Acts: Knowledge on Fire

July 7th, 2021 by JDVaughn Leave a reply »

In Luke’s Gospel, the Holy Spirit is fully bestowed on Jesus, the beloved Son who acts with God’s power, speaks with God’s authority, and loves with God’s love. Through the gift of the Spirit given to Jesus, God’s justice is announced and demonstrated as Jesus travels from Galilee to Jerusalem, freeing the sick from their illnesses, liberating the enslaved from their sins, and enriching the poor with the good news of the messianic banquet open to    all.

In the Acts of the Apostles, also written by Luke, that same Spirit is bestowed on a body of God’s sons and daughters who surrender their own lives to God’s love. Jesus tells his disciples, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit overcomes you, and then you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and  even to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

The spiritual truth is this: there is a difference between knowledge “on ice” and knowledge “on fire.” For many Christians, their belief is often just knowledge “on ice,” not experiential, firsthand knowledge, which is knowledge “on fire.” Even though we call them both faith, there is a difference between intellectual belief and real trust. There is a difference between talking about transformation and God’s love and stepping out in confidence to live a loving life. Only the second is biblical faith: when our walk matches our talk.

The Spirit teaches us this new walk. When Jesus died, the apostles didn’t have a Spirit-filled faith. Though Jesus’ mother Mary and Mary Magdalene stayed, all but one of the men deserted Jesus on the cross. The apostles were demoralized. They lacked conviction. They had no aim or purpose. But shortly afterwards, they were transformed. Changed from within, they acted, lived, and walked in a new way. These lukewarm followers began to act like people “on fire.” Or as Acts describes them, they are “the people who are turning our whole world upside down” (Acts 17:6).

Brian McLaren writes about the need for the fire of the Spirit today:

In the millennia since Christ walked with us on this Earth, we’ve often tried to box up the “wind” [of the Spirit] in manageable doctrines. We’ve exchanged the fire of the Spirit for the ice of religious pride. We’ve turned the wine back into water, and then let the water go stagnant and lukewarm. We’ve traded the gentle dove of peace for the predatory hawk or eagle of empire. When we have done so, we have ended up with just another religious system, as problematic as any other: too often petty, argumentative, judgmental, cold, hostile, bureaucratic, self-seeking, an enemy of aliveness.

In a world full of big challenges, in a time like ours, we can’t settle for a heavy and fixed religion. We can’t try to contain the Spirit in a box. We need to experience the mighty rushing wind of Pentecost. We need our hearts to be.   made incandescent by the Spirit’s fire.

Young, Sarah. Jesus Calling Morning and Evening Devotional

TRUST ME IN ALL YOUR THOUGHTS. I know that some thoughts are unconscious or semiconscious, and I do not hold you responsible for those. But you can direct conscious thoughts much more than you may realize. Practice thinking in certain ways—trusting Me, thanking Me—and those thoughts become more natural. Reject negative or sinful thoughts as soon as you become aware of them. Don’t try to hide them from Me; confess them and leave them with Me. Go on your way lightheartedly. This method of controlling your thoughts will keep your mind in My Presence and your feet on the path of Peace.

PSALM 20:7; Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.

1 JOHN 1:9; If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

LUKE 1:79; to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.”


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