4th June 2023

The promise of the father

Passage: Acts 1:1-5, John 7:37-39, John 14, 15, 16
Service Type:

Automatically Generated Transcript

I think I have a collection of ones that all add up to the promise of the Father, which I'm going to take us through, but the fact is that there's not one particular promise that you're sure is to what he is referring.

And so that's tonight's exercise we're going to be going through to see what might be the words of Jesus that we can bring to this promise of the Father.

If we go back to the verses 1 to 5, okay, the one with Theophilus in it, we're reading here the beginning of what is the second volume of the work done by Luke, and the first one is the Gospel of Luke, and it's readily agreed to that the Book of Acts is actually his writing a follow-up letter because he addresses them to Theophilus, and because he seeks to carry on the story that his Gospel, or the Gospel of Luke, had dealt with all the material.

In the first book of Theophilus, I've dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach. The first thing that you recognise there is that the Gospel of Luke is about Jesus doing the miracles that he did, the speeches that he gave, the disciples he called, and the teaching. So in the first book he began to do it, but in the second book he's obviously continuing. I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach until the day he was taken up his ascension, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had picked, whom he had chosen.

And in the Gospels, not only Luke's but also in Mark and Matthew, you'll find that the choosing of the apostles was done by Jesus, and there's 12 of them. One of them is Judas, who eventually commits suicide, and then you have 11. And it is to the 11 that Jesus gave the command, and on a previous Sunday I was trying to make clear that Jesus gave the 11 to the apostles that were left. And the Great Commission, which is at the end of Matthew and also at the end of Mark, was given to 11 people. Now we correctly take that whatever he gave to the apostles as a command for the church comes down to us. You can think of that derivatively. It means in the first instance he gave it to the apostles, that's what they're to do. But in the second instance, because they're the leaders of the church, it comes down to us. So you have to be able to take the Great Commission as something that Jesus gave for the apostles, particularly to be obedient to, but also giving us directions as to what we're to be involved in as we are a part of the church that the apostles were given to found, found with a DNM. And similarly with this command that Jesus is going to give about the Holy Spirit, you'll discover that he's first of all addressing what they're to do after he goes back to heaven. Now the particular time is that Jesus has already risen from the grave, he's been appearing to the disciples across 40 days, and the ascension is to come soon after these statements of Jesus. And it says, until the day when he was taken up after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles. So just as we talked about the Great Commission being given first to the apostles, notice again that the command about being baptised in the Spirit, which is what we're going to get to, is given in the first instances to the apostles.

Now that raises a lot of questions. It doesn't mean that it's not a command given to us, but there is a sense in which the apostles were to have it happen in fulfilment of how he was speaking here first. It was to happen at a certain moment. These were the ones that he had chosen. So don't be mistaken, the commandment to get baptised in the Spirit and how Jesus explained that was given first of all to the apostles. And derivatively it comes down to we in the church.

He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, things that would convince you, appearing to them during the 40 days, during 40 days and speaking to them about the Kingdom of God. And while staying with them, now the wording of that in the original language could be taken in varying ways, but some people suppose it's saying he stayed overnight with them, and others take it that he was staying with them and it would have been a meal, so he had a meal with them. But while spending a nice period of time, a good period of time, it wasn't just a fleeting visit coming in the door or going through the door and greeting the apostles, and then disappearing just as quick. This is a moment where he's with them at length. Why that's significant is that it gives them the opportunity to ask questions and to get him to explain what he's on about.

So while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which he said you heard from me. Then there is what amounts to a clue, is to understand this, he says, for John baptised with water, but you will be baptised with the Holy Spirit not many days, the old version said hence, and the modern version says from now. So the baptism of the Spirit is contrasted to John's baptism, and the difference between the two, in both of what it stood for and the effect, hasn't yet happened. So immediately from this we understand that the baptism of the Spirit has not yet happened, even though this is a moment just before, a few short days before Jesus ascends to heaven. And so there's going to come a moment where the baptism in the Spirit happens for the first time. Did you catch this, that the difference between John the Baptist and what he was offering and what he could do, and what Jesus could do, hasn't yet come about? Now it didn't mean that Jesus had exactly the same ministry all around as John the Baptist, but what was the turning point that Jesus would deliver to his disciples and make it different from what John the Baptist was doing, has not yet happened, but in between has been all of Jesus' ministry. Now what that means is that there's several occasions when Jesus met with his disciples and taught them things, and talked about the Holy Spirit. And one of those, which David, I didn't put on the list but we'll try now, is John 7, 37 to 39.

