The Cross, the Resurrection, and Spirit (#995)
Good morning! Today is Pentecost 2020. As you may know I don’t pay much attention to the traditional church calendar for a number of reasons. For one thing, the chronology and dating has been sort of massaged through the years, and I’m not sure I trust it. And the other and main reason though is in Colossians, it says we’re not to be observers of days and times and hours, we’re just supposed to focus on God and the things of God. So, I don’t pay much attention to it, but there are certain things like Christmas and Easter and Pentecost; so many people remind me about it, it is a little hard to avoid. So today is the day celebrated on the Christian calendar as Pentecost. And of course Pentecost is the day, forty days after Jesus Christ’s resurrection or ascension, I can’t remember which, that the power of the holy spirit came on the day of Pentecost. And one of the things we’re going to do today is compare the relative importance of things like the cross, and the resurrection, and the spirit.
Many people will tell you the most of important part of Christianity is Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. And that is very important. And other people will tell you the most important thing is that God raised Jesus Christ from the dead, which assures our eternal life and being raised from the dead as well. And that is very important. Yet in the book of Acts, which is the history of the first century church, the word that is emphasized the most is spirit. ‘Cause that is the end result. Because Jesus Christ gave his life on the cross, then God could raise him from the dead with the resurrection. But, because of the resurrection, God was then able to give the gift of holy spirit to his people, forty days later on the day of Pentecost. So that was the end result. It is like if you buy a car, fill it with gas, and then go and drive a birthday cake to somebody’s house. It is important you got the car, it is important you put gas in it, but the whole point of it is so you could take the whole birthday cake over there. So it is important Jesus Christ died on the cross, it is important that God raised him from the dead, but the whole point of it was that we could receive the gift of holy spirit.
See the word cross is not even used in the book of Acts. Now the word tree is used three times and tree and cross are sort of used interchangeably; Jesus Christ was hung on a cross or hung on a tree; so three times it is there. The word, resurrection, however – focusing on Jesus Christ being raised from the dead, is used not three times, but it is used ten times. Now, do you know how many times spirit is used in the book of Acts? Seventy times. Seven times as much. So you have three times the word tree is used, ten times the word resurrection, and seventy times the word spirit. ‘Cause that was the whole point in the first century church, was to receive the spirit of God. Because as we know, God is spirit and to communication with Him directly have to have spirit.
No God communicates with people indirectly in all kind of ways. He gives people dreams, He gives them visions, one time an Old Testament prophet wouldn’t listen and God made His donkey talk to him – Baalam. God communicates in all kind of ways, but to communicate directly on a regular basis, you have to have spirit. It is like if you have a cellphone and I have a cellphone, we can talk. If I have a radio from an old airplane cockpit and you have a cellphone, we really can’t communicate very well. Or you have a really high-powered walkie-talkie and I have a land-line phone, we really can’t communicate very well. But if we both have walkie-talkies on the same frequency, or we both have aeronautical radios on the same frequency, or we both have cellphones that connect to viable networks, then we can talk. Well, in the same way, God is spirit, and in order to communicate with His people, on a regular basis, people need to have the same holy spirit, the same spirit of God to be able to communicate.
In Old Testament times, God would sort of lend spirit to people. He would put His spirit upon a man or a women, and that man or manor woman was often considered a prophet, because that means you can speak forth what God says. And that includes foretelling the future at times, but basically the word prophet means somebody who can speak for God. So, God could communicate directly with that prophet, but then if somebody walked away from God, like think about Saul, the King, God could remove the spirit and take it back. Because it was just on loan. It is sort of like you work somewhere and you have to do deliveries and they lend you the company truck. We’ve all had things like that at jobs, where they lend you a truck or a cellphone, or a computer, or a typewriter, or an adding machine, or whatever, and they say: “go do the job.” And we use the company equipment and we go do the job, but then they want the equipment back when the job is done or when you leave the company. It is sort of on loan to you. We’ve all had that kind of thing happen. And that is the way the spirit of God was; very few people had the spirit of God on them.
