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The Ministry Of The Holy Spirit Then And Now

1537 words - 7 pages

"The Ministry of the Holy Spirit then and now"

The Annual Jewish Barley Harvest Festival was the setting for the initial out-pouring of the Holy Spirit. It was Israel's Thanksgiving Day. What the Jews celebrated on that day help us to understand the coming of the Holy Spirit. It signaled the end of the Old Covenant and the beginning of the New Covenant. Covenants play a big part in the history of God's relationship with the people. God's covenants are formal statements describing his commitments to us. At that particular Pentecost it was the anniversary of the Old Covenant, the Holy Spirit introduced a New Covenant (new terms for relating to God). It was the start of a new way to ...view middle of the document...

In Acts 2:4 it states that "all of them were filled with the Holy Spirit" It seems that just the disciples were the first recipients. They praised God in new languages. The crowds gathered and were amazed at hearing Galileans speak their homeland (foreign) languages. The excitement in the mixed company of Jews and proselytes there must have been overwhelming. Most of them spoke a common language, perhaps Greek or Hebrew. Hearing the disciples speak in a known language about God's deeds of power. Surely those who listened must have been touched to hear the good news in their own language. The ability to speak in "tongues" was given to them by the Holy Spirit. (2:4) The speakers used their new languages to declare the wonderful works of God (2:11). Some of the listeners had concluded that it was babbling of a bunch of drunks (2:13). Two other occasions in the book of Acts refers to speaking in strange languages, when first introduced to Jesus and the Holy Spirit (10:44-46; 19:5-6). The gift of languages (tongues) also appeared in the church at Corinth. The languages spoken there were not understood and required interpretation. (Attridge, 1989) OK, so the question in the assignment is what of this is “normative” and what is “descriptive” or limited to the first century.
Results of the Spirit's work included breaking down the barriers of culture and race; the door for the Gentiles was opened in Acts 10:44-48, when they were baptized in front of the Jews without objections. It seemed to be an act of God in sending the Spirit that overruled the sacred tradition which forbade association with the Gentiles. (Bruce, 1988) "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:28)
Another result of the Holy Spirit's work is when it was learned that the people of Samaria had received the word of God, but not the Holy Spirit. Peter and John were sent there to find that many had been baptized in the name of Lord Jesus but had not received the Holy Spirit. "As yet He (the Holy Spirit) had fallen upon none of them" (Acts 8:16). It was believed that usually the gift of the Spirit came with believing in Jesus (Acts 2:38; 10:44). Peter and John went to the people, laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit. There must have been reasons that the apostles sent them there, signs that the Spirit had not been received by the Samarians. The people seemed to lack spiritual gifts and an absence of a spiritual life. These abiding principles such as the speaking in new languages, sharing spiritual insights, caring for one another were not seen in Samaria. It was known there were involvement in the occult and dealings with drugs present in the city. There were was also deceptions such as Simon's magic, things Peter exposed later that impacted their decision to have them go there. The presence of a spiritual life such as liveliness of spirit, eagerness for...

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