So if we turn to John 7, 37 to 39, you hear this is during Jesus' public ministry before he is crucified and resurrected. This is in the period of time when he's gradually teaching the disciples across the three or so years that he had them following him, and the crowds who also were listening in, and it's about the Holy Spirit. On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, if anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me as the scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water. I mentioned in the morning service as one of the home groups we've been going through about in John chapter 4, is it? Yeah, good, I should know, I've been there in the last three weeks, Fridays we've been going through about the woman at the well. And in the woman at the well, Jesus makes a whole point in his evangelistic explanation to her that if she should know what is the gift of God and ask of Jesus, he would give her living water. And this he spake of the spirit, there's these verses in John 7 tells us is about the Holy Spirit. So let's read further, if anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me as the scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.

Now this he said about the spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive. Now the little point you've got to really recognise here, that in the difference between John and Jesus, certainly the message of John was a basic message, repent because the Messiah is coming. John's job was to introduce Jesus to Israel, and he wanted them to get ready by repenting. And it was called not only then by John, but also later on in the book of Acts, it talks about John, his message, his call was a message of repentance to repentance. But Jesus is clearly giving what we from the epistles later in the New Testament recognise is the core of the Christian gospel. Would you agree with me that as we're reading, and he says, if anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me as the scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water. Now the call to believe in Jesus is the key to the gospel. The gospel has in its heart that when you recognise who he is, and you put your trust and rest in him, you get right with God. A very basic gospel is here being talked about. And it says, those who believed in him were to receive, and the verbal tense there is that it's something that is to happen, but hasn't yet. For as yet the spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

Now the glorification of Jesus happened in a number of ways, like on the Mount of Transfiguration, he suddenly became very visibly the supernatural person that he's always been. So he's glorified in that way, but also Jesus was glorified in how he died. And the gospel tells us that as well, that Jesus was glorified in the marvellous way he dealt with our sin and conquered by his death. He was glorified by his resurrection from amongst the dead. Boy, if ever there was a glorification signalling out of one person's absolutely glorious as compared to the rest rotten ones, right, it was the resurrection of Jesus. Because the wording by rotten, that's actually still literally true. Because the Bible, one way it has of talking about his resurrection is that he's resurrected from amongst the dead. That's actually why Jesus, after dying on the cross, went to Hades, not straight to heaven. Or you say, didn't he say to the thief on the cross, this day you'll be with me in paradise? Because the word paradise, a Persian word, means a place of comfort. Paradise actually was the Garden of Eden, which was a wonderful place of comfort. Hence we have, I said, John Milton's great poem or work, Paradise Lost. I think I've got all that right. But the idea of paradise was the Garden of Eden. Wherever there is the comfort of God, that's paradise. And where Jesus went, he went to the better part of paradise, the part referred to in Jesus' own storyline of the rich man and Lazarus, both dying, Lazarus going to paradise. And he would have gone to paradise because he's in a spot where he could see the other guy suffering, and there was a big gulf in between. So in the place called Hades, which is the Greek word for the place of the dead, where all the dead are from amongst which Jesus came out of in his resurrection. This was a place of a better part of the paradise, where Jesus went was a place of blessing. And a place, Abraham's bosom business, right, where Abraham is there to see that you're well kept. And so Jesus, I'm losing my track a bit, but he was glorified by how he was risen from amongst the dead and again to the land of the living. Do catch the truth that a lot of people don't understand, that they think resurrection is just survival beyond the grave, and survival beyond the grave hardly captures a fraction of what the actual word resurrection means. Resurrection means to be lifted out of the dead state into a living state physically. In every way, Jesus came to life, he was a bodily coming to life again.

