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Listening to the Holy Spirit 061912
Lately, there’ been a lively discussion here about the Holy Spirit. Confusion and learning go hand in hand, and we’re learning a great deal about it. It is not, however, an easy topic to discuss in terms of Bible study or in terms of each scripture where its mentioned and how it works for us today in our church and in our lives.
But ‘…the church and the apostles and the elders…’ (Acts 15:4, below) welcomed Paul and Barnabas when they came toJerusalem to discuss whether all circumcision was necessary for the new Gentile converts to the (Jewish) Christian groups.
What is amazing and that we might mention is that the apostles and elders changed the Old Testament law to spread Jesus’ message to new non-Jewish believers, and they did so because the Holy Spirit thought it was good.
The Holy Spirit was a personal, reachable presence that was part of their assembly, it seems, right there with the apostles and elders.
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Psalm 78:1-4, 52-72
Acts 15:1-5, 22-35
1Give ear, O my people, to my teaching; incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
2I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings from of old,
3things that we have heard and known, that our ancestors have told us.
4We will not hide them from their children; we will tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done.
52Then he led out his people like sheep, and guided them in the wilderness like a flock.
53He led them in safety, so that they were not afraid; but the sea overwhelmed their enemies.
54And he brought them to his holy hill, to the mountain that his right hand had won.
55He drove out nations before them; he apportioned them for a possession and settled the tribes ofIsrael in their tents.
56Yet they tested the Most High God, and rebelled against him. They did not observe his decrees,
57but turned away and were faithless like their ancestors; they twisted like a treacherous bow.
58For they provoked him to anger with their high places; they moved him to jealousy with their idols.
59When God heard, he was full of wrath, and he utterly rejectedIsrael.
60He abandoned his dwelling atShiloh, the tent where he dwelt among mortals,
61and delivered his power to captivity, his glory to the hand of the foe.
62He gave his people to the sword, and vented his wrath on his heritage.
63Fire devoured their young men, and their girls had no marriage song.
64Their priests fell by the sword, and their widows made no lamentation.
65Then the Lord awoke as from sleep, like a warrior shouting because of wine.
66He put his adversaries to rout; he put them to everlasting disgrace.
67He rejected the tent of Joseph, he did not choose the tribe of Ephraim;
68but he chose the tribe ofJudah,MountZion, which he loves.
69He built his sanctuary like the high heavens, like the earth, which he has founded forever.
70He chose his servant David, and took him from the sheepfolds;
71from tending the nursing ewes he brought him to be the shepherd of his people Jacob, ofIsrael, his inheritance.
72With upright heart he tended them, and guided them with skillful hand.
27On the seventh day some of the people went out to gather, and they found none. 28The Lord said to Moses, “How long will you refuse to keep my commandments and instructions? 29See! The Lord has given you the sabbath, therefore on the sixth day he gives you food for two days; each of you stay where you are; do not leave your place on the seventh day.” 30So the people rested on the seventh day. 31The house ofIsrael called it manna; it was like coriander seed, white, and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.
32Moses said, “This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Let an omer of it be kept throughout your generations, in order that they may see the food with which I fed you in the wilderness, when I brought you out of the land of Egypt.’“ 33And Moses said to Aaron, “Take a jar, and put an omer of manna in it, and place it before the Lord, to be kept throughout your generations.” 34As the Lord commanded Moses, so Aaron placed it before the covenant, for safekeeping. 35The Israelites ate manna forty years, until they came to a habitable land; they ate manna, until they came to the border of the land of Canaan. 36An omer is a tenth of an ephah.
Acts 15:1-5, 22-35
15Then certain individuals came down from Judeaand were teaching the brothers, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” 2And after Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and debate with them, Paul and Barnabas and some of the others were appointed to go up to Jerusalem to discuss this question with the apostles and the elders. 3So they were sent on their way by the church, and as they passed through both Phoenicia and Samaria, they reported the conversion of the Gentiles, and brought great joy to all the believers. 4When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and the elders, and they reported all that God had done with them. 5But some believers who belonged to the sect of the Pharisees stood up and said, “It is necessary for them to be circumcised and ordered to keep the law of Moses.”
22Then the apostles and the elders, with the consent of the whole church, decided to choose men from among their members and to send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They sent Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas, leaders among the brothers, 23with the following letter: “The brothers, both the apostles and the elders, to the believers of Gentile origin in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia, greetings. 24Since we have heard that certain persons who have gone out from us, though with no instructions from us, have said things to disturb you and have unsettled your minds, 25we have decided unanimously to choose representatives and send them to you, along with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26who have risked their lives for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who themselves will tell you the same things by word of mouth. 28For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to impose on you no further burden than these essentials: 29that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what is strangled and from fornication. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell.” 30So they were sent off and went down to Antioch. When they gathered the congregation together, they delivered the letter. 31When its members read it, they rejoiced at the exhortation. 32Judas and Silas, who were themselves prophets, said much to encourage and strengthen the believers. 33After they had been there for some time, they were sent off in peace by the believers to those who had sent them. 35But Paul and Barnabas remained inAntioch, and there, with many others, they taught and proclaimed the word of the Lord.
The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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