The Elements of the pattern of church service and life can be seen in scripture

The elements of the pattern of church service and life can be seen in scripture.

True worshippers are to worship in truth and spirit (John 4:24), by the Spirit of God (Philippians 3:3). True believers remained in the teaching of God (2 John 1:9). They would have obeyed God as opposed to rebelled against God (1 John 3:10).

Men, women, and children would have gathered together to hear what was being taught – It may have been that only children who were old enough to understand who were in church service (such as those who were age 12, the age of when Jewish boys have their bar mitzvah, which happens to be the age of Jesus when he was in the temple courts sitting among the teachers, listening and asking questions) (Deuteronomy 31:12; Nehemiah 8:1-3; Luke 2:41-47; Luke 18:15-17; Ephesians 6:1-4; Colossians 3:20-21; 2 John 1:1).

They met together on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7). They met in the temple courts, in people’s homes, beside rivers, in synagogues, and in lecture halls (possibly schools) (Acts 2:42-47; Acts 16:13; Acts 19:8-9).

The church leaders were male elders and male deacons and female deaconesses (Acts 6:2-8; Acts 16:13; Romans 16:1; Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-10).

The communion supper (also known as the Lord’s Supper) was observed (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 11:18-32).

Prayers were offered up to God alone, in harmony with the will of God (1 Corinthians 14:15–16; Nehemiah 4:9; Matthew 6:9,;1 John 5:14).

Songs were sung to the glory of God and thanks to God was given (Ephesians 5:19-20; Psalms 95, 96, 98).

A free will collection was taken (1 Corinthians 16:1-2; 2 Corinthians 9:7). The Church was not involved with business (Matthew 21:12–13).

Sometimes church discipline occurred (Matt. 18:17).

The Scriptures were publically read (Colossians 4:16; 1 Tim. 4:13), and the Word of God was proclaimed (Acts 20:7; 2 Timothy 3:16–17; 2 Timothy 4:2).

Indeed, each had a hymn, a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation (1 Corinthians 14:28).

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Scripture does not say God stopped speaking

Many want to say that God does not speak today.
 
I simply do not see that in scripture.
 
We are to test everything by scripture – no where does the bible teach God does not speak today.
1 Thessalonians 5:21

But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good;
 
1 John 4:1
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
People use the following  passages to say God doesnt speak today, so I will address them each.
 
Revelation 22:18 I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book;
 
Rev 22:18 is speaking about the book of revelation – not the Bible.
 
2 Timothy 3:16-17
16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.
 
2 Tim 3:16-17 – all scripture is inspired, profitable for equipping man for every good work. But its does not say that God has stopped speaking.
 
Malachi 3:6 “For I, the Lord, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed.
 
Malachi 3:6 says God does not change – this is true. But that does not say that God stopped speaking – perhaps because then He would have changed.
 
Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
 
Hebrews 13:8 says Jesus Christ does not change. Again, this dos not say anything about whether God has stopped speaking.
 
James 1:17 Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.
 
James 1:17 – says God does not change – God spoke, so if he does not change, then He still speaks.
 
Numbers 23:19
“God is not a man, that He should lie,
Nor a son of man, that He should repent;
Has He said, and will He not do it?
Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?
 
 
Numbers 23:19 – God does not lie or repent. Again, this would indicate God doesnt change, but people want us to believe God has changed and stopped speaking.

Where do you draw the line between magic and an inate ability provided by God?

I was recently asked, “Where do you draw the line between witchcraft and powers given to us at birth by God?”

After a bit of prayer and reading, this was my answer:
1) It is not an innate ability from God if you have to do drugs/alcohol or spell work of any kind (regardless of type of work, ie. candle/crystal/fire/sex/stone/etc) to access/exercise it,

2) It is not innate from God, if you need some one like an angel/demon/spirit/ghost/person that is not you or some thing to access/exercise it,

3) If it is evil as defined by God then it is not an innate ability from God,

4) If it is an ability that God said to not do (like tell the future, which is different than speaking for God, which is being a prophet, plus God can speak thru a person and have him tell the future, which is also being a prophet), then it is not an innate ability from God,

5) It is possible to have an ability provided by a demon and not know it comes from a demon (an example from scripture is the ability to tell the future – see Acts 16),

6) Scripture gives example after example of priests for demons/false gods being able to deceptively mimic a power God gives (see story of Joseph in Genesis 37-48, story of Daniel in book of Daniel, and story of Moses in book of Exodus), but the power from God is always better quality and/or stronger and/or more powerful and/or more accurate. But it seems all the powers given by God to man occur after the man follows God and man doesn’t get to choose. In fact, when one magician wanted the power Peter had, Peter rebuked him – see Acts 8-9.