Now so when Jesus was raised, he then did as he told his disciples that he was going to prepare a place for them. And eventually he'd come back and collect us to take us to the place he prepared, which was heaven, it became paradise. And so Jesus and the thief on the cross who repented, who went with him to paradise, would have eventually got to heaven, I'm not denying that. And we, if we die now, if you do get so annoyed at me that, never mind, if I were to die tonight, I would go directly to heaven as paradise, but that wasn't the case with Jesus. But he was glorified by how he was lifted out of the place of the dead, even though it'd be the better part of it, even though Lazarus, the one in Jesus' storyline, would have been there and lots of people who would one day also go to heaven. Jesus nonetheless was glorified by how he was resurrected back to life on earth. That's not the final step of Jesus' glorification because he was glorified when eventually he ascended to heaven. That's not the finish of it, just the entry into heaven, but also Jesus, when he was in heaven, was given the name that is above every name, that the name of Jesus, every knee shall bow, and then that's the final moment of his being glorified. Well, there might be a moment in the future when he'll be glorified when we get there and we get displayed as his trophies, as the Bible teaches of the salvation that has been successful in us. And it will bring glory to Jesus, so in that sense there's more glory coming to him.

But what this verse is talking about is that Jesus had to get glorified before the truth of the promise that he's making was fulfilled. Now that makes this passage, verses 37 to 39, one possible explaining passage about the promise that's given by Jesus. And the disciples are being told, I'm not sure that that's necessarily the case. I'm just telling you it's one of the spots that people pick on as to be what is meant to, meant by the promise of the Father that you heard through me, because the one who's going to do it for you, giving the Holy Spirit, is the Father, which we can establish later.

Now this verse 39, he said about the Spirit whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

The one little interpretive snag in the idea of this being the passage is it depends on how you understand the statement, the Spirit had not yet been given. If you take it to mean the baptism of the Spirit, it certainly fits as I've been talking. But people in the Old Testament did get to have the Spirit, but they didn't get to receive the Spirit such as to have the flows of rivers of living water. In the Old Testament times, they had it for special purposes, and the Spirit would come and the Spirit would go. The Spirit was present in a number of different people in the Old Testament to do certain jobs, but they didn't get to receive the Spirit permanently. And so my answer to that possibility of people objecting to this passage being one because there were Old Testament people who were Spirit imbued, but it wasn't permanent, and it wasn't what the Bible would call the receipt of the Spirit, which is a part of the gift of the Gospel.

Now you may object to that and say, well, why are you putting the spiritual happening of getting the Spirit to be a part of the Gospel? Well, you can help me. Who gave the first Gospel message in the days of the New Covenant? Who gave the first Gospel message in the days of the New Covenant? No. Peter. Peter. You're right that Matthew records it, of course. Well, all the Gospel writers are recording the Gospel, but they did the writing later for a start. No, but it was Peter. And how did he couch the terms that if you come and get right with God, if you get in the door with God, what do you receive? What are the two blessings of the Gospel offer given on the day of Pentecost by Peter? Many of you actually know this. It's just that I've asked it in a particular way. Yeah, that's the one I'm aiming at. And what's the other one? As a general statement that is true, yes, you get eternal life. The rivers of living water is really about eternal life. What particular description of the result of coming to Jesus is yours if you come? What do you get if you come to Jesus? Forgiveness of sins. Yeah. Thank you. And the forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Spirit, the permanent gift of the Spirit are the two blessings offered by the Gospel.

We live in an era where across in Western countries the announcement of the Gospel has been done in such a way as to generalize the idea that getting right with God and going to heaven and eternal life is understood as getting into heaven. Eternal life is actually a lot more than getting into heaven because you get eternal life now when you come to Christ. And that is because the phrase eternal life comes from the fact that God was called the Eternal One and you're getting his life and you get that now when you come, just as you get the forgiveness of sins when you come. And but verse 39, he said this about the Spirit and those who believed in him were to receive because they were in the period of time when the permanent residence of the Spirit in the hearts of people who get right with God had not yet arrived. For as yet the Spirit had not been given, this is in the middle of Jesus' three years public ministry, maybe nearer the end than the beginning, because Jesus was not yet glorified. Are you with me or have I laid on too much at once? Tell me the truth. Put your hand up if you're with me so far. Not understanding everything but following the drift.

