Expect a Great Deal of the Holy Spirit

If we read and believed these accounts (Acts 2), we would expect a great deal of the Holy Spirit.  He would not be a mostly forgotten member of the trinity of the Godhead whom we occassionally give a nod of recognition to, which is what He has become in most American churches.  We would expect our new life with the Holy Spirit to look radically different from our old life without him.

– Chan, Francis; Forgotten God: Reversing the Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit; David C. Cook Publishers; Colorado Springs, CO; copyright 2009; p. 30-31

One People of God

It seems best to say there is one people of God saved by grace alone through faith alone in the promised Messiah alone who are organized in different administering institutions of God’s one-kingdom purposes.  The physical and spiritual descendants of Abraham – Jewish people and especially Jewish believers – are the “first-born” of God’s working.  With the establishment of the new covenant in Acts 2, the people from every tribe and language and people and nation join in the body of Christ sharing in the inaugurated promises of the new covenant, but not in the Mosaic religion and national structure of Israel.

– Driscoll, Mark and Gary Breshears, Vintage Church: Timeless Truths and Timely Methods, Crossway Books, Wheaton, IL, 2008, p. 58

Characterization of a True Church

A true church is one characterized by:

  1. Regenerated church membership (I Corinthians 14:22-25)
  2. Qualified leadership (Acts 2:42; 4:35-5:2; 6:1-6; 8:14; 14:23)
  3. Preaching and worship (Acts 2:42)
  4. Rightly administered sacraments
  5. Spirit Unity
  6. Holiness
  7. The Great Commandment to love
  8. The Great Commission to evangelize and make disciples

– Driscoll, Mark and Gary Breshears, Vintage Church: Timeless Truths and Timely Methods, Crossway Books, Wheaton, IL, 2008, p. 38-39

The Gift of the Spirit Marks All Christians

In Acts, Luke traces the fulfillment of the prophecy of John the Baptist (Luke 3:16) and Jesus’ promise to baptize with the Spirit (Acts 1:4-5).  Through the Spirit Christ’s disciples would be witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and across the earth (Acts 1:8).  The Spirit fell on the whole company of Jewish believers at Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4); on the Samaritans later (Acts 8:14-17); and on the Gentiles in Caesarea (Acts 10:44-48).  These  narratives do not describe a second-blessing experience that all these people received, but show the inclusion of Jews, Samaritans, and Gentiles in the new and true people of God.  The gift of the Spirit marks all Christians, not a separate class of ‘anointed’ Christians.  In each case, groups of people are baptized in the Spirit.

– Edmund Clowney, The Church: Contours in Christian Theology, copyright 1988, page 238-239

A Flood of Love

Three points in Paul’s words in Romans 5:5 deserve a comment.  First notice the verb “shed abroad” (in KJV).  It means literally poured (or dumped) out.  It is the word used of the “outpouring” of the Spirit Himself in Acts 2:17-18; 33; 10:45; Titus 3:6.  It suggests a free flow and a large quantity – in fact, an inundation.  Paul is not talking of faint and fitfull impressions, but of deep and overwhelming ones.

Then, second, notice the tense of the verb.  It is in the perfect, which implies a settled state consequent upon a completed action.  The thought is that knowledge of the love of God, having flooded our hearts, fills them now, just as  a valley once flooded remains full of water.  Paul assumes that all his readers, like himself, will be living in the enjoyment of a strong and abiding sense of God’s love for them.

Third, notice that the instilling of this knowledge is described as part of the regular ministry of the Spirit. to those who receive him – to all, that is, who are born again, all who are true believers.

– J.I. Packer, Knowing God, copyright 1973, page 118