 

The response was:
“Okay what if it’s not specifically mentioned in the bible and uses no ritual to activate or outside source such as healing. Or is that mentioned.”

My response:

Abraham prayed and God healed. Moses prayed and God healed. According to scripture, it is God who forgives and heals or prevents healing, or people are healed by casting demons out of them. Jesus (God) gave power to cast out demons, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, heal. God decides who is healed by whom and when and how.

It seems every biblical example I can find shows God healing after prayer or because of someone’s faith (an evidence of faith) or thru God giving someone the power to heal. Healing is a gift of the Spirit of God. But demons can deceive and emulate many things of God. Certainly since demons can cause sickness (as evidenced by casting out demons causing people to be healed), they can be made by higher demons to stop causing sickness which could appear as healing.

We know that God made people sick and warned them and they repented and God healed.

We also know God has worked with people who are not His. We know God treats children differently than adults.

Here are verses which deal with the particular subject of healing:

Deuteronomy 32:39

‘See now that I, I am He, And there is no god besides Me; It is I who put to death and give life. I have wounded and it is I who heal, And there is no one who can deliver from My hand

Psalm 103:2-4

2 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget none of His benefits;
3 Who pardons all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases;
4 Who redeems your life from the pit,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion;

Matthew 8:16

When evening came, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed; and He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were ill

Matthew 10:5-8

5 These twelve Jesus sent out after instructing them: “Do not go in the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter any city of the Samaritans; 6 but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give.

1 Corinthians 12:9

to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit

We must always go to the Word of God to be able to know what is of God and not of God. We can believe something is from God and be mistaken. But GOD tells us what HE has done, and what He calls sin and what He calls good. We must not confuse the influence of a demon for the work of God. Sometimes the only way to know which is which is to pray and read scripture.

If we are truly saved, we can not lose our salvation. Are we truly saved?

The problem with those who think they can lose salvation, is the belief that it is a one time event.

Salvation is  a process where in we were saved, are saved, and will be saved.

We can see we have been saved in Ephesians 2:5

even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),


We can see we are being saved in  Acts 2:47

praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.


We can see we shall be saved in  Romans 5:10

For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.


But the end result of salvation only comes if we remain firm in the faith. If we walk away from faith, then we were never saved. In those cases, we will have had a faith which sprang up quickly but died quickly too – it was an emotional event but not a saving one (Mat 13:3-23, Mk 4:3-20; Lk 8:4-16).

Mk 4:3-8

“Listen to this! Behold, the sower went out to sow; as he was sowing, some seed fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate it up. Other seed fell on the rocky ground where it did not have much soil; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of soil. And after the sun had risen, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. Other seed fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked it, and it yielded no crop. Other seeds fell into the good soil, and as they grew up and increased, they yielded a crop and produced thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.”

We see the explanation of the parable of the sower in Mk 4:14-20

14 The sower sows the word. 15 These are the ones who are beside the road where the word is sown; and when they hear, immediately Satan comes and takes away the word which has been sown in them. 16 In a similar way these are the ones on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy; 17 and they have no firm root in themselves, but are only temporary; then, when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately they fall away. 18 And others are the ones on whom seed was sown among the thorns; these are the ones who have heard the word, 19 but the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. 20 And those are the ones on whom seed was sown on the good soil; and they hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.”

The word of the kingdom is the seed. Verse 15 tells us that verse 4 is speaking of the one who does not understand – the seed sown beside the road – this is someone who has not believed and so is not saved.

Verse 16-17 is speaking of verses 5 and 6, where word springs up immediately, but dies quickly away – this is someone who believed for a period of time (This is belief without faith, a temporary thing), but then did not believe to the end and so is not saved.

Verse 18-19 speaks of verse 7, where someone hears the word but worry and deceitfulness  of wealth causes the word to be unfruitful and they are not saved.