And what the drift is about is that Jesus in Acts chapter 1 as he gives this talk to the disciples about waiting in Jerusalem, don't go away, wait for this happening that John the Baptist couldn't do but I'm going to do, and wait for that to happen. And that baptism in the Spirit that he's worded about had not yet happened. And all the events after the resurrection of Jesus but before his ascension where he breathed on them or different things, some different Christian groups will tell you that's when they got the Spirit. And the reason why their teaching says that's when they got the Spirit is because their teaching is bending over backwards to make the baptism in the Spirit a second blessing. If you want the baptism in the Spirit to be in the first happening of it in the book of Acts to be a second blessing, you've got to find some first blessing to make it the second blessing of. You understand? But the idea that it's a second blessing is completely thwarted by the comparison with John the Baptist. John the Baptist said that Jesus is the one who would do more than just getting you wet. I baptise with water but he will baptise with the Spirit and with fire is what John the Baptist said and that hasn't yet happened. And if you're really going to be a Bible scholar and get all the truth straight, you've got to take the details of the Bible and see where they fit. And it's very clear that at this moment the promise of the Father has not yet come to anybody. Jesus is telling him don't go out and evangelise everyone yet but wait for the promise of the Father and we're trying to latch down what is the promise of the Father and I've given you one spot possible.

The other way to look at what might be the promise of the Father is to see it more in the teaching of Jesus a little earlier and particularly as recorded by John's Gospel and there are three chapters that all have something to say that may well be it and it's in the Gospel of John, the first of which is chapter 14. So if we look at John chapter 14 and start with verse 15, that's good. If you love me and you keep my commandments, I'll ask the Father and he'll give you another helper to be with you forever. Notice that he's referring of course to the Holy Spirit. Some versions of the Bible will put counsellor, some will put a comforter and the version that this is on the screen says helper, which is also involved in the whole idea. And this one is the Holy Spirit, notice it, to be with you forever. It's a permanent giving of the Holy Spirit, not like in the Old Testament where different people, even including King Saul who had the Spirit for a season, he became a charismatic. Do you know that? Because he was someone who would come out with ecstatic utterances but he got rejected by God and he lost the presence of God. And there are a number of people in the Old Testament who for special reasons had the Spirit come on them, including one donkey I understand who spoke to Balaam. And there were different people on whom the Spirit came. So the Spirit coming on people for a distinct purpose but going away again is an Old Testament thing to happen. And there are people there who are prophets who were used of God in their ministry by the Spirit being on them but it would be very difficult if they disobeyed God because the Spirit could be taken off them. And here we have the case that the Spirit is promised when he comes the helper to be with you forever. In the Spirit of truth whom the world cannot receive because it neither sees him nor knows him, you know him for he dwells with you. Because the Holy Spirit was on Jesus and the Holy Spirit was why Jesus was how they experienced him. Jesus, yes, he's the Son of God but he's also doing the work of God the Father as communicated by the Spirit that anointed him at his baptism. You know him for he dwells with you and he will be, now this is here in the book of Acts just before Jesus ascends, it's after his resurrection and his appearance across quite a number of days, but he will be in you. And then he says I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you. And here we have the explanation about how the Holy Spirit sometimes is called the Spirit of Christ.

