THE ACTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN THE LIVES OF APOSTLES AND DISCIPLES OF CHRIST
Three days had passed since Jesus had died and been buried in a rock-hewn garden tomb. The disciples were hiding, frightened for their own lives, alarmed and apprehensive that they too might bee killed because of being with and knowing Jesus.
The doors were locked but suddenly, as before, Jesus was standing among them and greeting them. "Put your finger into My hands. Put your hand into My side. Don't be faithless any longer. Believe. You believe because you have seen Me but blessed are those who haven't seen Me and believe anyway. Receive The Holy Spirit". JOHN 20
Jesus spent 40 days with His disciples and proved to them that He was victorious over death. Before He ascended to Heaven, He told them that authoritative Gifts of The Holy Spirit would be sent and given to those who are believers and that HE Himself would return. and all are to watch for his sudden return. Fifty days days Jesus' death and resurrection, believers met together as it was the Day of Pentecost (Harvest Festival) and everyone present was filled with The Holy Spirit and began speaking in languages they didn't know. God's Spirit is bestowed on all, irrespective of sex, or age. This is what the prophet Joel predicted 600 years earlier. "In the last days I will pour out My Holy Spirit upon all mankind".Joel 2:28-32(It was also the wish of Moses that God would give to all people The Spirit of God. Numbers 11:29.) ACTS 1-2.
THE CHARACTERISTICS THAT RESULT FROM THE INDWELLING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, meekness, faithfulness, goodness and self- control. The Fruits and Gifts of The Holy Spirit as a gift are received when a person realises the Truth of the knowledge of Christ, believes, turns to God, repents and accepts Jesus as Lord and Saviour, and is the indwelling seal of salvation, the distinct birth of the New Covenant. His presence within believers produces this rich harvest and as they yield and obey God, The Holy Spirit will strengthen and mature these Christian characteristics of virtue and acts which are to be seen by others for they are put into our heart and are not of the law, for no law forbids such qualities. Jesus said His disciples shall be known by their fruits. (NEED TO KNOW TEXT) and (NEED TO KNOW TEXT)
Peter and John, disciples of Jesus, were amongst the people who passed the beggar, lame from birth, lying at The Temple gate as they all went to afternoon prayer time. Having no money, Peter said to the man, "I command you in the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk". Then he pulled the man by the hand and the man jumped up by the power of The Holy spirit and began praising God, for he now could walk. Everyone knew the man and all praised God for this miracle. This gave Peter the opportunity to preach of the death and resurrection of Christ and many believed that Jesus had risen and that it was by His Name that the lame man whom they had known all those years had been healed. ACTS 5.
Now that the believers were filled and empowered by The Holy Spirit that Jesus had sent, they began to preach boldly about Jesus' death and resurrection. This angered many Jewish Priests and officials The believers were imprisoned and many were killed. Stephen, a disciple full of The Holy Spirit, was a deacon in the Jerusalem Chruch and was the first Christian martyr, he was taken by the Jewish Authorities and stoned to death for believing that Jesus of Nazareth was The Christ, Son of God. A man named Paul stood there giving approval of the killing of Stephen. ACTS 7
An Ethiopian, a God-fearing Gentile was reading the scriptures, the book of Isaiah. "He was led like a sheep to the slaughter as a lamb before the shearer is silent so he did not open his mouth. In his humiliation he was deprived of justice". Philip, a deacon and evengelist, (COLOUR IN CAMEO) was directed by The Holy Spirit to explain the passage to him; how it was written about Christ. The Ethiopian immediately believed and was baptised. ACTS 8
35 A.D. Paul was well known for his eagerness to imprison those who believed in Jesus. He was on his way to Damascus to imprison the believers there, when suddenly Jesus appeared to him. this left Paul blind for three days. Jesus sent another believer Ananias, (COLOUR IN CAMEO) to heal him. Ananias was obedient to Christ's command to visit Paul, the result was exceptional for The Body of Christ. Paul had been praying and his prayers were answered by the arrival of Ananias at Judas' house on Strait Street in Damascus.
Ananias laid his hand upon Paul and Paul's sight returned, he was baptised into The Family of God, received The Holy Spirit and immediately started to preach in synagogues to Jews about Christ, but Christ had called him to be the Apostle to the Gentiles. Paul now knew that Jesus Christ was Lord and Paul was used by God to preach of Jesus' death and resurrection to the Gentiles. He, like Peter and other disciples were used to perform many remarkable healing miracles in Jesus' Name and signs and wonders by the power of The Holy Spirit. ACTS 9.
Peter travelled with his wife throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria to visit the believers of Christ. He met a bedridden man who had been paralysed for eight years. Christ used Peter as His Instrument to heal this man. Dorcas, a godly woman and a true disciple of Christ, (COLOUR IN CAMEO) who lived in the City of Joppa, was always doing good kind deeds for others. She had the compassion of Christ. Dorcas became physically ill and died. Her friends learned that people The Apostle was travelling throughout Samaria, and they urged Peter to come to them in their distress. Peter went to Dorcas' house and went into the room where the lifeless body of Dorcas. He knelt and prayed, Peter knew that his request had been received and spoke to Dorcas with power and authority, and told her to get up. Life returned to her dead body. Her friends were overcome with joy at this miracle from God and because of this wonder, a rebirth in the hearts of the people began for this witness caused many people to believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour, and became members in The Kingdom of God. ACTS 9.
During this trip at Joppa, God gave Peter a vision to show him that not only Jewish believers in Christ were in God's plan of being reconciled with God through what Jesus did, but non-Jews (Gentiles) were also included. The Jewish believers were amazed that Gentiles received The Holy Spirit also as they had done and they all praised God for this unity. This vision showed all the unclean animals according to Jewish Law, the Jews viewed people outside the Law as unclean and God was showing Peter they are acceptable to Him through Christ. Peter witnessed the conversion of a Gentile household to Christianity, because of his vision. ACTS 10
Once Back in Jerusalem, Peter was arrested and put into prison ready to be executed. This pleased the Jewish Leaders for the Apostle James had already been killed and they did not want to be associated with the "People of the Way", now called Christians (the anointed ones). Many believers were praying for Peter's safety and God sent an Angel to rescue him. The Angel woke Peter up and instructed him to follow as the chains immediately fell loose from Peter's wrists. They passed through the cell blocks, also the large iron gate leading out into the street opened of its own accord and Peter went free. At dawn sixteen guards were arrested and put to death because a prisoner 'had somehow' escaped. The believers were thrilled to see Peter and gave thanks to God for this miraculous rescue. ACTS 12
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