I listened to a sermon by Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones from Acts 2 this morning. I could hear the passion that he had for God’s Word as he delivered the message. This passion brought the words to life. As I sat listening I began to wonder when I read God’s Word, do I allow the Holy Spirit to fill my heart with the passion and conviction I here in this man’s voice. Does my heart fill with the passion of the moment that is being described?
I heard somewhere a comment… “you are not engaged when you read the Bible unless you can feel God’s breath on the back of your neck. As I thought about that, I considered Acts 2, and I went back and reread the section covered by Dr. Jones which was part of Peter’s sermon after Pentecost.
Before I began reading, I prayed that my head might be clear and my heart opens to God’s Word. I asked the Holy Spirit for direction as I read Acts 2:14-41.
You know I always pray for God to open my heart before I begin my study. I ask that He might open my heart and mind to receive what He desires me to learn, but this morning I realized that I do not always really let go of the reins.
Dr. Jones sermon focused on verses 40-41 in Acts 2. I read those words over and over this morning…
40 And with many other words, he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” 41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. Acts 2:40-41 (ESV)
As I read it I stumbled over the word exhort, so I looked it up to see if I understood the meaning correctly. Merriam-Webster had this to say about it.
Exhort: to give warnings or advice: make urgent appeals
Continued to Exhort
With the word “exhort” in mind I went back and reread Acts 2:14-15
14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. Acts 2:14 (ESV)
As I read these two verses, I heard Peters urgent appeals. I heard not him, but the Holy Spirit as he told the crowd they were not drunk, but instead they were a fulfillment of the prophecy of Joel as Peter recited in verses 17-21 the prophecy of Joel 2:28-32
28 “And it shall come to pass afterward,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh;
your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
your old men shall dream dreams,
and your young men shall see visions.
29 Even on the male and female servants
in those days, I will pour out my Spirit.
30 “And I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke. 31 The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. 32 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. Joel 2:28-32 (ESV)
Power of the Holy Spirit
Peter’s sermon reminded me of this great gift I have in the Holy Spirit to lift my heart and open my eyes that I can see the passion of God’s Word. But He does not impose this on me I have to ask… I must seek His council in prayer. But if I do and I earnestly believe that He does answer my prayers He will reveal to me the things I seek and more.
Passion of Conviction
As I read the remainder of the sermon, the response of the crowd filled my heart with joy. Peter preached the Gospel to these people. He reminded them of the fact that they had a part in the killing of Jesus. He told them that death could not hold Him and he explained how Christ Jesus rose from the dead.
This message broke the hearts of the crowd. The crowd cried out in verse 37.
37 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?” Acts 2:37 (ESV)
Peter answered them.
Acts 2:38-39 (ESV) 38 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. 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.”
As I read this promise, I am overwhelmed because this promise was not a one-time thing. It was a promise for time and memorial to ALL “whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”(verse 39b)
38 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.
As I pondered all of this I kept hearing this verse in my head… “do not quench the spirit.” It stayed with me the whole time I read and journaled this morning.
I knew the verse, but I could not remember it so I did a search on Bible Gateway and I found it in 1 Thessalonians 5 near the end of the chapter in Paul’s ‘Final Instructions and Benediction’; verse 12-28
1 Thessalonians 5:12-28 (ESV)
I read this closing of 1Thessalonians and was lifted up. I found the passage about not quenching the Spirit in the middle.
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise prophecies, 21 but test everything; hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-22 (ESV)
For me, that word quench forced me to think about how I study and how I pray. Do I allow the Holy Spirit to guide my thoughts always or are there times when I do not listen, or I set my direction with little thought.
I have to admit that there are times when I do all three. Listen… ignore… and press my agenda. And that breaks my heart. I realize how much I need to repent. Repent for those times when my passion takes control instead of surrendering to the Holy Spirit.
Father thank you for the promise you gave us all through Peter on Pentecost. Thank you, Lord, for the gift of my helper and teacher, the Holy Spirit.
Forgive me Lord for those times when I do not listen and I take the lead rather than follow You.
Father thank you for this gift of repentance. Help me never forget. Help me that I might cling to you always and follow the lead of the Holy Spirit in your Word. Let me always see the passion and fire you place there for me.
In Jesus name, I pray, Amen