Verse 20 speaks of verse 8, where someone understands the word and bears fruit.

It is only those who are fruitful until the end who are and will be saved. The others might have THOUGHT they were saved, but were not. They may have claimed to be Christ’s, and they may even done miracles in the name of Christ, but Christ was adamant that they had to have been righteous and done the will of God.

Matthew 7:15-23

15 “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? 17 So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 So then, you will know them by their fruits.

21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’

We see this more clearly in Matthew 25:31-46 – where the King will separate the sheep (who gave food and drink and clothing to those in need and visited those in prison) from the goats (who did none of those things).

31 “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; 33 and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.

34 “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; 36 naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? 38 And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 39 When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’

41 “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; 42 for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; 43 I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ 44 Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ 45 Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 46 These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

If we do not remain firm, then we were never saved to begin with. If we continue in the faith firmly established, then God has reconciled us to present us holy and blameless – but if we dont remain steadfast in the faith, then we never truly had it in the first place. Paul said many times we are saved if we remain firm in the faith.

1 Corinthians 15:1-2

1 Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.


Colossians 1:21-23

21 And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, 22 yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach— 23 if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister.


In fact, if we leave the community of faith, then we were never truly of it to begin with.
1 John 2:19

They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us.

So the question is not really can we lose our salvation, but rather are we saved to begin with?

We must have faith to be saved. Luke 7:50

50 And He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

This faith is belief (something that even demons have, see James 2:14-25) coupled with that something inexplicable that results in obedience. It is not our obedience that saves us, for then it would depend upon us. It is the faith that results in obedience that saves us, as seen in Ephesians 2:8-9.

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

If we do not have the habit of obedience, we will have a habit of disobedience. We know from 1 John 3:9 that those who continue to sin (live a life, a habit if you will, of sin) are not born of God.

1 John 3:9

No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

Our faith must have corresponding works, and both the faith and the works must persevere until the end:

Acts 26:20

20 but kept declaring both to those of Damascus first, and also at Jerusalem and then throughout all the region of Judea, and even to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds appropriate to repentance.

I Corinthians 15:2

by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.

Colossians 1:22-23

22 yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach— 23 if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister.

Hebrews 3:12-14

12 Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end,

 

Some believe that we stand firm by our own power, but Paul says GOD causes us to stand firm, that GOD anointed us, seals us, owns us, given us His Spirit as a guarantee of our salvation.

2 Corinthians 1:21-22

21 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22 set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

But if we have this faith, we are saved and will not loose that salvation – for you have been sealed by God, and will not be snatched from the hands of Jesus, not even by you yourself

John 10:27-29

27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.

 

Not only can no one snatch us out of Jesus’ hands, but He will not drive you away.  More than that, Christ will lose none of those the Father has given Him, but everyone who believes in the Son will have eternal life and He will raise them up at the last day.

John 6:37-40

37 All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. 38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.

 

If we ARE saved, then we are sealed by the Holy Spirit for the day of redemption.

In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise,
Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness.”
When we truly believe, we are sealed by the Holy Spirit, and will be lifted up.
So no. If we are truly saved, then we can not and will not lose our salvation. But if we are not saved, or if we walk away from the faith, then we were never saved to begin with.

 

Jesus has come. Now what?

We have all just finished celebrating Christmas – some of us did it with an evergreen tree covered with lights and ornaments; the cheerful melody of Christmas songs, or perhaps the evocative sound of worship songs; some with Santa Claus, Saint Nicholas; a baby figurine in a manger surrounded by figurines of Mary and Joseph and three wise men and an angel or three; lots of shopping; family: children, grandchildren, husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend; love; lunch; dinner; arguing; yelling; cuddling; hugging; giggles; laughing. Most, if not all, of us celebrated the birth of Christ. But now what?

What difference does it make that Christ has come? Confucius was born over 2500 years ago. So? Confucius taught people how to live, with many of the same things that Jesus taught – live with integrity, treat others as you wish to be treated (Luke 6:31).

So Jesus has come… What now? What do we do with the fact that Jesus has come. What difference does it make in our lives?

Today’s passage is Acts 2.

 

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of firedistributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving themutterance.

Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven.And when this sound occurred, the crowd came together, and were bewildered because each one of them was hearing them speak in his own language. They were amazed and astonished, saying, “Why, are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we each hear them in our own language to which we were born? Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus andAsia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya around Cyrene, andvisitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabs—we hear them in ourown tongues speaking of the mighty deeds of God.” 12 And they all continued in amazement and great perplexity, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others were mocking and saying, “They are full of sweet wine.”

14 But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them: “Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give heed to my words. 15 For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day; 16 but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel:

17 And it shall be in the last days,’ God says,
That I will pour forth of My Spirit on all mankind;
And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
And your young men shall see visions,
And your old men shall dream dreams;
18 Even on My bondslaves, both men and women,
will in those days pour forth of My Spirit
And they shall prophesy.
19 And I will grant wonders in the sky above
And signs on the earth below,
Blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke.
20 The sun will be turned into darkness
And the moon into blood,
Before the great and glorious day of the Lord shall come.
21 And it shall be that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’

22 “Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know— 23 this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. 24 But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power. 25 For David says of Him,

‘I saw the Lord always in my presence;
For He is at my right hand, so that I will not be shaken.
26 Therefore my heart was glad and my tongue exulted;
Moreover my flesh also will live in hope;
27 Because You will not abandon my soul to Hades,
Nor allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.
28 You have made known to me the ways of life;
You will make me full of gladness with Your presence.’

29 “Brethren, I may confidently say to you regarding the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 And so, because he was a prophet and knew that God had sworn to him with an oath to seat one of his descendants on his throne,31 he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that He was neither abandoned to Hades, nor did His flesh suffer decay. 32 This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses. 33 Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, andhaving received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear. 34 For it was not David who ascended into heaven, but he himself says:

The Lord said to my Lord,
Sit at My right hand,
35 Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.”’

36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified.”

37 Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?” 38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized 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 your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.” 40 And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, “Be saved from thisperverse generation!” 41 So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls. 42 They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

43 Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. 44 And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; 45 and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. 46 Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.

There is so much in this passage – the beginning of the Church, the trinity, the Holy Spirit filling people and causing them to act as He wants, people believing, being saved, growing together in Christ, loving each other….

The passage starts with the fact that God came down into humanity.

Acts 2:1

1 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.

 

The Holy Spirit reached down from heaven and filled the disciples and spoke through them. The people of God spoke and acted as The Holy Spirit desired. This is how we are to be – filled with the Holy Spirit and acting as God desires. Our lives are to reflect the fact that GOD lives within us. Jesus has come, now what? God entered humanity, now what? God filled people with the Holy Spirit. Are you someone filled with the Spirit? Does God speak through you?

What were the disciples saying? Lets read…

Acts 2:5-11

Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven. And when this sound occurred, the crowd came together, and were bewildered because each one of them was hearing them speak in his own language. They were amazed and astonished, saying, “Why, are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we each hear them in our own language to which we were born? Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya around Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabs—we hear them in our own tongues speaking of the mighty deeds of God.”

 

The disciples were speaking to people who were from different regions of the Roman empire and who spoke different languages – yet each one heard them speaking in their own languages of the mighty deeds of God.

This is a picture of exactly the opposite of what happened at the tower of Babel. To see what I mean, let us turn to Genesis 11:1-9

1 Now the whole earth used the same language and the same words. It came about as they journeyed east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. They said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks and burn them thoroughly.” And they used brick for stone, and they used tar for mortar. They said, “Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.” The Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. The Lord said, “Behold, they are one people, and they all have the same language. And this is what they began to do, and now nothing which they purpose to do will be impossible for them. Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, so that they will not understand one another’s speech.” So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of the whole earth; and they stopped building the city. Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of the whole earth; and from there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of the whole earth.

In Babel, the people all spoke the same language and came together and tried to reach heaven to make a name for themselves. In response, God confused their language, stopping their building, and scattered them over the face of the earth. But in Jerusalem, God came down and entered men, causing them to speak in a way that all men understood them, praising God, and bringing the men together in one group – into what would become the Church.

But some didn’t understand what was happening – while others mocked those who spoke, as we see by returning to our passage: Acts 2:12-13

12 And they all continued in amazement and great perplexity, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others were mocking and saying, “They are full of sweet wine.”