Because one of the things that happened when Jesus finally did get glorified by being ascended was that the Father passed to him to be the one to send the Spirit or the Father and the Spirit together sent the Holy Spirit to the believing disciples and on the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit came. But he came to do the bidding of the Son who's been crowned King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The Holy Spirit came to enable us to be the body of Christ. The head of the body is in heaven, Jesus, and we the body do his bidding. And how do we do it? But that the Spirit of Christ is in us, but that Spirit of Christ is the Holy Spirit who has come, he's the helper who's come to be with us forever. And it's why Jesus can say I will not leave you orphans, verse 18, I will come to you. Yet a little while the world will see me no more but you will see me. He's talking about, he's already resurrected, right? So this is not a reference to the fact you'll see him after he's risen out of the grave. It's a reference to when the Spirit comes. They'll have Jesus in their hearts by virtue of the Holy Spirit being in the role of the Spirit of Christ representing Jesus in them permanently. That is so enormous. That is really so enormous. And this I think is probably, just my guess, the nearest possibility of what is the promise of the Father.

In the language that the original New Testament was written mostly in, written in, was Greek and where you have something of, the little word of meaning possession, it has a broader semantic range is how they call it, a range of meanings than just possession. So if I were to say the Spirit of God, that can mean the Spirit which is God's Spirit, but it can mean the Holy Spirit. I'm going to get tangled up here, I'm not careful here, but when it says the Spirit, the promise of the Father, it could be a promise that the Father owns, it could be a promise about the Father, or it could be a promise that has the authority of the Father or to do with the Father. So it's just the way language is that we, when we hear the promise of the Father, my immediate thought is it's a promise the Father made, but it could be the promise about the whole business of the Father and how he brings us salvation. Because I live, you will live also. In that day you will know that I am in the Father, and you in me, and I in you.

And a part of what's going on here is that with the baptism in the Spirit, it is the moment where we get to enter into the mystery of how the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit have a communion together, sometimes the Bible calls it the Beloved. And one of the features that the New Testament says that when we become Christians and we become in union with Christ, we're made to sit with Jesus in heavenly places, we're made to be a part of, and another verse says that we're accepted within the Beloved, and the Beloved being spoken of is the love of the Father for the Son, and the love of the Son for the Holy Spirit, and the Father, the love of the three persons of the one God. And sorry I can't unravel it more, he is one God, but he is in three personages. I don't know whether personages is any better than persons, because when I remember learning about the Trinity in my idea of persons, they all had human attributes. So I had this funny picture in my head of three human-looking personages, but no, when it's persons, it's talking about there being will and intellect and emotion and identity, and the Holy Spirit is a person. That's why he's talked about not as an it. The only places in the Bible where, like the King James Version, it will say about it for the Holy Spirit is because the actual word for spirit is neuter. And so it follows that thing, but he's definitely a him, because you can grieve him. The one way I know the Holy Spirit is a him is you can't grieve someone that's not got emotion and will and intellect. You can grieve the Holy Spirit. You can do things to the Holy Spirit. You can blaspheme against him, and then you'll never be forgiven. But the Holy Spirit is a person, but he is also God, and I cannot speak in a way that will get us out of the fact that our one God is in three persons. It's called the Trinity. Don't try and get your mind around it so you reduce it into something simple. That doesn't do justice to the reality of who the members of the Trinity are. Jesus, likewise, is one person of the three in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and there is a love.

You want to know a little proof that what I'm just saying then is actually the case? The Bible says that God is love. Now think about it. When did God start being love? Let me hear some responses. When did God start being love? What is love? No. Sorry. I'll get told. Never mind. No. Why do I say no? Because in our home group, something we got to a little time back, was God, eh? You got the truth. God has always been love. Now, how was he love before there was nothing else? Yes? You didn't even tell us you were three persons. Yeah, exactly. God is love because the very essence of love is what is there, and that's why that little phrase that we get accepted within the Beloved, when you get to be a part of what God's great plan is, when you come to Christ and you are a part of God's thing, what he loves, he puts you within the love of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and it's only possible because he's always been love.

And here Jesus is beginning to talk about the Father and himself, and if you go into these spots in John's Gospel, there's three chapters, 14, 15, and 16, all have a part whereby it's building up this picture that is there, and he says, in that day you will know that I am in the Father, and you in me, and I in you. Don't let people talk you out of that when you become a Christian, Jesus comes into your person. He does. Receiving Christ means more than just that, mind you, but he certainly, it's right here. I am in the Father, and you in me, and I in you, and we get to be a part, and we never become God of ourselves, but we have God connections in which we are in Christ. There's probably no way, if I kept on getting into details explaining it, I'd probably say something that's incorrect, so maybe I'd better stop, no, no, I think it's in the Scriptures for us to have to grapple with.

Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me, because there's something about when God has become a part of the very make-up, he's put his Spirit in you, you've received the Spirit, you've been baptised in the Spirit, you've asked Jesus into your life, all of these are pictures of it that are true. Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me, because in the long run you can't not do his commandments or you'll get very guilty and have to come and say sorry, and it's the turning point of you going on as a Christian, but it's natural for a person that has come to God and been baptised in the Spirit, and in that moment the Father has come to that person, the Son has come into that person, the Spirit is living in that person, obedience is the only natural thing left to do. Yes, we still have the input of what the Bible calls the flesh, and we get tempted, and we'll never be perfect until we get to glory, but the whole point of your salvation is God taking you through a journey where you get to being perfect, that's what the whole process of sanctification is doing, it'll get completed only in heaven when we get to glory.

Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. This is not Jesus putting up a big performance that you've got to have a try at and most people fail, he's telling you the truth, that it's very unnatural to disobey the commandments of Jesus when you can do it, I'm not saying it's not possible and we all sin, but sinning is not a natural thing to do for a Christian. Sometimes in theology classes we could get discussing as to whether we are saints who sometimes sin, or we are sinners who've got a little tag put on us as though we're saints. Both ideas can have a skerrick of wrong in them, because the truth is we are not being true to ourselves if we go on sinning, and you know it in your heart if you're truly converted and you're not happy in your sin, and this is still the case, there's many people out there who have had a faith repentance experience and become a real Christian, but they're sinning and they're miserable, so the most miserable people in society are the backslidden Christians is what I think anyway.

Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me, and he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him, and the sense of the revelation of Jesus to you is the enormous privilege of being a Christian. It's something that as you grow as a Christian you become more sensitive to and more aware of its reality, and sometimes you can't explain it, but if you get someone truly converted to Christ and they come to church for a bit and then they get tempted or they drift away, but they're miserable, and they don't know quite why they're so miserable, but they come back and something inside them says they knew they should be back, whether it's this church or another church, to be where Jesus is, is the thing that you naturally do as a Christian. He who loves me will be loved by my Father. Now is this the promise of the Father? He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him. This is the best passage or the one that I like to pick on to be the promise of the Father.

Now it's 6.09, should I tell you two other passages or not? No one has objected, so I will. Well, we'll be quick, and that was John 14, but the next one to look at is John 15, and I think it's verses 26 to 27. But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, and if ever someone tries to tell you that the baptism in the Spirit, which is when the Helper is meant to come, according to Axman, is something that happened on earth, like the time when Jesus came into the gathering of the disciples, and he breathed on them and said, Receive ye the Holy Spirit. He actually was making a command to be done, he wasn't giving it to them, and on a previous occasion I'd gone through how you can prove that, but I won't repeat it just now. Whom I will send to you from the Father. Tell me about sending. What's the circumstance that makes you have to send, whether it's a telegram, whether it's an email, or whether it's a present? What does send imply? Say again? You can't be there yourself. Even if you could, you've chosen to put a present in the mail, or whatever. Send implies the distance, but when the Helper comes, whom I will, and this is Jesus talking just before he goes into his own ascension, after the resurrection, after the many days of appearing, he says, Whom I will send to you from the Father. Since baptism in the Spirit didn't start happening on earth until Jesus was in heaven with the Father, then he, the Helper, will witness about me, and you'll also bear witness because you've been with me from the beginning.

