Monday, 10 August 2015

Daily Reading: Acts 2v1-13

At Pentecost the signs are similar to those God has always given when he comes to his people. But there’s also something dramatically different, dramatically new. In the Old Testament when God came down his people were driven out of his presence. The day of Pentecost was also a festival which remembered the giving of the law at Sinai. The day when Moses went up the Mountain the people weren’t allowed to go up into God’s presence, in fact they weren’t even allowed to touch the mountain because of their sin. In Exodus 40 when the tent of meeting, the temporary tent version of the temple, is finished and God fills it everyone is driven out of it, even Moses. When the temple is finished in 1 Kings 8 and God’s glory fills it again everyone is driven out of the temple. Why? Because God is holy and sin separates us from God. The temple itself visually displayed that separation every day. Only the High Priest, and only once a year could go into the Holy of Holies and then only with elaborate sacrifice for his sin and the people’s.

Or think back to Peter’s reaction to Jesus in Luke 5, when Jesus miraculously nets an enormous catch of fish Peter glimpses who Jesus is and says “Go away from me Lord; I am a sinful man.” Peter knows that sin separates from God because God hates sin and will judge it, and he fears being in Jesus presence because he fears being judged. But look at Acts 2v3-4 God the Holy Spirit fills God’s people. He doesn’t fill the room and they’re driven out, or fill the room and they can stay but at a distance or with sacrifices. He fills them. Why? How?

Because their sin had been dealt with. Pentecost was celebrated 50 days after Passover. There was a link between the two events, at Passover a lamb died to redeem God’s people, at Mount Sinai 50 days after the Passover God made a covenant with his blood bought people so they would live as his people. Now at Pentecost 50 days after Jesus the Lamb of God died to take away his people’s sin God sends the Spirit to dwell in his people so we live as God’s people and the new covenant age begins. Sin no longer separates man from God, the barrier has been destroyed by Jesus.

At Pentecost something amazing and new happens God’s people are filled with his Spirit permanently. And it isn’t just some people. It’s not just office holders or key figures in God’s plan as in the Old Testament. It’s all everyone. God the Holy Spirit fills God’s forgiven and redeemed people. The Holy Spirit is an equal opportunities filler, and as a sign of the inward change they speak in other languages.

In Jesus they had God with them, ‘Immanuel’, now they have God in them. And that is the believers reality, as we read through Acts we see that believers are filled with the Holy Spirit at conversion. When we repent and trust Jesus we are filled with the Holy Spirit, God living in us. He brings us to know Jesus, makes our relationship with God a living breathing reality, changes us, guides us, prays for us when we don’t know what to pray, enables us to live as God’s adopted children, and is a sign of our hope of resurrection and life because of Jesus.

Maybe this morning it doesn't feel like that. Your relationship with Jesus doesn't feel like a reality. The bible doesn't seem alive, you’re struggling to understand it. God keeps his promises he doesn't change. If you've trusted Jesus you've been forgiven and filled don’t listen to Satan tell you otherwise, God has sent his Spirit to fill you to make that a reality. 

God has done everything to forgive you and fill you with his Spirit so you know him and find joy in him. Don’t live as if he hasn’t, don’t live as if God is liar because he isn’t. Don’t drift and if you have drifted repent, right now, take a moment to say sorry and promise to turn back to God. Promise to be with God’s people, make changes to your diary and day so you get the Bible out, so you pray. Because you are forgiven and filled, God is with us, in us, we are his people.

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