Tag: men and women

The ‘Last Days’ have come!

Scripture reading for May 7th:  Acts 2

The disciples obeyed their ascended Lord Jesus and waited in Jerusalem. “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.  Suddenly a sound like a blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.  They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.  All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.”  (Acts 2:1-4)   Ten days after the ascension, on Pentecost morning, the promise was fulfilled.  The Holy Spirit came like a rushing wind with tongues of fire and touched each person of the 120 who were waiting there.  The immediate initial effect was speaking in other tongues.

When the sound came, a crowd gathered.  Many were there in Jerusalem for the celebration from around the known world.  They were perplexed when they heard these disciples speaking in their own languages and declaring the wonders of God!  They asked “What does this mean?”  (Acts 2:12)  Some thought they were drunk!

“Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd:  “. . .these men are not drunk, as you suppose.  It’s only nine in the morning!  No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:  ‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out My Spirit on all people.   Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.  Even on My servants, both men and women, I will pour out My Spirit in those days and they will prophesy.””  (Acts 2:14-18)   The ‘last days’ had arrived!  Peter boldly declared the fulfillment of Joel’s prophesy!  It was for all Jesus’ followers then and now!

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Personal relationships and ministry!

Scripture reading for August 3rd: Romans 16:8-27

Paul concludes his letter of introduction with some personal notes of greeting showing that although he had never visited the church at Rome, he had many connections.  The community of faith is like a family with relationship connections everywhere.  Ministry happens through relationship and when someone is born again, they come into a circle of new relationships.

The first woman mentioned was a sister in the Lord, Phoebe.  She was called a ‘servant of the church in Cenchrea’. (Romans 16:1)  The word for ‘servant’ is ‘deacon’.  Phoebe was a friend of Paul’s who probably took his letter to the church in Rome from Corinth.

Priscilla and Aquila were a husband and wife whom Paul met in Corinth.  Priscilla  and Aquila were originally from Italy and left Rome because of persecution from Claudius, the Roman emperor who ordered all Jews to leave.  (Acts 18:1-3)  They had evidently returned to Italy and were  part of the church there.  Paul had been a tent maker with them and worked with them in sharing the Gospel in Corinth.  These two had risked their lives for Paul.  (Romans 16:3-5) A church was meeting at their house in Rome!

Andronicus and Junias, were relatives of Paul’s who were imprisoned with Paul at some point.   Paul indicated that they were outstanding among the apostles and saved before he was. (Romans 16:7)  This is the only mention in Scripture of a woman who was part of the early apostles!

Paul listed at least 8 women who were his friends and workers for the Lord.  He also listed 19 men by name that he knew in Rome and commended them to the church there.  He spoke of them in very personal ways as ‘dear friends’ and ‘like a mother’.  He called them ‘saints’ and asked that the church greet them for him with a holy kiss of affection.

Paul warned the church there to be on guard against those who would cause divisions in the relationships that they enjoyed.  Each church must be watchful because Satan loves to cause strife and division.  (Romans 16:17-19)  These who cause strife use smooth talk and flattery to deceive naive people.  Paul’s warning was part of his pastor’s heart and years of experience in spiritual warfare.  Personal relationship with Jesus Christ forms the basis of our salvation.  Personal relationships in the body of Christ are essential for ministry.  God knows each  person by name!

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