Tag: witnesses

Witness instructions!

Scripture reading for July 31st: Luke 24, Psalm 1, Proverbs 27

Luke 24: 44-49 “Then He said to them, “These are My Words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about Me in the Law of Moses and the prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then He opened their mind to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His Name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. Your are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending the promise of My Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.””

The risen Jesus Christ met His disciples in their grief following His resurrection and encouraged them in many ways. He clarified His instructions to them by pointing them to the Scriptures of Israel and His fulfilment of all that was written of Him. He opened their minds to understand His suffering, death, and resurrection. His purpose was that they might preach repentance and forgiveness of sins in His Name to all nations and peoples. This would begin in Jerusalem. But they were not to go in haste, but to wait for the ‘Promise of the Father.’ The Holy Spirit would be poured out giving them power to be His witnesses! They would be empowered with His Spirit, understand His Word, and like Jesus, lay down their lives!

Psalm 1:1-2 “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law he meditates day and night.”

Prayer: Father God, thank You for Your wise counsel and Your Gift of the Holy Spirit to live in me and empower me to be the witness You desire. Thank You for understanding of Your Word and the privilege of sharing the Gospel of repentance and forgiveness of sins through faith In Jesus Christ and His selfless sacrifice for our sins. Through the Spirit, fill me with Your wisdom to reach each person You send me to.

Proverbs 27:11 “Be wise, my son, and make my heart glad that I may answer him who reproaches me.”

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Powerful witnesses for Jesus!

Scripture reading for July 11th: Luke 10, Psalm 137, Proverbs 13

Luke 10:13-16 “”Woe to you Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it will be more bearable in the judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You shall be brought down to Hades. The one who hears you hears Me, and the one who rejects you, rejects Me., and the one who rejects Me rejects Him Who sent Me.”

Jesus was in the process of sending out the seventy-two witnesses into the countryside around Capernaum. As part of His sending, He pronounced ‘woes’ on Chorazin and Bethsaida as well as Capernaum. These cities had been where He had ministered in power and now these sent-out ones would also minister in power and share the Gospel of grace through believing in Jesus. Jesus told them that their witness was powerful. Those that would hear and heed, were hearing Him and those that heard and rejected them were really rejecting Him. Those that rejected Him were rejecting His Father Who sent Him and them! Like Babylon of old, who had the Jews in captivity for 70 years and destroyed Jerusalem and many residents, these cities and people would suffer for their own rejection of truth.

Psalm 137:8 “O daughter of Babylon, doomed to be destroyed, blessed shall He be who repays you with what you have done to us.”

Prayer: Father God, as Your people and Your sent-out witnesses, help us to understand the authority that we have to declare Your truth. As we sow Your Word of mercy through Jesus, open hearts of the lost and bring a revelation of Your love and grace through Jesus. Without You, they will perish and suffer for their own rebellion. We agree with You: You want none to perish but all to come to You in repentance. Amen!

Proverbs 13:5-6 “The righteous hates falsehood, but the wicked brings shame and disgrace. Righteousness guards him whose way is blameless, but sin overthrows the wicked.”

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Focus on the mission

Scripture reading for January 24th: Acts 1, Psalms 17, Proverbs 17

Acts 1:6-11 “So when they had come together, they asked Him, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by His own authority. But You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” And when He had said these things, as they were looking on, He was lifted up, and a cloud took Him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven, as He went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, Who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw Him go into heaven.””

Jesus had been with HIs disciples for nearly 40 days after His resurrection. He appeared to them, allowed them to touch Him and taught them, opening their minds to the Scriptures. As He prepared to leave them and ascend into heaven, they asked Him about the time of revealing the full kingdom of heaven. Jesus told them not to be concerned about the timing. Rather, they would receive the Gift of the Holy Spirit soon to empower them in their calling and mission: reaching the lost world with the Gospel Good News. He sent two angels to assure them that He would return just as He promised and He arose with the clouds of heaven in great glory!

Psalm 17:15 “As for me, I shall behold Your face in righteousness; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with Your presence.”

