Last month in the May newsletter, I shared a bit about Pentecost, and how by His work recorded in Acts 8, God extended Pentecost blessings beyond Israel, beyond the chosen people to include Samaritan believers. After the apostles laid hands on the baptized-in-water-but-not-yet-baptized-by-the-Spirit Samaritans, they exploded with Spirit blessings.
The apostles returned home in Jerusalem, confident that the Spirit would guide and prosper the Samaritan church.
Remember what happened in Jesus’ life after He received the Spirit at His baptism? From the Gospel of Mark, let me list some of His activities. He cast out demons and healed all manner of illnesses, cleansed a leper then freed a man from paralysis, restored ‘withered’ limbs and stilled a storm at sea, cast out a legion of demons then raised the dead, restored a woman to fertility and fed thousands with a few loaves of bread, gave hearing to the impaired then sight to the blind. Additionally, He proclaimed the kingdom of God, inviting His hearers to ‘repent and believe the gospel.’ Once they did, He called them to make disciples. A similar explosion of activity by the church followed Pentecost, didn’t it?
The second movement of the Spirit, the story of a second extension of the Spirit’s blessing beyond Israel and Samaria is recorded in Acts 10, and told again in Acts 11, and repeated in Acts 15. Luke, the author of Acts wanted us to see the point, didn’t he? A church responsive to the Spirit’s ministry will witness God at work, restoring sinners and healing the sick, providing for His people and performing wonders on earth. Always the main point is that people be born again of the Spirit (John 3:7), that is, believe in the name of Jesus and be forgiven and made children of God (John 1:11-13; Acts 3:19), be given eternal life and begin to live the Christ life God intends for us all (1 John 5:11-12; Galatians 2:20). Everything moves toward God bringing those far off close to Himself, toward making the spiritually dead alive in the Christ Jesus.
As you read Acts 10, notice how the Spirit used angelic visits and foot travel, visions and more foot travel, obedience to God’s guidance and proclamation of the Gospel to show the church that God desires His salvation to reach all nations. Did you notice too, why Peter thought Cornelius and his friends should be baptized? Yes, another unnatural separation of the Spirit and the waters of baptism.
To what does the Spirit call God’s people? He calls us to Himself, to receive His grace and forgiveness in Jesus, to trust His gospel of Jesus Christ, to rejoice in His favor, to celebrate His love, and to join Jesus in His mission of reaching a broken world with His love.