Newsletter #384 - October 2010 - By Shepherds Chapel - http://www.shepherdschapel.com/
The Etymology of the word "witness" in Greek, Latin, and Anglo Saxon means "memory", or to put in mind and think on something". This is interesting, because centuries ago you might not have a Bible when you traveled to teach. Bibles were written on large scrolls, and they would not be practical to carry around. In order to witness God's Word, you had to have a pretty good memory. God blesses His witnesses. Let's begin our study in Luke. These are the words of Jesus, after He was crucified.
Luke 24:44 And He said unto them, "These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning Me.
All prophecies of Messiah's first advent had to be fulfilled just as it was written of Him. The prophecy of Messiah's second advent will come to pass, as well. Have you read the prophecy?
Luke 24:45 Then opened He their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,
Did you know He could do that? It's called the unction of the Holy Spirit.
Luke 24:46 And said unto them, "Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: 47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
The Crucifixion was written of a long time before it came to pass (Psalm 22). Through the crucifixion God's salvation became available to all, including the Gentiles.
Luke 24:48 And ye are witnesses of these things.
Many of you help brings the witness and the testimony of God's Word to the world, as the disciples did. You don't have to memorize the Bible. Just be familiar with God's overall plan, and share Father's Word with others.
Luke 24:49 And, behold, I send the promise of My Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high."
Through the Holy Spirit, you have power from on high at your disposal. Do you utilize that power?
Luke 24:50 And He led them out as far as to Bethany, and He lifted up his hands, and blessed them. 51 And it came to pass, while He blessed them, He was parted from them, and carried up into heaven.
He ascended from the Mount of Olives (Acts 1:11-12). That is where Jesus will return as well.
Luke 24:52 And they worshipped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy: 53 And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen.
Yes, Jesus ascended to heaven; however, He left His Spirit, the Holy Spirit with us. You want to take the power on high very seriously. Let's continue our study in Acts.
Acts 1:4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, "which," saith He, "ye have heard of me. 5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days hence."
It wouldn't be many days after this that the disciples would receive the Holy Spirit.
Acts 1:6 When they therefore were come together, they asked of Him, saying, "Lord, wilt Thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?"
Jesus had resurrected and defeated death. The disciples were anticipating what might happen next. Would the kingdom of God appear on earth? No. It wasn't time. If the kingdom had come in at that time, many would not have had an opportunity to hear the witness and testimony.
Acts 1:7 And He said unto them, "It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in His own power.
The disciple were not to know the seasons. But, you of this generation are to know the seasons (Daniel 12).
Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth."
The witness and truth must extend to the entire world. Every soul must have the opportunity to love Him.
Acts 1:9 And when He had spoken these things, while they beheld, He was taken up; and a cloud received Him out of their sight. 10 And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;
The cloud blocked the disciples view, and I believe the cloud concealed a vehicle such as Ezekiel saw in Ezekiel Chapter 1. Two angels then appeared before the disciples.
Acts 1:11 Which also said, "Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, Which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven."
How could anyone ever wonder how Christ is going to return? This verse makes it very clear. He will descend just as He ascended.
Acts 1:12 Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day's journey.
God's promise had not been received at this point. The disciples would not receive the Holy Spirit, until 50 days after Passover which was and is Pentecost. Let's pick it up in Acts 2:1.
Acts 2:1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
The Holy Spirit was with them as God had promised.
Acts 2:3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
They each received the power from on high to speak in a language that could be understood by anyone, no matter what their native tongue may be.
Acts 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
There was nothing said that anyone didn't understand. There was no need for an interpreter. Man can't do that.
Acts 2:5 And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. 6 Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.
People were gathered in Judah from all over the world for Pentecost. Every language of the world was represented, and they all understood the cloven tongue. God always keeps His promises. Skip to verse 16 with me.
Acts 2:16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; 17 And it shall come to pass in the last days,' saith God, 'I will pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:
Some churches may have a problem with this. They don't allow the daughters of God to speak in church. What are they going to do when the Holy Spirit begin to witness and testify through the females?
Acts 2:18 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of My Spirit; and they shall prophesy: 19 And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:
God's witnesses will prophecy the blood, fire, and vapour of smoke, and then those things will come to pass. Why? It is not the witnesses that speak, but the Holy Spirit speaking through them. Turn with me to Chapter 22. Saul, soon to be named Paul, was on his way to Damascus to persecute Christians. His journey will be interrupted.
Acts 22:5 As also the high priest doth bear me witness, and all the estate of the elders: from whom also I received letters unto the brethren, and went to Damascus, to bring them which were there bound unto Jerusalem, for to be punished.
Paul was given credentials and authority to bind Christians and drag them to Jerusalem to be punished.
Acts 22:6 And it came to pass, that, as I made my journey, and was come nigh unto Damascus about noon, suddenly there shone from heaven a great light round about me. 7 And I fell unto the ground, and heard a voice saying unto me, "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me?" 8 And I answered, "Who art Thou, Lord?" And He said unto me, "I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest."
Paul was persecuting Christians, and Paul didn't do anything half way. He was Zealous.
Acts 22:9 And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of Him that spake to me. 10 And I said, "What shall I do, LORD?" And the Lord said unto me, "Arise, and go into Damascus; and there it shall be told thee of all things which are appointed for thee to do."
There was no need for Paul to guess what Jesus would have him do. The Holy Spirit told Paul directly.
Acts 22:11 And when I could not see for the glory of that light, being led by the hand of them that were with me, I came into Damascus. 12 And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good report of all the Jews which dwelt there, 13 Came unto me, and stood, and said unto me, "Brother Saul, receive thy sight." And the same hour I looked up upon him.
Paul had been blinded, but now he can see.
Acts 22:14 And he said, "The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know His will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of His mouth. 15 For thou shalt be His witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard.
Paul was a chosen vessel. He was chosen to witness the gospel to all men, including the Gentiles.
Acts 22:16 And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord." 17 And it came to pass, that, when I was come again to Jerusalem, even while I prayed in the temple, I was in a trance;
Jesus had some more instructions for Paul.
Acts 22:18 And saw Him saying unto me, "Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem: for they will not receive thy testimony concerning Me."
Paul had been carrying out the church leaders persecution of Christians. A changed Paul was not going to be very popular with the Roman appointed church leaders. But, I want you to see the Lord warns His witnesses, when trouble is near. Patiently wait on God's instructions, and allow Father to lead you.
Acts 22:19 And I said, 'Lord, they know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue them that believed on Thee: 20 And when the blood of Thy martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting unto his death, and kept the raiment of them that slew him.' 21 And He said unto me, 'Depart: for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles.' "
Paul was sorry he persecuted the Christians, but Jesus was still going to utilize him. Stephen was a true witness for Jesus. He was willing to suffer death rather than change his witness. I want you all to be a true witness for Jesus, when you are delivered up before the antichrist.
In His Service,