Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
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Dear Pastor John,
Reading Jerry's email made me want to do a backflip too! Well, almost. I'm still recovering from surgery. Ha, Ha. Good enough to send an email though. (Here is an electronic backflip! :))
This last week I was remembering when I was in Xty, Christians would always be talking about the "days of the apostles". There was a feeling of lament there. Something was lost, they would say. We aren't there anymore, people would say. It came up a lot but there was never any solution. I think that subject was talked about wherever I went. No one ever knew what happened. And there was always a striving. It was like a terrible futility.
After thinking about that, I had a strong desire to read Acts and find out what happened. And I am now on the 5th chapter. Whew. It is like I am right there with you. What has stood out to me was how before the Spirit fell, they were all in one accord. (Xnty isn't in one accord). And that the witness was the holy Ghost. (Xnty doesn't honor the holy Ghost.) The believers who were filled with the holy Ghost in Acts became a witness because they had the witness. That is the same Spirit that is in Jerry telling us the truth and giving us light that we are yearning to know. It is lifting me up today reading those words. And it is encouraging me that both the question and the answer are from Him. Jesus is with us in our Bible study. We are in one accord going back to the book of Acts and the same Spirit of God that fell on Pentecost day is still with us speaking. And I don't feel as though there is something missing. Thank you God for this day! This is a very great blessing to me.
and later . . .
Dear Pastor John,
I am still thinking about Brother Jerry's email. It has really changed me and has been an answer to a question that I have been feeling for a long time. Whenever I heard that tongues are a sign to the unbeliever, I, too, thought that the word "unbeliever" referred to a sinner but had a sense that there was something missing. I wasn't sure what it was. The message was really good for me, and it has brought a lot of thoughts together that I would love to share here. Some I already knew, but they just went together so I wrote them down too. I may need some help with some of them.
The message about tongues being a sign for the unbelieving Jew makes me think about the fact that what we do now is what they did then. With one another, we look for the sign of the baptism that Jesus gives, and when we hear tongues, we know who belongs to the family of God. In Acts, the Jews were doing the same thing amongst themselves, but the Spirit made a leap into a different realm they didn't expect. It went to the Gentiles! The knowledge that came to the Jews with their baptism of the holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost was preparing a way for the Gentiles – right as Pentecost happened. When Cornelius and his household received the Spirit, they (the Jews) found that they had to agree with God because of what they already knew was right (that tongues were the sign from heaven of a person being accepted and cleansed by God by the holy Ghost, and that He gave this witness to all who were obedient to Him.) Cornelius was known to be an upright man whom God had remembered for his deeds, and God honored him to be the example set for receiving the baptism of the Spirit outside of the Jews. It was irrefutable all the way. God bypassed the necessity of John's baptism as well as physical circumcision, as He was looking only on the condition of the heart. When Peter told the story to his brethren, he had to say, "Who was I to withstand God?" When Cornelius and his household spoke in tongues and magnified God, that was what the Jews were now having to accept as God's witness spoken to Peter: "What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common." The transition was made, and it was in an instant. There was no time for ceremony. As much as God's judgement was right in giving the Gentiles the holy Ghost, the opposition still came and they needed a man sent by God to come to their aid. They needed Paul to affirm the perfect work that was done in their midst, and he was on the way. They needed help to see there was nothing they had to do outside what God had already done for them.
I thank God for the teaching that you are giving us. I feel like it is all fitting together, and I am more appreciative than ever. It's like a drama that is still playing in so many ways. What is written by Paul in 1Corinthians 14:22 feels complete. It is like a sure foundation. So much revolves around it. In Ps. 89:15 it says, "Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound." That "joyful sound" is the evidence of who we are and moves us from not knowing to knowing. When we are blessed, we will be looking for it. I hope this makes sense. I have just been thinking a lot about it.
Thank you, Adam. I am glad that you are recovering from your surgery well enough to do a back flip, electronic or otherwise! And you have pondered over these holy things to the good of everyone.