Rather than taking offense, Peter spoke truth, reminding the people of what God had said through the prophet Joel in Acts 2:14-21…

14 But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them: “Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give heed to my words. 15 “For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day; 16 but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel: 17 ‘AND IT SHALL BE IN THE LAST DAYS,’ God says, ‘THAT I WILL POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT ON ALL MANKIND; AND YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY, AND YOUR YOUNG MEN SHALL SEE VISIONS, AND YOUR OLD MEN SHALL DREAM DREAMS; 18 EVEN ON MY BONDSLAVES, BOTH MEN AND WOMEN, I WILL IN THOSE DAYS POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT And they shall prophesy. 19 ‘AND I WILL GRANT WONDERS IN THE SKY ABOVE AND SIGNS ON THE EARTH BELOW, BLOOD, AND FIRE, AND VAPOR OF SMOKE. 20 ‘THE SUN WILL BE TURNED INTO DARKNESS AND THE MOON INTO BLOOD, BEFORE THE GREAT AND GLORIOUS DAY OF THE LORD SHALL COME. 21 ‘AND IT SHALL BE THAT EVERYONE WHO CALLS ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.’

God had spoken through Joel in ages past (Joel 2:28-32), and God fulfilled His prophecy through disciples of Christ after the death of Christ. Men filled with the Holy Spirit spoke in languages of other peoples. While some mocked and claimed they were drunk, Peter spoke the truth – that they were speaking for God, prophesying. This prophecy is a matter of already and not yet – they were warning of the things which had already happened, and of things that will come before the day of the Lord shall come.

We can see this when we look at the hours just before the death of Jesus in Matthew 27:45

Now from the sixth hour darkness fell upon all the land until the ninth hour.

And then when we look at Revelation 6:12

I looked when He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood;

And finally, these people, chosen by God to testify of what God had done and was doing and was going to do, the disciples of Christ, were telling people that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

So we see that not only did God come down into humanity, but we see that God provided the sacrifice.

Acts 2:22

“Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know

We celebrate the birth of Jesus the Christ at this time, but so what?
 Jesus the Christ has come, but what difference does it make?

God attested who Jesus was with miracles and wonders and signs that GOD performed through him. Notice – while some were mocking the disciples for speaking in languages others could understand, there was no such mocking here. No one challenged Peter when he said that God had attested to them with miracles, wonders, and signs. The ‘miracles’ attest to the fact that what was being attested to was miraculous – not natural. The ‘wonders’ tell us that people were made to wonder and be in awe by what God did. And the ‘signs’ indicate that what God did through Jesus were intended to point to the fact that it was GOD who did the works through the man Jesus.

Acts 2:23

this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death.

Jesus was delivered to his executioners by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God. God KNEW what was going to happen – in fact, He planned it before hand – not just planned FOR it, but planned it. Think about it, GOD DETERMINED that His Son would become human, would live a righteous life, would be handed over to be judged and executed – although he was innocent.

And even though it was Romans who carried out the execution, Peter said the Jews nailed him to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. It was not just the Romans who were responsible, it was the Jews who manipulated the situation and had him put to death. But it was not just they who were responsible, but everyone who ever sinned who is responsible for the need for the death of Christ.

Act 2:24

“But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power.

And although God handed him over for death, God also raised Jesus the Christ up again, ending the agony of death, because it was impossible for Jesus to be held in the power of death.

Acts 2:25-28

25 “For David says of Him, ‘I SAW THE LORD ALWAYS IN MY PRESENCE; FOR HE IS AT MY RIGHT HAND, SO THAT I WILL NOT BE SHAKEN. 26 ‘THEREFORE MY HEART WAS GLAD AND MY TONGUE EXULTED; MOREOVER MY FLESH ALSO WILL LIVE IN HOPE; 27 BECAUSE YOU WILL NOT ABANDON MY SOUL TO HADES, NOR ALLOW YOUR HOLY ONE TO UNDERGO DECAY. 28 ‘YOU HAVE MADE KNOWN TO ME THE WAYS OF LIFE; YOU WILL MAKE ME FULL OF GLADNESS WITH YOUR PRESENCE.’

And here we come to the essence of the trinity in this passage – the Holy Spirit has filled the disciples and caused them to speak as He determined, prophesying what God the Father had previously said, that the Son of God, the Lord,would not abandon David’s soul to Hades, and nor undergo decay.

We have to look at who God is. These are not three different gods, but one God made up of three persons: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Luke 1:35

The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.