The apostles, the real ones, were chosen as apostles because they saw Jesus before his crucifixion and resurrection, and they saw him after his resurrection. All the rest of the people who say they're apostles, modern-day ones, have just been deluded in some of their congregations with them. But the apostles that Jesus chose, now the word apostle means sent out one, so the Bible does talk about missionaries, but if you look up the word, there's actually an apostella that's used, but the translators just said missionaries because they're sent by the churches, they weren't sent by Christ. They're the Spirit of Christ, but the ones that Jesus chose, he marked three and sent them out as apostles, they're the only ones who are apostles. Paul is one sent by Jesus at a later date, but he's the only extra. And you will also bear witness because you've been with me from the beginning. And the choice, remember I told you, this is Jesus appearing to the 11 apostles left, and because you've been with me from the beginning, they were witnesses to him and his ministry before he died and after he rose, which is why they're going to bear witness about him. And we have in the scriptures the fact that the Great Commission is given to the apostles first and then derivatively to all of us too. The best way to join in the Great Commission is, tell me, answer my question, what's the best way to join in fulfilling the Great Commission? This is a bit more tricky a question. Can someone help me? What's the best way to join in actually being involved in obeying the Great Commission for us today? You're not sure what I'm fishing for, it's probably my fault how I've framed the question. It's a bit tricky. Come on, you're sitting in the front seat. That's certainly a good way, and you've short-circuited what I was wanting you to, something more prior to saying prayer or Bible study or anything. What's the best way to join in the Great Commission? That's a good example and you'll, yeah, certainly one thing, it's my question that's a bit odd here at the moment, it's not you, I don't think. What is the best way to join in the Great Commission? I'll give you a hint. That'll fix it, whoever that was, believe in Jesus, but a more tighter definition of what you do to be someone that joins in the Great Commission, well I'll answer it. That's what you'll do when you do what I'm about to say, is be a part of being in the church, because Jesus is in heaven, and the church is on earth, and the apostles founded it and gave all its directions and descriptions, and the church continues to be the outworking of Jesus' heavenly ministry, and around the beginning of the book of Acts, our friend Luke writing to a Theophilus, he says the things that Jesus began to do and teach, remember that little bit? The inference is that Jesus is continuing to do and to teach, that's the book of Acts, and the book of Acts doesn't sort of finish forever, it's going on now, the Acts of the apostles are followed by the Acts of the church. The church is the chief topic, largely, aside from salvation, of the New Testament, and when you get immersed in the work of the church, all the powers of the spirit flow through you from the exalted Lord, and you do his bidding. God never, he can work outside the church, of course he does because he's God, but he chooses to use the church. And there are some groups who get very anti-church, and they've got a lot of good reasons too, and often their criticism is there, some have some points of truth, but don't join them because Jesus loves the church, Jesus loves the church, don't ever be a church knocker, it is Jesus working in it, we are his body, and so if you were to come and say, I'd like to be your friend, Jim, but goodness me, you are terribly skinny, and you really have got some awful hair, and you don't do that when you're trying to be friendly with someone, do you? Because they're going to own their body, well Jesus owns his body. And so don't become a critic of the church, but realise that we are imperfect persons in it, we are his body nonetheless, and that's all a part of this, and anyway, I'm travelling too far away. Okay, the other ones are in John 15, but you can look, and John, we did 14, you can look up 15 and 16 for yourself, and you'll see the same sorts of statements, really talk about the fact that in the Holy Spirit having come into your life, he makes you a part of the whole process, and you bear witness to Jesus, and you know his closeness and all, the fact, and this is all a part of the promise of the Father when he talks about the Helper, whom he says, I'll send you from the Father. We've said enough for one night, so let me have a prayer, we'll stop. Heavenly Father, thank you for the glorious topic of the Holy Spirit, and I thank you Heavenly Father for the reality of his presence in our church, in our lives as Christians, we thank you for his person, Lord I pray that you'll use the fact of the person of the Holy Spirit to stick in someone's mind tonight, that they'll know that there's a person, they must not grieve, they must not quench, there's someone who has will, and intellect, and emotions, and is very, very jealous for our relationship with Jesus being kept right. Thank you for the Holy Spirit. Thank you Father that you've given us this Helper, Counselor, Comforter, who has come to carry on the teaching from Jesus, and I thank you for the Book of Acts who's told us about it, in Jesus' name, Amen.

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