Prayer: Lord, thank You for clearly defining the focus and mission of Your disciples as that of witnesses of You and Your power and glory and saving message of repentance and faith. Thank You for the assurance that we will see Your face again and dwell in Your presence forever. Through the power of Your Holy Spirit in me, I set my face towards Jesus Christ, Wisdom from God, and ask to be used as a witness today.

Proverbs 17:24 “The discerning sets his face toward wisdom, but the eyes of a fool are on the ends of the earth.”

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Obeying God, not men!

Scripture reading for April 12th: Acts 5

Key Scriptures: Acts 5:27-33 “And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest questioned them, saying, “We strictly charged you not to teach in this Name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.” But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised Jesus, Whom you killed by hanging Him on a tree. God exalted Him at His right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, Whom God has given to those who obey Him.””

Obedience to God has rewards now and in eternity. The high priest was in authority over Israel and had brought the apostles in earlier and sternly commanded them to not speak or teach in the Name of Jesus. The apostles, in opposition to these instructions from spiritual authority, had continued to boldly preach repentance and forgiveness in Jesus’ Name. Many signs and wonders were also being reported through the Name. Peter, when directly confronted, plainly told the high priest that they must obey God rather than men. He then accused them again of crucifying the Lord Jesus Whom the Father had raised from the dead and exalted to His right hand. This was the ultimate position of spiritual authority. Listen to the witnesses!

Acts 5:38-39 “So in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan is of man, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!” So they took his advice, . . “

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for the Holy Spirit and the boldness of Your witnesses recorded for us in Scripture. Deliver me from the snare of fearing men and empower me to obey You alone.

Proverbs 29:25 “The fear of man is a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.”

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Witnesses add souls!

Scripture reading for April 7th: Acts 2

Key Scriptures: Acts 2:32-38 “This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the Promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says, “‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, until I make Your enemies Your footstool.”‘ Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus Whom you crucified.” Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the Name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

In chapter two, Luke faithfully records the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on that first Pentecost after Jesus’ resurrection. It was on that day at 9:00 am that the waiting and praying disciples, men and women, about 120 in total, were filled and baptized with the Holy Spirit and fire. This empowered them to go out of the upper room speaking in new tongues, and telling forth the wonderful works of God in language inspired by the Holy Spirit. Those Jews gathered from the nations in the temple courts heard them extoling God in their own languages and were perplexed. Peter stood up to preach and explained what was happening as fulfilled prophesy. He pointed them to Joel’s and David’s prophesy and called them all to repentance and baptism. Their sins would be forgiven and the promise of the Holy Spirit was for them as well, Jew and Gentile! Hallelujah! Three thousand were added to the 120 that day!

Acts 2:39 “For the Promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to Himself.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for the amazing grace and power You freely gave to Your disciples and all who would receive their word preached. Fill me afresh with the Holy Spirit that my witness will add many more souls to Your Church! Multiply the witnesses through me Lord!

Acts 2:41 “So those who received his Word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.”

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Promise, power, preaching!

Scripture reading for April 5th: Luke 24

Key Scriptures: Luke 24: 44-49 “Then He said to them, “These are My Words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His Name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending the Promise of My Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”

While He was with His disciples, Jesus Christ had repeatedly explained the Scriptures and plainly told them of His coming death, burial, and resurrection on the third day. Now, after the resurrection, on the evening of the third day, Jesus met with His disciples and showed them His glorified body of flesh and bones. They were full of joy and amazement but struggled to believe it was really Him. Jesus then again explained everything about Himself from the Law and Prophets, opening their minds to understand. He explained the Gospel of repentance and forgiveness of sins that was for all nations and peoples, beginning with the Jews in Jerusalem. He declared them “witnesses” and told them to wait in Jerusalem until the “Promise of My Father” came upon them. This would clothe them with the power needed to fulfill His mission of reaching the lost world.

Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for fulfilling all the Scriptures, which are Truth. Thank You for Your amazing plan to reach the whole world with Your appointed “witnesses”. Fill me afresh with the Holy Spirit and power to do Your will on earth as in heaven! I open my mind and heart today to better know You through the Scriptures.

Acts 2:38-39 “And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the Name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to Himself.””

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Obeying God over men!