Isaiah 48:16

“Come near to Me, listen to this:
 From the first I have not spoken in secret,
 From the time it took place, I was there.
 And now the Lord God has sent Me, and His Spirit.”

And yet there is no god beside the One True God.

Isaiah 45:
21

“Declare and set forth your case;
 Indeed, let them consult together.
 Who has announced this from of old?
 Who has long since declared it?
 Is it not I, the Lord?
 And there is no other God besides Me,
 A righteous God and a Savior;
 There is none except Me.

There is one true God.

Jeremiah 10:10

But the Lord is the true God; he is the living God, the eternal King. When he is angry, the earth trembles; the nations cannot endure his wrath.

Having dealt with who God is, let us return to our text. Peter makes clear that David was not speaking of himself – but of the Christ.

Acts 2:29-31

29 “Brethren, I may confidently say to you regarding the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 “And so, because he was a prophet and knew that GOD HAD SWORN TO HIM WITH AN OATH TO SEAT one OF HIS DESCENDANTS ON HIS THRONE, 31 he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that HE WAS NEITHER ABANDONED TO HADES, NOR DID His flesh SUFFER DECAY

King David died and was buried and still in his tomb. But he looked forward to the resurrection of the Christ, knowing Christ would not be abandoned to Hades and He did not decay.

Acts 2:32

“This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses.

God raised Jesus up again. How do we know that Jesus was raised up by God? Because the disciples were witnesses! The disciples saw and spoke with Jesus – AFTER His death. We see this in Luke 24:46-51

46 and He [Jesus] said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” 50 And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. 51 While He was blessing them, He parted from them and was carried up into heaven.

Not only did we see the disciples were all witnesses to the fact that God raised Jesus after His death, but returning to our passage, we see in Acts 2:33-35

33 “Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear. 34 “For it was not David who ascended into heaven, but he himself says: ‘THE LORD SAID TO MY LORD, “SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND, 35 UNTIL I MAKE YOUR ENEMIES A FOOTSTOOL FOR YOUR FEET.”‘

Jesus was lifted up to the right hand of God. Jesus received the Hoy Spirit.

Jesus poured the Holy Spirit on the disciples. God lifted Jesus and said to Him to sit at God’s right hand until God the Father makes His enemies a footstool for His feet.

Again, Jesus has come, now what? We see the answer in the last part of 1 John 3:8

… The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.

And we see in Acts 2:36

36 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ – this Jesus whom you crucified.”

God made Jesus, who was crucified by both Jews and Gentiles, to be Lord and Christ. And God wanted the House of Israel – the family of God’s people – to know this. This was a shock to his audience – they had not expected to hear how this man was both God and the Messiah. And this was when God made believers.

Acts 2:37-39

37 Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?” 38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized 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 your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.”

Having realized what had happened and their culpability for the crucifixion of Jesus (the Lord and Christ), the audience were pierced to the heart – they were convinced intellectually, as well as spiritually convicted of the truth of they had done, and even more importantly, of who Jesus is and what God has done.

This conviction is likely what prompted them to ask what they were to do. Peter told them to repent (to change) and be baptized in the name of Jesus FOR the forgiveness of their sins and they would received the Holy Spirit – that they and their children and all who are far off (meaning both those were not near by physically and those who are not near to God, the unbeliever) and as many as the Lord God calls to Himself can be forgiven.

Many think we are forgiven because we are baptized, that water baptism is needed to be saved. In fact, the word translated as ‘for’ here is actually ‘eis’, which translated means ‘in’. People are baptized IN the forgiveness of their sins – not so they will be forgiven, but BECAUSE they have been forgiven. We are forgiven when we turn to God through faith in Christ, our repentance (our changing from sin to God) is demonstrated through our baptism.

Acts 2:40

And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation!”

Peter solemnly testified and kept on exhorting (appealing to) them. He didnt leave it with the facts, but warned them to be saved from this perverse generation, from among the people who disobey God. In doing so, he reflected back to Deuteronomy 32:5

“They have acted corruptly toward Him, They are not His children, because of their defect; But are a perverse and crooked generation.

In so doing, he was saying what Paul would say in Philippians 2:15

so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world

Believers grow together, which we see beginning in Acts 2:41

So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls.

