become reality.
Let me illustrate this from the human body. The head sends signals through twelve pairs of nerves into the spine and out through 31 other pairs of nerves to every part of the body: every follicle of hair, tissue of skin, fiber of muscle, and area of organ. The pairs of each nerve are the outbound motor signal from the brain (right parietal lobe) and an inbound sensory signal to the brain (left parietal lobe)—a continuous flow of information (between the left and right parts of the lobe/cortex). Thus, we might think of the Holy Spirit as this nervous system, as might be inferred from Jesus’ discussion with Nicodemus in John 3.8 (remember that the Greek word for ‘wind’ also means ‘spirit’).
We learned last week that we, as the body of Christ (Greek kaleofor those called to follow Jesus), are really many parts carrying out our individual functions (Greek klesis for unique vocation) for the benefit of the entire body. Paul discusses this thoroughly in 1 Corinthians 12.1-31 and Romans 12.3-8. Just as Jesus ministered by the Gifts of the Holy Spirit (John 1.31-34, Acts 10.38, Matthew 10.7-8), we must minister with the Gifts which the Holy Spirit brings alive within each of us, sometimes uniquely. The result of this will be the savory Fruit of the Spirit for enjoyment by others and, especially, by us (Galatians 5.22-23).
Jesus’ encouragement for us to pray for the coming of the Kingdom of God (Matthew 6.10a) and for seeking it continuously (Matthew 6.33) was His emphasis upon the work through believers by the Holy Spirit, which Jesus summarized in John 16.8-11 and 14.26. This is the only means for saving mankind eternally and our institutions temporally, as Paul discusses in 2 Corinthians 5.17-21.
We can describe the development of the 3,000+ and of ourselves and satan’s resistance thereof by drawing a Sigmoid Curve. This is the letter S stretched out but not flattened. Marking the points where the lower beginning turns upward and, again, where the upward part begins to bend over to the right delineates three parts which we might label as Learning, Doing, and Teaching, respectively.
This Sigmoid Curve separates the former lives of the 3,000+ in the kingdom of satan (on the left side of the Curve) from their new life in the Kingdom of God (on the right side of the Curve). The Holy Spirit has helped them to Learn about their new lives. They will Do the work of the Kingdom of God as they live out the Gifts of the Spirit in their native cities. When the Spirit attracts neighbors to them, these 3,000+ Christians will Teach their neighbors what they must learn.
But, satan does now give up, as we who are more mature in our faith in Jesus can attest. Maturation in Christ for new believers, i.e. advancing up the Sigmoid Curve, is always buffeted by battles against the kingdom of satan, as Jesus describes in Matthew 13.18-22. This continues as a life-long struggle against the pride of philosophies and lusts of the eyes and flesh (1 John 2.15-17). Ravi Zacharias identifies three progressions of this struggle with satan: from book or professorial knowledge to artistic performance demonstration to the subtle prescription of influencers, persons or algorithms (radio sermon on August 3, 2019). satan wants to steal (affection for God), kill (allegiance to God), and destroy the former follower of God (John 10.10a, Hebrews 6.4-6).
This is the struggle of the Kingdom of God. We are in a fight to dominate the Sigmoid Curve! Don’t let satan flatten it! For, the “greater One” is within us to hold back the kingdom of satan (1 John 4.4, 2 Thessalonians 2.1-7). Our continual victories are, really, those of the Holy Spirit judging the strongholds of the devil (2 Corinthians 2.14). And, these victories serve to strengthen our faith against satan’s attacks, as Paul comments in Hebrews 5.13-14.
God introduced the Holy Spirit’s comprehensive power (that of the Trinity of God, as seen in His attributes) in Isaiah 11.2NKJV: “The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him [the “Branch” is Son of God], The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of counsel and might, The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.”
He lives within each of us (1 Corinthian 6.19)! We ARE equipped with Gifts to work with the Holy Spirit in the Kingdom of God! We will see how some from our “cloud of witnesses” (Hebrews 12.1-2) were, too; including Peter, Philip, and Paul. We, like they, were commanded to “subdue” in the earth (Genesis 1.28). The disciples show us how in Luke 10.17! THE Name above all others (Philippians 2.9-11)!
Equipped to Work in the Kingdom of God 190811,18,25 (* = update)
Praise God!!! Copyright © by Maurice L. Painter, 2019. www.sozoclass.com.