Scripture reading for April 20th:  1st Samuel 1-2, Psalm 120, Acts 5

Key Scriptures:  Acts 5:28-32 “”We strictly charged you not to teach in this Name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this Man’s blood upon us.”  But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.  The God of our fathers raised Jesus, Whom you killed by hanging Him on a tree.  God exalted Him at His right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.  And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, Whom God has given to those who obey Him.””

The Pharisees charged the apostles not to teach in the Name of Jesus ever again.  The apostles explained that they must obey God first because He had charged them to take the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all men.  Peter respectfully explained how the religious authorities and the people of Israel had crucified Jesus and how God raised Him from the dead.  God also exalted Jesus the highest place of honor, His Right Hand!  Jesus alone can grant forgiveness of sins.  The apostles were witnesses as the Holy Spirit spoke through them.

Faith Confession and prayer:  Lord, thank You for the Name of Jesus and the instructions to preach the Gospel to all people everywhere.  Help me to obey You today through the Holy Spirit who lives in me.

1st Samuel 2:2  “”There is none holy like the Lord; for there is none besides You; there is no Rock like our God.”  

Psalm 120:1  “In my distress I called to the Lord, and He answered me.”  

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The promise of power!

Scripture reading for May 6th:  Acts 1, Psalm 90, Proverbs 28

Key Scriptures:  Acts 1:6-9  “So when they had come together, they asked Him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”  He said to them, “It is not for you to know times and seasons that the Father has fixed by His own authority.  But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”  And as He had said these things, as they were looking on, He was lifted up, and a cloud took Him out of their sight.”

Jesus’ disciples asked Him, right before He ascended to heaven, if He was going to restore the kingdom to Israel.  They were expecting Jesus to soon establish His kingdom.  Jesus told them not to be concerned.  The Father had fixed them time and that was His to know.  Their main need would to received the infilling of the Holy Spirit and be empowered to share the gospel with the world.

Faith Confession:  Lord Jesus, thank You for the gift of the Holy Spirit and  power to be a witness to the world.  Teach me to treat each day as an opportunity to work for You and Your kingdom.

Psalm 90:11, 17 “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.”  . . .”Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!” 

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Power for witnesses!

Scripture reading for May 4th:  2nd Kings 3-5, Acts 1

Key Scriptures: Acts 1:6-8  “So when they had come together, they asked Him, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”  He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by His own authority.  But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.””

 

2nd Kings 5:13-14 “But his servants came near and said to him, “My father, it is a great word the prophet has spoken to you; will you not do it?  Has he actually said to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?”  So he went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God, and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.” 

Prayer:  Lord, Fill me with the Holy Spirit today that I might obey You and walk in the power needed to reach lost people with the Gospel. Amen.

 

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Final instructions–for us!

Scripture reading for June 3rd: Acts 1:1-26

Today our journey through the New Testament takes us to the book of Acts.  Acts was an additional historical book written by the doctor, Luke, documenting the progress of the early church.  The first 12 chapters focus on events in and around Jerusalem and the Apostle Peter while the last chapters focus on the missionary efforts of the Apostle Paul.  There are over 50 references to the Holy Spirit so we might call this book the ‘Acts of the Holy Spirit’.

Acts begins by Luke recounting briefly his Gospel account of all Jesus began to do and to teach before He was taken up to heaven.  Jesus appeared to the apostles for a period of forty days and taught them about the kingdom of God.  Jesus gave them a specific command, “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift My Father promised, which you have heard Me speak about.  For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 1:4-5)

His disciples, now called ‘apostles’ (sent ones), asked Jesus if this is when He would restore the kingdom to Israel.  Jesus told them, “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by His own authority.  But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)  These final instructions would shape the work of these apostles and the growth of the early church.

Jesus did not want them focusing on dates or times, but wanted them filled with this special gift of the Father, the Holy Spirit.  Their purpose was to be ‘witnesses’ of Jesus Christ.  Jesus had a simple message and a world-wide vision.  The Holy Spirit would empower these men and the other followers of Jesus to be the witnesses they needed to be.

These simple instructions are still in effect for us today.  We are to be focused on the mission of taking the Gospel of Jesus to our own ‘Jerusalem’ and then to the surrounding country and even to the ends of the earth.  The power to do that comes from being baptized in the Holy Spirit!  Ask the Lord to fill you with His power today!

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