Those who had received what Peter said – those who believed to the point where they were changed – did something about it. Those who believe in God, who have Christ as their Lord and Savior, obey God. In this case, those who believed were baptized – about 3,000 people in one day!

Acts 2:42

They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

So what should happen when one believes? One acts upon one’s belief. We saw in verse 41 that they were baptized – that was obedience. But we also see they continually devoted themselves to what the apostles taught AND to fellowship – They studied what was taught, they put it into practice in their lives, they hung out with other Christians, which included eating (probably worshipping through the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.

Jesus has come, now what? What was the reason Christ was born? To bring salvation and instruct us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age

Titus 2:11-14

11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, 12 instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, 14 who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.

Acts 2:43

Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles.

Do you have a sense of awe? The believers were first hand witnesses to the wonders and signs the apostles were doing. Its easy for them to be in awe. Yet, for us, sometimes its easy to get caught up in the daily things of life and forget God is there, or what He has done, but we need to remember what God has done – how God has sent His Son to be born, to live a righteous life, to suffer and die, to be the perfect Sacrificial Lamb…

Acts 2:44-45

44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.

All the believers were together and did not keep things to themselves, but helped any who had need. This may mean they only helped believers but more likely, it means they helped anyone who had need. So they sold stuff and gave to those in need.

Acts 2:46-47a

46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.

Believers met together, ate together, praised God together, enjoyed the favor of all the people. This was a time of learning together, living together, sharing life together, practicing living righteously together, challenging each other to live as God commanded.

Not only did believers meet regularly together THEN, but Christians are to not stop gathering together with the assembly.

Hebrew 10:24-25

24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

This is why we meet together in church with other Christians: so you are not tossed about by every wind of doctrine, by trickery of men, by deceitful scheming, but are no longer children, but are built up and grow up in all aspects.

Ephesians 4:11-16

11 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. 14 As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; 15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.

We end this passage with Acts 2:47b

And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

The Lord added those who were being saved to the group of believers daily. God did it – not them. God grew the number of believers and God grew the believers – God worked in them to grow in the knowledge of the Son of God so they grew to maturity.

In the same way, we must recognize that God sent His Son to be born for a reason – to provide the avenue by which men might be saved. Are you saved? Have you celebrated Santa, but not the Savior? If your life does not reflect a turning from sin and a turning to God, then you must ask yourself – now what? Why did I celebrate? Jesus has come, now what? Is Jesus a baby in a manger, or is Jesus hanging on a cross, or is Jesus sitting at the right hand of the Father? If Jesus God or merely a man? If he is a man, then you have little reason to celebrate. But If Jesus is Lord and Christ, then He is in charge of your life – does your life reflect that? Are you a testimony of what God has done? 

 

Another look at how to describe the trinity

A person who was leaving the Jehovah Witnesses was asking about how to understand the trinity.

According the John 1, the Word was with God and was God, and became flesh. And the Word was Jesus Christ. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are three personas (or personalities) in one entity we call God. This is why I call them personalities, like multiple personalities in one being. Each personality has its own desires and purpose and thoughts, is not the other personalities, but together make up the whole. Father + Son + Holy Spirit = God.

John 1 tells us God became man. The Word took on flesh – was made a man. Jesus said He was “I AM”. Jesus made Himself equal to God, and the Jews recognized this. He existed in the form of man.

In fact, Paul said Jesus existed in the form of God, but emptied Himself (of his deity) and was made in the likeness of man, and obeyed God the Father to the point of death.

The three persons which make up God are not putting on different masks. *I*  prefer to use the term personalities because the Latin word is persona. I see them as three distinct separate personalities in one God. They are NOT the same. They are separate from each other within God, but are never separate from God. Its not putting on a personality. These personalities exist eternally.

John 1:1-3
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.

John 1:14-17
14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 John *testified about Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.’” 16 For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace. 17 For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.

The Father sends both the Son and the Holy Spirit, the Father and the Son both send the Holy Spirit. Each personality has his own position and role and function.

John 14:26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.

John 15:26 When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me

John 6:44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.

Paul tells us God emptied himself to become human.
Philippians 2:5-8
5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Father, Son, Holy Spirit are God
The Father is God
1 Peter 1:2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure.

Ephesians 1:17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him.