Like when Moses was with a couple of million Israelites, he was the only one with the spirit of God. And his father-in-law, Jethro, the Priest of Midian, you’re going to die if you try to take care of all these people. Why don’t you talk to God and see if He will put the spirit on some more. I think He put the spirit on seventy people. And then those people all had the spirit of God and they could all go to God and ask for help to help God’s people. The same thing happened with Jesus Christ, he had twelve apostles, and then I think they anointed seventy more at some point. And that kind of thing happens, but it was still a small number of people, it was never everybody. I can’t think of a time anywhere in the Old Testament where there were more than about a hundred people with the spirit of God on them and it was usually much less.
Remember when Jehoshaphat was all scared because he was attacked by three different armies at the same time? They got together and they prayed, and God put the spirit of God, His spirit, on a fellow in the crowd and God used that spirit like a radio, sort-of, to talk the fellow, tell him what to say, and then he got up an spoke to the crowd. So in the whole crowd, there in Jerusalem, God had to put His spirit purposely on one fellow so He could get a message to them. Whereas on the day of Pentecost, which we’re going to read about in the scriptures and which this is commemorated in the church calendar today, the spirit of God came on anybody that believes on Jesus Christ. Anybody. It says in Romans 10:9, all you have to do to receive the spirit of God is: accept Jesus Christ as Lord and believe God raised him from the dead. That is all it takes.
And then because Jesus Christ paid for it, God offered it, you just have to do it. Just like sometimes those deals you see, most of them are scams, but they say: “do you realize we’re giving a thousand of these, call now you can get it for free?” And usually it is a scam, or usually they give you the first part for free, hoping you’ll buy more. It is sort-of like that, except it is not a scam and it is real. Jesus Christ paid with his blood for us getting born-again and receiving the gift of holy spirit. And now we can all receive holy spirit, on the day of Pentecost alone, what was it? Something like 5,000 people got born-again? We’ll read about it. A large number. And that was probably more than everybody in the Old Testament periods combined ever received the spirit of God on them. And that was just the first day. And that was over 2,000 years ago. How many millions and millions of people, perhaps billions of people have believed in the Lord Jesus Christ and received the spirit of God? It is wonderful.
And then the next thing is learning how to operate it, like when we heard from God earlier during the fellowship: we had speaking in tongues with interpretation and a word of prophesy. That was God speaking directly to the people on this call with words of comfort and encouragement for us. And much of this ministry and the ministries that before that many of us were involved in and we learned from, much of the emphasis has been on learning how to operate the spirit of God. Because there are nine manifestations or evidences of it. We all know that you have a battery in your car. Sam just got a Tesla, so he has a really big battery in his car. But with that one battery, even in a regular car you can do a lot with the one battery, you can use it to power the starter, you can use the battery to power the windshield-wipers, you can use the battery to turn on the headlights, you can use it to turn on the interior lights, you can use it to power the radio, you can use it for the electric locks, the electric windows. One battery, but it does well over nine things. And if you have Sam’s car, the battery actually will drive it. So you can do a lot. And just like Sam can do so much with his battery, with a regular car you can do a lot with a battery, when you have the spirit of God, there are nine ways to operate it, nine manifestations or evidences of it. And two of them we had right here in the fellowship today: speaking in tongues with interpretation and prophesy.
And if anybody wants to learn more about it, many of us have books and notes from other classes, and we even have classes on our website that talk in detail about all nine of those manifestations. But, you got to hear two of them today. So, this is a really big deal in church history. So let’s just read Acts one and two today…
As taught by Bruce Mahone, 20200531. All rights reserved.
Verse Listing and Notes
Cross – not used in Acts (tree, three times)
Resurrection – ten times in Acts
Spirit – Seventy times in Acts
Acts 1 and 2 The beginning of the Christian Church