The Son is God
Hebrews 1:8 But of the Son He says, “YOUR THRONE, O GOD, IS FOREVER AND EVER, AND THE RIGHTEOUS SCEPTER IS THE SCEPTER OF HIS KINGDOM.

The Holy Spirit is God
Acts 5:3-4
3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land ? 4 “While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control ? Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart ? You have not lied to men but to God.”

All together, there are three personalities, or persons as theologians call them; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Each are God. Each one is not the other. Yet each is God. Together they make up God.

Does God speak to people today?

I was told by a now former pastor that anyone who hears God speak today must be insane and needs to see a psychiatrist.

It made me sad. I felt sorry for him. I can not imagine being a Christian and NOT hearing from God.

God has spoken to me (I heard it aloud, but it was in my head). God has given me verses to preach upon. God has given me knowledge about someone so I could pray, and so I could speak with that person. God has spoken through me to others. God has spoken to me through others.

This does not mean God has had me write anything down for others to be led and taught by what God has given me.

I see lots of people who are saying that God would provide no new revelation. I dont see that in scripture.

I see we are not to add to what God has said – in DEUTERONOMY and we have certainly increased the number of books since then.

Deuteronomy 4:2

You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.

Deuteronomy 12:32

32 “Whatever I command you, you shall be careful to do; you shall not add to nor take away from it.


We are certainly NOT to add to the words of GOD (Proverbs 30:5-6), but if GOD adds to the words of GOD, we have
no prohibition against that.

Proverbs 30:5-6

Every word of God is tested;
He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.
Do not add to His words
Or He will reprove you, and you will be proved a liar.


I see that we are not to add to the book of revelation (Revelation 22:18-19).

Revelation 22:18-19

18 I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.

 


We MUST test everything, as false prophets will do miracles to lead people astray .

1 John 4:1
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

Deuteronomy 13:1-5;

 1 “If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods (whom you have not known) and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for the Lord your God is testing you to find out if you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall follow the Lord your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him. But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has counseled rebellion against the Lord your God who brought you from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery, to seduce you from the way in which the Lord your God commanded you to walk. So you shall purge the evil from among you.

 Matthew 24:24

24 For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect.


Scripture itself is breathed out by God

2 Timothy 3:16-17

16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.


I personally see no biblical evidence of the cessation of sign gifts until ‘the perfect comes’, based on 1 Corinthians 13:8-13. In fact, Paul specifically told the assembly to not forbid the speaking in tongues (1 Corinthians 14:39). In 1 Corinthians 14, Paul is telling us that prophecy was still occuring when he wrote it, and provides regulation for prophecy in church services. In 1 Thessalonians 5:20, Paul warns to not hold prophecies in contempt. So we know Paul was not writing about the birth, life, suffering, and resurrection of Christ – otherwise prophecy would have not continued to the time of 1 Corinthians or 1 Thessalonians. In fact, if prophecies had ceased, why would Paul provide regulation for the use of that particular gift (1 Corinthians 14)?

God said to inquire of HIM, not mediums and spiritists –
Isaiah 8:19

When they say to you, “Consult the mediums and the spiritists who whisper and mutter,” should not a people consult their God? Should they consult the dead on behalf of the living?


Jesus spoke to Paul after Jesus’ death –
Acts 9:5

And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” And He said, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting


Prophecy is a sign from God to those who believe –
1 Corinthians 14:22

So then tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers; but prophecy is for a sign, not to unbelievers but to those who believe.


God certainly spoke to Paul –
2 Corinthians 12:7-10


7To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.


Prophecy occurs when the Holy Spirit speaks from God.


2 Peter 1:19-21


19 So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts. 20 But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, 21 for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

We hear of Muslims coming to faith in Christ because they have had visions and dreams of Christ (http://www.wnd.com/2013/02/visions-of-jesus-appearing-to-muslims/). Others have had similar visions and converted (http://www.is-there-a-god.info/life/visions.shtml). Why would God come to THEM in a vision and not speak to people who believed in Him? I really see no reason.

I see in scripture where God has spoken to men. I do not see where God has said He has stopped speaking to men.  But does this mean God ALWAYS speaks to His people in such a dramatic way? No. Of course not! Not everyone will see Jesus. Not everyone will hear God. Some will be moved by a still small voice. Some will be moved by God’s interaction with them through natural means. But this does not mean God does not speak today.

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